China reports 17 new cases in viral pneumonia outbreak Pacman finding his groove Gerald: Just because I’ve been bashed doesn’t mean I’d stop working More Taal volcanic quakes recorded despite weaker eruptions LATEST STORIES Ai-Ai delas Alas on Jiro Manio: ‘Sana pinahalagahan niya ang naitulong ko’ Swing Out Sister back to PH this April Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Tamaraws coach Olsen Racela, however, still feels there’s plenty of room for improvement for FEU.“Playing a team like NU is always a good opportunity to gauge where we are and we know we have a lot of things to work on before the UAAP begins,” said Racela.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC returnSPORTSBreak new groundSan Beda, meanwhile, routed University of the East, 68-55, for its second victory. Trump’s impeachment defense, prosecutors dig in For Ina, portraying a zombie is like an ‘out-of-body experience’ MOST READ Duterte’s ‘soft heart’ could save ABS-CBN, says election lawyer Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio 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 respite End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netFilipino-Canadian recruit RJ Ramirez showcased his mettle as Far Eastern University kept its sharp form to stun National U, 88-77, for its third straight victory in the Filoil Flying V Premier Cup.Ramirez gave the Tamaraws a huge lift with 15 points and five assists.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
French anti-doping officials worried about cocaine use PARIS (AP) French anti-doping officials are worried about the increased use of cocaine by athletes to enhance their performance. Damien Ressiot, who is in charge of controls at French anti-doping agency AFLD (Agence francaise de lutte contre le dopage), said yesterday that taking the banned stimulant for doping purposes now seems to be a “fairly common practise.” Cocaine is among a class of stimulants whose use is banned only in competition. Speaking at a news conference at AFLD headquarters, scientific adviser Xavier Bigard insisted it would be “extremely dangerous to minimise its use as a purely recreational drug.” Ressiot added that several cases involving cocaine use which are currently under the scrutiny of the AFLD will help the agency determine the type of networks used by cheaters. Law sees bright future for Hope GROS ISLET, St Lucia (CMC): West Indies head coach Stuart Law has identified young strokemaker Shai Hope as one with immense promise and whose professionalism can take him far in the game. The 23-year-old copped the Man of the Match award for his crucial unbeaten 48 in the second one-day international against Afghanistan last Sunday, which West Indies won by four wickets to level the three-match series. Hope also top-scored with 35 in the opening game, which West Indies lost by 63 runs last Friday. Law said while the right-hander was still developing, he was ticking all the right boxes. “He’s a class act. He’s very easy on the eye when you watch him bat,” the Australian said. “At this stage, he’s still learning how to play at this level, but the steps he’s made since I’ve arrived [have been impressive].” Iran qualify for World Cup TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran became the second team to qualify for the 2018 World Cup by beating Uzbekistan 2-0 on Monday, sparking celebrations in the streets. It is the first time Iran have qualified for consecutive World Cups, and will be their fifth appearance at football’s marquee tournament. Sardar Azmoun scored in the 23rd minute and Mehdi Taremi in the 88th at Azadi Stadium in Tehran. Iran, managed by former Real Madrid and Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz since 2011, topped Group A of Asian qualifying. The team is unbeaten from eight games and eight points clear of third-placed Uzbekistan with two qualifiers remaining, so cannot be denied a top-two finish and an automatic spot in Russia next year. South Korea are in second place, a point ahead of Uzbekistan with a game in hand.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland: One of the highest-profile athletes in Lausanne for today’s Diamond League meet is the South African Wayde van Niekerk. It is therefore no surprise that he has been getting the most attention since his arrival on Monday. At yesterday’s press briefing, a full house was present as the man of the moment took the spotlight. When he enters the track today at 2:40 p.m. (Ja time) in the men’s 400m, it will be his first one-lap race in Europe this season. He, however, has been in great form so far in shorter sprints. He has a season’s best of 9.94 seconds in the 100m, 19.84 over 200m and a world record of 30.81 in the rarely run 300m. Anticipation is high among the fans that he could go sub 43 seconds and erase the Stadium Record of 43.66 set by the American Michael Johnson in 1996. “This will be my first 400m race in Europe this season, and I do not have any particular target. I am confident, (so) let’s see what I can do,” van Niekerk said when asked if he is looking to go sub-44 seconds in his race today. ” I never think of breaking records. I still need to improve my endurance and my resistance to be ready for London. If I don’t go sub-44 seconds I won’t be disappointed as my goal is to have a great performance … that is the most important point, not to chase times,” he added.
