Counteracting police intimidation – allow the Citizens to take videos on every occasion

first_imgDear Editor,Every day, I hear stories of Police harassment and intimidation. Police cars are parked up in front of bars and public places, following patrons as they depart. Frequently, when they confront you there is an attempt to shake down the person. This is outright harassment, entrapment, and intimidation. On a daily basis, our citizens have enough harassment from many sections of the authorities. Putting up with more taxes, regulations, fines, fees, penalties, blackouts, poor internet, are just some of the daily matters, our citizens must overcome. Add to that, police at every corner, on every street, frequent stopping of vehicles; one can’t blame the average person for a sense of being “fed up” and feeling frustrated.The Commissioner of Police is better-off calling off the police harassment on persons going to entertainment spots. Every citizen should have the right to video every interaction with the police and post to YouTube or Facebook.Every policeman should be courteous and professional. And fellow police ranks should have an obligation to report any case where monies are accepted for food or as a bribe or anything. Only when the Government and the leadership begin to hold their ranks accountable for professional and courteous police service, will the public experience this. Despite meager salaries, some police live a life better than the average citizen. What is their means? This culture has to be rooted out. Therefore, video and photographs of every police interaction with its citizens is essential and should expressly be encouraged and allowed.I look forward to the Commissioner of Police making clear such polices that show that they are committed to customer service of its citizens rather than having its ranks intimidate and harass its citizens every day.Sincerely,Name withheldlast_img read more

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Mosques, Schools Get Anti-Ebola Materials

first_imgTo support the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in the country, the Mandela Washington Fellowship-Liberia in partnership with the United States Embassy donated several anti-Ebola materials to mosques and schools last Tuesday in Monrovia, valued at USD11, 000.00.Under the theme ‘Ebola Must Go,’ items donated included thermometer guns, Clorax, chlorine and two decorated tanks to each school and mosque.“This is our way of contributing to the fight against the deadly Ebola virus and will also like to defeat the argument that Ebola is over and therefore we must avoid being complacent about Ebola being out of Liberia,” Mr. Sedekie B. Kamara said.He explained that with the high reduction of Ebola cases throughout the country, it is necessary to continue to observe preventive measures especially in public gatherings, including schools, churches and mosques.  Mr. Kamara said their selection of the various mosques and schools is due the huge number of people who congregate there at various times.Meanwhile, the Chief Imam of the Salafiya Grammar School Mosque, Salah Sheriff, lauded the Mandela Washington Fellowship-Liberia and the United States Embassy for the support in the fight against the virus.He explained that the virus hampered many regular activities in 2014, and called on Liberians to take Ebola preventive measures in all seriousness.In remarks, Robert J. Tanookpuwah of the United States Embassy Cultural Affairs Department said, “We’ll continue to work with young people, along with the Mandela Washington Fellowship to support community initiatives.”Mosques and their schools that benefitted from the donation included the Gurley Street Mosque, 24 Street Mosque, 17 Street Mosque, Neezoe Mosque, Buchanan Mosque, Gbarnga Central Mosque, among others.The Mandela Washington Fellowship is United States’ President Barrack Obama’s initiative intended to give support to young people that will help to impact them in their communities.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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ECC Advances Strategies to Observe Voter Registration

first_imgThe Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) has complemented two stakeholders’ engagements it organized to validate its observation deployment and communications strategies for the upcoming voter registration, which begins from February 1 to March 24 across the country.The exercise, according to ECC’s chairperson, Oscar Bloh, is part of preparations the entity has put in place to observe the upcoming voter registration process.The forum for the first day which was held from December 28 and 29, 2016, brought together representatives from civil society organizations (CSOs) and the National Elections Commission (NEC), while the second engagement included executives from both the print and electronic media. The objective of the Deployment Strategy, Mr. Bloh said, is to guide the ECC in observing the voter registration exercise that the NEC will conduct nationwide. Mr. Bloh: “On the other hand, the objective of the communication strategy is to lay the framework for engaging the media and other electoral stakeholders.” The ECC, he said, will recruit, train and deploy 73 long term observers and 16 county coordinators. The observation will cover the country’s 73 electoral districts. According to Bloh, each observer will be assigned to an electoral district where the coordinators will serve as supervisors for the observers, who will cover specific registration centers during the voter registration period by gathering quality information about the process and reporting directly to the ECC Secretariat. The observation will also include the exhibition period of the preliminary voters’ list as well as the process of rejection of particular individuals, if any, and complaint hearing emanating from the rejection. The observation will be done in phases and will cover 15 of the total number of days stipulated by the NEC. Phase one will target five days of the first week; phase two, five days during the middle of the process and; phase three, five days during the last week. Periodic and provisional statements will be released at the end of each phase of the observation, with a comprehensive report at the end of the third and final phase. During the observation, Mr. Bloh told reporters that the ECC will be looking out for easy access to registration centers for citizens, particularly the elderly, pregnant women and people who are physically and visually impaired (the blind). The observation will also include the extent to which NEC is in compliance with the voter registration regulation and elections law, identifying obstacles and challenges that could impede the registration process and assessing whether there are patterns and trends for denying particular groups of potential voters from registering. To improve the quality of data that will be collected, the ECC will train the observers in the use of checklist and critical incident forms that the ECC will develop. The checklist and critical incident forms will be the instruments by which information will be gathered. The ECC has meanwhile called on the NEC to hold political parties and candidates accountable for using other forms of gathering as a pretext to engage in political campaigning outside of the stipulated time set by the NEC. The ECC is the civil society platform that observes elections in Liberia and works in partnership with the National Democratic Institute with support from USAID. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Absenteeism affecting Region 6 RDC work

