The “Five Bs” Initiative began some three years ago, and President David Granger has since donated 27 buses and 14 boats to aid the transportation of school children across Guyana.President David Granger handing over the key to Toshao Roger Ronald of Chinoweng VillageAccording to the Department of Public Information (DPI), these donations were all made possible through contributions from private and business persons, but President Granger said last Sunday that the objective of allowing every child to go to school remains the same.The Head of State has handed over to the Village of Chinoweng, in Region Seven, (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) a new boat and engine worth $1.3 million.Giving remarks before the presentation was made to Toshao Roger Ronald, President Granger recalled the road which led to the initiative back in 2015.“Three years ago, when I entered office after a very long campaign, I went into many rivers, and one of the important things I noticed was that many children were not going to school because they didn’t have transportation. And we started in 2015 what we called “Three Bs”,” the president told villagers.He said the programme has so far acquired 27 buses and 14 boats, which he noted will help children attend school free of charge. He reminded that in communities with roads, children are given bicycles.Just last week, while celebrating Emancipation with villagers at Number 53 Village on the Corentyne, the Head of State donated another 25 bicycles to children along the Corentyne Coast.“The most important thing about this boat — and I am reminding Chinoweng — is that children must go to school; children must not be kept away from school. I am proud of this presentation,” the Head of State told Chinoweng residents.The donation was made possible through Beverly Tapp of B & J Civil Works, in observance of her company’s 25th anniversary. Tapp said, “I decided that we are going to donate a boat (and engine). I just want you to use it safely and care it.” She noted that the business community is “here to support the people”.The contribution came at a time when the village is participating in the annual Upper Mazaruni District Games in Waramadong.
A Bartician make-up artist, Arian Dahlia Richmond, has taken to social media to highlight an alleged rape incident, which she claims took place when she was a teenager contesting in a beauty pageant.The young woman took to her Facebook page and detailed the alleged rape and named Mayor of Bartica, Gifford Marshall as her rapist.In the post, which has since gone viral, the makeup artist states, “On the night Gifford Marshall raped me, he told me of an instance he stepped into the Bartica’s Police Station and aiding the release of (name withheld) after he was accused of beating and raping a girl who decided to leave the relationship”.In her social media post, the young woman accused the Mayor of being “a strategic politician so he said this to ensure I knew the extent of his power”.“I wasn’t surprised when he posted he’ll launch an investigation knowing fully well he is one of the perpetrators,” the young woman posted on her Facebook account on Friday morning.She went on to say that during August 2018, the Bartica Town Council offered a space to facilitate 60+ students at Bartica’s Youth Camp and a part-time job for her to “uplift the image of the council”.“Here I was stripped of my self-worth by the constant sexual and verbal abuse meted. Power drunk men will do anything to maintain their image and they do this by manipulation.Bartica Mayor Gifford MarshallMany are under the guise that I’m the only person that was harmed but the other girls and boys have been strategically stripped of their confidence so how can they speak their truth?” the young lady posted.In a previous post on her Facebook page, Richmond also pointed out why she did not make a police report at the time of the alleged rape and other forms of harassment.“I have not highlighted names, made a report, nor accepted interviews because I fear for my safety. Albeit, it is not an easy task to bear your truth especially in a small country and even smaller town where there is a constant fight between good and evil, may integrity prevail.”Meanwhile, Commander of F Division (Interior locations), Kevin Adonis when contacted told this publication that there is no report of Richmond’s alleged rape.He confirmed that he personally contacted Crime Chief and Deputy Police Commissioner, Lyndon Alves to enquire whether the said allegation of rape was reported to any other police station in the country.However, Commander Adonis stated that after multiple checks, it was clear that Richmond is yet to make an official report to the police.“Social media can be good and it can be bad but if you were raped, it does not matter how long ago it occurred, you can still make a report. In fact, you don’t have to go to a police station near you, you can go to any police station and make that report there, it’s your right. It will be investigated,” the Commander said.On Saturday, the Crime Chief told this publication that the Police Force is yet to receive a report from the alleged rape victim about her allegation.Independent probeMeanwhile, former Deputy Mayor of Bartica, Kamal Persaud, who worked directly with Mayor Marshall, told this newspaper that an independent investigation into such an allegation needs to be done immediately.“I am calling for a full investigation into this matter because it is not a light allegation being made, it is an allegation of rape, and, therefore, it is only fair to have an independent investigation to bring closure and justice in this situation.I also support Dahlia for coming forward since doing so, and even going to social media as her medium to publicise it, takes courage. This is unfortunate and I understand how the Mayor would feel as well, but only an independent probe can ascertain what really transpired and if the story is true or false,” the former Deputy Mayor said.DenialMeanwhile, Mayor Marshall took to his Facebook page on Saturday morning acknowledging the rape allegation made against him that has gone viral on social media.“I have since brought this allegation to the attention of my attorney and the police, it is now engaging their attention. I categorically deny any such allegation. Many thanks to all of you for your prayers and support,” Marshall’s post read.