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No rest for Paul Desiderio on cusp of PBA dream

first_imgNo.13 lucky for Orlando Bloom PBA IMAGESMANILA, Philippines—Paul Desiderio is still in his celebratory mood.The captain, who led University of the Philippines to its first UAAP basketball Finals appearance in 32 years had his first taste of PBA action when he participated in the first day of the PBA Draft Combine Wednesday at Gatorade Hoops Center.ADVERTISEMENT UP finished the eliminations as the third seed with an 8-6 record and fought its way to its first championship series since winning the title in 1986.Desiderio said there’s some pressure especially after he led the Fighting Maroons to the finals as their emotional leader, but it also gave him the stock to become a potential first rounder.“Of course there’s some pressure because I was fresh off the UAAP Finals,” said Desiderio who, along with UP teammate Diego Dario, are the only two applicants of the 47 that applied straight out of college. “The UP community expects much out of us, but I’m just euphoric I’m in this level.”“The finals were really a big help to my stock because if we weren’t in the finals I wouldn’t be even known at this kind of level.”ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew MOST READ Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Desiderio, who’s always maintained a happy-go-lucky attitude outside the court, was still brandishing a wide smile and he said he’s still on a high after the Fighting Maroons featured in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball finals.“I think I haven’t rested one bit,” said Desiderio in Filipino. “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, I have no choice but to do this so I can achieve my dream of playing in the PBA.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissDesiderio’s Fighting Maroons got swept in the championship round with Ateneo taking its 10th title in two games.Despite the loss in the lone finals, and Final Four, of his collegiate career, Desiderio said he wouldn’t be in his position if not for the inspiring run UP had in Season 81. A look at the unbeaten and the winless in college basketball ‘Mia’: Rom-com with a cause a career-boosting showcase for Coleen Garcia After winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

LOOK: Manny Pacquiao rings in new year with 10 rounds of mitts, roadwork

first_imgLights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Phivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption Pacquiao and Roach parted ways before the Filipino’s fight against Lucas Matthysse in July of 2018 with long-time friend Buboy Fernandez, who’s been a veteran corner man for the American, becoming the fighter’s head trainer.Roach, however, is now back in the Pacquiao camp as a consultant.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissManny Pacquiao takes on the hills at Griffith Park. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOPacquiao (60-7-2) also did roadwork at Griffith Park where he drew a crowd to watch his workout. He posed for photos with fans afterward.The fight will be Pacquiao’s first title defense of the WBA belt after his technical knockout win over Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur. LATEST STORIES Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony PLAY LIST 00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony00:50Trending Articles02:11SEA GAMES 2019: PH’s Nesthy Petecio boxing featherweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil View comments Manny Pacquiao works the mitts with training consultant Freddie Roach. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOMANILA, Philippines—Manny Pacquiao continued working with former head trainer Freddie Roach as he prepares to defend his WBA World welterweight title against Adrien Broner.Roach worked the mitts with Pacquiao for 10 rounds on Monday (Los Angeles time) at Wild Card Gym, the Filipino’s former stomping grounds where he built his legacy as an all-time great.ADVERTISEMENT Pacers’ Myles Turner breaks nose in win over Hawks Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plumcenter_img No.13 lucky for Orlando Bloom Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college MOST READ After winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folk Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘Mia’: Rom-com with a cause a career-boosting showcase for Coleen Garcia Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

