PH jiu-jitsu team. Apryl Jessica Eppinger (extreme left), Margarita Ochoa (third from left) and Annie Ramirez (fourth from left).ASHGABAT—Jiu-jitsu specialist Margarita Ochoa captured the first gold medal for the Philippines in 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.The 27-year-old Ochoa overwhelmed Le Thu Trang Du of Vietnam, 5-0, in the finals of the women’s Ne-waza -45kg category on Tuesday held at Martial Arts Arena here.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next 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 Besides Ochoa’s feat, the Philippines has one silver courtesy of jiu-jitsu’s Marc Alexander Lim and a bronze from wrestler Alvin Lobreguito.This medal output already surpassed the production of Filipino athletes (1 gold and two bronzes) in the previous AIMAG in 2013 Incheon.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smog View comments Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene Mos Burger to open in Manila; teases with a pop-up MOST READ It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson How to help the Taal evacuees Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours DAY6 is for everybody Letran snaps 3-game skid, holds off Arellano In ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Comedy and Drama Collide Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson LATEST STORIES
Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed Adamson shocks La Salle in 4 sets GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings Ian Sangalang and Marc Pingris combined for 16 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks for the Hotshots, who shot 50 percent from the field while limiting the Bolts to just 35 percent.Magnolia cruised to victory despite missing the services of playmaker Jio Jalalon. Jalalon, a native of CDO, is with Gilas Pilipinas, which plays Japan on Sunday in the 2019 Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers at Mall of Asia Arena.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City Magnolia, which joined defending champion San Miguel Beer in the top two, stretched its lead to 20, 60-40, after a free throw by Sangalang at the 5:32 mark of the third quarter.Lee was pretty much unguardable throughout the game, especially in early part of the fourth quarter, where he toyed with Meralco’s defense. He hit a triple to make it, 73-52, before zig-zagging his way for a nifty drive to make it, 77-55, with 9:07 remaining.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkThe star guard finished with 21 points and three steals in just less than 20 minutes on the floor.Magnolia wrapped up its elimination round schedule with an 8-3 card while Meralco (4-7), which will miss the all-Filipino Cup playoffs for the third consecutive time. It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson 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 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PBA IMAGESMagnolia locked up the second twice-to-beat advantage and eliminated Meralco from playoff contention after a 94-65 win in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at Xavier University Gym Saturday in Cagayan de Oro City.Paul Lee sparked a second-quarter breakaway that saw the Hotshots go on a 10-0 run and were never threatened from that point on.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew LATEST STORIES Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano View comments
Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum LeBron will suit up for Lakers’ pre-season opener “I’m very happy because I was given this opportunity to fight here,” Gaballo, the reigning WBA interim bantamweight belt said in Filipino after the non-title bout.The 22-year-old Gaballo hardly broke a sweat, unloading flurries to the head and body but it was downstairs where Kisarawe folded.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissGaballo’s unleashed body punches that sent Kisarawe to a knee twice, forcing the referee to stop the fight.Gaballo, who upped his impressive mark to 20-0 with 17 knockouts, scored a 12th round stoppage over American Stephon Young in the US to win the interim belt in his last fight back in March. Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown 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 Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew MOST READ Photo by Mark Giongco/INQUIRER.netRising star Reymart Gaballo continued his undefeated streak after a one-round demolition of Tanzania’s Julias Kisarawe on Sunday at SM North Edsa SkyDome in Quezon City.Gaballo fought before a hometown crowd for the first time in nearly two years after fighting overseas in his last three bouts.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines?