WITHOUT a doubt, Janieve ‘Jellyfish’ Russell has been the country’s most consistent and top women’s 400m hurdler this season. However, in three weeks, at the World Champion-ships, Russell will have to watch that race from the stands or at home, as at the National Championship she failed to grab one of the three automatic spots after finishing fourth in the event. Despite the disappointment, this seemed to have given her extra motivation as she has been finishing ahead of her rivals since and has been very consistent in the event. At the Rabat leg of the IAAF Diamond League on Sunday, Russell finished second in 54.36 seconds and had the national champion, Rhonda Whyte, behind her in eighth in 56.00 seconds. Second-place finisher at the National Championships, Ristananna Tracey, competed in a B race which she won, but her time of 55.18 seconds was fourth overall. “I didn’t knew what went wrong at the Trials, as I followed the instructions of my coach. But something went wrong in the last part of the race and I just can’t fathom what went wrong,” Tracey said, when asked about her Trials performance. However, she was pleased with her performance on Sunday. “Except for the first two hurdles, the remainder of my race was good, as I came back strongly in the end and got second. I am happy to be competing with these ladies who are going to the World Championships,” she said. “I am happy for the three ladies who made the team to London, as I am confident that they will do well. When I compete with them, I just go out there to do my best and not to prove anything. They deserve their spots, as they did what they had to do on the day,” she continued. Russell is disappointed not to be going to the World Championships, but will use the remainder of the season to keep competing well. “I will still be in Europe training and preparing for some races, and I just want to continue doing well for the remainder of the season. I am glad to be injury-free, as some people cannot compete now due to injury. I want to finish the season strong and lower my times, then use my recent disappointment to motivate me to come back next season with more hunger, “she added.
Three Jamaicans will also line up in the women’s 400m with Shericka Jackson, Novlene Williams-Mills and Stephenie-Ann McPherson coming up against Eid Salwa Naser, the World Champs silver medal winner, Natasha Hastings and Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo. Fedrick Dacres should challenge for top honours in the men’s discus final where he will renew his rivalry with Daniel Stahl and Andrius Gudzius while Janieve Russell will fancy her chances in the women’s 400m hurdles against the likes of Dalilah Muhammad, Zuzana Hejnova and Ashley Spencer. The men’s 110m hurdles will feature Jamaican Ronald Levy, who will be hoping to recapture his pre-World Championships form against a field that includes Sergey Shubenkov, Aries Merritt, Orlando Ortega and Garfield Darien, while Rasheed Dwyer faces a 200m line-up that features World Champion Ramil Guliyev, Ameer Webb and Christophe Lemaitre. WOMEN’S 400M BRUSSELS, Belgium: With the Opera House providing the backdrop, yesterday’s men’s shot put final at the AG Insurance Memorial Van Damme Brussels Diamond League took to the streets with the busy square, Place de la Monnaie, witnessing the crowning of the first of 16 Diamond Race winners to be confirmed here. Place de la Monnaie translates to ‘Coin Square’ with its name coming from the minting workshop that stood here from 1420 to 1890 and while there were no riches for Jamaican shot putter O’Dayne Richards, who missed out on the US$50,000 ($6.4 million) jackpot handed to the winner of the event, the season on a whole has provided a wealth of lessons. The main meeting will take place today inside the King Baudouin Stadium where another 10 Jamaicans will go on the hunt for the lucrative title – led by defending women’s 100m champion Elaine Thompson. Competing on a specially-built sector and in front of a lively crowd of mainly passers-by, drawn to the action in the ring, Richards managed a best of 21.07m and seventh place in a thrilling contest that saw Darrel Hill’s final effort, a meeting record of 22.44m, knocking Ryan Crouser, who threw the meeting record of 22.37m on his first attempt, into second place. Joe Kovacs, 21.62m, secured an all-American podium. For Richards, it was the end of a season that saw the down of missing the World Championships final and the high of further improving his own national record mark to 21.96m in Rabat just before that. “I have learnt a lot talking to these guys, seeing the shot put in my opinion reaching the highest level that it has been for quite some time and to be a part of that era and to see and learn what these guys are doing, it’s been a very educational season,” said Richards. “I think it’s good to bounce back from the disappointment from World Champs and to have a strenuous week back-to-back and then coming here and throwing my furthest throw after the World Championship, I think I did well,” added Richards. “It’s an improvement, I am always about improvement and once again I have improved the national record and I plan to do so for maybe a next couple of years and hopefully I would approach the world record.” Thompson, is the favourite to lift the Diamond Race trophy in the 100m where Jura Levy and Christania Williams are also expected to compete. Her main threat will, however, come from World Championships silver medal winner Marie-Josee Ta Lou with Blessing Okagbare and Michelle-Lee Ahye also listed in a tricky field.