Campbell Wins African Oscar for Somewhere in Baltimore Screenplay

first_imgAndrew Campbell was born and raised in Eau Claire, and never in a million years would he have guessed one day he’d be accepting an African Oscar for his work as a screenwriter.Campbell began writing his screenplay “Somewhere in Baltimore” around 2005 or 2006 — and in 2012 it had been turned into a film that was nominated for several African Oscars. Campbell won for best screenplay.“This screenplay turned out to be much more successful than I ever thought it would be,” Campbell said, who now lives outside Philadelphia. “It turned out to be a film, and I am very pleased with how it all came together.”The film is about a young boy who is planning to spend the summer with his grandmother, but the night before he is set to leave, his parents are murdered by robbers. Orphaned, the young boy needs to move in with his grandmother permanently.The boy is teased from the minute he moves away from his parents’ home and ends up isolating himself from everyone besides his grandmother. His grandmother is his only real friend, but she dies while the boy is in high school.The film follows the boy’s struggles of being isolated, teased and misunderstood from the moment his life is turned upside down. And Campbell’s story can all be tied to his time growing up in Eau Claire.“I knew someone growing up in Eau Claire who lived with his grandmother,” Campbell said. “His grandmother had this weird thing where she never left the house, but I was friends with her grandson. I watched how people judged and misunderstood this old lady, when in reality she was the nicest person. That was kind of what I was thinking about as I originally sat down to write the screenplay.”Originally, Campbell had intended the story to be set somewhere in the Midwest — most likely Kansas — during the 1920s. But when the film was picked up by a Nollywood studio — a growing market in Africa than can be compared to Hollywood or Bollywood — it was decided to set the story in the present day in Philadelphia and Baltimore.Campbell was nervous with the change in direction of the film, as he wasn’t sure how his story would translate from apredominately white town in Kansas to more of an urban, modern-day setting on the East Coast. But in the end, Campbell was pleased with the outcome.“Making it set in the modern day in an urban setting was about as far of a change as possible from my original idea,” Campbell said. “But it became much more successful than I ever thought. People are constantly telling me that the grandmother in the film reminds them of their own grandmother or someone else they know.“It’s weird being from Eau Claire and still being able to create a believable character in a culture that’s completely opposite of the one I grew up in.”The film was produced by Campbell’s wife, Aletha Jones-Campbell. Jones-Campbell, who is from Liberia, became the first female to win the Liberian Entertainment Award for best movie of the year for her production.Campbell is currently writing another screenplay, which is untitled. He believes his new screenplay has a lot more opportunity for success now that he has put himself on the map with “Somewhere in Baltimore.”“This has been such a weird and unexpected experience,” Campbell said. “My biggest goal for all of this is that I can turn screenwriting from a part-time job to a full-time gig. But I am happy with what I’ve accomplished so far.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Mercury Liberia Terminates Employees’ Contracts over Ebola Fears

first_imgTension brewed on Thursday, August 14, at the Randall Street office of Mercury-Liberia after employees stormed the company’s offices in demand of their salaries.They were demanding that the company settle their arrears, when executives announced that their contracts had been terminated due to the rapid spread of the Ebola virus in the country.Mercury-Liberia is the operator of the Premier Sports Betting Games in Liberia.The employees in an interview with the Daily Observer described the termination of their contract as “illegal” and called on government to hold the company responsible to pay them off.The employees through their spokesperson, Barnabas S. Nagbe, explained they were shocked to hear from the company’s management about the termination of their contract. “They told us in the meeting that they were suspending their activities in the country, due to the outbreak of the Ebola virus,” Nagbe said, quoting the company’s management.“Because of that they wrote and informed us that they have agreed to terminate the contract we have with them,” he narrated.“We know about the Ebola outbreak in the country; but, if they are terminating our contact, then they need to pay us for the remaining months. We signed a one-year contract with the company; and if they are terminating the contract, they need to pay us,” Nagbe further explained.He called on the national government to intervene and have the company settle their arrears.However, the communication of termination of contract, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer reads: “Following calls from the Liberian authorities restricting large gatherings of people in response to the Ebola virus, which is affecting many Liberians, we at Mercury-Liberia, wish to take our responsibilities seriously and are deeply committed in helping in the national efforts.“Therefore, from Wednesday August 13, we have taken the decision to close gaming centers in line with government advice.“All of our lotto games and sports betting games will be temporarily closed to protect all of you and us and for the company to play its part in helping stop the spread of the Ebola virus.“Sadly, this means, in line with your contract, we have to give you one month advance to terminate your contract with effect from Wednesday, August 13.”In conclusion, the communication said, “You will be paid one month salary for August and half of your salary for September, taking you up to the 13th of September.“You will not be required working for this period, but will continue to be paid until September 13, in line with Liberian laws.”When the management of Mercury-Liberia was contacted through mobile phone, they could not deny nor confirm the communication.Instead, they told our reporter that they would issue a response in due course.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Take Advantage of Saving Clubs’