Montserrado County Independent Senatorial aspirant, Dr. Christopher Z. Neyor has declared that he is ready to serve the people of Liberia, through Montserrado County.At a forum organized by the Job Seekers’ Intellectual Center in the Freeport Community, Dr. Neyor decried the poor economic condition of the people and called on policymakers to adopt necessary policies that will adequately address the plights of the people.Amidst his supporters, Dr. Neyor spoke on the topic “Contradictions and Passivity.” He blamed the poverty-stricken conditions of the people on widespread corruption entrenched in bad and poor governance practiced by past and present regimes.“For too long our people have been marginalized, excluded and in some way, oppressed and the oppressors have created a system of patronage where they offer handouts to appear to the oppressed as lords. The contradictions in our country are quite appalling; we are one of the richest countries in terms of resources but quite frustratingly, the wealth of the nation has continuously been siphoned by the powerful few at the expanse of the majority”, Mr. Neyor stated.Dr. Neyor, who once served as president of the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), intoned that this is because of “sharp contradictions and passivity in the governance system. Liberia has perennially been dragged into a series of struggles—the struggle for social justice and academic freedom, the struggle for political participation which finally translated into fifteen years of bloody and multifaceted civil conflict which led to the failure and collapse of the Liberian state.”He stated that in spite of the lessons taught by these contradictions, national state actors have dismally “failed or deliberately refused to institute the necessary measures to avert the recurrence of our bitter past.”Mr. Neyor told the gathering that Liberia’s potential for the extractive industry particularly the oil and gas sector is great and promising. He was, however, quick to stress that it requires someone with profound experience, education and the right character to provide expertise and leadership to guide against further waste and abuse of the nation’s extractive wealth. “This expertise, I bring to you our people. You must be keen to ensure that our extractive industry is not underutilized or mortgaged…or else, our oil will become a curse and not a blessing,” he cautioned as he assured them that he was ready to serve.He provided four new jobs to four seekers at the end of this lecture. On the spot, he employed two drivers, and assured the gathering that the remaining two would be employed in January in administrative positions.According to his campaign team, Dr. Neyor provided the jobs as part of efforts to reduce the high rate of unemployment and bring smiles on the faces of the ordinary Liberians, who have been made destitute in their own country. The jobs were offered by the Moweh Energy Group, a consultancy firm owned and operated by Mr. Neyor himself as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).Speaking on behalf of the Job Seekers was Mr. Mark Khoury, Vice Chairman. He thanked Mr. Neyor for accepting their invitation and for turning out to grace their occasion. He lauded the effort of the aspirant and cautioned his colleagues to ensure that the good tidings are spread in the nook and corners of their community. Dr. Neyor is among 11 candidates, including Amb. George Weah, Mr. Robert Sirleaf and Aunty Miatta Fahnbulleh, who are now campaigning for the Montserrado County senatorial seat in the coming Special Senatorial Election slated for December 16, 2014.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dear Editor,The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) has keenly been following the spirited debate regarding the suggestion that Guyanese households benefit from an unconditional cash transfer from monies accruing from commercial oil production.The Federation has noted several convincing arguments advanced for and against the idea, and a number persons have expressed their points of view. The robust debate surrounds the burgeoning oil and gas industry, and is the latest conversation regarding the significant wealth the Government has told us that our nation will supposedly garner from our patrimonial resources. Expectedly, many will point to the agreement inked with ExxonMobil and its partners and very well contend that the sums we should be receiving should be much higher. We agree with that view, and we also recognise that the oil and all our other resources belong to all Guyanese, and as a responsible organisation, we hold the view that our oil wealth — and in fact all our wealth – should be used in the most prudent manner, to ensure that our resources benefit our people now and in the future as well.We would like to believe that there is near national consensus regarding the need to carefully utilise our wealth, but, at the same time, the FITUG cannot fail to express its serious concern with the mechanisms being proposed to manage and safeguard the wealth that would accrue. The Government recently released a Green Paper which addressed the establishment and operation of a Natural Resource Fund (NSF) which would seek to save and expend our country’s earnings from the oil sector. From our point of view, there can be no argument for the establishment of an NSF as a vehicle to save our oil receipts