West Point Commissioner Fears Cholera Epidemic in Township

first_imgWest Point Township Commissioner Miatta H. Flowers has expressed fears over the eventual cholera epidemic the township would face after the abrupt end of the Liberia Maritime Authority Beaches and Waterways Project.In an interview with the Daily Observer Sunday, December 22, Commissioner Flowers said since the project was recently halted there have been a series of reports reaching her office indicating that many residents have reverted to unhygienic practices such as littering and defecating on the West Point beach.“The LMA Beaches and Waterways Project made sure that there was organized security that patrolled the beach every night to ensure that unscrupulous people don’t mess up the beach,” Commissioner Flowers said.She said since the end of the project the beach is no longer protected and with the congestion in the township, the likelihood of a cholera epidemic may not be too far away.“A cholera breakout would cause more suffering, so it is highly necessary for the government to help us before it is too late,” she said.Commissioner Flowers explained, “For the last three years, we have not experienced any threat from cholera, but now my office is worried that if the nearly 550 people now jobless are not returned to their former duties of protecting the beach, we may regress back to where we were before the project.”“I am appealing to the Government of Liberia to reconsider its decision, taking into account the reasons I have raised concerns about, and try to seek funds to continue the project,” she said.She also took time to express appreciation for the LMA Beaches and Waterways Project, which she said ensured that jobless residents in her township were able to help themselves, despite the harsh economy.The LMA recently announced the end of the Beaches and Waterways Project due to financial constraints. The project benefitted nearly 1,985 casual laborers in several slum communities, including West Point, New Kru Town, Popo Beach, and ELWA.At the time of the announcement, the LMA owed three months in arrears, which it settled last Monday.West Point is one of the largest slum communities in Monrovia. Most of its residents use the Mesurado River and the beautiful beach along the Atlantic Ocean to defecate. Residents live in very poor and unhygienic condition, leaving them expose to water-borne disease and malaria.Many of the township’s children play along the beach barefooted.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Sirleaf Endorses US$18M for District Development

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has endorsed US$18.25 million for Direct District Development projects in the national Fiscal Budget 2014/2015 respectively.In a communication addressed to the House of Representatives Tuesday, June 3rd, in Monrovia, Madam Sirleaf stressed the need for central government to embark on specific district projects in the 73 electoral of the 15 counties.According to the President, said initiatives “accelerate economic activities in the districts and alleviate the difficulties in attracting skilled professionals for assignments away from Monrovia.”In response to the Legislature’s request for more support to rural development, President Sirleaf said; “Government will invest US$18.25 million primarily for the construction of security and social infrastructure.”This means that Madam Sirleaf endorses the controversial US$73 million district development fund being demanded by the Lower House, essentially ignoring an opposing view from the Senate, whose members don’t see the wisdom of the money.House Speaker J. Alex Tyler and colleagues are resolved to identifying said amount in this year’s budget, insisting that “nothing can stall the process.”In the wisdom of President Sirleaf, appropriating US$73 million for district purpose is a brilliant idea, but she believes the timing is not right and there must be a beginning point.However, the Chief Executive encouraged lawmakers to embrace the initial US$18.25 million in order to ensure that proper spending is carried out while they play their role of robust oversight responsibility.The President’s comments were contained in a Budget Message addressed to the House of Representatives in keeping with the Public Financial Management Laws and Article 34 of the 1986 Constitution.Relative to the security and UNMIL drawdown process, the President announced that government is proposing an increase in its own allocations to security projects in order to maintain peace and stability in the country.“While projects totaling US$59.3 million were proposed, the fiscal space only provides for US$23.5 million.We propose that funding focuses on establishment of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) training academy in Foya; extension of Police Training Academy in Monrovia; continuation of the Camp Todee Military Academy’s rehabilitation; and training, logistics and deployment of 1,832 recruits into the various security institutions. We need to protect these core programs if we are to position the sector to effectively cater to our national security needs when UNMIL closes its mission,” President Sirleaf, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia, declared.The President reminded public servants of the need to sacrifice in the execution of the budget, adding; “We are being guided by expenditure principles.”She named the principles as: “Prioritizing debt repayments and other non-discretionary payments prevent the build-up of arrears; waging a war on waste and reducing recurrent expenditures in order to free up resources for the Agenda for Transformation by eliminating some budgetary lines and reducing other lines that are very highly discretionary. Paying government’s portion of high impact projects across a number of sectors, known as counterpart funding, in order to leverage over US$300 million of additional donor funds and develop much needed infrastructure. “In short, Madam Sirleaf indicated: “We are also going to reduce excessive expenditure on goods and services by eliminating scratch cards and reducing spending on fuel and foreign travel.”The Executive Mansion announced that fuel will be restricted to operational use only; and for all air travel less than eight hours in the duration, officials and ministers will be required to fly economy class. The number of foreign trips will also be limited to three per year, with the exception of the President, Vice President, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Finance; and there will be a limit of more than five members on any travel party.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

