ST JOHN’S, Antigua, (CMC): Three players have been slapped with fines by the West Indies Cricket Board for breaches of the Code of Conduct during the opening round of the Regional First-Class Championship last weekend. All-rounders Dave Bernard Jr and Kevin Stoute, along with off-spinner Shane Shillingford, were all fined 10 per cent of their match fees for Level One breaches. Bernard, who plays for Jamaica Scorpions and Stoute, who represents Barbados Pride, were both charged for showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by excessive appealing for lbw decisions that were given not out during the encounter between the two teams at Kensington Oval. Shillingford, meanwhile, was penalised for “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game” after he pointed to his elbow during an appeal for a catch while he was batting in the Windward Islands Volcanoes second innings against Guyana Jaguars at the National Stadium at Providence in Georgetown. His actions were adjudged to be an attempt to influence the umpire’s decision. The players all admitted to the charges and accepted the sanctions.
We do not know how many other counties have experienced delayed school re-openings due to various logistical problems. But our Nimba Correspondent Ishmael Menkor reported yesterday that school reopening across the county was delayed for two primary reasons: first, the absence or delayed arrival of anti-Ebola supplies, such as chlorinated hand washing buckets and temperature taking devices. The second was the delayed disbursement of subsidies to public schools, which the Ministry of Education (MOE) has directed not to charge entrance, registration or any other fees whatsoever. The MOE’s reason was a good one—to minimize the hardship on parents, most of whom have suffered substantial economic and financial setbacks due to the Ebola epidemic. In order to save public schools from financial shortfalls since they had been ordered not to accept registration or other fees, MOE pledged subsidies to these schools. Alas, in Nimba County at least, Menkor reported that the subsidies have not been forthcoming.Surely Nimba is not that far away. Due to the deplorable road conditions and also the ongoing highway construction that necessitates many detours, it takes about five hours to reach Ganta from Monrovia. That is not that far; so what is the reason that MOE could not get the subsidies and Ebola-fighting materials to Nimba schools in time? It was in early January that the Ministry announced the reopening of schools by late January and then early February. Surely, before making that pronouncement, MOE should already have made sure to line up its promised subsidies, its anti-Ebola supplies, books and all other necessities for distribution throughout the country in time for school reopening. This was the minimum the Ministry could have done to take itself seriously in order to meet its own target date. It is a sad commentary on educational administration, most especially at the governmental level, for MOE to not be in compliance with its own deadlines. And if these deadlines are not met for schools as near as Nimba, how much more the schools in much further distances, such as Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Grand Kru, Maryland, Sinoe, River Cess and Lofa counties?But this is nothing new. We recall that a few years ago it took months for textbooks to reach the schools in River Gee County. Liberian administrators have to take themselves far more seriously. They must realize that Liberia is a small country—only 43,000 square miles, with a population of hardly 4,000,000. So why does Liberia seem so hard to manage? Why did it take months, well into second semester, before River Gee students could get their textbooks?How long did it take further distances—Grand Kru, Maryland, Sinoe, River Cess, Lofa Counties—to receive their text books, if at all? In this post-Ebola season, how long will it take for all these distant places to receive their subsidies and supplies?Surely MOE should give credit to the progress in the banking sector, which has made it possible for every county to boast of at least one bank. That is progress which should make it easier for the MOE—or anyone else—to move money around. So what is the reason for the late arrival of subsidies, especially in a centrally located and progressive city like Ganta, where there are at least FIVE banks? MOE leads us to ask the totally unnecessary question, What is the purpose of progress, if our very government fails to recognize the progress that its own regulatory institutions, such as the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), are making sure to establish around the country? All MOE needed to do was to instruct the Ministry of Finance to channel the subsidies through any of these banks—or MOE could have made sure that Finance remitted the money directly to MOE, which could then transfer it to the various counties directly through the banking system.We hope Minister Etmonia Tarpeh and other MOE authorities do not think we are being needlessly critical. All we are trying to do is to remind them that Liberia is a very small country. Therefore, apart from the reason of the lack of budgetary allocation, it should not take that much time and effort to get things done efficiently and expeditiously. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Share State Department Softens Travel Advisory on Cuba By Reuters August 23, 2018 Updated: August 24, 2018 A tourist has a picture taken by a taxi driver in a vintage car at Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana, Cuba August 10, 2018. Picture taken August 10, 2018. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo US News LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON HAVANA–The United States revised its travel advisory on Cuba on Aug. 23 to “exercise increased caution,” from “reconsider travel,” a move that some in the tourism sector hope could help reverse a decline in American visitors to the Caribbean island.The State Department had warned its citizens last year not to visit the country because of a spate of still-unexplained illnesses among its embassy personnel in Havana.The new travel advisory acknowledges, however, that these so-called “attacks” seemed to target those personnel and not private citizens, and therefore, simply advises travelers to “exercise increased caution in Cuba.”Cuba and many analysts have branded the warning on travel to the Communist-run island as politically motivated. U.S. President Donald Trump had announced in 2017 he would partially roll back a detente with Havana put in place by his predecessor Barack Obama.The State Department reported similar illnesses this year among U.S. Embassy staff in China, but didn’t issue a warning on travel to that country.The warning on travel to Cuba, along with tighter restrictions issued last year that made it more difficult for Americans to travel there independently, have dampened a recent boom in U.S. visitors to the island. That has particularly hurt Cubans running bed-and-breakfasts and home-based restaurants in island nation’s fledgling private sector.“There are lots of (Americans) interested in traveling to Cuba, but when they see the restrictions and difficulties they think about it more than twice,” said Mauricio Alonso, who rents rooms in his house overlooking the sea.Alonso said business had been impacted by the travel warning, but he hoped it would pick up again now. Others acknowledged the revised travel advisory was only one step of several needed to improve the mood of U.S. travelers concerning Cuba.The number of U.S. visitors to Cuba for the first half of the year—not including Cuban-Americans—slumped 24 percent to 266,000, three different people with access to Cuban tourism industry data told Reuters in July. Show Discussion Share this article