‘Firestone and the Warlord’ Documentary Overrated and Underwhelming

first_imgThe author, Robtel Neajai Pailey, PhDReleased on Nov. 18 to fanfare in the United States, the ProPublica/Frontline investigative documentary ‘Firestone and the Warlord’ is nevertheless steeped in stereotypes, overly hyped and unappealing. Having intently studied and written about Firestone’s exploits in Liberia, I believe the film’s producers simply did not dig deep enough.Although there are some merits to the documentary—particularly revelations from declassified court documents, US State Department cables, Firestone corporate records, correspondences, and video footage—it conceals more than it reveals the true nature of Firestone’s asymmetrical relationship with Liberia.The film’s narrator begins: “This is a story about business and war. It’s a story about a small group of Americans and the choices they made many years ago. A story about the cost of operating in a volatile and remote country. It’s setting is a rubber plantation in Africa, owned and operated by the tire giant Firestone.”From the outset the narration harkens back to Joseph Conrad’s description of the Belgian Congo in Heart of Darkness. Liberia is an unnamed African backdrop of savagery, calamity and doom, while Firestone and its American workers, like Kurtz in Conrad’s book, are presumed innocent until they encounter ‘the horror’. Furthermore, the film’s title, ‘Firestone and the Warlord’, frames Firestone as a larger than life icon, juxtaposing it with an unnamed bogeyman, Charles Taylor, the counterrevolutionary-turned-president of Liberia.For the first eight minutes of the film, we are bombarded with an often distorted and caricatured interpretation of Liberia’s history by white male diplomats, journalists, and former Firestone managers. We do not hear from two of Liberia’s pre-eminent statesmen and scholars, Dr. D. Elwood Dunn and Dr. Amos Sawyer, until much later in the film and their contributions are disproportionately clipped into short sound bites. It sets the tone of the film early on as primarily concerned with the perspectives of non-Liberians.In an attempt to make the narrative palatable to a decidedly uninformed American audience, the film vilifies Taylor while portraying Firestone as somehow morally superior. It remains surprising that the film’s title was not ‘Charles Taylor and the Rubber Company’ since the gratuitous war imagery employed to demonize the former Liberian president makes him the central feature of the documentary. Never directly interviewed, Taylor is constantly referenced with accompanying video footage spanning his years in combat to his trial in The Hague for war crimes committed during Sierra Leone’s 10-year armed conflict. Although the film is sprinkled with important Liberian interviewee accounts that expose Firestone’s complicity in fomenting the country’s first war from 1989 to 1997, it primarily paints the rubber company as a coerced victim of Taylor’s brutality.“When evil is given an opportunity to reign freely, these things occur and we experience them”, says former Firestone accountant Steve Raimo, who reduces Liberia’s conflict to “tribal warfare”. His former colleague Ken Gerhart continues with a sinister smile on his face, almost mockingly: “Well, if they were the right tribe, they survived. If they weren’t, they didn’t.” Missing from their skewed analysis of Liberia’s armed insurgency is the shifting geo-politics of the Cold War, the country’s rising inequality and politicization of identity, and America’s alleged complicity in Charles Taylor’s mysterious jailbreak from a US prison. In diminishing Liberia’s conflict to the irrational machinations of African ‘tribes’, the film appears less concerned about Firestone’s criminal business practices and more obsessed with Taylor’s warmongering. This is a tired trope that lacks any originality.Contrasting Taylor, Firestone is portrayed as a law-abiding, tax-paying, responsible contributor to formal employment in Liberia. Yet deeply troubling is the almost deliberate erasure of the company’s abysmal record of gross human rights, labour rights, and environmental rights abuses. Less than ten years ago, the company’s workers would carry on their bare shoulders iron poles with two buckets attached on each end, filled with raw latex they had manually squeezed out of rubber trees. These 21st century rubber tappers resembled forcefully conscripted labour in the 1920s, when Firestone first started operations