2 APNU Region 6 Councillors thrown out of RDC

first_imgTwo coalition Councillors from the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) list, have been thrown out of the Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) Regional Democratic Council (RDC).The two Councillors – Janet Samuels and Koshal Goberdan – lost their seats on Thursday.Regional Chairman David Armogan, presiding over Thursday’s RDC, said they have not attended the RDC meetings for more than six months. Goberdan, he noted, had been living in the United States for the past eight months and had reportedly authorised someone to uplift his stipend in his absence.Meanwhile, Samuels had not attended the RDC for 2018.Under the Local Government Act, Councillors should automatically lose their seats after being absent from statutory meetings for three consecutive months without a valid excuse.Armogan also issued a warning for Alliance For Change (AFC) Councillor Devin Sookraj, who he noted had also been absent from meetings last year more than he was present. It was disclosed that Sookraj has not attended any of the two meetings for this year either.The Region Six RDC comprises 30 seats with the People’s Progressive Party holding 19 and the coalition, 11.Meanwhile, Gobin Harbhajan, another Councillor who sits on the Government’s side and who is also the Prime Minister’s regional representative, in an invited comment on the issue, said the RDC is like a mini-Parliament in which the Government and the Opposition sides appoint Councillors to represent the people in the region.He admitted that he had not seen Councillor Samuels for a very long period.Harbhajan also took the opportunity to remind Councillors that they were put there to serve the people of Berbice.last_img read more

Passengers stranded as CJIA runway lights fail

first_img…American Airlines diverted flight to T&THundreds of passengers were left stranded after the runway lighting system at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) experienced a failure on Thursday night, forcing at least one airline to divert to Trinidad for landing.According to the CJIA in a statement on Thursday, the airport’s runway lighting system had a failure as a result of a slack cable connection. But after the failure, sometime around 23:30h, portable runway lights were immediately deployed along the entire length of the runway.The faulted cable was temporarily installed to facilitate the ongoing extension works on the runway.A senior airport official explained to Guyana Times that the runway light cables are usually ran underground, but because of the ongoing extension works, temporary cables are being used. These, it was noted, were run to the extreme ends of the runway.“That is just a temporary arrangement, but when the runway is extended fully, (the cables) will go back down underground as it would normally be. The temporary cable got loose, it got slack and that caused the lights to go off physically and we had to use the portable lights,” the official said.Nevertheless, the airport’s management assured in the missive on Friday that the portable runway lights that were used complied with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.This allowed for the departure of the Suriname Airways flight shortly after midnight and the arrival of Caribbean Airlines flight BW 605 from Port of Spain around 02:12h on Friday.However, Thursday night’s incoming American Airlines flight was diverted to Trinidad, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded in Piarco International Airport in Port-of-Spain and at the airport in Guyana.Passengers who were on the diverted flight complained of being left at the Trinidad airport for hours with little to no word from the flight crew or airline representatives. The same plights were experienced by passengers scheduled to depart Guyana with that same flight.“I can’t comment on the decision taken by American Airlines (to divert) but our runway was operational,” the official contended.Meanwhile, efforts by this newspaper to obtain a comment from American Airlines on the issue were futile.Nevertheless, the CJIA assured that the main runway lighting system has since been repaired for operations. According to the official, measures were also put in place to prevent a reoccurrence of Thursday’s incident.last_img read more

