Hiring of GECOM staff should be outsourced – PPP Commissioner

first_imgOpposition-nominated Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Commissioners are likely to push for external organisations to interview candidates for positions at the elections body, since it appears that the current process is being bypassed.Commissioner Bibi Shadick, at a press conference Tuesday, said she will be making this recommendation in the future, since it may be the only way to ensure there is credibility in the process of hiring key personnel.Her suggestion comes days after an investigation by the Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) confirmed that GECOM had, for the first time in history, overlooked the top ranked candidate for a position within the organisation. Specifically, the probe found that Vishnu Persaud was ignored even though an internal recruitment process ranked him as the best qualified for the job of Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO).When the matter was put to vote at the full Commission however, the Government Commissioners and the Chairman voted for the second ranked candidate, Roxanne Myers.Commissioner Bibi ShadickJustice James Patterson told the ERC investigators that he did not vote for Persaud because he had a feeling he was “shifty”.This explanation, Shadick contended, is unacceptable. “How do you come to the conclusion that the man is shifty when you’ve never met him,” she inquired.Justice Patterson, according to the ERC report, had failed to provide evidence to substantiate his claims about Persaud.Further commenting on the report, Commissioner Shadick said she was disappointed with the general conclusion on the allegations of unfair hiring practices at GECOM.GECOM Chairman, retired Justice James Patterson“I am disappointed in the ERC report in that they did not have any documentation to make a finding on hiring practices at GECOM… what they should have said, was that in the absence of information, they could not have made that determination,” she explained.The ERC said it found no evidence to support claims that GECOM favoured one ethnicity over another in its recruitment process. However, this was because the Human Resources Manager did not cooperate.Commissioner Robeson Benn believes her lack of participation affected the outcome of the investigation.Like the ERC Commissioners, he too advocated for that body to have powers to summon persons and to administer penalties for failing to comply.last_img read more

Chelsea linked with Stones as Luis is tipped to complete £20m move

first_imgTottenham have leapfrogged Chelsea and Arsenal in a race to sign Everton defender John Stones, the Daily Express say.It is claimed that the Blues want Stones but that Spurs have targeted him as a potential replacement for Jan Vertonghen, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona.The Express also say Gary Cahill will be offered a new four-year contract by Chelsea, while the Daily Mail reports that Filipe Luis is close to completing a £20m move to Stamford Bridge from Atletico Madrid.The Mail also say Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is interested in signing Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane.Cahill has been tipped to sign a new deal.There continues to be speculation that Real Madrid’s Germany midfielder Sami Khedira could join Chelsea rather than Arsenal.The north London club are ready to end their interest in Khedira, 27, because of his wage demands, according to the Daily Mirror.And the Daily Telegraph reports that Petr Cech has returned to full training three weeks ahead of schedule following his shoulder problem.The Chelsea goalkeeper, who is reportedly wanted by Paris St-Germain, was injured in the Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid and missed the final matches of last season.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Weekend round-up: Hazard on Spurs, QPR boss defends Polter and hails Ingram