first_img…calls made for councillors to resign — PPP, AFC reps The functioning of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne) has been affected by far-too-frequent absenteeism of councillors from meetings; and those councillors who regularly attend meetings of the RDC are appealing to absentee councillors to resign and give others a chance to serve.Region Six Chairman, David ArmoganThe call has been made by councillors from both the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the Alliance For Change (AFC), since more than 70 per cent of councillors have been absenting themselves from RDC meetings.This Region Six RDC has 30 seats, 19 being held by the PPP and 11 by the coalition APNU/AFC. During the last RDC meeting, held on Thursday last, for most of the proceedings, only two APNU/AFC councillors from the AFC faction were present, and an APNU councillor strolled in towards the end of the meeting.Region Six Chairman David Armogan and several PPP councillors have expressed disappointment at the attitude of some of the coalition councillors towards the RDC’s functioning. This trend of absenteeism, which started at the turn of the year, has reportedly worsened every month when RDC meetings are held.Armogan has accused APNU/AFC councillors of being inefficient, declaring they have not been bringing ideas to the table, while often being hesitant to debate topics.“The Government side doesn’t seem interested in representing anybody. We were expecting that ideas would come from the Government side, because that is the side that has the money and the power; so a lot of ideas should come from the coalition side to be implemented in the region, to make things better for the people of the region. Unfortunately, nothing is coming from them, and they are even debating what is coming from the PPP,” Armogan said.He publicly declared that all councillors have an obligation to push Government’s policies, but said Government’s representatives on the RDC should be pushing more to ensure that those policies are implemented. He thus said he was looking forward to more of an input from the Government side of the house.Even as the AFC side of the house has lashed out at the lack of attendance of coalition councillors at RDC meetings, coalition councillor Gobin Harbhajan has also lashed out at his colleagues, calling for them to perform or do the honourable thing.Harbhajan reminded the RDC that councillors should automatically lose their seats after being absent for three consecutive meetings without a valid excuse. He said there are others who should be given a chance to serve.He told the RDC that he was disappointed with the actions of his colleagues. “I believe these councillors were put here to represent the people and their constituencies,” he declared.Harbhajan also noted that at the recent meeting held to discuss the regional proposed budget for 2019, only a few coalition councillors showed up. That meeting was held on July 28, and only four coalition councillors were present. Harbhajan said all of them should have been present.On Thursday, at the RDC meeting, Harbhajan told the house that if the coalition councillors are not attending meetings, they should resign and give others a chance to serve.Harbhajan, the Prime Ministerial Regional Representative, has been taking a hard line whenever his political colleagues are fingered in questionable transactions. He has also been vocal against corruption in Region Six, and has been criticised publically be many of his colleagues for his stance on corruption.In an invited comment, Harbhajan told Guyana Times that the coalition councillors who do not attend meetings are “selfish.”He noted that counsellors on the Government side should be at all RDC meetings to push for Government’s policies to be implemented.last_img read more

