After a two-year hiatus, the 2018 Carib Soca Monarch was launched at the Department of Culture, Education Ministry.The competition, which is slated for February 10 and 17, will see 15 performers competing for the grand prize of $1.5 million.At the press conference on Monday, Minister with responsibility for culture, Dr George Norton highlighted that the competition will now be under the purview of the Central Mash Committee. Minister Norton also stated that music is the bloodline of the Mashramani festival and urged local deejays and promoters to get involved in the publicising of the competition’s music.Minister with responsibility for culture, Dr George NortonCompetition Coordinator, Nigel Worrell, noted they received a total of 18 entries which was fine-tuned to a total of 15 semi-finalists. Those semi-finalists are Alisha “Sasha Melody” Hamid, Brandon Harding, Colwin “Lil Colwin” Blair, Colwyn “Soca Colwyn” Abrams, Delon “Soca Del” Azore, Diana Chapman, Jonathan “Lil Red” King, Keron “Norek Mas” Sam, Melissa “Vanilla” Roberts, Quacy “Avalanche” Coates, Roger “Young Bill Rogers” Hinds, Roshauna Fraser, Samantha Grant, Shellon “Fluffy” Gally and Stanton “Cardiac” Lewis.These 15 contestants will be heading to the mining town of Linden on February 10 for the semi-final leg of the competition, where five contestants will be eliminated. Then the remaining 10 will head to D’Urban Park in Georgetown to compete for the grand prize on February 17. They will be judged on lyrics, melody, rendition, diction and musical arrangement.The first prize winner will receive $1.5 million, 2nd prize $700,000; 3rd prize $500,000 and 4th prize $400,000. The Ministry is seeking to collaborate with a local telephone company to implement a People’s Choice Award which will see the winner receiving one hundred thousand dollars. The eleven newcomers will all be vying for the US$1000 prize of Best New Comer.
Piracy massacreAlmost two months after the deadly piracy attacks that occurred in Surinamese waters had left four persons dead and 11 others still missing, President David Granger has issued a proclamation listing Monday, June 25, 2018 as a National Day of Morning in memory of the victims.A statement from the Ministry of the Presidency on Friday said that this action was taken by the President using powers under Article 99 (1) of the Constitution.“… Whereas His Excellency, the President, considers that the Co-operative Republic of Guyana should observe Monday the 25th day of June 2018 as a national day of mourning, as a solemn memorial to the victims of the massacre of Guyanese fishermen off the coast of Suriname between the 27th day of April, 2018 and the 3rd day of May, 2018; now, therefore…I declare Monday the 25th day of June, 2018 a national day of mourning for that purpose,” the proclamation details.Moreover, the document calls on all “authorities, boards, commissions, corporations, public agencies, ministries and citizens to fly the Golden Arrowhead of Guyana at half-staff to demonstrate solidarity with the families of those killed in these grisly and gruesome acts, and to accord due homage, respect and reverence to the memory of the victims.”Late in the evening of April 27, 2018, four boats were attacked by a group of privates, who brutalised the occupants then threw them overboard. Two days later, another boat was attacked, and the captain was killed. That crew is still missing.Most of the victims from both attacks are Guyanese fishermen who were living in neighbouring Suriname. Among those still missing are Guyanese Ramesh Sanchara, Ganesh Persaud, Bharat Heralall, Ralph Anthony and Tiaknauth Mohabir.Only four persons from the first attack survived, while four bodies have since been recovered.However, only two of the recovered bodies have thus far been identified. They are Danesh Singh who, along with the other two unidentified persons, was recovered in Surinamese waters, and 33-year-old Gavin Outar of 18 Sheet Anchor, East Canje, Berbice, whose body washed up at the Number 63 Beach in Guyana.Meanwhile, 13 suspects presently remain in Surinamese authorities’ custody, including “Crackhead,” who confessed to killing at least five of the fishermen. He reportedly was “following orders” to “get rid” of the men after brutalising them.“Crackhead” did not divulge any information about his accomplices, but based on descriptions given by the five survivors, the other men arrested were picked up at several locations in Suriname.Days after the breakthrough, Surinamese Police officer Premcharan Ravikan was found dead hours after allegedly being kidnapped by Guyanese. His body was discovered with at least five stab wounds and one gunshot wound.Hours after the discovery of Ravikan’s body, a Guyanese fisherman walked into a Police station in Suriname and confessed to the heinous crime. It was established after Ravikan’s death that he had provided the gun that was used in the execution-style killing of Guyanese businessman Somnath Manohar on March 30 last.After his death, Manohar’s family had allegedly offered members of a gang US$50,000 to revenge his killing.Suriname law enforcement officials believe the recent piracy attacks were in retaliation for Manohar’s death. However, one of the men fingered in the piracy attacks is Nakool Manohar, brother of the late Somnath Manohar.Last week, Nakool Manohar, called “Fyah”, 39, of Number 43 Village and another one of the attackers, Premnauth Persaud, called “Sanbad” or “Boy”, 43, of Cromarty Village appeared at the Springlands Magistrate’s Court, where they were jointly charged with two counts of murder. They were not required to plead to the indictable charge which stated that between April 27 and May 3, at sea, they murdered Tillacknauth Mohabir, called “Caiman”; and Mahesh Sarjoo, called “Koba,” during the course of a robbery.The men were previously charged separately, but those charges were withdrawn and reinstated jointly. Nevertheless, as investigations continue, the two countries are looking for a breakthrough, as well as to place the suspects before the courts. (Vahnu Manikchand)