Lack of Coordination Hampers Decentralization Program

first_imgLack of coordination among ministries and agencies of government is hampering the decentralization exercise initiated since 2006, to give back some of the power to the local people in the various counties and is said to be dominated by a handful people based mainly in Monrovia.Upon the inception of the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government in 2006, the County Development Funds (CDF) was introduced to spearhead the decentralization exercise. The government initiated the CDF as a way of starting a program of decentralization and moving from the decision-making priority setting in Monrovia, but this is not going as planned, President Sirleaf has said.The CDF was based on a County Development Agenda (CDA), which brought together all ministry sectors to discuss with local authorities and representatives, along with community and political leaders, in order to determine clear guidelines and the best priorities for the counties, which would in turn be supported by the CDF.The national medium term development framework, Agenda for Transformation (AT), adopted at the National Vision Conference on December 12, 2012 , has anchored decentralization as one of the major features of the governance arrangement, designed to support inclusive growth and development. But it has yet to be brought to fruition.But President Sirleaf has indicated that like many things in the country this program, which started so well has failed because the CDF moved from judging the right priorities and instead based its decisions on politics.She was, however, quick to suggest that ministries and agencies (the government) revert support back to the counties through the County Development Fund (CDF). “We need to go back to the original intent of funding in the counties and the coordination that comes from a comprehensive CDA that establishes the right priorities based on a clear set of criteria,” she said.President Sirleaf made the assertion at the close of a one-day joint Ministry of Internal Affairs and Governance Commission High-Level Roundtable on Decentralization Implementation, at the Monrovia City Hall last Thursday.The High-Level Roundtable was convened to discuss the status of decentralization, particularly the implementation of deconcentration over the last three years, and to examine the challenges and support to deconcentration from government and international partners over the next few years. This is to further the National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance, promulgated since January 5, 2012 , and a draft Local Government Law which is under review.Touching on the Deconcentration Implementation Strategy, with a focus on County Government Centers, President Sirleaf recommended that at the county level, Government must begin to look in the direction where all ministries and agencies have common premises that will enable them to do more efficient service and delivery, leading to better coordination, integration and results.A Deconcentration Implementation Strategy was developed by 12 ministries and two agencies, through a process coordinated by the Governance Commission. Thus far, the process of deconcentration has been underway in a rather slow procedure, with ministries and agencies for the most part unable to adequately collaborate with the various counties.Noting that most counties do have administrative buildings that can accommodate and move towards the achievement of this goal, the President said, “Where we have an administrative building, each ministry or agency can take a room or an annex and all go together in common premises so you don’t have to pay for extra services. We will start to move in that direction.”The President also spoke of the lack of coordination and collaboration among county superintendents. President Sirleaf frowned on their inability to provide, for instance, comprehensive reports on the status of development projects as a means of preparation for her visits to these counties.She mandated that with immediate effect each county, in collaboration with sector ministries, is to provide a comprehensive quarterly report. “When we’re trying to make resources available, we take into account what everyone is doing or proposes to do and how we can integrate our service with the simple objective of trying to bring better results; and how we can have a more efficient service delivery to the people,” she said.There is a need for a planned synchronized approach to de-concentration, which will strengthen coordination among agencies of central government in the delivery of services to county and sub-county levels of government, enhancing economies of scale, cost savings, local participation and co-ownership, Minister of Internal Affairs, Morris Dukuly, said. He made a presentation on his Ministry’s Decentralization Plan: Layout of Issues, Challenges and Resource Requirements.Finance and Development Planning Minister, Amara Konneh, said that government institutions that are involved in the decentralization exercise need to work together as a team, in order to deliver the kind of results that central government is anticipating.Minister Konneh also observed that others are resisting the exercise because it is taking power from the hands of a few people, which has been the status quo since the existence of the Liberian state, into the hands of the masses, which he said is necessary for the growth of the country. He also called on the ministries and agencies to synchronize their activities.The Ministers of Education, Agriculture, Transport, Commerce and Industry, amongst others, also spoke on their Ministries’ Deconcentration Implementation Work. Some members of the diplomatic corps, who are also partners in the decentralization exercise, spoke at the roundtable.Implementation of decentralization is to take place in phases. Deconcentration, the first phase of decentralization, was scheduled to be completed or significantly advanced within three years, promulgating the National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance in January 2012.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Families split in federal raids

