As pressure mounts on the Government to allow Guyana’s democracy to flourish, scores of supporters of the Opposition on Tuesday staged a peaceful picketing exercise outside the Ministry of the Presidency over the appointment of Government Councillors to head at least six Local Authority Areas where there was a tie after local polls.PPP/C supporters protest outside the Ministry of the PresidencyThe A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC)and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) received six seats each on the Mabaruma Town Council, Region One (Barima-Waini), while a similar situation obtained in five Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs).Senior Party members leading the picketing exerciseHowever, Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan applied Section 13 (4) of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01 and selected a Mayor for Mabaruma and Chairpersons of the five NDCs – a decision the PPP/C successfully challenged in the High Court last week.Justice Diana Insanally subsequently quashed the appointment of a Mayor for Mabaruma as well as the appointments of chairmen of the five NDCs.The Government has since indicated that it would challenge Justice Insanally’s decision and was confident of coming out successful, as it maintained Bulkan acted legally.But, in denouncing Bulkan’s “undemocratic” actions, PPP/C supporters from across the country, including Woodlands-Farm, Mahaicony, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice); Woodlands-Bel Air, Region Five and Industry- Plaisance, Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).The placard-bearing protesters braved the rains as they reiterated their position that “democracy was greater than the Government” and “democracy will prevail”.Speaking to Guyana Times, PPP Executive Secretary and Member of Parliament (MP) Zulfikar Mustapha explained that the protesters were out to register their rejection of Bulkan’s action.“This gathering is here to protest against the arbitrary decision made to appoint Chairpersons and Mayors in tied municipalities,” Mustapha stated.He said while the PPP/C had suggested a workable solution of rotation of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor position in Mabaruma and a similar system for tied NDCs, Bulkan went ahead and appointed APNU/AFC councillors to the positions, totally ignoring the PPP/C’s suggestion.Nigel Dharmalall, another PPP/C MP who was on the picket line said, Bulkan’s decision was “creating a cloud of controversy in the Local Government Elections (LGE)”.The parliamentarian stressed on the level of disrespect shown by the Government to the very principles of harmony and unity that it preached. He is calling on the President to listen to their concerns and let good sense prevail.He pointed out that the LGE were the basis for governance at the community level and his Party and supporters feel very aggrieved by the decisions made by Minister Bulkan.On Thursday last, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo told a news conference that Bulkan disregarded the laws for the sake of convenience.“This here is an illegal action on the part of the Government,” Jagdeo declared.He told reporters that his Party sought to reach a compromise with the APNU/AFC and offered for there to be a rotation of the Mayorship and Deputy Mayorship in Mabaruma and similar arrangements for the five affected NDCs.Jagdeo said he personally spoke with the Government’s Chief Whip Amna Ally on the matter at the weekend where she said after consultations with President David Granger, a decision had been taken to accept the suggestion of the PPP/C.He said there were even discussions on the process and procedure and talks about a formal agreement on the rotation.However, Jagdeo said the Government has on its position and moved to flout the laws and unilaterally appoint APNU/AFC Councillors to the top posts, even in areas where the PPP won a plurality of votes.This action, Jagdeo said, is undemocratic and is thwarting the will of the majority of the people in those NDCs.
Guyanese are being called upon by Mashramani Coordinator Andrew Tyndall to take ownership of the country’s National celebration observed on February 23.Tyndall, during an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), said that given the symbolism of Mashramani – a celebration after hard work and the date on which Guyana gained the status of a Republic – it is a festival not only for the participants but for all Guyanese.Mashramani Coordinator Andrew Tyndall“We have worked hard as a people and we have come a long way, (it is) our 48th anniversary. Let us come out and celebrate and let’s take ownership of Mashramani,” Tyndall stated.According to the Coordinator, Guyana has adopted several cultural aspects from other countries; hence he is advocating that Guyanese do the same and promote Mashramani to the rest of the world. Tyndall explained “we need to also develop our own culture so that we could export that culture to the world. Mashramani is ours, we have to own it! Mashramani is only going to get better when all Guyanese come on board and recognise that it is something that belongs to us and we all have a responsibility for its development.”Tyndall reiterated his call for Guyanese to come out in their numbers and support Mashramani. He opined, for the festival to be a success, it cannot be left to the Ministry’s planning committee or just the participants to achieve this goal.
