“PSG want to finalise the signing of Neymar this summer”, wrote Catalan daily Sport, while the Madrid-based AS newspaper led with the headline “Neymar flirts with PSG”.PSG are reportedly attempting to take advantage of Neymar’s desire to step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow, with the French club prepared to build a team around the Brazil forward.“In the background of Neymar’s annoyance there’s always a concern, which has to do with his role in the team and his wish to become a leader,” wrote Sport.“But you have to be aware that there are no shortcuts to leadership and it is something that is earned slowly, naturally and progressively,” it added.According to Marca, PSG would be willing to stump up the 222 million euros ($256.8 million) required to trigger Neymar’s release clause and would offer him a five-year deal worth 30-plus million euros a season.However, a report in French sports daily L’Equipe on Tuesday quoted a PSG club source as saying: “We’re not going to repeat the Neymar show. There is a huge release clause and you have to be realistic.”PSG have previously been linked with Neymar only for the striker to pen a new five-year deal with Barca last October.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre insisted on Tuesday that Brazilian star Neymar will be staying in Spain despite rumours linking him with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.Asked during a press conference if he could confirm Neymar would remain at Barca ahead of the 2017-18 season, Mestre replied: “200 percent”.Reports in Spain have suggested PSG are looking to lure the 25-year-old to the Parc des Princes after snapping up Neymar’s international teammate Dani Alves on a free transfer.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV/AIDS (PANCAP) Saturday urged all stakeholders, including regional governments, to ensure that the necessary actions are taken to allow people who want to know their HIV/AIDS status to “come forward with the knowledge that they will not be treated differently”.PANCAP director, Dereck Springer, in a message marking World AIDS Day, said such persons if they tested positive should receive “the treatment, care and support they need to enjoy good quality lives and achieve viral suppression.“Only then can we get them to know their status and begin the journey towards ending AIDS as a public health threat in the Caribbean,” he warned.Know Your StatusWorld AIDS Day is being observed under theme “Know your status” and Springer said that it encourages people to be tested.“This theme is very relevant as the world has committed to fast track actions towards achieving the 90-90-90 treatment targets by the year 2020. The UNAIDS 2018 Global AIDS Monitoring (GAM) report informs us that there are an estimated 310,000 adults and children living with HIV in the Caribbean, of which nearly 55,000 are unaware that they have HIV.”Springer said that while many people experience anxieties when contemplating being tested, it is good to know that the majority of them will test HIV negative.“What is important is those who know that they are HIV negative have an incentive to keep themselves free from HIV by adopting changes to their lives that can reduce their risk and vulnerability to HIV. The few who test positive for HIV can have immediate access to life-saving antiretroviral drugs that would enable them to enjoy a good quality life and live much longer.“The 2018 UNAIDS GAM report also helps us to understand that we still need to place 74,400 persons who are living with HIV on treatment and 103,000 are yet to achieve viral suppression, that is, having very low levels of virus in the body, even though the virus is still present,”’ the PANCAP director said.AIDS can be defeated He said the science and evidence show that AIDS can be defeated “once we get 90 per cent of people to know their HIV status, of those who are HIV positive 90 per cent receive anti-retroviral drugs and are retained in care, and 90 per cent of those on treatment achieve viral suppression. Once this happens, we are well on the way to achieving the end of AIDS, by 2030.”Unfair judgement and treatment of HIV patientsBut he said the biggest challenges facing the region are persistent judgment and unfair treatment of people living with HIV and persons belonging to key population groups such as gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender persons, sex workers, persons who use drugs, migrants and other mobile populations, and persons with disabilities.“We judge persons who are different from us and we often times treat them differently. We do so because we do not take the time to understand. This year’s theme must, therefore, serve as a catalyst for increased strategic advocacy using the PANCAP Regional Advocacy Strategy 2017 and national advocacy plans for increasing political will to remove the policies and legislative barriers that obstruct people from coming forward to know their HIV status. The fear is real as people are concerned that they will be treated differently if they test positive.“We must bring into the spotlight the critical need for laboratory improvements and increased coverage in our region. We need more laboratory facilities including those led by the communities themselves to know our status.“We need laboratories to confirm community-led HIV screening tests. We need laboratories and point-of-care diagnostic systems to monitor our viral loads and health care providers who are trained to provide clinical management for HIV-related illnesses,’ Springer added.Meanwhile, UNAIDS said that the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day provides an occasion to remember the millions of people who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses because they couldn’t access HIV services or because of stigma and discrimination. Last year, 9.4 million people living with HIV globally were not aware of their status.310,000 HIV cases in the Caribbean UNAIDS said there were an estimated 310,000 people living with HIV in the Caribbean in 2017. The region experienced 10,000 AIDS-related deaths last year. AIDS-related deaths have declined by 23 per cent in the Caribbean since 2010. In 2017 there were an estimated 15,000 new infections. New infections have decreased by 18% in the region since 2010.It said 73 per cent of people living with HIV in the Caribbean were aware of their status in 2017.“Late diagnosis is also a challenge for several countries in the region. In 2017 nearly quarter of HIV diagnoses occurred among people with advanced HIV infection,” UNAIDS said, adding that 79 per cent of diagnosed people were receiving antiretroviral treatment in 2017 while 70 per cent of those on treatment were virally suppressed. This viral suppression rate is far below the global average of 81 per cent.“The Caribbean must strengthen strategies for successful treatment including increasing viral load monitoring, scaling up support for organizations that provide psychosocial services to those on treatment, and working to reduce stigma and discrimination,” said UNAIDS Latin America and Caribbean Regional Support Team Director, Dr. César Núñez.
