… Chairman fears funds will be returned to TreasuryThe continuous failure of the Regional Procurement and Tender Administration Board to meet on a regular basis and award contracts is severely affecting the performance of the economy in Region One (Barima-Waini).Region One Regional Chairman Brentnol AshleyRegional Chairman Brentnol Ashley during an interview with Guyana Times expressed that the state of the region’s economy is extremely worrisome, owing to the fact that economic activities which are normally driven by the awarding of contracts are at a standstill.He explained that the Regional Executive Officer (REO) Leslie Wilburg, who is also the Chairman of the Board, and therefore has the responsible for calling the meetings, has not been doing so. This has resulted in the delay in commencement of various projects earmarked for completion this year.“We’re already in the sixth month of the year and we have seen no movement and this is a major concern,” Ashley lamented, noting that if the contracts are not awarded before the presentation of the next budget, the monies allocated to the region will have to be returned to the Consolidated Fund.“There is no guarantee we will get that money back and no guarantee the budget will be higher than the current budget. The first thing that the Planning Secretary will say is that if you can’t spend $1 then why are you now asking for $15? They might very well cut you down to 5 cents or 50 cents… Government committed to having budget 2017 ready this year so there is no such place for rollover projects. So if you don’t do the project then the money goes back to the Consolidated Fund and the development of the region will be one step backward rather than forward,” he explained.The Regional Chairman disclosed that there are a number of projects that should have been at least 50 per cent completed by now, but have not yet commenced.Some of these projects include rehabilitation works to schools, bridges leading to schools, health centres, roads as well as the construction of health institutions and schools.In Waramuri-Moruca community, residents have been calling for a new secondary school, however no moves have been made to address this concern.The Regional Chairman explained that every day, the number of students attending the existing school keeps increasing, adding that there is a genuine need for a new educational institution in the area.Also, in the new township of Mabaruma, the health institution there is without an ambulance and no moves have been made to procure one.According to Ashley, there is a minibus with the name “ambulance” printed on it; however, the vehicle lacks the amenities of an ambulance.“This is a major concern to me and the region as a whole,” Ashley emphasised, noting that the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) will be hosting a series of meetings aimed at discovering the reasons for these projects to be moving at a snail’s pace and what measures can be put in place to address the issues.“We have communities that are suffering for proper bridges, health institutions, infrastructure for schooling, proper roads and it is not that provisions are not there but rather because the provisions are not being utilised in a meaningful way and in a timelier manner,” he noted.In relation to the awarding of contracts in the region, Ashley pointed out that another major issue is the fact that a sole contractor receives a number of projects and because of this, substandard works are being delivered or deadlines are not being met.“When a contractor gets a number of projects, the manner in which they are done and secondly the timeframe for them to be completed. Right now we have a number of outstanding projects from last year that we needs to be completed, that have not yet started,” he stated.He also contended that the awarding of contracts to a single contractor is not beneficial to the development of village economies.“I believe that in the good conscience of the tender board, I believe that equal opportunities should be provided to every person in the region so that we can revitalize our regional economy by resuscitating our village economies that are already stagnated,” he stated.Ashley acknowledged that the work of the tender board is governed by the law, but he pointed out that provisions of justifications can be made for the awarding of contracts to those who have not bid the lowest.“In a vast region like Region One, one supplier should not be earmarked to serving the entire region… Even though that would be the lowest bidder, there is still provisions for justifications for the service be done by someone else in a specific sub region. I would prefer that they do the justification rather than awarding the lowest bidder,” he stated.In this way, he explained, everyone can benefit.