in Liberia under a severely flawed 99-year lease agreement.The film’s narrator argues that Liberia “offered Firestone” in 1926 a chance to develop one million acres of rubber at six cents per acre and that it was a “mutually beneficial arrangement.” For whom, one wonders. There is no mention that Liberia had been coerced into accepting the terms and conditions of the agreement as a pre-condition for a US$5 million loan from the Finance Corporation of America, sponsored by Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, at an interest rate of 7 percent. There is also no indication that those inhabiting the concession area were uprooted and forcefully conscripted to work for Firestone as rubber tappers under slave-like working conditions that persist today.Throughout the film, the Firestone plantation pre-1989 is painted as a haven, a place of bliss and tranquility for the mostly Liberian labour force. Yet while the film exposes the undeserved ‘good life’ of the company’s American and European expatriate managers—whose past times include golf on well-manicured lawns and clubhouse drinking parties—its framing of the miserable living conditions and low wages of Firestone’s Liberian employees is generally glossed over as a facet of plantation life because the company provided health and education services as well as parboiled American rice. Rather than protecting its ‘treasured’ workers during the early part of Liberia’s armed conflict, however, the company shuts down and its foreign staff leave the country in 1992. Shortly thereafter, they return to do business, but must first contend with Taylor. In a twist of irony, the film shows footage of Taylor scolding Firestone’s foreign senior staff for their negligence: “There’s a little war, and you leave…there’s no water, no food…It’s inexcusable, I don’t think Firestone should do such a thing.” Accusing Firestone management of abandoning plantation workers, Taylor demands to know how the company will make amends.It is not until the latter part of the film that Firestone’s dubiousness becomes apparent. Justifying why the rubber company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Taylor in 1992 to resume operations in Liberia, Gerald Padmore, a Liberian attorney and long-time Firestone legal representative, argues that it felt a “responsibility to the workers” and therefore, “had no other choice, the decision was to stay.” Former US assistant secretary of state for African Affairs Herman Cohen appears more sober: “You want to preserve what you can, so you have to make deals.” And what a deal! The film includes footage taken during Taylor’s testimony at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, in which he admits that Firestone provided economic and political capital during a critical juncture in the armed conflict becoming “our most significant principal source of foreign exchange.”Edwin Cisco, president of the Firestone Workers’ Union, argues in the documentary that the company’s motivations for working with Taylor boiled down to “profit, profit, and profit.” Yet, while the film harps on the fact that Firestone paid Taylor US$2.3 million dollars in ‘taxes’ and Firestone spent US$35.3 million on the plantation and its workers between June 1990 and February 1993, the unspoken elephant in the room is how much profit Firestone actually made during this period in rubber sales. The film also reminds us that Taylor allegedly siphoned off US$280 million to US$3 billion from the spoils of war, yet the same level of detail is not paid to Firestone’s revenue stream. One former senior manager of the company corroborates its true motivations, saying unabashedly, “Firestone’s intent has always been to make money. It always has and it always will be. We’re in the business to make money.” How much money, we are left wondering, since Firestone’s profits are unpublished. Although the film is meant to be an expose, it neither pursues this money trail nor questions why the information is concealed.As one US diplomat argues at the end of the documentary, “Firestone has blood on its hands” because it resumed operations in the midst of Liberia’s armed conflict. Yet, Firestone had ‘blood on its hands’ long before making its deal with the proverbial devil, and this too is not captured in the film. For instance, Firestone workers launched strikes in 1961, 1964 and 1975 in response to harsh labour practices, poor working conditions and low salaries. And years after the reprehensible MOU was