Tag: 爱上海LP

Forensic audit of M&CC welcoming

first_imgDear Editor,It was with considerable relief and anticipation that I learnt of the intention of the Auditor General to launch a forensic audit of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council, regarding the millions of dollars in funds provided by Central Government since 2015, most of which cannot be accounted for.I sincerely hope that he proceeds with a forensic audit, even in the absence of the requested financial documents, which of course would never be given voluntarily to him; and I hope he uses his powers under the forensic audit regulations, if necessary, to submit his findings to the Police and subsequently to the Director of Public Prosecutions for criminal investigations.This is not the first time that the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has been trying unsuccessfully to scrutinize expenditure allocated by Parliament for the Ministry of Communities, which was then doled out to the Georgetown Municipality.One year ago, during another Public Accounts Committee meeting, members were told by officials of the Council that there was an eight-year gap (2006-2013) in the financial records of Council due to the records being damaged as a consequence of flooding at City Hall. How convenient.I think it would be irresponsible for the Central Government to give City Hall another cent, being fully aware of its inability to account for the money; and worse, to allow Council officials to squander it on themselves.But even if the Auditor General were to be provided with all of the requisite documents and verifications of the expenditures, the problems of lack of accountability, mismanagement and vice at the Georgetown Municipality run way deeper than that. It also needs to be investigated what is done with the equipment, supplies, services and other resources that were purportedly procured using the financial resources provided by Central Government.A simple check would reveal that the double cab pick-up that was purchased for the City Police using $6.2 million is being misused, and rather than being used to arrest the out-of-control crime situation in Georgetown, it can instead be seen transporting children to and from school on a daily basis, and countless times outside the precincts of Georgetown.The $52.1 million provided for debushing the Le Repentir Cemetery was handed out largely to a relative of a senior municipal official, rather than being publicly tendered — clearly in violation of tender procedures. The $60 million given could easily have renovated the Kitty Market, but we all know of that debacle which has caused vendors to be dislocated for more than two years and the Government having to come up with an additional $25 million.Then the $23.9 million given to refurbish the City Constabulary Training School, what a joke. Just look at the Training School, one would be hard pressed to see $9 million spent on it, let alone $23.9 million. The claim is preposterous, and the list goes on and on.I have every confidence in the Audit Office of Guyana, and thus am awaiting the results with bated breath.Sincerely,Jermain Johnsonlast_img read more

Children Hopeful in in Tubmanburg Deaf School

first_imgWearing smart uniforms, rows of pupils stand in line at morning assembly as they prepare to perform the national anthem and a little boy raises the Liberian flag with a great deal of solemnity as the children enthusiastically sing their anthem.This is Oscar Romero School for deaf children, one of a handful of specialist privately run facilities for children with disabilities in Liberia. There are no government-run specialist schools.Geraldine “Pinky” Jones is the principal. She is not deaf but has been inspired to work in this field since she was a child. “When I was 12, the first ever deaf school in Liberia opened near my home. I wanted to play with the kids but we couldn’t communicate. I saw them signing and asked them to teach me. The passion grew because I could see how isolated and vulnerable my new friends were.“I went from learning a few words to doing a teaching placement in a deaf school and being trained by the UN in special education.”The residential school, supported by the charity Mary’s Meals, has 47 pupils from primary to secondary with a new intake of 15 planned this semester.She says very few pupils get visits from their families, partly due to the cost, but mostly due to the stigma of disability in Liberia. “Sadly, their parents often want to wash their hands of them,” she says, adding: “I want to drop the notion that these children are hopeless; they are not. My job is to make children hopeful. I see no reason why they can’t live full lives.” The school has recently attempted to integrate older pupils into a local secondary school and vocational college, with limited success. “When they leave here it is hard for them, really hard. Their parents don’t have sign language so they go from here with all their friends around them to a place where no one can understand them. They can get very frustrated and give up on life. But I tell them that they have to keep trying to reach out.”Dr Maria Kett, assistant director of the Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre based at University College London says how many people with disabilities live in Liberia is unclear. “The 2008 census had a question asking if people identified as disabled but it didn’t give space for specifics. That figure showed at 3% but we know the real figure is far higher.”Kett says there have been government efforts to support disabled people by including them in wider national poverty alleviation strategies. This is believed to be primarily due to effective lobbying by the Liberian disability community. But there is little dedicated support. She is leading a three-year research project, funded by the UK Department for International Development and the Economic and Social Research Council, exploring the wellbeing and poverty experienced by people with and without disabilities in the same community.“We know that poverty and disability feed into each other. Poor people are more likely to become disabled through lack of access to healthcare, clean water … and disabled people are more likely to be poor. But what we are less sure of is how those links are perpetuated,” says Kett.“Disabled people are some of the most marginalized and excluded in Liberian society but unpacking whether they are marginalized because they are poor or because they are disabled is more of a challenge, but very important in terms of being able to address these issues properly.”The research will help the drafting and implementation of new human rights and disability action plans for the country.Arney N. Steward lost his sight after contracting river blindness during Liberia’s civil wars. Left destitute, he arrived in Lowah, Montserrado County. When he discovered the village had no school, he offered to start one.“I said to the parents, ‘Bring your children to me and I will teach them.’ The next day five children came and I sat in the field and taught them ABC and math. The next morning, they came back.”From that humble start he created the Yassa J. David Christian Academy, which today has 189 pupils from nursery to fifth grade (year 6 in the UK), recruiting children from three villages: Lowah, Jawajeh and Gogein. The thriving school is a testament to his dedication.“After going blind I learned people have no respect for [blind people] and think you can’t do anything,” he says. “But people think that because the government provides disabled people zero opportunities. I want to keep proving that despite my condition I can contribute. We need to support and encourage other disabled people to do the same.”Recently, the parents of pupils have begun fundraising to send Steward to Monrovia so he can learn braille. The hope is that if he does so the school may be able to accept its first blind pupil.“We don’t even have textbooks or chalk but we do have an ethos of self-determination,” says the principal, Joseph Harris. “That is only possible because of our founder. Whenever we think things are too hard, we think about what he’s been through and how he managed to achieve so much. Because of him every single pupil in this school strives to do better.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more