Match fixing, the curse of planet football

first_img0Shares0000A folder containing evidence sits on a table at the start of the 2009 trial linked to ‘Calciopoli’ © AFP/File / MARIO LAPORTAPARIS, France, Oct 10 – The anti-fraud operation that shook Belgian football on Wednesday is a reminder that the manipulation of matches, linked to betting or not, spares no country.Here is a brief tour of the global match-fixing scandals. – The Italian miniseries –Italian football has had a series of scandals.“Totonero”, a play on the Italian for football pools, in 1980, resulted in the relegation of AC Milan and Lazio and bans for several players, including Paolo Rossi, who returned just in time to win the World Cup for Italy and the subsequent Ballon d’Or.There was a sequel, “Totonero B”, in 1986.The “Calciopoli” scandal, in 2006, did not involve gambling and only indirectly match rigging as big clubs influenced the selection of referees. Juventus were stripped of two league titles and demoted.The scandal that appears to contain most elements in common with Belgium was the “Calcioscommesse”, or “football bet,” affair which ended with several players and coaches in prison.The match-rigging apparatus, was, according to Interpol, run from Singapore by businessman Dan Tan who worked with Eastern European criminals to bribe, or in one case drug, Italian players.After close to 100,000 telephone taps, dozens of arrests and searches, the Cremona prosecutor found that during the 2010-2011 season, at least 50 matches, including 20 in Serie A, were fixed.Tan is wanted in Italy and also Hungary, where he is alleged to have rigged matches, but Singapore does not have an extradition agreement with the European Union.– Belgium, the prequel –In 2014, after a long investigation, the authorities ruled that 18 matches had been sold by players for sums between 5,000 euros and 40,000 euros from 2004 and 2006.Chinese businessman Zheyun Ye, who had invested in the Lierse club, was sentenced, in absentia, to five years in prison.Paul Put, manager of 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finalists Burkina Faso, Pietro Allata, a businessman and self-proclaimed gambler and former Belgian international goalkeeper Gilbert Bodart were also found guilty of corruption.Zheyun Ye has disappeared. Put is now managing in the Chinese second division.– Marseille and the buried cash –The most famous scandal in France, surrounding Marseille’s Ligue 1 game at Valenciennes in May 1993, was not related to betting.Six days away from a European Cup final against AC Milan, Marseille wanted to collect the points, and clinch the French title, without wasting energy. Even though one home player reportedly confessed to his coach at half time, Marseille won 1-0.Later, 250,000 francs were discovered in the garden of Valenciennes player Christophe Robert. Marseille were stripped of their French title and Valenciennes relegated.– Fixing on the menu in Berlin cafe –In 2011, Ante Sapina, a Croatian national already been sentenced to 36 months in jail for his role in a betting scandal involving German referee Robert Hoyzer, was sentenced to five and a half years for manipulating games in nine countries, including Europa League and World Cup matches, by paying money to players, referees and officials. German prosecutors focused on 47 matches but said up to 300 were involved.Operating out of a Berlin cafe, Sapina bet on the matches in the unsupervised Asian markets and made an estimated profit of 2.4 million euros.– Fake friendlies –Not content with rigging matches in existing competitions, fixers have taken to staging their own games.Several seem to have been created by a Singaporean, Wilson Raj Perumal who has served jail time in Finland for match fixing and now assists Hungarian investigators, says he worked for Dan Tan.As many as 80 Zimbabwean footballers as well as officials and administrators, were suspended for their part in the “Asiagate” scandal, involving a series of friendlies, mostly in Asia. Many were never played, but in three that were, in 2009, the Zimbawean teams lost.FIFA investigated a pair of friendlies — Bulgaria against Estonia and Latvia against Bolivia — played in Antalya, Turkey, in February 2011. All seven goals in the matches came from penalty kicks.Most bizarre was Bahrain’s home friendly against a Togo team containing none of the advertised players, in 2010. Despite having five goals disallowed, Bahrain beat visibly unfit opponents, 3-0. After the game Togo’s football federation said it had not sent a team.– Birthplace of football –In 1915, with the English league on the point of being suspended because of World War I, Manchester United beat Liverpool 2-0, in a first-division game in which Liverpool missed a penalty.After the match flyers began to appear alleging that large amounts of money had been bet at attractive odds on just that result. Seven players, three from United and four from Liverpool, were banned for life. Six, including one who had died serving in the war, were reinstated in 1919.0Shares0000(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

