CH&PA Board sole-sourced contractor, inflated original estimate by 124%

first_imgCore homes ‘corrective’ worksBy Edward LayneEyebrows are being raised over a decision by the Hamilton Green-headed Board of Directors of the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA) to single source a contractor to execute ‘corrective’ works on several homes under the Government’s Core Homes Project.In documents seen by this newspaper, the board said that, by way of round robin, it selected Ivor Allen to execute the works on the homes it listed as “moderate income”.The board in an internal memorandum, dated June 10, 2016, stated that it had considered and approved Ivor Allen to be awarded the contract to execute the corrective works to 11 houses (lot numbers provided) at Providence, East Bank Demerara.Based on the information seen by this publication, the Board of Directors of the CHPA handpicked Allen, a close associate of the coalition government, A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC).Allen was once the Chairman of Region Two under the People’s National Congress (PNC) and served as a Member of Parliament of that party up to 2006.The PNC is the largest party in the APNU/AFC coalition government.Meanwhile, further examination of several correspondences revealed a huge discrepancy in the cost for the works to be executed on the 11 homes.A “Summary of Bills” seen by Guyana Times puts the cost for the works at $7,467,227. However the internal memorandum issued by the Secretary to the CHPA board put the cost for the same 11 homes (verified by matching lot numbers) at a whopping $16,727,623, a difference of over $9.2 million. This works out to an increase of 124 per cent.When contacted, the Engineering Department of the CHPA which has direct responsibility for the project refused to comment and directed all queries to Minister within the Ministry of Communities Valarie Sharpe-Patterson or Permanent Secretary Emile McGarrel.Efforts to contact McGarrel and Secretary to the CHPA board Debra Edwards proved futile.It is important to note that the Chairman of the CHPA Hamilton Green in April had declared that the Authority will be spending over $100 million on corrective works to core homes built by contractors under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration.“Bad roofs, leaking roofs, walls that are twisted, paint peeling, septic tanks porous, floors that were doing a special dance, among other things,” was how Green described some of the defects found.His claims were quickly rebuffed by former Housing Minister Irfaan Ali, under whose stewardship the programme was initiated.Ali had said that Green’s statement was “shocking” as he questioned the quoted $100 million Green planned to spend on fixing the ‘defective’ homes.Ali said that CHPA had previously stated that corrective works on the Turnkey Homes would have cost about $20 million.“How is this now estimated at $100 million plus?” Ali had asked. Ali explained that new works in the 1000 Homes Project was projected at just over $50 million, which included the completion of more than 200 homes that were delayed for a substantial time by the current administration which was in opposition at the time.Ali further contended that some of the homes were completed almost three to four years now, while each of the homes had a defect liability period of one year in which the beneficiary can report any faults.Observers are now questioning whether the “inflated” cost quoted by Green may be for corrupt purposes, when taken against the backdrop of the inflated contract approved to Allen.last_img read more

AIDS response slipping in Caribbean – UN official

first_imgComplacency is largely responsible for the slippage in the AIDS response in the Caribbean, according to theUnited Nations Secretary General Special Envoy for HIV in the Caribbean, Dr Edward GreeneUnited Nations Secretary General Special Envoy for HIV in the Caribbean, Dr Edward Greene.He made this declaration at the 21st International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa before more than 18,000 scientists, practitioners and members of civil society.Dr Greene was referring to the recent 2016 Prevention Gap report issued by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) just before the Conference began on July 18.The report shows that after years of steady decline, the Caribbean saw a nine per cent rise in new infections between 2010 and 2015 and only Eastern Europe and Central Asia with a rate of 57 per cent had a higher increase.The Caribbean statistics compared with a two per cent increase in Latin America; three per cent in Asia and the Pacific; and four per cent in the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa for the same period. In Western and Central Europe, North America and Western and Central Africa there have been marginal declines in new infections.Elaborating on the situation for the Caribbean, Dr Greene said that it was necessary for a thorough analysis of the causes and direction of the prevention gap.Based on his close monitoring of developments in the Region, he identified the possible causes as inadequate attention to testing and treatment, including late testing of people with HIV; lack of care centres, and decrease in the rates of retention of infected people in care.These, he said, were compounded by equity in access to care especially for the vulnerable populations including men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people, those who inject drugs and prisoners.Only recently Guyana’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Shamdeo Persaud stated that HIV/AIDS cases in Guyana are once again on the rise.In fact, he said there is need to re-examine the National HIV/AIDS campaign given that there is a developing trend where persons are no longer scared of contracting the disease because of their awareness that treatment is available and so have become complacent in their sexual activities.According to reports, Dr Persaud stated that statistics explain that it is mostly the younger population that has been engaging in unprotected sexual activities.He disclosed that nearly 60 per cent of youths begin having sex at an early age and most of them have little to no knowledge on how HIV/AIDS is contracted or know how to protect themselves.That aside, Guyana recently received US$160,000 from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to begin a Test and START (Start Anti-Retroviral Therapy) programme which will significantly reduce new HIV infections and fast-track treatment.Some 7700 persons in Guyana were infected with HIV in 2013, National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) Programme Manager, Dr Shanti Singh had announced.The figure represents 1.4 per cent of the country’s population in 2013. Additionally, according to the statistical report, 5.5 per cent of the 7700 were commercial sex workers while another 4.8 per cent were men who had sex with men.last_img read more