The Japanese contractor building the Somalia Drive road (pictured) is threatened with eviction.Dai Nippon Construction Company (DNC), one of several contractors hired to construct the four-lane Somalia Drive in Gardnersville, could likely be evicted by Civil Law Court ‘A’ because of a pending lawsuit filed by ‘aggrieved’ property owners.The Somalia Drive project, with a price tag of US$500 million, is a bilateral agreement between the Liberian Government and the Government of Japan.The action by the court might have come from the ongoing lawsuit of “summary proceedings” brought against the DNC by KNZ, the company that subleased the property, to recover possession of the corporation.Judge Boima Kontoe, meanwhile, reserved his ruling for Tuesday, December 5. His decision follows arguments presented by lawyers representing the defendant and complainant on whether or not the court should compel DNC to vacate the said property.The property at the center of the eviction was sub-leased by KNZ, but was not part of the road project that required DNC to construct residential facilities for its foreign contractors.KNZ’s lawsuit alleges that in 2014, it sub-leased the piece of land to DNC for a period of three years with an option to review the lease upon its expiration.Cllr. Benedict Sannoh, who represented the company, contended that the parties mutually agreed and understood that upon the expiry of the three-year period, the option is DNC’s to renew and or extend the agreement for an additional three years under the same terms and conditions.The former Justice Minister, who himself was part of the negotiation for the construction workers, argued that during the optional period, the parties agreed that the rent would be US$3,500 per month or US$126,000 for the entire three-year optional period payable in two equal installments, with US$63,000 to be paid on the commencement date of April 1, this year.The second installment, US$63,000, is scheduled to be paid upon the expiration of the first 18 months of the additional period.They also claimed that the sub-lease agreement provides that the sub-lessee shall have the right to extend the contract for an additional period of three years upon the expiration of the agreed term, provided that they give a written notice of their intention to extend the agreement, at least 90 days prior to the expiration of the contract.“DNC abandoned the lease agreement consistent with its terms and conditions that has expired since March 31,” KNZ claimed.According to KNZ, on March 7, they wrote DNC informing them that in view of their failure to exercise the agreement of the sub-lease and ignoring the required 90-day optional period, the property owner asked them to vacate the premises and surrender it to them by March 31, which DNC allegedly refused to accept.“In the communication, they were informed that we have entered into a sub-lease agreement with a third party for the premises to avoid a vacuum; and so, they should turn over the said property,” KNZ lawsuit alleged.In his counterargument, DNC’s lead lawyer, Arthur Johnson, said the sub-lease agreement was entered into on March 6, 2014 for the purpose of constructing the road.Though Cllr. Johnson claimed that DNC has legal possessor right over the property by virtue of the agreement, “but after the signing of the lease agreement by the parties, Liberia was greatly affected by the Ebola epidemic, which obstructed all activities; so we were forced to suspend our operations,” the DNC lawyer argued.The company’s foreign staff left the country in September 2014 and subsequently returned in October, 2015, but they were unable to carry out any work on the premises, Johnson said.“While the negotiation between the parties for the sub-lease agreement was ongoing, and during that time, KNZ failed to state or make full disclosure about the leased property prior to signing that the ownership was in dispute before the Civil Law Court,” Johnson alleged.“If we had known that the lease was in dispute between KNZ and a third party, we would have never signed the sub-lease and erected any permanent structure worth US$300,000,” Johnson argued.“We have also paid an advance more than three years’ rent at the annual rate of US$63,000, (but) KNZ is seeking to evict the occupants,” Johnson said, before asking the court not to evict the company, because they were in compliance with the agreement.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
By Robin Landsman, Wake County, N.C. Extension AgentThis post is the first in a 3-part series on homeownership by Robin Landsman. This series will cover the consideration of renting versus buying a home, the costs associated with homeownership, and tips for making a smart purchase.Interest rates are at historic lows and the housing market is a veritable buyers’ smorgasbord. So everyone who can purchase is running out to purchase, right? Not necessarily. Homeownership is not for everyone. Financial Educators, there are several things to consider when working with clients who are trying to decide if buying a home is the right choice. First, consider advantages that homeownership offers:Stability of monthly payments: When locking into a fixed rate mortgage for 15, 20 or 30 years, you are guaranteed that your principal and interest payments will never go up. However, taxes and insurance, when added into your mortgage through an escrow account, may cause your house payment to fluctuate over time. By comparison, a rental costs over this same 15, 20 or 30-year period will almost certainly increase.Tax benefits: The interest you pay on your mortgage, along with the property taxes you pay each year, are deductible from your taxable income. As always, it’s best to talk with a tax consultant to get your full benefits.Home equity: Equity represents the portion of the home that you own and increases as you make monthly payments that reduce the outstanding loan balance. Over time, the home’s appreciation can increase the home’s market value your and help to increase your equity in the home. This equity can be used to secure a loan for other purposes, or can be converted to cash if you decide to sell. Now let’s consider the downside to homeownership: Maintenance: The monthly cost of maintenance and utilities are normally more costly to the homeowner than to renter. You are now the responsible party for maintenance and repairs. As a renter, if you awake to find that there is no hot water for your morning shower you could call the landlord. As a homeowner, it is now your responsibility to repair or replace the hot water heater. There are costs in both time and money to maintaining the inside and outside of the home as well as the yard.Relocating: You may find it more difficult to relocate with the responsibility of a home. Renters have the luxury of giving proper notice at the end of a lease, and they’re off. When you own a home, it takes time to sell, or even rent, your home in today’s