first_imgCommunity activists scrambled to locate the children, offer infant-care tips to fathers unfamiliar with warming formula and changing diapers, and gather donations of baby supplies. One baby who was breast-feeding had to be hospitalized for dehydration because her mother remained in detention, authorities said. Child-care arrangements had to be made for at least 35 youngsters. Officials of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement division released at least 60 of the workers who were sole caregivers to children, but more than 200 were sent to detention centers in Texas and New Mexico. “What is going to happen to the children? These children are American-born,” said Helena Marques, executive director of the Immigrant Assistance Center in New Bedford. “There are hundreds of children out there without their moms, in tremendous need. These babies have become the victims of a problem that legislators can’t seem to fix.” One mother was located in Texas after her 7-year-old child called a state hotline set up to help reunite the families, authorities said. The Massachusetts governor said the woman would be returned to Massachusetts. HOUSTON – They are the hidden side of the government’s stepped-up efforts to track down and deport illegal immigrants: Toddlers stranded at day care centers or handed over to ill-equipped relatives. Siblings suddenly left in charge of younger brothers and sisters. When illegal-immigrant parents are swept up in raids on homes and workplaces, the children are sometimes left behind – a complication that underscores the difficulty in enforcing immigration laws against people who have put down roots and begun raising families in the U.S. Three million American-born children have at least one parent who is an illegal immigrant; one in 10 American families has mixed immigration status, meaning at least one member is an immigrant here illegally, according to the Pew Center for Hispanic Research and the office of U.S. Rep. Jose Serrano. Children born in the U.S. are automatically American citizens and are not subject to deportation. This past week in Massachusetts, most of the 361 workers picked up in a raid at a New Bedford leather-goods factory that made vests and backpacks for the U.S. military were women with children, setting off what Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick called a “humanitarian crisis.” Massachusetts sent 37 social workers to Texas on Saturday to interview some of the women under arrest. Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby said the parents must be interviewed to make sure their youngsters are staying with responsible adults. Authorities said some of the women might be so afraid their youngsters will be taken away that they have refused to disclose they have children. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials defended their handling of the raid, saying the agency made arrangements in advance with social service agencies to care for the children. Spokesman Marc Raimondi said all immigrants arrested by ICE are interviewed to determine if they are the sole parent of their children. The agency can grant humanitarian releases, as they did in 60 cases in Massachusetts. As for the parents’ ultimate fate, being a single parent or the family breadwinner offers no special protection against deportation, said another ICE spokesman, Mike Keegan. “They made a decision to come into the country illegally,” he said. “It’s hard to believe that someone would not know of the consequences when they get caught.” U.S. Rep. William Delahunt said Sunday there would be a congressional investigation into the raid. 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