Win tickets to see Godsmack at the EnCana Events Centre

first_imgEnergeticcity.ca and the EnCana Events Centre want to give you the chance to see Godsmack live on Saturday September 3rd at the EnCana Events Centre.- Advertisement -All you have to do is click here and enter and you could win a pair of tickets.  Enter by 9:59 p.m. PST Thursday September 1, 2011.  We’ll then announce the winners on Friday morning.Great seats are still available by visiting the Tiger Box Office Plus, Dawson Co-op High Performance Ticket Outlet, 1-877-339-TIXX (8499), or www.dawsonco-optickets.com.Good luck and we’ll post the winners names on Friday.last_img

Iraq war touches home

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WESTLAKE VILLAGE – Last year, Anthony Melia returned to his alma mater, Thousand Oaks High School, proudly wearing his crisp uniform as a U.S. Marine. He would soon be sent off to fight for his country in Iraq, and he couldn’t have been more enthusiastic. “He talked of his excitement in serving his country,” said Teri Sanders, who has been Melia’s English teacher. “He was showing through his courageous actions what love is. He had a contagious smile that would light up a room.” Memories of that smile brought even the toughest of Marines to tears Monday as more than 1,000 people paid tribute to Melia, 20, who was killed Jan. 27 while fighting in Al Anbar province, becoming the first person from Thousand Oaks killed in the Iraq war. Residents lined the streets as a procession carried Melia’s body to Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village. There, his family and friends talked of his personal warmth and devotion to his community and his nation. “He was just an amazing, rare individual who did more in 20 years than many do in (long) lifetimes,” said Melia’s cousin Frank Melia Jr. “Anthony was a hero and he will never be forgotten. He provided us with an example of how to live. … He was a fearless warrior.” Anthony Melia’s fianc?e, Jaime Chunko, said he will be her true love forever. “I know he is still here with me – my guardian angel,” she said. His family was presented with a Purple Heart during the ceremony. Relatives said it was typical of Melia even as a small boy to show eagerness to protect his friends and family. He was still in his early teens on Sept. 11, 2001, when the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon convinced him that he wanted to join the U.S. military to help protect his country. Friends said he was known for speed and strength as a wide receiver and defensive back on the football team at Thousand Oaks High. Graduated in 2005, he joined the Marines at age 18. A lance corporal in the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton, he was sent to Iraq on Sept. 13. He was shot to death in combat 4 1/2 months later. Further details have not been released. A police escort led Melia’s family in the procession through the streets of Thousand Oaks before the funeral Monday. Along the route, thousands of mourners – many waving flags – emerged from schools, homes, businesses and City Hall in Thousand Oaks. “They stopped what they were doing and came out to pay their respects for his service and his heroism,” Thousand Oaks Mayor Andrew Fox said. Thousand Oaks police Sgt. Jim Kenney, who helped lead the procession, said it was remarkable to see so many people lining the streets. “It was an honor for us,” he said about being in the funeral procession. As a bagpiper played “Amazing Grace,” Marines carried Melia’s casket into the church, where a series of photos showed his progression from athletic boy to heroic Marine. “I am overwhelmed with this outpouring of compassion,” said his grandfather, Charles Melia. Byron Sells Jr., a 17-year-old Westlake High School student and friend of Melia’s, called it a great tribute to his buddy. “He’s a very honored person in this community,” Sells said. “He will always be remembered in our hearts.” eric.leach@dailynews.com (805) 583-7602last_img read more

Grande Prairie RCMP warns public of bit coin scams

first_imgGRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – Grande Prairie RCMP are warning residents and businesses to be cautious of scams involving cryptocurrency, also known as bit coin.Within the last week, the RCMP say they have received several reports of scams involving bit coin, where victims have lost large sums of money.According to Police, the suspects call from a number that appears to be a legitimate energy provider and advise the victim their account is owing money. The suspect states if the money is not paid, the victim’s energy services will be shut off immediately.  Victims are then sent a ‘bar code’ via text and directed to a bit coin machine to pay the money, using the bar code to scan.- Advertisement -RCMP advise residents and businesses to use caution any time they are asked for money.For information on how to protect yourself from fraud, you can visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s website or call 1-888-495-8501.last_img