and use such monies to develop our country. We are aware that several countries have gone this route, recognising that their resources have a finite life span, and therefore we need to cater for life after the utilisation of our black gold.The FITUG’s concern relates to the management of the NSF, which we understand from the Green Paper will be subsumed under the Ministry of Finance. While we accept that the State undoubtedly must have a role to play, at the same time, we cannot ignore the squander-mania attitude we have seen pervading now-a-days. The Green Paper presented speaks to withdrawals from the NSF influenced by budgetary demands and requirements, and this is where we are fearful that the monies may not be utilised in the best possible manner, especially recognising that utilisation of the funds can be approved by a simple majority.The Federation is of the strong view that the use of the fund’s resources should be guided by a well-articulated and carefully crafted development strategy which outlines the goals we as a country and people wish to attain. Such a strategy, which should involve the views of the Guyanese people, would have clear timelines and easily measureable objectives. Such an approach, we hold, will ensure that we get optimal returns from the monies we will earn. While we know the Government will, in all likelihood, point to its Green State Development Strategy (GSDS), we believe that document requires greater detail if it is to meet its stated objectives.If the Government is indeed serious about ensuring “…sustainable use of petroleum revenues…”, then we believe that it would be wise, at this time, for the Government to give serious consideration to the convening of a National Conversation regarding the use of such wealth, to ensure that future generations do not condemn us for not properly seizing this opportunity to consider, in a sober manner, the utilisation of our resources in the best possible manner.Sincerely,Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG)
Labour Day 2017 …as Teixeira highlights failing sectors, major job lossesGovernment used the opportunity at Monday’s May Day rally to remind workers that certain “hard” decisions would have to be taken in the sugar industry given its unprofitability.Opposition Chief Whip Gail TeixeiraNatural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman reminded those gathered at the rally that the coalition Government had invested $32 billion in the industry over the past 21 months. This money was used mainly to subsidise wages for the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).Trotman said, “The time has come for change” and “a failing organ cannot be treated with an aspirin”. He asserted, “It is now necessary for some difficult decisions to be made.”The Minister’s statement was prompted by statements made by Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) President Komal Chand, who spoke about the uncertain future of the sugar industry.Shifting his attention to the state of the trade union movement, Trotman told workers that unions had a strategic and integral role to play and they must make themselves available for nation building.Natural Resources Minister Raphael TrotmanHe said too that the Government was prepared to commit to a new order where policies, relationships, and interactions between stakeholders were better aligned.“We simply cannot fail to prepare and we simply cannot fail to cooperate and draw closer to each other. The choice is ours and to Government, the actions we have to take are self-evident,” he added.Investment in the country’s human resource capacity has been optimum, Trotman said. According to him, in 2015, 1540 youths were trained as tradesmen and artisans and in 2016, that number was increased by three per cent to 1593.“All of this is being done to ensure that there is always available an adequate supply of well-trained, well-equipped and well-disciplined workers to oversee our industries,” he added.Mention was also made of plans to establish an industrial tribunal, whose functions would include the speedy resolution of industrial differences resulting in justice for workers, trade unions, employers, and even Government itself.“We are convinced that with such machinery in place, many employers and employing companies would be unable to deliberately protract differences to the detriment of workers and trade unions alike. The combined effects of these initiatives have certainly positively impacted the lives of the nation’s workforce,” he observed.The Minister said with more women joining the labour force, particularly in areas which were previously dominated by men, trade unions have to prepare and align themselves to better treat with issues of gender discrimination and sexual harassment, among others.He took umbrage at Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira’s statement, which chastised the Government over several positions taken with regard to workers’ rights and the management of the economy generally.Teixeira, who spoke about the failing sectors of the economy and major job losses, was disturbed by a small crowd of supporters of the A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance For Change (APNU-AFC).