Category: qnbblzgg

New GECOM Chair yet to call meeting with commission

first_imgDespite the haste with which retired Justice James Patterson was unilaterally appointed to the post of Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), not even one meeting has been called with the full commission to discuss matters of importance at the entity.According to GECOM Commissioner Sase Gunraj, this is a matter of concern for the commission, since there are matters pertaining to GECOM’s financial accountability which have to be discussed. This includes the recent disturbing findings made by the Auditor General’s office.“It’s one day short of a month since we had the announcement that there was a new chairman of GECOM, and since then we haven’t had a meeting. We’ve had no indication as to when a meeting will be called; nothing!” Gunraj said in an interview with this newspaper.He added that for the better part of the year, commissioners had no idea about the proper functioning of GECOM.“So my anxiety is as to whether we will have a meeting. We were hoping that the haste the President ascribed to the necessity for appointment of a chairman would have been met with the holding of the meeting,” Gunraj said.He noted that the commission did not deliberate on the budget proposal submitted to the Government. GECOM had requested .7 billion, but its proposal was slashed to .9 billion, some 0 million less than it had sought.“We have been reading in the news that a budget proposal has been assented in relation to GECOM. GECOM is a Schedule Three agency. We have not had any opportunity to make input or see that budget. And in the past, we have actually sat and approved that budget before it went to the National Assembly,” Gunraj disclosed.Retired Justice James PattersonPatterson, who was an advisor in the Legal Affairs Ministry, was sworn in just a few hours after President David Granger had met with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo briefly on October 19.According to the Head of State, his late-night decision to select a GECOM chairman was done in accordance with Article 161 of the Constitution for the appointment of a GECOM Chairman.Granger said he informed Jagdeo during their meeting that he found that the third list of nominees submitted on August 25, 2017 was unacceptable within the meaning of the Constitution, and that he had also paid careful attention to the ruling of the Chief Justice (Acting) Roxane George-Wiltshire.In justifying why he decided to hand-pick 84-year-old Justice Patterson for this position, the President has said that Patterson has had extensive experience as a former Chief Justice of Grenada.However, it has since come to light that Patterson never served as a substantive Chief Justice, but rather acted briefly in the position.The decision has not gone down well with the political opposition. During a subsequent press conference, Jagdeo announced that his party would be withdrawing its support from any form of ceremonial cooperation with Government, and would also mount a legal challenge to the appointment.A challenge to the appointment has already been filed in the High Court, and that case will be called for hearing in January 2018. That challenge seeks to revoke Patterson’s appointment.A number of bodies, including the Guyana Bar Association, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) and the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA), have come out in condemnation of the President’s decision.Criticism has also come from the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) and members of the diaspora.last_img read more