first_imgA recap of the action during a weekend when Chelsea and Brentford both won by convincing margins, QPR were held at home, while Fulham suffered defeat to Nottingham Forest…Chelsea enjoyed a resounding win on the south coastBournemouth 1 Chelsea 4 Match report  Hiddink reaction  Player ratings Action: Eden Hazard’s first Premier League goals in almost a year and three assists from Cesc Fabregas inspired Chelsea to victory.Reaction: Afterwards, Blues boss Guus Hiddink said he sensed Hazard was getting his sharpness back prior to the win at Bournemouth.Chelsea could have a big say in the title race, with both Tottenham and Leicester having to come to Stamford Bridge – and Hazard admitted the Blues players knew who they would prefer to see lift the Premier League trophy.Blues man of the match: Fabregas’ outstanding performance caught the eye in a strong attacking team display – click here to see how we rated the players.Matt Smith scored only his second goal of the season.Fulham 1 Nottingham Forest 3Match report  Jokanovic reaction  Action: Matt Smith’s first goal since August was not enough to spark a Fulham comeback as they paid for a poor first half at Craven Cottage.Reaction: After this latest defeat, Whites head coach Slavisa Jokanovic promised a summer rebuilding programme to end the glut of goals his Fulham side are conceding.Meanwhile, Forest’s interim boss Paul Williams said his side were finally getting their reward for their hard work – and explained what changes he had made to the side since taking over.Lasse Vibe scored in the Bees’ win at MK Dons.MK Dons 1 Brentford 4 Match report   Action: Brentford romped to a fifth win in six games as they came from behind to confirm MK Dons’ relegation.Grant Hall has been excellent for QPR this season.QPR 1 Reading 1Match report  Hasselbaink reaction  Player ratings  Action: Grant Hall scored his first goal for QPR but it was not enough to give them victory at Loftus Road.Reaction: Afterwards, Rangers manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink defended Sebastian Polter after the striker’s late miss and spoke about the kind of players QPR need to sign for next season.The Dutchman also singled out three of his players for praise, predicting goalkeeper Matt Ingram would go on to be a Premier League player.Rangers man of the match: Ingram looked confident on his home debut – click here to see how we think the other R’s players fared.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Why Kaepernick not on radar with 49ers Garoppolo out for year

first_imgGaropp … (Click here, if you are unable to view this video on your mobile device.)SANTA CLARA — Jimmy Garoppolo’s season indeed is over, as a MRI exam Monday confirmed he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late in the 49ers’ loss Sunday at Kansas City.“It was hard for him last night, it was hard today and it will be hard over these next few weeks,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “But Jimmy is a tough person, will bounce back from this and he’ll be ready to go next year.”last_img

Gallery: Cass Bell, MMA fighter by day and coach by night, announces next fight not long after returning from youth wrestling tourney

first_imgCass Bell (4-0-0), Humboldt County’s own professional MMA fighter, announced he will see the octagon again on Dec. 20.For the first time in his professional career, Bell will be fighting in a venue other than the SAP Center.Bell will fight in Honolulu, Hawaii, at a “Salute the Troops Show” put on by Bellator and the United Service Organizations (USO).Bell’s opponent for what will be his fifth professional fight has not yet been announced. Bell most recently beat Isaiah Rocha via …last_img

