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People say they have had enough

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Dear Editor,

Our current crop of leaders should know that oft times people at the lower rung of the ladder, those who are dispossessed and get little when there is plenty, accept their position of inferiority and poverty in the midst of plenty. However, every now and then as modern history has shown, people say that they have had enough and therefore demand a fair share of a bigger and sweeter cake. I believe we’ve reached that stage in Guyana. Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with Guyanese of every ethnic, age, economic and political persuasion and I am satisfied that this question of Guyana drifting into a certain state is considered real.

There are many Indo Guyanese who are disappointed and concerned that they are only receiving occasional help, ‘Father-Christmas’ style in the midst of plenty and hearing how rapid is our economic growth. This is a matter that ought not to be ignored in an already polarized society. The technique of simply using a pain-killer to relieve a deepening chronic condition is a recipe for disaster. Of course, marginalisation and disempowerment of the African community is stark and serious. A few of us in August 2020 felt that we should give President Irfaan Ali an opportunity to fulfill his promise to make the essence of democracy realized. President Ali fortunately has advisors who are neither Afro nor Indo Guyanese, but men I believe who are true patriots and would want to see us flourish as a people and enjoy the bounty bestowed upon us by the gift of precious natural resources.

The big question is, can President Ali benefit from the advice of some of his credible advisors? This means he must disentangle himself from the political ragamuffins, some new, some old whose modus operandi is driven by racism, discrimmination and corruption which, like cancer, is eating away at the soul and spirit of the good people of our country. He must learn from our history. I contend that neither Forbes Burnham nor Cheddi Jagan were racist. Both men shunned the evil of corruption, yet in the mid-50s our beloved country was mired with ethnic hostility which, three generations on, remains a heavy burden. How can we run a country with our history of exploitation and colonialism if there is no meaningful and I stress meaningful consultation with the other people?

I would urge our Opposition to be gracious and be willing to cooperate for Guyana. Perhaps today we can note recent events from our Mother Country where Kwasi Kwarteng becomes Britain’s first black Chancellor of the Exchequer while Suella Braverman of Indian ancestry becomes Home Secretary. We recall that Barack Obama, mother Caucasian, father black East African, became President of the most powerful nation on earth. This means that there is hope but we have, all of us, to work assiduously and harmoniously to reach the plateau of glory. We must not be like the five foolish virgins who took their lamps without oil and therefore failed to navigate the dark. Perhaps this biblical story of not taking oil in their lamps ought not to be lost upon the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. Failure to use this opportunity will see us damned as a people.

In the mid-1990s, addressing a mixed group overseas no less a person than Dr. Cheddi Jagan observed that Afro- Guyanese were at the bottom of the ladder. Look around Guyana and Dr. Jagan’s words then seems prophetic. Some of us today, years after can say the condition of the average Afro-Guyanese is pathetic and painful and must be corrected sooner than later. A good start could be the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to ensure that the accumulation of massive property and wealth by certain folks can be laid bare. Such a Commission must courageously examine who now owns and controls prime mining lands, who now secure the big contracts, some in circumstances that defy logic and fairness. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission must be given the authority to examine and recommend corrective measures for the main institutions that represent a viable modern democratic state.

These are one, efficiency of our judiciary- they say justice delayed is justice denied. If that statement is true, it means that justice is denied in this country.  Second, a Guyana Police Force, where Guyanese in every walk of life can repose faith and confidence in its operations. A Police Force that seem unable or unwilling to solve a murder committed outside of a popular watering hole, Palm Court, where a man was riddled with bullets and a well-known gentleman, who was the guest of the US penitentiary system publicly states that he and not Paper Shorts was the intended victim. Logic suggests he therefore is aware of the assailant. Yet after a year and a half later, the Police Force has not been able, we are told, to solve yet another high profile assassination. The boys used to say, we smell a rat.

A Police NCO makes a public expose request for protection, gets none but there is a recommendation for him to be charged. The irony in all this is that we still have at both the senior and junior level of the Police Force honest and professionally driven policemen and women. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission should help us separate, as we say, the sheep from the goat in the Police Force. At a wider level, what has kept Guyana from imploding is the existence of well researched editorials and articles, in particular Stabroek News and Kaieteur News, and the many men and women from both of the major ethnic groups who have courageously been speaking up against the atrocities taking place every day and we must as Guyanese honour and thank them for their relentless crusade to shine light where there is darkness. These provide a safety valve for citizens to speak up and express their concerns on a number of current issues.