signed, Firestone and Taylor remained cosy bedfellows. When Firestone workers demonstrated against the company’s arbitrary decision in 1997 to deduct 38 percent of their monthly salaries to replace money that had been allegedly stolen in the company’s safe deposit box during the first Liberian armed conflict, then president Taylor unleashed his security personnel to indiscriminately attack 7,000 unarmed demonstrators thereby muzzling dissent.In the film, Cohen and other diplomats eschew Taylor for being ‘venal’ and ‘unsavoury’, yet they do not once interrogate Firestone’s unsavoury labour practices. The film completely misses the fact that backlash against Firestone crystallised in a transnational campaign, Stop Firestone, spearheaded in 2005 by Liberians abroad, their counterparts in Liberia and an international coalition, to hold the corporation accountable. The campaign was largely based on a groundbreaking report by the Liberian NGO Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU), entitled, “Firestone: The Mark of Modern Slavery.” SAMFU representatives and Emira Woods, a US foreign policy expert and Liberian native, were neither consulted nor interviewed in the film.Also glaringly missing is that in November 2005, 35 Liberian plaintiffs filed a class action suit in a US court alleging that Bridgestone Corporation and Bridgestone North American Tire, the parent company of Firestone Liberia, had violated labour laws by using children to tap raw latex, inflicted unusual and cruel labour practices by instituting unrealistic daily quotas for tree tappers, and degraded the environment by deliberately dumping toxic substances in the plantation’s only water source, the Farmington River. As legal representatives of the plaintiffs, the International Labour Rights Forum invoked the Alien Torts Claim Act, under which US companies can be held liable for human rights abuses committed abroad. Although the plaintiffs lost the case in 2011, their decision to challenge Firestone in a court of law was unprecedented for Liberia. Yet the film’s producers do not interview Alfred Brownell, the Liberian lead attorney on the case.Instead, Padmore argues fiercely: “They [Firestone] did the right thing, they did not try to exploit the country…They did not pay off warlords or give money under the table. They didn’t do any of those things. They did the right thing.” Padmore’s responses almost seem orchestrated, like ProPublica and Frontline went out of their way to find a Liberian to somehow substantiate Firestone’s innocence. Padmore says that the decisions Firestone made were “completely justifiable…Had they not taken those decisions, Liberia would be much the worse for it today.” Despite Padmore’s staunch defence, however, there is an implicit recognition that Firestone should be among those who bear the greatest responsibility for Liberia’s armed conflict though no one has been formally prosecuted in this regard.Rather than climaxing with a fitting critique of Firestone’s criminality, the closing narration of the film reframes the company as largely exempt from culpability because it has “invested more than US$146 million to improve conditions on the plantation in Liberia and remains the country’s largest private employer.” The irony is that Firestone has not built a single processing plant in its almost 100 years of operation. On the world’s largest industrial rubber plantation with a sprawling 118,990 acres, the company could not produce one latex glove in Liberia to shield healthcare workers from contagion in the country’s latest Ebola outbreak.In an e-mail exchange I had with my mentor, Dr. Dunn, he argues convincingly that “Firestone has been able to get away with what it has because of a combination of factors—Liberian regimes’ permissiveness, US government support for its business interest/Firestone, and the inadequacy of the media (local and international) beaming the spotlight on the company’s transgressions.”If that’s not cause for reparations and a criminal investigation, I don’t know what is.Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author based at SOAS, University of London. She wrote the essay, “Slavery Ain’t Dead, It’s Manufactured in Liberia’s Rubber”, published in the 2007 Fahamu Trust book, From the Slave Trade to ‘Free’ Trade: How Trade Undermines Democracy and Justice in Africa. The above article was originally published on the blog, Conversations On Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Read More »

