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Governor Wolf: School District of Philadelphia Will Return to Local Control

first_imgGovernor Wolf: School District of Philadelphia Will Return to Local Control Education,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf announced that his administration has approved the return of Philadelphia public schools to local control. In a letter to the School District of Philadelphia, Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera approved of the district’s recommendation to dissolve the School Reform Commission (SRC) and rescind its designation as distressed.“Quality public schools are essential for our economy and our future, and the improvements made by the district in recent years have been significant,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “My administration has made public education a top priority and local control with strong state support will make the district stronger. Restoring district operations to a locally-selected board of education will only allow those improvements to continue, and will better serve the needs of the district’s students and schools. I commend Mayor Kenney, Superintendent Hite, and the administrators, teachers and parents of the Philadelphia school district for their commitment to improving public education in our largest city. I also want to thank the members of the SRC for their efforts and work over the years.”The district was declared distressed in December 2001 by then-Secretary of Education Charles Zogby. The School Reform Commission was then established and became responsible for the governance of the district. Last month, the SRC adopted a resolution recommending to the Secretary of Education that the SRC be dissolved and that the declaration of distress be rescinded. The Pennsylvania Department of Education reviewed the recommendations and additional documentation received from the district and the City of Philadelphia.“Over the past sixteen years, the District has overcome many challenges, despite the many difficulties facing public school districts all over the country and the limitations imposed on the powers of the SRC,” said Secretary Rivera. “After an extensive review, the Department of Education has determined that the district has made financial and academic improvements during the tenure of the SRC and the district no longer exhibits the factors that caused it to be placed in distress.”In his decision, Rivera noted that the district and the city have developed an appropriate plan to transition control from the SRC to a locally-appointed board of education. Board members will receive training, attend SRC action meetings, and form committees to ensure a smooth transition when the SRC officially dissolves at the end of this school year.Read Rivera’s declaration on PDE’s website. Both actions are effective June 30, 2018. SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img December 27, 2017last_img read more

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US election: Trump win raises questions about low-carbon momentum

first_imgThe election of Donald Trump as the next US president should not signal the death knell for investor action on climate change, according to the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), although it and others said it raised questions about the implications for other countries’ political commitment to tackling climate change.Responding to the US presidential election result, Stephanie Pfeifer, chief executive at the IIGCC, said: “Investors are predictably concerned the extraordinary result of the US election risks uncertainty around the political agenda on climate.“However, the urgency implied by the latest science and the economic imperative for action will continue to inform growing efforts by investors to manage climate risk assertively and to seize the opportunities presented by the need to secure a swift and smooth transition to a low-carbon economy.”This transition is already underway, with a “remarkable and irreversible” pace and scale of change, she said, and the IIGCC will continue to press the G20 economies “to double global investment in clean energy, tighten climate disclosure mandates, develop carbon pricing and phase out fossil-fuel subsidies”. Trump campaigned with policies focused on promoting fossil fuels and nuclear energy and said he would “cancel” the Paris Agreement on climate change that was brokered by the UN at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in December last year.It has been noted that the Paris Agreement has sufficient backing to remain legally binding even without the US, as more than 100 countries accounting for more than 55% of global emissions have ratified the accord; it entered into force last Friday, 4 November.The implications of Trump’s election for energy sources did not feature highly in much of initial asset management reaction to the vote, but some did address the topic, from a macro and/or industry sector impact perspective.Geir Lode, head of global equities at Hermes Investment Management, said Trump’s election raised questions about a possible weakening of other countries’ commitment to mitigating climate warming.“COP21 in Paris last year marked a change in the fight against global warming as governments across the world boldly pledged to slow carbon emissions in their respective economies,” he said.“A reversal of the US’s commitment to reduce emissions could lead to other governments reneging on their promises.”Caveats about needing to wait for more clarity about Trump’s policy priorities peppered much of first reactions from asset managers to the election result, but Léon Cornelissen, chief economist at the €276bn asset manager Robeco, said “[it’s] clear that beating global warming won’t be one of his priorities”.He expects Trump will seek an extensive deregulation of the oil, gas and coal sectors.“This will further increase the current surplus and is the reason why oil prices are dropping,” he said.Others noted that fossil-fuel sectors could benefit from a Trump presidency, although his talk about wanting to increase infrastructure spending could be positive for companies with a green business offering.Matthew Beesley, head of global equities at Henderson Global Investors, said: “Trump’s disdain for the environment has been much discussed; we can expect to see energy stocks to rally.”Erik Weisman, chief economist at MFS Investment Management, said fossil fuels could be advantaged, noting that “Trump repeatedly promoted US energy independence during the campaign, calling for leasing federal land for energy exploration, repealing some regulations on coal and reviving the Keystone XL pipeline project”.But, according to Charlie Thomas, manager of the Jupiter Global Ecology Growth SICAV fund, renewable energy companies need not necessarily suffer in the medium to longer term under a Trump presidency, and green business could stand to benefit from “common ground” between Democrats and Republic on the need for US infrastructure investment.“This bodes relatively well for companies providing environmental solutions – particularly in water, smart energy and rail transport infrastructure,” he said.last_img read more

