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– Investment in Berbice Bridge on agendaThe $1.5 billion investment into the Berbice River Bridge by the New Building Society (NBS) is among the thorny issues to be discussed when the Committee of Concerned Members of the Society meets today.The Committee has decided to hold a general meeting of members after discussing developments at the society, including the Bridge investment, the performance for the year 2008 and the Annual General Meeting (AGM).The AGM is fixed for Saturday at the Cotton Tree Primary School,Cheap Manchester City Soccer Jerseys, West Coast Berbice. This is the second time that the AGM has been fixed for a Berbice venue.The Committee, in a press release yesterday, said it has noted with concern that the Annual Report which members will be called upon to approve has not yet been made available.“This is particularly troubling in light of the reported substantial reduction in profits and an exchange loss of more than $200 million,” the Committee stated. It added that the performance of the Society could not be separated from the quality of governance “which is at an unprecedented low level.”The Committee said it believes the Board is taking advantage of its own refusal to be licensed under the Financial Institutions Act, which would have brought some financial discipline to the Society.“The disclosure that the Board proposes to fire the long-serving auditors have added to fears that that Board wishes to operate with as little sunlight as possible, with the most recent and costly example being the purchase of $1.5 billion of bonds in the Berbice River Bridge Company from Clico, the failed insurance company,” the Committee stated.The Committee wants the Bank of Guyana to bring the society under statutory regulations and, towards this end, it has written the Governor of the Central Bank asking for an early meeting to discuss matters of concern to the members.Today’s meeting of the concerned members of the Society is scheduled for the Saint Stanislaus College, Brickdam.Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram, who plans to be at the meeting today, said when financing for the bridge was first sought, the Society was approached by Head of the Privatisation Unit, Mr. Winston Brassington for a $3B investment.In a column posted on his website (chrisram) Ram said independent consultant Raymond Gaskin questioned both the lawfulness and the viability of the investment and it is understood that on a split-decision the board, with Mr. Moen McDoom as Chairman, accepted the advice and rejected the approach but went for $350M, a sum it was “prepared to lose.”Just over one year later, the board with Dr. Nanda Gopaul as Chairman reversed and, according to the financial statements, bought bridge bonds with a face value of $1.5B. Regrettably, Ram stated, the financial statements do not disclose the price paid for those bonds, but it is believed that they were bought at face value. More controversially, he suggests, not only did the board reverse itself, but from all reports it did so by way of round-robin, that is, without a physical meeting of the directors.In his column, Ram also raised the concern about the non-supervision of the Society by the financial regulator, the Bank of Guyana.According to Ram, the Central Bank does not dispute that the Society carries on financial business as defined by the Financial Institutions Act which requires it to have a licence issued by the Bank of Guyana, “yet it has inexplicably failed to enforce this provision.”“Such laxity by the regulator can have serious implications for any financial institution, let alone one that is subject to the control of persons with strong political affiliations and no private sector experience,” Ram charged.He said, without such a licence the Society does not operate within the Act, which among other things provides for single borrowers’ limits to minimise the impact of a failure of a single loan or investment.Ram suggests that even if the Bridge Company investment were lawful, had the law been applied to the Society then it would have been prevented from investing more than approximately $1.2B in the Berbice Bridge.


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…as activities commence to mark World Diabetes DayBy Sharmain GraingerPremised on the notion that knowledge is power coupled with the need to help arrest the evident impact that diabetes could have on a society, the Guyana Diabetic Association was established some four decades ago. At least this is according to First Vice President of the Association, Dr Maxine Swain, who has been a part of the entity since 2002.She revealed during an interview with this publication that the Non-Governmental Organisation has over the years been seeking to expand its reach and fulfil the mandate of offering education to diabetics, potential diabetics, as well as their relatives and friends. “What we have adopted is looking at the wellbeing of our diabetics and their education; once they are educated and understand their condition they are better able to control their diabetes,” said Dr Swain, who has been battling the challenges of the disease herself.She pointed to the fact that no medical person has the ability to control a diabetic,Nike Air Max Sko Dame, but rather, the important thing to do is to teach them self management.Standing from left are: Dr Maxine Swain, Mr Matthew Moore and Ms Stella Ogle. Sitting is Ms Claudette Thorne.