Hedge fund managers step up lobbying

first_imgIt’s far too early to say how politically difficult it might be to change the tax regime in a way that would withstand legal challenge. But hedge fund managers aren’t taking any chances, especially in light of criticism that the U.S. tax code has become far too sympathetic to the wealthy in recent years. Hedge fund executives individually made 63 contributions exceeding $200 to the Managed Funds Association’s political action committee in the 2005-06 congressional election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The association doubled its donations through the PAC to $200,000 last year and is aiming to give $400,000 in 2007-08. Individual hedge funds, meanwhile, are starting to establish PACs for the first time. Hedge funds swoop in and out of markets like day traders, investing millions in complex derivative securities and assets ranging far beyond stocks and bonds. Traditionally the domain of wealthy individuals, they increasingly have gained access to money from pension funds, mutual funds and university endowments – meaning millions unwittingly now invest in hedge funds. They are thought to account for about 20percent of all U.S. stock trading. With some policymakers voicing concern about a potential risk to workers’ retirement security, a proposal still in the early talking stages on Capitol Hill would restrict the amount of money that pension funds can plow into hedge funds. Indeed, Grassley recently attempted to impose through legislation a mandate for hedge fund managers to register with the SEC, thereby opening the funds’ books to agency examiners. The unsuccessful move, which Grassley may try again, came after a federal appeals court last year slapped down the SEC’s effort to bring hedge funds under its supervision. In February, the Bush administration and federal regulators said that heightened vigilance – not new rules – was the best way to handle potential risks.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “Particular industries reach a point where they get big enough that they realize that Congress can, intentionally or unintentionally, harm them through taxation or regulation,” said Frank Fahrenkopf, a prominent Washington figure and lobbyist who headed the Republican National Committee in the 1980s. Ever since a Fortune magazine writer and four pals scraped together $100,000 in 1949 to start what became the first hedge fund, the industry has flown under the public-policy radar. But the “absolutely obscene” profits, as one fund’s managing partner called them recently, and the massive loss to a California public pension fund from a hedge fund investment blowup last fall have drawn new and unwanted attention. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the senior Republican on the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who heads the panel, are looking closely at how the profits of managers of hedge funds, as well as private-equity funds, are taxed, and whether that should be changed. One question on the table at a closed-door meeting committee aides held this week with tax practitioners and academic experts: Is it fair for the managers’ portion of the funds’ anticipated future profits to be taxed at 15percent, the rate for capital gains, rather than at income-tax rates of up to 35percent? Depending on the answer, that could mean tens of millions of dollars in higher tax bills for executives such as James Simons, a math whiz and former professor and Pentagon code breaker who founded hedge fund Renaissance Technologies Corp. Simons pulled in $1.7billion last year, topping the hedge fund executive pay list compiled by Alpha magazine, published by Institutional Investor. He was followed by Kenneth Griffin of Citadel Investment Group, $1.4billion, and Sears Holding Corp. WASHINGTON – With Congress always looking for new ways to boost tax receipts and protect individual investors, it’s natural for hedge fund managers to worry that they have a bull’s-eye on their chests – especially now that word is out that some of them made more than $1billion apiece last year. Politicians of both parties have long criticized the lack of regulation of hedge funds, vast pools of capital that operate secretively, without having to make the disclosures that other investment firms such as mutual funds do. Adding to their explosive growth and unbridled operations, the jaw-dropping compensation of their executives has made hedge funds even more tempting targets to federal lawmakers. That helps explain a recent surge in the hiring of lobbyists and stepped-up contributions to political action committees by managers in the trillion-dollar hedge fund industry and top officials of private-equity groups that have piled up billions in profits in recent years. Hedge fund executives gave at least $2.3million in campaign donations during the 2004 election, compared with $576,000 four years earlier, according to federal election data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. In 2006, that jumped to around $6million. last_img read more

Read More »

Incredible scenes: Star attacker never had this happen at Arsenal!

first_img 6 The fan gave former Arsenal man Gervinho a bear hug… At the final whistle Ivory Coast fans ran on to the pitch to celebrate, with one supporter – clad in an Italy shirt – making a beeline for Roma attacker Gervinho. Ivory Coast qualified for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations with a 0-0 draw against Cameroon, sparking a pitch invasion at full-time in Abidjan.The visitors were reduced to 10 men when Stephane Mbia was sent off for a foul on Gervinho. 6 6 6center_img Gervinho is mobbed by Ivory Coast fans Then appeared to try to remove his shorts! 6 Before police led him away… 6last_img read more

Read More »