GECOM Chairmanship…stakeholders disagree with President’s rationale, warn of attempts to rigPresident David Granger has rejected the nominees for the new Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), in a move that has already been described as dangerous. This is the first time that a president has rejected such a list since the Carter Formula for the appointment of the GECOM Chairman was initiated in 1992.The President argued that the Constitution of Guyana stipulates that the six nominees who were to be submitted by the Leader of the Opposition should be a judge or possess qualifications of a judge.On this basis, he declared that the six names submitted by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo were “unacceptable”.“So, the only thing about the list is that it comprises six names,” Granger told a gathering of media operatives at the State’s Annual Media Brunch on Sunday.Jagdeo nominated Executive Member of the Private Sector Commission Ramesh Dookhoo; former PSC Chairman and Army Chief Norman Mc Lean; Chartered Accountant and former Head of the Bar Association, Christopher Ram; writer Rhyaan Shah; Professor James Rose and human rights and conflict resolution consultant Lawrence Latchmansingh.Fit and properIndeed, Article 161 of the Constitution of Guyana outlines that the nominees must be a judge or have the qualifications of a judge.But it also states that the nominee can be any person deemed “fit and proper”.“The Chairman of the Elections Commission shall be a person who holds or who has held office as a judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in some part of the Commonwealth or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from any such court or who is qualified to be appointed as any such judge, or any other fit and proper person, to be appointed by the President from a list of six persons, not unacceptable to the President, submitted by the Leader of the Opposition after meaningful consultation with the non-governmental political parties represented in the National Assembly,” the extract reads.Legal luminary Anil Nandlall, who also served in the capacity of Attorney General under the previous Administration, explained that the Constitution clearly contemplates two categories of persons. “Firstly, a High Court judge or an Appellate Court judge, a former High Court or an Appellate Court judge or a person qualified to be a High Court or an Appellate Court judge. Secondly, or (disjunctive), any “fit and proper” person. However, from whichever category the persons come, they must be acceptable to the President,” Nandlall said in a statement to the media shortly after the President’s announcement.In this regard, he contended that the President’s rejection of the names on the grounds that the persons did not meet the constitutional requirements was “wholly untenable”.Previous ChairmenNotably, the majority of the previous Chairmen of GECOM fell under category two as outlined in the Constitution of Guyana – being “fit and proper”.In fact, of all the persons who were appointed as Chairman of GECOM, only the late Doodnauth Singh, former Attorney General and Senior Counsel, satisfied the category of being a judge or having the requisite qualifications to be one.All the other persons – Rudy Collins, Edward Hopkinson, Joseph Singh and Dr Steve Surujbally – lacked legal qualifications and, therefore, would have all qualified under the “fit and proper” requirement.Interestingly, in 1997, former Opposition Leader Desmond Hoyte nominated Granger to be GECOM’s Chairman, though he did not have the qualifications to be a judge.Granger had accepted the nomination knowing fully that the Constitution caters for “fit and proper” persons outside of that category.His new interpretation of the Constitution is, therefore, baffling and inconsistent with what is presumed to be his outlook when he had accepted the nomination to be GECOM Chairman.RigNandlall believes that the President’s announcement is a signal of the People’s National Congress (PNC)-led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition’s intention to rig the next General and Regional Elections in 2020.“The President is playing a dangerous game… I believe these machinations will continue until the President conjures up an interpretation of the Constitution which permits him to unilaterally appoint a Chairman of GECOM,” he expressed.CoupFormer Government Minister, Dr Leslie Ramsammy said the President’s rejection was an attempt to seize power through a coup.“Their latest move to reject the nominees for the chairmanship of GECOM from the Leader of the Opposition is setting the stage to name a Chairman in their own deliberate judgment, a person that will carry out instructions from APNU/AFC, in the same sinister fashion as Judge Harry Bollers did prior to 1992,” Dr Ramsammy warned.Next moveThe President did not indicate what his next move would be, but the <<
