– last seen at school gateMissing: Vilma “Kamini” AnantAn Enmore, East Coast Demerara family has been worried since Monday when 15-year-old Vilma Anant went missing.Guyana Times understands that Anant, commonly known as “Kamini”, is a Fourth Form (Grade 10) student of Apex Academy. The teenager reportedly left for school on Monday morning but upon arriving at the gate, she turned around and left – and has not been seen or heard from since.Speaking with this newspaper, Anant’s uncle, Vijay Sukhdeo, explained that “Kamini” had been living with them since she was little. He said the teenager’s parents had resided in Mahaica Creek, but separated years ago so he and his wife took in “Kamini”.“She come live with us from since nursery to now and we never had any problems like this before,” the worried man related.Sukhdeo recalled that on Monday morning “Kamini” sat down to have breakfast with the family and all seemed to be well with her. She then left for school. He noted some time after they got a call from the school asking about her.“Because it’s a private school, they would call home whenever a student does not show up. So the teacher called home and asked about her and I told her that she left to go to school, but the teacher said she wasn’t there,” the man noted.He added that later in the day when the school bus returned to drop off students, they enquired from the driver and he confirmed that he dropped the teenager off in the morning.Sukhdeo went on to relate that he visited the school on Tuesday and was shown footage from Monday morning. “Mr Ali showed me the video and we see her going up to the school gate and then she turn around and left,” the man said.The cameras did not extend to the road, so it cannot be said where the young lady could have gone from the school’s Atlantic Gardens, ECD location. According to her uncle, there was no one with his niece at the time nor did anything seem to be amiss with her.Furthermore, the man said that on Monday after the young woman failed to return home, the family contacted all her relatives and friends, but no one had seen or heard from her.A worried Sukhdeo explained to this newspaper that his niece was a quiet individual and had never caused such a problem. “I don’t know what happen … I really can’t say why she would disappear like that, we never had any problems with her… this is the first time something like this happen,” he said.The family is pleading with the teenager to return home as soon as possible, and is also requesting members of the public with information on the whereabouts of 15-year-old Vilma “Kamini” Anant to contact them on 616-6345 or the nearest Police Station.
Local beverage giant Banks DIH Limited has recorded a whopping $4.085 billion profit after tax according to its 2018 annual report, compared to $3.584 billion in the previous year.This represents an increase of $501 million or 14 per cent, according to Banks DIH Chairman Clifford Reis in his report.The profit before tax, on the other hand, also grew by 18.8 per cent with $6.032 billion recorded in 2018 against $5.079 billion the previous year, representing an increase of $953 million.Revenues generated by the company were recorded at $27.863 billion compared to $26.548 billion in 2017, a five per cent hike.Meanwhile, the Banks DIH Limited Group’s third-party revenue was $30.923 billion from $30.006 billion in 2017 while trading profit from operations for the Group was $6.837 billion last year against $6.196 billion the previous year.Profit after tax attributable to shareholders of the parent company was $4.2 billion while the Group’s Net Asset Value per share increased from $34.33 to $$40.15.Furthermore, the Board of Directors recommended a dividend proposal of $1.10 per share unit, resulting in an overall cost of $934.8 million.According to Reis, who is also the company’s Managing Director, these improved outcomes were as a result of the increase in physical case sales of its Malt Products, XM Rum and Banko Wines as well as the company’s Golden Harvest Bread and baked goods, and Demico and Crème Select Ice-creams and Frostee products.Additionally, he said benefits were also accrued as a result of efficiencies achieved from raw material conversion and improved production throughout, arising from capital expenditure investment over recent years.“The improved results were also as a result of lower prices negotiated for several raw and packaging materials as well as from the prudent management of our financial resources,” he stated.The Chairman noted, however, that the environmental tax affected the selling prices and, therefore, the affordability of the company’s soft drinks and bottled water products.Reis further outlined that the recapitalisation of the company’s capital base was continued during 2018. However, he pointed out that going forward this year, Banks DIH’s capital expenditure thrust will be focused on increasing a number of continuing and new projects including the construction of a new multi-storey car parking facility at the Demerara Park Area, which will include space for planned future development.With regard to Citizens Bank Guyana Inc, profit after tax for the year 2018 was recorded at $602.3 million, while profit before tax was $1.009 billion. Revenues of the Bank stood at $3.160 billion, while Net Interest Income was $2.24 billion and earnings per share was $10.12.Additionally, Citizens Bank’s assets base was $50.5 billion, while loan assets decreased from $28.2 billion to $25.5 billion in 2018, and Customer Deposits were $40.9 billion compared to $40.6 billion in 2017.In terms of quality management and environmental responsibility, Reis noted that the company continued to be guided by principles of sustainability and accountability to reduce or eliminate any impact of its operations on the environment and communities.Against this backdrop, the Chairman posited that Banks DIH would continue with its various programmes that celebrate the country’s diversity.“We continue to evaluate our traditional business model to create wealth for shareholders through the creation of new synergies, implementation of finance and marketing initiatives and, continuing emphasis on cost reduction strategies… These new business models will bring into our existing business portfolio, a new generation of products and services which will foster job creation and added value,” Reis stated.Despite a commendable performance last year, the Chairman said, however, they would remain mindful of the innate challenges of operating a Group which could affect its continued development.Nevertheless, he assured stakeholders of the company’s commitment to deliver better results through initiatives such as innovative technology, leadership in the solar energy sector, the pursuit of market extensions internationally and impending diversification programmes.
