Laurie Foster: Intercol and the misused airline ticket

first_img Possible fraudulence A few weeks ago, Foster’s Fairplay highlighted a matter of an allegedly misused airline ticket which, in this column’s view, has not received appropriate official attention. The rightful ticket holder, a female, was selected to represent Jamaica at the World University Games (WUG) this past summer. The intention then was to clear some dark clouds concerning her integrity. The young miss, who is a student at the University of Technology (UTech), was named to the team on the basis of impressive early-season performances. However, she was injured at the June National Championships. While awaiting the results of tests to ascertain the extent of the damage, she prepared herself for travel to the venue in South Korea. Her ticket, purchased by the umbrella group for tertiary institutions, Intercol, was for airport pick-up. It routed her Kingston-New York-Seoul on the outgoing voyage. Unfortunately, at the last minute, came news that the severity of her condition effectively ruled her out. Team officials at the Games’ location assembled to meet her and were surprised that she did not arrive. Subsequent investigation revealed that the ticket was issued and used, but only to travel on the leg, Kingston-New York. It became clear that someone took advantage of the athlete’s inability to proceed on the intended trip and journeyed to the US city. Two thoughts sprung to mind. First, there must have been complicity internally for an individual other than the accredited athlete to travel on the ticket. Added to that was the question of it being a fraudulent act, with person or persons liable to a legal sanction. Foster’s Fairplay turned detective – an area of service in a former employ. The only problem arose when it was revealed by those in the know that this time, the authority to make such probes vanished with the change of employment. Somehow, not wanting to drop it on account of the obstacles, a way had to be found. Letting the chips fall where they may, truth was the objective. Wanting to bring closure and remove any lingering doubt as to who the perpetrator of the perceived wrong could be, the Intercol top brass had to be the next stop. The organisation is a conglomerate of educational institutions, where the teaching of ethics, proper values and exemplary mores ought to be a given. After all, they are tasked with the awesome responsibility of preparing young minds for the outside world. That said, together with the information – call it evidence, if you will – the matter was clearly one for the police, ably assisted by the governing body, as complainant. This seemed impatient of debate as the purchaser of the ticket is the party who would have suffered from the suspected misuse. Contact with Intercol, despite met with initial enthusiasm, has, after an inordinate wait, resulted in little more. This appears to be another instance of gross dereliction of duty. It seems as though there is an institutionalised reluctance to do the right thing in such matters. Foster’s Fairplay recalls a comment several years ago by the highly respected former public critic and newspaper columnist, the late Morris Cargill. Analysis was being done on the then official response to the possession of “a little marijuana”. The find was being described as a “lesser crime”. Cargill responded that there should be no such thing, as ‘crime begets crime’. Therein lies a message to the Intercol hierarchy. The scourge of vicious criminality has hit the nation with telling force. One of the colleges under its umbrella was brought to its knees recently by a horrible incident, still troubling the mind. The twisted mind that conjured that evil act did not necessarily first activate on that dreadful evening on Hope Boulevard. It could very well have had its genesis as an act such as the one committed by the person who presumably applied for, and used, that airline ticket. There is a potent call for the country to have a conscience, a sharp distinction between right and wrong. The spotlight in this matter is on Intercol. Educators, do the right thing.last_img read more

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CJIA should provide clarity on increases

first_imgDear Editor,Reference to article captioned “CJIA hikes passenger fees to “support expansion costs”” that was carried in your April 17 edition, which says that with effect from April 1, 2019, outgoing and incoming passengers will have to pay US$35; outgoing US$17 and incoming US$15, payable in Guyana dollars at the prevailing exchange rate.The new rates are for an increase in Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) security fees and the introduction of a passenger service charge, all effective from April 1, but officially announced on April 17.First question: Is the “prevailing exchange rate” in accordance with the Bank of Guyana’s rates, the rates of local commercial banks, or those of the Cambios?Secondly: Why should the local travelling public be asked to pay to support the airport improvement when the local travelling public pay their fair share of taxes, which went towards funding the full cost of the improvement? I believe the new charges should be levied on non-nationals, and not on nationals.I recently bought a return ticket to Toronto, and embedded in the cost of the ticket is the usual G$4,000 airport tax. I am now required to pay an additional G$7,315 (equivalent of US$35). As such, my total cost to use the airport facility as an outgoing/incoming passenger will be G$11,315.Third question: Would outgoing/ incoming passengers be required to pay the usual G$4,000 airport tax plus the G$7,315 to “support improvement” of the airport? And for how long would passengers be required to provide this support?Editor, I should be grateful if the relevant authority could provide full clarity to the issues raised in this letter, so that the travelling public could be enlightened on a rather vague advisory issued by CJIA in the aforementioned captioned article.Yours faithfully,Jai Petamlast_img read more

