first_img THIRD WIN HIGH HOPES FOR FINAL SEASON Meanwhile, Bolt says he is positive about his final season on the track and is boosted by his fitness after recently competing in the Nitro Athletics in Australia. “The fact I could actually sprint is a good sign. I was never able to sprint or compete this early in the season for a long time, so for me, I am really happy about that and it’s a good sign that I am on the right track,” said Bolt, who has 22 international titles on his CV. In a touching move, Bolt’s parents Wellesley and Jennifer, were presented with a specially commissioned Alphanso Blake painting, which was brushed on cedar in honour and recognition of their role and support in the sprinter’s development. “What we need in Jamaica is to highlight more of the good things that are happening in Jamaica so we can inspire others,” Barnes noted. “At his (Bolt) acceptance speech at the RJR Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year awards, he said, ‘I am a little boy from Sherwood Content and if I can reach here, then there should be nothing that you can’t accomplish’. That was the most powerful message, here is a normal person doing great things, and everyone in Jamaica can aspire towards that.” He’s a man of many firsts and the 2016 Gleaner Honour Awards Man of the Year Usain Bolt again wrote his own chapter in history after becoming the first three-time recipient of the much-vaunted award on a day that saw other sporting icons being recognised. Bolt, who also won his fourth category award for sports, shared the sporting limelight with double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson (sports) and road race magnate Alfred ‘Franno’ Francis’ Running Events Limited (health and wellness). Already sprinting in January and a record fourth Laureus Award in hand, yesterday’s recognition was the latest highlight in what is already a great start to Bolt’s farewell season. Yesterday’s nod follows Bolt’s previous Man of the Year awards in 2008 and 2009, pushing him beyond two-time winners Edward Seaga and Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart as the most successful recipient of this award. In 2012, Bolt was presented with a special Jamaica50 Global Jamaican Honour Award. The big sprinter also won category awards for sports, his fourth following sports awards in 2008, 2009, and in 2002, after his 200m gold-medal run at the World Junior Championships. “It’s always a great feeling, I’m really happy. It’s been a tough couple of years and I’m finally coming to the end of my career, so getting these awards is always a great feeling,” Bolt told The Gleaner shortly after receiving his trophy from Managing Director Christopher Barnes. Bolt, who reminisced about his early days appearing in The Gleaner’s publications, was especially proud to become the first three-time Man of the Year recipient. “I set high standards, and it’s always good to get to the top and stay there by yourself,” he laughed. “Really, it’s a great feeling, and I will continue trying to do great things even outside of track and field – you never know, I might end up winning in something else.” “Just being on TV and coming in The Gleaner and your parents cutting the articles out and saving them was and is always a wonderful feeling. This is what you dream about. Those were your big dreams back then, so it’s a good feeling (to again be awarded by The Gleaner).”last_img read more

first_imgIntroductionThe increased attraction of foreign direct investments to post-conflict Liberia and the Government’s efforts to reduce poverty and make Liberia a middle-income country by 2030 will have little impact if public sector management remains wanting. Effective public sector performance will greatly determine the extent to which Liberia steadily remains on the road to reconstruction and development. Corruption and inefficiency continue to be stubborn obstacles to good public sector management. In their efforts to reduce corruption and promote the proper use of public sector resources, multiple government entities—including the Ministry of Justice, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), the Civil Service Agency (CSA), the General Auditing Commission (GAC), the Governance Commission (GC) and the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC)—are severely challenged by entrenched bad practices in the public sector. Many of these institutions are putting up their best fight against public sector corruption and inefficiency, but the battle is overwhelming, to say the least.       Any hope for good public sector management?Some hope seems to lie in the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), an outgrowth of the Internal Audit Secretariat (IAS), which was created by the Liberian Government to help improve public sector performance. The IAA has the legal mandate to “Establish and direct internal audit functions within all branches of Government including the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary; and all public entities such as, public corporations, autonomous agencies, autonomous commissions, Government ministries and the Central Bank of Liberia.” The mandate also charges the IAA to “Advise and/or provide assurance that financial and operational activities of Government are in compliance with laws, policies, plans, standards and procedures that are applicable.”In line with this legal responsibility, the IAA has been assuming and reorganizing the internal audit functions of government agencies, and working with them to improve their financial and operational processes. Through risk assessment, assurance, advisory and other audit functions, the IAA works with government