“We, in the parliamentary Opposition, recognise that it is the toil, sweat and sacrifices of our workers that are responsible for whatever achievements we have made and successes we have enjoyed as a country and as a people. We further recognise that it is our workers that will be responsible for catapulting us to whatever heights we attain in the future,” Teixeira told the gathering. She, however, acknowledges that the observances this year are characterised by greater signs of unity in the trade union movement, a development that can only bode well for the workers and the country.“We need to continue to be outspoken in calling for the real issues to be addressed – it is the economy; it is job creation not job contraction; it is economic expansion and diversification, not closures and chasing away investors. People want to work and live in dignity, to plan their lives and their future with some level of certainty, to save and build their own homes, buy cars and send their children to whichever school they want,” Teixeira declared.She was also blunt in her declaration that “every productive sector is on the decline”. “In the sugar industry, estates are being closed and thousands are being dismissed; in the rice sector, they are no new markets and no competitive price for paddy; in the mining sector, small and medium scale miners can no longer afford the cost of production; in the forestry sector, they are no markets for logs; in the commercial sector, there is a drastic decline in trade and commerce,” Teixeira pointed out.She noted that the government’s capital programmes for 2015 and 2016, including loan portfolios, under-performed embarrassingly and therefore failed to generate economic activity and provide jobs. The most recent example is the Sheriff Street expansion roadway where only 1 % of a US$30M loan was disbursed in the last year.“There are no new investments except the Smart City Solutions which brought us the corrupt and controversial parking meters contract (and) the deteriorating economic circumstances are leading to the devaluation of currency and increase in the cost of imports,” she stated.At the same time, she said additional burdens have been placed on the workers’ backs, and, in fact, on all Guyanese, with the introduction of taxation on previously zero rated untaxed essential goods and services; the introduction of next taxes; significant increases in other taxes and government fees.
…files complaint with SARAThe Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has moved to formally file complaints with the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) for investigations to be launched into, among other issues, cases of land handouts to the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and key stalwarts in the Party.This move comes on the heels of SARA Director, Professor Clive Thomas, telling reporters on Friday that the Agency only investigates matters reported or referred to it by other criminal agencies or Government departments, while noting that civilians too can make reports of stolen State resources.Opposition Chief Whip, Gail TeixeiraAs such, the Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira in a letter addressed to Professor Thomas on Saturday, made complaints on three matters, which she said falls squarely in his remit.The letter, which was also released to the media, detailed firstly the acquisition of a house and land in Bel Air Gardens, by the former Finance Minister of the PNC Government and now Second Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister of the APNU/AFC coalition, Carl Greenidge. According to the Opposition Chief Whip, the property, which was then State owned, was acquired below market value at the time and with no recourse to any procurement process.Director of SARA, Professor Clive ThomasTeixeira also asked for a probe into the Burnham family’s request for land, five acres of which was issued by the PPP/C Government at no cost to former Vice President and First Lady Viola Burnham and widow of President Forbes Burnham in D’Urban Backlands, Georgetown.Finally, the Opposition Chief Whip calls for SARA to look into the acquisition of a huge tract of land to the PNC for their party headquarters, Congress Place, in Sophia, at no cost. She pointed out that sections of the land have been sold over the years at market value and for profit, with the most recent sale taking place after the 2015 General and Regional Elections.“All of these cases are easily investigated as all the records are publicly available. And remember, the SARA Act provided for retroactivity, probably one of the first statutes that did so,” Teixeira said the in the letter.She further went on to also formally lay her complaints on another series of cases regarding corruption, abuse in public office and violation of the Constitution, Procurement Act, and financial laws that were mentioned in a previous correspondence to the SARA Director, calling on him to also investigate them.According to the Opposition Chief Whip, the most egregious of those cases relate to the sale of the country’s national patrimony in oil and natural gas well below what is observed internationally and “relatively favourable to investors by international standards,” as stated in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report prepared for Guyanese officials.She also named the US$18 million signing bonus collected since 2016 and secretly stashed in a secret bank account at Central Bank instead of the Consolidated Fund as is constitutionally required.During a “walk against corruption” held by SARA on Friday