Jamaica-based Namibian competing in Oregon

first_img Herunga believes training in Jamaica will help push her to her best. “I think they are people who can push me because, back home, I just train alone, and here, there’s Stephenie (McPherson) and a lot of them and competition-wise, Jamaica always has athletes who can push me to my limit,” she said. Life in Jamaica is different, but Herunga admits to loving the Jamaican cuisine. “The weather is different because we have summer, we have winter, we have spring, but the weather is not that bad. It’s humid. I like the food too. It is different. I love the ackee. That’s one thing that I would take back home, and the training facilities. We don’t have the best training facility, but what we have, it’s enough to take us to Rio.” JAMAICAN TRAINING A PLUS PORTLAND, USA: It isn’t only Jamaicans who train in Jamaica who have been participating at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Indoor Championships at the Oregon Convention Centre this weekend. On Thursday, Tjipekapora Herunga of Namibia competed in the women’s 400m heats. Herunga is a student in the Faculty of Science and Sport at the University of Technology (UTech) and trains with the UTech-based MVP Track and Field Club. The Namibian was hoping to improve on her 55.40-second indoor personal best, but was unfortunately disqualified. “I came out today to run the 400m. It’s kind of hard. It was my second 400m and I came here saying I’m going out there to give my best,” she told The Gleaner. Herunga explained how she ended up in Jamaica from Windhoek, Namibia. “We watch athletics and we see most of the best world-class athletes in Jamaica,” she said. “In Namibia, we have talented people, but I don’t think we have people who can help the athletes go forward, so then our government and UTech came together and decided to give people 50 per cent of our scholarship, and that’s how we end up there and with MVP.”last_img read more

Brown scores hat-trick as Chelsea youngsters go goal crazy – again

first_imgIsaiah Brown scored a hat-trick as Chelsea thrashed Bolton 5-0 in the Under-21 Premier League to continue their brilliant recent form.Lewis Baker and John Swift also netted for Dermot Drummy’s side, who are unbeaten in 11 matches – eight of which were won – and now have won three in a row, scoring a total of 14 goals in the process.Baker drove in the opener from 20 yards before Brown doubled the lead by firing in off the underside of the bar after being set up by Swift.Chelsea controlled the game, although an Andreas Christiansen own goal was prevented when the defender’s misplaced header was cleared off the line by Kevin Wright.Brown’s cool finish made it 3-0 five minutes into the second half and he completed his hat-trick after being put through by Baker.Islam Feruz then hit the Bolton post before Swift’s superb strike rounded off an emphatic away victory for the young Blues.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 Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Latest Antonio Brown plot twist: Will reportedly hold NFL liable for head injury in mandated helmet

first_imgNAPA — The latest layer to the Antonio Brown-helmet saga includes the threat of making the NFL liable if he sustained a head injury in a helmet he was forced to wear.“I think it’ll be interesting if the NFL forces Antonio to wear a different helmet,” an unnamed source told The Athletic. “And he does play and he doesn’t retire as some people have reported he will do. And then he suffers a really severe injury. I’d hate to be the NFL. Because now you’ve forced him into wearing a different type …last_img read more