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Due to DEA’s Negligence of the Law, Court Sets ‘Drug Traffickers’ Free

first_imgThree suspected drug traffickers, one of them a 7-month pregnant woman, had their lucky break in court yesterday when Judge Peter Gbeneweleh of Criminal Court ‘C’ ordered the “immediate release” of the defendants due to the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) “violation of the rights of those individuals.”His action came despite assurances that the DEA, which is tasked with combating drug-related crimes within Liberia, is gaining ground against the local drug trade of late.Judge Gbeneweleh however believes that the agency is now using its statutory powers to arrest and incarcerate suspected drug traffickers for more than 48 hours without formally charging the suspects as provided for under the law.The “unlawful” practice was unearthed recently by the Judge, prompting him to order the immediate release of three persons, among them a pregnant woman, suspected of being behind the importation of a quantity of heroin valued at L$1.2 million (US$14,532), from what he described as “withholding cell.”The illegal shipment of the dangerous substances, according to the DEA, originated from Kampala, Uganda, and was intercepted at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) through the DHL.Judge Gbeneweleh said the decision to free the three suspects is to make security operatives in the country to understand that the rights of an accused are to be respected at all times.“The fact that the DEA has the power to keep people accused of committing drug-related offenses in their withholding cell for over a week without formally charging them, is wrong as it violates the rights of those individuals. It should stop immediately from the country,” Judge Gbeneweleh stressed. “Therefore, the defendants are hereby released from further detention.”His action came immediately after lawyers representing the three accused filed before the court a writ of Habeas Corpus, which is a directive from a court that requires the government to justify the citizens’ imprisonment. It also guarantees that a person cannot be held for more than a limited period of time without being charged formally with a crime.In all criminal cases, the burden of proof to prove a case is on the government to justify an arrest and detention of a criminal suspect.Article 21 (f) of the 1986 Constitution provides that “Every person arrested or detained shall be formally charged and presented before a court of competent jurisdiction within forty-eight hours. Should the court determine the existence of a prima facie case against the accused, it shall issue a formal writ of arrest setting out the charge or charges and shall provide for a speedy trial. There shall be no preventive detention.”Section (g) of that article also provides that, “The right to the writ of habeas corpus, being essential to the protection of human rights, shall be guaranteed at all times, and any person arrested or detained and not presented to court within the period specified may in consequence exercise this.”An interesting issue with the DEA, a legal expert hinted the Daily Observer is that for the last two years, it has failed to follow up on cases and to prosecute those people accused of drug related offenses.“I challenged the DEA to boast of displaying or burning those substances it has arrested. Instead it was very much interested to announce the identity and value of the drugs it has confiscated,” the expert stated.To support that assertion, the DEA again over the weekend arrested another consignment of heroin at the entering the country via DHL at RIA, the second arrest in about two months.According to the DEA, four persons have been identified – two Nigerians and two Liberians – as those allegedly responsible for the importation of the drugs into the country.The illicit drugs, valued at US$60,000, were neatly concealed in packages of hair products in DHL parcel number 1011647755, but were intercepted by DEA agents in Monrovia, DEA Director-General Anthony K. Souh disclosed. The shipment originated on Lilongwe, Malawi.The illicit drugs, DEA said were discovered in cans of emptied UV Whitening cream (hair products).A drug expert hinted the Daily Observer that the DEA does not have an in-house lawyer to advise them on legal matters.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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Grande Prairie hosts weekend Peace Region curling tournament