January 12, 2020 0

Accelerate preparations for first oil – former US Ambassador

first_img…as PSC bids farewell at Palm Court reception By Vahnu ManikchandWith just over one year remaining before US oil giant ExxonMobil commences oil production, the need for Government to fast track preparations for first oil is much more imperative.This is according to former United States Ambassador Perry Holloway, during a recent interview with a group of local journalists; his final media engagement in that post as his three-year tenure culminates.Guyana is now home to the world’s biggest new deep-water oil discovery and with principle explorer ExxonMobil pushing for the development of the oil reserves, production is scheduled to begin in 2020.Only last week, the US oil giant announced its 10th discovery, reinforcing the country’s potential to be able to produce more than 750,000 barrels of oil daily by 2025.The US diplomat said Guyana is about to experience something big that is also moving very fast, and while he commended efforts thus far by the coalition Government, he believes more should be done at a much quicker pace.“This will be the fastest any country would have ever discovered oil, deep water, and produced it basically in less than five years. So this is moving very fast. I do commend the Government, they have taken a lot of steps but this is really fast. So as it accelerates, the Government is going to need to accelerate its activities, if it wants to keep up with the pace of things,” he posited.According to the former Ambassador, there is no secret of what needs to be done with the plethora of advice and recommendations pouring in from other countries, including the US, and international stakeholder bodies particularly as it related to the setting up of what the Government has termed as the ‘Natural Resource Fund’ (NRF).“Guyana’s going to have to get its regulatory environment straight. They are working on it, they have passed some laws, they have the Department of Energy, they need to figure out how they are going to do – whatever it is called whether a Sovereign Wealth Fund or rainy day fund or green fund, but whatever when the money comes in, how do you manage it for the good of the future. There are a lot of models out there… Your politics change but you need to make it as not controlled by one or two individuals but by tight lines and priorities as much as possible,” Holloway stated.Noting that Government’s priority may very well be the same, the US diplomat suggested that education, health, security, infrastructure and agriculture be the top areas that the ‘oil money’ be injected into.“Believe me when I say this, this is more money than God has. There is going to be money to spend on 10 priorities if you have 10. The amount of money will not be Guyana’s problem it is how do you spend it… how you protect it and save it for the future, that is going to be Guyana’s problem,” he asserted.In August, Government laid a green paper titled ‘Managing Future Petroleum Revenues and Establishment of Fiscal Rule and a Sovereign Wealth Fund’ in the National Assembly. The green paper on the NRF, had recommended a number of things including that Parliament be responsible for approving the annual withdrawal from the Fund.Turning his attention to those still skeptical of the anticipated ‘transformation’ that oil will bring the country, Ambassador Holloway contended that while Guyana is expected to see massive development over the next seven to 15 years, there will come a time when oil is not the answer.“You have countries like Venezuela who had more oil than any other country in the world and people are starving. They are going through the jungle in Region One to come to Guyana so oil is not an answer for everything if you don’t manage it wisely and know what to do with it… So it is good to be cautious and you should try as much as one can try to hold your Government’s feet to the fire,” he posited.In this vain, however, the US Diplomat is urging Guyanese to use this time as an opportunity to develop themselves so that they too can benefit from what is to come. He also called on the Government to do more to develop the country’s young people.“Try to get as smart as you can on the subject and get ready for it. It is going to be a rising tide that I believe will raise all ships no matter what you do. I think there will be more work for journalists, ships, accountant, engineers, carpenters you name it… You have to prepare the youth.This is a country where 50 per cent of the population is under the age of 26. They are the future leaders, the future everything of Guyana and if you are not providing them the education, the training they need then it’s not going to work out so well,” he asserted.Meanwhile, the Private Sector Commission hosted a farewell reception for the former Ambassador at Palm Court last week. Among those at the event were Chairman of the PSC Desmond Sears and other executive members.last_img read more


January 12, 2020 0

Mexican girls fight violence with boys’ own game

first_img0Shares0000Liliana Gonzalez, 14, star goalkeeper of the Lioness FC football team, says the sport is a way for girls to “fight back against machismo” © AFP/File / ALFREDO ESTRELLASAN FELIPE DEL PROGRESO, Mexico, Nov 8 – Guadalupe Garcia, an indigenous Mexican woman, was working as a maid when she fell in love — not with her boss, like a hackneyed telenovela plot, but with football.Garcia, a petite but powerful athlete with a sharp mind and wide smile, was not allowed to play football growing up as a poor Mazahua indigenous girl in the small village of San Juan Coajomulco. She got her first chance as a young adult, and discovered that football is “an act of rebellion” in a country where the sport is still seen as a boys’ game, she says.Garcia will be a keynote speaker this week at the Women’s Forum Mexico, an event designed to bring together influential voices to address the deep-rooted problems facing women in the country.Today Garcia, 34, runs a football club for Mazahua girls and young women, using the sport to empower them in a country where machismo runs deep and violence against women is rampant.Her goal, she says, is to instill in them a vital message: “This body is mine, and nobody touches it unless I want.”The state of Mexico, where she lives, has the worst rate of deadly violence against women in the country.Last year, at least 263 women were murdered in the central state, according to the rights group OCNF.Their bodies turn up almost daily — raped, mutilated, half-burnt, floating in rivers of sewage or even buried in their murderers’ yards.Daysi Cruz Sanchez of the Mazahua soccer team vies for the ball during the match against “Hadas B” team of the Mexican Women Soccer league, Premier category © AFP/File / OMAR TORRESSince Garcia founded her program two years ago, she has coached around 300 Mazahua girls in the skills of life and football.The game is still largely forbidden in their world — a deeply traditional one, where men hold the power, girls are often removed from school to marry young, and many families refuse to let their daughters “open their legs” running around a football pitch.“We have to get each other’s backs!” Garcia tells her girls in a pep talk before one recent match between the Seleccion Mazahua — a club with 25 players aged 16 to 26 — and a local private school, both playing in the first division of the Mexican Women’s Football League.Her club went on to lose 4-1. It doesn’t matter to Garcia.The important thing is empowering them, she says.– Bloody family history –Guadalupe Garcia Alvarez, who organized the Mazahua soccer team, says playing football has been “an act of rebellion” against traditional expectations © AFP/File / OMAR TORRESGarcia knows the horrific problem of gender violence up close.“My mother was orphaned at 11 years old when my grandfather beat my grandmother to death,” she says.Her father was an alcoholic, and her family forced her two sisters to get married at 14 and 15 years old.She herself was sent to work as a maid.“But I liked to read, and that enabled me to discover things… which made me disobedient,” she says with a sly smile.Fired from her job, she started playing in amateur football clubs.“Taking to the football pitch has been an act of rebellion for me,” she says. “It enabled me to avoid getting pregnant as a teenager, getting married too young.”She got married at 23, and now has two children.It hasn’t diminished her passion for her football program, which is financed by several Mexican rights groups.– Girl power –Rocio Lopez (R) and physiotherapist Maria Elena Gomez of the Mazahua football team are seen prior to the match against “Hadas B” team at the Mexican Women Soccer league, Premier category, in San Felipe del Progreso © AFP/File / OMAR TORRESAlthough winning isn’t Garcia’s main goal, she has shown a knack for grooming talented young recruits.Four of her girls currently play for private clubs on scholarships that cover their education, housing and living expenses.One, 14-year-old Liliana Gonzalez, is being scouted by the Mexican national team.She is the star keeper for Lioness FC, in the city of Metepec.Football, she says, “is a way to fight back against machismo — with a ball.”Rocio Lopez, 26, is one of Garcia’s current stars.The head of an indigenous education center, she can be found scoring goals in her free time on the club’s pitch, a field surrounded by dry corn cobs.“Men are learning that we are just as good as they are,” she says defiantly, her mouth bright with orange lipstick.“If they can wear shorts, we can too. If they can kick a ball, we can too.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more