first_imgThe founder and president of the People United for Progress Saving Club (PUPSC), Lewis S.W. Pyne Sr., has urged small business operators in the country to take advantage of saving clubs, explaining that such clubs would help improve their livelihood. He said that it is easier to receive loans from a club than a bank.The purpose of a saving club is to empower low income earners, Mr. Payne said, helping them to save a small portion of their income; so that at the end of the year they can realize just how much they have saved.Speaking on creating shares in the club to enable members have their own capital stock from the sales of the shares they receive, the PUPSC president said that such shares could be used for the importation and exportation of commodities.He said the club is about to train and teach PUPSAC members on how to manage their funds wisely, in order to expand and improve their respective businesses.“Currently, the club has 375 members and by 2015 we will be able to establish four branches across Monrovia, including a few others at Day Break Mouth Open, Barnesville, Caldwell, Red Light and Duala repectively.”     “We started as a yearly Susu Club and now we have over three branches in Montserrado County already,” Mr. Pyne said.Susu Clubs are a traditional form of banking system widely used in Liberia and mostly by low-income earners, many of whom run small and medium size businesses.The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) is now asking the PUPSC to improve its status and develop into a combination that include several other banking entities, after which the PUPSC will become a registered entity entitled to benefits from the CBL, Mr. Payne said.Speaking also at the ceremony was PUPSC controller, Deacon Isaiah G. Martin, who says that the club is giving out quarterly loans, in order to empower young Liberian entrepreneurs. Borrowers are, however, required to pay back the money in three months, with a very minimal interest rate, he said.Deacon Martin stated that if the country is to develop, everyone Liberian must get prepared for change.The People United for Progress Saving Club, which was established in August 2004, is located in Clara Town, a suburb of Monrovia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

PPP’s fears of PNC planning to rig the 2020 elections are not far-fetched

first_imgDear Editor,The PNC invented rigging and stayed in power through rigging for 28 years when Guyana became pauperised and our people were scattered everywhere in search of a better life. Riggeritis is in the PNC’s DNA. You cannot get it out. As Granger said, they were “born to rule” which they think means stomp on the Constitution, bully your way through, stay in power, and don’t give up even if defeated.The PNC has the means to rig. They control the Secretariat and staff at GECOM who seem to be actors in the PNC Playbook. They even seem to have some influence on the new GECOM Chair.The Ethnic Relations Commission said GECOM discriminated against former Deputy Elections Officer Vishnu Persaud, who was more qualified than the person selected for the vacancy. Patterson refused to provide details on diversity of employees at GECOM. No action has been taken on the fraud investigation at GECOM.Additionally, the field staff across the country are all mostly of one ethnicity, controlling the regional and local offices, and Election Day apparatus and process. The polling places will be guarded largely by people of the same ethnicity as the polling staff. So things can happen.In previous elections, at some polling stations, the PPP did not field any scrutineers. They must not make that mistake again and should plan well to have those stations covered. In the event that any of the new paper parties mushrooming up can find scrutineers, the Opposition parties should have a working agreement to make sure all polling places are covered by scrutineers and observers.Usually, logistical problems crop up on Election Day, such as a party’s representative being prevented from observing the poll, and it requires a GECOM top official to resolve the problem. If that official does not answer the phone and is not available, the problem cannot be solved, and things can happen during that wait time. The PPP needs to have a plan if the GECOM top man decides to check himself into the hospital for heart problems on Election Day. PPP must ask for several Secretariat people to be available to deal with Election Day problems.At this point, it seems as if the tail is wagging the dog. Why is the GECOM Chair so silent? Why is it that the Commissioners are the ones talking to the press and the people do not know if they are speaking for GECOM or they are giving their own opinions? Is Alexander the de-facto Chair as he runs his mouth all the time pronouncing on things? To date, I feel Justice Singh has let down the nation. We cannot afford to have another rigged election. And we know, when the PNC loses in 2020, they will not leave peacefully and decently. Granger, under great delusion, still goes around saying their defeated Government is still a constitutional Government. That must be part of his “born to rule” philosophy.Sincerely,Jerry Singhlast_img read more

