Public Telecommunications Minister Catherine Hughes stated that dealing with the issue of corruption is never an easy task for any government, and eliminating corruption is one of the major challenges faced since the coalition government took office.The Minister noted that in order to effectively deal with corruption, there needs to be a serious change in people’s attitude. “What I am trying to say is that (with) so many of our issues we have a spectrum of individuals that have to be part of the change and unless we are able to change the very, very bottom in terms of attitudes and also the very, very top, we are not going to be successful,” the Minister explained.Just as there were challenges, there were successes achieved by the coalition government over the past year. “I am excited that we have been able to look at the institutions of government and to make them stronger,” the Minister stated.The Minister pointed to the fact that there is little or no flooding in areas known to be under water when it rains. “When we talk about the successes, I want to talk about the infrastructure that has been improved, I want to talk about the areas that we have cleaned, we have maintained, and that we are guaranteeing ordinary people don’t face the challenges of too much water in their homes.”Minister Hughes also made note of the once bushy areas that have been turned into play parks for Guyanese children. The Minister reflected on the positive feedback government has been receiving for its hard work.“I had a mother the other day that came up to me and said ‘thank you’. I was at the market and, I said for what? She said for this, and she pointed to the Merman’s Mall and all the play areas and said to me, I don’t have to pay for my child to play,” Minister Hughes recollected.In addition, she noted that in November 2015, Guyana was listed as one of 12 places in the world to visit in 2016 in the Business Insider UK magazine. According to the Minister, Guyana has received more visitors since that announcement was made.
Dancers perform at Northway Mall at community potluck. Hillman/KSKAMore than 200 people crowded into the main hall of Northway Mall in Anchorage on Saturday afternoon to show their support for Anchorage’s refugee community. The event was organized by #WeAreAnchorage in response to vandalism aimed at Sudanese refugees.Download AudioPeople streamed past tables with Thai food, cotton candy, and even Passover potato pancakes, filling their plates and chatting while performers danced in the center of the mall. Tenth grader LouMei Gutsch decided to attend after hearing that “Go home” and “Leave” were scrawled on the Sudanese men’s cars.“We should be friendly Americans. We should be welcoming all of the other people from foreign countries and stuff,” she said. “So I thought it was good to come here to welcome and show because actions are louder than words.”But Gutsch says people need to be welcoming year round. “Well I include everybody, I don’t leave anyone out because that’s not cool. So I invite people who are, like, from a different country who don’t speak English very well. I talk to them and say ‘Hey, sit we me at lunch.’ And we talk and we have fun and I have a new friend.”Mohamed is a Somali refugee who attended the event with a friend. Like other refugees, he is not willing to give his full name. Mohamed grew up in Kenya, earned a university degree, and arrived in Anchorage two years ago. He says the majority of people treat him fairly but not all, and he’s afraid that speaking up about his past could make it worse.“They kind of give a different reaction when they hear my accent. They feel like ‘Oh, he should not be doing this kind of stuff. He should not be telling me what to do.’ They feel like they shouldn’t have to listen to what I’m saying.”But Mohamed says the size of the gathering sends a strong message: acts of intolerance are not acceptable.“It shows me that they’re bold and they came out and this is not right. Which is a good thing to see. I’m impressed.”Some community leaders are considering making the potluck a monthly gathering. The event was attended by local and statewide leaders, including Alaska’s First Lady, Donna Walker.