January 10, 2020 0

Man United’s impressive record, Liverpool’s late winner and more – Premier League quiz

first_imgThis weekend could prove to be pivotal in the Premier League title race, with all attention on the titanic clash at the Etihad on Sunday between Manchester City and Manchester United – LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on talkSPORT from 1pm.The fixture marks the 168th Manchester derby, but it is not the only inter-city affair as west London congregates for Chelsea’s visit of Queens Park Rangers, while on Saturday lunchtime one of the top flight’s traditionally exciting matches takes place between Newcaslte and Liverpool.But how much do you know about life among the big guns? Try your hand at our Premier League quiz and let us know below…About | Privacy | TermsLeave us your predictions below. Man United have a good record against Man City 1last_img read more


January 6, 2020 0

These West Ham fans couldn’t get enough of Andriy Yarmolenko’s first-half

first_img How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures Yarmolenko was already written off by some Yarmolenko that was filth what a goal !! #whufc #coyi— ryan rickards (@ryan_rickards) September 16, 2018 West Ham ‘sorry’ to have paid almost £18m for YarmolenkoBut it seems he has well and truly arrived in the Premier League after scoring two goals in a good first-half performance from Manuel Pellegrini’s men.Yarmolenko’s first was a relatively simple finish as he smashed Marko Arnautovic’s ball into the net from six yards out.His second was pure class, however. Yarmolenko picked up the ball on the right before brilliantly curling it into the top corner, giving Jordan Pickford no chance. huge blow Yarmolenko is congratulated for his stunning second 2 OH MY!!! What a finish by Yarmolenko!!! 2-0 Irons!! #COYI #EVEWHU #WHUFC— Wesley Williams (@wesleyswilliams) September 16, 2018 This is why we should have started Yarmolenko!! Great goal for the second, still not safe yet though 😂 #WHUFC— Tom Guy (@TomGuy93) September 16, 2018 shining What a beauty! Yarmolenko means business today! #EVEWHU #WHUFC— Logan Krupa (@GoFlamesGo89) September 16, 2018 Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won no dice silverware REVEALED Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card center_img Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Imagine my shock that a quality player like Yarmolenko is finally playing and has scored 2 already. Keep it up boys, all over them #coyi #whufc #EVEWHU— David Watkins (@stumpyUK_1989) September 16, 2018 Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade 2 Gylfi Sigurdsson pulled one back for the Toffees just before the break but all the attention was on Yarmolenko.And these West Ham fans went crazy for their winger. Below you can see some of the best Yarmolenko tweets. Commeth the hour, commeth the man! What a first-half it’s been for West Ham ‘flop’ Andriy Yarmolenko.The Ukrainian, who signed for the Hammers for £18million this summer has had a difficult start to his time in the Premier League. smart causal THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU START YARMOLENKO #WHUFC— Matty O (@Matthew250449) September 16, 2018 Latest Premier League News REVEALED possible standings Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury last_img read more