COMMUNITY RADIO STATION WILL BE ‘STRONGER AND BETTER’

first_imgINISHOWEN Community Radio will emerge stronger and better, its new boss has said.In a statement the new chairman of the board at the excellent community station, Gerard Moyne, also said the decision to leave journalists standing outside an emergency meeting last week was “a mistake.”The statement went on: “Prior to the meeting the board of directors decided to hold it in private which led to local media being prevented from entering. “The newly elected board now understands that this decision was incorrect and media outlets should have been granted entry.“Looking back on it now, members of the media should have been granted access to the meeting as ICRfm is a publically funded organisation. Currently, the station is in a period of great change as the new board sets about addressing the serious issues that have come to light in recent months.“ICR is a community station and the wider Inishowen community should be made fully aware of how the station conducts its business as the station is there to serve the local public. It is for this reason that local newspapers should have been able to report from inside the EGM.“Over the years ICRfm has built up a tremendously beneficial relationship with local newspapers which has helped to raise the profile of the station amongst the public as well as improving the output and coverage of local news and events. “The new board is very keen to continue this into the future and would like to think it could be further developed.“The new board has been in dialogue with all stakeholders involved with the station since the EGM and will continue with this process in the coming weeks in order to resolve all outstanding challenges which the station faces.“There is a strong will for the station to overcome its current difficulties which is extremely heartening to see. The problems won’t be addressed overnight but I am confident the station will emerge stronger and better as a result of this dialogue.”COMMUNITY RADIO STATION WILL BE ‘STRONGER AND BETTER’ was last modified: September 29th, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ICR FMlast_img read more

RAPHOE BOXING CLUB STILL PACKING A PUNCH AFTER 25 YEARS

first_imgThe swelling numbers of Raphoe Boxing ClubIt may not be hundreds of years old but Raphoe Boxing Club has packed a huge punch since it was first founded.Set up by Tommy Stewart, Peter O’Donnell and Brendan Ryan in 1988, the club is all that is good about boxing and volunteers in the community.The club enjoyed its first months in a room given to them above his bookmaker’s shop by local businessman Frank McBrearty. But as the numbers quickly swelled the club was forced to move to a portacabin in the grounds of Deele College without heat or running water.Despite the lack of resources the club went on to produce no less than three Irish champions including Coumba Mc Brearty , Danny Ryan and Gerard McGranaghan.The club moved to the Marathon Hall befpre opening their own clubhouse in 1994 assisted by local TD Paddy Harte.A blast from the past from Raphoe ABC!Down through the years in the capable hands of men like Stewart, Ryan and O’Donnell, the club has become a home from home for many young people. The club now has a new head coach in former Ulster Senior champ Gary McCullagh, assisted by Stephen ‘the prince’ Mc Bride, John ‘slugger’ Sweeney and Paul ´buddis´ O’Donnell all former boxers putting something back into the club.To celebrate 25 years in existence Raphoe Boxing Club are hosting a dinner dance in Jacksons Hotel this Saturday, November 16thTickets can be bought from any club member. RAPHOE BOXING CLUB STILL PACKING A PUNCH AFTER 25 YEARS was last modified: November 12th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Raphoe Boxing Clublast_img read more

Experts believe Stanford’s Bryce Love can rebuild draft status

first_imgDid Stanford running back Bryce Love hurt his NFL draft stock by not coming out following a prolific junior year?Maybe. Maybe not.Interviews with four different draft analysts regarding Love indicate his considerable statistical slippage will have NFL teams looking at him very closely. But they look closely anyway, and if Love excels in the off-season, he could still be a Day 2 selection after the first round is complete.The general consensus is even if Love had come out following a …last_img

BCCI forms special committee to probe England tour debacle

first_imgThe BCCI on Monday formed a special committee to probe the Indian team’s debacle during their England tour. Giving this information, BCCI president N. Srinivasan said the panel would be headed by former cricketer Mohinder Amarnath and former captain Anil Kumble.The decision was taken at the board’s annual general meeting held in Mumbai.India were whitewashed in the Test series, followed by a one-off Twenty-20 match and finally in the ODI series.The board, however, appealed to Indian fans to support Team India, saying, “The Indians will bounce back. It was a bad series.”Earlier, sources had told Headlines Today that Amarnath might replace Yashpal Sharma as the representative from the north zone in the BCCI selection committee.India’s first World Cup winning team member Amarnath had once called the selection committee a bunch of jokers.The BCCI chief also said former captain Sourav Ganguly will replace Sunil Gavaskar as the technically committee head as the former opener “has resigned”. “We are yet to get his (Sourav’s) consent. I hope he agrees,” Srinivasan said.last_img read more

Wimbledon 2016: Roger Federer beats British qualifier Marcus Willis in straight sets

first_imgSeven-times champion Roger Federer ended the fairytale Wimbledon run of British qualifier Marcus Willis with an emphatic 6-0 6-3 6-4 victory on a packed Centre Court on Wednesday.For once though, the storyline belonged to his opponent as the 772nd-ranked underdog Willis, the talk of the tournament so far, basked in the limelight on a day he will never forget.Federer played the role of pantomime villain in a 25-minute first set as he denied Willis a game.But thereafter the 25-year-old Briton, cheered on by his friends at courtside, played a full part in some entertaining action under the showcourt’s closed roof.When Willis, who got through six qualifying rounds and then beat Ricardas Berankis in round one, finally got on the scoreboard in the second game of the second set the roar could be heard all over the grounds.He kept Federer on his toes with some audacious drop shots and slices and fought right to the end.Federer looked a little relieved when he broke for a 5-4 lead in the third set and congratulated Willis warmly after his opponent sliced a final backhand long in the following game.last_img read more