Such was the demand for his services, Pearce could have named his price and virtually demanded a guaranteed fee to join the wooden-spooners.Instead, he had financial incentives written into his contract that will reward him if the club reaches the top eight and the top four.Reportedly on a deal worth more than $4 million over four years, Wests Group boss and Knights CEO Phil Gardner confirmed Pearce has backed himself to lead the club’s revival after three consecutive wooden spoons.”Mitchell’s ability to earn top dollar in the contract is dependent on how the team performs,” Gardner said.”It’s a indication of his motivation for putting the team first and his desire to drive the improvement within the squad and the club.”Pearce said his decision to join the Knights was based around the challenge of helping the club return to its former glory days and was never about money.”I’ve got a good, stable deal here but I’m not a money-hungry person and the decision wasn’t about money,” he said.”The incentives to make the eight and the four are there because that’s what I want us to achieve.”Coming here was all about having a strong belief in where the club is headed and me wanting to play as big a role in that as I can.”I’m not going to come out and say it publicly that we are going to do it next season or the season after but I’m here to help us improve and succeed.”In a wide-ranging interview with Fairfax Media, Pearce opened up about leaving Sydney and the Roosters and facing the greatest challenge of his career.Leaving the RoostersPearce is proud of the way he and his old club parted ways.”It’s still a bit weird. One of those things in life that you just sort of roll with,” he said.”It all happened pretty quick and obviously, I didn’t expect it but the next thing, I’m here in Newcastle. I was told what was happening with Cooper [Cronk] and I was going overseas and Robbo [Roosters coach Trent Robinson] and Nick [Roosters supremo Nick Politis] told me that if I didn’t think I could buy in, let’s work it out. It just didn’t sit right for me to potentially be playing a utility role. I felt like I had more to offer and while it was emotional, I knew I had to move on.”I felt like I dealt with it really honestly and we dealt with it in a good way. The club was really understanding with me and I was understanding with them and I really appreciated the way they backed my decision.”Sometimes you see situations like this get a bit nasty but it was a really smooth transition and a mutual respect for each other.”The optionsPearce has always relied heavily on his instincts and while he went to the open market with an “open mind” the decision wasn’t a difficult one to make.”Cronulla was really attractive, Manly was attractive and I was definitely interested in those clubs and I went into the process with an open mind,” he said.”It a lot of ways, they were the easier choices. Cronulla would have been a great option. There are a lot of rep players there. But I just saw the opportunity for more growth for me and for me to take more responsibility in Newcastle and that’s why I’m here.”I just saw the potential for me to grow as a man and a player with the challenge at the Knights and in the end, it was a no-brainer.”That meetingMuch has been made of Pearce’s meeting with Knights coach Nathan Brown, head of football Darren Mooney and Phil Gardner at Brown’s home a week before he announced he was joining the Knights.Pearce said he arrived armed with plenty of questions and left genuinely excited.”I didn’t know what to expect with Newcastle and I said that to Browny honestly when I was in the meeting,” he said.”For anyone coming up here after the results of the past couple of years, I think you definitely needed to be asking those questions about the roster and the vision. But they were really honest about the direction of the club and I walked away and rang my Dad straight away because I was really excited.”For one, I was excited about how quickly I think the club can develop with the direction of Browny and Moons [Mooney] and the way they are setting up the recruitment.”When I went through the squad and thought about the bigger picture, I just saw a lot of growth in the team. Just the chance to come up here and be a part of the evolution of the team and bring some success in such a mad rugby league town – that is what excited me more than the other clubs and that’s why I’m here.”The movePearce hasn’t had one negative thought about his decision to join the Knights since moving to Newcastle.”Moving out of Sydney – I didn’t know what to expect to be honest because I’ve never lived anywhere else,” he said. “As much as I was coming here for the team, I was excited about the lifestyle change. It all still feels a bit surreal and probably will for a couple of months but I said to a few mates the other day it feels right and I’m big on trusting your instinct. It’s an awesome place to live and play footy. I noticed that straight away.”The country values – the fans seem like a loyal type of people who really love their footy team. To be honest, it makes you proud to be a Knight. I know I have only just started but I’m a footy head and I’ve already got that vibe.”ProspectsPearce understands that Knights fans have been patient for a long while, but he hopes they will give the team time to further develop in 2018.”There are lots of things that have exceeded my expectations during pre-season training about the group and the way we train,” he said. “I’ve come from a winning culture at the Roosters where we have been pretty successful and the club has high standards when it comes to training and professionalism.”In some areas, we are right up there but there are also parts that need to improve and in a