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Foreign Minister meets EU, US Ambassadors

first_imgForeign Affairs Minister Dr Karen Cummings on Monday met separately with United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch and Head of the European Union Delegation, Fernando Ponz Cantó.United States Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch; Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr Karen Cummings, and Consular Section Chief Karen WiebelhausThe parties discussed ongoing cooperation and electoral assistance.Highlighting the importance of the upcoming general elections scheduled for March 2020, Dr Cummings gave the reassurance that the Guyana Government would remain impartial while allowing the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to finalise preparations.Meanwhile, Ambassador Lynch gave herEuropean Union Ambassador Fernando Ponz Cantó (centre) addressing Minister Cummingsassurance that all ongoing projects in Guyana funded by the United States would continue to be implemented as planned. Ambassador Cantó was accompanied by members of an electoral exploratory mission.last_img read more

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Bandits beaten by North Ruimveldt residents

first_imgOne bandit is listed as serious while a second is stable after they were severely beaten by residents of North Ruimveldt, Georgetown, during an attempted robbery.One of the men has been identified as Patrick Goodluck and the other was unidentified up to press time.Reports reaching Guyana Times stated that the two men attempted to rob Roger Lovell and his  family but were instead confronted by residents and given a sound thrashing. However, the Police were summoned and rescued the men from the angry residents.Although there were reports that the two men were shot, hospital officials confirmed that there was no evidence of gunshot injuries. The men are presently under Police guard at the Georgetown Public Hospital.Acting Crime Chief Hugh Jessamy, also confirmed that a firearm was also recovered at the scene where the men were arrested.He further stated that the men were not shot by the Police as was reported by another section of the media but rather, they would have sustained injuries at the hands of the angry residents who apprehended them. The Police however, will continue their investigations.last_img read more

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GWI Chairman resigns

first_img…option was to resign or be a rubber stamp – HindsRather than being a rubber stamp, Chairman Nigel Hinds, has resigned from the Board of Directors at the Guyana Water Incorporated, owing to irreparable differences that have developed between himself and the entity’s Managing Director, Dr Richard Van West-Charles.Chairman of GWI Board of Directors Nigel HindsHinds on Friday confirmed that his resignation letter has been submitted to the Minister with responsibility for the sector, Ronald Bulkan.During a brief interview with Guyana Times, Hinds said Dr Van West-Charles currently lacks credibility and described the entity’s Managing Director as pernicious and a person who abuses his authority at the water utility.Hinds told this publication that by his actions, he has opted to give the Executive and management some leverage in their future dealings with the entity’s Managing Director.He was adamant that Dr Van West-Charles currently lacks integrity and credibility regardless of “whichever party he belongs to.”Hinds in his letter – a copy of which was seen by this publication – tothe Communities Minister, said “I cannot perform in the best interest of GWI, GWI staff, GWI shareholders and other stakeholders of GWI – as a rubber stamp Chairman of GWI… thus, my resignation.”According to Hinds in his resignation letter, “It is with a deep sense of regret that I resign as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Guyana Water Inc (GWI) with effect from October 26, 2016.”Hinds, was recently challenged when he moved a motion at the level of the Board to have the Managing Director sent on leave pending an investigation into his abuse of powers among a litany of complaints.The internal fighting between Dr VanWest-Charles and the Board of Directors came about following complaints related to numerous infractions and changes at the utility entity that had been instituted by him.The entity’s Internal Audit Department (IAD) has since launched an investigation into an abuse of authority by the entity’s Managing Director.The auditors have also recommended that many of the changes instituted by Dr Van West-Charles be reversed.The investigation was launched into the actions of Dr Van West-Charles after allegations had been lodged, ranging from questionable employment practices, the suppression of internal audits, and retribution against senior employees, among a host of other infractions.AuditorsWith regards to the employment practices of the Managing Director, the entity’s Internal Audit Department (IAD) found that in instances there were no justification for consultants hired and that a position had in fact been created to facilitate the employment of an ‘unqualified’ Lear Goring.Goring – since fired – was employed as a Debt Recovery Manager but did not have the minimum qualifications for the post and was being paid monthly $263,000 in addition to a $20,000 allowance.Another of the hired consultants that attracted the attention of GWI’s IAD was a Billing Consultant employed by Dr Van West-Charles, on a temporary contract with a monthly starting salary of $525,000.Also, the media recently reported that sole sourcing at GWI skyrocketed by as much as 850 per cent under the guise of Dr VanWest-Charles after the dismantling of the entity’s procurement department.He was also accused of dismantling of the Procurement Department.The Internal Auditors have since recommended an urgent review of GWI’s policies and procedures at all operational areas to reflect modern practices and the structural changes recently made.last_img read more