Biggest nature park in the world

first_imgThe new Kaza trans-frontier conservationarea will include the spectacular Okavango,the largest freshwater delta on earth.(Image: Wikimedia) The majestic Victoria Falls, just one of themany attractions tourists will see in Kaza. Kaza will incorporate the Okavango,Zambezi, and Kwando/Linyanti/Chobesystems. (Image: Kaza Park TFCA)Janine ErasmusFive Southern African countries – Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe – are working together to establish what will be the biggest conservation area in the world. The new nature park will be almost the size of Italy and will cover an area of 287 132 square kilometres, which is 14 times that of the Kruger Park, itself the largest national park in South Africa and one of the biggest in Africa.The park is known as the Kavango-Zambezi (Kaza) trans-frontier conservation area, and will be situated in one of Southern Africa’s most beautiful, and fragile, tourism areas – the wetlands of the Okavango and Zambezi river basins, where the borders of the five countries converge.Kaza was created with the support of the World Wide Fund for Nature and the South Africa-based Peace Parks Foundation, of which Nelson Mandela, the late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and the late industrialist/conservationist Dr Anton Rupert are the three founding patrons.According to the Peace Parks Foundation, the park is the most significant conservation effort undertaken in Africa in the last 100 years, and will eventually be home to 250 000 African elephants, the largest single population of the great animals to be found on the continent.Since it embodies the principle of the peace park, where animal movements are not constrained by artificial human boundaries, Kaza will also accommodate freer movement of tourists in the area. “For instance, if a tourist is in Zambia and wants to go the Caprivi now, they will have to go through about four international border posts, but once the Kavango-Zambezi is established, tourists could move there freely,” said Peace Parks CEO Werner Myburgh.Kaza is one of 20 trans-frontier parks in the Southern African Development Community – some are already in existence while others are still in the planning stages. The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which straddles Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe and incorporates the Kruger Park, is Africa’s biggest game park at the moment.Conservation and tourismThis move is expected to boost tourism substantially, create jobs, and generate sustainable revenues for rural communities as a result. Conservation and tourism are therefore seen as the key drivers for socio-economic development of this region.With preparations in full swing, the park is expected to become operational in 2010, and it is hoped that Kaza will become one of Southern Africa’s premier tourist attractions, especially ahead of 2010 and beyond. The park’s feasibility study, undertaken by the Peace Parks Foundation and the Development Bank of Southern Africa, reveals that it could attract anything up to 8-million tourists annually in its own right.Kaza will incorporate 36 national parks, game reserves, community conservancies and game management areas, including the Caprivi Strip, the salt pans of the Kalahari Desert, the Chobe National Park, the mighty Victoria Falls, a World Heritage Site and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and the Okavanga Delta, the largest Ramsar site in the world. The Ramsar convention, to which South Africa is a signatory, is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.The Victoria Falls has, according to reports, been designated as the hub of the park, whilst administration will be centred in Katima Mulilo in Caprivi, Namibia.The Kaza memorandum of understanding was signed in December 2006 by ministers of environmental and tourism affairs from the five participating countries. In June 2008 the Zambian component of the park was kick-started with the ceremonial handing over of the Zambian Integrated Development Plan to Zambian Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources Michael Kaingu.The document comprises three main chapters: The Place, The People and The Plan, and lays out the way forward for successful implementation of the park.Wildlife diversityThe establishment of the Kaza trans-frontier park will allow large herds of wild beasts to again assume their tradition migration routes. Botswana’s elephant population is the largest in Africa, while Angola has virtually no elephants, but once the park is in place the animals will once again be able to move between countries. This will also mitigate the need for culling.With peace recently restored in Angola since the death of Jonas Savimbi in 2002, there is huge potential for Kaza to help replenish the wildlife of the area, which was badly depleted by the civil war. Once cleared of landmines, said Myburgh, the area will offer a new home for vast numbers of animals, particularly for the elephants in northern Botswana, some of which have already begun to wander over.The challenge, he continued, was to remove the boundary fences and the mines, and move informal human settlements away from rivers and roadsides so that neither animals nor humans are placed into danger. It is estimated that only 2.5-million people call the region their home.Kaza boasts remarkable diversity in animal, bird and plant life. The area features mopane and miombo woodlands, the famous wetlands areas, around 3 000 species of plants, and over 500 species of birds. On the wildlife side, besides the large elephant population, visitors can see buffalo, hippopotamus and lion, a variety of antelope including sitatunga, puku, lechwe, roan, sable, and eland, as well as zebra, wildebeest, wild dogs, spotted hyena, and many more.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus at janinee@mediaclubsouthafrica.com.Related articlesSouth Africa’s national parksTigers in Africa?The hunter-gatherer GPSHolidays that save the world Taking African bush lore to OzUseful linksKazaPeace Parks FoundationWorld Wide Fund for Nature (South Africa)Kruger ParkThe Ramsar Convention on WetlandsAfrizim.com – travel in Southern AfricaGreat Limpopo Trans-frontier ParkSouthern African Development Communitylast_img read more