Sumner Newscow report â€” The following are results of the Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce Fall Festival held Saturday at Sellers Park.Chili cookoff Best Decorated – Impact BankSpirit Award – Tie betweenÂ Impact Bank & Crusaders of the StagePeople’s Choice – Impact Bank1st Place – Impact Bank2nd Place – Wellington Recreation Commission (WRC)3rd Place – Ferg’s ChiliÂ Â BBQ CookoffPeople’s Choice: Travelin’ Smoke BBQGrand Champion: Travelin’ Smoke BBQReserve Grand Champion: Roadrunner BBQChicken1st – Jose Smoke2nd – Roadrunner BBQ3rd – Silvercreek SmokersRibs1st – Travelin’ Smoke BBQ2nd – Roadrunner BBQ3rd – Ferg’s BBQPork1st – Silvercreek Smokers2nd – Jose Smoke3rd – Roadrunner BBQBrisket1st – TD’s BBQ2nd – Travelin’ Smoke BBQ3rd – Jose SmokeÂ Grandma’s Apple Pie Contest:1st Place – “Apple Crumble Pie” FromÂ Barbara White2nd Place – “Apple Pie (Rosette)” FromÂ Sunni Bales2rd Place – “Cinnamon Apple Pie” FromÂ Barbara WhiteÂ Salsa Contest:People’s Choice – Mike Castaneda1st Place – America’s Front Porch Film Co. (Nate Jones)2nd Place – BackroadÂ Mama’s (Debbie Janzen)3rd Place – Mike CastenedaÂ Â Jalapeno Eating Contest1st Place -Â 2nd Place – Jace RouchFollow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments
BOB BAFFERT, DORTMUND, WINNER, AND ONE LUCKY DANE. SECOND: “It’s exciting. I’ve been in this position before. You get excited when you know you have a legit contender, just like last year when Art Sherman went through it with California Chrome.“The feeling is like we’ve been here before; just enjoy the moment because the next race (Kentucky Derby on May 2) is going to be the one. It’s good to see this horse just really developing the way he has from his first start. I just love the way he ran today.“When we bought him, he looked like a really good horse, but he was just a big horse, and sometimes they don’t turn out. He’s a big, long-legged horse. When he made the lead and when he gets by himself like that, he’ll idle on you a little bit, so he had to keep going.“One Lucky Dane, he’s a good horse. He showed that last time. This distance is not going to be a problem for him. He’ll go to the (Kentucky) Derby. He qualified in Bob Baffert’s eyes (in addition to points). I don’t need 40 points. They’ve got to qualify in my eyes.“They’ll ship out of here maybe in another couple weeks. I’ll make that call later.”Asked about American Pharoah and his race next Saturday in the Arkansas Derby: “This is the time of the year where we take nothing for granted, we work hard, we have a great team and American Pharoah is doing fantastic. We want to get there in top form and healthy. That’s the battle right there. We have good horses. I can’t believe I’m so fortunate to be in this position with two outstanding 3-year-olds like I have.”KALEEM SHAH, OWNER OF DORTMUND: “Just to have a horse in the Santa Anita Derby is a thrill, but to run this well and win it, is unbelievable. Ever since the San Felipe, this has been like March Madness for me. To be going to the Kentucky Derby with an undefeated horse like this and to be compared to horses like Seattle Slew and Smarty Jones is just amazing. We have these colors (red, white and blue) because I am very patriotic. I have strong feelings about this country ever since I became a naturalized citizen (in 1989). MARTIN GARCIA, DORTMUND, WINNER: “This is my first win in the Santa Anita Derby. There are a lot of ‘firsts’ with him for me. He was really comfortable. The main thing for me today was to break well and put him in a good position.“Even though he’s won all his races, he’s still learning. He can play around a bit but when someone comes to him, or I ask him to go, he becomes push-button and he just takes off.