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The Next Three Years

first_img* MARIJUANA – Once again the Greens will try to push for decriminalisation, and other politicians (aided by the media) will try and push the medicinal marijuana aspect. In response, we’ll be launching our website saynopetodope.org.nz A weak-kneed approach to marijuana use will simply send all the wrong messages that small amounts of drug use or dealing or growing aren’t that big a deal – the completely wrong message, especially for younger people and families. Opium has medical value, and it is called morphine. Marijuana has medical value, too — but just as we don’t smoke opium to receive beneficial effects, we need not smoke marijuana to get its medical value. * MARRIAGE & FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE – The real outcomes of the redefinition of marriage are yet to come to fruition – namely, attempts to further implement ‘marriage equality’ to allow polygamy and group marriage, and the right to freedom of conscience for celebrants, venues, and service providers being threatened as is happening at an increasing rate in overseas jurisdictions. See protectmarriage.org.nz* EASTER TRADING – The liberalisation of Easter trading laws is expected to raise its head again. The votes have been counted and the winners have celebrated. And we got some great feedback from our Value Your Vote election resource..My daughter turned 18 on Thursday so has only just become eligible to vote. Although they had some exposure to issues and candidates at school in the lead up to the election she has looked at your You be the kingmaker resource several times. She has just left to pick up some friends so they can cast their first votes together and what did she take with her? Your YBTK booklet. She is quite private so I’m not sure which way she will vote but what you put out has seemed to be the resource she has most strongly based her vote on and what she is sharing with her friends as they all weigh up how to vote. The booklet has certainly helped me to decide which way to vote.I have been wading through things trying to find someone to vote for and almost at the end of my tether debating if I should bother to vote at all – and then I received (your) email! In a matter of minutes you have cleared up the whole state of confusion and I am now 100% on who to choose. I will be there tomorrow to vote (in advance as I am travelling this weekend). I have been chatting to my husband and he also agrees just how clear you have made it – he will also be voting now. Thanks againHello, I don’t think I agree with you on most issues, but just did want to let you know that I appreciate your Value Your Vote 2014 pamphlet, which I got when I attended a political forum today. It is very helpful to have a chart that compares the different parties’ stands on the issues. It was very informative and I learned a lot I didn’t know about the parties from it. So what are the family issues that are going to be on the agenda for the next three years. Here’s our prediction….Battles coming up..* EUTHANASIA – One of the positives from the weekend was the failure of Labour MP Maryan Street to make it back in to Parliament. She had made it clear that she would re-introduce her Euthanasia bill after the election. We will be watching to see if any other Labour or Green MP takes up the issue. We believe it is highly unlikely that either NZ First or National will push the issue.