2017 Mid-year Report…urges review of taxes, incentives for renewable energy initiativesBy Jarryl BryanThe Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) is warning the Government to make addressing current pressing issues a priority to prevent the economy from faltering and not to be sidetracked by preparations for the coming oil and gas sector.Those warnings came from GMSA President Shyam Nokta, who was addressingGMSA President Shyam Noktabusiness leaders and tax officials at the Association’s business luncheon on Thursday. While oil is a lucrative natural resource, he noted, more attention and effective policies are needed in Guyana’s more traditional sectors.According to Nokta, a four to five per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate is possible with the right administrative policies and corporate decisions from the Private Sector. He noted that this would help with job creation and putting Guyana on a strong economic footing, something the 2017 half-year report showed was wanting.“At the GMSA mid-year dinner, I spoke about our excitement about the potential for oil and gas, but also our concerns with an economy that is slowing and the urgent need to grasp their potential. We need to seek practical measures, so that the economic sectors, including manufacturing and services can help drive a return to strong GDP growth.”Nokta also referred to the resource curse dubbed the “Dutch disease” in his presentation to attendees. The “Dutch disease” can cause a reduction in the value of other exported commodities and is often blamed on the sudden development of one sector at the expense of others.“There is much talk about how the imminent oil and gas sector will change everything in our country. That is true and that is precisely why we need to ensure we build all the institutional defences to defend against the well-known economicThe forestry sector contracted by 18.2 per cent, according to the 2017 half-year reportgovernance risk that oil and gas could bring.”“But on the other hand, our economy could falter if we do not remain focused on the broader imperatives of supporting investments and job creation across all our economic sectors. We need to prepare for oil and gas, but we also need to stay the course to ensure other sectors continue to grow.”Nokta listed some of the issues affecting manufacturers, including unstable electrical supply, access to financing on reasonable terms, high freight costs, and market access. He also called for specific interventions, including incentives and a review of taxes on industries such as forestry, for the 2018 Budget.Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Commissioner General Godfrey Statia was among those present, and Nokta took the opportunity to refer directly to some of the tax measures also affecting growth and frustrating the business community.“Measures such as the recategorising of zero and standard rated items to exempt VAT on electricity and forest products, among others, have impacted the competitiveness of our members and, therefore, the economy.“We raised these issues with Minister (of Finance, Winston) Jordan and proposed some measures. When Budget 2018 is announced, we hope to see progress on priorities such as the removal of VAT on electricity, water, education; targeted assistance for struggling sectors such as forestry through the removal of VAT on forest products.”He also called for consolidated facilities for wood and agro products, in line with the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, and investments into renewable energy to be incentivised.According to Nokta, manufactured products should also be given a larger share in public tenders and there should be stricter adherence to laws which ensure small businesses get at least 20 per cent of public spending when their products and supplies are procured.Half-year reportThe Finance Ministry’s half-year report was released in July of this year. It showed contractions in certain sectors when compared to the corresponding period in 2016. The declining sectors included sugar, livestock, forestry, mining and quarrying, and even bauxite.It showed that sugar production was recorded at 49,606 tonnes at the half year and when compared to the 56,645 tonnes produced during the first half of 2016, represented a decline of 12.4 per cent. The livestock industry also contracted by 10.9 per cent in the first half of 2017, due to heavy rainfall severely affecting production, especially in the second quarter.The forestry industry also showed an 18.2 per cent contraction in the first six months of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Declining production within the forestry industry was a result of structural changes in the industry.The mining and quarrying sector contracted by 4.0 per cent, during the first half of 2017. Gold production fell by 1.7 per cent to 317,096 ounces, in the first half of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016. Also, the report showed the bauxite industry declined by 11.5 per cent, as a result of reduced production of higher valued grades.This was a consequence of poor weather combined with mechanical issues at one of the mines. However, production of metal grade bauxite (MAZ) increased by 97,016 tonnes or 21.3 per cent, the report had stated.
