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Is the new Demerara River bridge another scandal in the making?

first_imgDear Editor,The Guyanese people, I am sure, are ripe with some excitement and welcome the news of a new Demerara River bridge. This excitement, however, is now tempered with the facts that are becoming public and as such, a public discussion is current.They are a number of issues that the Public Infrastructure Minister must come clean on and level with the masses. Now that there is an announcement by the Government that the bridge will be built from Houston to Versailles, some specific questions must be answered.1. What would be the cost of the acquisition of lands at Houston and at Versailles? Why did the Public Infrastructure Ministry only announced acquisition of lands at Houston? What about Versailles? Who is the owner(s) of the land at this location?2. If a decision has been made for Versailles to be the agreed site on the western end where the bridge will terminate, what is the agreed figure which the owner(s) agreed upon for the acquisition of the lands?3. With this new structure, what would be the cost of tolls for commuters and for commercial transporters? What would be the percentage increase in tolls? Since the feasibility study indicated that increase of tolls will be inadequate to finance this project, what would be the level of Government subsidy/financing? We need to know the amount; it cannot be a blind date. Minister David Patterson, the figures please.4. To support the construction of this bridge, there will be the need for other infrastructure, approach roads, vehicular overpass and other non-bridge infrastructure that would be priced separate and apart from the cost of the bridge. What would be the total or estimated total of such infrastructures?5. Since we have not seen copies of the social impact assessment or the environmental impact assessment, could the Minister inform the nation how will this site affect businesses in the vicinity of the proposed site on both North and South on both sides of the river? Since, within a specific distance determined by international standards mooring of vessels are restricted for safety purposes in the vicinity of this bridge, how will this impact the publicly announced on-shore oil and gas facility and investments made by Muneshwars Limited at the recently acquired Gafoors property, at Houston? Notwithstanding, other existing fishing establishment, fuel terminals and other wharfs that service ocean going vessels?6. As it relates to traffic flow and congestion, is there a network of roads that was considered and how does the propose Ogle to Diamond by-pass road fit into this scheme?7. What is the financing model for this bridge? Would it be a Private Public Partnership (PPP) or the Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model? Would the selected contractor be responsible for financing and building the bridge as well as other infrastructure to accommodate usage of the bridge or would it be two separate awards?8. Why is the Ministry requesting that bidders sign non-disclosure agreements as well as waive their rights to protest the award, if aggrieved? Is it because the Government has already predetermined who will be contracted to build this bridge and the financing model secretly agreed on? Are the few selected bidders only to be window-dressing and to give the impression of a fair and open process? Why is it necessary to waive their rights to protest if aggrieved?9. What are the experts estimated total cost of the bridge as well as other infrastructure to facilitate and operationalise the Houston to Versailles Demerara bridge link?Minister, my fellow Guyanese and I would like to have a bridge, not another scandal.Sincerely,Bishop Juan Edghill,PPP/C MPlast_img read more