SPOTTY PLAY PITTSBURGH (AP): Ben Roethlisberger threw a pair of first-half touchdown passes, Le’Veon Bell ran for 87 yards, and the Pittsburgh Steelers kept the Minnesota Vikings in check during a 26-9 victory yesterday. Roethlisberger hit Martavis Bryant for a 27-yard score in the first quarter and flipped a shovel pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster that the rookie turned into a 4-yard score. Roethlisberger finished 23 of 35 for 243 yards and the two scores as the Steelers (2-0) improved to 10-1 in home openers under Mike Tomlin. Minnesota (1-1) played without quarterback Sam Bradford, who sat out with a left-knee injury. Case Keenum struggled to get anything going in Bradford’s absence, throwing for just 167 yards on 20 of 35 passing. Vikings rookie Dalvin Cook ran for 64 yards, but Minnesota failed to generate any real momentum against Pittsburgh’s rejuvenated defence. Pittsburgh’s ‘Killer B’ offence didn’t exactly light it up in Cleveland in a methodical Week 1 victory. Head coach Mike Tomlin pointed to marked improvement in Week 2, and while the fireworks most expected did not materialise, Bryant and Bell both took significant steps forward. Bryant caught three passes for 90 yards, including his first touchdown in 20 months and also drew a pass interference penalty that set up Smith-Schuster’s score. Both Steeler wide receivers took advantage of the NFL’s relaxed celebration rules, imitating rolling dice while being surrounded by teammates. Bell was limited to just 13 touches against the Browns, something Tomlin attributed more to spotty play around Bell rather than his extended sabbatical following an offseason contract impasse. The workload was significantly heavier in Bell’s second week back. He ran the ball 27 times and added three receptions for two yards. While his longest play was only an 11-yard run, he helped the Steelers run the clock in the second half to protect their sizeable lead. Last week, Minnesota’s offence looked efficient with Bradford running things in an easy opening victory over New Orleans. Bradford tweaked his left knee during the game. Enter Keenum, who went 9-15 as a starter with Houston and the Rams before signing on with Minnesota. The Vikings offensive line had trouble giving Keenum time in the pocket, and the results were often checkdowns that went nowhere. Minnesota’s only touchdown came on a 1-yard plunge by fullback CJ Ham that drew the Vikings within 17-9 early in the third quarter. Kai Forbath missed the extra point and Pittsburgh responded with a 10-play, 74-yard drive that ended with the second of Chris Boswell’s four field goals with 4:59 left in the third. The Vikings never threatened again.
