Praise for Dodd, the record breaker

first_imgDanniel Thomas-Dodd upped her national shot put record for the second time in 2017 with a runner-up finish at the US NCAA Indoor Championships. Competing on the College Station campus of Texas A&M University, Dodd pushed the shot put to 18.40m. That added 8cm to a mark she set last month. Dodd broke the Jamaican record of 18.20m last month with a mark of 18.32. In College Station, she peppered the 18m line with a six throw series of 18.00, 17.90, 17.99, 18.26, 18.40 and a final-round foul. Willingness to work Marlon Gayle, who coached the Westmoreland native for two seasons at Edwin Allen Comprehensive High School, attributes her improvement to her willingness to work with a goal in mind. Speaking on March 12, he said, “If she wants something, she’s going to work towards it, and I told her regardless of which college you go to, university you go, you’re going to do well.” She left Edwin Allen with the 2012 Boys and Girls’ Championships shot put record – 14.47m – and set sail for Kent State University in Ohio. She has blossomed there. A member of Jamaica’s teams to the 2014 Commonwealth Games where she was a finalist in the discus, the 2015 Pan-American Games where she punched the shot 17.76m to place 5th, she has also competed against the best on the planet at the 2015 World Championships and the 2016 Olympics. According to Gayle, the 24- year-old Thomas-Dodd is a coach’s dream. “What makes coaching exciting and achieving objectives a good thing, is to have an athlete who really knows what he or she is about”, he said. “That motivates any coach to really do their very best and be their very best for those individuals,” Gayle smiled.last_img read more

Tony Becca | Captaincy, a labour of love

first_imgLast month, Alastair Cook gave up the high-profile job as captain of England, and that after leading his country for five years and 59 Test matches, after being the most capped England player with 140 appearances, and after scoring the most runs, 11,057, and the most centuries, 30. And to top of it all, the England management, the England players, and the England fans, all thanked him and gave him a round of applause for a job well done and wished him good luck as he bade to continue his wonderful career as a batsman. Cook’s exit followed England’s 0-4 loss to India in India recently, and the 32-year-old left-hander stated, simply and precisely afterwards, the reason for his decision. “You can’t do the job at 95 per cent,” he said, hinting that he needed to devote all his time, all 100 per cent of his time, to the job of captaining the England cricket team. If I was beside him when he made that statement, I would have, without a doubt, shook his hand vigorously. To captain England, to captain any team, especially an international cricket team, calls for knowledge of the game, it calls for selflessness, it calls for leadership, and it calls for commitment, the kind of devotion which sometimes leads to obsession, almost like a religious fanatic. If one is to succeed in life, in one thing or another, one needs not to like what one is doing, but one has to love what one is doing, one has to know about what one is doing, inside and outside, and one has to do it day in and day out, day after day. Show me a successful man, or woman, in any sphere of endeavour, and I will show you a man, or a woman, who has worked tirelessly at what he or she is doing, knows what he or she is doing, tries to know more about whatever he or she is doing, and is fair to everyone, or tries to be to almost everyone with whom he or she comes in contact. And it matters not what he does, whether it is business or pleasure, or whether it is voluntary work, especially in social life and in sport. In fact, voluntarism is probably the greatest gift of all, especially in societies of limited resources such as Jamaica, and one with gifted people who generally need the support, such as Jamaicans. Voluntarism is good and valuable. It is good and valuable to those who volunteer if only for personal esteem, but also to those who benefit from volunteers, especially those who achieve their dreams and those who become great and famous because of volunteers. The good volunteers, however, are not necessarily those who do it occasionally, or at their own convenience, as some are often quick to say, or those who do not recognise the value of time, their own and that of other people, by acting or saying, almost defiantly, that they are volunteers whenever they get something wrong or arrive late. The good volunteer knows that once he accepts being a volunteer, it is his job and his commitment, he knows that he accepted the job and thus the commitment, and he knows that he is obliged to do the job, and to the best of his ability. A volunteer, a good volunteer, goes about his job, not at the expense of his regular job, but just like it was a regular job, sometimes with more devotion and dedication, and that is why he is successful. Alastair Cook was not a volunteer, but although as a professional he was paid to do the job as a cricket captain, as the England captain, he was like a volunteer – doing the job every day, from day to day, never complaining, taking the good with the bad, always reaching for the sky, or the mountain top, but never making a demand as if it was his by divine right to get there. He seemed to enjoy his innings in charge at or near the top. Cook may have had other reasons for his much-lamented decision, but whatever they were, if indeed they were any other, in his own words, he gave up the England captaincy when he could not give 100 per cent of his time and skill, and he knew that in whatever one does, that is what it takes to do a good job. If only there were more men, and women, like him, much, much more, and especially in Jamaica and in the West Indies. Although the 42-year-old Misbah-ul-Haq is the captain of Pakistan, the four captains of Australia, India, New Zealand are 27-year-old Steve Smith, 28-year-old Virat Kohli and 26-year-old Kane Williamson, respectively, and the new captain of England is 26-year-old Joe Root. They are all among the world’s leading batsmen, and with Root suggesting that he will follow the other three in their footsteps as a captain and as a leader, and is expected to do so. West Indians everywhere are hoping and praying that Jason Holder, the 25-year-old captain of the West Indies, will fall in line. They are hoping that in a short while, he will really develop into in a medium-fast bowler of immense skill, an all-rounder of some skill, and a captain worthy of comparison with Frank Worrell, Rohan Kanhai, Clive Lloyd, and Vivian Richards. VOLUNTARISM VALUABLElast_img read more