December 26, 2019 0

MEN ON BALLYBOFEY BRAWL CHARGES FOUND NOT GUILTY

first_imgJudge Paul KellyTWO men accused of assaulting two other men on a night out in Ballybofey have been found not guilty at their trial in Letterkenny.Keith Flynn, who is 29 and from 13 Railway Ave Killygordon and Ciaran White, who is 24 and from Dreenan in Ballybofey denied a January 2011 attack on two local men – Don Moss and David Russell. The incident happened in the early hours of Sunday January 6th that year.Defence lawyers accepted that Mr Moss and Mr Russell were attacked, but insisted it was a case of mistaken identity.A Garda officer told the court that his patrol car was flagged down after 3am in Glenfin Street and two men – Mr Moss and Mr Russell – reported they had been assaulted by a group of males and had facial injuries.Their friend – and Mr Moss’s sister-in-law – Linda Doherty said she had witnessed the assault and identified Mr Flynn and Mr White as the assailants.In June 2011 both men were arrested but refused to give statements.Mr Moss told Judge Paul Kelly that he had left a disco at Jacksons with his friend Mr Russell to go to Main Street for food and a taxi.“We were walking up Glenfin Street when a group people walked past us. Words were spoken – someone said something about ‘yous old men shouldn’t be out’,” said Mr Moss.Mr Moss said he backed away, fell to the ground and he was kicked repeatedly in the face, chest and head. He lost consciousness.He didn’t know who his assailants were.Mr Russell said the men who attacked them had said something like: “Boys your age shouldn’t be out at this time of night.”He said he was held whilst Mr Moss was kicked on the ground.Linda Doherty gave extensive evidence and viewed CCTV footage.She said Mr Flynn and Mr White repeatedly kicked and punched Moss.“I screamed at them to stop. I was told to stay out of it; to not get involved,” said Ms Doherty.She said two girls who were with the alleged assailants walked on.“One of them told Davy: ‘I’m going to slit your throat’,” she alleged.“I shouted ‘Please Keith stop this’; they were roaring at him (Mr Flynn) and kicking him in the head.”She was asked if she had had a relationship with Keith Flynn.But she said she knew him ten years and admitted once kissing him saying: “It was just kissing – he was always a gentleman.”She said she had known Ciaran White for around three years.The victims and Ms Doherty said Mr White and Mr Flynn were together on the night when the incident happened.However Mr Flynn and Mr White, backed up by separate witnesses, said they had even been together that night.Mr White said he hadn’t been out that night and had arrived at the scene by car along with friends Michael Lafferty and Derek Robinson.He said he saw people fighting in Glenfin Street, but didn’t know who they were.Mr Flynn told Judge Paul Kelly that he had been in Jacksons with his girlfriend, a friend and his friend’s girlfriend.He said he remembered being accused by Linda Doherty of striking somebody, but he hadn’t and told her she was confused.He said his friend Aaron Neeson got struck in the back of the head and he had gone back to see if he was ok.He said there were 20 people in the area at the time.“There was some sort of scuffle, but I didn’t see anyone getting kicked on the ground. She (Linda) was accusing me of being in a fight.“We had walked up the street and my friend had been struck and we went back to see what happened.”Mr Neeson also gave evidence and largely confirmed what Mr Flynn said.Aileen Holmes – girlfriend of Keith Flynn – told the court: “Linda was roaring at Keith. She was accusing him of hitting somebody. He hadn’t hit anyone. There was a lot of roaring and shouting going on.”Defence solicitor Frank Dorrian argued before the judge that it was clear that two men had been assaulted on the night in question but it was completely unclear as to who had carried out the attack.There were a large number of people leaving Jacksons Disco and the evidence of defence witnesses had made it clear that neither of them were involved.Judge Paul Kelly said there was “a considerable amount of confusion” about what had happened on the night.He said Ms Doherty and Ms Holmes in particular had given what they believed to be clear evidence.“But they both can’t be right,” said the judge.“There were considerable conflicts in the evidence; I have just about sufficient doubt not to proceed to convictions in this matter.”The assault charges were dismissed.MEN ON BALLYBOFEY BRAWL CHARGES FOUND NOT GUILTY was last modified: November 7th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:MEN ON BALLYBOFEY BRAWL CHARGES FOUND NOT GUILTYlast_img read more


