VAT on Education

first_imgDear Editor,One would have expected the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) to have been more proactive than just voicing their concerns a few times in the media. The GTU have a few thousand teachers who are financial members, and they have easy access to parents. Recently, we saw School of the Nations, a private school, collecting approximately 14,000 signatures. Just imagine: ONE school can collect that many signatures, but the GTU, which have the ability to collect approximately ten times that amount in just one or two weeks, have been almost silent on the matter. Is the GTU afraid to use the masses at their disposal, or are they living in a small box?Each school receives an Annual Grant (Money) from the Government each year. This grant varies according to the level of schools (Nursery, Primary and Secondary), and also according to the grade of schools (Grade A, Grade B, etc). For example, a Nursery School gets $ 131,000; a Grade C Primary School (Chateau Margot) gets 0,000; and a Grade A Secondary School (Annandale and Hope) gets 0,000. This grant is used to purchase stationery, cleaning supplies, and a few other items that the school needs. The grant given cannot meet the full demands of the school, therefore the PTA always has to assist in the best way possible; and those schools which don’t have a strong PTA to support them try to stretch their resources to make ends meet. Teachers are given a few pens, one eraser, one sharpener, one ruler, one or two markers, a few sheets of cardboard, and a few other items of stationery for the entire academic year, September to July (40 weeks). With VAT being chargeable on ALL stationery items, it simply means that 14% of the Grant will go to VAT, and less items will be purchased for the schools and circulated among teachers in schools.If we use the figures mentioned above – which are given as grants – we will have the following results:Nursery Schools will now pay approximately ,340 in VAT, leaving only approximately 2,660 to actually do purchasesPrimary Schools (Grade C) will now pay approximately ,400 in VAT, leaving only approximately 7,600 to actually do purchasesSecondary Schools (Grade A) will now pay approximately ,400 in VAT, leaving only approximately 9,600 to actually do purchases.Therefore, it’s either the PTA, which is funded by parents, who have to carry this huge burden; or teachers have to dive into their pockets to purchase more stationery items for themselves. It’s no secret that teachers also serve in the capacity as parents; therefore, the ‘Small Basket’ in which they are carrying their hard earned salaries will be almost empty before it reaches home to purchase food for their families. They, too, have to pay VAT on water, electricity and telephone services. They also have to find money to purchase new tyres for their vehicles; pay the increase on fitness and revenue licences for vehicles; pay the increase on gasoline, etc. Also, since the APNU/AFC Administration took office, teachers have not received their clothing allowances for two consecutive years thus far, 2016 and 2017 – a total of ,000 (,000 per year).I am making a public call to the GTU to start a petition against this unthinking Government, to have VAT removed totally from Education. Teachers need representation for their monthly dues. GTU should plan a nationwide protest and/or strike, since this is a national concern.Sincerely,Suresh SinghYoung educatorlast_img read more