Duncan Cassell Wins Special Tourney

first_imgA female team, honoring Minister Julius Duncan Cassell (Gender Ministry) yesterday won the three-day female soccer tournament, defeating their opponents, honoring NPA boss, Matilda Parker 2-0 in the finals.The match, played at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium was the climax of the tournament began last Friday. Yesterday’s two goals were scored by Angeline Kieh, one coming through a spot kick. The victors received a trophy and U$100.00, donated by Mr. Cassell Kuouh, vice president for operations of the Liberia Football Association.In last Friday’s match, Matilda Parker defeated Mrs. Cassell Kuouh 3-1 honoring side, and on Saturday Duncan Cassell defeated a side honoring Angeline Weeks 3-1, and the two winners met in the finals yesterday.Gracing the tournament were President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and US Ambassador Deborah Malac.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

UL to Regain Pre-war Status

first_imgLiberia’s messy education system, especially at the tertiary level with specific reference to the University of Liberia, is on the verge of getting a boost from Cheryl Dozier, the president of Savannah State University (SSU), Georgia, U.S.A. Ms Dozier is offering to form a partnership with the University of Liberia.UL is the nation’s premier institution of learning, but the level of academic activities at the institution have been far from encouraging since the 14 year civil crisis ended. The institution has recently been beleaguered by chaotic activities between students, faculty, and staff on one side and the administration on another.According to Ms. Dozier, when the partnership is established, the UL will regain its pre-war status when it competed with world-class universities.The SSU president made the offer on Tuesday, March 4, during a courtesy call to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at her Foreign Ministry Office. She said the offer is in support of President Sirleaf’s courage to see a revamped education sector; and her institution stands ready to support the cause.Prior to the Liberian crisis, according to sources, the University of Liberia was an academic hub where some of the continent’s most renowned leaders and diplomats were schooled. This is no longer the case as the institution has been downgraded to a business center where instructors extort money from students for grades.The partnership, according to this paper’s sources, would give critical consideration to technical areas such as Marine Engineering, Social Work, and the Criminal Justice System. This joint venture between the two schools could help elevate the National Police Training Academy to an Associate Degree-granting institution; a plan that has already been initiated between UL and the Liberia National Police. Madam Dozier said her institution is willing to provide textbooks and enter into a student/faculty exchange program with UL and other institutions of higher learning.Savannah State, the only university awarding a degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management in the state of Georgia, was interested in extending that program by working with UL to see how they could help Liberia with its ports of entry for the security of its own borders.Coming to Liberia to form a partnership with the University of Liberia was like coming home, she said, since Liberia and the State of Georgia have a rich black history in common regarding the emancipation of former slaves.   Founded in 1890 by Richard R. Wright, Sr., who was born into slavery, Savannah State University is the oldest public historically black college in Georgia.President Sirleaf expressed her gratitude and said that she was honored that SSU would see Liberia as a home. The President also announced the formation of the partnership with Liberia’s flagship tertiary institution. She said the historical connection with the United States was clear, as evident by the continuous support from past and current U.S. administrations and the Congress, which has, over the years, made the United States Liberia’s number one bilateral partner. She expressed hope that the partnership would also encourage people-to-people outreach and increase student/staff exchange.She hailed UL president, Dr. Emmet A. Dennis, for being an ambassador in government’s quest to restore quality education in Liberia, especially at the tertiary level. She described him as bridge builder between overseas and Liberian universities.Dr. Dennis, in his comments, expressed satisfaction that his efforts to resuscitate the University of Liberia were gaining momentum, and he praised President Sirleaf’s administration for their support in realizing the dream. He thanked Liberia’s Honorary Consul General, Madam Cynthia Nash, for making contact possible with several U.S. universities.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