GeoTours Deliver More Fun With Favorites

first_img SharePrint RelatedTravel like a local, not a touristApril 23, 2019In “News”GeoTour Spotlight: Heritage Hide’n’Seek in OntarioAugust 18, 2016In “GeoTours”KohlsFit GeoTourNovember 13, 2015In “Community” Blog post by Geocaching HQ Business Development Coordinator Meg Hatch (Username: Ponystream). Looking for ways to earn that first shiny Fun with Favorites souvenir now that the Geocaching Road Trip ‘15 is finally here? Well we’ve got an insider tip for you: try a GeoTour!GeoTours are special collections of caches designed to take geocachers like you on an awesome journey through interesting places such as a town or city, a park, or even the Kennedy Space Center. Not only do GeoTours guide you through a cool destination, but they will also take you to some pretty cool, highly favorited geocaches. In fact, GeoTour caches earn three times more Favorite Points than other geocaches!Geocachers are awarding blue ribbons left and right for the Geocaching Capital of Canada GeoTour in Ontario, Canada. This GeoTour launched just over a month ago and has already racked up over 1000 Favorite Points, thanks to caches like GC5RC88. Geocacher whatandwhere says,“Thanks for placing all these amazing caches out there. They certainly took a lot of time to make and a great deal of thought. Still have a few more to find — can’t wait to get back up there to finish them.”Complete the Prague Airport GeoTour series to receive this awesome wood coin (as if experiencing great geocaches wasn’t enough!)Or maybe you’ll be passing through the Prague Airport sometime soon. The Prague Airport GeoTour has well over 10+ Favorite Points on each of its cleverly disguised geocaches. Now that’s one way to spend your layover! Like many other GeoTours around the world, the Prague Airport GeoTour even rewards you for completing its GeoTour.Seeking out highly favorited geocaches is a great way to ensure a fun, unique geocaching experience with your fellow geocachers’ stamp of approval. Geocaching Premium members can grant Favorite Points to their favorite geocache finds and sort by Favorite Points to seek out the best of the best geocaches using the new geocache search. Not yet a Premium member? You can find some awesome geocaches by experiencing a (free!) GeoTour near you.GeoTours are popping up all around the world, all of the time — there may even be one near you. Now get out there and discover your own favorite geocaches!Tell us — what GeoTour is closest to you? No GeoTours nearby? Let us know that too so we can try to make one happen!Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

Thunder get wild overtime victory over the Trail Blazers

first_imgP2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed Regulation ended with a wild final minute.George appeared to elbow Nurkic, who was knocked to the floor as Terrance Ferguson made a layup that put the Thunder up 113-111. Portland players protested, but no call was made.Words were then exchanged between Nurkic and George under Portland’s basket. After a review both received offsetting technicals, and a foul was called on the Thunder. Because Nurkic already had a technical, he was ejected and the Thunder chose Blazers reserve Skal Labissiere to make the free throws. He missed both, but a loose-ball foul was called on the Thunder and Al-Farouq Aminu made both shots to tie it at 113 with 2.9 seconds left.After a turnover by the Thunder, the game went to overtime. But Portland was without Nurkic for the rest of the way.The Blazers were home after a largely successful seven-game, post-All-Star break road trip, during which they went 5-2. But Portland was coming off a 120-111 loss at Memphis on Tuesday night.ADVERTISEMENT Trail Blazers: host Phoenix on Saturday night.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The Thunder had lost five of their previous six games, including a 131-120 loss at the Timberwolves on Tuesday.It was the first chance for the home fans to see Enes Kanter, who the Blazers picked up after he was waived by the Knicks following the trade deadline. He was once a starter in New York, but fell out of the rotation when the team turned its focus to younger players.Kanter came into Thursday’s game to a rousing ovation with 3:56 to go in the first quarter.Portland went on a 12-2 run midway through the second quarter to pull in front, 45-40. Westbrook shoulder checked Nurkic so hard he fell to the court. Westbrook got a flagrant, but Nurkic was given a technical for what looked like a trip a few moments earlier.The Blazers led 61-58 at the break, with Lillard leading the way with 21 points. George had 18 for the Thunder. Oklahoma City took back the lead in the third quarter when Jerami Grant’s basket made it 68-67.TIP INSThunder: It was the first night of a back-to-back for the Thunder, who face the Clippers on Friday night. … Paul George was the West’s Player of the Month for February.Trail Blazers: Portland’s 5-2 road trip matched its best for a trip of that length since the 2000-01 season. … Terry Stotts was the West’s Coach of the Month for February. … It was Blazers forward Jake Layman’s 25th birthday. … The Blazers were without Evan Turner because of personal reasons.UP NEXTThunder: visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed MOST READ Damian Lillard had 51 points for the Blazers, while Jusuf Nurkic added 13 points and 17 rebounds before he was sent off with his second technical with under a minute to go in regulation.The teams had gone into the game knotted for third in the Western Conference — along with the Houston Rockets — with identical 39-25 records.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesWestbrook’s 3-pointer in overtime put the Thunder up 118-117 and he made a pair of free throws to extend the lead. After George made the second of a pair of free throws, Westbrook’s layup gave Oklahoma City a 123-117 lead.The Thunder led by a slim 85-83 margin going into the fourth quarter in a game where neither side stretched the advantage to double digits. LATEST STORIES Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, right, and forward Paul George high-five at the end of overtime of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Thursday, March 7, 2019. The Thunder won 129-121. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)PORTLAND, Oregon— Russell Westbrook had 37 points and Paul George added 32 points and 14 rebounds for the Oklahoma City Thunder in a chippy 129-121 overtime win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.The victory gave the Thunder a four-game series sweep of the Blazers this season.ADVERTISEMENT Jose Mourinho ruled out of China job with Fabio Cannavaro poised Trump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crashlast_img read more

