…illegal firearms entering porous borders – Police sourceBy Samuel SukhnandanA senior regional official from Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini) has claimed that heavily armed gangs close to the Guyana-Venezuela border have been reportedly interfering with Guyanese who are engaged in fishing along the Amakuru River. This river links the two countries in the Region One.The official, who requested anonymity, told Guyana Times that there have been reports of pirates attacking Guyanese fishing boats along that border. He said while there is no confirmation, based on the statements taken from the affected Guyanese, these men may belong to large gangs in that country.These gang members have been described as ‘Merczateers’. The regional official said he strongly believes some Guyanese fishers may have ventured near the Venezuelan border, as the Police station had received reports of some fishing boats being stripped and robbed by pirates.“These men belonging to these gangs in Venezuela are heavily armed and poses a threat to Guyanese venturing close to the border separating the two countries,” a senior Police official said while explaining that a joint service operation in the area is needed and will be conducted in the near future.The Police said this operation will determine whether there is need to improve security along that area to prevent these incidents from happening, as it may pose a threat to the region and country’s security.However, the police official gave his commitment that everything necessary will be done to prevent the matter from escalating and ensuring the full protection of Guyanese fishers.Despite this, however, the officer did state that the border between Guyana and Venezuela in Region One is porous. The officer made this statement, in spite of there being a checkpoint along the border where a Police Inspector and his team are stationed to verify the goods entering these shores.Guyana Times also understands that illegal firearms have been entering Guyana through that same border. Another senior Police rank also revealed that they recently received a tip-off from members of the public, and based on investigations, several high-powered weapons were found at a residence.The officer said these weapons are believed to have originated from Venezuela. He noted that persons were recently charged for the offence of illegal possession of firearms and placed before the courts.This newspaper also understands that there have been other instances where illegal firearms were unearthed during Police operations and the weapons were illegally brought here from Venezuela.There have been previous reports of similar incidents along the Guyana-Venezuela border at other parts of the country. In July 2016 it was reported that a heavily armed gang of Spanish-speaking men terrorised Guyanese villagers in a Region 7 border village with Venezuela.It was indicated that the men, whom villagers say are Venezuelans, have been crossing the border committing robberies and extortion in the village of Arau. These gang members were also accused of taunting Army and law enforcement officials with high-powered weapons and grenades.Villagers in that region would have said that the gang is part of a “Venezuelan Syndicato” which operates as a rogue body in Venezuelan villages specialising in extortion. The gang carrying out the attacks has attempted to indulge in the same types of tactics on the Guyana side of the border.Villagers in Regions One and Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) said while incursions by Venezuelan criminal elements are not new, the nature of the attacks has become worse over recent times.Venezuela is experiencing the worst economic crisis in its history, with an inflation rate of over 400 per cent and a volatile exchange rate. Heavily in debt and with inflation soaring, its people continue to take to the streets in protest. There have also been huge shortages of food supplies.Besides that, Venezuela has long claimed a huge tract of land known as the Essequibo, which comprises nearly 40 per cent of Guyana’s current territory. The decades-old controversy was brought back into the spotlight following the discovery of oil in Guyana which led to Venezuela reiterating its land claims.Relations between Guyana and Venezuela have worsened ever since United States oil giant ExxonMobil announced in 2015 that it had found oil in Guyana. Venezuela has staunchly been against oil exploration in Guyana’s Stabroek Block, where multiple oil deposits were found by ExxonMobil.A high-level meeting was fixed between Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge and a Venezuelan delegation to discuss the border controversy in October this year. This was aimed at reaching a resolution through the Good Offices Process until the end of 2017.No resolution has been met since but Guyana has indicated that it is prepared to go to the International Court of Justice as the next means of settlement to the controversy.