A Truth and Reconciliation Commis-sion will turn us away from so many distorting our history for petty political purposes. Incidentally, President Ali can do well to ensure the appointment of a proper Petroleum Commission so that there can be some direction and perhaps, the better word may be sanity, to how our petroleum resources are managed. Speak-ing with some folks, the Descendants of African slaves, they fear that they have been placed in the position as found in the Book of Joshua where their place is to be hewers of wood and drawers of water. Today all Guyanese must cover themselves with that indomitable spirit, so that we do not remain in this condition particularly the impoverished Guyanese.

Sincerely,

Hamilton Green

Elder


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Man faces underage sex crime charges | News, Sports, Jobs

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A Tyrone man facing dozens of charges involving child pornography and human trafficking has been denied bail.

Paul Robert Holpit, 24, was arraigned Wednesday morning before Magisterial District Judge Fred B. Miller on 15 felony charges each of photographing, filming, or depicting a sex act involving a child and of disseminating explicit sexual material to a minor; eight felony counts each of trafficking in individuals-recruit/entice/solicit, of corruption of minors, of unlawful contact with a minor-sexual offenses and of drug possession with intent to deliver; three felony counts of criminal solicitation; two felony counts each of trafficking in individuals for financial benefit, of child pornography and of criminal solitication-sexual exploitation of children; one felony count each of criminal soliticiation-involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of a person less than 16 years of age and of criminal solicitation-involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child; and 10 felony counts of criminal use of a communication facility.

He also faces two misdemeanor counts of corruption of minors and a misdemeanor count of indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old.

According to the court docket, Holpit was denied bail due to the threat to the community and safety of the victims, his flight risk and the nature of the charges.

Holpit was remanded to the Blair County Prison awaiting a Sept. 20 preliminary hearing in front of Miller.

Pot for sex alleged

The charges stem from an five-month investigation by the Tyrone Borough Police Department after a minor female told police that Holpit provided numerous minors with marijuana in exchange for sexual acts.

On the police department’s Facebook page, police said 11 minor victims were identified and forensic interviews were conducted. The victims ranged from 12 to 17 years old, police said.

On May 6, borough police executed a search warrant on Holpit’s West 14th Street home and seized three iPhones, a Playstation, two HP laptops, an iWatch, cable modem, related charging cords, 297 grams of marijuana, clear sandwich bags, a silver scale and a glass pipe with residue.

Officers also received permission from parents and guardians to review the contents of cellphones belonging to the minors, court documents state.

During subsequent interviews, police said the minors reported talking to Holpit on Snapchat and meeting him in person. Holpit allegedly sent nude photos of himself to one 15-year-old, who said he sent photos at least once a day starting in December 2021 and continued for about two months. He also offered her free marijuana, alcohol and money in exchange for a sex act, the teen told police.

A 17-year-old told police she received marijuana from Holpit for about two years. In October 2021, Holpit began asking the girl for nude photos and she provided him with pictures a couple of times in exchange for marijuana. At least once, Holpit requested sex and he would send random pictures and videos of his genitals, she said. He also talked about her 12-year-old sister, asking the girl to talk the youngster into having sex with him for money.

The 12-year-old said she began talking to Holpit through Snapchat and then he began asking for photos of her body. He offered money, marijuana and tobacco for the pictures, she told police. He continued to ask, even though she said no, she said, and he sent photos of his genitals. He allegedly offered her money for oral sex.

Another 15-year-old said Holpit added her to Snapchat when she was 12 or 13 years old and conversations became sexual in nature, with Holpit asking for sex and sex acts in exchange for marijuana. She bought marijuana from him, the teen told police, and received nude photos of him on multiple occasions.

The interviews with the teens continued into June and July, according to court documents, and police talked to a 17-year-old, who also said she communicated with Holpit via Snapchat. Holpit allegedly sent her photos multiple times that included his genitals. He also asked for sexual favors in exchange for marijuana. The teen told police she did buy marijuana from Holpit in the past.