agencies to improve performance in priority areas such as payroll and personnel management, bank reconciliations, pre-auditing of disbursements, assets management, accounting and budgetary controls, prior audit recommendations and procurement. These efforts are contributing to better outcomes in the public sector and saving the Government of Liberia huge sums of money and other resources.In 2011, the IAS—the precursor of the IAA–started the deployment of internal auditors in eight government ministries. Today, IAA is working with 35 government ministries and public corporations. IAA auditors are recruited through rigorous testing and interview processes conducted with the help of diverse panelists. The auditors are predominantly college-educated. Many hold advanced degrees, while some have professional certifications such as Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).The Challenges of Change The deployment of internal auditors at Government agencies has received mixed responses. Most agency heads have embraced the assistance of the IAA. They generally consult with the internal auditors as often as needed on financial and operational issues. Some agency heads would hardly authorize certain transactions unless the transactions have been cleared by the internal auditors. Understandably, a few other agencies have been struggling with the new phenomenon of independent internal auditors. The IAA understands and expects these struggles—seeing them as a normal part of the change process. Change can be uncertain, complex and difficult, thereby engendering fears and suspicion. Therefore, the IAA has modified its baseline and continued education training curricula to help its auditors to effectively handle difficult institutional change reactions. Embedded in the new curricula are critical soft skills and other content areas such as conceptual and interpersonal competence, communications diplomacy, organizational culture, group dynamics, complexity of change, resistance to change, fear, stress reduction, conflict resolution and transformational leadership.       GAC and IAA: The DifferenceIt’s often asked why the IAA is needed when the GAC already exists? The GAC is an external auditor. At specified times, it goes in and audits government entities. Important as this exercise might be, sometimes damage (e.g., falsified information, resource abuse, theft or regulatory breach) has already been done.In contrast, the IAA is an internal auditor. It operates as an independent but integral part of the institutions in which its auditors are deployed. It goes into a government agency and assumes the internal audit function. The IAA reviews, studies and follows the financial and operational activities of an agency. It then advises and helps the agency to meet the required regulations, policies and procedures. For example, a GAC review may come at the end of a project, while an IAA review may happen in real time, thereby increasing the opportunity for new decisions and actions to be taken for a project to succeed.ConclusionThe socio-economic development of Liberia depends greatly on the efficiency and effectiveness of the public sector. Due to the current state of Liberia’s public sector, a lot of help is needed to contribute to the transformation of Liberia, as well as raise the nation’s living standard to a middle-income level. The adoption of the IAA concept, which is gaining traction in Africa and other developing regions, could not happen at a better time in post-conflict Liberia. The IAA represents the latest tool in the Government’s toolbox to make the public sector more effective, efficient, transparent and accountable. About the AuthorZobong consults with the IAA. He also teaches in the Graduate Program in Education at the University of Liberia. Zobong holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Northeastern University in the United States.     Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgThe worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon continued his tour of Ebola-affected countries in West Africa on Saturday.The three countries hit hardest by Ebola have now recorded 7,373 deaths, up from 6,900 on Wednesday, according to WHO figures posted online late Friday. A total of 392 of the new deaths were in Sierra Leone, where Ebola is spreading the fastest.The new totals include confirmed, probable and suspected Ebola deaths. The WHO says there have also been six Ebola deaths in Mali, eight in Nigeria and one in the United States.The total number of cases in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia now stands at 19,031, up from 18,569.Ban arrived in Guinea, where the outbreak’s first cases were confirmed back in March, on Saturday after touring Liberia and Sierra Leone on Friday. After meeting with President Alpha Conde, he expressed concern about the situation in the country’s southeast forest region, where he said the number of infected people “seems to continue to grow.” The region borders Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast, and Ban called for cross-border collaboration to bring the disease under control.He urged all Guineans to commit themselves to eradicating Ebola, saying that the U.N. and its partners “are there to help you.””It has never been so important to work together,” he said.Guinea has recorded 2,453 Ebola deaths and 1,550 cases, according to the WHO. This past week, officials in Conakry, the capital, announced a ban on New Year’s Eve celebrations such as fireworks displays and beach gatherings in a bid to curtail transmission.Ban was expected to travel to Mali Saturday evening.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more