“I never had the chance to ride American Pharoah except in his first time out. But American Pharoah just drags me in the morning; wherever you want to go, however far you want to go, he drags you there. Dortmund, just gallops along, but he isn’t aggressive about it. They’re different in that way but they’re both very good horses.” NOTES: Winning owner Kaleem Shah is from San Diego. JOCKEY QUOTES RAFAEL BEJARANO, ONE LUCKY DANE, SECOND: “I had a good trip. No excuse. I put him right behind with the speed, but the winner was just the best. He was much the best. My horse was still running to the end. My horse ran really good, really good. He surprised me today. He made a good move at the end.(The best thing about his performance?): “This will help a lot in the (Kentucky) Derby. I think this horse can run all day. He’s still learning. He’s a big horse, good-sized for two turns. I think this race will be a lot of help.” MIKE SMITH, BOLO, THIRD: “We didn’t win today, but the good thing is that we know how talented he is on the grass. So we’ll just have to regroup and start our campaign back on grass. We couldn’t have had a better trip – it was perfect. We went three wide, but I was fine with it. I just didn’t have the horse to go with him. He just struggled with the surface.” WHAT ABOUT THE MEDIA CIRCUS LEADING INTO THE KENTUCKY DERBY AT CHURCHILL DOWNS? “I’m looking forward to everything. Those are good problems to have. It means you have a horse in the race.” -30- TRAINER QUOTES
Portmore United, Boys’ Town and Maverley-Hughenden do not have the luxury of hosting games at their home grounds, and each of the teams has suffered in one way or another because of this. Craig Walters, president of Maverley-Hughenden, said its field needs renovation. Boys’ Town’s coach Andrew Price says that a broken water pump has led to serious deterioration of the field and they have been forced to play at Barbican until it is fixed. Meanwhile, Portmore’s assistant coach, Linval Dixon, says their playing surface has also suffered from drought. Not having a place to call home on match days has disadvantages. For Walters, it affects gate receipts. “We are renting, so a percentage of the gate goes to paying for the field. It affects revenue because we cannot maximise the gates and money is key to running the club,” he said. “Hosting away games can run you into a hundred thousand [dollars] a game. You have renting, security, medical service, having a PA system. If the rental could be cut out, other areas would still be covered, but it would mean $200,000-$3000,000 a month, and that could pay salary and other things,” he reasoned. Price says Boys’ Town have suffered the last two seasons without the atmosphere at the Collie Smith Complex. Even though they lose revenue when they play at Collie Smith, Price says their 12th man has been irreplaceable. “Not having them (fans) is a significant loss. But our anticipation is to return home as soon as the pump is sorted [out],” he said. Barbican has less spectator attendance, Price noted, but they collect more there. “We don’t get the turnout (at Barbican), but we get enough revenue to deal with game expenses. Sometimes we play at Boys’ Town and are not able to do that, because it’s not completely secured. But home has proved to be a motivator. Collie Smith is a fortress, so not having games there affects us,” he added. Walters also argues Maverley-Hughenden lack the home atmosphere they desire. “Constant Spring is nothing compare to your home field. That homely environment that we want is not present,” he said. Of the three teams, Portmore United are the most successful, and yet the most unsettled. The team started out playing at the Juici Field in Clarendon before turning to Prison Oval of late. “It’s a big disadvantage. Ferdie Neita is short of water. Management is looking at how best they can sort it out, because it’s frustrating not being able to play at home. “We don’t have a huge fan base, but we take the little (crowd) we get with the big games. You don’t get the same support as when you play at home, but our football standard is still high and we hope that draws a few spectators, but we hope to get back to Ferdie Neita Park soon. The management is trying to get water, even if they have to go through the mayor or councillor,” he said.
Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netThe Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Inc. on Wednesday released its list for the 20-woman pool that will comprise the members for the national team.Captain Aby Maraño will spearhead a team that consists of Mika Reyes, the former captain in the Southeast Asian Games, Jaja Santiago, Jia Morado, Alyssa Valdez, Rebecca Rivera, CJ Rosario, Mylene Paat, Maika Ortiz, Rhea Dimaculangan, Ces Molina, Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Kianna Dy, Cha Cruz, Mary Joy Baron, Dawn Macandili, Kim Fajardo, MJ Phillips, Denden Lazaro, and Myla Pablo.ADVERTISEMENT DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced MOST READ In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations View comments China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls LATEST STORIES Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film Both LVPI vice president Peter Cayco and national team head coach Shaq Delos Santos said players were chosen depending on their versatility to play multiple positions.“We want players who can play not just the position they’re used to but others as well,” said Delos Santos in Filipino Wednesday at Arellano University after the team’s practice.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“The coaches wanted players who can play multiple positions, well except for the liberos Dawn and Denden,” said Cayco in Filipino. “The coaches are choosing players depending on their ability of playing multiple positions because if there’s an injury one player can quickly switch to another position.”Of the 20, only 14 players will be included in the Asian Games and the AVC Asian Cup, but LVPI president Joey Romasanta said those who will be left out of the final lineup will still be part of the program. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Salah races to be fit for Egypt’s World Cup opener vs Uruguay Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew
Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil View comments Some dramatic rolling falls before coming to a stop started a trend in online videos of youth soccer teams practicing faking injury when their coach called out Neymar’s name.Asked if Neymar had become a joke, Van Basten said “he makes people laugh so also I think that’s a positive thing. It’s always nice if we have some humor in the game.”Once the world’s best center forward with AC Milan and the Dutch national team, Van Basten has sympathy for players in his old position at this year’s World Cup.Tight and compact defenses like Sweden and Iceland made it “very, very difficult for the No. 9 to get the ball, to make goals, to influence the game,” he said.“Normally we say you can play between the lines,” Van Basten said. “But today it’s nearly impossible to get in between the lines. So coaches will have to find solutions. These things go in waves.”ADVERTISEMENT Trump assembles a made-for-TV impeachment defense team In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ AFRICA’S DECLINEA player in Nigeria’s 1994 World Cup team, Emmanuel Amunike, sees African soccer failing to keep pace. All five teams failed to advance from the group stage in Russia.“The reality is that dreams without a plan is just an illusion,” the FIFA technical panel member said.Amunike said Africa’s talent lacks a structure to teach coaches who can develop young players.“What are the materials we have provided for the African coaches to grow in their knowledge?” he asked.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Underdog status suits Croatia perfectly for World Cup final “If you are acting too much I think everybody will understand that it’s not going to help you,” the Netherlands great said. “I think he (Neymar) personally should understand his situation.”Van Basten was asked about Neymar’s theatrics at a briefing with experts appointed by FIFA to analyze tactics and technical trends at the 64-game tournament. One factor they agreed could help explain Neymar’s frustration in Russia: Playmakers face more well-organized defensive lines which are better than ever at denying them space to work.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’“The amount of square meters to play in is unbelievably difficult,” Van Basten said.Neymar was calculated to have spent almost 14 minutes on the turf injured or simulating injury during Brazil’s five games at the tournament. ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins LATEST STORIES Report: Disney dropping the ‘Fox’ from movie studio names Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding MOST READ Brazil’s Neymar lies on the ground during the round of 16 match between Brazil and Mexico at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Samara Arena, in Samara, Russia, Monday, July 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)MOSCOW — Neymar’s play-acting at the World Cup made him the butt of plenty of jokes, and also earned the Brazil striker some criticism from FIFA technical director Marco van Basten.Van Basten, himself one of greatest forwards in the history of the game, said Thursday diving and faking injury is “not a good attitude” and works against Neymar and his team.ADVERTISEMENT Putin’s, Xi’s ruler-for-life moves pose challenges to West It’s an evolution of the “sweeper keeper” role Manuel Neuer showcased in Germany’s 2014 title-winning team.SET PIECESWith goals from open play at a premium, set pieces from corners and free kicks became more important.Roxburgh praised England as “kings of the corner kick” at a tournament where teams were rewarded for attention to detail, and delivery of high-quality crosses.Video review also helped set-piece teams by acting as a deterrent against wrestling and shirt-pulling opponents.