Mavericks destroy personal demons

first_img0Shares0000MIAMI, Florida, June 14- The dust had barely settled from Sunday night’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks when the questions started flying for the Miami Heat.With all the talent that came from their free agent signings in the offseason how could “King” James and the Heat lose the NBA finals in six games to Dirk Nowitzki and his Merry Men? Miami was in basketball mourning on Monday.“It is a failure for myself losing to the Mavericks. Absolutely,” said LeBron James.The pieces of the puzzle were supposed to be in place from the beginning of the season. Miami had re-signed Dwyane Wade then lured James and Chris Bosh to form the most dangerous trios in the NBA.But the Mavericks proved with their 105-95 series clinching win at the AmericanAirlines arena that teams, and not individuals, win championships.“Their time will come but now it is our time,” said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. “Everybody answered the bell.“This is one of the most unique teams in NBA history because it wasn’t about high-flying star power. Come on, how often do we have to hear about the LeBron James reality show and what he is or isn’t doing?”Nowitzki even struggled early in game six. But it didn’t matter because his band of outlaws kept the Heat at bay until the German star was able find his form and help put the finishing touches on the win in the fourth quarter.Nowitzki, who turns 33 on Sunday, struggled mightily in the first half, scoring just three points on one-of-12 shooting from the field.“In the first half I had so many good looks,” he said. “I had some one-leg fadeaways that I normally make. My team stayed with me.“(Jason Terry) got going early. That one timeout he said to me ‘Keep pushing. Remember 2006’. I kept plugging and kept fighting.“In the third I made a three (pointer) and then in the fourth I was able to make a couple of pull-ups.”Give Dallas its due. They beat the reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers in the quarter-finals then had to beat the supposed heir apparent Oklahoma City Thunder in the semi-finals.“Game two was probably the key to the series,” said Carlisle. “Because if you go down 0-2 against Miami it is very difficult.“And coming back in game four in Oklahoma City, those are key games. Because the Oklahoma City win kept us from going six or seven games.”Nowitzki silenced his critics and secured his legacy as one of the all-time NBA legends.“I played with Larry Bird, I played with Bill Walton, I played with Robert Parish. I played with the all-time greats. And Dirk is up there with that upper echelon of great players,” Carlisle said.Mavericks owner Mark Cuban revealled at the postgame news conference that a couple of years ago he had a chance to acquire Kobe Bryant from the Lakers but decided to stick with Nowitzki as his No. 1 guy instead.“I remember one time years ago when Shaq was available, no Kobe I think it was,” Cuban said.“There was a discussion. He (Nowitzki) came to me and said ‘You know what, I understand if you think this is a deal you need to pull’. I am like it ain’t going to happen. Because chemistry is important — no disrespect to Kobe. Kobe is obviously a great player with lots of rings.“But Dirk helps set the culture of a team. And culture is critically important for a winning organization.”This year’s final was a rematch of the 2006 NBA championship which Miami took in six games for its first title in franchise history. Dallas had never won the NBA championship in its 31 year history.“Our guys took it personal,” Carlisle said. “They were not going to be denied. Dirk and Jet (Terry) had to live for five years with what happened in 2006 and as of tonight, those demons are officially destroyed.”There are no guarantees in the NBA even if you have the best team that money can buy.Can the Heat bounce back? Can they still win with Wade deferring down the stretch to James who looked like the pressure of carrying his team to the title might have become too much.“We have to go back to the drawing board,” said Bosh.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Anti-gang proposal clears Senate committee

first_img“Unfortunately, California has been a source … for gangs, and as the years go on they become more vicious.” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, is carrying a gang bill similar to Feinstein’s in the House. While no vote has yet been scheduled, Schiff said he will be part of a major strategy session next week on fighting gangs. He predicted the House bill, much like Feinstein’s, will be modified to incorporate more prevention options. “Things look very positive,” he said. Cities throughout Southern California, including many in the San Gabriel Valley and Whittier areas, have intensified efforts to quell growing gang violence. WASHINGTON – Sweeping anti-gang legislation sailed unanimously through the a key Senate committee Thursday, giving the proposed expansion of federal authority to combat gang violence its best chance in a decade of becoming law. The measure would be a boon to Los Angeles and cities across the country grappling with growing crime rates and would pour $1 billion over five years into gang suppression and prevention programs. Los Angeles and Southland leaders had heavily lobbied congressional leaders to support the measure and hailed the 17-0 vote by the Judiciary Committee as a major victory. “It’s going to mean a federal helping hand,” said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who co-wrote the measure with Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch. Feinstein’s bill would make it a federal crime to recruit minors into a gang and to be a member of a street gang. In addition, it creates a string of new criminal offenses in an effort to make the country’s estimated 30,000 gangs easier to prosecute. And it would dole out millions of dollars to hire additional state and local prosecutors who can bring more cases against gang members. With the November 2005 killing of 11-year-old Mynisha Crenshaw still fresh in the minds of many San Bernardino residents, the bill also incorporates an element designed by Sen. Barbara Boxer to honor the girl’s memory. The provision calls for a local and federal task force comprised of the departments of Justice, Education, Labor, Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development to identify successful prevention efforts. The bill now goes to the full Senate. Feinstein said Thursday she didn’t know when a vote might be taken. But Feinstein – who with Hatch has spent the past decade pressing for the measure known as the Gang Abatement and Prevention Act – said she believes it has a significant chance of passage. She said that when the measure arrives on the Senate floor it will have more support from Democrats than ever before. That’s largely because Feinstein – a former mayor of San Francisco known for backing tough law-and-order measures – agreed to drop a number of provisions that upset liberal and social justice groups. A call for mandatory minimum sentence was scrapped, as well as an increase in death penalty crimes and a provision that would have made it easier to prosecute juveniles. In just the past week, Feinstein also narrowed her definition of what constitutes a gang to an association of five or more people, each of whom has committed at least one gang crime. She also incorporated a mentoring program at the suggestion of a colleague and raised the threshold of what could be considered a gang crime – eliminating what she called “lower level” state crimes like a simple assault charge. At the same time, she added $160 million more for prevention and intervention programs after juvenile justice groups complained that she was shortchanging those organizations. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., called the newest version “enormously strengthened” as he and others praised Feinstein for working with Republicans and Democrats on the changes. “This might not have the answer and be the silver bullet, but I think it’s going to make a difference,” he said. Many who work with teens, however, say they remain opposed to Feinstein’s bill. “It emulates a failed approach – more cops, more investigations, and more ways to categorize behavior,” said Jason Ziedenberg, co-founder of the Justice Policy Institute think tank in Washington, D.C. He also criticized the grant funding for prevention in Feinstein’s bill – about $411.5 million – saying lawmakers need to target programs that are proven to work. “This is the wrong way to address the serious youth violence problem in Los Angeles,” Ziedenberg said. “California’s got enough ways to lock up gang members … If we agree that there’s no way to arrest our way out of this problem, why are we doing that?” lisa.friedman@langnews.com (202) 662-8731 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