Teaching children to love themselves

first_imgMany of the children come from disadvantaged backgrounds so Lovy encourages them to develop their self-love and to use this strength in their environment. Work with the mirror, using exercises from the Lovy book, promotes self-awareness and can help a child to deal with a negative self-image. Lovy is aimed at all children aged five to ten years.(Images: Lovy – Loves You)MEDIA CONTACTS • Dee Boehner Kidz2Kidz Trust+27 83 460 4449RELATED ARTICLES• Giving children a sense of pride• The right to dignity• Let’s learn and honour Children’s Act• Pupils get a lesson on dignity• Putting children’s rights firstCadine PillayAccording to life coach Annett Burmester, without knowing it, we often live what is expected of us and not what we truly want. We focus too much on others when it is important to understand our needs, fears and feelings, to recognise our beliefs and behaviour patterns.“What about your attitude towards yourself and your life?” This is the message Burmester wishes to convey to children with backgrounds that often demoralise them.Giving children a chanceOriginally from Germany, Burmester met Dee Boehner, founder of the Cape Town-based Kidz2Kidz Trust, in February 2010 while volunteering with the Santa Shoebox Project in the city.“I fell in love with Cape Town and the city gave me so much which I felt compelled to give back,” Burmester says.As a life coach, the main focus of Burmester’s work is teaching self-love, which is the most important inner strength for more happiness in life. She is also an illustrator, designer and author working on a book about self-love – a perfect mix to create a new project for the children in need.Boehner then proposed the creation of a short book to illustrate the idea of self-love. So Burmester wrote a story book with the character called Lovy, designed the Lovy toy and came up with the name which derives from “Loves You”.Born in South Africa, Lovy is the character portrayed as the hero in the books, and the figure is aimed at all children aged five to ten years to show them how loveable they are.The Lovy books contain a moral lesson, which will help the kids to become more aware of themselves.“It is a good way to allow them to start realising ‘that’s me’ and ‘I am important’,” Burmester says.The story has been written in three languages English, Afrikaans, Sesotho and isiXhosa. More Lovy books in different languages will be available in the future.In 2011 Lovy was run as a pilot project in the Western Cape and in 2012 launched successfully in Gauteng. The intention is to expand the Lovy project around the country.Burmester also holds follow-up sessions, where social workers sit in, with any child who needs additional coaching.Increasing self-esteem Burmester went on to develop Lovy as a special coaching project for children living in children’s homes and orphanages to help them to build their self-esteem and realise their potential. The project carries out group workshops using the Lovy Kit which comprises a Lovy book, a mirror and the cuddly toy called Lovy.“The Lovy toy is important because children need something to cuddle,” Burmester adds. “Having Lovy will give them a feeling of security and warmth. Lovy is like a friend who is always with them and listening to their feelings. They often own nothing, not even a toy.”The Lovy toys are made by seamstresses in the townships which provide opportunities for employment and empowerment.During the workshops Lovy shows children that they are loveable, unique and special. Work with the mirror, using exercises from the Lovy book, promotes self-awareness and can help a child to deal with a negative self-image.“Mirrors are often absent in children’s homes and orphanages. We use the mirror so that the children can say ‘I love me’ – using their very own name, looking into the mirror,” explains Burmester.“Nobody can take away their pain, but they will learn to love themselves and thus gain more and more self-confidence every day.”The mirrors are made from recycled materials by the children as part of the Art2Kidz Project to involve them creatively in the Lovy intiative.The right to be loved and respected“We all have the right to be loved and respected,” says Burmester. “We need to give these children a chance for a better and peaceful world. They are our future too.”Many of the children come from disadvantaged backgrounds so Lovy encourages them to develop their self-love and to use this strength in their environment.“These children have experienced more violence than luck or love in their young lives,” she says. “We show them how they can develop their love of self and use this strength in their environment.”Lovy is orange which is the colour for children as it symbolises joy and confidence. In colour therapy, the colour orange is used to help overcome psychological and mental exhaustion.“Its purpose is to bring more love and happiness into their lives as they are abandoned, afraid, unloved and hurt,” says Burmester. “They will learn to believe in themselves and live again. It will also teach them that we all have a great deal of love in ourselves and that there is nothing wrong with being an orphan.“It touches me again and again when I see how these children soak up Lovy’s message and how they integrate this into their lives.”The Lovy days coincide with 14 February, Valentine’s Day. They are celebrated in children’s homes and orphanages with workshops that share the message: “You are loveable, unique and special”.last_img read more