“People now have the freedom to move a little bit more,” Roxburgh said.BELGIUM BESTBelgium outwitting Brazil in the quarterfinals was perhaps the best tactical game plan.Praising Belgium’s tactical flexibility, Roxburgh said “the way (coach) Roberto Martinez set them up was fantastic.”A 2-1 win in Kazan was built on midfielder Kevin De Bruyne being given a more attacking and central role, and forward Romelu Lukaku playing wider to the right. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs He singled out Croatia playmaker Luka Modric for “reading the game, guiding the game” and leading his team to Sunday’s final against France.NATIONAL IDENTITYFIFA panel member Andy Roxburgh said an “incredible variety” of national styles were seen despite most stars playing in Europe.“Yes, we’ve got globalization. Yes, the influence of the Champions League on players,” the former Scotland coach said. “But all of these players have been brought up within their own country so they have a certain mentality about them.”Still, the influence of Pep Guardiola’s coaching philosophy was seen across the tournament, Roxburgh said.Teams favored “high intensity pressing” with players showing “speed of action and speed of thought.”KEEPERS KEYGuardiola’s belief in goalkeepers expertly passing the ball with both feet is also shared at the World Cup.“They are not only there to save the ball and catch the ball,” FIFA goalkeeping adviser Pascal Zuberbuehler said. “They make a lot of decisions from behind, and they know and feel when they have to make the game faster.”Zuberbuehler, Switzerland’s goalkeeper at the 2006 World Cup, noted England’s Jordan Pickford made more than 50 passes — “a massive high quality from him”— in the semifinal match against Croatia. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew
The Daily Observer is indeed deeply concerned about the ugly events which transpired at the Capitol Building yesterday when CDC party militants, according to eye witness accounts, disrupted the official program and prevented pall bearers from conveying the body of the late Representative Adolph A. Lawrence into the rotunda of the Capitol where it was to be laid in state.Scenes from the program captured on video, show a rowdy group of young CDC partisans led by their chairman, Mulbah Morlu, in a scuffle with supporters of the late Representative. Eventually, due to the row which ensued, the family and supporters of the late Lawrence, finding themselves unable to convey the body into the rotunda of the Capitol, decided to convey the body to his home in Logan Town.The Daily Observer condemns in no uncertain terms the disruption of the program by CDC actors, led by its chairman Mulbah Morlu. From all indications, the disruption of the program by CDC partisans appears to be consistent with a pattern of violent behavior exhibited by this group recently.It can be recalled that on November 17, 2018, a political rally held by then candidate for the House of Representatives, Cornelia Krua Togba, was violently disrupted by thugs led by Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Koijee, during which a number of individuals sustained injuries. Grand Bassa Senator, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, who was in attendance, barely escaped injury.She filed a complaint to the Police as well as to plenary of the Liberia Senate but her complaints were treated with benign concern. Also, on January 23, 2019, a children’s party being hosted by Representative Yekeh Kolubah was violently disrupted by armed thugs led by an Assistant Justice Minister. Later that night shots were fired at the home of Representative Kolubah. The Police has yet to charge anyone to court.On March 21, 2019, the 46th anniversary program of the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA) was again violently disrupted by armed thugs led by a CDC activist who is also President of the Liberia National Students Union (LINSU). Again, no arrests were made although a complaint was brought to the Liberia National Police (LNP). The thuggish group justified their action, arguing that they instead should have been invited to the program rather than UL student leader, Martin Kollie.Recently, on April 16, 2019 a group of ex-rebel generals held a press conference in Monrovia and threatened to arrest Representative Kolubah if he failed to apologize to President Weah for comments attributed to him. Following huge public outcry, the ex-generals back-pedaled on their ultimatum. The press conference was said to have been organized and paid for by Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill.The Daily Observer has, in several editorials, warned against what appears to be tacit approval of thuggish behavior by elements widely suspected to be associated with the CDC. This impression was reinforced by social media reports of men conducting military exercises on a local beach which went viral.And this latest act of thuggery by individuals led by CDC Chairman Mulbah Morlu, disrupting a service where mourners had gathered to pay last respects to a fallen legislator, strongly suggests that things appear to be falling out of hand very fast and may spin totally out of control if left unchecked.The Daily Observer notes that the Police was, as usual, present in their numbers but did little to put things in check. Displayed nonchalance on the part of the Police to such events involving supporters of the CDC is in large part attributed to weak, poor and partisan leadership and can explain why there is a spate of complaints from the public about the Police.But more to that is the looming public fear that the events of yesterday could very well be a dress rehearsal for the planned June 7 protests. The government appears to have upped the ante by Presidential Press Secretary Smith Toby’s declaration that President Weah is aware that organizers of the planned June 7 protests have amassed an amount of US$350,000 intended to pay each protester US$5.00. Now, unworthy motives are being ascribed to the planners of the June 7 protest.And as it appears, press secretary Smith Toby’s declaration is serving to