Mumbai, Jul 14 (PTI) Taking a dig at Sharad Pawar over his comments on the nomination of Sambhaji Raje, a descendant of Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji, to the Rajya Sabha, a BJP journal today said the remarks of the NCP Chief on the matter reflected his fear of declining support base in Maharashtra.The BJPs swipe at Pawar in its fortnightly publication Manogat came days after Pawar took potshots at Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over the Rajya Sabha nomination of Sambhaji Raje, a descendant of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Shahu Maharaj.The write up took on Pawar over certain comments he had made on the issue, throwing references to history and politics of Maharashtra stretching back to the Maratha rule.Pawar had said “It is a historical fact that Chharapati (the title used by Maratha rulers) had appointed Peshwas (prime minister of the Maratha empire). During the rule of Peshwas, Fadnavis (a post of minister in Peshwa period) had never appointed a Chhatrapati. But in this case (nomination of Sambhaji Raje), the Peshwas have appointed a Chhatrapati.The BJP mouthpiece said that Pawars comments were a result of his envy of people coming from Hindutva fold ruling the state while he has become “helpless” in Maharashtra politics.”Sharad Pawar had used the caste card many times before. During (Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana leader) Raju Shettys agitation for sugarcane farmers in 2012, Pawar mentioned Shettys caste and accused him of protecting his castes sugar factory owners,” the BJP publication stated.”Pawar is frustrated as his support base in South Maharashtra is considerably declining. Kolhapurs Sambhaji Raje appointment as Rajya Sabha MP disturbed Pawar a lot and he has not been able to digest his appointment. He fears that his support base will decline in the coming days,” it added.advertisementIt sought to know if Pawar had respect for the descendant of Shivaji, why did he not refer Sambhaji Rajes name for a Rajya Sabha seat during the UPA regime.Responding to the BJPs charges, NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said that Raje had been his party candidate for 2009 Lok Sabha election and that the leadership had at the time advised him to rethink his decision when he wanted to take up Maratha agitation.”Whatever Pawar spoke is a fact and history cannot be denied. Why should the BJP be bothered about it when somebody is reminding them of history,” he added. PTI MM NM DBS SDM
Nominations for the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence have been extended to Monday, December 31, with the award ceremony rescheduled for early 2013. Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, made the disclosure on November 28, during a regional leadership seminar at the Rockfort Vocational Training Centre in Kingston. The award function was initially set for Sunday, December 2 at the end of Youth Month, and as part of ‘Jamaica 50’ celebrations. Ms. Hanna said the decision to extend the nominations was taken following a review of the planning process. She said that the new deadline will allow for more exemplary young people, from all over the island, to be recommended for the prestigious award. “I wanted to make sure that every young person in Jamaica, those persons at the HEART Trust/NTA, those persons in rural communities, those persons with disabilities, has a chance to submit a nomination or have someone nominate them. So, if you know of anyone, who you believe is a leader in this course, across the country, in your own community, (nominate them),” she urged. Nomination forms can be collected from the Ministry of Youth and Culture, 4-6 Trafalgar Road, Kingston 5; the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD) information centres in St. Ann, St. Mary, St. James, Portmore, Kingston and Portland; and NCYD Youth Empowerment Offices island-wide. Nomination forms can also be downloaded at http://bit.ly/pmyouthawardsform. Additionally, applicants can drop off their nominations at the Ministry’s office; and at National Youth Service (NYS) offices island-wide. The annual Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence is co-ordinated by the NCYD, an agency of the Ministry of Youth and Culture. The award is the highest honour given to young Jamaicans ages 15 and 24, who have achieved national and international distinction in the areas of: academics, agriculture, arts and culture, entrepreneurship, international achievement, leadership, journalism, sports, and service to their communities. The award aims to motivate each individual recipient through positive re-enforcement and recognition, and also seeks to optimise their growth and development.
