Mistreatment of Opposition at flag raising ceremony– MPs vent on social mediaAlmost 24 hours after they were left to stand embarrassingly at the flag-raising ceremony to mark Guyana’sOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo expressing his displeasure on Wednesday night at D’Urban Park50th Independence anniversary Wednesday night, the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) are yet to receive an explanation from the Minister responsible for staging the event, Nicolette Henry.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, when contacted on Thursday, said his party has received no response from Henry or any other government official on the issue.Wednesday night opposition MPs walked out of D’Urban Park after they turned up and found that the promised seating arrangements were not available.Jagdeo told Guyana Times his Party had signalled its intention of attending the event, since it wanted to participate in the activities to mark the country’s significant milestone. He said contact was also made with Junior Education Minister Nicolette Henry, who had responsibility for the event, concerning the seating arrangement. He said assurance was given that this was taken care of. In fact, he said she related that there were some 1000 VIP seats.Jagdeo said while himself and a few other senior members of the Party were seated, the majority of party members were left standing, while other persons, many of whom were dressed inappropriately, passed by and were allowed seats. He said he asked Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Basil Williams to address the matter and warned that if it was not, then he would be left with no choice but to leave in solidarity with his colleagues who were left unseated. The group left some 45 minutes after arrivingMeanwhile, several MPs took to social media to vent over the situation.Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall said, “they may deny us seats at the Flag Raising Ceremony. They may refuse to recognize but cannot deny the role which Cheddie Jagan and many other leaders of PPP played in the struggle for Independence from 1943-1966. Not only did we play a leading part in that struggle, but the 23 years (out of 50), after independence, that is from 1992-2015, that we governed this country were the best period of our country’s developmental trajectory. It’s too much to recite here but even detractors, if they want to be credible, will agree.Member of Parliament Priya Manickchand said, “unfortunately, when we got to the event, happy to be there with feelings of deep patriotic pride, the Govt provided no seats for the opposition MPs except for five seats given to the Leader of the Opposition, Sam Hinds and three other MPs. While the rest of us were standing there in the passageway for no less than 25 minutes.”The MP went on to say that, “this shameless and infantile” behaviour was designed to embarrass the Opposition and is unacceptable as it is petty, disrespectful and destructive. “Hey, Executive. You can’t stop us. We are elected office holders. We represent hundreds of thousands of persons. We celebrate Guyana’s Independence,” Manickchand added.Also venting disappointment was former Housing Minister and now shadow Finance Minister Irfaan Ali: “The talk of unity and coming together was all fluff. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected the Government to stoop to this level of disregard and disrespect for the opposition. Despite assuring the opposition that accommodation would be made for Opposition MPs this was not the case. On arrival at the Jubilee Park we were shocked to learn that neither seats nor accommodation was made for us. After standing for almost 30 minutes waiting to be seated whilst numerous persons were seated, the humiliation was enough and as a team we left… The former Presidents and General Secretary left with the MPs in solidarity. This is the unity the President alluded to” Meanwhile, former President Donald Ramotar who also attended the flag raising ceremony and was seated said that he also walked out of the proceedings in support of his colleagues when he heard about the incident, .Efforts to contact Minister Henry on the issue proved futile.
