Business Minister Dominic Gaskin will now be responsible for the Tourism industry, following the A Partnership for National Unit/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) government’s decision to relieve Minister ofPublic Telecommunications Minister Cathy HughesMinister of Business who will now add Tourism to his portfolio, Dominic GaskinPublic Telecommunications Cathy Hughes of these duties.In a move to focus more on Public Telecommunications, Minister Hughes who serves as Minister of Public Telecommunications and Tourism, will now relinquish her responsibly of the tourism sector.This newspaper understands that the rationale behind this move is based on the need for a greater focus on Public Telecommunications, even after Minister Hughes has managed both sectors effectively.Minister Hughes had amassed a vast knowledge of the Telecommunications sector having graduated from University of the West Indies, with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in Mass Communications in addition to her 20 years of on-field knowledge.Minister Hughes will serve as Minister of Tourism until end of June, as Gaskin, the son-in-law of President David Granger, will take over effective July 1, 2016. Hughes has also previously served as Director of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG).The responsibility of Public Telecommunications was moved from Ministry of Public Infrastructure in January, to the Ministry of Tourism.
By Ashraf DabieChristmas shopping in downtown Georgetown has now gotten even more hectic, as Parliament sessions for the deliberation of Budget 2018 gets underway.An atmosphere of chaos clouded the city for the past two days as these sessions kicked off on Monday, resulting in the displacement of several bus parks housed around the Stabroek Market area.Displaced commuters in Lombard StreetThis is as several main roadways in the vicinity of the Parliament Building have been closed off to civilian traffic, so as to make accommodations for easy access and the safety of the parliamentarians attending these sessions.Adding to that, almost all of the bus parks usually housed around the Stabroek Market Square and its environs were moved further up Lombard Street, forcing passengers to walk a fair distance to get to their buses.When Guyana Times visited downtown Georgetown on Tuesday, bus operators and commuters were outraged, contending that these changes are of major inconvenience.Commuters walking great distances to get busesA route 42 bus operator, William Gomes, while speaking to this publication indicated that these changes, despite being temporary, have posed a challenge to his means of earning an income.“It’s hard to get people to come into your bus. It’s like soliciting passenger and you gotta be hollering your throat out to get a passenger,” expressed the bus operator, who continued by saying, “It’s very hard for me to be doing this. I think they should do something better to avoid this (the displacement).”Acknowledging the significance of the Budget debates, he argued that better arrangements should be put in place for the man on the street.“At least if they can bring out a little more Police and get this thing organised the right way or leave we in the park. At least allow four or five buses to go in the park and load than putting everybody out here and then the people gotta walk till from so with big big bags. If you got a old grandmother, she gotta fetch a heavy bag to come here. For two weeks? That’s real unfair, they should do something,” an animated Gomes recommended.Expressing similar concerns was Ivelaw Cummings, another bus driver who was moved from the usual park to the temporary Lombard Street location.In doing so he stated, “At this time when they have conference session like this, they should not allow the canters and other vehicles to park here to be able to accommodate minibuses.”He further pointed out that, “All the buses here, we got (routes) 31, 42, 43 everybody within this area. So if they would move the private vehicles for this session, it would make us confortable. “Meanwhile, a great number of commuters complained that they were unaware of the changes and as such continue to face difficulties in locating buses plying the various routes.Amidst the confusion, persons were saying they will not return to town until after Budget sessions are through.Parliament convened on Monday last for the presentation of the 2018 Budget. This was followed by the debates which kicked off on Monday and are expect to last until Friday.These sessions are to run for an addition week during which the estimates will be taken into consideration.The displacement of the bus parks persist throughout this period.