DPP told about ‘inconsistencies’ in CCTV footage in rape trial

first_imgA garda investigating the alleged rape of a teenage girl in Donegal told the DPP about an inconsistency between CCTV footage and the complainant’s account, a court has heard.Lead investigator Garda Paul Leape also defended his decision not to show the girl the CCTV footage of herself and the accused (19) returning from the scene of the alleged offenses. The garda said under cross-examination: “I don’t believe it’s an investigator’s job to return to an injured party or to a witness, and, because one piece of evidence is inconsistent to another, you’d give them a second bite of the cherry to explain the inconsistency.”A 19-year-old youth has pleaded not guilty to raping and orally raping the then 16-year-old girl behind a building in the town in the early hours of March 18, 2016.On Day 7 of the Central Criminal Court trial, Gda Leape was asked about a report he compiled on the basis of statements, CCTV footage, forensic and other evidence.His report was part of a file sent to a garda sergeant, a superintendent and then on to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who then decided to prosecute the case.The court heard the file included two clips of CCTV footage, previously shown to the jury. This depicted the girl and the accused walking to and from the scene of the alleged rapes in the early hours of the morning.In his report to the DPP, Gda Leape commented that the first CCTV clip showed that the girl “willingly” went with the accused to the scene. He also wrote that the second piece of footage “clearly shows both parties returning hand in hand from the scene. They kiss each other before she gently pushes him away”.“She does not appear from the footage to be overtly upset,” concluded Gda Leape in his report.Under cross-examination from Michael O’Higgins SC, defending, Gda Leape agreed that the footage “does not necessarily support” the evidence given by the injured party and by her friends that she had been upset after the alleged events.“You’re looking at the screen, it’s a one-dimensional view. Just because she doesn’t appear to me to be upset, it doesn’t mean that, inside, she wasn’t upset,” Gda Leape clarified.Gda Leape said he spoke to other witnesses on the night who said the girl had been upset.Gda Leape also rejected a suggestion by the defence that he had taken the complaint made by the injured party “at face value” and had “never investigated the underlying facts”.“The statements were not taken at face value. There was other evidence taken which showed consistency to what we believed she was saying. Also other statements from her friends, CCTV on the night, all heading in the one direction,” said Gda Leape.Earlier, Gda Leape told counsel for the defence that “taking the statement is not the forum for seeking an explanation” when faced with an inconsistency.“Where is the forum?’ asked counsel“Here,” replied the garda. “You could have put it to the witness during your cross-examination.”The court also heard that when the accused was charged with both offences, he replied “that’s not true,” to the allegation of rape. When charged with the second count of oral rape, he replied, “that’s also not true.”The trial, before Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy and a jury of eight men and four women, is due to continue on Friday, when Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, will give his closing speech on behalf of the State.DPP told about ‘inconsistencies’ in CCTV footage in rape trial was last modified: July 12th, 2018 by StephenShare 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:courtdonegalrapelast_img read more