Bielsa’s Leeds target EPL push as Championship starts

first_imgLeeds start their latest bid to escape the second tier on Sunday against Bristol City after the bitter disappointment of letting slip a 2-0 aggregate lead against Derby in the play-off semi-finals in May.Derby should once again be strong after replacing replaced Frank Lampard, who left to manage Chelsea, with former Dutch star Phillip Cocu.The relegated Premier League trio of Cardiff, Fulham and Huddersfield, will be buoyed by parachute payments, but the last side to go straight back were Newcastle, after they slipped out of the top flight in 2016.West Brom, who reached the play-offs in May are positioned to make a strong push under former West Ham and Croatia manager Slaven Bilic.– Leeds favourites –But fallen giants Leeds, missing from the Premier League since 2004, are the early favourites to complete their journey back to the top flight.Bielsa, who has kept faith with most of the squad from last season, also bringing in Portugal international winger Helder Costa on loan from Premier League side Wolves, has been succinct in his appraisal of their chances of success.“We can arrive at the goal we want to achieve,” he said.The goal of automatic promotion has been hammered out in no uncertain terms by the club hierarchy.Italian owner Andrea Radrizzani has stayed put, having denied rumours he was trying to sell the club.“When you are really close to something and you don’t get it, you can take two roads,” Leeds director of football Victor Orta told the BBC.“You can think about the chance you lost, or think about the one in front of you. We have decided on the second one. When you look back, you can’t advance.”Orta said he was not concerned by the lack of new faces at the club, adding “continuity is our value for next season”.At least Bielsa’s famously tough training regime will not be the shock it was on his arrival last year.“You can have double, triple, four sessions a day,” said captain Liam Cooper. “There were hard blisters on my feet.“Everything just ached. Sometimes I don’t even get to put my little girl to bed at 7:00 pm. This is day after day.”Cocu is taking charge of a Derby side brimming with young talent and will seek to inspire the players after the disappointment of defeat in the play-off final against Aston Villa.The 48-year-old Dutchman, capped 101 times, is seeking to restore lustre to his CV after a brief, traumatic, stay with Turkish outfit Fenerbahce following a successful spell in the PSV Eindhoven dug-out.“Over the last few years the club has tried to build something and I want to continue this process, this philosophy,” he said. “I have the feeling it’s a good fit and a good moment to step in.”Bilic, another high-profile appointment, is bullish about West Brom’s chances, describing them as a “massive club”.“We are going to try to come back to the Premier League this year,” he said. “Short term or long term, this is where this club belongs.“Like as in every second league in the world of football, it’s not only us who are a big club in the league. There are many clubs who could say the same things, but West Bromwich Albion has something special.”0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa © AFP/File / JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGENLONDON, United Kingdom, Jul 31 – Marcelo Bielsa has another chance to deliver Premier League football to the success-starved fans of Leeds United after falling agonisingly short last season, as the Championship starts this weekend.The charismatic 64-year-old Argentine, idolised by Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, gave the three-time English champions a boost by agreeing to stay on for a second campaign.last_img read more

YOUR LETTERS: DONEGAL SHOULD JOIN NORTHERN IRELAND

first_imgYou can send your letters to info@donegaldaily.com or leave comments at the bottom of this contribution:Dear EditorRe : Stability Referendum It did not come as a surprise that the people of Donegal once again rejected a further capitulation of our national sovereignty to the autocrats in Europe despite Deputy McHugh’s unknowing proclamation that we in Donegal would vote in favour of this abominable treaty. McHugh during the course of the last general election spoke of the hundred days in office where the governments would tackle unemployment. Well various ministers in government have announced creation of jobs in Cork, Dublin, Louth, Galway and Mayo we have yet to hear of any in our County. Similar to his predecessors in the former government, including a former Tanaiste, Deputy McHugh lacks the moral fibre to demand a slice of the investments/employment cake which Kenny et al continuously brag about on their RTE mouth piece.Sadly McHugh, McGinley and their cohorts in the poodle Labour Party continue to be mute in Dublin. Minister Reilly, who happens to be a physician, ostensibly diagnosed the ills within the health service while in opposition, yet has failed to remedy these failures. In fact he has made them worse especially for this county where people have to travel to Dublin, Sligo and Galway for treatment or go private and pay through the nose for treatment. When he qualified as a doctor he must’ve taken the Hypocrite oath and not the Hippocratic oath as advocated by Hippocrates in the fourth century BC. We did not hear any protestation from these poodles whether they are TDs, junior ministers or senators when stripper Quinn decided that rural schools should close or his scissor sister Burton cut benefits to both old and young nationally and will no doubt use her scissors to inflict more misery on the less well off.It would seem that Messer McHugh and his fellow travellers are more interested in taking the scenic route to Dublin to collect their pay and expenses than being a voice for the people of this county. It is my considered opinion that we should have a further referendum here in Donegal to consider throwing our lot in with Martin Mc Guinness and Peter Robinson. We would have a fine health service, better roads and transportation systems and other benefits. At least we would be no worse off.Yours sincerely Joe HarveyThorndale,LetterkennyCo DonegalWith 1,655,000 page views last month, get your story seen on Donegal Daily. Send your stories and pictures to info@donegaldaily.comFollow us on www.twitter.com/donegaldailyFollow us on www.facebook.com/donegaldailyYOUR LETTERS: DONEGAL SHOULD JOIN NORTHERN IRELAND was last modified: June 4th, 2012 by BrendaShare 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:YOUR LETTERS: DONEGAL SHOULD JOIN NORTHERN IRELANDYOUR LETTERS: THE STABILITY REFERENDUMlast_img read more