December 25, 2019 0

New winter fitness initiative launched aimed at getting Dunfanaghy fit

first_imgIn a bid to help the people of Dunfanaghy and surrounding areas to get fit and healthy this winter, three local businesses have teamed up!Aidan Hunter Fitness, together with Arnou Café & Gourmet Burger Bar and The Shandon Leisure Centre have devised a clever initiative to encourage local people to get moving, socialising and doing something positive for their health & wellbeing, while also supporting local businesses.The program, which launched very successfully this week, will run until April 30th 2017 and is suitable for people of any age or fitness level. If you lack the motivation to get up and out on these short, dark days then #getdunfanfit will be ideal for you!Each participant receives a Loyalty Card which will be stamped every time the owner either completes a gym session or fitness class with Aidan Hunter Fitness, enjoys a swim in The Shandon Leisure Centre or orders a tasty dish from the new health-focused menu, which was co-designed with Aidan Hunter, in Arnou Café & Gourmet Burger Bar.Once the Loyalty Card is complete the lucky holder can cash it in for one of the following rewards: a Thermal Suite Session in the Shandon Spa, 2 Gym Sessions & a Weigh-In with Aidan Hunter or a Gourmet Burger & Dessert in Arnou Café & Gourmet Burger Bar.Pick up a loyalty card at any of the three businesses and start collecting your stamps today! Don’t sit in, come #GetDunfanFit this winter!! New winter fitness initiative launched aimed at getting Dunfanaghy fit was last modified: November 17th, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more


December 22, 2019 0

Man jailed for ten months after 3 year crime spree

first_imgA young Letterkenny man has been jailed for a total of ten months following a crime spree which lasted three years.Paddy Sweeney appeared at Letterkenny District Court charged with a litany of offences including assault, trespassing, theft and domestic violence. The 20-year-old is currently serving a four-year jail sentence for assaulting and robbing a former postmaster on St Patrick’s Day in 2016.Ed Margey was punched and repeatedly battered from behind by Sweeney at College Farm Road in Letterkenny.Sweeney only stopped attacking Mr Margey when he threw a €50 note on the ground and then fled.Sweeney was taken from Castlerea Prison where he pleaded guilty to all charges before him.Judge Paul Kelly said the two “headline charges” were that of attacking two people outside their holiday home in the seaside village of Downings on August 3rd last.Sweeney had been drinking with friends when he set upon the man and the woman in an unprovoked attack.Both suffered serious injuries with the man hospitalised for four days for treatment to a broken nose, broken cheekbone and broken bones in his mouth.The court also heard how Sweeney had been drinking with a friend at the Oasis Bar in Letterkenny on February 10th last year.The man left the bar to go shopping but Sweeney attacked him, bit him in the ear and the beat him unconscious before robbing him.He told Gardai he didn’t recall the incident because he had been drinking so much.Judge Paul Kelly was given outlining details of several other charges including numerous charges of robbery of alcohol from shops as well as domestic violence and breaching barring orders from his mother’s house.Solicitor Donough Cleary told the court that Sweeney’s drinking and behaviour was so bad that his mother and father had been forced to turn him away from the family home.However, they were in court to show support for their son.Another solicitor, Rory O’Brien, also represented Sweeney on a number of his charges.He added that his client was trying to address his alcohol issues in jail and had completed two courses, one on addiction studies.“His mother says she has seen a noticeable difference in him. He wants to do carpentry but he has destroyed his formative years through alcohol.“He also wants to apologise to the victims, particularly of the robbery,” said Mr O’Brien.Judge Paul Kelly sentenced Sweeney to a total of ten months in jail for the two serious assault charges and took the other charges into account.He also fined him a total of €300 for public order offences.Man jailed for ten months after 3 year crime spree was last modified: February 21st, 2018 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:assaultattackcourtGardailetterkennyPaddy Sweeneylast_img read more