first_imgIn the Sun Life Financial Division, Kurt Balderson of the Sexsmith Curling Club defeated Dawson Creek’s Jordan Steinke. In a close match, Balderson executed a come around tap back to defeat the opposing team by a score of 7-6.In the Encana Challenge Division, Grande Prairie Curling Club’s Jeff Henricks defeated Stephanie Powell, a fellow Grande Prairie team, by a score of 7-5. In another close game, Henricks made a clutch comeback, scoring three at the end of the sixth, followed by consecutive one point steals in both the seventh and the eighth ends.Darren Turcotte was the big winner in the Canwest Group Benefits Junior Division. Turcotte and his team won both of their games within the division.- Advertisement -The Q99 GP Cash Spiel is the first stop on the Pomeroy Inn & Suites Peace Curling Tour. The second event goes in Fort St. John in two weeks time.last_img read more

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120 jobs on the line, 6 already gone

first_imgGTT restructuringSome 120 employees attached to Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT) will be laid off over the coming months as the company announces a restructuring of its operations.In a statement to the media on Wednesday, the local telecommunications giant explained that the restructuring is aimed at aligning the company with the new environment in which it provides services. A move which, it added, will see about 120 positions be made redundant over the next 12 months.This announcement coincides with the separation of the first six employees under the restructuring programme, whom were chosen from multiple departments within the company. Nevertheless, GTT assures that these employees will receive the necessary benefits they are entitled to.“All employees affected by the restructuring are receiving their full benefits and severance. In addition, the company is providing opportunities for these employees to receive training to prepare them for their new endeavours,” the statement outlines.Moreover, according to GTT, these employees were already briefed by Chief Executive Officer, Justin Nedd, during several staff meetings about the “need to right size the company in order to remain viable.”In fact, in an internal memorandum to all employees on Wednesday, Nedd said, “We are on the verge of really creating a company that is built for the future and we must position ourselves to ensure that everyone understands his or her role and is driven in the same direction.”Moreover, the public missive further outlined that among GTT’s top priorities for 2017 includes talent management in order to ensure that the right employees are in the right roles.“Through improving talent management, GTT expects to provide more training for employees, better tools and the leadership that would lead to improved productivity. The goal of talent management is to enable GTT to delight its customers and to grow revenue,” the statement details.Customer care was also named as one of the company’s top priorities this year and through restructuring, GTT says it expects to be able to meet and exceed customers’ expectations.Additionally, the company also prioritised the completion of negotiations with Government with the aim of arriving at a “mutually beneficial” agreement as it relates to the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector.For the first time in 20 plus years, GTT says liberalisation of the telecoms sector creates the opportunity for the company to operate on a level playing field. In this regard, the company outlined that it is likely that competitors in the same sector pay the same taxes and fees as GTT has over the last 26 years.According to Nedd, “At the end, we will come out stronger as we shift from a technical centric organisation to an organisation that is focused on satisfying the customers’ needs and, eventually, consistently delighting our customers.”last_img read more

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Pacific Oil & Gas Limited closes acquisition of Canbriam Energy Inc.

first_imgCALGARY, A.B. – Pacific Oil & Gas Limited has announced that it has completed the acquisition of all the issued and outstanding shares of Canbriam Energy Inc.President of PO&G, Ratnesh Bedi, says the intention of this acquisition is to continue to produce natural gas from the Montney region.“We welcome the Canbriam team to Pacific Oil and Gas Limited. Our intention is to continue to produce the cleanest natural gas from the Montney region, and to help reduce global GHG emissions by sharing that resource through international export.”- Advertisement -Canbriam’s President and CEO, Paul Myers, says his company looks forward to the integration and that they will continue to develop the Montney resource to support future natural gas export opportunities in Canada.In connection with the closing of the acquisition of Canbriam, on June 18, PO&G issued a conditional redemption notice to the holders of its Senior Notes, due 2019, to retire the notes.last_img read more