‘West Wing’ actor Spencer dies from heart attack

first_imgJohn Spencer, who played a tough and dedicated politico on “The West Wing” who survived a serious illness to run for vice president, died of a heart attack Friday. He was 58. Spencer died after being admitted to a Los Angeles hospital during the night, said his publicist, Ron Hofmann. He would have been 59 on Tuesday. He was “one of those rare combinations of divinely gifted and incredibly generous,” said Richard Schiff, who plays Toby Ziegler on the NBC series. “There are very few personal treasures that you put in your knapsack to carry with you for the rest of your life, and he’s one of those,” Schiff said. He said Spencer had been struggling with health issues but seemed to have rebounded. “We have all lost a dear, dear brother,” said Bradley Whitford, who plays Josh Lyman. NBC and producer Warner Bros. Television praised Spencer’s talent but did not address how his death would affect the Emmy Award-winning series, in production on its seventh season. Spencer, who also starred on “L.A. Law” as attorney Tommy Mullaney, received an Emmy Award for his performance on “The West Wing” in 2002 and was nominated four other times for the series. “I am honored to call John Spencer a friend and his death is a loss that will be felt for a long time to come,” Smits said in a release. “Working with him was a privilege. Being an actor has the advantage of living on in the work that we do and for that I am grateful. John was a true pillar of a man, he set the stage for kindness and generosity. His humor and smile were infectious; he will be greatly missed.” The actor, whose world-weary countenance was perfect for the role of McGarry, mirrored his character in several ways: Both were recovering alcoholics and both, Spencer once said, were driven. “Like Leo, I’ve always been a workaholic, too,” he told The Associated Press in a 2000 interview. “Through good times and bad, acting has been my escape, my joy, my nourishment. The drug for me, even better than alcohol, was acting.” Spencer grew up in Paterson, N.J., the son of blue-collar parents. With his enrollment at the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan at age 16, he was sharing classes with the likes of Liza Minnelli and budding violinist Pinchas Zukerman. As a teenager, he landed a recurring role on “The Patty Duke Show” as the boyfriend of English twin Cathy. Stage and film work followed. Then his big break: playing Harrison Ford’s detective sidekick in the 1990 courtroom thriller “Presumed Innocent.” That role led to his hiring for the final four years of “L.A. Law.” Spencer played a streetwise lawyer on the David E. Kelley drama that was in sharp contrast to the show’s otherwise glamorous cast and setting. After attending the Manhattan performing arts school, Spencer studied at Fairleigh Dickenson University. He then began working on stage in New York and in regional theaters, in plays including David Mamet’s “Lakeboat” and Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie.” Spencer won an Obie Award for the 1981 off-Broadway production of “Still Life,” about a Vietnam veteran, and received a Drama Desk nomination for “The Day Room.” His made his feature film debut with a small role in “War Games,” which was followed by roles in “Sea of Love” and “Black Rain.” Spencer said his work in “Presumed Innocent” represented a “watershed role.” In recent years, he worked both in studio and independent films, including “The Rock,” “The Negotiator,” “Albino Alligator,” “Lesser Prophets” and “Cold Heart.” Spencer, an only child, is survived by “cousins, aunts, uncles, and wonderful friends,” Hofmann said. Associated Press Writer Jeremiah Marquez and Daily News Staff Writer Valerie Kuklenski contributed to this report. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Spencer played Leo McGarry, the savvy and powerful chief of staff to President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet (Martin Sheen). In a sad parallel to life, Spencer’s character suffered a heart attack that forced him to give up his White House job. McGarry recovered and was picked as a running mate for Democratic presidential contender Matt Santos, played by Jimmy Smits; the campaign against Republican Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda) has been a central theme for the drama this season. “John was an uncommonly good man, an exceptional role model and a brilliant actor,” said Aaron Sorkin, who created the series, and Tommy Schlamme, one of the original executive producers, in a joint statement. “We feel privileged to have known him and worked with him. He’ll be missed and remembered every day by his many, many friends,” they said. Actress Allison Janney, C.J. Cregg on the series, described Spencer as a consummate professional actor. “Everyone adored him,” she said. last_img read more


first_imgA woman was left terrified when a man attacked her home with a hammer in Letterkenny.House was attacked with hammer.The incident happened in the Manor View area of Long Lane at the weekend.The man, believed to be an Irish national, called to the house demanding to speak to a Polish man. The man had been banging on a number of doors in the area looking for a named man.When a woman answered the door, she was met by an angry man waving a hammer.The man lashed out and broke a window with the hammer.The woman explained that the man had the wrong house and he left. It is believed the man then got a taxi back down the town.Gardai were called to the scene and interview a number of frightened tenants.They are keen to speak to any taxi-driver who may have given the man a lift.The attack happened between midnight and 1am in the early hours of Sunday morning. HAMMER ATTACK LEAVES WOMAN TERRIFIED IN HER HOME was last modified: September 16th, 2013 by StephenShare 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:attackGardaiLonglaneManor Viewlast_img read more