“The doctors or the nurses are not with you 24/7…so who controls your diabetes? You do! But how can you do it? You have got to have the knowledge,” she stated categorically.According to Dr Swain, there is currently a need for much more to be done in Guyana to help reduce the scourge of diabetes, which she believes “has been placed on the back burner with the advent of HIV/AIDS. It is not that we stopped having chronic diseases because this is known to take more lives than HIV/AIDS, especially since there is treatment,” she insisted. She explained that although HIV has since been classified as another chronic disease, it is certainly not killing as before, thus allowing for persons to live longer.However with the advancement of age, persons become prone to a number of chronic diseases, which is compounded by the fact that a number of the medications used to control HIV are producing diabetics, Dr Swain disclosed.This was particularly emphasised at a conference in Jamaica a few years ago, which examined HIV and diabetes as a deadly duo, she added. The papers that were presented at that forum showed the disturbing trend that some of the drugs required to suppress HIV are instead provoking diabetes in some people.Reflecting on the past,Basket Jordan Junior Pas Cher, Dr Swain mused over the fact that the disease was considered an old people affliction,Basket Adidas Pas Cher Destockage, but has since evolved to an extent that even teenagers are suffering from Type Two diseases. Though Type two is more prevalent – since some persons are unable to produce insulin –  it is linked to lifestyle implications which are further impacted as individuals become older. “We over-eat, we sit down all day, we do little or no exercise and the foods we eat are allowing for people to become obese.”She revealed that at the moment there are 366 million people worldwide suffering from diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).  Of this total, 186 million are unaware, Dr Swain informed.  This daunting state of affairs, she added, has prompted some troubling predictions. According to her, should nothing be done to remedy the situation, projected estimates made by IDF suggest that some 552 million people will be living with diabetes by 2030.It is with this in mind that the Association is preparing to observe World Diabetic Day come Wednesday (November 14) under the global theme ‘Diabetes education and prevention ’. Moreover, the Association is set to commence a week of activities to raise awareness about the need for education on the issue of diabetes.The activities will kick off with a church service today at the St Peter’s AME church situated at Lance Gibbs and New Garden Streets, Queenstown in Georgetown, which will commence at 10:00 hours. Tomorrow, the awareness drive will be spearheaded by the Association’s Region Three arm,Fc Bayern Trikot G��nstig, The Diabetic Association of Region Three – a move which would facilitate the distribution of reading materials among other sensitisation activities. Activities are also expected to be undertaken on Friday in the mining town of Linden where the Association has a presence.A one-day (09:00 – 16:00 hours) exhibition at the Nurses’ Association Hall will characterise the activities on Wednesday where a number of diabetic-oriented undertakings will occur, such as the display of reading materials, blood tests, blood glucose and blood pressure testing activities.It is also expected that the exhibition will feature Body Mass Index (BMI) tests, since according to Dr Swain, “people need to know their BMI. Even people who come off the streets, they may not have high blood sugar but if they have BMI of over 25 we know that they are heading into danger and we can advise our people to counsel them so that they can get back into a normal range.”Once an individual’s BMI is reverted to a normal range, Dr Swain explained, it would effectively cut the possibility of them having chronic diseases. “Diabetes likes company…it walks hand in hand with hypertension and then there is heart diseases, high cholesterol and the whole range follows.”While education will be the main focus of the entire week of activities, efforts will take on a more entertaining and relaxing mode on Saturday with a special dinner at the Princess International Hotel, Providence. In fact,Cheap Man City Jersey, the activity is intended to raise funds to further the Association’s effort, since it has been operating with limited finances.According to Secretary of the Association, Stella Ogle, those who are desirous of supporting the Association’s dinner can do so by contacting her on mobile number 615-3356.Though not a diabetic herself,Basketball Shoes Clearance Sale, she said that she has found the information obtained through the Association very beneficial. She has thus far been able to adopt a healthy lifestyle and has been encouraging her family members to do the same with a view of reducing the chances of developing diabetes.“I realised that I can take the education I gain through the Association and keep myself and even help others stay away from getting diabetes, and that is exactly what I have been doing.”Treasurer of the Association, Claudette Thorne, has been described by many as a “well controlled diabetic.”  The former army officer revealed that over the years she has been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle since coming to learn that the disease can affect the entire body if left unattended. Though a diabetic in recession, Thorne said that she still attends clinic regularly and is well aware that “if I go and do the wrong thing it could just pop up back.”Matthew Moore, who became a member of the Association earlier this year, is a nurse attached to the Guyana Power and Light Inc.,/Authentic-Nike-Buffalo-Bills-Football-Jerseys/, and according to him, he fully recognises the importance of education. He revealed that his membership came as part of his efforts to help bridge the gap between some of his patients’ diagnoses and needful education.“The information that I get I pass it on to them and hopefully that will encourage them to join as well.”The Guyana Diabetic Association was established in 1969 by a group of concerned diabetics, with the aim of advocating for the management, wellbeing and education of similarly inflicted individuals.  The current President is Ms Glynis Alonzo-Beaton and the body currently has a membership of over 100 individuals. Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of each month (with the exception of holidays) at the Nurses’ Association Hall situated at the corner of Alexander and Charlotte Streets, Georgetown.


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