Exclusive – ‘Average’ Liverpool have no identity, says Gray

first_imgLiverpool are currently an average side with no identity who will struggle to compete for trophies, claims Andy Gray.The Reds were dumped out of the Champions League on Wednesday night after a 1-1 draw with Basel at Anfield and now drop into the Europa League.And after witnessing a performance which ex-Liverpool star Steve Nicol described as ‘rudderless’, Gray told talkSPORT they are a long way from the battle for silverware.He told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “I remember Liverpool and the great European nights at Anfield, I remember all that. Liverpool are a mile away from the club I watched when I came to England to play football. They are a mile away from being able to produce the great European nights because, quite simply, they don’t have the quality anymore.“Liverpool, I think, are an average side. Last season they were an average side with four stand-out performers – Steven [Gerrard], Raheem Sterling and the two front men [Luis] Suarez and [Daniel] Sturridge.“They have lost two of them [Suarez and Sturridge], Sterling has been iffy and Steven Gerrard has not quite been himself. Take those four performers away and what are you left with? You’re left with what we saw in midweek – an average side looking to find its identity.“They looked out of sorts. They looked uncomfortable and I’m not sure they all knew what their jobs were.”last_img read more

Read More »

Trial ordered for mom in drowning of 3 sons

first_imgThe Oakland mother who threw her three boys in chilly San Francisco Bay will stand trial on three counts of murder that could bring the death penalty, a judge ruled Thursday. Lashuan Harris, 23, told police and a psychiatrist after the Oct. 19 drownings that God told her to sacrifice her children, according to testimony at her three-day preliminary hearing in San Francisco Superior Court. Judge Teri Jackson determined there was enough evidence for Harris to stand trial in the deaths of Treyshun Harris, 6, Taronta Greeley Jr., 2, and Joshoa Greeley, 16 months. “It is a tragedy for all concerned, but I am going to follow the law,” Jackson said. Harris has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder. Under a special circumstance alleging multiple deaths she could face execution, but prosecutors have not said if they will seek the death penalty. Her lawyer claims Harris is a paranoid schizophrenic who was acting under the belief that God wanted her to kill. In her videotaped confession to police, Harris described how she struggled with two of her boys as she stripped them and plunged them from Pier 7 in an area where tourists stroll along the waterfront. One of the bodies was recovered, but the others were never found. “As hard as it is to understand the tragic act, I ask that we step back and try to wrap ourselves around the illness … that caused Lashuan to do these acts,” defense lawyer Teresa Caffese said in her closing argument. Despite calling Harris tragic and sympathetic, prosecutor Linda Allen was unwavering. “The fact remains we have three innocent children who were killed at the hands of their mother,” she said. Harris’ arraignment was scheduled for June 8. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Read More »