as part of its “Corruption is Everybody’s Business” campaign, Transparency International Guyana Inc (TIGI) – the body of international transparency watchdog Transparency International – also called for the agency to look into the oil bonus. Representatives from TIGI carried placards that read “SARA should recover signing bonus for Parliament – TIGI.”Meanwhile, the other cases include: the purchase of $620 million in drugs and pharmaceutical supplies in 2017, without going through the procurement process and paying over 100 per cent more than the market value; the renting of a house in Sussex Street as a drugs bond for $14 million per month, the contract of which a special Cabinet review team had found was flawed but nothing has been done to review it, while over $300 million in rent has been paid thus far; and the expending of over $2 billion in taxpayers’ dollars for the construction of the D’Urban Park facilities for which no form of public procurement was undertaken and no credible records of the project has been produced to the Office of the Auditor General to date.“Follow the trail Dr Thomas, you will find the answers and the accounts of those who benefited,” Teixeira told the SARA Director.Moreover, the Opposition Chief Whip went on to question Professor Thomas about the complainant of allegations that $28-35 billion was lost each year in procurement fraud and another $306-313 billion per year being lost due to corruption under successive PPP/C Administrations.“Strange to say, these are the same figures you used prior to the 2015 elections. Are you, sir, the complainant? And where is your evidence? If you declared such losses were real and then used your position in the SARU/SARA without evidence and mere mathematical speculation, then this is a case of reckless irresponsibility of enormous proportions,” Teixeira posited.She further noted that such disinformation fed to the Guyanese electorate for several years leading up to the 2015 elections as well as friendly Governments and international organisations has been clearly exposed as a “concerted political campaign to get the PPP/C out of office”.
…highlights lax procurement procedure As shocking instances of administrative oversight continue to be highlighted by the Auditor General’s 2017 report, Member of Parliament Irfaan Ali has expressed concern over the state of affairs.Ali, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee that has to examine the AG reports and call officers to account, noted on Sunday that the 2017 report was littered with discrepancies and corruption for that fiscal year.“In the education sector, as it relates to the supply of dietary items under the Kato Breakfast School Feeding Programme, Region Eight, prices paid were significantly higher when compared to prices of similar items previously purchased by the Region. In total, $33.6 million was expended on items whose prices were grossly inflated.“Similarly, under the $2.1 billion school feeding programme, 11 schools in Region Seven and Nine, could not account for $52.1 million, a repeated misdemeanour that was highlighted in the preceding Auditor General Report. Hence, at the Ministry of Education Tender Board level, procurement irregularities continued uninterrupted.”He also highlighted parts of the report, where it was revealed that 40 contracts totalling $15.9 million were awarded without the requisite tender board approval, of which 35 were awarded to one contactor at a total value of $12.8 million.“Moreover, numerous instances of overpayments were recorded. For example, two contractors, with respect to the installation of water distribution line and system, and night-lighting system at the synthetic track and field facility, received $4.114 million and $4.767 million respectively in overpayments,” Ali noted.“In another instance, the contract for the construction of a chain-link fence at the One Mile Primary School, Wismar, which was awarded by the Regional Tender Board for the sum of $12.583 million, received an overpayment of $727,000.”Moving on to the Education Ministry’s Department of Culture, the PAC Chairman pointed to the AG’s findings that six vehicles not registered as property of the Ministry were used to uplift 4351 litres of diesel valued $788,773 from Guyoil’s Regent Street location.The fuel, he noted, was uplifted on 13 instances. And he observed that based on the AG’s report, in excess of one ‘45 gallons’ drum was uplifted on each occasion on average. This is compounded by the fact that checks by the auditor could not confirm the basis on which the quantities of fuel were uplifted.“Under the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, three vehicles were sold. The first, a Toyota pickup, was sold for $50,000. The vehicle was never advertised; hence no bids were received. The second, a Nissan Frontier Pickup, again, was sold for $50,000, notwithstanding the highest bid for the vehicle came in at $500,000. The buyer, however, didn’t participate in the bidding process.”“The third, a Toyota Coaster bus, valued at $950,000, was sold for $301,000, to the third highest bidder of seven. Interestingly, the highest bid came in at $1.1 million. Similarly, under the aforementioned Ministry, $201 million couldn’t be accounted for due to missing payment vouchers. Of the total, $38.2 million was under the sub-category of National and Other Events, Dietary and Refreshment and Meals,” Ali noted.