Local government and you

first_imgDear Editor,The Government Information Agency article of January 23, 2017, titled ‘Consultations on regional flags should conclude by April’, reported on the Communities Ministry’s approach to move ahead with their renaming of the 10 administrative regions and the concurrent identification of proposed regional flags and emblems as a part of the Government’s efforts to foster regional empowerment and pride. The responsible Minister, Ronald Bulkan, seems caught in a time warp as he attempts to advance his Government’s foundationless and myopic vision for progress and development. In so doing, he utilised the occasion of the inaugural meeting of the National Regional Development Consultative Committee (NRDCC) to present specimens and discusses how to move forward with the designs of the flags and emblems. Of note, it was previously highlighted that this shadow organisation which is touted to meet once annually according to the press release is meaningless.It is also recalled that this meeting which was held at the Marriott Hotel on January 20, 2017, had sparse representation by many Regional Democratic Councils (RDC), mainly due to the delayed invitations dispatched a mere few hours before, to many People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) won Councils. Notwithstanding, it was noted by Minister Bulkan that the parliamentary Opposition has opposed these efforts, and that his Administration will not be deterred.The Regional Executive Officers were used to sell the idea of regional identity, a plan which from the inception, did not find favour with the Regional Chairmen of at least seven of the 10 regions. In particular, the Chairmen of regions won by the PPP who in no uncertain terms, rejected the proposals put forward by the Regional Executive Officers and the Communities Ministry to rename regions and introduce regional flags.The PPP/C supported their Chairmen’s position and agreed that there is no need for regional flags. The PPP’s contention is clear and logical in that the Golden Arrowhead is the National Flag for all Guyana and the laws make way to respect the National Flag and no other flags to represent separate regions of this country.Further, the changes to names of regions are likely to have individual and collective costs, the resources for which could be otherwise meaningfully utilised developmentally as well as leading to other significant implications. Among these a few are highlighted as follow:1. The Regional Chairmen are the heads of the regions and not any Mayor and Regional Executive Officers, thus the need to respect their decisions. However, the coalition Government through its Communities Ministry has shown no respect for the Constitution or any other laws or By-laws of this country; so they continue to defy the legality of the authority that be and embark on doing whatever they feel like doing.2. The consultation exercise to convince the residents of the need for regional flags and the renaming of the regions are poorly attended by a few selected ‘Yes’ persons who are supporters of the Government. Thus, the consultations are not broad based and are non-informative on the true reasons for the flag and renaming exercises. It’s more of a directive than a consultation.3. The ideas of changing the names of the region can only be classified as a waste of time and money and ignorance of the regions, to the highest extent. An administrative region is named through its boundaries which simply indicate its geographical location, simple and informative like that. Region Three, for example, is Essequibo Islands- West Demerara, so one definitely knows where that region begins and ends geographically, without having to research its location. So what could be simpler?4. The change of names of regions will have significant implications for legal and regulatory institutions which would have to update records along which hundreds of thousands of local and Diaspora taxpayers who would be required to find time and monies to update registrations, certificates, titles etc.,Will the replacement TIN certificates be provided free of cost and will GRA have the resources to dedicate to this sub-optimal process?5. It is not surprising that under the current leadership, not a word on the issue has been mentioned by the Guyana Elections Commission. It is critical however that GECOM would have to consider the impact on the Register of Registrants as the entire local government system regarding mandatory review and modification of addresses for names in accordance with the Local Democratic Organs, Chapter 28:09 would certainly be affected. The cost for re-naming and changing letter-Heads and the numerous other changes such as billboards will be very costly. Further, the students in schools will have to learn and know the changes in preparation for their examinations in school. The numerous changes that will follow will be too much for our people. The Minister Bulkan must appoint the Local Government Commission now.Sincerely,Neil Kumarlast_img read more