DNA results ready for murdered British teen

first_img– 3 murder  accused granted bailClose to two months after several samples from the decomposed body of murdered British teen Dominic Bernard were sent to neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago for DNA testing, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum said the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has been informed that they are now ready for pick-up.British teen Dominic BernardThe Head of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) further related to Guyana Times on Tuesday that arrangements were currently being made to have the officer who took the samples for testing uplift the results. “We are hoping to get it (report) within the next few days,” Blanhum stated.In February, samples taken from the body believed to be that of the missing British teenager were sent to the twin-island republic to confirm the identity of the body, which was found in a shallow grave at Alness Village, Corentyne, Berbice, the previous month.The 18-year-old Bernard came to Guyana late last year to spend some time with his Godbrother Aaron Hing of Kildonan village, Corentyne. However, he mysteriously vanished and his body was found three months later, a few villages from where he was expected to spend his time.After the teen had been reported missing by his father in January, local Police launched an investigation which led to the arrest of Hing and his friend, Staymon George. The duo subsequently confessed to beating and burying the young man.They reportedly took some £2000 and the teen’s camera and video making equipment, some of which they allegedly sold while they disposed of others.They later admitted that they had collected the teen from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport on October 14, 2015 and on their way to Berbice, they stopped along Sheriff Street where they ate and drank a few beers.As investigations continued, the Police arrested Jameel Sinclair who subsequently took law enforcement officials to an area behind Nurney Village and pointed out where he buried the teen’s camera and its components. Sinclair admitted that he was promised payment to hide the teen’s belongings on the night he was fatally beaten.Shortly after, the Guyana Police Force charged Hing, 22; George, 23; Krystal Thomas, 20; Sinfinee Henry, 39, and Sinclair, 20, for the murder. They were remanded to prison on the indictable charge.However, on Tuesday, Thomas, Henry and Sinclair were granted bail by the High Court after an application was filed on their behalf. The petition was heard and granted by Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry at the Demerara High Court. Bail was granted in the sum of $300,000 each on the condition that they report to the Whim Police Station every two weeks, beginning this Friday if bail is paid.last_img read more

Sibling rivalry lands brothers in court

first_imgTwo brothers were on Wednesday cross charged with assault and abusive language when they appeared before Magistrate Alex Moore at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.Joshua Ferreira and Compton Ferreira both pleaded not guilty to the offences, which alleged that on June 20, at David Street, Kitty, Georgetown, they assaulted each other with intent to cause actual bodily harm. It is also alleged that on the same day at the same location, they used abusive language towards each other.According to the prosecution’s case, the two brothers were arguing over a bucket of water after which a fight ensued. Joshua Ferreira while attempting to defend himself took up a knife and threatened his brother, the Prosecution contended.Magistrate Moore ordered a probation officer to examine the matter after which she will report her findings to the court.The men were both placed on self bail and will return to court on June 30.last_img read more