ECOWAS Health Stakeholders Take Stock of ‘Unprecedented Ebola Outbreak’

first_imgHealth stakeholders in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region are meeting in Monrovia to take stock of the status of implementation of the recommendations and lessons learned from the recent and unprecedented outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).The EVD outbreak, which started in March 2014 in Liberia, recorded nearly 5,000 deaths in Liberia and more than 11,000 in the sub-region and beyond. But Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone were the worst hit and recorded the highest number of deaths.Formally opening the three-day post-Ebola outbreak regional meeting yesterday at a resort in Monrovia, Minister of Health, Dr. Bernice Dahn, said they would review recommendations from the “decisions of the Heads of Governments and States of ECOWAS and the Abuja Declaration” aimed at improving the regional and sub-regional capacity for prevention, detection and response to threats of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.“Today, we gather here to technically review the status of implementations that formed the bedrock for articulating our investment plans for building a resilient health system. It is anticipated that conclusions reached from this deliberation will constitute the ‘Monrovia Declaration’ to be endorsed by Heads of State and Governments of ECOWAS,” Minister Dahn said.Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn with other platform guests meeting under the auspices of the West African Health Organization (WAHO): “We should be adequately prepared. Disease threat in any of the ECOWAS states is a threat to all of us including the international community.”She told participants meeting under the auspices of the West African Health Organization (WAHO), that the recent Ebola virus disease (EVD) experience in the region continuously reminds and challenges them that everyone is at risk to any disease outbreak.“We should be adequately prepared. Disease threat in any of the ECOWAS states is a threat to all of us including the international community,” Dr. Dahn added.Against this background, ECOWAS continues to engage with all the three worst EVD affected countries in their recovery journeys towards rebuilding resilient health systems.Dr. Dahn praised the efforts of the Authority of Heads of State and Governments of ECOWAS, ECOWAS Commission and WAHO for working closely with EVD affected countries in tracking and monitoring the post-EVD recovery process.“In Liberia, we will build on these partnerships and develop the necessary capacities as defined by recommendations from the International Health Regulations (IHR) Joint External Evaluation and the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) to prepare, detect and respond rapidly and effectively to disease outbreaks, multi-hazard threats and other humanitarian emergencies,” said Dr. Dahn.She acknowledged that Liberia is still recovering from the economic shocks that accompanied the EVD outbreak, and that it had immensely affected the domestic resource mobilization efforts.Minister Dahn further stated that it is a tedious journey to get the economy back to its pre-Ebola status.The post-EVD investment plan that the Liberian government had put in place did not attract the much-needed funds to facilitate adequate implementation of the outlined priorities, she disclosed.She expressed the hope that strong partnership will continue to play a meaningful role in filling the critical gaps.Dr. Dahn recognized that though there are ongoing works in ECOWAS to improve prevention, detection and response, owing to some weaknesses on the part of the regional body, she said she is, however, hopeful that through strong national commitment, collaboration and partnership all the necessary capacities will be established.The Director General of WAHO, Dr. Xavier Crispin, said their gathering was very important, because they were meeting on the request of leaders in the region, especially from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe, who is the Regional Coordinator for the Fight Against Epidemics in the region.“The main objective of the meeting is to access where we are in terms of implementing the key decisions reached by the Heads of State and Governments. One of the key decisions made during the last three years was putting in place an ECOWAS Regional Center for Disease Control,” Dr. Crispin said.He stated that over the next three days, they will exchange reports on where they (member states) are with the implementation at the regional as well as the national levels in term of setting up national coordinating units.He also said stakeholders will also look at where they are in term of setting up efficient laboratories, training of technicians, researchers and epidemiology surveillance in health information systems.Dr. Crispin stressed that among their main objectives is the “one health approach,” which was adopted by health stakeholders in the region.According to him, this approach is being spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and animal health organizations.“So last year in December, the Heads of State decided that now we need to work based on the ‘one health approach.’ It is important during this meeting to also access where we are in terms of involving the other sectors and not only the human health sector.”The WAHO DG also stated that critical to their deliberations will be to look at the contribution toward the ‘solidarity fund,’ which was agreed upon by Heads of State of the region.The contributions towards this solidarity fund will be made by member states so that when there is any health emergency in any country, money can be taken from the fund to help that country.He reminisced that based on contributions from some member states, WAHO through ECOWAS was able to send over a hundred medical personnel to the three worst affected countries during the Ebola crisis.Earlier, Liberia’s Deputy Minister of Health for Disease Surveillance and Epidemic Control, Tolbert G. Nyensuah, stated that since the EVD transmission was declared over and was no longer posing public health emergency of international concern, they have been struggling with rebuilding their healthcare systems, especially countries that were most affected by the EVD.Minister Nyensuah said the disease affected cross-border trades and brought about travel restrictions and economic shutdown.He stated, however, that since the outbreak was declared over, they have put in place mechanisms for building a resilient healthcare system in Liberia.According to him, one of the best lessons learned during the crisis is the establishment of a National Public Health Institute in Liberia and their first concentration is on disease surveillance.He spoke of the Liberian Government making significant progress aimed at building a resilient health sector following the deadly Ebola virus disease.ECOWAS Representative to Liberia Ambassador Babatunde O. Ajisomo congratulated the Liberian government for establishing the National Public Health Institute.“This meeting, I need not stress, is very important as we were here last year when we examined the global recommendations which were put together on post-Ebola recovery. Today and tomorrow, we will be looking at the extent to which we have been able to implement those recommendations,” he said.He reminded the audience that the epidemic has become a major problem in the region. The ECOWAS Representative expressed his appreciation that WAHO and ministries of health in the region were doing all they can to keep the region healthy.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