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Ex-Arsenal chief uses power of football in prison to cut re-offending rates

first_imgDein has brought together the government, the prison and probation services as well as the Premier League and the Football Association for the programme, which will deliver coaching and other qualifications aimed at boosting employment chances.Professional clubs would provide two coaches, or other club staff, twice a week, with 16 offenders taking part in 12-week courses. Four courses would be run annually.Dein — who hopes clubs all over the country will twin with their local prisons — and Jason Swettenham of the prison service, have 20 prisons signed up for a December launch.Dein said he knew something had to be done to alleviate prisoners’ boredom, with the ultimate aim of reducing the rate of re-offending. Nearly 64 percent of adults commit another crime within 12 months of their release.England and Wales had a prison population of more than 83,000 at the end of May 2018, with soaring rates of self-harm and dozens of suicides.“I think really the penny dropped when I went into the prisons and I really saw what was going on there,” Dein said at the launch at Wembley on Wednesday, attended by about 400 people including the Minister for Prisons Rory Stewart, Wenger, other football luminaries and several prison governors.“The prisoners have a very low level of self-esteem. Going inside a prison is an enlightening experience, they are not pleasant places.”Arsenal striking legend Ian Wright says his time in prison aged 19 was a petrifying experience © AFP / YASUYOSHI CHIBA– ‘Crying almost every night’ –Dein, who has visited and given talks in 106 prisons, decided he should take the bull by the horns.“If we aren’t going to do it, who is going to do it?” he asked.“I remember with the drive to get the EPL (English Premier League) going, as football was going down the drain in the 1980s, it was the same feeling of who is going to do it.“It takes somebody to really grasp it to change society, to stop these guys re-offending and sport can do that.”Swettenham — who began his career as a prison officer — said the programme will also have a positive impact on daily life behind bars.“It reduces violence in prisons,” he added. “If you use football then it makes them healthier and positive endorphins reduce the level of aggression.”Dein says the programme — which will also operate in women’s prisons — should be given at least two years as it will only be possible to assess the level of re-offending after a year.“While there is breath in my body I will see it through,” he said. “There have been one-off projects before but this is the first time it has been joined-up writing as in a national campaign.”Former Arsenal legend Ian Wright, who is now a BBC pundit, provides a perfect first-hand example of the trauma of being a prison inmate, having been sent to prison aged 19 for failing to pay a fine.“It was petrifying to be in there,” he said. “I was crying almost every night as I had lost total control over my liberty, basic things like turning off the light.“I discovered claustrophobic feelings I never thought I had.”One of Wright’s former clubs West Ham, are fully behind the project, with their vice-chairman Karren Brady citing her grandmother’s motto as inspiration.“Never look down on people unless you are helping them up,” she said. “And I believe this project really goes to the heart of that sentiment.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein has launched a project to help prisoners through football © AFP/File / Anthony DevlinLONDON, United Kingdom, Nov 1 – Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein has unveiled an ambitious plan to use the power of football in prison to tackle the major problem of re-offending, convinced the sport can have a positive impact.The 75-year-old Englishman — responsible for bringing the then little-known Arsene Wenger to the Premier League — said he had “played a whole pack of aces” to bring the Twinning Project to fruition.last_img read more

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Taco Bell takes its tacos to Mexico