The 2019 Africa Energy Indaba embraces innovation

first_imgThe 11th annual Africa Energy Indaba Conference took place at the Sandton Convention Centre last week under the theme Africa’s Energy Future.The two-day conference was focused on the on-going development of the African energy sector and encouraged dialogue around enabling adequate energy generation across the African continent. This year, delegates from over 38 African countries were present.Conference sessions took place parallel to the exciting exhibition on show, as well as technical workshops. One of the workshops, presented by Eskom’s Head of Research for Testing and Development Kubeshnie Bhugwandin, spoke to strategic responses to disruptive innovations. The workshop had a look at the effect of disruption over the years, how it’s directly affected both business and consumer and how we should shift our perspective around it. Ms. Bhugwandin also warned about the detriment of embracing disruptive technologies when your business and audience is not yet ready for it.It is evident that no sector is able to fully function without laying claim of the impending Fourth Industrial Revolution, and Africa’s preparation for it.The MarketPlace Business Matchmaking Programme gave businesses and individuals an opportunity to sit down with exhibitors, speakers, sponsors and investors to explore potential ventures. Director of Divaine Growth Solutions, Dr Sindi Mzamo encouraged engagement, face to face interaction and social media platforms in her talk about the Power of Networking.Low Carbon Transport South Africa had electric cars on display and gave visitors an opportunity to discover the benefits of getting plugged in.In a recent statement about the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme, Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe said: “Let us take up the challenge, eradicate poverty and grow the economy for our children and their children, never forgetting our responsibility towards Mother Nature. If we do not look after our future, there will not be a future.”We now look forward to the 2020 Africa Energy Indaba that takes place 3 – 4 March 2020 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, as we work to build a better South Africa.Image: Instagramlast_img read more

South Africans get free access to parks for a week

first_imgTo build South Africans’ pride in the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage, South African National Parks (SANParks) is offering free entry to citizens during SANParks Week. It runs from 12 to 16 September.“When people take pride in the national parks, they will start to understand the importance of conservation,” said SANParks acting head of communications, William Mabasa.#FreeAccess to National Parks starts in 2 weeks. Which Park will you be visiting? https://t.co/LrfOWBBpBL pic.twitter.com/xnfKFLkVGn— SANParks (@SANParks) August 30, 2016Started in 2006, the theme of the week this year is “Know your national parks”. Access to the parks is free to South Africans with a valid identity document; however, entry will also be free to children under the age of 16 without proof of identity.“It should be noted that the free access to the parks will not include accommodation and any commercial activities in the park such as guided safaris in vehicles or guided walks, etc,” said SANParks.Mabasa said this year’s SANParks Week would include exhibitions showcasing the myriad geographical regions of the parks. “The expo will include cultural, conservation, nursery and tourism aspects from the community, rangers and various conservation entities in order to highlight the broader South African biodiversity landscape.”Click here for a detailed list of the parks taking part in the initiative.Source: SANParks and South Africa.info reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

