LEADERSHIP BREACH “I must alert you (board) that the JSCA will be calling for the replacement of the board and particularly you (Anderson) as chairman, as we have seen where your leadership of the organisation has breached all public bodies’ guidelines, acts and regulations. Mr Andrews cannot be held liable for any decision taken by the board that he is forced to comply with, despite his declared concerns,” highlighted Grant. Efforts to reach chairman of the INSPORTS board, Anderson, for comments via telephone proved unsuccessful, as all calls went unanswered. The JCSA letter was copied to Minister of Culture, Gender Affairs, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, Alison McLean, the ministry’s permanent secretary, Mrs. Loris Jarrett, deputy financial secretary, Ministry of Finance and Public Service, the ministry’s financial secretary, Devon Rowe, Mrs. Pamela Monroe-Ellis, auditor general, auditor general’s department, all members of the INSPORTS board and Andrews. UNHEEDED CONCERNS The Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA) has again called for the resignation of the entire board of directors of the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS). This position, it said, was made on the grounds of a second round of attacks on the agency’s administrative director, Ian Andrews, with regard to having his signing authority removed, as well as its proposed action regarding retirement and contract extension of staff. Last year, the Don Anderson-led board rid Andrews of his signing authority – which is part of the administrative director’s job description – a decision that was overturned after a directive by the Ministry of Finance. Now, the INSPORTS board is headed in the same direction. However, the JCSA, which represents government workers, has filed a strong response. In a letter dated April 27 to board Chairman Don Anderson, President of the JCSA, O’Neil Grant, revealed that they were in receipt of two correspondents sent to Andrews (April 8th and 14th) by Anderson on behalf of the INSPORTS board. Grant raised a number of concerns and insists that the action proposed by the board is “ridiculous” and “untenable” and clearly violates the statutes and regulations applicable to government entities. The letter highlighted that the board had failed to heed concerns pertaining to the institute’s governance and reminded its members of the Civil Service and the Ministry of Finance’s concerns that the agency is regulated by rules governing public-sector bodies, that the board is not an executive board and has no authority to revoke or appoint signing powers, cannot authorise who signs or who does not, or has any authority or privilege to sign cheques. It also objected to the board’s interference in deciding staff retirement and reassignment. “The board is acting beyond its scope and authority in removing senior staff from signing on behalf of the institute without cause,” said Grant. “Furthermore, your letter (April 14) indicates you (board) have informed the banks that staff are not to sign cheques. This is an absurd request, they (bank) cannot ignore the legitimate signatures approved by the Ministry of Finance how signatories must be assigned or removed from government accounts.” He continued: “Any decision by the administrative director is legal and binding. You have indicated that you will decide as a board who should retire or have employment extended. “To be so involved in the day to day issues of staff retirement and reassignment is another ridiculous stance as these persons are treated under the Civil Service Pensions Act,” Grant stated in his letter. Although citing the board’s instructions as “untenable”, the JCSA head advised Andrews to comply with the directives until, but specified that the administrative director cannot be held liable or responsible for any decision taken by the board.
As Liberian women join their counterparts around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has urged them to attach seriousness to their right to vote if they want to be counted in Liberian politics.President Sirleaf made the statement at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) on March 8. She promised to provide vehicles to facilitate the transportation of women to various locations to carry on their registration so their presence would be felt in the upcoming Special Senatorial election. This year’s International Women’s Day was celebrated under the Global theme “Equality for Women, is Progress for all,” while Liberia’s theme was: “Mentoring for Transformation.”“We will work with the Gender Ministry to organize a registration drive that would help transport all women to their respective areas of voting,” she promised, saying, “If women want to see more women in government, you have to vote and put them there.”Making humorous comments on her inauguration promise for “Papa to bring home black plastic bag,” President Sirleaf said “I promised in 2006 that papa would come home with black plastic bags; but apparently papa passes to many places with the plastic bags before finally going home. This is why we now empower women to come home with the bag.”Also speaking at the women’s day program was Foreign Minister, Augustine K. Ngafuan. Minister Ngafuan said he thought it was a shame for so few women to be in the National Legislature.He stated that he would coordinate with the Legislature to enact a law to encourage more women to be represented in politics by forming a Constitution Referendum. Also speaking at the ceremony was President Pro-Tempore, Gbehzohngar Findley, who urged women to work towards their success in politics and not to sit with folded hands.Pro-Temp Findley stressed that while he fully supports women’s participation in politics, they still have to work hard and sell their qualities and qualifications so voters, who would be convinced to elect them in power.President Sirleaf and other women’s rights advocates have crafted a bill known as the “Gender Disparity” bill. This bill seeks 30% participation of women in key public or electable positions. To this date the bill is still languishing in the House of Representatives.During the first debate over the bill last year, some lawmakers took exception to it and described it as “unconstitutional” because it discriminated against one group (men) in favor of another (women).Chapter III Article 18 of the Liberian Constitution says “All Liberian citizens shall have equal opportunity for work and employment regardless of sex, creed, religion, ethnic background, place of origin or political affiliation, and shall be entitled to equal pay for equal work.”From that political standpoint certain lawmakers argued that every Liberian, regardless of any of the differences mentioned in Constitution, has the right to participate in election by contesting and that setting a percentage for a group according to sex was discriminatory.One prominent Liberian woman, Madam Mary Brownell, commented last year that she would not support the bill because aside from the constitutional questions it poses; it has the propensity to make women lazy.According to the veteran Liberian educator, more women would see their gender as a prerequisite to occupying positions in government and the private sector. Madam Brownell said some of these women would start showing reluctance to become qualified and become competent enough to compete with their male counterparts.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)