* ABORTION – The Greens are keen to decriminalise abortion and remove any safeguards for women that may be in place. It’s our view that this policy which we worked hard to warn people about was a major reason for their poor election result. Labour will attempt to use the Law Commission to push the issue. It’s unclear whether National will resist this. But we’re ready. You can view our website chooselife.org.nz with lots of resources and research available to help you debate the issue with knowledge and clarity. * ADOPTION – Green MP Kevin Hague (who received just 6% of the vote in his electorate – less than the Ban1080 candidate!) wants to completely revamp adoption laws – not because it’s broken, but because they want to allow anybody to adopt, including same-sex couples who are just living together. And as with the same-sex marriage debate, politicians are likely to wilt under the intense pressure and labels that are targeted at them. We’ll aim to give them some backbone. Children deserve a mum and a dad. Nature highlights the complementarity of male and female. While a compassionate and caring society always comes to the aid of motherless and fatherless families, a wise and loving society never intentionally creates fatherless or motherless families. We’ll be launching our website mumanddadmatter.org.nz* GENDER CONFUSION – Despite MP David Shearer saying that Labour suffered because it has been ‘hijacked by special interest groups’, Labour’s Louisa Wall will attempt again to make ‘gender identity’ as a prohibited ground of discrimination under the Human Rights Act. This has been dubbed the “bathroom bill” in overseas jurisdictions because of experiences where it gives the opportunity for men who pretend to be transgender a legal alibi to use women’s bathrooms, showers, and changing rooms at public facilities and more worryingly, at schools! Family First has already lobbied to remove this proposal. We’ll be ready again. Both the Greens and Labour are keen to politicise schools to advance their sexual agenda – including in the ‘sexuality education’ area. Issues we’ll be raising..* FIXING THE ANTI-SMACKING LAW – NZ First has a specific policy of amending the law, and perhaps National MP’s will finally acknowledge the evidence that the law is targeting good parents and doing nothing to tackle child abuse. We’ll keep highlighting the harm that this law is doing.* POVERTY – We’ll be writing more about this issue, but ‘child poverty’ completely misses the point. The ‘elephants in the room’ include poverty of spirit, poverty of family stability, and poverty of good decision making. Welfare plays a vital role in giving people a ‘hand up’, but the breakdown in family and decreasing marriage rates continue to drive our poverty rates and our increasing rates of family violence.* DRINKING AGE / ALCOHOL HARM – Unfortunately the National government has shown little will to deal with the obvious harms of alcohol abuse and the solutions put forward by the Law Commission after consulting extensively with the public.* PARENTAL NOTIFICATION FOR TEEN ABORTION – We know that John Key and Winston Peters both support parental notification.* INDEPENDENT CYF COMPLAINTS AUTHORITY – Wide cross-party support and a recent Select Committee report approving the concept.* RESIDENTIAL BROTHELS AND STREET PROSTITUTION – There is currently a bill before Parliament banning street prostitution – although it has stalled and needs to be kick-started. The problem of residential brothels continues to harm families around the country. Unfortunately NZ First lost a superb MP Asenati Lole-Taylor who had done some excellent work on this issue. And Labour MP Ross Robertson who was pushing the issue has also retired.* AND PLENTY MORE – such as income splitting, surrogacy and stem-cell research, broadcasting standards, sexualisation of children in the media, pokie machines, loan sharks, and more!How YOU can help..If you have expertise in any of these areas or real-life experience, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact us at admin@familyfirst.org.nz In fact, any expertise in any area is always welcome Please also consider supporting our work so that we can keep on doing what we’ve been doing. We still have a $17,000 shortfall from our Value Your Vote resource – plus we need to prepare for the next three years.Most importantly, stay in touch with our newsletters so that we can keep you informed and empowered to speak up on family issues.Please be reassured – we will continue to be a watchdog for you and your family. *|FACEBOOK:LIKE|*Kindest regardsBob McCoskrieNational Directorforward to a friendlast_img read more