UCLA defensive line banged up, in flux

first_imgTom Blake was playing with the first-team defense at end Wednesday, and defensive end Reginald Stokes could make the travel roster. Jeff Miller, who is listed as fourth-string defensive end, was working with the tackles. Chase Moline, Kevin Brown, Ward and Jerzy Siewierski all will see time at tackle. The changes at defensive line might be scarier if Utah was still running a spread offense, but with quarterback Brian Johnson injured, Walker doesn’t expect to see as much spread offense with Tommy Grady under center. Practice follies UCLA’s Rodney Van and Korey Bosworth collided in special teams practice, Van suffering a stinger in the shoulder and Bosworth hurting his knee. Neither injury is believed to be serious. Bosworth did return to practice for precautionary reasons. … Wide receiver Brandon Breazell practiced again with a no-hit red jersey. Breazell suffered a concussion when he was accidentally hit by teammate Logan Paulsen while the two were trying to make a tackle after an interception in the BYU game. Around the nation Oklahoma: The school has filed its appeal requesting the NCAA overturn an infractions committee ruling that would strip the Sooners of eight wins because of rules violations involving former starting quarterback Rhett Bomar. The university notified the NCAA in July that it intended to appeal the ruling that would take away the Sooners’ wins from an 8-4 season in 2005 that concluded with a victory against Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. Oklahoma is also appealing a “failure to monitor” violation based on findings that the school failed to track athletes’ employment at a Norman car dealership. Oklahoma has said it would accept penalties including two additional years of probation and reductions in scholarships and recruiting time, but the university believes it’s excessive to take away the wins. Clemson: Reserve running back Ray Ray McElrathbey had successful surgery to repair a torn knee ligament. The Associated Press contributed to this notebook.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I’m excited and really focused on what I have to do,” Ward said. “I’ve been in the program three years, so I want to make the best of this opportunity.” Ward’s UCLA career took a few steps back last year when he and teammate John Hale were suspended for the season opener for their role in an altercation at a party. There were no charges filed in the incident. “I just kept my head down and worked hard on and off the field,” Ward said. “I stayed out of trouble, and I’m doing the right things in order to get on the field.” Ward might not be the only defensive lineman to get an opportunity this weekend. Defensive end Nikola Dragovic – who sustained a concussion against BYU – wasn’t at practice, and Coach Karl Dorrell said Dragovic had a headache when he woke up, one day after feeling fine. Dragovic was at Tuesday’s practice but didn’t participate. He would need to practice today, at the very least, in order to play in Saturday’s game at Utah. He’s listed as doubtful, said defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker. By Jill Painter STAFF WRITER It’s been a long road back for UCLA defensive tackle Jess Ward. Ward, who’s been working with the first-team defense, said he will start at defensive tackle at Utah on Saturday. Ward replaces Brigham Harwell, who suffered a torn ligament in his left knee against BYU. last_img read more