The Abduction

first_img(An excerpt from the Novel August 1990)Part IIBy Saah MillimonoOn arriving at the INPFL Caldwell base, the rebels threw the girls out of the pickup and onto the ground. Then they were led into a building nearby and made to sit on the floor of a small room with bars on the window. The room smelled of urine and human feces. The floor was bare and cold. The girls crowded together, crying and trembling. The rebel went out of the room, locking the metal door behind them.The girls stood in a cluster, as if it was all they could do to stop from feeling afraid. Among the twelve in the room was Lorpu. She had been abducted by the rebels, along with the other girls, as she and her father reached the roadblock where they had met the ECOMOG soldiers. Leaning against the wall, tears streaming out of her eyes, she stood at the back of the others.Then a voice, detached from the rest, was heard in the room. They all turned to look around. Immediately they saw the figure of another girl, sitting not more than five feet away. She was dressed in nothing but a pair of blue shorts. Her breasts, seen in the dim light that came through the window, were as firm as mangoes.“Y’all think da yor one suffren here?” she said.The others could only look at her in silence.“I been in this jail for two weeks,” the girl said. “Because one rebel wan me to be his girlfrend an’ I refuse; the rebels can give me food. Sometime dey come and beat me. I no one day dey will kill me. But I not afraid because dey na rape me plenty time. They will come and do de same thing to y’all. And if y’all cry, y’all will jes make it worse.”But the others could still only look at her in silence. Then whispered voices broke out among them. Who was this girl? How had she come to be in this place? Will they be treated no less than she? How long will that be before they were set free, or killed?Lorpu detached herself from the group. She walked towards the small girl sitting in the corner. With some difficulty, as though her neck hurt from the effort, the girl turned her head and looked at Lorpu. She looked about fifteen years of age. There were cuts and bruises on her face and body. A lump, almost the size of child’s fist, protruded from her forehead. But despite her pain and the hunger she had suffered, her body had managed to retain its fullness. It was like a miracle.Looking at her, Lorpu couldn’t help but wonder at her courage. Here was a small girl, no more than fifteen years of age, who had been raped, whipped, starved and kept in jail for two weeks. Yet she had stood up to the rebels, resolved to die rather than to obey.Feeling comforted by the small girl’s fortitude, Lorpu wiped the tears from her face and sat down beside her. The other girls came over, whispering.“What is your name, and how is life here on the rebel base?” one of the girls asked.“My name Tennen,” the small girl answered.Then she began to tell them how there were many other women living on the INPFL Caldwell base, cooking, washing, and cleaning up after the fighters. She told how some of the women had come of their own free will, how some had taken up arms or had become wives for the rebels; and how others, like her, had been abducted at a roadblock a few weeks before.“If you wan be deir women, deir cook and deir slave, da de only way dey will treat you good. You will even be happy living here with them because they will give you food and clothes and good place to sleep. But your body will never be for yourself. Sometimes dey will force you to sleep with four or five rebels. But dey will kill me before I sleep with even one rebel.”“But, Tennen, when there is war, women suffer the most,” one of the others said.“This war will end one day,” said another girl. “If you’re lucky to stay alive, you will go on with your life and forget everything.”“Tennen, as long as the rebels don’t kill you, let them do whatever they want to do with you,” said a third. “Remember that many people have died already.”But Tennen was not to be convinced.An hour went by; two hours; night fell.The girls fell asleep, even though they lay on the floor and the night was cold.Outside, people could be heard talking and moving from one place to another. A few times there were gunshots, and group of men and women were heard crying at the top of their voices. Once, a man was heard shouting out orders. Then there were running footsteps. A car started and drove away. Then a man was heard singing to the accompaniment of guitars, and the voices of other men beating on drums and tambourines. It sounded as if it were a night band. The men could be heard singing from one end of the base to another.Lorpu couldn’t sleep. She lay curled up on the floor