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Beat writers predict Pittsburgh to beat Syracuse at Heinz Field

first_imgPhil D’Abbraccio: Pittsburgh 21, Syracuse 13The Pitt gets deeperOn the bright side, Syracuse’s young quarterbacks face a good test in Pittsburgh’s pass defense, ranked fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as they develop. That experience will serve them well in the future, but not on Saturday afternoon. And Pitt’s James Conner, with bowl eligibility on the line, steamrolls the Orange defense like no running back has this season.Jesse Dougherty: Pittsburgh 28, Syracuse 14The Pitts Syracuse is playing with nothing to lose but there’s also a reason for that. From what players and coaches said during the week, the Orange will use the game to get a good look at its three young quarterbacks. In turn, AJ Long, Austin Wilson and Mitch Kimble will most likely have a hard time finding a rhythm and that’s bad news for an offense that struggles to score as is.Jacob Klinger: Pittsburgh 25, Syracuse 14Pittch imperfectThe Orange is a rejuvenated team coming off a bye week. But re-energizing a team that too closely resembled The Walking Dead just gives you a squad of more flexible, excited zombies that can and will put a scare into Pittsburgh — but ultimately can’t contain running back James Conner for four quarters. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 22, 2014 at 2:53 pmlast_img read more

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Seamus Callanan and Padraic Maher motivated for next year

first_imgDarragh says his teammates know what hurling trophies really matter.In other news, former All Star Paudie Kissane has joined Limerick manager Billy Lee’s backroom team.Kissane had been working with Cork manager Peader Healy as a coach. The Tipperary hurlers who missed out on the Player of the Year prize will have an extra ‘bit of hunger for next year’.Premier County back-up goalkeeper Darragh Egan believes that Seamus Callanan and Padraic Maher will use the disappointment as motivation for the 2017 campaign.Waterford’s Austin Gleeson controversially scooped the honour following a vote by his fellow inter-county players.last_img read more

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Chelsea release statement to say Jose Mourinho ‘has their full support’

first_imgChelsea have issued a statement to underline that they still have complete faith in manager Jose Mourinho and his players despite a poor start to the season.The Premier League champions’ title defence has not gone to plan so far, with the Londoners sat 16th in the table after eight games with just eight points.They’ve already lost four games, including two at home – once upon a time, Chelsea were invincible under Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.Compounding matters is the spat between Mourinho and then-club doctor Eva Carneiro on the opening day, and the Portuguese coach’s epic rant after their latest failure at home to Southampton.The statement from the club says:” The club wants to make it clear that Jose continues to have our full support. As Jose has said himself, results have not been good enough and the team’s performances must improve. However, we believe that we have the right manager to turn this season around and that he has the squad with which to do it.”The statement from Chelsea comes two days after Mourinho issued a challenge to his employers following the Southampton defeat. In a seven-minute answer to one question, Mourinho said “if the club wants to sack me they have to sack me because I am not running away from my responsibilities from my team.”He continued: “I think this is a crucial moment in the history of this club. Why? Because if the club sacks me they sack the best manager this club has had and secondly the message is again the message of bad results the manager is guilty.”And this is the message not just these players but the ones before got during a decade. I think this a moment for everyone to assume their responsibilities. I think the players should and other people in the club who should assume their responsibilities, and to stick together and this is what I want. The players will play until the end of this season.”–Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

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Wellington police notes: Friday, May 3 – Sunday, May 5, 2013

