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first_imgGPSU wage/salary deadlockGovernment’s proposed salary increase to public workers is really not the 10 per cent it is selling to the public, but four per cent less.Former President and now Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo said on Wednesday that Government was attempting to fool the masses with its proposal.“The actual increase is not 10 per cent; they want the 10 per cent to be stuck in people’s head – it is just over six per cent. So, it is totally unacceptable,” he told Guyana Times in an invited comment.He said what made the situation even more “egregious” was the fact it was the same people who took the huge increase for themselves of 50 to over 100 per cent using two explanations: they took the increases to avoid being corrupt and to make themselves more efficient.“Now if you’re saying that a Minister’s salary has to move from $580,000 to close to $1 million to make him less corrupt, what you are saying to the public servants who are taking home about $100,000 per month is that you can steal until you get to a million dollars a month or not be efficient, because that is the reasoning they use for the Ministers…What we find is a lot of confusion and hypocrisy on the part of this government,” Jagdeo blasted.Government and the GPSU are still at a standstill on salary increase negotiations. While Government maintains that it will not budge from its 10 per cent offer, the GPSU has been holding out and has even suggested that the two parties meet again for more talks. President David Granger has, however, said that there was nothing more that could be offered at this time.On Tuesday, political commentator, Dr David Hinds said Government’s 10 per cent salary increase offer was very much inadequate, considering the social, political and economic factors involved.“For example, 10 per cent of 60,000 is $6000; there is not much more a woman with two or three children can do with that. Public servants, like all categories of workers, deserve a living wage. The Government’s explanation that that’s all they can afford is not good enough. What Government can afford is based on what Government prioritises,” Dr Hinds told Guyana Times in an invited comment.Hinds questioned whether Government has made public servants’ wages a priority.“Of course, there are times when different categories of workers or different policy initiatives must be prioritised, but I have not heard of plausible reasons why public servant wages should not be given a look-in at this point. I say this even after taking into consideration that the Government did give the public servants a raise during its first year in office.When one takes into consideration that the majority of public servants come from the Government’s constituency, it is even more puzzling that it is not more forthcoming,” he posited.last_img read more

first_imgBurrowes responds to GO-Invest audit…In an effort to clear up misconceptions, former GO-Invest Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Keith Burrowes is responding to the forensic audit into his tenure at the entity. One of the issues he addressed, in an extensive interview with this publication, was over $3 million in loans the audit stated he had received.The forensic audit, which was carried out by Nigel Hinds and Associates had highlighted these unapproved loans, although the former CEO had repaid them by February 2016. Burrowes admitted that he received loans, but noted that not adhering to the system at the time was an anomaly.“Yes indeed there were several staff loans that were advanced to me. And Go-Invest have a system. We’ve never had a (incident) for all the years I have been there where persons have left without paying back the amount they had borrowed.”Burrowes stated that in his case, he did not get a lump sum advance but rather, there were several advances. He added that he was constantly reminded by board members of the need to resolve his outstanding advance, which he eventually did.“There is a system where the CEO approves staff (advances) and the Chairman approves (for the CEO). That is an anomaly and I do admit that wasn’t followed because I’ve always felt that that was a temporary arrangement. But I have no issues taking responsibility for that.”“The bottom line is the Chairman should have signed off on it, even though it was a temporary arrangement. So it’s an anomaly that I have to take responsibility for, even though it was repaid.”DriverBurrowes also responded to the audit report’s findings regarding his personal driver. The audit had stated that Burrowes authorised an advance of $242,000 to his personal driver. It even recommended that this amount be recovered.According to Burrowes, however, the driver was assisting Go-Invest at his behest. Burrowes stated that rather than have Go-invest hire a driver for him, he chose to use his personal driver in an effort to save the entity money.“I (was) entitled to a driver at GO-Invest. Because Go-Invest had some problems and there was only one driver, I said to them I will use the driver assigned to me by the other organisation I was working with and he will also assist Go-Invest, which he did, with their work. So all they gave him was an allowance.”