SUPERB TURN-OUT IN MEMORY OF JIMMY HIGGINS AT MURVAGH GOLF CLUB

first_imgDonegal Golf Club (Murvagh)Heart & Hips Scramble The 2nd Annual Hearts & Hips Scramble (in memory of  Jimmy Higgins)took place  in Murvagh last week. There was an excellent turn outdespite the wet weather and the organising Committee then decided toconfine the Competition to the first 9 holes. Teams of 3 and 4 weredrawn on the day and the resultant scores were of the highest order.Top of the pile, with a great score of 25.6, came the trio of SeanMartin (Junior), George Espey  and Hugh F. Cassidy who each received aspecially designed Celtic Weave plate (donated in memory of AdrianDaly). In 2nd place on a score of 25.7 was the team of Joe Gillespie,Frank Bourke, Joe Breslin and Helen O’Shea. 3rd Prize was won by DavidChilds, Tony Arnold and Donal McGill with a score of  26. The otherbig winner on the day was the local Community Hospital in Donegal Townwhich was presented with €320 for the Patients Comfort Fund as aresult of Income and Donations received on the day.Update on the “Murvagh Lower” short Course.The Thursday Specials were first to attack the new “Murvagh Lower”Course with Charlie McGinty prevailing with a score of 43pts for the15 Holes. John McCafferty took the past members prize with 42pts.Next up were the Juniors and Sam Trimble won out on a bot with a nett61. On the same day Damian Mulhern had a fantastic Hole in 1 on the7th!! Further Competitions will be organised during the Autumn.Best Reported Scores to date:Category 1 Nett 61Category 2 Nett 61Category 3 Nett 60Still waiting for a Nett 59 and hopefully a Gross 59 before long. Why not give it a lash now that the evenings are getting shorter . . .Men’s Competitions:Sunday the 20th September Sponsored by DMG Motors;For the 2nd week in a row it took exceptionally high scores to featureon the Leaderboard with John (C) Meehan requiring 43pts and a break oftie to take 1st place from Jason Conway.  The 3nd and 4th placedOliver Plunkett and Donal Cannon who were separated by a break of tiewere also in the 40’s. 1.     John (C) Meehan (21) 43pts botJason Conway (5) 43ptsOliver Plunkett (8) 41pts botDonal Cannon (20) 41ptsGross: Oliver Roche (6) 31pts botThursday SpecialsWe had our final 9 Hole competition of 2015 this week which was a 3club competition, the persistent rain during the day ensured theturnout was low with 28 players teeing up. The winner was PeterMcDonnell with 21pts and Sean Gillespie claimed 2nd place with 20ptson a break of tie. Mark Butler was the best past player with animpressive score of 19pts.Our AGM was held on Thursday 17th September, the turnout was verydisappointing again this year. The committee elected for 2015 isChairman: Jimmy Melly, Secretary : Liam Farren, Treasurer: RobertMorrow, Committee: Frank O’Donnell, Peter Sweeney, Gerry McCormack andMartin Quinn.Thanks to outgoing committee for organising yet another good year forthe Thursday Specials and thanks to everyone that played during theyear.We still have a couple of places left for this Year’s weekend awaywhich will be held on the 10th\11th October at Westport Golf Club. Ifyou are travelling, please make payment in full to any committeemember. Members on the list and unable to travel should contact anycommittee member as early as possible so your place can be offered tosomeone else.Ladies CompetitionsDonegal Golf Club Murvagh Competition Results Singles V Par on  13th /15th Sept 2015 (Sponsor Red Hugh Restaurant)1. Norma Mullooly (13) 3 up2. Miriam Bennett (17) 1 up (bot)s:3. Rosemary Carr (19) 1 up4. Mary Meehan (26) 1 Down (bot)Front Nine.  Patricia Britton (29) 1 up (bot)Back Nine.  Margaret Trimble (29) 1 upNine Hole Competition:1. Dorothy Woods (12) 21pts2. Ann McGlynn (26) 19pts (bot)Forthcoming Ladies Competitions27/29 September Singles Stableford (Sponsor Rosewoods)SUPERB TURN-OUT IN MEMORY OF JIMMY HIGGINS AT MURVAGH GOLF CLUB was last modified: September 21st, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare 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:golfSportlast_img read more

Read More »