Calls for further sewerage schemes in west Donegal as work commences in Gweedore

first_imgIrish Water is set to commence work as part of the new sewerage scheme in parts of Gweedore in the coming weeks, it has been revealed. The new sewerage scheme will improve the water quality in Gweedore Bay and local rivers and streams, provide better treatment of wastewater to protect the environment and ensure Gweedore is in compliance with Irish and European regulations.As part of the initial phase of the project, it will be necessary to install approximately 2.5km of new wastewater network along Factory Road, the Lower Road to the wastewater treatment plant and the link road connecting both. Speaking to Donegal Daily following the news, Cllr Micheal Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said: “I would like to congratulate all of those that have been involved for bringing the project to where it is at the moment.“It shows you what you can be achieved when the community comes together and I am not pretending that I was apart of that but as a local councillor I would say that it is very encouraging.“However, it is disappointing in some sense it is not the scheme that was not originally promised back many years ago.“It is a step forward and will be of benefit for the Gweedore community but, overall the response from state to provide the people of west Donegal with a proper sewerage scheme has been nothing short of a disgrace. “Previous governments also had the opportunity to put proper measures in place, when the government was led by Fianna Fáil, and they chose not too.“And it is also the correct time to start talking about further afield in west Donegal, especially the parish of Anagaire.“I have been with having talks with Irish Water with the need for a sewerage system in Anagaire, the entire parish, instead of waste being put out to the tide.”The works will take approximately three months to complete and will be largely confined to public and private roads.While every effort has been taken to minimise disruption to local residents, it has been announced that there will be traffic management measures and stop-go systems in place while works are being carried out. A road closure will also be required to facilitate a particular section of the installation works.This road closure will take place along the Lower Ardnagappary Road for a period of up to four weeks.Temporary diversions will be in place during this period with the diversion route being communicated to affected residents in advance.Calls for further sewerage schemes in west Donegal as work commences in Gweedore was last modified: August 2nd, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare 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)last_img read more

Beautiful Things from SA

first_img27 November 2003South Africa’s flourishing craft market is providing tourists with spectacular and original artefacts to take home from their travels. And in the process, poverty is being alleviated in a truly sustainable manner.Several cultural initiatives, born out of the Craft Imbizo II at the World Summit on Sustainable Development that took place in Johannesburg in 2002, have taken off.These initiatives are providing people in far-flung corners of the country with employment – and stimulating the arrival of new and highly marketable creative designs onto the country’s already rich arts and craft scene.Beautiful Things, an exhibition showcasing crafts from around the country and put together for the World Summit, has now developed a momentum of its own. More on Beautiful Things After the Summit, the exhibition moved to the Bus Factory, a new crafts exhibition centre in Newtown, Johannesburg, in December 2002. There is now a retail outlet, Shop for Beautiful Things, alongside the exhibition, which sells a range of exotic and varied crafts both from the exhibition and bought specifically for the shop.“Craft objects made by traditional craftspeople, according to ancient practices, can be found on exhibition, side by side with those made from contemporary materials to suit the expanding local and international markets”, says the department of arts and culture.“Many of the new products are made by the groups set up by the Poverty Alleviation Fund (established by the department to create job opportunities for poor people). The exhibition is constantly expanding and changing to display and market the products to the local and international buyers who come to see this remarkable showcase of craft.”The Bus Factory, a partnership initiative between the department, the Gauteng provincial government, the City of Johannesburg and the Johannesburg Development Agency, aims to become a hub for the country’s craft industry – showcasing crafts from all nine provinces and operating as a centre for training and development workshops.Xhosa arts and crafts take offAnother sustainable craft initiative is taking off in the Eastern Cape. When crafters from the province exhibited their wares at the World Summit Imbizo, they soon realised they had highly desirable products on display and required a sales outlet after the Summit.With financial help from the department of arts and culture’s Poverty Alleviation Fund, they set up a shop in the Boardwalk Casino complex in Port Elizabeth, a much-frequented tourist attraction, and opened to the public in December 2002.Initially, nine local crafters supplied the shop, EzamaXhosa (meaning “Belonging to the Xhosa People”). Now, 145 crafters from even the most remote rural areas of the Eastern Cape are supplying their wares to the shop.Pottery, beadwork, cushions, table linen, leatherwork, wooden carvings, cutlery, walking sticks, bags, cards and traditional clothing are some of the items on sale. The traditional clothing has proved so popular that more shop space is now needed to cater to the demand.Although most crafters are paid twice a month depending on sales, the very poor crafters are paid cash for their wares. This money comes from the 25% mark-up on shop goods. Crafters are also given lists of which of their products have sold and which have not. So far, ExamaKhosa has paid out R250 000 to Eastern Cape crafters.Unfortunately, the money from the Poverty Alleviation Fund – which has financed shop fittings and equipment and which pays administration funds and the salaries of eight staff members – will cease in March 2004. The Boardwalk will begin charging rental, and the shop will need to be sustainable.But, with the success thus far of the Johannesburg and Eastern Cape initiatives, the future looks brighter for scores of previously unemployed people who have developed new skills in the crafts industry, and who now have an outlet for their wares.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more