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Two journalists Guyana Times journalists were recipients of various awards as the Guyana Press Association hosted its second annual dinner and awards ceremony on Sunday evening at the Georgetown Club.Guyana Times Journalist: Lakhram BhagiratShemuel Fanfair, who reports primarily on agriculture, political and legal issues received the second prize for young journalist of the year as well as the third prize for the best political story. Meanwhile, Lakhram Bhagirat, who principally specialises in health, human rights, community issues and featuring writing, secured the third places prizes for the young journalist of the year category and for best coverage of human rights issues. Both winners are West Demerara natives.The Young Journalist of the Year Award for which the two reporters secured second and third respectively required that entrants submit five stories of a consistently high quality. Fanfair’s five entries ranged from a Wales father of four pleading for his severance pay to the social ills that abounded in Wakenaam owing to challenges in the rice industry.Guyana Times Journalist: Shemuel FanfairAnother delved into the challenges the Wales market vendors were facing following the Estate’s closure while the other related to a High Court civil matter which dealt with a miller indenting to pay rice farmers monthly installments of $20,000 even though almost $10 million in judgement and court costs were earlier awarded. Fanfair’s third place winning political story focused on range of issues surrounding sugar workers not receiving their severance pay.Bhagirat’s third place prize for best coverage for human rights stories focused on his in-depth reporting on the Mental Health Unit’s plans to roll out suicide surveillance system. Therein, he reported that teachers would be trained to identify children with psychological trauma.For his five entries that secured him the third-place prize for Young Journalist of the Year, the journalist work included the September 2017 report where parents of three-year-old Anisha Singh were calling for a probe into their daughter’s death. Bhagirat was one of the reporters, who went to the interior community of Chenapau and his story on the plight of miners being arrested for allegedly mining in protested areas was recognised. Additionally, he reported on Charity Market Vendors refusing to relocate and another story where a first-time mother recalled a horrifying experience at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation’s Maternity Ward. His final entry in this category concerned Berbice businessmen laying off sugar workers in preparation for the closure of the Rose Hall Estate.Attorney at law, Nigel Hughes was the guest speaker at the media awards. Giving brief remarks, he highlighted the importance of journalists in several sectors but especially in the political arena.“You possess the unrivaled talent to shape the development of our country – use it for this purpose rather than lend support to taking heads which are sometimes focused on making political points spreading doom and gloom without spreading alternative solutions and approaches,” Hughes implored.Meanwhile, the president of the GPA, Nazima Raghubir observed that the 2018s ceremony was organised to give the much-needed credit and recognition for outstanding performances in media fraternity. She said too that work of journalists is key to holding members of civil and political society accountable.Vanessa Braithwaite from the State newspaper emerged at the top awardee after copping a total of seven awards, including Young Journalist of the Year.More than 30 journalist entered stories print, television and online categories. There were more than 180 entries across 11 categories which exceeded last year’s ceremony.
Two alleged cutlass-wielding bandits, who reportedly attacked and robbed a miner in his camp at Takatu Backdam, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), on Friday last were hauled before Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.Titus ValenzuelaTerrence Bacchus appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan and pleaded not guilty to the offence while Titus Valenzuela admitted to the charge which stated that on December 27, 2019, at Takutu Backdam, Cuyuni River, while being armed with cutlasses, they robbed Candacia Ramroah of a phone valued $58,000.It was further alleged that on the same day and the same location, while being armed with cutlasses, they robbed Joao Pintoo of $830,000, a cologne valued $87,000, a phone valued $5000 and 14 pennyweight of raw gold valued $180,000.Valenzuela in a plea of mitigation told the court that “I robbed him because my family needed the money”.As a result, Valenzuela was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment while Bacchus was remanded to prison.Titus ValenzuelaThe prosecution is contending that the robbery occurred at about 23:30h while Dostristinto, his cook and a worker, were sound asleep in their mining camp.According to the prosecution’s case, the two suspects, each with a cutlass, stormed the camp and threatened to kill the miner if he did not hand over the cash, gold and other valuables.After putting up a resistance, the cutlass-wielding bandits bound Dostristinto and proceed to ransack the camp. The cook and the worker were reportedly in their respective quarters when the men executed the robbery.Dostristinto reportedly told Police that the masked bandits relieved him of $830,000 that he had on his person and then robbed him of two mobile phones.They also collected four bottles of brand name colognes and 14 pennyweights of raw gold before they made good their escape.Shortly after the robbery, the worker and cook employed by Dostristinto became aware that something was amiss and went to their employer’s aid. The miner was then untied and he immediately contacted the police to report the matter.Investigators began their probe and the hunt for the two suspects intensified after they received information that the men were leaving the region.On Saturday, a team of policemen who were deployed at the Bartica Ferry Stelling observed two men acting in a suspicious manner as they were on board a vessel destined for Parika, East Bank Essequibo.The duo was taken off the boat and taken to the Bartica Police Station where they were searched, during which the money and other items were discovered.The case will continue on January 19, 2020, at the Bartica Magistrate’s Court.