prime the likes of ex-rebel generals and their followers for possible action on June 7, 2019. And the Daily Observer, judging from hard experience, has warned time and again, that a national disaster akin to or worse than the April 14, 1979 rice riots could be in the making and with unknown but grave implications for national security, peace and stability of this country if President Weah does not put things in check.Public declarations by Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill, that he is indeed THE LEADER of the country who can meet with anyone he chooses including ex-rebel generals, has given rise to public speculations that President Weah is indeed being led by McGill.This newspaper strongly believes that just a nod, wave of the hand or even a single word from President Weah is enough to stop the likes of Morlu, McGill, ex-rebel generals and others dead in their tracks.Just why he has not done so is troubling, especially in view of yesterday’s ugly developments at the Capitol. June 7, is fast approaching and judging from Deputy Press Secretary Toby’s recent pronouncements, as well as those from other officials warning against the holding of the protest demonstration, measured against expressed public sentiments in its support, there are strong reasons to believe that June 7 holds peril in store for Liberia.President Weah has the charge and chance to order a pull back from the brink. Should he falter or choose otherwise, he could likely find himself in similar dire straits as did President Tolbert in 1979. He (President Weah) could ignore the omen of the two snakes in his office, but at his peril. He must either bring down McGill, Morlu and their ilk, or they will bring him down.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Parking meters burden…citizens to start paying from Mondayas citizens prepare to start paying for parking in Georgetown on Monday, some senior Government-affiliated officials may not have to feel the brunt of this burden. One example is on North Road on the southern side of the St George’s Cathedral.Parking meters have been installed along certain sections of North RoadAn Alliance For Change (AFC) businessman in the neighbourhood has complained bitterly about the section in the vicinity of the St George’s Cathedral which is allegedly owned by a Director of Guyana Goldfields Inc, who is connected with Government officials – and which does not have parking meters.The installation of the controversial parking meters began in December 2016. However, prior to this, a meeting was held with representatives of the parking meter contractors, Smart City Solutions (SSC).No parking meters have been installed in front of this buildingAt that meeting on November 4, 2016, it was disclosed that during the first phase, the project will occupy 3237 spaces in Georgetown, utilising 157 parking meters on many streets in Georgetown, namely on Quamina Street, Water Street, Hadfield Street, Camp Street, Church Street, North Road, Robb Street, Regent Street, Charlotte Street, South Road, Croal Street, Brickdam, Avenue of the Republic, Wellington Street and King Street.However, when contacted on Thursday, the contracting company’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Kit Nascimento stated that parking meters would not be placed at the area mentioned, as they [SCS] “have exercised their judgment that [they] will be putting parking meters there some other time”. He was at the time responding to questions as to why some sections of North Road were furnished with meters and others were not.Additionally, as this publication continued to probe, Smart City Solutions’ PRO stated that no explanation was owed to the media.“We don’t owe an explanation to the media as to why we place parking meters at one place and not another,” he asserted.The fact that parking meters were not erected in the vicinity of the building come to light after the recent outcry against SCS for installing meters in front of at least two city schools.Two parking meters were installed in front of The Bishops’ High School, while one was installed in front of the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre. The Guyana Teachers Union immediately condemned the decision, noting that this would only bring more hardship to teachers already affected by low salaries.The National Disability Commission had also complained about the placement of the meters, noting that their presence in the middle of parapets were hazardous to disabled persons.Smart City Solutions has since agreed to meet with representatives from the affected bodies. The parking project has been mired in controversy since its introduction to the public early last year.Citizens as well as other significant stakeholders, including the Private Sector, rejected the idea.However, Georgetown Mayor Patricia Chase-Green and Town Clerk Royston King had contended that parking meters were urgently needed to regulate traffic in the city.On Monday, January 23, 2017, citizens of Guyana will be obligated to pay $50 for every 15 minutes of parking in Georgetown. Those not adhering to this obligation would have their vehicle wheels and tyres clamped by wardens, using a device, making them immobile. Persons would then have to pay a staggering $8000 fine to clear their vehicle. Failure to pay that fine would result in the vehicle being impounded.Nascimento had said that the parking meters would be operational from 07:00h to 19:00h (7am to 7pm) Monday to Saturday. Any time before 07:00h in the morning and after 19:00h in the evening would be free, he declared, noting that parking would also be free on Sundays.It was explained in earlier press conferences and interviews that through this initiative, the city will benefit from 20 per cent of the gross earnings on a yearly basis. The parking meter contract, which was signed between the Mayor and City Council and Smart City Solutions, will last for 20 years, with the option to renew.