developing squad, that’s no surprise. But I feel with the coaches here and step by step, I can see the boys gradually improving.”We’ll have ups and downs for parts of the season. It’s going to be small steps but the key is to keep improving and keep setting our standards higher. If we are doing that, I think we will really surprise some teams and pull a few pants down.”CaptaincyGiven Pearce has only been at the club a short time, captaincy is not is not something he is comfortable talking about.”I know my job is to be the best role model and leader I can be and first and foremost, the best halfback I can be to lead the side,” he said. “Leadership is a big reason why I’m here but the club has great guys in those roles.”I’m not here to take a tag off anyone and just want to be a part of this leadership group and help us raise the bar as much as possible for the team and the town.”Newcastle Herald
Besides bringing economic hardship to a significant portion of the population, the implementation of the Linden road tolls could trigger a dangerous movement that has the potential to disintegrate the entire country.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoThis is according to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who explained that Guyana could eventually become Balkanised if Government continues to implement policies that are tantamount to discriminatory practices, which bear the power to divide the nation. In this regard, he is urging the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Administration to be pragmatic and reconsider its approval of the road tolls, as well as to reconsider its decision to implement the regional flags initiative – another measure perceived to encourage individualism and has the potential to divide the country.“I am very concerned about Linden and what’s happening with the tolls… we are in a process of Balkanising Guyana. Because what if Corriverton now, which has a main road – you have to pass Corriverton to go into Suriname – what if Corriverton is to say now that vehicles passing through there will now have to pay a toll, the Government can’t say no because it has allowed Linden to do it.” “What if another municipality does it? Then we could have what I was always worried about when they have all these different flags, its disintegration of this county. And it is very, very dangerous and I hope that the Government will reconsider it,” he explained, during a recent news conference at the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Headquarters, Freedom House on Robb Street.Null and voidFurthermore, former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall asserted that the by-laws which impose the toll charges “are discriminatory and inconsistent with Article 149 and therefore, are null and void by virtue of Article 8 of the Constitution”.He explained that Article 149 of the Constitution provides that ““no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect”; and that “no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any written law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.”Nandlall highlighted also that Article 8 of the Constitution provides that, “this Constitution is the supreme law of Guyana and, if any other law is inconsistent with it, that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void”.Against this backdrop, the politician expressed utter bewilderment that such “elementary legal mistakes” would survive the scrutiny of a Cabinet comprising of more than four lawyers. “I have advised the Leader of the Opposition to hire a full-time lawyer for his office. A successful lawsuit can be filed against this Government every week,” he exclaimed.TollsCommunities Minister Ronald Bulkan approved the payment of 18 different categories of tolls to be paid to the Linden Town Council (LTC) for the use of its roads.The by-laws state that every vehicle specified in the schedule shall stop at a paying point at the toll station and the owner or person in charge of the vehicle shall pay in the full corresponding toll for the vehicle to the toll collector in local currency.The Council, subject to the approval of the Minister, was vested with the powers to amend the schedule to add or remove categories of vehicles to be included. The tolls to be charged under the by-laws will not exclude persons living in Linden, though there is accommodation.The gazetted by-laws state that the affected vehicles that are registered in the name of a person living in Linden shall pay a toll determined by the Council twice a year in January and July. Vehicles which had been identified to attract a toll, but are transporting essential supplies for the Government, shall be exempted by the Council from the payment of each toll upon notification and certification by the Regional Democratic Council of the vehicle to the Council.Meanwhile, offences for the refusal of the payment of tolls have been created under the by-laws for breach of the payment of tolls and also makes provision for the detention of the vehicle of a delinquent road user.According to the by-laws, in addition to the penalties imposed for refusing to pay, “the toll collector, in the event that a toll demanded is not honoured, may impound the vehicle and release the vehicle after the sum has been paid in full.”Additionally, the toll collector or the designated officer may release information to the Council or Town Constabulary on any vehicle in respect of number plate, colour, make, type or model, or in respect of any person passing through the toll station and the information shall be confidential, according to the by-laws.Reports indicate that the municipality will cash in on approximately $3 million monthly from the payment of these tolls.