Staring at a scene she had never seen before, the realization of what was happening and about to happen in her life hit her like a blow.”Oh God, I can’t handle this. I want to go home,” Tina Swen mourned.On November 2014, Tina landed on the soil of Liberia after spending19 years of her life in America. Now 20 years-old and in total ignorance to Africa and its culture; Tina knew that her life was now over.According to the tall and athletic basketball player, when she was 14 years of age, she had a friend she had known for a very short period that would change her life forever. Because of that friend she says she has left her comfort zone and now finds herself back in Africa.”I told her that I’d always have her back, so she used me into getting even with old enemies, which led me into doing time and eventually getting sent back,” Tina said, shrugging her shoulders.It seems as if Tina’s memory of her childhood friend still haunts her. You can see the tears catching in the corner of her eyes when she has to recall her story.”She ruined my life eternally. Now I am here in the middle of nowhere, around people I don’t know nor understand,” she says in confusion.Tina spent 10 years in jail for assault, she says; and though she learned her lesson behind bars, she thinks there’s still another lesson to learn.” I spent too much time behind bars to know if I’ve truly changed. The real lesson at hand is being back here in the middle of nowhere. What will I do, who will look out for me; how will I survive,” she asked.A challenge that many deportees face when returning back home is not having stability. Some become so fruastrated with their siuation that they relapse and fall victim to crime, violence and drugs.”I don’t know what’s going to happen to me tomorrow, let alone after this interview is done. When you’re gone and I’m faced with loneliness, I guess I have to do what I gotta do to survive out here,” she suggested.As of now, there aren’t any safe homes for deportees or returnees who return back to Liberia. According to Tina, she was not given any money by Homeland security upon her release at the airport.”I don’t have anything, only a few bar’s of soap, lotion and the clothes I wore to go to court following 10 years of jail term. I’m depending on you to help me find a home cause without you, I’m done; lost,” she said, tears streaming down her face.Meanwhile, Tina says after going through what she has been through in the past 10 years of her life, she has a lot of psychological difficulties.”I was 14 years-old when I went to prison and it was in there that I got raped, turned out and inititated into lesbianism. I left my girl back home who took care of me and even brought me the things that I came back here with,” Tina added, ” People saw me at the airport and called me all kinds of names because of how I look and act. It’s disturbing being out here, I’ll need help to cope with this,” she said.Tina’s future is unclear and knowing how to trace her relatives has become a problem. In 1990 she says, her mother was reported missing after she stopped communicating with her relatives abroad.”When we came to America in the 80s, my mom used to call us all the time, along with my older brother. But around 1990, the calls stopped coming and we never heard from them again,” she said, adding that “…when I got locked up, well, my father turned his back on me because he was scared immagration would deport him because of my behavior.”Tina stands alone, dressed in a pair of baggy jeans, a prison t-shirt and a head full of braided hair, Tina needs help.” I’m looking all around this place hoping that someone will look into my eyes and see the good in me and take me in. For the past week, I’ve been sleeping around the airport in a shed with this old lady. I pay her but this is’nt life. I paid for the crime I committed and did 10 years of my life behind bars. Why am I doing time all over again? Why am I back here?” she wailed.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Veteran pacer Lasith Malinga was sacked as ODI skipper with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Wednesday naming Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne to lead the country at the 50 over World cup in England beginning May 30.The World cup squad will be announced Thursday, SLC said.”Karunaratne’s appointment was ratified by the Minister of Telecommunications, Foreign Employment and Sports Honorable Harin Fernando,” Sri Lanka Cricket said in a release.The 31-year-old Karunaratne, who didn’t play a single ODI since the 2015 World Cup, has only featured in 17 ODIs and averages 15.83 with a high score of 60.He will replace Malinga, who had captained the team during the 0-5 loss to South Africa in the ODI series.Malinga, who led Sri Lanka to a World T20 trophy in 2014, had personal disagreements with the team management and certain senior players, which also soured his stint as captain.Karunaratne, a Test opener, forced himself into the ODI captaincy following his success in the Test arena. He led Sri Lanka to a historic 2-0 Test triumph in South Africa and made Sri Lanka the only Asian side to win a Test series in South Africa.The other option was Angelo Mathews, who has been Sri Lanka’s ODI captain in two separate stints before. But Mathews is said to have declined the offer to captain citing his disagreements with coach Chandika Hathurusinghe.The news will come as a blow for Malinga, who had played a domestic match in Kandy, only 14 hours after playing an IPL match for his franchise Mumbai Indians in Mumbai, earlier this month.advertisementApart from Malinga and Mathews, Sri Lanka had also tried Dinesh Chandimal and Thisara Perera to lead the side at various stages over the past two years since the retirement of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in 2014.The team’s fortune dwindled as it slipped in ICC rankings in all formats since then.Also Read | Scared to bowl against Hardik Pandya at the World Cup: Lasith MalingaAlso Read | ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Pakistan squad to be announced on Thursday with two reservesAlso Read | England leave Jofra Archer out of preliminary 2019 ICC World Cup squad