Backpacking in South Africa

first_imgIf you want an inexpensive way to travel through South Africa, find your guide to backpacking through the country, here:Backpacking through South Africa is an option if you want to save money as a traveller. (Image: South African Tourism, Flickr)Brand South Africa reporterIf you’ve got more time than money, there’s no better way to see South Africa than to backpack your way around its many offerings: spectacular beauty, a mosaic of cultures, incredible value for money, massive adventure potential – and an undeniable penchant for partying!Interested? Then take a few minutes to run through our quick guide …Get a kikoiFirst off, go out and buy a couple of kikois. Whether you’re a boy or a girl, macho or not, this sarong-like piece of clothing will be your life-saver when the sun’s blasting down, when the travel gear is rolling around in the washer, when you’ve got some downtime and you don’t need to dress up.The kikoi, which comes from Kenya, has been adopted by African overlanders and backpackers as the preferred chill-outfit from Cape Town to Cairo.Backpacking accommodationEastern CapeGautengKwaZulu-NatalWestern CapeRest of South AfricaDo your homeworkNext, go out and buy a travel book on South Africa. If you’re a surfer, you don’t want to find out about the perfect point-break B&B at the end of your trip. If you’re a birder, you’d like to know where to find the elusive blue swallow long before you hit these shores. And if you like to drink a lager at sunset with the best bathing in the southern hemisphere at your feet, it’s nice to know about Lookout Beach in advance, right?You’ll want something like the Insight Guide to South Africa or The Rough Guide to South Africa to get you started. And when you pass the Africa shelf at your local bookstore, you might want to flip through the array of coffee table publications on the country. Then check out South African Tourism’s website, www.southafrica.net.Once you’re in South Africa, all the major centres have well-run provincial tourist offices. Nose around there, and you’ll find the set of pamphlets you need to tailor-make your trip.TransportIf you’ve got a fantasy about riding around SA on the end of your thumb, lose it. This is not hitch-hiker country. South Africa is the kind of place where, if you know what to do and where to go, you’ll never experience a finer trip. But it’s not advisable to enter into the unknown anywhere in the world these days, and South Africa is no exception.So when you’re in the cities, like Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban, use the public transport system, get a cab or hire a car. If you’re staying for a spell, you could do worse than buy a car – and sell it at journey’s end.Each city has a vibrant tourism centre which can advise you on day tours, bus routes to and from your hostel, and discounts where available.The bus services between cities are excellent, and so are the roads. And the backpackers’ delight, Baz Bus, is a convenient, value-for-money, hop-on hop-off door-to-door bus service to just about every backpacker’s lodge in southern Africa.If it’s in your budget, then the classic road trip through South Africa (hire or buy a car, share the cost with travelling friends) will offer up more delights than anything Route 66 ever dreamt of.Your foreign licence (as long as it’s printed in English) is valid for six months. If yours is in another language, then get an International Driving Permit before you depart for South Africa.Where to stayThe good news is, there are backpackers’ lodges galore in South Africa – see our backpackers’ accommodation box above – and you can book ahead by contacting Backpacking South Africa. The other good news is that backpacker bed rates are astoundingly cheap in this country.And once you’re staying at a backpacker’s, you can plug in to the local travelling network and find out all kinds of great things, like where to eat for next to nothing, or party until dawn, or find a long-lost friend. You’re in a well-run overlanding subculture here, so enjoy it.Your choice of where to stay depends on what you want out of the trip. South Africa is, to pound a cliche, a great smorgasbord of tourism opportunities for you to feast on!The peopleWithin hours of your arrival, you’re going to discover that South Africa is a great, heaving melting pot of cultures, colours, languages and traditions. And South Africans are very proud of our diversity.Your pocketbook guides will tell you about us, and how to behave around us. But, like most places, if you’re friendly and polite with the people you meet, chances are you’ll be met with twice the warmth.So prepare to spend time with a Zulu warrior around the fire at night, wake up at dawn and go on a game drive with a ranger who speaks Afrikaans, be served some exotic local dish by a beautiful Malay girl, share a bus with a bunch of transplanted Scots, and learn to say things like “Howzit?” (How is it/ are you?), “Hey, my bra, that’s lekka!” (Hey, my brother, that’s wonderful!), and “Sharp!” (cool!).SA slang is lekker, bru!TownshipsDemocracy arrived in South Africa in 1994 only, so the teeming townships of South Africa are, like the favelas of Brazil, poverty-ridden places where sensitivities are high.But there’s nothing to beat a township shebeen (tavern) pumping after midnight, full of laughter and jazz, or a township marketplace on a Saturday morning. There’s a sense of vibrancy in SA’s townships that cannot be met in the traditionally quieter urban suburbs. This is where you meet the soul of South Africa.But take a guide, go with an accredited