A report from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has pinned Guyana at the top of the list in the Caribbean, where a large percentage of citizens are required to pay a bribe to access Government services. The study, titled “Wait No More: Citizens, Red Tape and Digital Government” was released earlier this month and through surveys, a closer look was placed on the way business is done, the ease of doing it and access to services in the public sector among other factors.It revealed that in this part of the world, the lack of “standardised processes” makes it easier for dishonesty and insisted that corruption is everywhere. Looking at the data from the 2019 Transparency International survey, statistics from five countries showed that there was an 18 per cent average for persons who made payoffs for Government services. “Manual Government transactions, face-to-face interactions, and the lack of standardised processes mean that transactions are vulnerable to dishonest behaviour. In fact, corruption is everywhere: 29 per cent of Latin Americans report having paid a bribe in the context of a public service in 2016. According to data from a 2019 Transparency International survey, the proportion of people in the five Caribbean countries surveyed that reported paying a bribe to access a public service was 18 per cent,” the document stated.However, in Guyana, the figure is a glaring 27 per cent and regarded as the highest in the region. The lowest occurrence of such activity was recorded in Barbados with just 9 per cent.“In Guyana, 27 per cent of those surveyed said they had to pay a bribe to access a public service, the highest proportion in the region, followed by 20 per cent in The Bahamas and 17 per cent in both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados registered the lowest rate, with only 9 per cent of the surveyed reporting having paid a bribe to receive a public service,” the IDB report pointed out.Throughout the Caribbean, the numbers were further broken down to name specific entities and agencies where these monies landed. Topping the list was utilities with 19 per cent, followed by the police at 18 per cent, voter’s identification and permits at 15 per cent, public schools standing at 10 per cent, and public hospitals at eight per cent. There was even a small percentage of individuals who bribed the courts.With these numbers, the report went on to state why there is such a high number of individuals who are willing to bribe their way through the system, rather than going through the due process. It speaks to the lack of flexibility to accommodate the working class, resulting in many persons opting to use an alternative which will not affect their income.“One of the biggest problems of difficult Government transactions is their regressive character: they affect the poor more. People in this segment of the population generally enjoy less flexibility at work, which makes it difficult for them to ask for time off to carry out a Government transaction. Likewise, they are less able to forego lost income and have fewer resources to cover the costs incurred in carrying out transactions.”With that, there are cases where the requirements and formalities are difficult to complete by persons who would not have accessed higher education. In essence, many earning a lower income benefit less from Government services.“All of the above means that low-income people complete fewer transactions, which implies that they benefit less from Government services and programmes….Taking educational attainment as a proxy for income, it becomes clear that citizens with less education reported having completed fewer Government transactions in the last year. Only transactions associated with identity, education and health, social programmes, and transportation, as well as the reporting of crimes, were considered, as these transactions are assumed to have, at the very least, an even demand among different socioeconomic levels, or an over-representation of lower-income earners.”In the past 12 months, only seven per cent of persons with no formal education and 17 per cent of those with primary school education completed a transaction, showing the disparity of the population and moreover, the amount of persons who were potentially engaged in bribery.“The fact that low-income people carry out fewer Government transactions, even to access services that in theory would benefit them, has negative implications: Government programmes are not reaching their target beneficiaries, which reduces policy effectiveness,” the IDB data showed.