A total of $52 million has been allocated to the Caribbean Asset Recovery Project in the 2013/2014 Estimates of Expenditure, which is now before the House of Representatives.The project seeks to strengthen the Financial Investigative Division by providing technical assistance to build its criminal asset recovery capabilities in tackling serious crimes.It also purports to develop the capability of the judiciary in the preparation, presentation and hearing of financial crimes.Physical achievements include the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the government of Jamaica and the United Kingdom; and a Chief Technical Director has been put in place.Anticipated targets for the 2013/2014 fiscal year include: to improve preparation of prosecutor’s statement; to increase recovery of criminal assets; to increase public awareness of the benefits of recovering the proceeds of crime; training to improve the number of persons who can present proceeds of crime cases; and training to improve the number of magistrates and judges who have the requisite capability to hear proceeds of crime cases.The project is being funded through a grant from the Department for International Development and is scheduled to be completed by September 2015.By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter
The Government is looking to implement the new framework for public sector salary negotiations during the 2017/19 contract period. Story Highlights The move, she said, is aimed at facilitating “prudent forecasting” of the wage bill and timely payments which, she noted “should ideally be at the beginning of each financial year.” The Government is looking to implement the new framework for public sector salary negotiations during the 2017/19 contract period.The framework, which has been endorsed by Cabinet, provides more structured and clearer guidelines for salary negotiations.State Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Fayval Williams, said among the provisions is a proposal to extend the contract period from two to three years, which will be discussed with the unions.The move, she said, is aimed at facilitating “prudent forecasting” of the wage bill and timely payments which, she noted “should ideally be at the beginning of each financial year.”Mrs. Williams indicated that representatives of the Ministry will be discussing the overall framework in order to arrive at a consensus on its implementation.She was addressing a special forum hosted by the Ministry for representatives of the Government, the unions and staff associations at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday, July 26.Mrs. Williams said at the outset, discussions will be initiated regarding the development of negotiating protocols at the beginning of each round of salary discussions to which “the parties must agree.”This, she said, would include all aspects of arrangements in place at individual Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA), including monitoring and communications mechanisms.Mrs. Williams said Cabinet underscored the need for adherence to the Government’s policies and guidelines for negotiations.These, she said, include the submission of all claims for central and local government bargaining units to the Director of Industrial Relations via the Financial Secretary; negotiations being led by the Ministry’s team supported by the respective MDA management; and escalation of unresolved issues through the hierarchy to the Minister with responsibility for the Public Service, and to the senior Portfolio Minister, if necessary.“Should the matter remain unresolved , (then) consultations will be had with the (respective) Portfolio Ministers or the Cabinet for a decision on the matter, thereafter the industrial relations machinery may be employed,” she indicated.Mrs. Williams said claims for provisions such as meal and taxi allowances, which are common across the public service, are to be negotiated by the Government with a team comprising representatives from unions and staff associations.She noted that all other items will be negotiated with each bargaining unit, adding that “these will be carefully managed to ensure that no unfair advantage is derived based on positional power due to the size of bargaining units.”Additionally, Mrs. Williams said administrative matters relating to provisions such as computers as well as occupational health and safety issues should be dealt with at the MDA level, while negotiations for employees attached to public bodies should be conducted with the management of those entities, unless otherwise directed or routed.“While the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service represents the Government at the bargaining table, we want you to engage your parent Ministry and develop that kind of relationship that will see only issues of improvement in salaries and allowances being negotiated at the table,” the State Minister pointed out.Mrs. Williams said that as the Government and trade unions prepare to commence discussions for a new wage contract, “let us all recommit to the general principles that have survived over a decade and embody the spirit of engagement and special dialogue between you and us.”State Minister with responsibility for the Public Service, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, who also spoke at the forum, noted the challenges associated with the negotiating process, among which are protracted settlement timelines.While acknowledging that the unions have a duty to secure the best package for their members, he said “we have to consider the value of money and conclude negotiations in a timely manner to make each dollar reach the point that it should, instead of barely making it two or three years later.” State Minister with responsibility for the Public Service, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, who also spoke at the forum, noted the challenges associated with the negotiating process, among which are protracted settlement timelines.
By Kenneth Jackson and Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsDays before the RCMP were called in by the Prime Minister’s Office to investigate, Bruce Carson planned to enlist another political heavy-weight to clear the “log-jam” in the Indian Affairs bureaucracy he believed was stymieing his efforts to land First Nations water contracts for an Ottawa-based company that had a deal with his escort fiancee.For months, Carson had been trying to land water deals that would see Michele McPherson, 22, stand to rake in millions of dollars based on a secret contract obtained by APTN Investigates.In a wide-ranging interview on March 6 with APTN, Carson, 65, a former senior advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said he was in the process of setting up a meeting between Environment Minister Peter Kent, Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and Patrick Hill, owner of H2O Global Group.“Where we are going next with this, and this is nobody’s business but mine, is to sit down with Duncan, Kent, Atleo and myself and probably Patrick to try to figure out a way to break through the log-jam,” said Carson.A spokesperson for Kent said the minister met with Carson once on Feb. 7 to talk about the environment and clean energy. Carson, at the time, was the head of the Canada School on the Environment and Energy. During the conversation the subject of First Nations water came up.