first_imgWellington Police notes for Friday, May 03, to Sunday, May 5, 2013Friday, May 3, 2013•12:23 a.m. Officers took a report of a suicidal subject in the 2000 block. N. Vandenburg, Wellington.•12:37 a.m. Dustin L. Repphan, 28, Wellington was arrested, charged and confined with intent to distribute, stimulant, possession of stimulant, possession drug paraphernalia, no drug stamp, driving while license is suspended and no proof of insurance.•9:10 a.m. William B. Brown, 44, Wellington, was issued a notice to appear charged with seat belt violation•12:10 p.m. Officers took a report of an animal bite in the 500 block. N. Washington, Wellington.•1:11 p.m. Melody A. Wells, 35, Wellington was issued a notice to appear charged with dog at large.•1:25 p.m. Officers took a report of found property in the E. Hargis creek area (portable safe).•1:25 p.m. Non-injury, hit and run accident in the 700 block. U.S. 81, Wellington involved an unknown vehicle and a fixed object/street sign owned by the city of Wellington.•2:10 p.m. Linda L. Clinkingbeard, 44, Wellington was issued a notice to appear charged with two dogs at large.•4:34 p.m. Officers investigated a criminal threat of a known suspect in the 1100 block W. 8th, Wellington.•7:58 p.m. Terry L. Mayberry, 51, Yukon, Okla. was issued a notice to appear charged with defective trailer lights.•8:08 p.m. Officers took a report of suspicious activity in the 500 block N. Blaine, Wellington. Sunday May 5, 2013•3:45 a.m. Larry A. Davis w/m 63, Wellington was issued a notice to appear for disobeying a stop sign and expired registration.•9:57 p.m. Roselinde Theobald-Harris, 61, Wellington was issued a notice to appear for defective headlight, and no proof of insurance. Saturday, May 04, 2013•2:17 a.m. Officers investigated a driving while suspended, speeding 35 mph in a 20 mph zone and no proof of insurance in the 700 block. N. Washington, Wellington.•2:29 a.m. Jessica D. Kraft, 33, Wichita was arrested and charged with driving while suspended, speeding 35 mph in a 20 mph zone and no proof of insurance.•2:33 p.m. Officers investigated battery, criminal trespass, criminal damage to property and criminal restraint by a known suspect in the 100 block W. 16th, Wellington.•5:09 a.m. Officers took a report of a suicidal subject in the 1300 block E. Harvey, Wellington.•9:09  a.m. Mechelle L. Lozano, 33, Wellington was issued a notice to appear charged with domestic battery and criminal damage to property.•9:09  a.m. Mechelle L. Lozano, 33, Wellington was issued a notice to appear charged with theft.•11:30  a.m. Tiffany A. Hartwell, 38, Wellington was issued a notice to appear charged with no Wellington tags, harboring more than four dogs, and unlawful tethering of dog. •12:47 p.m. Officers conducted an outside agency assist in the 200 block. N. C, Wellington.•5:03 p.m. Officers made a dog at large report on April 21 in the 400 block S. F, Wellington.•4:51 p.m. Larry A. Davis, Wellington was issued a notice to appear charged with dog at large.•5:03 p.m. Officers investigated criminal damage to property in the 300 block E. 17th, Wellington.•5:23 p.m. Anna Penn Bassford, 30, Larned, Kans. was issued a notice to appear charged with illegal registration/expired tag.•6:37 p.m.  Alexandra J. Allen. Wellington, was issued a notice to appear charged with dog at large.•8:35 p.m. Non-injury accident in the 900 block of E. Harvey involving a vehicle operated by Malorie M. Zavala, 18, Wellington, and two fixed objects.•9:19 p.m. Paul Jacobs Jr., 19, Wellington, was arrested, charged and bonded with knowingly driving without insurance and defective tail lights in the 400 block W. Lincoln, Wellington.•9:19 p.m. Michael J. Shockley, 28, Wichita, was arrested on a Sumner County Warrant for probation violation in the 400 block. W. Lincoln, Wellington.last_img read more

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Clippers’ moves on trade, buyout markets bolster roster — and deal significant blow to Lakers