Cabinet “throwing Norton under the bus” – fmr President

first_imgOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is charging there is massive and entrenched corruption by the incumbent Administration with regard to the Sussex Street, Albouystown, Georgetown property it has decided to rent from Larry Singh’s Linden Holding Inc.Jagdeo made the pronouncements on Wednesday when he met with members of the local media corps for a press briefing at his Party’s Freedom House Headquarters.Public Health Minister, Dr George NortonThe former President told media operatives that there was more than met the eye with the $12.5 million monthly rental agreement for the property to be used for the storage of Government’s drugs and medical supplies.Linden Holding Inc has its registered office in Middle Street, Georgetown, in the same building that housed the Sidewalk Café which is owned by Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes and its bond is located at Lot 69 Sussex Street.Jagdeo told media operatives that the entire sordid affair went beyond Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton, who is essentially now being thrown under the proverbial bus.“Find out about the people who have been frequenting this place in Middle Street…You will find how deep the connections run,” he said.Jagdeo was adamant that Minister Norton was in fact directed to do what he did, but nonetheless he would not escape, since the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) was committed to having him placed before the Committee of Privileges, since he lied to the members of the National Assembly.Cover-up committeeThe Opposition Leader was also highly critical of the Cabinet Sub-Committee that has been set up by Head of State David Granger to investigate the sordid affair.According to the former President now Opposition Leader, the PPP/C was open to giving the Committee a fair chance to see what it would have come up with following its investigations, but the Party was now of the view that it was merely a “cover-up committee”.Jagdeo said while the Opposition “thought it would not be really objective, but we were prepared to give them a chance”.That Committee was chaired by Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman.Jagdeo in giving his initial assessment of the findings of the report of the Committee queried when the Natural Resources Minister—an Attorney-at-Law – become a specialist in assessing the standards required by the World Health Organisation and the Pan American Health Organisation (WHO/PAHO) for the storage of drugs and medical supplies.The Opposition Leader has lamented the public position adumbrated by Trotman that the building did in fact meet WHO/PAHO standards and pointed out that at the time of Minister Trotman’s visit, the facility had still been under renovation.He pointed to the fact that the ‘cover-up committee’ said in its recommendations that Larry Singh’s company should be given a year to rake in $150 million if Government were to terminate the contract.This, he said, results in a situation where Larry Singh’s Company bought a building for $25 million and would be paid $150 million per year in rental and the drugs would not be stored properly.“This is a cover up by the Cabinet, huge cover-up by the Cabinet; they are all involved…,” said Jagdeo.Deep connectionsHe threw out a challenge to the media representatives present, saying, find out about the people who have been frequenting this place in Middle Street and you will find how deep the connections run into the Cabinet”.The Opposition Leader said the contract that has been entered into between the Public Health Ministry and Linden Holding Inc, “is not about Norton…Norton was directed to initiate that”.Jagdeo observed too that Government spokespersons to date were yet to tell the nation how Dr Norton knew about the availability of the Sussex Street bond.“They haven’t answered that question, but Norton was directed by members of that Cabinet to negotiate this deal with this individual (Larry Singh) and they all knew about it when it went to the Parliament,” the Opposition Leader claimed.He recalled that Prime Minister Nagamootoo, “said to me it was fully debated at the Cabinet”.On the matter of the promised public apology on the part of the Public Health Minister, Jagdeo asked “if this Cabinet debated that issue, why must Norton apologise”?The former President was referring to another of the recommendations coming out of the Cabinet Sub-Committee that Minister Norton make a public apology over the misleading statements he made to members of the National Assembly.The Opposition Leader was firm in his supposition that “they are throwing Norton under the bus”.The brouhaha came to the fore when the National Assembly scrutinised the advances made from the Contingency Fund to meet unforeseen expenditures and found that $25 million in a security deposit had been fronted to Linden Holding Inc, in addition to $12.5 million for the first month’s rental.It was later discovered that not only did Linden Holding Inc not have any experience in the storage of drugs but that the decision was deliberately taken by Cabinet to sideline the NEW GPC INC which incidentally had been accommodating the storage of drugs and medical supplies purchased from it by Government – free of cost.NEW GPC had taken a decision to request a rental fee from Government since it ended its arrangement with the local drugs manufacturer.NEW GPC’s asking price was calculated to be $237 per square foot in a state-of-the-art facility while Government opted instead to pay in excess of $1200 per square foot for a substandard facility under questionable circumstances.last_img read more