Lettuce Work helping young people with autism serve others through agriculture

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Doug and Julie Sharp of New Albany have devoted countless hours to working with youth and young adults that fall on the autism spectrum. Besides being the parents of an autistic child, Julie is a teacher at a school that specializes in working with students that have autism and Doug served on the school board.Although there are many programs for youth that fall on the autism spectrum while they are in school, the Sharps noticed a distinct problem: after graduating from high school it is hard for youth with autism to receive support from external programs.Seeing the need, the Sharps worked diligently to create the Lettuce Work Foundation, a non-profit 501c3 organization that serves young adults with autism and trains them for the future. The idea for Lettuce Work began in 2007. After construction of a 15,000 square foot greenhouse, partnering with a local high school, and plentiful paperwork, the first batch of lettuce was harvested in 2014.“We work with kids ages 18 through 22 who need additional training and support in order to make a successful transition from high school to the working world. Our goal for the kids we work with is that they learn how to function in a work place and how to have appropriate interactions with their peers and supervisors,” said Doug Sharp, co-founder of the Lettuce Work Foundation. “We train them in basic work place behavior and social skills. Although we aren’t necessarily hoping that they get trained in agriculture per say, a lot of the kids we work with really enjoy it. Some of them have moved into other outdoor activities after completing their training with us, such as landscaping.”Much of the job and skill training available for young adults on the autism spectrum tends to be in areas such as hospitality or janitorial services. The Sharps wanted to take a different approach. Agriculture had an appeal to the Sharps, who liked the idea of being outdoors and actually growing a product.The Sharps went to Ohio State Extension to gather their opinion on what type of produce would work the best, not only to accomplish their mission of helping young adults with autism but also a crop to sell that would be able to support the charity.“After talking with some people in Extension, we decided that hydroponic lettuce was going to work best. First off, it’s clean. A lot of kids on the spectrum have sensory issues, so not working with soil was a draw for us,” Sharp said. “Second, there is a steady demand for lettuce. It’s important that we had a plant that was needed, since the money we make from the product goes directly back into the Foundation.”Instead of getting all the nutrients from soil, plants that are grown hydroponically receive their nutrients from a water solution. The plants are suspended in water and have a flow of nutrients beneath them.“Another reason we decided for hydroponic lettuce is because we needed something that could be grown in the fall and winter, kind of opposite of the typical growing season,” Sharp said. “The kids we work with aren’t in school during the summer when most produce is grown. It worked out perfectly that we could use our greenhouses to grow lettuce year round.”Lettuce Work partners with some area high schools to get young adults working in the greenhouse every day.“We first started having the youth involved in the early building stages of Lettuce Work, so they were able to help us with some construction and things. After we start growing lettuce, we usually rotate groups of six to 10 kids in the greenhouse every week,” Sharp said. “In total, we probably work with 30 to 40 youth on the spectrum every year.”In addition to the youth that visit every week, Lettuce Work employs around a half dozen staff members, some with autism.“The staff serve as role models for the kids and help over look all the operations. We do all the harvesting, packaging and delivering with the kids,” Sharp said. “We typically have a set routine for the kids to follow, which is pretty comforting to them. Instead of focusing on the task, they can focus on their behavior and interactions with others. They also really enjoy the white noise coming from the lights, it has a relaxing effect.”Since the non-profit organization garners donations through retail sales of their lettuce, it’s been important to increase lettuce yields and make improvements.“Thanks to some grants and funding we received from the state of Ohio, the Columbus Foundation, Autism Speaks, The Ingram Whitecastle Foundation and Ante4autism we were able to install LEDThe 15,000 square foot greenhouse produced the first batch of lettuce in 2014.lighting in our greenhouses this past fall,” Sharp said.The new lights change color to match the light spectrum the crops need.“It’s kind of funny, the lettuce grows under bright pink lights,” Sharp said. “We turn it on pink when no one is in the greenhouse and then when the kids come we flip it back to normal white light.”The lights have increased their yields tremendously.“Last year in the winter we’d harvest about 80 pounds of lettuce a week. This year we are harvesting 300 pounds of lettuce a week,” he said.The next big improvement for Lettuce Work is coming this coming spring.“We are going to start growing flowers in our greenhouse this coming spring. We plan on growing flats for landscaping and then hanging baskets and planters,” Sharp said. “Hopefully, with our greenhouses, we are able to be a step ahead of home improvement stores and people will buy our flowers first.”Lettuce Work also hopes to have a retail store open on location at the greenhouses.“By having the retail store, we will be able to train the kids in other skill areas. They’ll get practice in customer service, in working a cash register, maintaining the store front and more,” Sharp said. “Hopefully expanding into the flower business will also grow attention to our lettuce and promote our mission even more.”Shoppers can find Lettuce Work Spring Salad Blend, a combination of eight to 10 varieties of lettuce, in the produce section of 25 different stores in the northern Franklin County area, including 17 Kroger stores, six Giant Eagles and other stores such as Lucky’s Market in Columbus, The Hill’s Market in Worthington, and Ross’ Market IGA in Granville.Julie Sharp is a teacher at a school that specializes in working with students that have autism.“We are really proud to be selling a local and high quality product to our community,” Sharp said. “But we are even more proud to be making a difference in the lives of so many young adults with autism every year.”last_img read more