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Balotelli set for Liverpool return as AC Milan opt out of permanent deal

first_img Mario Balotelli Mario Balotelli is expected to return to Liverpool at the end of the season, according to reports in Italy.The striker returned to AC Milan in a season-long loan deal in the summer, but the Serie A club have decided NOT to make his stay permanent when his loan expires.Balotelli has failed to make a telling impact at the San Siro this season, with a hernia operation keeping him on the sidelines for much of the campaign.Injury has restricted the 25-year-old to just ten appearances, scoring two goals, and Italian newspaper Tuttosport claim Milan have already made the decision not to offer the Italy international a full-time stay.It is claimed Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani has instead set his sights on Genoa forward Leonardo Pavoletti as an alternative.It means the former Manchester City frontman will either have to force his way into Jurgen Klopp’s plans at Anfield or move on again. 1last_img read more

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Congressman helped tribes

first_imgWASHINGTON – A California congressman who accepted campaign cash from disgraced ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and used his sports box for a fundraiser interceded on behalf of two American Indian tribes that were represented by Abramoff’s firm, documents show. GOP Rep. John Doolittle wrote Interior Secretary Gale Norton in June 2003 criticizing the Bush administration’s response to a tribal government dispute involving the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa. In October 2003, Doolittle appealed in a letter to the secretary for quicker action for a Massachusetts tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoag, that was seeking federal recognition. Both tribes signed on with Abramoff’s lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig, that year. Sac & Fox hired the firm in May, the Wampanoags in November. Neither tribe appears tied to Doolittle’s rural Northern California district, and Doolittle is not on the House committee that handles Indian issues. The letters were obtained by The Associated Press under a Freedom of Information Act request. Doolittle accepted at least $14,000 in campaign money from Abramoff from 1999 to 2001, records show, and initially failed to report a 1999 fundraiser in Abramoff’s sky box, as required. He took tens of thousands of dollars more from Abramoff’s tribal clients, including $5,000 in 2004 from the Sac & Fox tribe, also known as the Meskwaki. Doolittle’s wife did fundraising work for Abramoff, and a former Doolittle aide later went to work as a lobbyist for Greenberg Traurig. Doolittle was among more than two dozen lawmakers who signed a February 2002 letter to Norton urging her to reject an Indian casino in Louisiana opposed by Abramoff’s tribal clients. After that letter became public in November, Doolittle’s spokeswoman, Laura Blackann, said he signed it only because of his “long-held anti-gaming position.” In his letter to Norton about the Sac & Fox Tribe, Doolittle complained that the tribe’s casino was wrongly shut down because BIA refused to recognize a newly elected tribal council. The new council hired Abramoff’s firm after the elections. “I fear that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has ignored precedent during the course of the tribe’s governance dispute and its failure to lead has resulted in significant economic damage to the tribe and surrounding region,” Doolittle wrote. Ultimately the BIA oversaw new elections and certified victory by the Abramoff-backed faction, and the casino reopened. The losing faction is now suing, suggesting BIA officials may have been influenced by Abramoff. In the case of the Mashpee tribe, Doolittle wrote Norton, “It appears that they have been forced to wait too long to receive an answer to their petition for recognition.” The Mashpee tribe now appears on the verge of attaining recognition. The federal government has promised a preliminary decision by March on the tribe’s long-standing application. 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 MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Doolittle’s spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In a radio interview a week ago, Doolittle said he did nothing wrong in his relations with Abramoff. He described Abramoff as a friend who rarely lobbied the lawmaker. Doolittle also disputed reports by the AP and other news organizations that his ties to Abramoff have caught the attention of federal investigators. Abramoff pleaded guilty this month to corruption charges and agreed to tell the FBI about bribes to lawmakers and their aides. “Come investigate me, come contact me, because I know what the truth is and I’ll come out with a clean record,” Doolittle said. The letters are the latest example of connections between Abramoff’s interests and Doolittle, a conservative ally of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and a member of the House GOP leadership. last_img read more