Piracy massacre Days after 39-year-old Nakool Manohar, called “Fyah”, was arraigned for the murder of Tilacknauth Mohabir, called “Caiman,” who was brutally killed during the deadly piracy attacks in Surinamese waters, another Guyanese was reportedly arrested for the heinous crime.Based on information received, the suspect, “Bolo,” a popular fisherman on the Corentyne, was arrested by Surinamese lawmen over the weekend.Nakool ManoharSurinamese officials are tight-lipped about the arrest, by well-placed sources confirm that one man was arrested and is being questioned in connection with the deadly attacks that have left several dead.Two weeks ago, “Killerman”, who was fingered in the murder of Guyanese businessman Somnath Monohar, was arrested after an informant provided information to the Police, and he remains in custody as investigations continue into the incidents.Based on reports received, the informant, an enemy to “Killerman”, was shot to his chest during an attempted execution by the suspect, who drove off the scene with another man in his vehicle.Prior to Killerman’s arrest, it was reported that the late Somnath Monohar’s family had travelled to Suriname and had offered US$50,000 as revenge money for his murder. Monohar was killed on March 30 while he and a colleague were standing in front of a relative’s home.However, prior to his arrest, Premcharan Ravikan, a Surinamese Police Auxiliary Agent, was found dead hours after he had allegedly been kidnapped by Guyanese. He was reportedly stabbed five times and shot once. His throat was also slit, and a single bullet wound was evident on his abdomen. It was later reported that he had been connected to the shooting death of Somnath Monohar. He reportedly had provided the weapon that was used to execute the businessman.To date, “Crackhead” has confessed to killing five of the Guyanese fishermen and disposing of their bodies by throwing them overboard.Upon his arrest, he reportedly told Police that he was following orders, which were to attack the boat and “get rid” of the occupants.Five of the men survived the attacks, which occurred between April 26 and May 2. Four bodies were recovered but 11 persons are still missing. Meanwhile, several persons remain in custody for the murderous incidents.
FREEZING RAIN WARNING ISSUED For Fort St John BY ENVIRONMENT CANADABULLETIN ISSUED AT: 6.03 AM PDT FRIDAY 31 OCTOBER 2008FREEZING RAIN IN WILLISTON THIS MORNING. FREEZING RAIN IS FORECAST TO DEVELOP OVER THE B.C. PEACE RIVER DISTRICTS THIS MORNING. THIS IS A WARNING THAT AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF FREEZING RAIN IS EXPECTED OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS.- Advertisement –
Riley announced Tuesday he’ll return as coach of the Heat next week, following a six-week absence to address health issues. He’ll begin running practice again when the team reconvenes after the All-Star break and will be back on the sideline Feb. 21 when Miami visits Houston. The 7-foot-2 Tsakalidis will give the Rockets a big man to help out with Yao Ming still out after breaking his right leg on Dec. 23. Seattle’s Ray Allen and Utah’s Mehmet Okur were chosen by commissioner David Stern as injury replacements for the All-Star Game. The two take over for Steve Nash (shoulder) and Allen Iverson (ankle), both of whom had to pull out Sunday’s game in Las Vegas. Also, the NBA announced that Hornets point guard Chris Paul will replace Nash in the Skills competition on Saturday night. The San Antonio Spurs traded forward Eric Williams and a second-round draft pick in 2009 to the Charlotte Bobcats for forward-center Melvin Ely in an exchange of veteran backups. Chargers make list The Chargers received permission to interview four candidates to replace fired head coach Marty Schottenheimer, including one-time San Diego offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Turner was offensive coordinator with the Chargers in 2001. He’s currently the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. He interviewed for the Dallas Cowboys’ head coaching job that went to Wade Phillips, the Chargers’ former defensive coordinator. The Chargers also received permission to interview Hall of Famer 49ers assistant head coach Mike Singletary and Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, both of whom interviewed for the Cowboys job. The fourth candidate is Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. Schottenheimer was fired Monday night by team president Dean Spanos, who cited a “dysfunctional situation” between Schottenheimer and GM A.J. Smith. New GM Jerry Reese cut another veteran from the New York Giants, releasing return specialist Chad Morton. The release of Morton came a day after Reese cut three veteran starters: linebacker LaVar Arrington, offensive tackle Luke Petitgout and linebacker Carlos Emmons. Joe Cullen, a Detroit Lions assistant coach arrested for driving nude and a week later for drunken driving, was sentenced to two years probation and must attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week. He must pay more than $1,600 in fines and court costs, and attend a Feb. 21 panel discussion featuring people affected by drunken drivers. Koreas: No deal Sports officials from North and South Korea failed to reach any agreement on forming a single team for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. South Korea has insisted athletes should be selected based on performance, while the North wants equal representation. Kuerten back Gustavo Kuerten beat seventh-seeded Filippo Volandri, 6-3, 6-1, in the first round of the Brazil Open, snapping an 18-month winless streak. Kuerten, a three-time French Open winner, has struggled to recover from a right hip injury and surgery in 2004. His previous ATP-level victory was in August 2005 in the first round of the U.S. Open. “I knew it was just a matter of time, I’m improving