Woeful December cost us title: Villas-Boas

first_imgVillas-Boas’s side sank to a 3-1 loss to Aston Villa – their third home league defeat of the season – extending their recent run to four games without a win.The defeat meant they were unable to take advantage of Manchester United’s defeat to Blackburn Rovers and Tottenham Hotspur’s failure to beat Swansea City, and allowed Arsenal to leapfrog them into fourth place.Villas-Boas – whose side face Wolves on January 2 – said it was frustrating that his side had not been able to pick up points in a month when other title contenders had been dropping them.“It’s disappointing on the fact that, in the last three fixtures, all the top teams have dropped points.“We spoke about how December could have been decisive in the running of the league.“From what is happening now, Arsenal made the most of a good December. Liverpool, too, in some way. The rest of the teams have struggled.“All of them dropped points, but we couldn’t make the most of it. It’s difficult for us to be in perspective for league contention this year.”Villas-Boas, who was brought to the club at great expense by billionaire owner Roman Abramovich after a successful season with Porto, said that there were no hard luck stories regarding his side.“There is no running away with excuses. What we regret more is that, from the last four games, we’ve lost a big opportunity to shorten the distance to the leaders.“Massive opportunities lost. We would have been running for the title if we’d had a better December.“I don’t think the title is realistic. Our reality is a fourth place finish, but that is not good enough.”The 34-year-old, who began his coaching career with a year with the British Virgin Islands, said he could not comment on his future.“Ask that question to the owner, but I have no other information on the contract.”Didier Drogba put Chelsea ahead with a first half penalty, his 150th goal for the club.The striker celebrated by saluting all four stands, prompting suggestions he was saying goodbye before the January transfer window opens.But Villas-Boas believes the striker was simply bidding farewell ahead of the African Cup of Nations – although the manager hopes to persuade the Ivory Coast FA to allow the player to face Portsmouth in next weekend’s FA Cup tie.Stephen Ireland levelled for Villa before Stiliyan Petrov and Darren Bent secured the win with two late goals.Ireland had been spoken to by manager Alex McLeish after a picture was posted on Twitter of the midfielder apparently smoking a shisha pipe and drinking a large glass of wine.But McLeish was delighted with the player’s reaction.“He must have caught everybody’s eye today. He was excellent.“I asked him to be an enforcer in midfield – closing down, harrying and pressing. He did it really well against Arsenal and did it extremely well for the whole game today.“His reading of the game was reminiscent of his Manchester City form. He’s got to take that forward. That’s got to be the standard every game.“It’s his head. Sometimes you don’t have the confidence. Marc Albrighton struggled with confidence for the first few weeks of the season, but it can turn like that.”McLeish has come in for criticism this season but admitted the win at Stamford Bridge was his best day as Villa manager.“It’s my most satisfying day so far, but I’m hoping there are many more to come.“I’m a guy who perseveres, who gets back up after being knocked down pretty regularly. I’d like to maintain some stability in the club into the new year.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000LONDON, England, January 1 – Andre Villas-Boas admits Chelsea’s poor form in December has cost them any chance of winning the Premier League title race.But the manager remains confident his position is not under threat despite his admission that his side’s performances have fallen well short of expectations.last_img read more

The goats are back in town

first_imgConrad Lindbloom and his goats from Beaverlodge, Alberta, will work with a team of working dogs and herdspersons and spend approximately 10 days to get rid of two large infestations of Dalmatian toadflax. Elaine Armagost, Invasive Plant Program Manager, says the weed has a beautiful yellow flower, but it can produce up to 500,000 seeds each year, which can lay dormant in the soil for up to a decade. Hand pulling or herbicides are not an option due to the size of the infestation and the steep slopes of the banks. Dalmation toadflax was first seen in the area back in 1991. – Advertisement –last_img

A Tradition of Service

first_imgFor sheriff’s deputy Rebecca Basnett, spending a sweaty day stacking planks and pulling carts loaded with ladders proves that law enforcement officials want to make a positive difference. “We’re always seen as the bad guys, so it’s important that people see that we really do care about the communities we serve and want to make them better places,” Basnett said. “We’d rather get real waves when we drive by, rather than the one-finger wave.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Megan Bagdonas STAFF WRITER Sheriff’s deputies left their patrol cars, ticket books and handcuffs behind Thursday as they pitched in to help Habitat for Humanity at a Carson warehouse. “We thought this would be a good way to show that we care about the community beyond just driving around and seeing people at their worst,” said sheriff’s deputy Robert Alexander. “You know, we usually go out on a search warrant and have to tear up a house. Well, here we are helping build houses.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.The Habitat for Humanity Jimmy Carter Work Project will build or refurbish 100 homes throughout Los Angeles at the end of this month. Sporting work gloves instead of badges, the deputies spent the day loading 5-gallon paint buckets, cement bags and wooden planks into portable storage bins that will be transported to Habitat’s various build sites. “We’ve got to get all these (containers) loaded and out of here by Tuesday,” said Habitat volunteer John Jasso. “We’ve got 35 job sites and we were worried about how we were going to get all this stuff loaded, but now it looks like we’re going to be able to do it all in one day.” The Habitat for Humanity project is expected to draw more than 7,000 volunteers to Los Angeles for the labor-intensive five-day build. And while the media blitz begins on Oct. 29, when the former president and celebrities show up to hammer nails and pose doing good works, the unglamorous preparation is just as important. “This is what makes sure the build can happen,” said Billy Gifford, who is overseeing the 16 Habitat for Humanity homes being built in San Pedro. last_img read more