STUDENT GRANT CHANGES DISCRIMINATE AGAINST FARMING FAMILIES – MCCONALOGUE

first_imgThe Government has confirmed to Fianna Fáil’s Education Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue that it is pressing ahead with changes to the assessment criteria for student grants next year. It means that farm assets will now be included in the means-testing for third level grants, claims the Donegal TD.Deputy McConalogue raised a topical debate on the matter in the Dáil, describing the changes as ‘highly discriminatory’. He appealed to the Government to reconsider. “This will push third level education out of the reach of so many farming and self-employed families. The plan unfairly targets the farming community, as farming families will soon be assessed on a notional value of their land as well as on their income.“The result will be a totally inflated view of each family’s wealth, pushing them beyond the criteria for a student grant,” said Deputy McConalogue.Deputy McConalogue appealed to the Government to review this plan before it is too late, but in response the Minister of State Fergus O’Dowd confirmed that the changes will go ahead next year.Deputy McConalogue said, “It is deeply disappointing that Fine Gael and Labour still refuse to recognise the serious impact that this will have on farming families. It is effectively a further cut in student grants targeted at farming and self-employed families. It will put many farming families in a position where they must decide whether or not to sell some of their land, which may not be generating income, in order to fund their children through college. “The system should be based on one’s real income, not on a notional value of an asset. Regardless of an individual’s background his or her income is based on the returns submitted to the Revenue Commissioners. This is the only fair and equitable method of assessing income, and it is the approach taken in respect of PAYE workers. I do not accept that we can have a different set of rules for farmers and the self-employed.“I intend to continue my strong opposition to these grant changes. In my view this is yet another example of the Government’s unfair and unbalanced education policies, exposing its complete lack of understanding of the needs of families in more rural communities.”STUDENT GRANT CHANGES DISCRIMINATE AGAINST FARMING FAMILIES – MCCONALOGUE was last modified: February 8th, 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)last_img read more

Read More »

BUSINESS BOOT CAMP CAN TURN THAT IDEA INTO A REALITY FOR ENTREPRENEURS

first_imgBusiness Boot Camp are seeking young entrepreneurs for the third wave of the highly successful Business Boot Camp Programme.Businesses based in County Donegal will be eligible to participate.The programme also runs in the Council areas of Belfast, North Down, Lisburn, Newtownabbey and Carrickfergus, and participants will have a chance to meet businesses from these areas. The programmes has been described by past participants as hugely beneficial in terms of growing your business and developing and learning business skills and techniques.This cross- border programme is funded through the European Regional Development Fund under the INTERREG IVA Programme.What is the Business Bootcamp Programme?The Business Boot Camp Programme is a results-focused and practical programme which aims to provide practical assistance to young entrepreneurs to consolidate and grow their businesses [despite the current adverse economic conditions.] The Boot Camp Growth Programme is aimed at young entrepreneurs who have been trading for at least 6 months and who are 16 – 35 years old.The programme aims to offer flexible and tailored business support to young owner-managers whose businesses are based in County Donegal and the COMET region.It will help participants to:Adopt Best Practice business ideas.Manage their businesses more effectively. Plan for the future with confidence.Develop the skills and the confidence to achieve business growth.The programme is therefore designed to provide young entrepreneurs with the tools, the confidence and the expertise to really maximise the potential of their businesses.What will the Programme involve? There are 4 distinct but interlinked elements to the Business Boot Camp Growth Programme. These are:How long will the Programme run for?We understand the time pressures that face all owner-managers. The Programme is therefore spread over a 6 month period starting in June 2014.Indicative dates are:Date Times Event Location (TBC)24 June 2014 11am – 1pm Information Event COLAB, Letterkenny25th June 2014 11am-1pm7.30-9.30pm Information EventInformation Event Niall Mor Centre, Killybegs09 July 2014 9.30am – 3pm Workshop 1Gearing up to grow your business Killybegs10 September 2014 9.30am – 2pm Workshop 2 – Understanding the Market place Killybegs*25/26 September OR 2/3 October 2014 9.30am Thursday to 4pm Friday Residential Coleraine*22 October 9.30am – 2.30pm Workshop 3 – Selling Skills Killybegs*NOV TBC 9.30am – 4pm Best Practice Visits to existing successful businesses TBC26 November 2014 9.30am – 2.30pm Workshop 4 – Managing Costs in a small business17 January 2015 9.30am – 2.30pm Workshop 5 – How to keep key Customers Killybegs*11 February 2015 9.30am – 2.30pm Workshop 6 – Marketing on a Shoestring and Using Social Media Killybegs** Provisional locations – These locations can be changed depending on the participants’ preference.How much does it cost to secure a place on Business Bootcamp?The Programme is FREE to you assuming that:1. Your business is based in County Donegal or the COMET region [Belfast City Council, Lisburn, Castlereagh Borough Council, Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey or North Down]2. You have been trading for longer than 6 months.3. You are aged between 16 – 35 at the start of the Programme.Who should apply?YOU should apply if you want to:1. Address constraints to growth within your business.2. Grow / develop your business.3. Out-perform your competitors.4. Learn from experts in the field of SME and micro enterprise development.Interested …?Please contact Patricia Keane at patricia.keane@enterpriseni.com or 074 9724420/0863165820 for an application pack.Completed application forms need to be returned to us by 12:00pm on Monday 30th June 2014.We will assess your application and will be in contact soon afterwards.Please note: If your application is successful, you must be available for the first workshop on Wednesday 9th July 2014.BUSINESS BOOT CAMP CAN TURN THAT IDEA INTO A REALITY FOR ENTREPRENEURS was last modified: June 27th, 2014 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:BusinessBusiness Boot CampEntrepreneursFeaturesnewsProgrammelast_img read more

