A representative from the Give Another Chance Foundation handing over one of the bag packs to Programme Coordinator for the Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities, Ganesh SinghThe Give Another Chance Foundation on Saturday brought smiles to the faces of several differently-abled children and relieved parents of some expenses as they donated school supplies to the Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities.The small but significant handing over ceremony was conducted during the afternoon at the Guyana Society for the Blind headquarters on High Street, Georgetown.Receiving the donation on behalf of the organisation was Programme Coordinator for the Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities, Ganesh Singh.According to Singh, the donation was the first of many in the Council’s back to school drive. Donated to the group were school bags, sanitary napkins, school books, t-shirts and a number of other items.Singh explained, “Initially we started with a target of 50 school kids, including bag packs, water bottles, and also stationery to give to children with disabilities and children of persons with disabilities because many times they would go back with the same thing they had from the previous year because they are not able to afford new ones so we came up with this idea to have this back to school drive and so far we have had good traction”.Back to school supplies are also being shipped to Guyana for these persons by persons who were excited to support the initiative. In addition, the Council also received pledges and is aiming to surpass its 50 children target.Meanwhile, Administrator Debbie Houston from the donor organisation explained that the NGO was pleased to be able to be part of this venture to help the kids return to school with new supplies.The administrator added that the nine-year-old group will be heading to other parts of Guyana to conduct similar exercises.“We will be going to Wakenaam on the 10th August and we are donating bicycles and computers, bag packs and some other items,” she informed. This donation will also benefit underprivileged children, whose parents cannot afford to send them back to school.
… fuel drums, abandoned camps, chainsaw unearthedAn illegal airstrip was unearthed about five kilometres West of Santa Fe, Rupununi, Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo) by members of the Guyana Defence Force on Saturday morning.Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Patrick West when contacted confirmed the discovery was made by Guyana Defence Force (GDF) ranks that were patrolling the area.He noted that the ranks were conducting a reconnaissance mission on Saturday morning when they stumbled upon the seeming newly constructed airstrip.Brigadier West further stated that it was too soon to determine if the airstrip was in use recently, but noted that the relevant authorities were called in to investigate the incident.One of the dugout trenches in close proximity to the illegal airstripHowever, Public Relations Officer of the GDF, Earl Edghill told Guyana Times that following a closer inspection of the perimeter of the airstrip, several dug out trenches were found. They were covered with black plastic and dried branches.Upon removing the plastic and branches, several items were found concealed in the holes; including a chain saw and fuel drums. In addition, a quarter drum of aviation fuel was also found at the airstrip.Edghill also stated that at least 12 abandoned camps were found in close proximity of the airstrip. These camps, he noted, could be those used by farmers over a period of time.When asked if persons in the farming area indicated to the ranks about hearing the sounds of airplanes landing and taking off, he noted that residents are being questioned and an update will be provided shortly.The chainsaw and fuel drum that were found at the airstripIn September 2016, a Joint Service patrol discovered an illegal aircraft hidden just off of the Yupukari Airstrip, Rupununi with United States registration N-767-Z.Subsequently, a team of investigators from the GDF, Guyana Police Force (GPF), Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) was deployed from Georgetown to the area to conduct investigations and were able to determine that the registration number was fake.Moreover, investigators had discovered during interviews with nearby residents that the aircraft was sighted circling the area on numerous occasions in the past.Additionally, a number of residents shared information they deemed as “suspicious activity”, including the presence of motorcycles or ATVs frequenting the area at midnight.It was reported that a leak was discovered in the fuel tank. This, investigators believe, may have caused the aircraft to land in Guyana.However, it has been reported that one of the local law enforcement agencies was aware of the aircraft at least three weeks before the disclosure was made. It was reported that the security officials were monitoring the aircraft to see if anyone would return to salvage it.Meanwhile, President David Granger has established a one-man Commission of Inquiry (CoI) to probe the discovery of the illegal aircraft and appointed retired Brigadier Edward Collins to investigate, examine, advice and report on all aspects under which the foreign aircraft had entered the country.During the CoI, public meetings were held in several villages including Katoka, Kaicumbay, Yupukari and other villages. The CoI proved that the aircraft entered Guyana illegally.The illegal twin-engine Cessna aircraft was subsequently flown from Yupukari to Lethem initially, before it was flown to the Cheddi Jagan International Airport where it remains to date. (Bhisham Mohamed)