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School opening a platform for war of wills

first_img The school – designed for 1,000 students – opened for instruction in January after teachers and administrators worked through the Christmas holiday to get it ready. It has started with 540 children in kindergarten through fourth grades, with fifth grade set to be added next year and officials hoping to open a middle school nearby by 2008. As he prepared for the ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opening the school, Villaraigosa told reporters and a group of parents he will continue efforts to get mayoral control of the district. The mayor is putting together a formal plan that would address district issues, including how to deal with elected school board members and the 27 neighboring cities that send children to LAUSD. “I think the public is looking for someone who will be accountable,” Villaraigosa said. “This is not personal, and I do not want to take away from what the school district has accomplished. I just think we need to do something to improve the education of our children and reduce the dropout rate.” Korenstein, who represents the area around the new school and has been at odds with Villaraigosa over mayoral control, said she strongly disagrees with him and worries that the dispute will affect the quality of education. “This should be about the children and the education they are receiving and not about who is in charge,” Korenstein said. “We need to work together.” Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390 rick.orlov@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! NORTH HILLS – The opening of an elementary school Wednesday became the latest venue in the skirmish for control of the Los Angeles Unified School District, with Superintendent Roy Romer and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vying to garner support for their opposing views. The ceremonial opening of Monroe Elementary School No. 2 – which officials promised will get its own unique name soon – marked the 55th school opened under the district’s ambitious building program financed with more than $18 billion in voter-approved bonds. Romer noted that voter support – and district improvements – in speaking to the hundreds of parents, children and teachers gathered with red, white and blue balloons in the school’s multipurpose center. “For 35 years, these schools were neglected,” Romer said. “Now, things are changing. This is Super Bowl week and I would say we are only in the second quarter. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card “We are making improvements. This is a district on the move. We are building schools to relieve overcrowding. Our scores are improving. We need you to stand with us.” But while Villaraigosa praised school officials for their efforts, he said more needs to be done. “We need to make sure every child is educated,” Villaraigosa said. “And we need to make sure that parents are involved. We need to make sure there is a parent resource center here.” School board member Julie Korenstein said such a center already exists – but Villaraigosa said that happened only after he raised the issue. “I was told there was a vacant room,” he said. “But it was only after I mentioned it that it became a parent resource center.” last_img read more

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Forest Green Rovers beat Tranmere Rovers to reach Football League for first time

first_img1 Kaiyne Woolery fired a Wembley double as Forest Green secured a place in the English Football League for the first time in their history by beating Tranmere 3-1 in the National League play-off final.Woolery’s superb opener gave his side an early lead and although Connor Jennings equalised for Tranmere soon after, Forest Green struck twice in quick succession just before half-time. Christian Doidge’s stunning effort put them back in front and Woolery added his second three minutes later as the Gloucestershire side banished memories of their defeat to Grimsby in last season’s play-off final.Tranmere, who lost their Football League status in 2015, battled gamely in the second period but Forest Green ran out deserved winners and joined champions Lincoln in Sky Bet League Two.Forest Green took the lead with their first effort on target in the 11th minute when Woolery, on loan from Wigan, was given far too much time to pick his spot from 25 yards with a low right-footed shot.Tranmere responded well and levelled the match 10 minutes later. Jennings was teed up just outside the penalty area after some neat build-up and the former Wrexham striker slammed home his seventh goal in eight matches.Forest Green goalkeeper Sam Russell brilliantly denied Tranmere forward James Norwood in a one-on-one in the 33rd minute as Tranmere looked odds-on to take the lead.But it was Mark Cooper’s side who seized the initiative with two goals in three minutes just before half-time.Liam Noble picked out Doidge with an excellent cross-field pass and the latter cut inside to unleash a superb angled drive inside Tranmere goalkeeper Scott Davies’ far post.Forest Green doubled their advantage soon after as Woolery pinched the ball off Tranmere left-back Liam Ridehalgh and ran clear to slide the ball beneath Davies.Russell pulled off another superb save early in the second period to keep out Cole Stockton’s header from a corner and Liverpool loanee Jack Dunn went close for Tranmere with a stunning long-range effort.Tranmere defender Stockton headed just wide on the hour-mark, but the Merseysiders gradually ran out of ideas.Dunn sliced a half-chance way off target in the closing stages and Forest Green, based in Nailsworth which has a population of just 6,000, held on to the delight of their outnumbered fans in a crowd of 18,801.last_img read more

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