Super 50 If the West Indies can find, or recapture, the kind of team spirit and the confidence to back their ability like their predecessors of yesteryear, to play attractive and attacking cricket, and to play cricket the West Indian way, they can, with a little luck, rise to the occasion. Captain Jason Holder has grown in the job. His batting, which has always promised much, is beginning to show signs of fulfilling its early potential, and his bowling has increased in swing and bounce if not in pace. And although it does not appear as strong as India’s, if its combination of pace, bounce, and accuracy was not a figment of the imagination, if its success against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh was the real stuff, and if Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel can stay fit and can reproduce that form, the West Indies fast bowling attack can prosper against the traditionally timid Indian batsmen as Roy Gilchrist, Wes Hall, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, and company did years ago. Probably the real test will be that of the West Indies batsmen against India’s bowlers. Ishant Sharma, Shami, Bumrah, Ashwin, Kuldeep, and company are good and will be a difficult proposition on home soil, but the West Indies batsmen possess enough quality to conquer. Although it is hot, and it can be very hot in India, the condition and pitches are not that different from those in the West Indies, and there is good reason to expect Kraigg Brathwaite, eight centuries under his belt, including an innings of 134 and another of 95 in Leeds last year; Kieron Powell, who started his career so promisingly; and Roston Chase, especially after his innings of 137 not out versus India in 2016 and those of 138 and 101 not out against Pakistan in 2017 could deliver again this time around. Although Sunil Ambris is one to look at, the batsmen who could really steal the show, however, are Shai Hope and young Shimron Hetmeyer. Hope has already demonstrated his class, especially in an innings of 147 and 118 not out against England in Leeds last year, but he needs to cement his quality, and Hetmeyer has hinted of class and waiting to display it, especially in the Test match arena. With right-arm leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, remembering his eight for 49 against Pakistan in Dubai and itching to go; wicket/batsman Shane Dowrich coming off two good series; and promising young fast bowlers Keemo Paul and Sherman Lewis, hopefully, rearing to go, it could be two Test matches to remember. For that to come to pass, however, the West Indies will have to play out of their skins; they will have to show the grit and determination of Leeds last year; and they will, especially their batsmen, need to perform consistently and not lapse into attempting elaborate and unnecessary strokes which often times lead to mistakes and disaster. ATTRACTIVE CRICKET The West Indies open their 12th tour of India on Thursday (Wednesday night local time) with nothing, as far as victory is concerned, but a hope, or a wish, for victory or for a draw. Of the 45 matches in the subcontinent, the West Indies have won 14 and lost 11, while drawing 20, and in the 49 matches in the West Indies, they have won 16, lost 7, and drawn 26. The important numbers, however, come from the last six series anywhere, at home and abroad, where in 19 matches, India have been dominant, winning 10, losing none, and drawing nine, most of them while they were in a winning position. The future, therefore, looks bleak, even when it is remembered that lndia are now just coming off a disappointing tour of England where they lost 4-1, a loss that may have affected their confidence. For the West Indies, it is important to remember that India were playing away from home and also that it was, in spite of the scoreline and apart from the first match, a close, intriguing, and exciting battle. This time, however, India will be playing at home, and on top of that, they boast a formidable aggregation, especially in the batting and bowling departments. In captain Virat Kohli, India parade the world’s top batsman, and surrounding him are quality batsmen like KH Rahul, Shikkar Dhawan, Murali Vijay, Rohit Sharma, Chetestwar Pujara, Ajinka Rahane; the 20-year-old Risbah Pant; and the 18-year-old Prithvi Shaw. And then there are the all-rounders – off-spinner Ravichandra Ashwin, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, and medium-pacer Hardik Pandya, followed by spinner left-arm chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, and, surprisingly for India, a quintet of fast bowlers in Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah. As formidable as India seem, as gloomy as things may look, and although India are ranked number one and the West Indies are ranked number eight, the Windies can rise to the occasion and surprise everyone, including India, and especially in a short two-Test series. They have shown in the past that they know how to win, and apart from obviously possessing the quality previously, they have also shown, on one or two occasions in the recent past, that they have had the quality to perform in big company, that they have won, and that they can win against the big boys. They won against England in Bridgetown in 2015, they won again against England in Leeds in 2017, and on both occasions, it was against the odds. One day before the Test series against India gets under way, the Super50 limited-over tournament is scheduled to start in the Caribbean, and the promise is for an interesting and exciting tournament, with the group matches scheduled for Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago and the semi-finals and final for Barbados. Although the West Indies will be away, on show will be players like Chris Gayle, Rovman Powell, and Oshane Thomas, who will play the first two or three matches for the Jamaica Scorpions; Jerome Taylor of the Scorpions; and Marlon Samuels, who is also expected to play two or three matches for Windies ‘B’. From the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force will be Dwayne Bravo, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, and Sunil Narine, who are hunting places on the West Indies team to next year’s World Cup; Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul, and Denesh Ramdin, who, if selected, are expected to play throughout the tournament; along with Evin Lewis, who is also expected to play two or three matches. Others who are expected to be on parade during the tournament are players like batsmen Brandon King, Fabian Allen, and Sherfane Rutherford, left-arm spinner Khari Pierre; pace bowler Romario Shephard; and left-arm pacer Obed McCoy; and also, possibly, AndrÈ Russell. The interesting thing about the Super50 tournament this year is the number of players, who earlier had refused the West Indies board’s olive branch, who had refused to represent the West Indies in the World Cup qualifier earlier this year, and who have decided to play in their bid to get into the team for next year’s big showpiece, the World Cup.