physically and this win should give me more confidence,” said the 30-year-old Kuerten, the former No. 1 now ranked 1,076th. Forsberg available Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said that the team has a plan in place if center Peter Forsberg, an unrestricted free agent this summer and one of the hottest trade prospects as the NHL trade deadline of Feb. 27 nears, asks to be traded to a Stanley Cup contender or if the team trades him because he wouldn’t commit to re-signing. Among his top suitors are Nashville, San Jose, Anaheim and Detroit. However, Forsberg has a no-trade clause that he would have to waive. Briefly The owners of Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner euthanized last month, have started a $3 million endowment at the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school to study equine diseases. The endowment from Roy and Gretchen Jackson was named for Dean Richardson, the veterinary surgeon who treated Barbaro at Penn’s New Bolton Center since May 20, when he shattered three bones in his right rear leg at the start of the Preakness Stakes. Prominent horse owner/breeder Trudy McCaffery died Monday at her home in a San Diego suburb after a long battle with cancer. She was 62. Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway has been elected chairman of the Arena Football League’s executive committee. Elway, the co-owner of the Colorado Crush, succeeds Avengers owner Casey Wasserman. The WNBA’s Houston Comets hired Karleen Thompson as their new head coach and general manager. Thompson, who spent part of one season as interim co-coach of the Sparks, was an assistant with the Comets the last two seasons under former coach Van Chancellor, who resigned last month. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Pat Riley walked into the room, and immediately, there were two noticeable changes in his style. He has a gray beard, something he says he may keep. More importantly to the Miami Heat, his limp was gone. “I’m ready,” Riley said. “I’m in a much better state of mind than I was January 3rd – I can guarantee you that.” That was the day Riley stepped aside; the 61-year-old, who is also the Heat’s president, had surgery to repair knee cartilage two days later, then a long-awaited and much-needed hip replacement surgery the following week. He’s been working in his office at times in recent weeks, meeting with players on several occasions, and now is apparently ready to return full-time to lead the Heat’s defense of their NBA championship. “We knew this day was going to come,” Heat center Alonzo Mourning said. “He said he was coming back. The body heals up and eventually he would have an opportunity to come back. That time is coming near and I’m excited about him coming back.” The Memphis Grizzlies traded center Jake Tsakalidis to the Houston Rockets in exchange for forward Scott Padgett.
“He’ll probably ship on Feb. 26, 27 or 28,” Currin said. Stormello, who could meet Kentucky Derby favorite Nobiz Like Showbiz in the Fountain of Youth, worked one mile at Hollywood Park on Friday in 1:39. A field of 10, headed by 2006 Horse of the Year finalist Lava Man, is shaping up for the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 3. Lava Man, who along with John Henry and Milwaukee Brew are the only three horses to win the race twice, will attempt to become the first three-time winner of the Big ‘Cap. The probable field includes Strub Stakes winner Arson Squad, Awesome Gem, Ball Four, Boboman, Brother Derek, El Roblar, Lava Man, McCann’s Mojave, Molengao and Spring at Last. Trainer Bob Baffert still is on the fence with his two nominees, C’mon Tiger and Sinister Minister. The Craig Dollase-trained Wilko also is a possible starter. Long-shot specialist Saul Arias guided 22-1 outsider Conveyor’s Angel to victory by a head over Singalong in the $150,000 Grade II Buena Vista Handicap on Presidents’ Day at Santa Anita. It was the first-ever stakes victory for the 28-year-old Arias, who made a name for himself during the 2005-06 Santa Anita meeting by winning with numerous long shots. His first victory in Southern California, aboard Jackieosofabulous, on New Year’s Day 2006, returned $33.40. One day later he scored with J.P.’s Gayle, who paid $44.60. Conveyor’s Angel, the second-longest shot in the eight-horse field of fillies and mares, closed from last over a turf course labeled “good” and ran the one-mile distance in 1:35.77. The 5-year-old daughter of Conveyor returned $46.40. email@example.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2103 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Ravel breezed four furlongs Sunday over Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track in 48.80. Meanwhile, the Doug O’Neill-trained Great Hunter, third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November, worked six furlongs at Hollywood Park on Monday in 1:12.80 in preparation for the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes (formerly the Santa Catalina) on March 3. “He’s doing awesome,” O’Neill said. “He worked in company with a maiden and galloped out real strong. I’m real happy with where we’re at.” Trainer Bill Currin said he hopes to finalize travel plans for Stormello, winner of last fall’s Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-olds at Oak Tree, sometime today. Stormello will run next in the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 3. The Santa Anita Derby would be Ravel’s final race before the Kentucky Derby on May 5. The son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus is two for three lifetime after a victory in the Grade III Sham Stakes on Feb. 3 at Santa Anita. ARCADIA – Three of the West Coast’s top Kentucky Derby hopefuls were in the news Monday. Ravel, one of the West’s top 3-year-olds, “most likely” will run next in the Santa Anita Derby on April 7, trainer Todd Pletcher said.