Larsen Bay School (Photo by Mitch Borden, KMXT – Kodiak)The population of Larsen Bay has been decreasing for decades, and now it looks like the village could see its only school close for the first time in its history because of a lack of students. Many residents agree it has to do with the right to fish for salmon.Listen nowHolding bright yellow bags, students from Larsen Bay School run down the village’s dirt roads looking for trash. It’s the last day of school before summer break, and they’re spending it doing a spring cleanup.As the kids scramble around outside, it’s quiet back at the school. And there’s a good chance it’ll stay that way for the foreseeable future because, most likely, it won’t have enough students to open in the fall.“I’m sad I’m the last one, but I’m happy I’m graduating. So, I can move on to a different chapter.” Gayle Aga said. Aga was the only person to graduate high school this year in Larsen Bay and could be the last, which made her graduation a big event.“Everyone knew that I was going to be the last one till whenever, and a lot of people showed up and even people I didn’t even know,” Gayle said.Alice Aga, on the right, stands with Nicholas Blanco, a teacher at Larsen Bay School, and the students. (Photo by Mitch Borden/KMXT)“This is the gym. We just had graduation. It was awesome.” Alice Aga said as she walks through the building. She’s an aide at the school and is reflecting on how Larsen Bay used to be known for its sports teams, but now it’s ending the year with less than ten students. Alice points to past awards to show this.“Here’s the trophy case,” Alice said. “Like the 80s was the highlight of Larsen Bay —school that is. They were like basketball, volleyball, wrestling, you know, everything.”Until recently, Alice was the community’s mayor and sat on its tribal council. But now, she’s stepping down from those positions because she’s leaving.“Well you know if there’s no school here, I can’t stay,” Alice said. “I can’t play the waiting game. You know, like, I can’t home-school my kids, that’s a whole full-time job and I just can’t do that. You know, I need to make a living.”In Alaska, schools need at least ten students to receive around $300,000 in state funding, which Larsen Bay School needs to open. Right now, the school only has two kids officially enrolled for next year, which is why Alice is moving to Kodiak and enrolling her kids there, which makes her tear up.“I think I’m still in denial about the whole thing right now. I’ll probably…probably break down, you know, once I get to Kodiak,” Alice said. “It’s tough. This is home, our whole life is changing.”Even though Larsen Bay School isn’t officially closed yet, people around the community are doing the math and know it’s a long shot that they’ll have enough kids to open the school, which many see as another sign the community is shrinking.“The young people move away and the old people are dying.” Jack Wick chuckled. Wick has lived in Larsen Bay for decades and remembers when there were plenty of people living there and the main profession was commercial fishing. But he says that began to change in the 1970s.“Everybody fished. Even if you were a crewman you knew you could work your way up to be a skipper,” Wick said. “So, after limited entry, a lot of them realized they wouldn’t be able to get a boat”Alaska introduced limited entry permits in 1975, which is a policy that restricts the number of people who can commercially fish for salmon, and other fish. At its peak, only around ten Larsen Bay residents had permits to run boats, but now it’s down to less than half that because people left the village, sold their permits or their permits were canceled.In the Kodiak region, the price of a salmon permit has ranged anywhere between a few thousand to over a hundred thousand dollars. That price tag can make it hard for people to get into commercial fishing, which is why Wick and others in Larsen Bay believe this policy is partially to blame for Larsen Bay going from having around 200 people in the 80s, to about 60 full-time residents today.“The people in, like, Larsen Bay and other villages didn’t have the money to compete and buy the equipment to get into those fisheries,” Wick said. “So they just started getting into other things, going to school becoming something else other than fishermen.”The exodus of youth from Larsen Bay is causing some to worry the community’s becoming a “retirement village.” And that eventually, people will only come out in the summer for the fishing season or to vacation at local hunting lodges.The walls of Larsen Bay School are lined with the names of past students. These names follow you around the building as a reminder of all the people who’ve also passed through its halls. That sense of history isn’t lost on Gayle Aga as she thinks about the school’s future.“I just never thought it’d be closing because I didn’t think it’d be real,” Gayle said.That prospect is real though, but Gayle may not be around to see how the school closure will affect Larsen Bay in the long run. Like so many before her, Gayle’s planning to leave the village and head to college in the coming year.