Will take a while to trickle down to ‘man in the street’ – Business…

first_imgMinister of Business, Dominic Gaskin at a press conference on FridayA reduction in Guyana’s underground business has led in part to reduced spending in the local economy but the recent ‘final offer’ of one – ten per cent for public servants will in fact serve to boost spending power of ordinary Guyanese and this, coupled with a bounce back in the national economic performance, will soon lead to greater economic prospects for the nation.These were among the notions raised on Friday by Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, who believes that Government has managed to stabilise the nation’s economic decline and has in fact suggested that the projected growth rate for 2016 will be realised — despite only achieving a two per cent growth rate for the first half of the year.Gaskin was at the time addressing a section of the local media corps during the Alliance for Change’s (AFC) resuscitated bi-weekly press engagements to give party perspectives on national issues.Regional contextAccording to the AFC’s Minister of Business in the coalition Government’s Cabinet Council of Ministers, Guyana’s economic performance also has to be viewed in a global and regional context.He pointed to a recent report from Trinidad and Tobago, whose government has recently warned of a possible retrenchment of public sector employees as a result of that country making unsustainable salary increases.Gaskin said too that the AFC also notes the sliding currency value in Suriname, “and the severe shortages being experienced by our Venezuelan brothers and sisters.”The Business Minister pointed too to contractions in the Brazilian economy and suggested that the, “AFC wishes therefore to commend the Minister of Finance (Winston Jordan) on the prudent initiatives implemented thus far and the general overall management of the economy in ensuring that Guyana avoids these stresses.”The Business Minister posited on behalf of the AFC that the Guyana economy has gone through a period of consolidation, which he blamed on lowered commodity prices on the international markets along with Government’s efforts to curtail illicit activities such as narcotics trafficking, smuggling and money laundering. “Our party believes that the reduction in the rate of growth has been stabilised and is optimistic that the targeted growth rate of approximately four per cent for the year 2016 will be achieved,” said Gaskin.The AFC’s Business Minister was however unable to concretely correlate the relationship between the reduced spending power of Guyanese and the reduced illicit acts of narcotics trafficking, smuggling and money laundering, and instead pointed to anecdotal evidence.Speaking on the economic downturn, Gaskin said “we do recognise that there has been a slowdown in spending…What we are saying is notwithstanding that there has been economic growth.”He was adamant there has been no decline in the economy—the economy he said, is still growing albeit at a slower rate.Pressed on the fact that the growth that he insists on has not been reflected in the spending power of the ordinary Guyanese and the local business sector, Gaskin sought to cast blame largely on the lower commodity prices and the economic slowdown that started about two years ago.He pointed to declines in the gold and rice prices, bearing in mind that those two sectors are responsible for a large percentage—some 60 per cent—of the nation’s foreign earnings.“That decline began about two years ago, I think it was compounded last year by the period in which there was no budget and therefore very little government spending in capital works and I think we are now on our way out of that decline but it does take a little while to trickle down to the man in the street.”Informal sectorSpeaking on the issue of spending still not rebounding in part because of the reduction of illicit trades, Gaskin said “it is hard to measure the impact of an informal sector; it’s not a documented trade.”He was adamant that there is some evidence to support the notion that there is in fact a large informal sector operating in Guyana, “some in the narco-trade, some in smuggling, many just not registered formally and because of some of the measures that are being implemented where greater compliance is requested all around and there is a lot more scrutiny, there is less spending in those areas.”According to Gaskin, it cannot be accurately documented, “but certainly, if we note overall that there is less spending, if retailers are saying there is less spending and we know that we have a large informal economy, I think it’s logical to conclude that a lot of that reduction in spending is occurring in the informal sector also.”last_img read more