market. Additionally, you may find it difficult to find a lender in your new area willing to extend a loan for your next home without first selling or renting your current home.Value: And finally, there are no guarantees when it comes to the increase in value of your home. Unstable market conditions, wear and tear on the property and other factors could contribute to a decrease in value. Remember, you are primarily making a decision to buy a home in which to live rather than making a financial investment.Homeownership is personal choice, and it is not for everyone. To weigh the advantages and disadvantages these questions will help you determine your next move:Do you know what you want in a home you wish to purchase? Have you thought about what you need?Have you decided where you want to live? Will you still want to live there in three or five years?Are you ready for the financial responsibility? Is your income secure? Will your income change in the near future? Consider whether your employment situation or occupation stable such that you expect steady income.Is your financial house in order? Do you have the down payment and closing costs saved? Do you have an emergency savings account as well? Have you done your homework in learning mortgage basics? Do you understand the differences between fixed and variable mortgage rates and the implications of those differences? Can you afford it? Even if you have been preapproved for a mortgage, you may not be comfortable with the monthly mortgage costs for the approved loan amount. The rule of thumb is that your total housing costs (mortgage, insurance, taxes) should not consume more than one third of your income. It is perfectly fine to accept a mortgage loan in an amount that is less than for what you were approved.Are you ready to take care of repairs and ongoing maintenance?Homeownership is not a decision to make easily, even in a buyer’s market. Being prepared by knowing what you want will help you make the decision that is right for you.Resources:www.Realtor.org/ National Association of Realtors, “Field Guide to buying vs. renting.”Is Homeownership Right for Me? by Robin Landsman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.Based on a work at /.
A day before the meeting of newly elected MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the Shiv Sena was not promised the top post for two-and-a-half years when the alliance was formalised before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.Highlighting the party’s stand amid the ongoing tussle with its alliance partner over power sharing, Mr. Fadnavis on Tuesday said he will be the Chief Minister for the next five years and that the BJP Legislature Party would elect its new leader on Wednesday.“There should be no doubt in anybody’s mind that it will be a BJP-led government for the next five years,” he told reporters at his official residence ‘Varsha’.After the election results on October 24, the Shiv Sena has been pushing for a rotational Chief Minister with Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray last week reminding the BJP of the 50:50 formula “agreed upon” between himself, BJP president Amit Shah and Mr. Fadnavis ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.Commenting on this, Mr. Fadnavis said, “I have confirmed with Amit Shah and he told me that the BJP has not given any assurance for the Chief Minister’s post for two-and-a-half years (each for the BJP and Sena).”Deputy CM’s postAsked about the 50:50 formula and the talk of giving the post of Deputy Chief Minister to the Sena, he said that an “appropriate decision” will soon be taken.Mr. Shah will not take part in Wednesday’s meeting of the legislature party for undisclosed reasons. He is likely to visit Mumbai on November 1 or 2.The meeting will be attended by Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and BJP vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna. It is likely to pass a resolution giving all rights to Mr. Shah to elect the leader of the legislature party.With deadlock between BJP and the Sena continues, both parties on Tuesday made contradicting claims about the first official meeting between the two that did not happen. While Mr Fadnavis said that no such meeting was planned, Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said that it was cancelled over the directions of his party chief Uddhav Thackeray.”The meeting was planned between two leaders from both the parties each. But since Chief Minister said that there was no such 50:50 formula, the meeting was left with no agenda and therefore it was cancelled,” said Mr Raut, adding that Mr Thackeray must have taken the decision with bitter state-of-mind. The Sena leader added that a video clip of Mr Fadnavis talking about 50:50 formula is available. “The issue is not about getting upset over it, but the issue is whether 50:50 formula will be implemented,” said Mr Raut, editor of Sena mouthpiece Saamna. Earlier, Mr Fadnavis had expressed his displeasure over the editorials in Saamna, which have been targeting the BJP in the aftermath of the election results, stating that its role was to derail the talks between the two parties. “Will the paper take a hard stand on Congress-NCP?” he asked. “We will form the government together. Reasonable demands on merit will be considered when we sit to talk government formation. There is no plan B. Plan A is successful,” he said, adding that the BJP-led alliance will provide a “stable and efficient” government for the next five years. Mr Raut had also said that Sena has a right over the CM post and party will take it. When questioned about a few Sena leaders’ statements regarding Shiv Sena exploring other options, Mr Fadnavis also said that both parties had no other alternative but to ally with each other. Both parties won fewer seats as compared to 2014, with the BJP winning 105 seats and Sena winning 56. Mr Fadnavis said he was satisfied with the mandate but conceded that it was lower than expected. “We expected to be in the first merit, but got first class first. Since 1990, no political party has got a good strike rate like the BJP in 2019,” he said.Adding to the drama is a number of Independents who are openly siding with either the BJP or the Sena. Mira Road-Bhayander MLA Geeta Jain, Badnera’s Ravi Rana, Chandrapur’s Kishor Jorgewar and Uran’s Mahesh Baldi have extended support to the BJP. On the other hand, two MLAs from Vidarbha, Bachhu Kadu of Achalpur and Rajkumar Patel of Melghat, as well as Ashish Jaiswal and Shankarrao Gadakh of Nevasa have said they are with the Sena. Interestingly, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have also indicated that they may support the Sena from the outside in case the party decides to take the lead and form the government. Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat has said that the party will speak to the central leadership about extending support if the Sena gives a proposal for the same.