Plaza de Panama back on track bids for restoration higher than estimated

first_imgPlaza de Panama back on track, bids for restoration higher than estimated Updated: 7:00 PM Steve Bosh Steve Bosh, January 23, 2019center_img Posted: January 23, 2019 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI)- Last Friday, bids for a grand restoration of Balboa Park came in, and they are considerably higher than earlier estimates.About 40–percent higher for construction costs alone. The City is evaluating those bids which could determine whether or not this project goes forward.The Sam Diego City Council approved this project back in 2012 as a public-private partnership between the City of San Diego and the Plaza De Panama committee. But, it’s been delayed all these years by legal challenges.The City would contribute $49 million, and $30 million was pledged by philanthropist, Irwin Jacobs.Two other bids came in at $85 million and $105 million respectively. The City is currently evaluating those bids.With construction costs escalating by the month the committee will be lobbying the new council members to move forward with this partnership. Plaza De Panama board member, Jim Kidrick feels confident this project could get underway before this summer. Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

What Are Town Boards Committees Talking About Week of January 27 2019

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — According to the Wilmington Town Clerk’s calendar, there are several town and school board, committee and commission meeting scheduled for the week of Sunday, January 27, 2019.Sunday, January 27No MeetingsMonday, January 28The Wilmington Board of Selectmen meets at 7pm in Town Hall’s Room 9. Read the agenda HERE.Tuesday, January 29The Wilmington Board of Assessors meets at 11am in Town Hall’s Small Conference Room. Read the agenda HERE.Wednesday, January 30No MeetingsThursday, January 31No MeetingsFriday, February 1No MeetingsSaturday, February 2No Meetings(NOTE: While unlikely, it is possible additional meetings could be added to this week’s calendar on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.  It’s best to check the Town Clerk’s calendar mid-week.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWhat’s Happening At Town Meetings This Week? (Week of September 8, 2019)In “Government”What Are Town Boards & Committees Talking About? (Week of September 1, 2019)In “Government”What Are Town Boards & Committees Talking About? (Week of August 4, 2019)In “Government”last_img read more