staring into the darkness. The room buzzed with mosquitoes, biting her and making sleep even more impossible.Suddenly she found herself thinking of the few hours she had been at the roadblock, along with her father and a group of displaced people who had all hoped to reach the ECOMOG headquarters. Then the rebels had arrived. Together with a group of girls she had been captured and put into the back of a pickup. The rebels had blindfolded them and bound their arms, and they had been beaten whenever they struggled. She wondered why hadn’t the ECOMOG soldiers, who were there during their capture, done better than only to plead with the rebels? They were all armed, of course. What sort of peacekeepers were they? Where was her father? Had he been able to leave the roadblock? she wondered. When she had last seen him, he had been too feeble to walk.And she thought about how difficult it had been to reach the ECOMOG headquarters. She and her father had spent many weeks in the swamps, bypassing rebel checkpoints, hungry and in fear for their lives. Several times she had had to drag her father behind her. Then a stray bullet had grazed her father’s forehead and the old man had collapsed as though he were dead.Then she thought about her mother, who had fallen ill as she and her father left their home on Duport Road.“Yor don’t worry about me,” her mother had told her, lying on the mattress and unable to move a muscle. “I’ll soon die. Go with your father, Lorpu. God bless y’all on the road.”But this woman, malnourished and lying bloated on the mattress, was not old. She must have been about thirty years of age. But there were now only a few strands of hair on her head. She had taken ill from eating green pawpaw because that was the only food they could find. But her stomach had run for days on end.Sobbing, Lorpu had bent over her mother and kissed her on the forehead. As she and her father walked out the door, she had taken a last, long look at the dying woman and burst into tears.Almost at once Lorpu started to sob. But almost immediately one of the girls lay a hand on her shoulder and brought her back to the present. It was Tennen. “It na good to act weak here-o,” she said.Hearing her voice, Lorpu felt a wave of assurance sweep over her. Almost by reflex, they began to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Their voices, barely above a whisper, floated out of the jail and into the night air.Suddenly there were footsteps; they fell silent. Someone had just entered the house. From the sound of the voices they could tell that it was a group of men. Laughing and talking among themselves, the men stopped at the door. One of them began to fumble with some keys. A beam of light could be seen a few inches under the door. On the air came the smell of marijuana. Lorpu and Tennen woke up the other girls, whispering.The door opened, beams of torchlight slashing through the darkness. Shielding their eyes, the girls began to cry again as the men, cursing, kicked and shouted at them. Again hands were thrust into their clothes. A few of the girls were stripped naked and pushed into another corner of the jail.“Tennen! I say, Tennen! Where da Tennen girl?” one of the fighters called.“Here I am,” said Tennen.She disengaged herself from the other girls and came forward. A beam of light shone in her face. But she made not the slightest effort to shield her eyes.“So this is the stubborn girl, eh?” one of the rebels said.“Yes, da her,” said the one pointing the light on the girl’s face.For a while the group of five rebel fighters stood staring at the small girl. Then a fist struck her in the face, knocking her to the floor.Blood flowing out of her nostrils, she rose to her feet and looked again at the rebels. She was grabbed and pushed out of the room, along with five other girls. The rebels locked the door behind them.The others left in the room began to cry. One of them doubled over and vomited. Another girl started to cry for her parents.Later, the other girls were brought back into the room. Some had to be dragged. They all looked exhausted, sweat streaming from their bodies. One of them could barely walk as blood streamed down her legs. Then Lorpu and the others were themselves taken away, and again the door was locked.Almost an hour later, they were brought back into the room, shuffling. Lorpu could barely walk. She could still feel the sharp, stinging pain as four fighters held her legs and arms wide apart while another fighter took off his trousers and lie on top of her. Her knees drawn up and arms wrapped around them, she began to cry.To be cont’d.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Elumelu Entrepreneurs Ends 2017 Gathering, Largest So Far

