Williams strikes again for MoBay United in Red Stripe Premier League

first_imgDino Williams continued his hot scoring form, netting a brace for leaders Montego Bay United, who halted Tivoli Gardens’ three-match winning run in the Red Stripe Premier League with a 2-0 win over the home team at Edward Seaga Sports Complex yesterday.Victory lifted the Montegonians two points clear and gave them sole leadership at the top of the standings on 17 points.Williams netted after just four minutes and added his second on 45 minutes for his eighth goal of the season.The striker, who has been nursing a groin injury for the last four weeks, capitalised on a mix up in defence to nod home the opener.Tivoli offered very little going forward in the first-half, with the visitors looking more threatening on the offensive and the speedy striker headed in from a corner just before the break to give his team a 2-0 lead at the interval.However, Williams did not return after half-time.”I am not 100 per cent fit, and as an injured player, to get two goals in a tough game, I can’t complain,” the 25-year-old national striker said after.”To come out and score two goals I have to give thanks, because every time you come out as a forward you want to score and to get two more today, to push my tally to eight, feels great … . So I have to just keep working hard, and each game I come out and see if I can do it for my team,” he continued.”When you are on a run, you know at some time you are going to go on a drought, so each time you play you just have to try to score. Sometime during the season the drought is going to come, so I just have to make sure I get as many in the first round to go into the second round,” he added.TRANSFORMEDAfter the break, Tivoli came out transformed and pinned their opponents in defence for half-hour. Junior Flemming was the main antagonist, taking right back Donovan Carey apart at will, but his teammates, especially Miguel Ricketts, failed to take advantage of his good work down the left.Although the intensity dropped after 75 minutes, Tivoli continue to threaten but could not find the net despite some near misses.MoBay moved two points clear of Portmore United, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Reno, which advanced to 12 points. Tivoli dropped to 11 points.MoBay’s coach, Timothy Hankinson, said the early goal gave them the start they wanted and the second put them on the path to victory.”Tivoli is a determined squad, they never gave up and we were fortunate to hold our goal clean. We are proud to find a way to be successful to this point, but we know there are a lot of challenges ahead,” he said.Tivoli’s coach, Christopher Bender, said: “The team wasn’t at it best and they needed to be for this contest.”Yesterday’s ResultsTivoli Gardens 0 MoBay United 2Reno 1 Portmore United 1Humble Lion 1 UWI FC 0Boys’ Town 1 Cavalier 0Arnett Gardens 1 Waterhouse 0Today’s game8:40 p.m. Harbour vs Rivoli Unitedlast_img read more

Konneh’s Woes Deepen

first_imgThe lawyers representing Finance Minister Amara Konneh and other senior staff pleaded for ten days to appear before that body.The reason given was that some of those summoned by the Supreme Court were conducting government functions outside of the country.Minister Konneh was recently summoned by member of the national legislature to provide some clarity about alleged lapses within the budget.In regards to the validation exercise, Senator Tengbeh said the work of the LBO is integral to the national budgeting process.He said: “I believe the LBO is the fulcrum of the national budgeting process, especially from the legislative perspective.According to him, “it is rather frustrating that we have been forced to hear the terminology ‘budget shortfall’ over and over during the past year. At some point we must sit and think about where we are heading to. What is the work of the LBO? We need to make more efforts to come up with solutions.”He said people feel motivated only when their works and actions are put into practical terms and implemented to the fullest.“When we go into our various constituencies as lawmakers it is an embarrassment to us because the budget year elapsed without us implementing projects that we earmarked due to lack of money.When we go back the people remind us that we promised we were going to construct bridges, youth centers, or markets. Who should they blame when these projects fail to manifest, are they going to blame the executive or the budget office? We are caught between a rock and a hard place,” Senator Tengbeh explained.“I hope that from this point on we can expect to see great changes. We will leave to our committee to make sure that happens,” he concluded.The Co-Chair of the Joint Public Account Committee, Representative Ben Fofana, said he and other colleagues are equally disappointed with the way the budget process has been handled between line ministries, agencies and the finance ministry.The Margibi County lawmaker said the creation of the LBO was intended to bridge the gap inconstancies that may arise in the budgeting process so Legislators would know how to go through the process appropriately. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) The woes of Finance Minister, Amara Konneh, which have been heating up since it was announced that government is experiencing a shortfall within its budget, seem to be worsening with a recent barrage of criticisms over his performance.This time around, a member of the Joint House committee on Public Accounts is calling for Minister Konneh’s resignation if he is unable to handle the responsibilities of his ministry.Senator George Tengbeh of Lofa County said the issue of budget shortfalls is becoming a serious embarrassment to the country as it is stalling development projects.Senator Tengbeh spoke yesterday, Thursday, April 17, at the opening ceremony of the Liberian Legislature validation workshop on the legislative guide to the National Budgetary Process.The validation exercise is an initiative of the Legislative Budget Office (LBO). The document is intended to adequately prepare and inform lawmakers on how to constructively engage the budgeting process in order to curtail all of the fiscal challenges of the national budget.The Lofa County lawmaker said, “I, quite frankly, have a serious problem with the finance ministry when it comes to budget implementation. We always seem to fall short, and it is becoming an embarrassment to all of us.”He explained, “Today when I go to Lofa County, projects from the 2012-2013 fiscal year are yet to be implemented. I think it is our right to know what the cause of the hold-up is.”“I am not afraid to tell the finance minister to resign if he is unable to manage the ministry. We cannot spend all of our time falling into holes every time a budget shortfall is announced,” he said.The issue of budget shortfalls has hit the country for two years running. The current situation seems to be the worst, with every government entity seemingly in financial crisis.For some, this brings into question the ability of the minister of finance and his deputies, who are the focal persons in the preparation and implementation of the budget.The Finance boss and his four deputies were on Tuesday summoned by the Full Bench of the Supreme Court to give reason (s) if any, why they should not be held in contempt for “arbitrarily reducing the 2013/2014 budget of the Judiciary in total violation of the “Judiciary and Financial Autonomy Act.”. This move to arbitrarily reduce the budget of the Judiciary may have been a result of the national budget’s shortfall.last_img read more