first_imgWelcome to LA, @Reggie_Jackson! pic.twitter.com/s95jtRWTs4— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) February 20, 2020On paper, there really isn’t any argument — the Clippers clearly have the better roster. That was probably true even prior to the Morris trade and Jackson signing. These moves only solidified that fact.While nothing is guaranteed in the NBA, the Lakers should be concerned. This boxing match is far from over, but the Clippers have won the first few rounds in decisive fashion.UPDATE: Markieff Morris plans to sign with the Lakers after agreeing to a buyout with the Pistons, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The Lakers will waive DeMarcus Cousins in order to create a roster spot for Markieff, who is Marcus’ twin brother. The arms race in Los Angeles continues to tip further in the Clippers’ direction.Following an offseason that included an intense fight to sign Kawhi Leonard — one that ruffled a few feathers within the Lakers organization after Leonard took his time and ultimately picked the Clippers — the LA teams continued their off-court battle by chasing similar trade and buyout targets. Both organizations know their rosters are far from perfect, and that’s what made the past two weeks so important. MORE: Biggest winners and losers from NBA All-Star weekendThe Clippers, while incredibly deep, have issues defensively in the paint and lack a true point guard. The Lakers, even with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, seem a man short of being considered championship favorites. Outside of that star duo, Kyle Kuzma is the only Laker averaging double-digit points per game (12.6).Enter Marcus Morris. The 30-year old hadn’t received much publicity due to the fact that he’d been playing for a franchise so inept that it fired the team president two days before the trade deadline, but his play made him a hot commodity, particularly with the trade market holding less star power than usual.Morris’ skill set works well in today’s NBA. He’s a bigger wing (6-8, 235 pounds) that can defend multiple positions. He also provides shooting from deep. In 43 games with the Knicks, Morris shot 43.9 percent from 3-point range on 6.1 attempts per game.Both teams knew adding Morris would bolster their rosters and, perhaps more importantly, keep him away from a primary Western Conference rival.The Clippers won out. Again.They gotta dog in Hollyhood @LAClippers let’s gets it pic.twitter.com/lQ760kdPxm— Marcus Morris (@MookMorris2) February 6, 2020It’s a big pickup for the Clippers. It’s also a tough pill to swallow for James and the Lakers.Morris is an immediate upgrade over Moe Harkless. Defensively, he can handle the same assignments as Harkless, but it’s the offensive side of the ball where Morris becomes a clear upgrade. With the Knicks, Morris averaged a career-high 19.6 points per game. And while he won’t have the same offensive responsibilities with the Clippers, he gives coach Doc Rivers another weapon to use in the starting five or as part of bench units.With Harkless on the court alongside Ivica Zubac and Patrick Beverley, defenses were able to pack the paint and turn their focus toward Leonard and Paul George. Morris will create more space offensively and prevent opponents from loading up on the star forwards.Morris also brings toughness to a Clippers team looking to reach the NBA Finals. In just three games in a Clippers uniform, Morris has already shown his willingness to mix it up.Marcus Morris and Joel Embiid got into it 😮 pic.twitter.com/tYFwuqtlcG— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 12, 2020For the Lakers, missing out on Morris stings. Even as they sit atop the Western Conference with a 41-12 record, it’s hard to argue that they possess a better rotation than the Clippers. They rely heavily on James and Davis for the bulk of their points on a nightly basis (51.6 per game). Depending on James to continue his torrid pace in his 17th season is a big gamble.But Morris wasn’t the only swing and miss for the Lakers.They were linked to retired guard Darren Collison, who would have provided much-needed 3-point shooting off the bench as well as secondary playmaking. After weighing his options, Collison decided to remain retired.Then it got worse. Reggie Jackson, rumored to be coveted by the Lakers, agreed to a buyout with the Pistons and chose the Clippers, officially becoming a member of the team Thursday.last_img read more

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Three straight wins for superstar Uganda netball team

first_imgShare on: WhatsApp WednesdayUganda vs ZimbabweUganda resultsUganda 72 Botswana 29Uganda 69 Namibia 31Uganda 66 Malawi 43Uganda’s netball team have picked up three straight wins and are favourites to clinch the title in the six-nation African Championships being held at Lugogo in Kampala. Victory over the top ranked team in the competition Malawi Queens  (ranked 6th in the world)  by 66 to 43 baskets on Monday,  put 13th ranked Uganda She Cranes firmly in the driving seat for the title –  barring an upset.Uganda take on Zimbabwe (ranked 16th) tomorrow, then Zambia (ranked 15th) on the final day.last_img read more

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Govt duplicity, lack of transparency among reasons for PPP boycott

