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Many capital projects put on back burner post hurricanes

Michele Marius 16/02/2018 0

REPAIRS to schools across the Turks and Caicos Islands are taking precedence over a number of scheduled capital projects for the 2017-2018 financial year.

This was reported by Premier Sharlene Cartwright Robinson in response to questions put to her by Akierra Missick, elected member for the Leeward and Long Bay constituency during the House of Assembly sitting on Monday (January 29).

Missick requested that the premier report to the House on the list of completed capital projects from the capital projects budget from the period of April 1, 2017 to October 31, 2017, the total number of projects contracted, and which projects listed will experience delays and meet completion deadlines.

The capital budget is a three year rolling budget in which projects are committed over more than one financial year.

Projects committed since 2016 to date are – police boats, renovation to all Royal TCI Police Force buildings, hosting of CDB board of Governors meeting, upgrading of sporting facilities throughout the Islands, upgrading up schools, South Caicos sports and recreational centre, construction and furnishing of new to Eliza Simmons Primary, Long Bay High school phase three, Post Office redevelopment, homes for domestic violence, road development phase two, community clinic in Bottle Creek, environmental health storage buildings and mental health home phase two.

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Image:  geralt (Pixabay)

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Government still breaking spending rules

Michele Marius 16/02/2018 0

(CNS): The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has concerns that government officials are still not following the proper process when it spends public money especially when contracting sole suppliers to do government business. In her latest report reviewing government’s financial reporting, although she acknowledged improvements on preventing fraud, Auditor General Sue Winspear raised the issue of non-compliance when it comes to the laws about spending public cash. 

“We found a number of examples of  non-compliance with relevant laws and regulations,” she said in the report, “Financial Reporting of the Cayman Islands Government: General Report 30 June 2015 & 2016”, which was released yesterday. “We continue to find instances of procurements not being carried out in accordance with the financial regulations, especially sole source procurements which inevitably were not competitively tendered.”

Although Winspear did not name or shame the specific public authorities or list how many had breached tendering rules, she said that officials had to begin managing their government departments in line with these newly adopted procedures and anti-fraud policies.

She said that while sole tendering can sometimes be appropriate, there should be “documented justifications and formal approvals for not following a competitive process”, which was usually missing.

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Image:  geralt (Pixabay)

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Govt: Renew Bahamas ‘Abruptly’ Terminated Landfill Contract

Michele Marius 16/02/2018 0

THE government maintained yesterday that former New Providence Landfill manager Renew Bahamas “abruptly” terminated its contract to remediate the dumpsite, while insisting ongoing challenges at the site do not place it in breach of Baha Mar’s heads of agreement.

Questions have been raised about the implications of the government’s failure to honour a commitment made by the previous administration to resolve the landfill’s issues by December 31, 2017.

This commitment was part of the April 25, 2017 heads of agreement with Baha Mar’s new owner, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE).

It was reported that any failure by the government to resolve the landfill’s problems by that date would be treated as a “force majeure” event, meaning CTFE and its Baha Mar-owning affiliate could be released from performing their heads of agreement obligations for as long as it takes to remediate the landfill’s problems.

However, in a statement to The Tribune, Press Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister Anthony Newbold said there is no breach and there is no cause for alarm.

It came the day after Renew in a statement refuted accusations by Environment Minister Romauld Ferreira, who had said the company’s management of the dumpsite was a “disaster”.

He said the Department of Environmental Health Services had done a better job with the landfill when compared with Renew.

Contract

“The previous manager of the site Renew Bahamas abruptly terminated their contract unilaterally,” Mr Newbold’s statement noted.

“The government was compelled to utilise the Department of Environmental Health to resume management on a temporary basis.

“The Minister of the Environment Romauld Ferreira has already publicly outlined the steps being taken by the government to secure a lasting comprehensive resolution to the problem by having requested expressions of interest pursuant to technical advice and having now created a short list of qualified interested parties who will be invited to tender.

Resolution

“In the meanwhile, the government is working diligently to remediate the fire issue at the dumpsite, pending the comprehensive resolution towards which the government is already working.

“There is thus no breach of the very words extracted from the HOA; and no cause for any alarm on the part of the press or public.”