Liverpool will play hardball with Sterling over his new deal, says Evans

first_imgLiverpool won’t be held to ransom over Raheem Sterling’s contract, believes The Times’ football editor Tony Evans.England starlet Sterling, 20, has been in protracted talks with the Reds over a new deal and reportedly turned down a £180,000 a week offer – although Evans believes the figure is actually closer to £100,000.He has insisted the Merseyside giants will not break the bank to push through a deal, no matter how much they want the player to stay.And, speaking to Hawksbee and Jacobs, Evans reckons any contract could include a release clause should Sterling be adamant he’d like to move on in the future.last_img read more

Man United’s interest in Sterling could HELP Liverpool, talkSPORT told

first_imgManchester United’s reported interest in Raheem Sterling will HELP Liverpool, believes Jamie Jackson, Manchester correspondent for the Guardian.The England winger is said to be considering a move to the Red Devils despite knowing the uproar a move to his current club’s fierce rivals would cause.But Jackson reckons that move would never happen and believes Liverpool can use their interest to drive up Sterling’s asking price and bring interested parties to the table.He told Hawksbee and Jacobs: “Raheem Sterling is open to all potential big clubs and Manchester United are one of those. Whether he could go there? It’s very much an outside chance.“One way to look at this is Manchester United are a bit of a stalking horse for Liverpool to flush out other big clubs and big bidders. Up goes the price. And while they’re saying he’s not going anywhere before the transfer window closes, can you really go into the season with a player like Raheem Sterling who definitely wants to leave?“The bottom line is that Liverpool would sell. Manchester United is probably the least possible option but it may flush out other clubs and drive the price up.“From that point of view, which is only my theory, it’s not an unhelpful development.”last_img read more

TRANSFER NEWS: Liverpool and Man United among five clubs chasing La Liga star

first_img Sofiane Feghouli in action for Valencia Liverpool and Manchester United are among five clubs chasing Sofiane Feghouli’s signature this summer, according to reports in Spain.Despite claiming last month he would be willing to stay with Valencia, the Algeria international has now apparently rejected a new contract with the La Liga club due to interest from abroad.Valencia are reluctant to meet Feghouli’s wage demands and now, according to Don Balon, the winger has handed in a transfer request.Liverpool and United have scouted the 26-year-old regularly this year, while AC Milan, Inter Milan and Roma are also keen on the player.Feghouli joined Valencia from Grenoble in 2010 and has made over 100 league appearances for Los Che. 1last_img read more

Car blast kills U.S. soldier, four civilians

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CityIt was the third suicide attack in Kabul in eight days. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for those earlier attacks, which struck Afghan security forces and killed at least 42. In the southern province of Oruzgan, Taliban fighters attacked a road construction crew working on the main highway that connects the area to Kandahar province to the south, said Sayed Aqa Saqib, Kandahar’s provincial police chief. The insurgents killed five security guards and burned six vehicles, then kidnapped 10 workers, Saqib said. KABUL, Afghanistan – A suicide car bomber detonated his payload next to an American military convoy on the main road leading to the Kabul airport early Saturday, killing one American serviceman and at least four civilians, American and Afghan officials said. The attack, which came on the sixth anniversary of the American-led invasion in 2001, destroyed the soldier’s vehicle and wounded many numerous people, officials and witnesses said. “I heard a very big blast and I threw myself to the ground,” said Jamal, 22, who, like many Afghans, goes by only one name. “I then saw the vehicle in the air and it came down and hit another car.” One of the victims was a civilian riding a bike, he said. A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a telephone interview that the insurgency was responsible for the bombing. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Liverpool could be without TWO ever-present stars against Manchester United

first_img Georginio Wijnaldum in action for Liverpool Liverpool could be without two key midfielders against Manchester United on Monday night after Georginio Wijnaldum became their latest injury victim.Wijnaldum limped off with a hamstring problem in the second half of Holland’s World Cup qualifying defeat to France on Monday night.The Dutchman joins Adam Lallana in the treatment room, with the Englishman still recovering from a groin injury sustained in the 2-1 win at Swansea at the start of this month.The midfield duo have started every Premier League match alongside Jordan Henderson this season and have been a key part of the Reds’ rise to fourth, just two points behind leaders Manchester City.A longer period of recovery gives Lallana the best chance of making the United match but Wijnaldum will be assessed on his return to the club’s Melwood training ground to discover the extent of his problem.Jurgen Klopp does have Germany international Emre Can waiting in the wings to make his first league start of the campaign after injury in August’s EFL Cup trip to Burton set him back. 1last_img read more