Reassignment of former Housing MinisterPolitical commentator Christopher Ram is of the firm belief that a full probe should have been ordered into the former Housing Minister, Valerie Adams-Yearwood, who was stripped of her responsibility of the housing sector following revelations that her husband received Government contracts.Political commentator Christopher RamRam in an invited comment on Monday told this publication, “I think that the Government is playing musical chairs but that has been the style and mode of operation for this Government”.He was at the time making reference to the fact that a number of Ministers have been switched around several times in the past owing to various reasons.In this particular matter, however, the political analyst was keen to note that a full probe should have been ordered before further steps were taken to reassign her to the Agriculture Ministry.“I think that this thing should have been fully investigated. [A] Minister should not be dealt with by any standard other than those which would have been applied to anyone else. All we heard is what she said but she certainly is not the best and most reliable person to exonerate herself,” Ram added.Only last week, President David Granger admitted that Adams-Yearwood was reassigned in the “public’s interest”.Agriculture Minister with responsibility for Rural Affairs, Valerie Adams-Yearwood“There were certain allegations and I felt that it will be in the public’s interest for her to go to another Ministry. She has not been convicted of any crime and I feel that her services could be used in supporting the Minister of Agriculture with responsibility for rural affairs,” he noted.The Head of State added, “At this point, I am satisfied that she has not committed any criminal offence, that she is a fit and proper person to continue to serve in the Department of Rural Affairs in the Ministry of Agriculture”.The former Housing Minister within the Communities Ministry came under scrutiny last month after it was revealed that her husband, Godfrey Yearwood, was awarded a contract to build homes for a project spearheaded by the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA), an agency which fell under her then Ministry.As such, the President, in reshuffling his Cabinet as a result of the recent resignation of four senior Ministers, reassigned Minister Adams-Yearwood to the Agriculture Ministry as Minister with responsibility for Rural Affairs.Minister Adams-Yearwood has been replaced by Junior Minister Annette Ferguson, who was also removed from the Public Infrastructure Ministry and placed at the Communities Ministry as Housing Minister.However, Minister Adams-Yearwood said she does not view her reassignment as a demotion but a promotion instead. In fact, she made it a point to note that there were no changes to her remunerations.“What is a demotion? My salary is not affected, my allowances [or] anything are not affected. Nothing is affected so why would it be a demotion? I see it as a promotion because I’m going into new and exciting areas,” Adams-Yearwood told reporters.Meanwhile, even as the Minister denied that her reassignment had nothing to do with the issue involving her husband, local transparency watchdog, Transparency International Guyana Inc (TIGI) had said in a statement recently that it supports calls for the multimillion-dollar contract to be reviewed.This issue came to the limelight last month when Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo disclosed that the Minister’s husband had sub-contracted the project to a contractor from Victoria, East Coast Demerara, who claims that he is yet to be paid for the works done more than a year ago.According to TIGI, this situation is particularly pernicious since it comes at a time when Guyanese workers are struggling for fair treatment.Chief Executive Officer of the CH&PA, Leon Saul had revealed that he was aware of this issue of non-payment.“A complaint was lodged at the Ministry, I think it was some time last year, and we would have called in both parties and we advised them to settle the issue,” Saul told reporters earlier this month.Furthermore, the CH&PA Head had also noted that the award of the contract to the Minister’s husband for works under a Ministry she was heading, was a clear conflict of interest even if the contract was awarded through a competitive bidding process.
Photo: 98 Ave. has been closed off to traffic after a water main break, Thursday./Adam ReaburnThere has been another water main break in Fort St. John.- Advertisement -The small break occurred Thursday on 98 Ave. at 100 St.The road is currently closed in front of the old Co-op Mall.Energeticcity.ca is currently looking into the break and will pass on more information if it becomes available.