first_imgAs the election campaign gets into full swing in Donegal North East for what is the most important election for many years Letterkenny Chamber has invited candidates to join in a debate with members of the business community. The economy is front and centre in this election and this event taking place on 18th February, just a week before the election, gives an opportunity to the candidates to let their constituents know how they stand on the issues that are important to them. Chamber President Patrick McGinley said he in encouraging people to attend said “we decided to invite all the candidates running in Donegal NE so that the Chamber members and others could hear at first hand why they should give them their vote.“This election comes at a time when businesses and their employees are feeling the full effects of the spending cuts, tax increases and lack of credit. “It is important that we open this debate to examine how those elected from this area will deliver for Donegal.“We have consistently called for balanced regional development and more than ever we need to have our voice heard. We know that whoever goes forward to lead the country has to deal with a major deficit however the business community wants strong leadership, confidence and clarity on the way forward. “We hope this debate will enable us to understand what the policies and manifestos of the parties and candidates really mean and will allow the business community to clearly articulate their issues back to those who will represent us in the Dáil”.The debate, which takes place at 11am in the Station House Hotel on Friday 18th February, will be chaired independently and some time will be available for questions from the floor. Places can be booked by contacting Letterkenny Chamber on 074 9124866 or email . EndsLETTERKENNY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CHALLENGE CANDIDATES TO ELECTION DEBATE was last modified: February 9th, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Marouane Fellaini and Robert Huth both handed three-game bans for clash

first_img1 Marouane Fellaini and Robert Huth clashed in Sunday’s 1-1 draw Marouane Fellaini and Robert Huth have both been banned for three matches for violent conduct.The pair were charged by the Football Association following their off-the-ball clash in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Leicester on Sunday.Huth was caught by TV cameras pulling Fellaini’s hair, with the United midfielder responding by swinging an elbow into Huth’s neck.An FA statement said: “Both players accepted the charge, however, Huth contested that the standard penalty of a three-match suspension would be ‘clearly excessive’.“This claim, however, was rejected following an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today.”The incident was not seen by the match officials but a panel of former referees agreed both offences warranted red cards.Huth will miss Leicester’s game against Everton on Saturday, when they will be presented with the Premier League trophy, and their final match against Chelsea as well as next season’s league opener.Fellaini, meanwhile, must sit out United’s last three Premier League games but will be available for the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace.last_img read more

Bermudez bill would remove Nelles from state’s list of sites for sale

first_img 165Let’s talk business.Catch up on the business news closest to you with our daily newsletter. Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – Whittier-area state Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez has introduced a bill that would take the former Fred C. Nelles Youth Correctional Facility in Whittier off a list of sites to be sold by the state and earmark the 73.5-acre property for a future prison or a training facility. That proposal, if approved by the full Legislature and signed by the governor, would clash with Whittier city officials’ plans for the former juvenile prison. Local officials want a mixed-use development of housing and retail stores to go up where the youth prison used to be.last_img

Sligo hurlers lose out narrowly in Birmingham

first_imgSligo lost by a point, 3-9 to 3-8, to Warwickshire in the opening game of this year’s Allianz National Hurling LeagueThe Yeats men were minus a number of players for the trip to England, but started brightly and led by 3-4 to 2-2 after playing with the wind in the opening half.Michael Gilmartin, Sean O’Connor and Eoin McDonagh got the Sligo goals.But the home side battled back in the second period, and finished strongly to edge out a tiring Sligo team.last_img

Is “Bohemian Rhapsody” The Best Sing-Along Car Song?

first_imgHere’s the Top 10 . . . Twenty-six years after it came out, “Wayne’s World” remains a global influencer.  According to a poll by Britain’s Automobile Association, “Bohemian Rhapsody” by QUEEN is the Best Sing-Along Car Song. 1.  “Bohemian Rhapsody”, Queen2.  “Livin’ on a Prayer”, Bon Jovi3.  “Sweet Caroline”, Neil Diamond4.  “Dancing Queen”, ABBA5.  “Don’t Stop Believin’”, Journey6.  “I Will Survive”, Gloria Gaynor7.  “Wonderwall”, Oasis8.  “Hotel California”, The Eagles9.  “Hey Jude”, The Beatles10.  “Eye of the Tiger”, Survivorlast_img