A 16-year-old said she purchased marijuana from Holpit and he used Snapchat to set up the purchases. She told police she then blocked him because she knew he sent nude photos to minors and requested sexual favors.

Marijuana bought

Four other minors, ranging in age from 15 to 17, told police that Holpit was their marijuana dealer. They also reported using Snapchat and that Holpit sent nude photos, asked for sex, sex acts and nude photos in exchange for the drug and in one case, asked a girl to have sex with him and another male in exchange for marijuana.

One 17-year-old said she began purchasing marijuana from Holpit, but the exchanges turned sexual, with Holpit giving her marijuana for sex acts and nude photos. He also sent her nude photos of himself via Snapchat and she received images about three times a week from November 2021 until April of this year, when she contacted police. Police said a majority of the in-person contacts with Holpit occurred at a Tyrone Borough church. At least one incident occurred in the parking lot of Penn Highlands Tyrone Hospital, police stated.

All victims reported receiving unsolicited photos of Holpit’s genitals and the photos appeared to have been taken in his bedroom, according to court documents.

Images of girls found

A search of Holpit’s cellphone turned up photos of the girls as well as images of large amounts of marijuana and cash. In addition, police said several conversations indicated Holpit was dealing marijuana. Videos, including of a minor girl giving oral sex to a minor boy, were found on the phone.

Police said 20 images and/or videos depicting child pornography were found and that Holpit provided eight minors with photos of his genitals.

He also provided seven of the juveniles with marijuana and arranged drug sales or disseminated pornographic images to nine individuals, court documents state. Holpit would meet individuals at various spots in Tyrone Borough to make drug deliveries, police reported.



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After 6 years, Karnataka government orders abolition of ACB, revival of Lokayukta

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The Karnataka government on Friday issued an order abolishing the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), saying all its cases will be transferred to the Lokayukta.

The government order said that as per the orders of the Karnataka High Court, the ACB will be abolished and police station powers reordered to Lokayukta police. All the cases which are pending/under inquiry/other disciplinary actions will be transferred to Lokayukta, it added.

In mid-August, a division bench of the Karnataka High Court had ordered the abolishing of ACB and revival of an anti-corruption police unit attached to the Karnataka Lokayukta, a quasi-judicial institution that works independent of the state.

The high court order quashed a notification issued by the then Congress government in the state on March 14, 2016, to create the ACB and also subsequent notifications transferring power to probe corruption cases under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, from Karnataka Lokayukta police to the ACB.

“All inquiries, investigations and other disciplinary proceedings pending before ACB will get transferred to the Lokayukta. However, all inquiries, investigations, disciplinary proceedings, orders of convictions/acquittals and all other proceedings held by ACB till today are hereby saved and the police wing of Karnataka Lokayukta shall proceed from the stage at which they are pending as on today, in accordance with law,” the bench said in its order.

Stating that it was “high time” the state government strengthened the institution of Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta and got back their “glory”, the court observed that the institution of Lokayukta has been reduced to being “paper tigers” by the March 14, 2016 executive order to transfer police powers to ACB.

The order for abolishing the ACB relates to cases filed in 2016 by the Advocates Association of Bengaluru, the Samaj Parivartana Samudaya, and advocate Chidananda Urs over Lokayukta powers being given to ACB.

The high court had stated that “there was no necessity for the state government to constitute ACB parallel to the institution of Lokayukta, that too when a person to be appointed as Lokayukta shall be a person who has held the office of a judge of Supreme Court, or that of the Chief Justice of a high court, or a person who has held the office of a judge of a high court for not less than ten years; and a person to be appointed a Upa-Lokayukta shall be a person who has held the office of a judge of a high court for not less than five years.”

The high court acknowledged that Lokayukta had become a powerful institution and was plagued by internal corruption but observed that the solution to the problem was in cleaning the institution and not withdrawing its powers to probe.




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Latest Updates: Deepak Mundi sent to 7-day police remand in Sidhu Moosewala case

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THE TIMES OF INDIA | Sep 11, 2022, 10:55:02 IST

Daily City News Updates

Union home and cooperation minister Amit Shah will take part in a cooperative conference in Gujarat’s Amreli district on Sunday and unveil a 16-feet tall statue of Lord Hanuman in Somnath town. Stay with TOI for all the latest updates:Read Less




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