Dani Ceballos celebrates his goal for Real Betis against Racing Santander He’s one of the most highly-rated teenagers in Spain, and Dani Ceballos is reportedly on the radar of a number of leading clubs, both in the UK and in his home country.So what is all the fuss about? talkSPORT puts the 18-year-old under the Transfer Spotlight…Name: Daniel ‘Dani’ Ceballos FernandezDate of birth: August 7, 1996Birthplace: Utrera, SpainPosition: WingerClub: Real BetisWhat’s the latest?Reports coming out of Spain suggest Chelsea are leading the race to sign the teenage sensation, but that interest has alerted Atletico Madrid, who are plotting a move to keep him in his native country. Real Betis, then, are in pretty much a win-win situation. They are happy to for him to sign a new contract to keep him, or to drive the price beyond the £6m figure currently being talked about.Did you know?1) He was born in Utrera, a province of Seville, and joined Sevilla’s youth set-up at the age of just eight. However, he was released in 2009, at the age of 13, because of a chronic lung condition.2) He played for his local club, CD Utrera, for two years before being picked up by Real Betis in 2011.3) Three years later, in April 2014, and without even playing a game for the club’s B side, he made his senior debut as a substitute in a 1-0 home defeat to Real Socidead.4) He scored his first senior goal later that year, in December against Racing Santander. He has still played only 12 senior games for Betis, with only that one goal to his name, but such is his promise he is already rated in the £6m bracket. His contract ends in June 2016, but he has recently changed agents, fuelling speculation he could be set for a move.5) His progress has already been recognised by the national side and he has won three Under-19 caps for Spain.He says…“I’ve been ‘betico’ (a Betis fan) since childhood, but had the misfortune of playing for Sevilla. Now what I’d like is to succeed with Betis.”They say…“We have offered [Dani] a contract for the next four years and are awaiting a response from his agents.” Betis Sporting director, AlexisVideo evidence… 1
Best Western® Hotels & Resorts celebrated the official launch of its latest Bangkok property this week, with a lavish grand opening event at the Best Western Plus Wanda Grand Hotel.Held on May 19, 2016, Nisit Jansomwong, Nonthaburi Governor presided over the event and gave an opening speech, which was followed by speech from Krisda Thitipunya, the hotel’s owner, and Olivier Berrivin, Best Western’s Managing Director of International Operations for Asia.The event was also attended by 400 guests including Wichai Bandasak, Pakkret Municipality Mayor, media and travel agents. Guests were treated to a presentation of the hotel, introducing its many unique amenities and state-of-the-art facilities.The event took place at the hotel’s vast 927m² Wanda Grand Ballroom, which can cater for large-scale events of almost 900 people. This is one of nine separate function spaces at the new hotel, which is expected to become a major hub for the MICE market.The lights of the Wanda Grand Ballroom were then dimmed for a dramatic live performance, featuring a percussion group illuminated by LED lights. The lucky draws were also held, allowing guests to win fantastic prizes including stays at Best Western hotels.“I can think of no better way to celebrate the grand opening of this exceptional hotel than with such a spectacular event in the state-of-the-art Wanda Grand Ballroom,” Mr. Berrivin said.“With its extensive conference and banqueting facilities, including four floors of function rooms, Best Western Plus Wanda Grand Hotel will surely become a firm favorite with meeting planners.“As well as celebrating the launch of a wonderful new hotel, our grand opening celebration has demonstrated the quality of event Best Western Plus Wanda Grand Hotel is able to deliver. Many special occasions will be held in this hotel in the coming years, and I am delighted to be part of the first.”As well as its exceptional meeting facilities, Best Western Plus Wanda Grand Hotel offers a range of accommodation for both short and long stays, an outstanding restaurant serving modern Thai and international cuisine, a cosmopolitan cafe, an outdoor infinity pool overlooking the Bangkok skyline, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.Located close to Don Mueang International Airport, Thai government complex, IMPACT convention centre, World Medical Center and several major retail and entertainment areas, Best Western Plus Wanda Grand Hotel is expected to appeal to all types of traveler. Best Western Plus Wanda Grand Hotel Source = Best Western® Hotels & Resorts