Rohingyas exposed to health risks IOM

first_imgRohingya refugees shelter under an umbrella during rain in Bangladesh`s Balukhali refugee camp on September 17, 2017. AFPUN migration agency IOM is working with the government and aid agency partners to rapidly ramp up fixed and mobile health services in Cox’s Bazar district to help some 415,000 people who have fled violence in Myanmar’s north Rakhine state over the past three weeks.Many of the new arrivals, who have walked for days through jungle in intense heat and monsoon rains, are already sick and malnourished by the time they reach the teeming settlements of Cox’s Bazar, according to a statement of IOM.Camping in the open with little or no shelter on muddy hillsides with no access to clean water or latrines, the very young and the old ones are at greatest risk from water borne and contagious diseases.”Newly arrived children are at high risk of vaccine preventable diseases. Bangladesh is already free of polio and almost free of measles and rubella,” said Dr Samir Kumar Howlader, IOM National Health Programme Officer.Therefore, he said, the government, the World Health Organization and humanitarian partners launched an urgent immunization programme on Saturday to vaccinate 150,000 newly arrived children.”Nutrition support and management of malnutrition, especially severe acute malnutrition, is also urgently needed for these children,” he added.Howlader said lack of safe drinking water, personal hygiene and sanitation facilities has already resulted in acute watery diarrhea and other water borne diseases. “So, disease surveillance and early warning systems also need to be strengthened significantly,” he added.”I was living with a gunshot wound for five days. I would have lost my leg if I didn’t get treatment,” said Anayet Ullah, 18, who was in a critical condition when he was treated by an IOM medical team at Ukhiya government health complex. The doctors referred him to Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital, where he recovered.The Ukhiya doctors and nurses are one of 12 IOM teams operating from government health facilities in the two Cox’s Bazar sub-districts of Ukhiya and Teknaf, where the Rohingya population outside the two UNHCR-run refugee camps now totals an estimated 600,000 people, two thirds of whom have arrived since 25 August.The media release said three IOM mobile medical teams have also started providing basic and primary healthcare services in three spontaneous settlements in the area.In addition to primary health care and referrals, the teams focus on sexual and reproductive health, and maternal and child health.They also provide with mental health and psychosocial services to about 120 people each day. They say that all of these services will need to be massively expanded to cope with the influx of new arrivals.Over the past three weeks, IOM teams have provided emergency and primary healthcare services to around 15,000 new arrivals and 9,500 others from the Rohingya and host populations. They assisted 64 child deliveries and provided referral services to another 226 patients.Agencies working in the health sector have told the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) in Cox’s Bazar that they have already provided treatment to some 52,000 of the new arrivals.But existing facilities are reporting a 150-200 per cent increase in patients, overwhelming current capacity and resources.They say that an estimated 171,800 newly arrived people are not yet covered by any primary health care services. Primary health care coverage also needs to be expanded as soon as possible to cover all newly arrived populations in both spontaneous and existing makeshift settlements, they note.The agencies also say that an estimated 14,000 pregnant women are in need of maternal and child health care. An estimated 50 per cent of them are considered to have complicated pregnancies and may need emergency obstetric and neonatal care.In addition to the immunization campaign, the ministry of health, which is leading the health sector response with the support of IOM, says that 16 mobile medical teams and satellite clinics have been mobilized in existing and new settlements, covering an estimated 217,206 new arrivals.Last week, IOM has appealed for $26.1 million to meet the immediate needs of the 400,000 newly arrived people now sheltering in Cox’s Bazar.The Flash Appeal, covering the next three months, includes $3 million for healthcare. The IOM appeal is part of a broader appeal (ISCG Preliminary Response Plan) by all ISCG agencies operating in Cox’s Bazar for $77.1 million through year end.last_img