first_img– double standards, witch-hunting also cited As Independence celebrations got underway at D’Urban Park on Thursday evening, it was evident the parliamentary Opposition had boycotted the event. But from reports reaching Guyana Times, the boycott was for good reason.According to a source close to the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), the decision to boycott the celebration was not taken lightly; but rather one reason for the decision to boycott was the controversy and lack of transparency surrounding the money used on the location.Sources indicate the Opposition boycotted the event due to the controversies swirling around the Government“Apart from the money spent in the past, the Government spent close to another $100 million to have the Park prepared again for these activities. And it seems to be a cash cow for the Government,” the source stated.The source revealed that the Party was also concerned that despite the national nature of the event, the parliamentary Opposition was at no point included in the planning of the celebrations.Other concerns of the parliamentary Opposition are the determined use of agencies such as the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) to persecute members of the Party. This comes despite SOCU turning a blind eye to corruption and criminal acts the party had highlighted being done by officials of the current Administration.During a recent press conference, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had deplored the fact that the Guyana Police Force continuously demonstrated a double standard in its dealing with PPP/Civic officials as against members of the ruling coalition.“We have had cases where we have called in the Police on several occasions… the Police have two standards now, standards for going after PPP people and standards for APNU.”Jagdeo had called for charges to be laid against Director of the Government Information Agency (GINA) Beverly Alert, for (alleged) misappropriation of public monies, following the glaring admissions made in the Public Accounts Committee recently.Alert appeared before the parliamentary body on Monday last and essentially told members that the GINA staff had been paid bonuses in 2015 following approval from the Finance Secretary.But under cross examination, it was found that a Contingency Fund advance made in 2016 was in fact used to make the payments in 2015. Subsequently, she essentially threw in the towel and said “the auditors probably have to come in back… maybe we have to scrutinise the books again. I can only go to what was provided to me by the staff of GINA.”Jagdeo had also used the occasion to draw reference to staunch coalition supporter, Eric Phillips, a senior official at the State Assets Recovery Unit of the Ministry of the Presidency.The PPP/C General Secretary pointed to statements Phillips would have made, interpreted to mean death threats against the Opposition Leader and senior members of the PPP/C.He reminded media operatives that the PPP/C lodged an official complaint with the Guyana Police Force and “until today we have seen no action.”The PPP/C General Secretary and Opposition Leader said the entire State apparatus would have been brought to bear, had it been the party allegedly committing the act. He also reminded the media of the case of Ruel Johnson.Johnson, the cultural political advisor to the Government, had been condemned for inciting the torching of the Sanata Complex which houses among other businesses, the media grouping TVG, Guyana Times and RGI Radio.According to the source, the Party is still disturbed that while several of its members have either been passed through the courts or are being investigated, the Government seems intent on creating a façade that all is well between the two parties.In retrospect, the source said, the PPP was also cognisant of instances when the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change, then the Opposition, would have boycotted national events the former Government had planned.UnnecessaryThe subject of D’Urban Park has been a contentious one between the Opposition and the Government side, since the structure was built last year at a cost of over $1 billion. The Government has constantly had to defend the logic of building the structure, when the National Stadium, a state-of-the-art structure that already hosted national events, is available.In the run up to the 51st Independence anniversary celebrations, there had been reports that the event would be hosted at Stabroek Square. That ultimately never happened, as Government switched their focus back to D’Urban Park.Due to its lack of utility, the structure stands empty and unused for most of the year. During a press conference, Minister of State Joseph Harmon while responding to assertions that the structure has become a white elephant had defended its existence.“Since the D’Urban Park was built, I can say to you at least once per month or more, that various organisations in this country have been using the Park for various activities. That every afternoon, you can go there, you just walk there and take your cameras, you see people are exercising, they are using the place, you see children playing, so it is not as is portrayed in your article that this is a white elephant,” Harmon had been quoted as saying.Cash cowMeanwhile, as it relates to the overall expenditure and cash donations, questions are still swirling about how much the project really cost taxpayers. This is especially pertinent as the construction costs covered by private entities amounted to no more than 10 per cent of the overall cost of the project.D’Urban Park was initially built under the supervision of Homestretch Development Inc, a private company Government says was solely established for this purpose. Audit Firm Ram and McRae has since debunked assertions that the company was ever a special purposes company. Later, delays saw the project being taken over by the Public Infrastructure Ministry.Under pressure from the Opposition, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson told the House that a total of $27.7 million was received in the form of donations from private individuals and entities, while another $37 million came about ‘in kind’.The Minister provided a list of donors to the House. Among the donors as listed by Minister Patterson are three anonymous contributors, Palm Court, TEOCO, STP Investments Inc, Mohamed’s Cambio and RUSAL, among others.He listed among those entities that have given donations in kind as BK International, Courtney Benn Contracting Services Limited, BaiShanLin Forest Developers Inc, Demerara Sand and Aggregates, Barama, Buxton Gas Station, Splashmins, and NABI Construction, among others.Opposition parliamentarian, Juan Edghill, while querying the expenditure was adamant during the consideration that with donations being less than 10 per cent of the $1 billion price tag, the project could not be one that could be considered as done privately.He was adamant that it is reasonable to conclude that Homestretch Development Inc was just a company that was used to engage private contractors of which ultimately all of the money to be expended was to be paid by taxpayers.The Opposition has already called on the Auditor General of Guyana to conduct an immediate forensic audit into all revenues, expenditure and donations received. In addition, there have been calls for a commission of inquiry.The PPP has on previous occasions expressed outrage over the coalition Government seeking an additional $500 million to be plugged into the controversial D’Urban Park Project. The fact that hundreds of millions in public funds had to be used contradicts all suggestions that the project was privately funded.last_img read more