Indian Authors, Publishers Unhappy with Google Books Plan to Scan

first_imgA group of 15 authors and publishers and two organizations in India have filed a formal objection to the Google Books Settlement.The Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation and the Federation of Indian Publishers and these 15 individuals join a panoply of international entities who have objected to Google’s ambitious and controversial plan to scan as many books as possible throughout the world. Though the search and Web app giant’s scheme would create a vast online library, it may also infringe on the rights of content creators and has created a lengthy international legal battle.The coalition of Indian publishing entities claims that Google’s proposed settlement is a violation of copyright laws, both internationally and in India, because it allows for Google’s scanning, redistributing and selling books online. Content creators who don’t want their work online must opt out of the plan themselves; if an author does not explicitly opt out, his or her silence is deemed implicit consent.In the past, Google’s book-scanning project has come under the scrutiny of the US Department of Justice as well as the governments of Germany and France. Federal judge Danny Chin is currently presiding over the case, which involves a class-action lawsuit and a settlement of more than $100 million for copyright holders whose works had been reproduced without their consent.The Indian authors and publishers have submitted their objections to the settlement to Chin, who has decided to hold a final hearing on Feb. 18, 2010 to determine whether the Google Books Settlement is fair, adequate and reasonable.Check out ReadWriteWeb’s archive of articles on the Google Books Settlement for more information. Tags:#Google#web Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market jolie odelllast_img read more

Gymnastics Doctor Sentenced to 40 to 175 Years in Prison (Vid)