“Mr. Carson did raise general water issues on First Nations, but did not name any specific company or companies during the discussion,” said Bill Rogers, Kent’s director of communications. “The issues are the responsibility of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. As such, no follow-up was required by (Kent) and the two men have not discussed the matter since.”For the man nicknamed “the mechanic” and known as Stephen Harper’s fixer, what he was witnessing with Indian Affairs bureaucrats was all too familiar, he said. Carson said it had been the problem from the beginning for the Conservative government. He made no secret of his allegiance to the Conservatives and called Harper one of his best friends.While praising the work of the last three Clerks of the Privy Council, the most powerful bureaucrat in the government and essentially the deputy minister for the prime minister’s central department, Carson said it was always the mid-level bureaucrats who seemed to throw up roadblocks to getting things done.“One of the guys told me if you read (former British prime minister) Tony Blair’s book, it’s a terrible book, there is a part there where Blair talks about trying to get the bureaucracy to think the way he thought,” said Carson. “And that is the same way here.You have a really good idea, you are trying to put it forward, a lot of people think it’s a really good idea…but in the end it is just someone sitting somewhere saying, well we’ll just put it on ice.”Carson and the company also planned an end-run on the department and were trying to convince bands to pass band council resolutions stating they wanted to do business.“If we can work with the band itself and have the work with them, it will be easier having the band work with (the department) rather than ourselves,” said Carson. “Each of the communities gets a stream of money for capital projects and if we can tap into that kind of money coming through the band rather than making some huge application to (the department).”They convinced one Manitoba band to send a letter of intent but Indian Affairs said the community could not qualify for money set aside for water projects because its water was not dirty enough.Carson and the water company believed the Mohawk community of Tyendinaga was close to signing on the dotted line.APTN was told by a band official involved in talks with the company that the deal seemed too good to be true.Carson said Indian Affairs officials informed him that the department would pay directly for a project worth over $1.5 million. He also said the department would be willing to fork over training money. The company planned to train two people on each reserve to change filters. All the bands had to do was sign and all their water problems would be fixed, said Carson.“(The department) has represented to us that they will actually pay for this out of the $330 million that the government put aside to handle this, to deal with clean drinking water,” he said.Despite his “frustration,” Carson, through his connections to Atleo and the political levers of power in the central agencies of the federal government, had pushed the company into a place it never thought it could reach, according to Hill. Even Carson said the work he was able to do in just months was pretty good.Hill believed the water deals would have pushed his company into the stratosphere.“This can turn very big. This can turn Global Group into an international company,” said Hill, who created Global Group to deal with the department and First Nations on the water deals. Carson and Hill initially tried to use Hill’s other water company H2O Pros but created Global Group in October. Hill said Global Group had been around for three years.Hill had tried to land water deals on his own but didn’t get far.“I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere…We expressed our frustration with Bruce. This has been very difficult,” said Hill. “I was there before in the same meetings before Bruce was there, and they were, yeah okay, that sounds great, do a couple of (trade) shows.”If it wasn’t for Carson they’d still be a company looking in, banging on the door, said Hill.Carson, however, seemed to sense he was on shaky ground in terms of his lobbying. At one point, Carson said he was worried the Lobbying Commissioner could start looking into his activities.When asked if the thought he could slip through under the rule that allows someone to lobby without registering if it makes up less than 20 per cent of their work, Carson said he thought he would.“I really don’t want the Lobbying Commissioner sort of going crazy over my involvement in this,” he said. “This would be like one-tenth of one per cent of my time so we’re all right.”The Conservative government also brought in new rules forbidding former political staff from being registered lobbyists for five years.Carson also said his frustration with the pace of talks with Indian Affairs bureaucrats was shared by Duncan’s staff.“I met with John’s (Duncan) staff and they know (about the water company). They are trying to be helpful and quite frankly it’s a frustration for them too,” said Carson, in the interview. “There is a certain amount of frustration, and everybody knows this, but I haven’t made a secret about it, of trying to deal, trying to get this moving along in the department.”Duncan’s office has admitted officials met with Carson.Indian Affairs has also confirmed it met with Carson and company representatives at least four times.An APTN investigation into Carson’s activities uncovered months of email correspondence between the political insider and company representatives, Indian Affairs officials and Atleo along with AFN staff.The emails all centered on finding ways to get First Nations water contracts for the company. They also offered a glimpse of Carson’s reach into the centre of political power.In one email, Carson said he discussed the appointment of Duncan to the Indian Affairs portfolio the day before the Aug. 6 announcement.Carson also sat with APTN for two candid conversations where he offered a peek behind the curtains shrouding the power rooms of political Ottawa.Then on March 13, APTN confronted Carson with the information. APTN then contacted the Prime Minister’s Office for comment.After reviewing APTN’s documentation, the PMO asked for the RCMP to probe Carson.Carson is also facing an investigation by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and the Commissioner of Lobbying over his activities around trying to land First Nations water deals for the water company.The company also had signed a deal with McPherson, who also went by the name Leanna VIP, guaranteeing her 20 per cent of gross sales revenues from potential water contracts. Sources say a second contract was signed earlier this year. She was supposed to be the face of the company but during APTN’s investigation she was nowhere to be found.Carson met McPherson March 15, 2010 while she was working as an escort. She continued to work full time until at least the middle of August when she wrote on an online escort site she would be only working part-time. Carson began pushing the company in July according to emails.Carson and McPherson also own a home together. They bought it in December and when they turned the tap on for the first time in their newly purchased, nearly $400,000 home with a pool, they were disgusted by the smell of the water.“We were a couple of amateur house buyers, because we just loved the house…We never turned the tap on…and she turned it on and it…just smelled of rotten eggs, it had sulphur and all kinds of stuff,” said Carson of the house that sits on a two acre lot, about 60 kilometres south of Ottawa.That brought them into contact with Patrick Hill.email@example.com@aptn.ca