Local govt in ruling party grasp

first_imgLocal governmentAlmost all the local government institutions are marred by systemic failure and irregularities. These institutions are influenced and controlled by ruling party MPs. They lack coordination with the administration and other organisations as they are run by separate laws and have limited powers to collect taxes.These institutions do not have the authority to oversee all tasks and have to depend on the central government for budget and imposing tax in various sectors.From the union parishad to the city corporation, there are about 67 thousand representatives of the local government.According to the constitution, the elected local government body will coordinate several services and government allocations. It will also impose taxes for the services. It will draw up a budget based on its revenue and government allocations. However, local governments have to rely on the ministry for many matters including fund allocations.Several planners and experts have said that the government has made all sorts of commitments to render the local government institutions strong and effective, but these commitments have remained restricted to rhetoric only.The actual challenge for the government is to strengthen the local government by fulfilling these commitments, said the experts, adding that this was the only way to meet the United Nations’ sustainable development targets (SDGs) by 2030.Former caretaker government advisor Hossain Zillur Rahman told Prothom Alo that the ruling parties do not want to empower the local government. “It has become a new normal for the local government institutions to follow the orders imposed from above. Also, people’s involvement with the institutions has decreased,” he added.Purbadhala upazila parishad elections were scheduled to be held on 10 March. The Election Commission (EC) ordered local MP Waresat Hussain to leave the area on charges of influencing the election campaign. The MP left the area, but returned a few days later. Finally, the EC suspended the election there.Then again, there was no election for almost 16 years after the Zila Parishad Act was passed. In 2011, the government appointed Awami League leaders as administrators in 61 district councils across the country. The remaining three were the Hill District Councils. The first district council election was finally held in December 2016.Local governments influenced by MPsAccording to the 2009 Upazila Parishad Act, the local member of parliament (MP) is the advisor of the council. The council is to send a development plan to the government with his recommendations. The ministry will consequently take a decision after scrutinising the recommendations.The MPs try to establish control over local government in many ways. There has been discontent between Natore’s Baraigram upazila chairman Siddiqur Rahman Patwari and local MP Abdul Kuddus. The chairman complained that the MP often interfered in the work of the upazila.Siddiqur Rahman said, “The local government should be free from the influence of the MPs.” “MPs have influence on various the planning and implementation of development projects. But these works are supposed to be done by the elected representatives of the local government,” he added.The influence of MPs on the upazila parishad election has come to the limelight recently. Since the announcement of the schedule for first phase of upazila elections, local MPs participated in electioneering, violating the electoral code. Also, there were allegations that many MPs were fielding independent candidates of their choice against party candidates.Lack of coordination and accountabilityThe local government lacks coordination with many government departments such as family planning, health, agriculture and education. The ministry makes plans by itself and implements them at a field level. Local representatives have no role in this planning.The discontent between MPs and local administration is often visible. There are instances where the upazila and union parishad chairmen have even demanded removal of a certain upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO).There are different laws for union parishad, upazila parishad, zila parishad, municipality and city corporations. These laws conflict with one another in many cases. It had been decided to create a uniform law in the seventh Five Year Plan of the government but the process has not started as yet.There are provisions for ‘ward meetings’ twice a year under the Union Parishad Act. Voters will raise their views on various issues in this meeting. But the meetings are not regular. Also, the accountability of the public representatives is obligatory. Representatives say that the voters’ demands far outweigh the allocations. That is why they do not want to hold ward meetings.In the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the regional council is in charge of coordinating the administration, law and order, and development in the three hill districts. However, regional council chairman Gautam Kumar Chakma told Prothom Alo, the regional parishad has never been taken into consideration. The regional council has never been made effective due to political and bureaucratic reasons. No one wanted to see this council effective, he contended.Women representatives ignoredWomen are directly voted to the reserved seats of the local government. However, the function of the women representatives has not been clearly enunciated in the local government laws. They have no role in development planning or work. Of the 17 standing committees of the upazila parishads, 6 are headed by women vice chairmen. But as the standing committees are not active, these women vice chairmen have nothing to do.Najmun Nahar is the vice chairman of Bamna upazila in Barguna and the general secretary of the upazila Mahila Awami League. She told Prothom Alo that the women vice chairmen are not given due importance. The chairmen hold all power. All the women have to do is attend a meeting once a month. She said the women vice chairmen should be given specific responsibilities and authority.Income and abilities must be increasedDuring the 2018-19 fiscal, around 290 billion taka was allocated to run and develop the local government division. This amounted to 7 per cent of the national budget. Of this, of course, over 250 billion taka is the development budget. Local taxes are the only source of revenue for the local government. But under the the union parishad and upazila parishad laws, the councils are unable to collect adequate taxes. The local governments are thus in a dilemma.Chairman of the Aranagar union parishad in Dhamirhat upazila of Naogaon, Shahajahan Ali, told Prothom Alo that the union has very little revenue and the allocations are inadequate. The local administration carries out development work through contractors and do not bother to even consult the union parishad. He said that the workforce and allocations both have to be increased and the council must be consulted about development work.The law gives the local government responsibility for all sorts of work, such as maintaining law and order in the area, protecting the canals, rivers and water bodies, preventing violence against women or implementing the government’s development programmes. But in actuality, their functions are limited to some infrastructure construction, revenue collection, issuing certificates and some arbitration.The government is not taking any measures to build up the financial and administrative abilities of the local government so that they may carry out these functions. And the government also hardly monitors the functioning of the local government institutions.Unkept promisesPrime minister Sheikh Hasina visited the local government ministry after forming the government in 2014. She said that power should be decentralised and the local government strengthened. The local government tiers would be restructured and gradually given responsibility for health, education, law and order infrastructure development, social security and other development plans.Awami League’s manifesto for the 11th parliamentary polls also gave importance to the local government. It was said that communications, drinking water, waste management, health, education, sanitation, power and energy supply would be given to the local government to handle. But that would mean a much larger role for the local government to play.Secretary of SHUJAN (Citizens for Good Governance), Badiul Alam Majumdar, said that the constitution has already placed the responsibility on the shoulders of the local elected representatives to resolve all local problems. The government in power must understand that the local government is an autonomous body, free of government influence and also free of any control by the members of parliament.*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Farjana Liakatlast_img read more