“Send one up here!” said interim President Manuel Baca, who welcomed the crowd and spotlighted several students who overcame many obstacles to earn their two-year degrees.“This is one of those days in which dreams become reality,” Baca told the graduates. “We know the road to your degree was a long and challenging one, but you’ve succeeded.“You’ve arrived, and we salute you,” he added. “You’re ready to take the next step, and the next step, and the next step after that.”Baca also posthumously awarded a degree and a graduation robe to the family of student Yomaira Elizabeth Rizo, who was killed in a car accident recently.Rizo had already been accepted to UC San Diego in the fall and had planned to study microbiology there in preparation for medical school.“Our hearts go out to you and your family,” Baca told Rizo’s family, which was seated in the front row.Also honored at the ceremony was valedictorian Shirley Estella Culver and Patrick Boyle, who created the college’s Disabled Students Program. Boyle was given the Fellow of the College 2007 award for exemplifying a commitment to education and community firstname.lastname@example.org(562) 698-0955 Ext. 3051160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Photo Gallery: Rio Hondo College graduates WHITTIER — It takes special, momentous occasions like graduations to make people marvel at how quickly time flies — and Thursday’s 44th annual commencement ceremony at Rio Hondo College was no different.As he waited for family and friends to arrive for the 6 p.m. ceremony, graduate Gabriel Rivera, 24, of East Los Angeles, reflected on the past two years and said he felt good about his time at Rio Hondo College.“It was a cool environment, you got a lot of attention from the teachers and the classes were pretty easy to get,” Rivera added. “It was good, and it went by so fast,” said Rivera, who will study communications at Cal State L.A. this fall. “But I’m definitely glad it’s over.”Even commencement speaker Art Acevedo, chief of the California Highway Patrol, told the graduates he could distinctly remember being in their place 23 years ago, when he received his associate’s degree from Rio Hondo College.“I remember sitting in my seat, hearing the commencement speaker and thinking, ‘Get off the stage already so I can get my AA degree!’” Acevedo said, prompting a hearty round of laughter and cheers from the graduates.“So I’ll try to keep it under an hour, OK?” joked Acevedo, who grew up in El Monte and graduated from Pioneer High School in Whittier.Hundreds of supporters crowded Rio Hondo’s soccer field for the annual graduation, armed with balloons, flowers and beach balls that the graduates bounced back and forth to each other.
“I see how convenient it is for people,” he maintains. “You can go into a grocery store, you’re picking up some eggs and milk, and you can pick up a bottle of wine.” Yap has met with stakeholders on all sides of the equation, from liquor producers, distributors and servers, as well as people involved in health and public safety, law enforcement and local government. His report, which is due by November 25, will include a number of recommendations for some “common sense” updates to some long-standing regulations. The public has until October 31 to submit their input online on the liquor policy review website. “I’ve heard feedback from folks who are in the pub business,” he uses as an example. “I do understand their perspectives, how their business has changed over the years, so they were giving me their stories, and that’s important for me to hear.”Yap also points to the Lido Theatre’s owner Brian Kirschner as having taken an innovative approach to revitalize an old business. As almost every community has an old movie theatre, he argues others may be able to follow Kirschner’s lead. “He’s now created a model that perhaps can apply to other communities that want this, where old-type movie theatres that are no longer movie theatres can be revived as a thriving live show venue.” – Advertisement -The Lido also benefited from a 2012 change in liquor laws that allow it to serve alcohol during the screening of a film or sporting events.Throughout his tour of the province, and through the review’s website, Yap says the most common feedback he’s gotten has been on how convenient it is when British Columbians travel to the U.S. or certain other provinces and can purchase liquor in convenience and grocery stores. Advertisement