first_imgTony Elumelu is surrounded by the participants at the end of the program in Lagos, NigeriaThe Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), Africa’s leading philanthropy dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship, concluded its 3rd annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum on 13-14th of October 2017 in Lagos, Nigeria.The 2-day forum brought together 1,300 African SMEs, policymakers, and incubators from 54 countries, including Liberia.The most diverse and inclusive gathering of African entrepreneurs on the continent, the forum continued its strong tradition of showcasing innovation across sectors, including agriculture, technology, healthcare, fashion and energy/power generation.The Liberian delegation to the program in Lagos, NigeriaLaunched in 2015, the Forum was born out of the foundation’s $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs, over a decade, through the TEF Entrepreneurship program.During his keynote address, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, the philanthropist and founder who is also the chairman of the United Bank for Africa, spoke of his belief, that a vibrant African-led private sector is the key to unlocking Africa’s economic and social potential.“Africa’s development, which must be private-sector led and entrepreneurially driven, will have at its heart, young African innovators, and their transformative ideas. Only they will create the millions of jobs Africa needs. The forum has brought together Africa’s most important developmental force, her young entrepreneurs who will become catalysts for Africa’s economic liberation.“We have united the African entrepreneurship ecosystem, putting the entrepreneurs at center stage. I want to thank those heads of government and other key policymakers, who have supported our firm belief that the private sector is the engine for growth and the private sector players, who are models of our philosophy of Africapitalism – the idea that business will drive change and that change must deliver economic and social wealth,” he said.The two-day event, which involved plenary panels and masterclasses, provided the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs with a platform to network and connect with business leaders, policymakers, and investors.Focusing on the Forum’s theme of training and mentoring, speakers discussed topics that educated, empowered and inspired the entrepreneurs, addressing the key stages needed to successfully launch a business.The program emphasized the foundation’s role of uniting entrepreneurs and policymakers, as a means of ensuring that private and public sectors work together to create the best possible operating environment for entrepreneurship to thrive.At the Forum several Liberian entrepreneurs at this unique occasion with dignitaries from Liberia, Benin, Nigerian government senior officials and Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Dangote group who used the occasion to address the conditions needed to stimulate entrepreneurial growth.Also in attendance were senior members of global development institutions, including Wale Ayeni, Senior Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation; Stephen Tio Kauma, Director Human Resources, Afrexim Bank and Andre Hue, Deputy Country Director, Agence Française de Développement, who spoke of a new paradigm, driven by the need for a private sector-led change.“The private sector working with the public sector can achieve so much by way of development. African governments should move beyond rhetoric and implement their ideas,” Oba Otudeko said.Addressing the 3rd cohort of TEF entrepreneurs the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said: “This generation of young people will do the exceptional. You are the reason Africa will work and you have shown that there is indeed hope.”The forum also witnessed multiple partnerships between United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Foundation, and between French bilateral development bank, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and TEF. Commending both agencies for their commitment to promoting youth entrepreneurship in Africa, Elumelu called on other individuals and developmental institutions to partner with the Foundation and expand the scale of its impact.“We call on friends of Africa to partner with the Foundation, to scale our impact beyond the 1,000 entrepreneurs a year. Real opportunity exists to tap into Africa’s potential and our entrepreneurs offer a gateway to participating in both economic success and creating social wealth,” he said.TEF partners including Microsoft, Sage One and Greentec also held training workshops and side events aimed at approaches to strategically scale up business. The United Bank for Africa (UBA) supported the forum.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

PNC Chairperson’s comments “unnecessary distraction” – AFC leader

first_img…says no discrimination, favouritism in Cummingsburg AccordLeader of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Raphael Trotman, has conceded that the employment comments made by People’s National Congress Chairperson Volda Lawrence are an unnecessary distraction.Natural Resources Minister and AFC leader, Raphael TrotmanLawrence, who is the Public Health Minister, was quoted in the media as saying, among other things, that her party should place more focus on providing jobs for friends and party supporters.“The only friends I got is PNC, so the only people I gon give wuk to is PNC; and right now I looking for a doctor who can talk Spanish or Portuguese, and ah want one that is PNC,” she had said last week.After the comments, much furore had erupted, with some citing discrimination in hiring practices and others saying the comments were made at a “private” party gathering.As controversy remains a burning issue, Trotman, in a statement issued on Sunday, stressed that when A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the AFC had signed the Cummingsburg Accord, favouritism was not envisioned. The PNC is the main partner in APNU, which is itself a coalition party.PNC Chairperson and Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence“In the Accord, we jointly subscribe to pursue a common vision and pathway that put Guyana and all Guyanese first, without a resort to discrimination or favouritism in any form. We look to President David Granger, in particular, to articulate that vision on behalf of Government and his party; and most recently this was done at the Biennial Delegates Congress of the PNC. The AFC’s position on equality is well known and recently restated, whereby the AFC believes in and espouses equal opportunity for all Guyanese, regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, political persuasion or sexual orientation. The AFC believes that all Guyanese are entitled to share equally in the benefits of the state,” Trotman stressed.Trotman, who formerly was a PNC member, said he has known and worked closely with Lawrence for 25 years, and during that time she has “never shown racial or political partisanship, but in fact has worked tirelessly as politician and as a minister of Government for the betterment of people of all walks of life and all backgrounds.”“We believe that the PNC Chair’s widely reported statements were made in the aftermath of the hotly contested Local Government Elections, and have created an unnecessary distraction at this time,” he stressed.Just last week, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo condemned Lawrence’s statement made at Congress Place, Sophia. In fact, based on some other remarks made at that very event, Jagdeo told reporters that the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) could file a complaint with the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC).Regarding the giving of jobs to friends within the PNC, Jagdeo explained that Lawrence can be charged for violating labour regulations which speak to non-discrimination in hiring practices.However, Lawrence later announced through her party that she was standing by her words, which include comments about her only providing employment to supporters of her party. In the PNCR statement, she affirmed that she stands by her views, which were made in regard to jobs and opportunities. A section of the document stated that “The People’s National Congress Reform stands by her views on the issue of jobs and unemployment, that measures are being put in place for the young and industrious to be afforded the opportunity of becoming self-employed or gaining meaningful employment.”She has not yet addressed the controversial remarks that she allegedly made. However, in her defence, Lawrence has said she was only defending that Guyanese must be bilingual — referring to the PNC Spanish or Portuguese-speaking doctor she was desirous of providing care for her.Lawrence’s alleged remarks saw her criticising members of her party for inside bickering; which, according to her, if not rectified, will cost the Coalition Government the 2020 General Elections.last_img read more