Grammy Award-winning singing sensation from Britain, Joss Stone is expected to send her Guyanese fans into a frenzy on Monday, January 28 at the Eucalyptus Garden Amphi-Theatre of the Theatre Guild of Guyana, in Georgetown.Stone, who won the Grammy in 2007 for best R&B singer, is on the last leg of her Total World Tour this month in the Caribbean.She is currently in Cuba and will perform in Haiti next week before heading to Guyana the following week and then to Suriname. Stone’s performance kicks off the growing Guyana season of Jazz and R&B, which will culminate in the much-anticipated G-Jazz Festival in April 2019.Among the local artistes lined up to perform alongside Stone are Lerone Souvenir and Atajah, Mikey Smith, MaszkaJazz with Indus Voices and Gavin Mendonca.Stone will perform in Guyana for the benefit of two charities – Help and Shelter and The University of Guyana’s Artist in Residence Programme.The event is a partnership between the Joss Stone Foundation, the Theatre Guild, The University of Guyana, Guyana’s Ministry of the Presidency’s Culture Department’s Music Department and the Ministry of Business’s Tourism Department.The British High Commission in Guyana is also a collaborator.The concert on Monday is set to commence at 19:00h and will last for two and a half hours with nonstop music.Tickets for ringside chairs cost $6000 and $3000 for grass seats; children are welcome.These tickets are available at the University of Guyana’s Office of Philanthropy and at the Theatre Guild on weekdays from 10:00h to 17:00h and on Saturdays from 10:00h to 14:00h. For reservations, fans are encouraged to contact the organisers on 614-2244, 662-5036 or 669-8989.
Juvenilejustice systemShould justice be punitive or rehabilitative? Should the system come down hard and incarcerate anyone who commits a crime regardless of severity or circumstance, or should we look to move forward in a way that focuses on rehabilitating and re-educating perpetrators? Even more importantly, how should the system differ for children or young people?Worldwide studies show that a high percentage of young offenders go on to reoffend and that the types of people they come into contact with during their incarceration often serve to support a network of continued criminal activity leading to a longer career of crime. Some therefore argue that to imprison young offenders keeps them more firmly on a path of delinquency and that alternative measures may serve better to encourage them to become more responsible citizens.Children’s Rights Bills are in place in an effort to protect all children. Is it fair to make them forfeit those rights because they make mistakes when all too often the reasons and causes behind those mistakes are societal failures? Of course there are numerous violent, evil crimes being committed by both young and old, that warrant tough consequences, but law enforcement needs to recognise when heavy sentences are appropriate and when alternative approaches would better suit a child, society and the system. Do you keep pumping funds and resources into a system that sees high instances of reoffending and little or no moral adjustments in attitudes, or do you try another route?Guyana’s juvenile justice system has long been in need of change and thankfully is in the process of reform. UNICEF has made many recommendations that lean towards more rehabilitative programmes than to a harsher punitive system. Progressively, ministers are receiving up-to-date training and applying their developing knowledge to the draft bills of reform of the system.The focus is definitely on the rights of children and areas under consideration are: age of responsibility, the decriminalisation of minor delinquent acts, duration and facilities of incarceration, and preventive measures.The danger is that to move from one extreme to another in a short amount of time can bring a set of problems of its own. There is the risk that failure to punish crime and the shift of responsibility from children who may well be fully aware of their actions, and be responsible for them, will allow abuses of the system.Young people are already vulnerable to older criminals recruiting and exploiting them. Older criminals may take advantage of the lenient consequences children will encounter if they are caught by encouraging children to take bigger risks and become further embroiled in criminal activity.Balance, as usual, should be the objective. Yes, there has to be an ultimate goal that assimilates itself with a global vision, but a realistic, achievable phase that has real impact on those most in need should be the initial plan of action.A system that is capable of judging individual cases guided by sound legislation and that reflects the rights of the child while perusing safe outcomes for society. One that is multilayered in its approach so punishment, correction or support fits the crime. Promoting a culture where prevention comes from a holistic perspective based on researched youth work, training professionals, educating caregivers and utilising schools will aid reform incalculably.The mind-set of many front-line professionals needs shifting before new legislation can have any chance of being successfully implemented. There are many considerations to overcome before people can be expected to accept a new concept and way of viewing youth justice.Understanding that crime can be the result of many different issues and following a new model that may seem too tolerant and indulgent, will be a huge stumbling block for many within the justice system. However, if people at the top lead by example; continually working towards reform, and other countries’ support and guidance remain, then Guyana has a chance to develop a more humane and restorative system with which to deal with Juvenile Justice.