tour, don’t just blunder off into a strange settlement. And with the right introductions, and a few simple safeguards, you’ll have the time of your life.Outdoor adventuresCulture’s fine, you say. But where’s the rush? Welcome to Adrenalin Central.South Africa is where you can toss yourself over the highest bungee jump in the world, where you can hit the white waters of our river systems in rubber ducks (inflatable boats), where you climb the peaks of our mighty Drakensberg mountains, where you can microlight through the hills of Mpumalanga, and where you can dive -in a cage, thankfully – in the middle of Great White Shark territory.There’s also another level of outdoor activities that includes horseback trail-riding, cattle mustering, hiking for days through mind-blowing landscapes, quietly fishing for the noble trout in our Highlands, or tracking the rare black rhino for hours in the safe hands of a trained guide.South Africa was built for the outdoors spirit, and we celebrate this in a hundred different ways.Food and drinkPrepare yourself for World Grub, a global gastronomic trip that could begin with chicken sosaties (kebabs) and end with mopani worms fried over an open fire. We have Chinese, we have Italian, we have American, we have good old British stodge – but we also have Cape Malay, KwaZulu-Natal Indian, boerekos (farm fare), and the finest lamb chops from the vast Karoo scrublands.The South African service industry is on a fast track, and you’ll have no problems eating out or self-catering.When it comes to beer and wine, you’ll find either of both of these to be plentiful, excellent and very cheap. South African beer, because of the hot weather, is a special favourite. And a tour of the Cape winelands will have you sending cases of Cabernet home.The nightlifeOur cities all have their clublands, catering to the various youth tribes in the country. Raves, folk clubs and jazz clubs are everywhere. And listen out for kwaito, our home-grown, township R&B rap style.Cafe society has finally caught on in South Africa. For decades, no one did anything but walk on the sidewalks, and now you literally can’t move for all the coffee bars and late night restaurants that have sprung up.Again, Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town are night-life favourites, but prepare for after-hours surprises in places like East London, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein.The mediaThe big cities have all got their set of daily newspapers, and there’s a lively magazine industry that supports tourism. Travel tips, lifestyle information and facts you can use can be found in all our bookshops and news agents. If you want to catch up on national news from home, most leading newsgents also carry offshore publications.Internet cafes have blossomed all over South Africa, and you’ll find them not only in the large centres but also in many of the small rural towns you’ll be passing through. Take time off to keep in touch with the family. Encourage them to come over and join you!SafetyThe same rules apply as for anywhere else in the world. Be careful. Don’t wander off alone down dark alleys at night.Try not to display all your electronic possessions.Pack cash, credit cards and traveller’s cheques in separate places. Let your lodge or hotel know where you are. Leave your expensive jewellery at home.Keep a look out for muggers, and store your wallet where it can’t be pickpocketed. Take care around automatic cash machines.These and many other safety rules are what you should be following back home and while travelling anywhere abroad. Crime is not endemic to South Africa.PhotographyDust is the enemy – always remember that if you’re carrying cameras in South Africa. One of the reasons our sunsets are so spectacular is because of mid-air dust, which also tends to foul up camera equipment if care is not taken.In the winter, you’ll find your soft light from about 3pm to 5pm, and in the summer it all starts and ends a little later. But, if you can make it, the African dawns are equally superb for photography. Try to time your photo-excursions for the “book-ends of the day”, leaving the harsh light of the lunch-hour for the poolside siesta.If you’re packing more than a little pocket camera, then consider dropping in a 300mm zoom lens for the long shots, especially when you’re out in the wilderness and you can’t get closer to those lions. For normal street-work and portraits, a smaller 28-80mm zoom lens is best.Last-minute check listHealth/travel insurance?Malaria pills for the summer months (November through March) for certain parts of the country?Relevant contact numbers?Luggage locks?Sunglasses and hats?An unbridled sense of fun and adventure?Check out some useful facts for tourists – and have a blast!This article was first published on South African Tourism. Republished on Brand South Africa with permission of the author.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Encounter under way in Pulwama’s Tral

first_imgThe Jammu and Kashmir police on Monday evening said it has established contact with hiding militants in Pulwama’s Tral, triggering an encounter.“An exchange of fire has started in Awanipora’s Tral area. The security forces are on the job,” said a Srinagar-based police spokesperson. Initial reports suggest the gunfight started as a joint team of Army’s 42 Rashtriya Rifles, CRPF’s 180 Battalion and the police’s special operation group threw a cordon around the Mir Mohalla of Tral area.Preliminary reports suggest two to three militants were trapped in the area. “An intermittent fire is going on,” said the police.last_img