December 22, 2019 0

A’s nightmare road trip ends with thud in 13th inning

first_imgPITTSBURGH, Pa. — The A’s can’t get home soon enough.After it looked like they would win in 13 innings Sunday at PNC Park, the home team clawed back, and Pirates center fielder Starling Marte’s walkoff home run handed the A’s a 5-3 loss.Fernando Rodney served it up, spoiling what looked to be a terrific pitching performance by the A’s.As a result, the A’s wrapped up this road trip with just one win in nine games. It’s time to Partay!#RAISEIT pic.twitter.com/qRnjvzJOoM— Pirates …last_img read more


December 20, 2019 0

SANParks ups their game for rhinos

first_imgCEO of SANParks, Dr David Mabunda congratulates the 49 new field rangers of the Kruger National Park. (Image: SANParks) Volkswagen has sponsored six of their Amarok bakkies to the Rhino Protection Initiative. (Image: Volkswagen) The canine unit will use specially trained foxhounds, equipped with GPS tracking devices on their collars, to help locate suspected poachers on the grounds of the park. (Image: SANParks) RELATED ARTICLES • Taking the plunge for our rhinos • Special anti-poaching weapon for S A • Musos pitch in to save rhinos • Rhinos to get revenge on poachersCadine PillayThe first group of 150 new game rangers promised to the Kruger National Park (KNP) by the minister of environmental affairs, Edna Molewa, earlier this year to boost efforts against rhino poaching has been deployed.The rangers are coming in at a critical time as South Africa continues to pay a high price with the senseless killings of the country’s rhino population, said South African National Parks (SANParks) CEO Dr David Mabunda. Since the start of 2012, 281 rhinos have been killed by poachers in the country, 164 of these in the KNP.Speaking at a special function on 31 July, Mabunda talked about the readiness of the 49 graduates of the anti-poaching programme, as well as a R5-million (US $600,400)sponsorship from the Unitrans Automotive, Volkswagen and Audi divisions to help the park with this and other future efforts in the fight against poaching.“The new rangers will adopt a multi-disciplinary approach, and draw skills and expertise from various law enforcement agencies currently deployed in the fight against poaching.”According to Mabunda, the improved incomes of average citizens in Asian countries have pushed the demand for rhino horn to higher levels than before. More and more people can now afford illegal horn, which is desired because of an unfortunate superstition that attributes healing properties to rhino horn, despite modern scientific evidence to the contrary.“We need to close down the syndicates that are enticing poorer members of society to engage in criminal activities, recruiting them to the front line of these evil operations,” he said.Corporates wage war on poachersWith help from the corporate sector, and the support received from the SANParks Honorary Rangers – a group of volunteers committed to conservation in support of the body – SANParks is acquiring some of the much needed equipment to effectively take the war to the poachers.“This is an indication that South Africa has realised that the fight against poaching will not only be defeated through the work of law enforcement agencies alone, but through a unified front, “said Mabunda.He further acknowledged the help his organisation is receiving from the government, in the form of members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the military, to patrol the 450km-long national border on the park’s eastern boundary. On the other side of the border is Mozambique.The new rangers took part in a special parade, which was inspected by a delegation including several of SANParks’s top rangers and managers, as well as high ranking officials of the SAPS and the military’s border patrol units.Setting dogs on poachersAs part of the sponsorship, Unitrans will make two Amarok 4×4 utility trucks available for the rangers, with one of these going to a canine unit that will soon be established.The canine unit will use specially trained foxhounds, equipped with GPS tracking devices on their collars, to help locate suspected poachers on the grounds of the park.  When a positive signal is picked up from the dogs,  a helicopter unit will move in on the suspects and once they are cornered, arrests can then be made.Another innovative tool is a DNA database in which information collected from the rhino horn will be stored. When a poached rhino carcass is found, the details of that rhino’s DNA are entered into the database. The database is used to match horns seized at border posts and in raids with the information on record, thereby positively connecting individuals to poaching activities and providing evidence for arrests and convictions.It is hoped that this method will help authorities narrow down the key areas where the illegal trade is rife and make it easier to bring those responsible to book.  “We must let the poachers know that we will seek them out, we will find them and they will be dealt with accordingly. This is a war that we plan on winning,” Mabunda warned.CEO of SANParks, Dr David Mabunda congratulates the 49 new field rangers of the Kruger National Park.last_img read more


December 18, 2019 0