first_imgLANSING, Mich. (AP) — The former sports doctor who admitted molesting some of the nation’s top gymnasts for years was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison as the judge declared: “I just signed your death warrant.”The sentence capped a remarkable seven-day hearing in which scores of Larry Nassar’s victims were able to confront him face to face in a Michigan courtroom.Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said Nassar’s “decision to assault was precise, calculated, manipulative, devious, despicable.”“It is my honor and privilege to sentence you. You do not deserve to walk outside a prison ever again. You have done nothing to control those urges and anywhere you walk, destruction will occur to those most vulnerable,” Aquilina said. When the hearing ended, the courtroom broke into applause.A prosecutor said Nassar found competitive gymnastics to be a “perfect place” for his crimes because victims saw him as a “god” in the sport.“It takes some kind of sick perversion to not only assault a child but to do so with her parent in the room,” prosecutor Angela Povilaitis said. “To do so while a lineup of eager young gymnasts waited.”She described the “breadth and ripple” of Nassar’s sexual abuse as “nearly infinite.”“What does it say about our society that victims of sexual abuse have to hide their pain for years when they did nothing wrong? What does it say about our society when victims do come forward … and are treated as liars until proven true?” Povilaitis said.Nassar turned to the courtroom gallery to make a brief statement, saying that the accounts of more than 150 victims had “shaken me to my core.” He said “no words” can describe how sorry he is for his crimes.Larry Nassar looks at the gallery in the court during the sixth day of his sentencing hearing Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. (Dale G.Young/Detroit News via AP)“I will carry your words with me for the rest of my days” he said as many of his accusers wept.He faces a minimum prison term of 25 to 40 years.One of the first athletes to publicly accuse Nassar of sexual assault was the last victim to offer statements at his sentencing hearing.Rachael Denhollander is a Kentucky lawyer who stepped forward in 2016 after the sports’ governing body was accused of mishandling complaints of sexual assault. She said Nassar groped, fondled and penetrated her with his hands when she was a 15-year-old gymnast in Michigan.Denhollander’s statements to Michigan State University police put the criminal investigation in high gear in 2016.“You have become a man ruled by selfish and perverted desires,” she told Nassar, who worked at the university and USA Gymnastics, the governing body that also trains Olympians.Nassar, 54, pleaded guilty to assaulting seven people in the Lansing area, but the sentencing hearing has been open to anyone who said they were a victim. His accusers said he would use his ungloved hands to penetrate them, often without explanation, while they were on a table seeking help for various injuries.Judge Rosemarie Aquilina listens to Abigayle Bergeron’s victim statement during the sixth day of Larry Nassar’s sentencing hearing Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, in Lansing, Mich. (Dale G. Young/Detroit News via AP)The accusers, many of whom were children, said they trusted Nassar to care for them properly, were in denial about what was happening or were afraid to speak up. He sometimes used a sheet or his body to block the view of any parent in the room.“I’d been told during my entire gymnastics career to not question authority,” a former elite gymnast, Isabell Hutchins, said Tuesday.Aquilina has praised the victims who have appeared in her court since Jan. 16, calling them “sister survivors,” while also assuring them that their perpetrator will pay. The women have included Olympians Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber and McKayla Maroney.Hutchins and Mattie Larson, a former national gymnast, talked about how Nassar won their allegiance with candy, Olympic trinkets and encouraging words while they were under constant scrutiny from demanding coaches.Brooke Hylek, a gymnast who plans to compete in college, heaped scorn on Nassar.“I cannot believe I ever trusted you, and I will never forgive you,” she said Tuesday. “I’m happy you will be spending the rest of your life in prison. Enjoy hell by the way.”Emily Morales had a softer message.“I want you to apologize to me right here,” the 18-year-old told Nassar. “I want to forgive you, but I also want to hear you tell me that you regret all the hurting you caused.”He did. She replied with, “Thank you.”Nassar has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes. He is scheduled to be sentenced next week on more assault convictions in Eaton County, Michigan.___DAVID EGGERT, Associated PressMIKE HOUSEHOLDER, Associated PressAssociated Press Writer Ed White in Detroit contributed to this report.TweetPinShare2323 Shareslast_img read more

Prime Minister Encourages Stronger Citizen-Police Relations to Curb Crime

first_img Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is encouraging citizens to work more closely with the security forces to safeguard their communities against criminals.The Prime Minister said a “strong message” must be sent by citizens that they will not provide safe havens in their communities for persons intent on breaking the law.He was delivering the keynote address at the National Housing Trust’s (NHT) ground-breaking ceremony for the 63-unit Industry Cove Manor housing development in Green Island, Hanover, on Thursday (August 16).Mr. Holness noted that there is credible data showing numerous cases of direct links between the perpetrators of crime, particularly murders, and their victims, adding that “it is not strangers killing strangers.”“Oftentimes it is close friends and family members. We cannot give succour and protection to the criminals who are in our midst. It is only going to destroy your communities,” he emphasised.Mr. Holness voiced concern that the parish of Hanover, which he noted has long been one of the north coast’s shining beacons, is now beset by increased criminal activity.Consequently, he said he has been having “very serious dialogue” with the Minister of National Security and Commissioner of Police regarding strategies being formulated to urgently address the situation.“I have visited several families here who have been the victims. This beautiful parish should not be contributing to the murder rate and it is the duty of the citizens to put a stop to it,” Mr. Holness underscored.Industry Cove Manor, which will comprise 23 detached two-bedroom and 40 two- bedroom townhouse units, is being developed on 4.94 hectares (12.31 acres) of land. The Prime Minister said a “strong message” must be sent by citizens that they will not provide safe havens in their communities for persons intent on breaking the law. He was delivering the keynote address at the National Housing Trust’s (NHT) ground-breaking ceremony for the 63-unit Industry Cove Manor housing development in Green Island, Hanover, on Thursday (August 16). Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is encouraging citizens to work more closely with the security forces to safeguard their communities against criminals. Story Highlightslast_img read more