“Mind you, they were saving the money because they didn’t have to pay a driver for me. So they didn’t have to hire a new driver for the CEO, as was done in the past.”Entertainment allowancesThe audit report also stated that Burrowes had authorised and received an entertainment allowance for himself, to the tune of $480,000. This, the report stated, was done without the approval of the Board of Directors.Former GO-Invest CEO Keith BurrowesBurrowes explained that the entertainment allowances highlighted in the audit were not being paid on a monthly basis, but rather the amount covered a period of over a year. According to the former Presidential Advisor, these allowances were to facilitate meetings, including with investors.“The entertainment allowance was for entertaining investors, which is necessary for (meetings) outside the building. And the entertainment was not only the CEO, but also my senior officers who would go out and meet with investors.”In the wake of the audits, however, Burrowes expressed optimism that all the reports would serve as a wakeup call and that the administration of semi-autonomous agencies would be revamped.He stated that the audits could be value added by determining from trends whether there were systematic problems within these agencies or individuals. He stated that reforms could then be made.Go-Invest is a statutory body which functions as the facilitator of local and foreign investment in Guyana. The audit into its operations is one of several audits undertaken in 2015 by the coalition Government. Some $133 million was expended on 45 of the forensic audits to ascertain what transpired in state entities under the previous administration.last_img read more

first_imgLAPD Cmdr. Kirk Albanese told the commission Tuesday that the Explorer program does not condone the anti-homosexual beliefs of the Scouts. “Any discrimination, any lack of values as it relates to the Explorers, is not to be tolerated by the department,” he said. “They do not get exposed to anything that the Boy Scouts of America teach.” Even as commissioners asked for more answers to the Explorers’ administrative links to the Scouts, they praised the program for providing teens with an introduction into community service. “I am torn because I am the beneficiary of this program,” Commissioner Alan Skobin said. “It’s a program of real value, but we need to determine what the linkage is to Learning for Life.” While the LAPD runs the Explorer program, which receives thousands in donations from boosters and philanthropic groups per year, Learning for Life provides the administrative support. “I am proud to be affiliated with the membership (of Boy Scouts of America),” Salce said. “But we don’t discriminate. That is not what we do.” About 40 officers supervise LAPD Explorers and say the LAPD is the sole guiding influence. According to a commission report in 2002, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo in a letter to Chief William Bratton clarified that the only association with Learning for Life and the department is an $8 fee per Explorer to cover insurance. He also noted that Learning for Life had a nondiscriminatory policy consistent with the LAPD’s. The independent nonprofit organization has similar agreements with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District, Salce said. In 2000, the Los Angeles City Council cut the Boy Scouts from the Explorer program and blocked troops from using city property for free. The effort came after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the group could legally ban the hiring or inclusion of Scouts on the basis of religion and sexual orientation. [email protected] 818-713-3741160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsThe administration of the 16-week program that recently graduated 176 youths through the Los Angeles Police Academy is handled by Learning for Life, an Irving, Texas, company that provides programs nationwide on character development and career education for young people. The company broke with the Boy Scouts of America more than a decade ago, said Greg Salce, director of its Los Angeles area chapter, but the two organizations still share several national board members and offices in Texas. “You can easily see the connection between these organizations … on the Internet,” Freeman said, pointing to publicly available tax forms that show the two share the same address. Anthony Pacheco, president of the five-member citizens commission that oversees the LAPD, ordered the department to look into options to replace Learning for Life and asked the LAPD to demonstrate that the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policy does not seep into the Explorer program. “This is an issue that’s of paramount importance to the commission,” he said. The Los Angeles Police Department’s largest youth program came under fire Tuesday for its links to the Boy Scouts of America, which condemns homosexuality, and the department is looking into possible replacements. Every year, hundreds of youths participate in the department’s Explorer program in an effort the LAPD sees as key to recruiting. But the program was assailed by departing and openly gay Los Angeles Police Commissioner Shelley Freeman and other commissioners for its ties to the Scouts. “This is a very disturbing relationship,” Freeman said during a commission meeting Tuesday. last_img read more