Read More »

Committee formed to fight homelessness

first_img While Councilman Ed Reyes supported the plan, he noted that the motion introducing the committee did not mention crucial land-use issues, including why social services are concentrated in some areas and absent in others. “It’s going to go against the grain of many of our political inclinations,” he said. “There are going to be a lot of stakeholders who will say, Not in my backyard.” Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 dan.laidman@dailynews.com 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 Capt. Andrew Smith supported the committee’s creation, saying existing homeless intervention efforts are fragmented. “To get everybody marching in the same direction and everybody working together, it can only be a positive thing,” he said. While homelessness on Skid Row has drawn the most attention – Smith recently met with journalists from the Czech Republic researching the matter – several council members said they hope the committee takes a wider view. Councilwoman Wendy Greuel, who represents part of the San Fernando Valley, said such ad hoc committees have been successful in pushing ahead on business tax reform, Los Angeles River development and other issues. “We can focus on one issue and almost dissect it,” she said. “We can have a greater focus and hopefully greater accomplishment.” Aiming to unify and amplify efforts to get people off the streets, the City Council on Tuesday created a special committee on homelessness. The Ad Hoc Committee on Homelessness will develop a program for expanding shelters in Los Angeles while evaluating social services in other cities and working to bring in more state and federal money. “I guess the question we’re going to have to wrestle with is: Why are there 91,000 homeless people in Los Angeles County?” said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who has been a prominent council voice on homelessness issues. The unanimous vote to create the panel followed testimony from downtown Los Angeles Police Department officials, who said four homeless people died on Skid Row on Monday alone. last_img read more

Read More »

Govt, business to partner on delivery

first_img22 May 2013 The South African government and business are set to work together to improve service delivery, with a major announcement of capacity-building partnerships between business and municipalities expected to be made in August. This was announced by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Richard Baloyi during his department’s budget vote in Parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday. Baloyi said that business formations were polishing their offers for massive engagements to enhance the capacity of municipalities to deliver better services. A major launch of partnerships between municipalities and business organisations is due to take place in August. Some of these partnerships will address basic service delivery through turn-key initiatives to deliver water, sanitation and electricity. Business Unity South Africa has also offered to partner with municipalities. The organisation will assist in local economic development, with private companies being mobilised to support local government; energy and climate change; capacity-building to improve service delivery; public and private partnerships; and the promotion of good governance. Already, Absa Bank has committed itself to focus on developing effective financial skills for local government managers, on promoting effective and transparent procurements, and on leadership building in affordable housing. Baloyi said his department, in partnership with the Department of Higher Education, would soon launch a programme to improve the skills of councilors and traditional leaders. Details of this project will also be made known in August. On the fight against corruption, Baloyi said his department was finalising an agreement between the Local Government Inspectorate and the Special Investigations Unit. The department had also recommitted itself to its Local Government Turnaround Strategy Budget as a roadmap for effective support to the local sphere. Reflecting on the results of this strategy, Baloyi said a number of provinces were pushing hard towards achieving a clean audit by 2014. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Read More »