Dear Editor,I am pleased that Prison Director Gladwin Samuels, a young professional for whom I have tremendous respect, has been able to identify and get rid of five of the corrupt prison wardens involved in the smuggling of contraband into these prisons; for he is often expected to manage the prison population with insufficient resources and personnel.You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that basic requirements to secure any prison facility are high-definition surveillance systems and the use of full-body scanners at the entrance of every prison facility. Whatever the cost, these security measures must be procured and installed immediately; the Prison Director should not have to wait on the 2019 Budget to get this done. All Minister Ramjattan needs to do is to come to Parliament with a Supplementary Budget. Government does this all the time for far less urgent matters.Since 2015, the state of the economy has declined rapidly; over 25,000 jobs have been lost, and higher taxes have been imposed on the people. For most families, there is little or no disposable income left after paying utility bills, rent/mortgage, and living expenses. The lack of jobs and high cost of living may be tempting some to engage in criminal activities to provide for their families. After all, desperate people are known to do desperate things.On June 29, Minister Ramjattan got his face on the front page of the Guyana Chronicle with a caption that shamelessly reads, “Gov’t makes ‘half-a-mil’ in pay-outs”. The article covered the presentation of a one-off payment by Government of a meagre $100,000 each to five families of Guyanese fishermen who were brutally murdered by pirates off the coast of Suriname. But this was done only after the PPP had brought a Motion in Parliament urging the Government to offer financial support to these families, for Ramjattan had made it clear to them in Suriname that they should expect none.It would have been kinder if Government had increased this amount to $300,000 each, the estimated cost of a decent funeral. Nevertheless, I’m sure Minister Ramjattan was happy to be seen in a positive light at a time when just about everyone questions his ability to get the job done. How many more victims must be shot? How many more lives must be lost? How many more cars stolen? How many more businesses must be robbed? How many more Guyanese must be discouraged from returning home? How many youths must be forced into a life of crime? And how many more families must be deprived of their life’s savings before the Hon Minister of Public Security realises that he has failed to protect the Guyanese people, and is totally unsuitable to serve in that capacity?When will Minister Ramjattan finally accept ministerial responsibility and resign? Will he ever?Sincerely,Harry GillPPP Member ofParliament
RED DEER, Alta. – Some relatives are not happy with the sentence imposed on two men found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of three members of one family in central Alberta.Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank each received a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years for killing Sandra and Gordon Klaus and their daughter, Monica, in 2013.The Crown had argued that the two men should serve consecutive sentences and the maximum of 75 years before being able to apply for parole.Justice Eric Macklin said the two men would have a better chance of rehabilitation if they were not “bereft of hope.”The Berry family — relatives of Sandra Klaus — said justice has not been served by the sentence.They suggest the judge missed an opportunity to ensure the two men never harm anyone again.“Rehabilitation is a hopeful and considerate option and placing the responsibility of their release on the parole board does nothing other than put more stress and concern for the families,” they said Thursday in an email.“We dearly hope rehabilitation is possible, but we also believe their rehabilitation will be in the form of more lies to please the parole board.“In less than 23 years, we will need to ensure our children and their children understand the risks and take all precautions to be safe from their cousin.”The bodies of Klaus’s father and sister were found in their burned-out farmhouse near Castor, Alta. His mother’s body was never found but police believe she also died in the house.There are provisions in the Criminal Code to have sentences served one after the other for multiple murders.Other relatives have also spoken out.Marilyn Thomson lost her brother, sister-in-law and niece in the attack.After sentencing on Wednesday, she thanked the police, the Crown and the judge outside court.“We are very grateful that justice has been served and that we now have the opportunity to move on with our lives,” she said.Thomson declined comment on the sentence itself.