We often hear about the NFL’s dominance in the mindshare of sports fans, and it’s hard to argue with the facts and figures floating around to support this notion. Pro football has been No. 1 in the annual Harris Poll survey of Americans’ favorite sports for three consecutive decades, and the NFL’s television ratings routinely trounce those of other sports. But, curiously, I was fooling around with Google Trends, and there is at least one area in which the NFL is not crushing the opposition: Google searches.The NFL is trailing the NBA by about 5 percent since Google’s Trends search data became available in 2004.There are a lot of factors that can cloud these results, including the possibility that not all search terms are being correctly attributed to each league. This is a particular issue for “football,” which is, as you probably know, what everyone outside the U.S. calls soccer. Recent improvements to Trends make this issue less problematic, but it’s still worth mentioning.The numbers also include worldwide searches; the NBA has a large global presence (particularly in Asia), and Google is, by definition, biased toward countries with a greater number of Internet users. For what it’s worth, the NFL is still tops by quite a bit within the U.S.Even so, it’s an interesting data point about the relative global reach of America’s biggest sports leagues. If we look at things from an international perspective, the NFL is not the behemoth it usually appears to be stateside.
Cleveland Browns punt returner Travis Benjamin shined in Thursday night’s game against the Buffalo Bills setting a Browns’ franchise record with 179 yards on punt returns in the 37-24 victory over Buffalo at FirstEnergy Stadium.Late in the second quarter, the Buffalo Bills were punted to the Cleveland Browns after a solid defensive performance from the Browns. Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin caught the ball and ran for 79 yards to score the touchdown. Benjamin was not shy showcasing his speed andelusiveness. He was able to run to the complete opposite side of the field and still get to the end zone to give the Browns the lead before halftime.“Travis was huge out there, man,” teammate Josh Gordon said. “We’ve never really even seen a guy who’s that fast and little. It’s great to have him on our team. He’s a builder for our offense, a huge, pivotal guy.”
Schalke 04 manager Domenico Tedesco has revealed he intends to win the team’s final group stage game of the UEFA Champions League despite already securing qualification to the second round.The Royal Blues face Lokomotiv Moscow tomorrow night, and Tedesco has stressed the importance of winning the game.“The game is important because we want to underline the fact that we deserve to be in the last 16,” said Domenico Tedesco, according to the club’s official website.“In the Champions League, we’ve played well four times and very badly once.”“On Tuesday, it’ll be about representing the club and the Bundesliga in the best way possible once again.”The Schalke manager also suggested that there could be changes from the 2-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.Tedesco: Schalke fell apart after Aguero’s penalty Andrew Smyth – March 13, 2019 Schalke 04 manager Domenico Tedesco believes Sergio Aguero’s penalty literally caused his side to fall apart following their 7-0 Champions League defeat.Guido Burgstaller, who was taken off after 36 minutes against Dortmund, won’t be available for Tuesday’s UCL game.Steven Skrzybski is also expected to miss out, and it’s still too early for Cedric Teuchert to think about playing the entire game.However, injuries can also provide the opportunity for other players in the squad to impress.“Ahmed Kutucu will definitely be in the squad. Ahmed is someone who always wants the ball and get forward. He can play up top, but he also plays quite well in midfield,” said Tedesco.The youngster has been causing a stir in the club’s U19 team recently.“He’s got great character and he’s earned the chance to get a few minutes under his belt,” added Tedesco.