Coping with cop stress

first_img Alcoholism, suicide The emotional toll of the job also shows up in other ways, with 43 officers being granted stress-related pensions in the last five years. Over the past decade, 21 officers have committed suicide – about twice the rate of those killed in the line of duty. Bob Baker, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said officers internalize many of the powerful emotions they experience on the job, too often paying the price in divorce, depression, alcoholism, suicide or other self-destructive behavior. “They come with the idea they want to make a difference in the world they live in and in their communities,” said Baker, who joined the LAPD 37 years ago. “Then they start to deal with humanity and see what people can do to one another, and this stuff takes its toll.” Baker noted that officers are drilled not to show weakness in the street – training that too often spills over into their personal lives. He said the department needs to do even more to help officers understand the unique stresses of being a cop and how to cope with the resulting emotions. During eight months of training at the Police Academy, recruits receive just four hours of formal instruction on mental health and coping skills. Last week a federal monitoring report found that about 20 percent of cops involved in certain use-of-force incidents did not receive a required review by a mental health professional before returning to the field. “They need to know how to protect themselves,” said Jablonski, who wants the academy training expanded. “It wears on their personality, their psyche, their families. They need to talk about it, how to reach out.” LAPD Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said police culture is slowly changing, and there are more informal discussions about stress and the emotional demands of being a cop. “You didn’t talk about stress (in the past). You kept quiet and dealt with the stress,” McDonnell said. “But we’ve evolved as a department. People don’t go out for a beer anymore. They run or deal with it in more positive ways. “Officers are more in tune with what they’re feeling.” Anguish `deep inside’ Baker said he’s seen the anguish experienced by LAPD officers who have been shot or involved in violent altercations; had their careers on the line at disciplinary boards; been subjected to media scrutiny, such as a video that recently emerged on showing a Hollywood officer punching a suspect in the face. McDonnell, a Medal of Valor recipient who’s risen to the top of the department, said he has keenly felt the pain and anguish of traumatic events. “We see or experience images that people will never get out of their minds,” he said. “It hits you, it hits you deep inside.” At the LAPD’s Behavioral Science Service suite in Chinatown, about 20 percent of officers and civilians seek help for job stress, 20 percent for family, and more than half for severe anxiety and depression, Jablonski said. “The emotions run so high … the huge adrenaline rushes up and down all night long. When you’re done at the end of a shift, you’re emotionally drained, physically drained,” said West Valley Detective Glenn McConnell, a recovering alcoholic and one of the department’s 200 peer counselors. Today, there are many cops who take prescription anti-depressants, Jablonski said, despite an undercurrent of departmental bias against the practice among some officers. McDonnell said commanders are accepting so long as officers take medication under the direction of a physician. Psychologist Susan Saxe-Clifford, who worked for the LAPD from 1970 to 1984 and now consults with law-enforcement agencies nationwide, said police develop an inner strength that enables them to compartmentalize the most stressful aspects of the job. But even the strongest cops have a breaking point, she said – when the accumulation of work and personal stress becomes too much for them to handle. “There’s sort of a trash-can model where each one of these experiences gets tucked away in that trash can and eventually it gets full and the lid starts to blow,” Saxe-Clifford said. “But I’m starting to believe some people don’t store things in that trash can in the same way that others do. They just have a way to deal with it on the spot … and that’s obviously really good for stress management.” Increased violence Adding to the stress are increasingly violent clashes with suspects. Already this year there have been seven officer-involved shootings, compared with two during the same period last year. “Before, if an officer got a weapon out and pointed it in the direction of the suspect and said, `Put your hands up,’ that was usually the end of the incident,” she said. “Now, with their dying bit of energy, they’re scooting over to try to get the gun to shoot back. It’s a very different culture.” While studies are mixed, psychologists said it appears that divorce rates are higher among cops, with the internal strength required on the job making off-duty intimacy difficult. And a barrage of gnawing emotional experiences can outpace an officer’s