After 2 monthsEmployees of the Local Government Commission (LGC) have finally been paid, after waiting for over two months for the Communities Ministry to release the monies.This was confirmed by a commissioner of the constitutional agency on Friday, who noted that while the payments were disbursed, concerns are still being raised as to why the Commission has not been aligned to the Fiscal Management and Authority Act, so as to acquire control of its financial expenditures.Without this document, there are inaccuracies in the salaries which are set aside for some commissioners, since this amount was a temporary fix until the amendment was intact. Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan was responsible for ensuring that all legislations were in place when the Commission was established.“They paid what was owed but they never paid what was budgeted for us for 2019. I think the issue with which budget agency we’re under was just because they didn’t want to pay us proper salaries. Some of the staff are being paid way above the public service while some of the commissioners are still given a small salary, like a stipend,” the commissioner said.The commissioner questioned why the LGC is recognised as a constitutional agency but not as one which can manage its finances.“What was budgeted for us was never paid. From the time the Commission was sworn in, we were receiving this payment because although we are a constitutional agency, the Communities Minister was supposed to do a simple amendment to ensure that we are aligned to the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act. Although the 2019 budget was approved, they refused to give us. How are we recognised for everything as a constitutional body, but we’re not recognised for payments,” the commissioner added.This issue was brought to the fore some weeks ago, to which Chairman of the Commission, Mortimer Mingo, explained that the Permanent Secretary of the Communities Ministry, Emil McGarrell, refused to countersign documents to release funds for salaries and other expenses.“It then became apparent, by a way of a letter received by the Commission from the Deputy Permanent Secretary… that the Ministry was not in agreement with the level of pay that the Commission’s staff was receiving, since according to the letter, these salaries were not in keeping with the traditional public sector emoluments,” Mingo had said.As such, the LGC opted to settle the matter through a meeting with McGarell on January 28, but the Permanent Secretary did not withdraw his decision not to sign the documents.This sparked some controversy with former Local Government Minister, Ganga Persaud who placed the blame on Bulkan, stating that operations were stymied due to the withholding of funds.“If this Government can react to its Commission and the 27 staff members that it has done, then I think it is really unjust. It is a travesty and an injustice against the working people of this country. It is a crime against humanity,” Persaud had told Guyana Times.According to Persaud, this move is aimed at leaving the Commission with no other option but to relinquish its responsibilities to the Ministry, another way for Government to take control of local democratic organs. All entities under the Commission are also deprived of payments for this time.Persaud said to rectify this issue, the Commission must be duly established to function as any other constitutional body.
Norton Street shootingBy Kizzy ColemanFor two years, she suffered severe beatings at the hands of a man she truly loved and wanted to please. She was battered and bruised for many days but never got the courage to leave because the “love” kept her back. But now when she looks back, she wonders whether it was love or just deeply-rooted fear.Dead: Daniel HincksonInjured: Faith ThompsonThe wound Thompson sustained during the shootingNow that he is dead, she does not know if she feels relieved, sad, or just a little bit of both. But what she does know, is that the fear that he will end her life no longer exists, even as she lies on a bed at the hospital battling injuries he inflicted when he tried to kill her.Guyana, and further beyond, got to know her story sometime about 11:00h on Tuesday after the news broke that her “love” shot her to the back of the neck and then committed suicide by turning the barrel of the same gun on himself. The name, Faith Thompson became known, following the incident, and many women immediately felt a feeling of familiarity with her story.Thompson’s ex-lover, Daniel Hinckson, reportedly broke into her Lot 39 Norton Street, Lodge house— where she lives with her uncle and 76-year-old great aunt— on Tuesday and shot her to the back of the neck before taking his own life.As she laid on her bed in the female ward of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), the 20-year-old is extremely thankful that she survived and shared her story with Guyana Times.With the visible scar from the gunshot wound, which almost caused her life, Thompson said that she was at home when she was startled by a knock on the door. She went to inspect and discovered it was 24-year-old Hinckson on the other side. Fear immediately overtook her and her mind went back to the horrific ordeal that occurred just over two weeks ago.On that fateful day, Hinckson mercilessly beat her, causing her to report the matter to the Police and ultimately asking for a restraining order against him. She felt that the restraining order could have protected her for, at least, a few months, since she was of the opinion that he would run from the Police. However, when she saw him on the other side of her door, all that fear just crashed into her.Frightened, Thompson immediately grabbed a bottle of pepper spray, which she had in the house and kept same in her pants’ waist. However, before she could make an escape, Hinckson had already gained entry into the house through a window.“Pepper spray saved my life,” Thompson said.“I thought that he would have ran from the Police because they were looking for him but he came and looked for me. So when he jumped in, I ran to the back door but I couldn’t have open it so fast, so I run into my uncle room and I hide” Thompson recounted.Even behind bolted doors, the petrified young woman knew she was not safe. The only way she could have been safe was if she was as far away as possible from the man she once loved. Upon seeing the now dead young man in her house, Thompson’s great aunt began inquiring as to how access was gained and seemed to be content when she was told that he had a key issued by her son.“He tell she that my uncle give him the key but my uncle didn’t give him no key because the door was locked. And if you get a key, you still can’t open it from outside. So I know that he jump through the window because the window did open and plus after when I asked him, he said that he jumped through the window”.After he finished telling his concocted version of a story of how he gained access into the house, the now dead man took out a gun, “cranked” it and placed it on a table. He then began pacing in front of the room she was locked in. Like a scene out of a story, he picked up the gun, jumped a wall, and was in the room with her.“When I saw the gun, I started crying and I asked him why he gotta do this and he said that I make it so. And he was saying all kind of things and afterwards, he put down the gun on the bed and he took out a knife he also had from his pants’ waist. He had me in the bedroom for like a whole half an hour talking a whole set of things”.During this period, Thompson’s uncle returned home from work and after being informed that the duo was locked in the bedroom, the man began demanding that the door be opened.“He saw when my uncle came in from the window, so he pick up back the gun again and I tried to calm him down and I telling he go under the bed and hide but he didn’t want to do that. So he try opening windows to see if he could jump through but then he tell me to jump through the window and I tell he I can’t jump through the window because is a upstairs. But then I tried to tek he mind off of what was happening and I tell he go to the front window and jump and then I will jump but then while I doing that my uncle start yelling y’all open this door” the victim explained.Grateful for the distraction, Thompson revealed that she quickly pulled out the bottle of pepper spray from her waist and sprayed Hinckson to his eyes. This caused a fight to ensue between the two and it was at the time that Hinckson used the gun to fire a shot to the back of Thompson’s head before turning the gun on himself.“He fight me and put me on the bed and he shot me but like he couldn’t see good but then I hear a next gunshot but I thought he shoot me again or shot my uncle. But after a while, I realise that I ain’t dead so I get up, open the door and when I turn around I see he lie down by the wall robe in blood, so then I run outside and run pass my uncle, I run out on the road,” the young woman remembered.Thompson, reportedly lost her shirt during the fight and ran on to the roadway half naked calling out for help. However, she was rescued by her uncle, who quickly wrapped her with a towel and rushed her to GPHC.When she left Hinckson’s home some months ago, she thought that the proverbial slate was now clean and even began a new relationship. However, he got wind of it and demanded that it be ended.“He was alright for a while but then he found out that I still used to talk to the boy and he got mad, that is when he beat me up right outside the yard in Norton Street and I ended up reporting the matter and I take out the restraining order,” Thompson revealed.However, since that day, Hinckson was seen several times by neighbours lurking in the Norton Street yard.