The heads of agreement contained a commitment from the government to make several infrastructure improvements to maximise Baha Mar’s success, including remediation and improved operation of the landfill.

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4 apps to improve your productivity in 2018

Michele Marius 14/02/2018 0

For many of us, 2018 started with a bang! We have been busy: so much to do, so little time. However, with all of this busyness, it is easy to lose of track of important tasks, activities and goals we planned to accomplish this year.

Here we highlight four tools/applications (apps) that that can help you increase productivity, and so better maximize your time and effort.

1.  Google Keep

In need a better way to keep track of all of your to-dos? Consider Google Keep. You can create notes and lists, set time and place reminders, and check off your completed tasks. Google Keep also allows you to share ideas and collaborate with others, along with dictate your notes, and organise your entries. Tasks can also be grouped by projects, clients or activities, and remain synced across your various devices, thus keeping continually dated on the progress you have made, and what is still outstanding.

Supported Platforms:  iOS; Android; Chrome

Price:  Free

2.  Trello

Trello is a web-based project management that facilitates collaboration among teams. Trello uses cards to organise tasks, which in turn can be ordered into lists and organised on a dashboard. It also allows you to customize workflows for different projects, and add checklists of “To-Dos” on cards. Additionally, you can invited people to collaborate and assign tasks, leave comments on items, and upload photos, videos and files.

Supported platforms:  Web-based, iOS, Android

Price:  Free  USD 9.99 per user per month (Business Class); up to USD 20.83 per user per month (Enterprise Class)

3.  Evernote

Evernote is a perennial favourite, which many busy, yet organised, people swear by. It helps its users to stay organised, save ideas and improve productivity, by allowing users to, among other things, make notes (which are completely searchable), capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders, and receipts, bills and invoices. Users can also sync their notes across a broad range of devices; save and share files; scan business cards; organise notes by notebooks and tags; digitize documents and Post-it Notes; and share notes with others via popular social networks.

Supported platforms:  Android; BlackBerry; iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch); Windows Phone; Web OS; Mac OS X; Windows Desktop; Windows 8

Price:  Free; USD 34.99 per year (premium version); USD 69.99 per year (premium version); USD 12.00 per month per user (business version)

4.  Asana

Another useful project management app to consider is Asana. Asana allows you to capture tasks, to-dos, reminders, and ideas. You can also get communicate with and get updates from co-workers, along with organise and track the various tasks and work projects you need to stay on top of. Further, it is not just notes and ideas that are created in Asana that can be managed. Over 100 programmes and apps, such as Gmail, Google Drive, Slack and Dropbox to name a few, can be integrated into Asana, thus making it a powerful platform through which to keep your life – and business – in order.

Supported platforms:  Android; iOS

Price:  Free (basic, for up to 15 team members); USD 9.99 per team member per month (premium version)

 

 

Images:  FOX (Pexels);  GoogleTrelloLogokAsana

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CDB and DFC Launches new BZ $40 Million Credit Line in Belize

Michele Marius 13/02/2018 0

On January 31, 2018, under the theme “Facilitating DFC’s Developmental Mandate,” the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) launched CDB’s 8th Consolidated Line of Credit to the DFC.

This new BZD40 Million (mn) credit line, guaranteed by the Government of Belize, enables the DFC to continue financing, on affordable terms, market segments that are not readily catered for by the commercial banks and other financial institutions. These include priority sectors such as small and medium size enterprises, student loans, low income housing and energy efficiency / renewable energy projects.

The Credit Line is complimented by a technical grant of BZD370,000 for institutional strengthening and capacity building, as well as supporting due diligence for climate risk assessment of sub projects.

Between 2009 and 2016 CDB made BZD80 mn available to DFC in long term financing, half of which was approved in 2016.

Peter Blackman, Portfolio Manager, Private Sector Development Unit, CDB stated, “Given the higher incidence of poverty in rural Belize, providing funds to DFC for support to agriculture is a strategic investment in the country’s development and especially in providing opportunities for rural households to earn income.”

Blackman indicated that housing was the most conspicuous aspect of social provision and highlighted some of the additional benefits to be derived from home ownership, including access to finance, particularly for education.

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Image:   Pixabay (Pexels)

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