Forged cheques land real estate agent in jail

first_imgA 24-year-old real estate agent was on Monday taken before the court of law after he was slapped with three counts of fraud.Miguel Dino, of Lot 115 Thomas Street, Kitty, denied the charges when they were read to him by Georgetown Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus.The first charge stated that on January 3, 2019 while in Georgetown with intent to defraud, he forged a Citizens Bank cheque purporting to show it was genuinely issued by John Snow Inc Research and training institution USAID.The second charge stated that on the same day and location with intent to defraud, he obtained the sum of $1.2 million from Citizens Bank under a forged instrument purporting to show it was signed by the Secretary of John Snow Inc, Tonia Newton.Additionally, the real estate agent was also charged for uttering to a Citizens Bank teller a forged cheque in favour of himself, purporting to show it was genuinely issued by Citizens Bank.Defence Attorney Tiffany Jeffery, in a bail application, informed the court that her client was not a flight risk and should be granted bail.However, Police Prosecutor Adduni Inniss objected to bail on the grounds that the defendant may not return to court, since he gave the Bank 15 different addresses.However, his attorney argued that he only had four addresses, which were given to the Court since he is a real estate agent.However, bail was refused, and Dino was remanded to prison. The case will continue on February 4, 2019.last_img read more

Jay Hill hints that he may retire from politics soon

first_imgIn an interview with the National Post this week, MP Jay Hill said he is considering stepping down from politics. Hill was first elected as the MP for Prince George/Peace River in 1993. He is one of the few remaining members of the original Reform Party left in politics. – Advertisement – The Post quotes Hill as saying, “I am soliciting advice and looking at what my options are.”last_img

Hudson’s Hope RCMP report: Shots Fired, Poaching and Attempted Abduction

first_imgOn August 4th, Hudson’s Hope RCMP assisted Fort St. John RCMP with an abduction attempt on a flagger that occurred within the Fort St. John jurisdiction near the area of Szoo Road along Hwy 29. A blue Power Wagon van with a grey pinstripe down the side and tinted windows stopped by a flagger, and an unidentified person exited the van and attempted to abduct this flagger. The victim was able to fend off the assailant, with the van fleeing the scene. This file is still under investigation with the Fort St. John RCMP and anyone with any information pertaining to this incident is asked to contact your local RCMP Detachment. Anyone with information regarding current or past investigations can contact the Hudson’s Hope RCMP directly at 250-783-5241 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Visit http://crimestoppersnebc.ca for advice on submitting tips online and to browse the areas “Most Wanted” page. HUDSON’S HOPE, B.C. – Hudson’s Hope RCMP have released their monthly report that includes a report of shots being fired into the Peace River, allegedly poaching and a story we shared last week about an attempted abduction on Highway 29.The following report has been released by Constable Erich Schmidt.Hudson’s Hope RCMP responded to 51 calls for service between July 16th and August 12th.  51 written violations and warning tickets were issued to drivers between the above dates. Highway and road safety continues to be a big focus for the Hudson’s Hope RCMP. Police have received reports to the increasing number of vehicles speeding along Beattie Drive, therefore police will be monitoring this area especially into the following month with the school season just around the corner.  Speeding fines can range from $138.00 to $196.00, with excessive speeding resulting in a $368.00 fine and a seven-day impound of the vehicle. Please obey local speed limits within our community. – Advertisement -On July 20th, Hudson’s Hope RCMP received a report of shots being fired into the Peace River near the Farrell Creek Bridge. This occurred while boaters were out on the river, posing a serious public risk factor. Police attended the area and located several intoxicated persons camping along the creek. During the investigation, a firearm was located and seized, and one of the persons was arrested for possession of the stolen property after one of the associated vehicles was found to be bearing stolen licence plates. On July 21st, Hudson’s Hope RCMP conducted a roadside check stop along Hwy 29 at the Peace Canyon Access Road. During this check stop, police stopped and checked approximately 75 drivers and vehicles. Several violation tickets were issued for various offences, including expired insurance for travel trailers. Please take the time to verify that all vehicle registration and insurances are up to date prior to heading out for a weekend camping trip. On July 28th, Hudson’s Hope RCMP received a report of a possible poaching site located within a rural area of Hudson’s Hope. Police conducted an investigation and located the site in which it appeared that several deer were shot out of season. This file has been forwarded to the local Conservation Officers who are continuing with the investigation. Poaching is a serious offence that can cause dramatic negative effects to the local wildlife populations. Anyone who observes a poaching offence can contact the Report All Poachers and Polluters hotline: 1-877-952-7277. Poaching offences can come with fines ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 fines with six months to one-year imprisonment. Advertisementlast_img read more