In receiving the Commission of Inquiry report (CoI) for the public service, President David Granger stated that lazy people will receive lazy pay. I wondered then if he was calling all public servants lazy because all public servants received little or no increase in 2015 and 2016. In 2015, wages and salary increases were applicable only for the second half of the year, thereby reducing the annual pay increase to less than five per cent. In 2016, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) has not yet given public servants an increase and the Finance Minister has cautioned public servants and the unions not to expect any large increase in salaries and benefits. I can only conclude that the President and APNU/AFC believe that public servants are lazy.The Cabinet, even before the ink on their appointment instruments dried, gave themselves a hefty pay increase, with junior Ministers earning even more than senior People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Ministers who had been Ministers for more than a decade. I suppose they earned big pay increases because they were deemed not lazy. Yet after more than a year in Government, they have led Guyana backwards, with an economy that is in a reverse, downward trajectory, crime spiralling out of control, health, education, water and housing in crisis and business has stagnated.APNU/AFC and their collaborators will insist that Granger was simply using an innovative way of outlining a policy to abandon the traditional across-the-board pay increases in favour of performance-based pay increases. I get it, it is just that Ministers of his Government seem exempt from performance-based remuneration.My bigger concern is public servants now have genuine fears of whether a pay increase or not will now depend on politics and ethnicity, rather than performance. This is a genuine fear among public servants who now believe that the APNU/AFC is laying the groundwork for coercing political support, punishing those who will not dance to the APNU/AFC music, and for once again, creating an ethnically biased public service, similar to what existed under the People’s National Congress (PNC).Performance-based pay increases is a legitimate and a sound policy direction. Implemented fairly, it could lead to greater productivity and a friendlier, more efficient and effective public service. But in the wrong hands, such a policy could be used effectively to punish those who refuse to be political activists and thugs and those whose political affiliation are non-APNU/AFC. It could be used to limit the participation of one or more ethnic groups.The behaviour of APNU/AFC in the first year of Government reinforces the fear that performance-based policy for pay increases and promotion could be the weapon that APNU/AFC uses to cleanse the public service, not of lazy and inefficient public servants, but cleanse the public service of those they perceived as political opponents. These are not idle fears. In the first year in Government, APNU/AFC has fired hundreds of persons, simply based on their ethnicity and perceived political affiliation.It is incontestable that the vast majority of persons who have been terminated are persons that APNU/AFC saw as supporters of the PPP. It is equally incontestable that almost 99 per cent of those who were fired were of one ethnic group. Just as happened during the 28 years of PNC authoritarianism, East Indians were targeted and many lost their jobs during APNU/AFC’s first year in Government.Moreover, it was exposed during the 2016 Budget consideration in Parliament that more than a thousand new contracted employees were hired since May 2015. These new contracted, high-paying employees followed years of APNU/AFC chastising the PPP for employing public servants as contracted employees. This hypocrisy, as bad as it is, is not the major problem, however. The major problem is that the vast majority of the new contracted employees are from one ethnic group and almost 100 per cent affiliated to APNU/AFC.Public servants in Guyana have reasons to be fearful of a performance-based policy, not because they are opposed to it, but because they know that those who will benefit will be those who give unqualified political support to APNU/AFC. They know that if they do not provide overt support to their political bosses they will not be able to get pay increases. They know that no matter how efficient they are, their ethnicity could be the deciding factor whether they are rewarded or not.A vicious political culture has taken hold where politics and ethnicity mean more than efficient and effective performance as a public servant. The new policy is the blueprint to create a public service that is a creature of APNU/AFC, rather than a public service of pride, dignity, efficiency and effectiveness. It is an integral part of party paramountcy. (Please send comments to [email protected])