resiliency. “They can feel overwhelmed and lose hope,” Jablonski said. Saxe-Clifford said the psychological effects for a police officer who loses confidence can be devastating. “Their most important weapon is command presence, which is strongly associated with self-confidence. When that gets undermined, things can go downhill.” In such circumstances, “They typically find no joy in the job and have a great concern about being out there because they know if they aren’t performing at 100 percent they risk themselves, their partner and the community.” The department is attempting to encourage officers who may need help to seek it; since 2000, a psychologist has been assigned to each of 12 department bureaus and four geographical bureaus. LAPD psychologist Denise Jablonski-Kaye said previous resistance and stigmas have begun to crumble. Jablonski-Kaye, who sees about 15 clients every week, says therapy involves developing a trust that allows officers to talk about their feelings. Coping skills It was years of therapy and introspection that led Biller to retire because he didn’t want his emotional problems to become a liability to the department. Now, at 68, he seems to have found peace with a supportive wife and a new business. Price, the veteran homicide detective, took a less-stressful assignment with the department after Nicole Parker’s killer, Hooman Ashkan Panah, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. He retired briefly, then returned to the LAPD and now heads the homicide unit at Devonshire Division. He also works with Nicole’s mother, Lori Parker-Gladstein, in a nonprofit organization established in Nicole’s memory. But not all officers are able to successfully traverse the stress of police life. Salicos – who became a key figure associated with the problems at Rampart Division, where rogue officers stole narcotics, planted evidence on suspects, and beat others – never faced a disciplinary board of rights. He won his battle to get his pension and eventually retired to Seal Beach. However, he remained frustrated and angry over stories about scandals at Rampart. On May 27, 2002, at the age of 57, Salicos was found dead in his bed from an overdose of prescription drugs and alcohol. His death was ruled a suicide. His best friend, Capt. Richard Meraz, said Salicos had a hard time talking about his emotions and became increasingly isolated after he retired. “I think he felt the department just abandoned him, and then he couldn’t be here to fight the fight, to deal with it head on. “He just sat at home stewing.” (818) 713-3731 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! But the code of silence that LAPD officers have used to hide their private torment and despair is starting to crack as the rank-and-file looks for ways to survive and the department fosters a more supportive environment. “You can’t stare at an acetylene torch without burning your retinas and going blind,” says Biller, who spent nearly three decades working some of the city’s bloodiest homicides and toughest crimes. “You put on blinders. You hide it, but it comes out in your unconscious. That’s what happens.” Kevin Jablonski, acting chief psychologist at the Los Angeles Police Department, said 17 LAPD therapists treated 927 clients last year, including officers, spouses and civilian employees. Of those, 627 sought help on their own and 143 were ordered by supervisors to get treatment. An additional 157 were required to attend at least one session because they were involved in a shooting or other life-threatening event or had been exposed to a blood-borne pathogen. LAPD Detective Chris Biller spent his nights staring down the barrel of his own loaded .45-automatic on the nightstand beside his bed. Homicide Detective Joel Price broke down the night he and his partner found the body of 8-year-old Nicole Parker hidden in a suitcase in a Woodland Hills apartment. Capt. Nick Salicos struggled daily with the pain of a back injury and the anxiety of the rogue-cop scandal at Rampart Division, his suffering known only to his closest friends. Cops don’t usually talk about the stress of the job, even when the anguish ravages their physical, mental and emotional health. And they often grow even more isolated when public scrutiny puts them on the defense. last_img

Smoky skies bulletin issued for Fort St. John

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Ministry of Environment, along with Northern Health, has issued this Smoky Skies Bulletin for Fort St. John and the surrounding area:Smoke concentrations will vary widely as winds, fire behaviour and temperatures change.Consider avoiding strenuous outdoor activities. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider: difficulty in breathing, chest pain or discomfort, and sudden onset of cough or irritation of airways. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart complicationsThis Bulletin will remain in effect until further notice.Real-time air quality observations and information regarding the health effects of air pollution can be found at Advertisement –last_img read more