first_img“One look alone is enough to tell that Taco Bell is not a taqueria,” the company said in a half-page newspaper ad. “It is a new fast-food alternative that does not pretend to be Mexican food.” It’s still a mixed message for Mexicans such as Marco Fragoso, a 39-year-old office worker sitting down for lunch at a traditional taqueria in Mexico City, because the U.S. chain uses traditional Mexican names for its burritos, gorditas and chalupas. “They’re not tacos,” Fragoso said. “They’re folded tostadas. They’re very ugly.” Taco Bell failed with an earlier, highly publicized launch in Mexico City in 1992, when it opened a few outlets next to KFC restaurants. Now, Yum Brands owns both KFC and Pizza Hut. But Mexicans were less familiar with foreign chains back then, and the economy was on the verge of a crisis. The North American Free Trade Agreement had yet to be signed. The restaurants didn’t even last two years. Since then, free trade and growing migration have made U.S. brands ubiquitous in Mexico, influencing everything from how people dress to how they talk. McDonald’s has modified its menu to offer eggs “a la Mexicana” and even hands out packets of jalapeno sauce with its hamburgers. In contrast, Taco Bell advises customers of offerings that are “spicy” instead of the Spanish “picante.” “Taco Bell wants to take advantage of the perception that if something comes from the United States, it tastes better, that a country that has been Americanized is willing to Americanize food that is central to its cuisine,” Monsivais said. “It is an absurd idea, and given that it’s so absurd, it may just be successful in upper-class areas.” With U.S. sales sluggish, Yum Brands has been expanding abroad. Its goal is to have 800 stores in its international division by the end of this year. Yum Brands reported Monday third-quarter profits rose 21percent in its international division and 28percent in China, while U.S. profits rose a scant 1percent. Same-store sales at company- owned Taco Bells fell 6percent for the three months ended Sept.8. In Mexico, other U.S. chains, such as KFC and Chili’s Grill & Bar, have been wildly popular. But one of the most successful has been Starbucks, which has expanded to more than 150 stores in five years, even though its venti chai latte costs almost as much as a day’s minimum wage. The Starbucks outlets are mainly in wealthier neighborhoods. Taco Bell is aiming at a different demographic – opening in the solidly middle-class Monterrey suburb of Apodaca, an area where residents might not have traveled to the U.S. “We want to appeal to consumers who haven’t tried Taco Bell, for whom this would be their first experience with Taco Bell,” said Javier Rancano, the company’s director in Mexico. Taco Bell is building its second store in another Monterrey suburb, and it plans to open eight to 10 more locations in 2008, with plans to eventually reach 300 stores, Rancano said. The first stores will be company-owned, while franchise opportunities will open up in later years.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MEXICO CITY – It sounds like a fast-food grudge match: Taco Bell is taking on the homeland of its namesake by reopening for the first time in 15 years in Mexico. Defenders of Mexican culture see the chain’s re-entry as a crowning insult to a society already overrun by U.S. chains from Starbucks and Subway to KFC. “It’s like bringing ice to the Arctic,” pop culture historian Carlos Monsivais complained. The company’s branding strategy – “Taco Bell is something else” – is an attempt to distance itself from any comparison to Mexico’s beloved taquerias, which sell traditional corn tortillas stuffed with an endless variety of fillings, from spicy beef to corn fungus and cow eyes. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityTaco Bell, a unit of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands Inc., made its name promoting its menu to Americans as something straight out of Mexico. But it’s a very different dynamic south of the border. In Mexico, the company is projecting more of a U.S.-style fast-food image by adding french fries – some topped with cheese, cream, ground meat and tomatoes – to the menu at its first store, which opened in late September in the northern city of Monterrey. Other than the fries and sales of soft-serve ice cream, “our menu comes almost directly from the U.S. menu,” Yum Mexico Managing Director Steven Pepper said. Some of the names have been changed to protect the sacred: The hard-shelled items sold as “tacos” in the United States have been renamed “tacostadas.” This made-up word is a play on “tostada,” which for Mexicans is a hard, fried disk of cornmeal that is always served flat, with toppings. But while Mexicans eagerly buy many American brands, the taco holds a place of honor in the national cuisine. Mexicans eat tacos everywhere, any time of day, buying them from basket-toting street vendors in the morning or slathering them in salsa at brightly lit taquerias to wrap up a night on the town. Taco Bell has taken pains to say that it’s not trying to masquerade as a Mexican tradition. last_img read more

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Man in custody in cabbie kidnapping case

first_imgMONTEBELLO – A man was in custody today after allegedly kidnapping a taxi driver during a ride that ended in Montebello, authorities said. The man was picked up late last night and began threatening the “Fiesta Taxi” driver, said California Highway Patrol Sgt. John Williams. Around 10:30 p.m., the taxi van was traveling eastbound on the Pomona (60) Freeway and exited on Paramount Boulevard, Williams said. When the driver saw a crowd of people near Arroyo Drive, he immediately fled from his van for safety, he said. Witnesses reported hearing the driver shout, “Hey, help me, help me! This guy is crazy.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre The passenger also fled on foot but was caught by CHP officers, Williams said, adding that the suspect was under the influence of drugs but did not have any weapons on him. It was not immediately clear when or where the passenger was first picked up, but the driver did not realize he was being kidnapped until the suspect refused to get out of his van, Williams said. “The driver was scared to death and in fear for his life,” Williams said. He said the suspect was apparently very belligerent and made death threats. The driver hit his emergency alert button and Fiesta Taxi dispatchers alerted authorities that a problem had developed , he said. For the latest news and observations on crime in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley, check out the Daily News’ crime blog by clicking here.last_img read more

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