GROOM GIVEN SUSPENDED JAIL SENTENCE AFTER ATTACKING MAN ON HIS WEDDING DAY

first_imgA groom who attacked a man at his wedding after he spilled his drink has been given a suspended jail sentence.Sean McHugh, 35, assaulted the man ay his wedding reception in Jackson’s Hotel, Ballybofey on July 31st, 2011McHugh of 29 Listymore Park, Castlederg , was one of three men who assaulted Patrick Harrold. Ruadhri Carlin (20) of 1 Priest Sessiagh Road, Castlederg also pleaded guilty to the assault at Letterkenny Circuit Court.Mr Harrold was found by gardaí lying in the foyer of the hotel with a large gash on his head after a report of a group of men fighting.The court heard Mr Harrold had been out for a family occasion and went to the resident’s bar at around 4.30am.McHugh, dressed in his wedding suit, approached him and accused him of spilling his drink and demanded he buy him another one. The court heard he was very aggressive and reached out to strike Mr. Harrold.Carlin then approached him and started punching him in the face while a third man approached, also wearing wedding attire.Mr. Harrold felt his life was in danger and he ran into the resident’s lounge. The three men chased him and started beating him from all directions.He was kicked on the head as he lay on the ground .He woke up in an ambulance on the way to hospital.When gardaí came looking for the men responsible for the attack, McHugh had left the hotel after having a falling out his new bride, and Carlin had gone to his room.Both men admitted their part in the assault.Pictures of Mr Harrold’s injuries were shown to Judge John O Hagan.He suffered injuries to his head which required four staples to his temple and needed a CT scan on his kidneys.He also suffered psychological problems following the attack.Carlin told the curt he was extremely sorry for what happened. He said he was stupid and was not thinking right when he took part in the assault. McHugh told the court he did not mean what had happened to Mr. Harrold.Judge O’Hagan said the two men had left Mr. Harrold lying like a piece of meat.He said the incident marred a happy day for the bride and her family. “You could not control yourself over a spilled drink. It does not make sense,” he told McHugh.He sentenced both of them to three years in prison which was suspended for three years and warned them that the sentences will follow them wherever they goGROOM GIVEN SUSPENDED JAIL SENTENCE AFTER ATTACKING MAN ON HIS WEDDING DAY was last modified: February 3rd, 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:assaultJackson’s HotelSean McHughwedding daylast_img read more

England fans will NOT get the chance to welcome back their heroes from Russia

first_img England have arguably exceeded expectations in Russia England fans will not be given the chance to welcome their heroes back home from Russia.Gareth Southgate’s men are due to arrive at Birmingham Airport tomorrow after their third place play-off defeat to Belgium. Although the tournament has ended on a losing note it has been a memorable World Cup for England where they reached their first semi-final since 1990.The campaign in Russia has captured the hearts of the nation but Southgate’s men will not see when they touch down in Blighty what it has meant to the supporters.A statement on the airport’s official Twitte page read: “Please be aware that there will be no public viewing area to see the England football team arrive home so we strongly advise the public not to come to Birmingham Airport as you will not see the team.” Please be aware that there will be no public viewing area to see the England Football team arrive home so we strongly advise the public not to come to Birmingham Airport as you will not see the team. Thank you for your cooperation. @England @BHX_Police— Birmingham Airport (@bhx_official) July 13, 2018Southgate is not in favour of an open-top bus tour to celebrate his side’s achievement in reaching the semi-finals.An FA spokesman said: “There is no planned celebration at this point.“We are not actively promoting the date, the time or even the airport they will return to.”The decision has left many fans very disappointed and some took to Twitter to vent their frustration. Everything that is wrong with this country summed up in 1 tweet!!— Tom  (@tshakes1) July 13, 2018center_img Thanks Birmingham, good to see you catching the mood of the Nation and providing wonderful customer service as usual!— Banking Baggie (@NortonBaggie) July 13, 2018 After how well the team have done, and you cant be bothered to set up somewhere where the fans can say thanks. Poor customer relations bhx, very poor.— Baz (@bazk36) July 13, 2018 1last_img read more

MILFORD HOPING TO SCOOP €40,000 TOP PRIZE IN TG4 COMPETITION

first_imgMilford, along with 12 other towns nationally, has been chosen out of 100’s of entries to take part in a TG4 competition to promote the Irish language.The competition challenges the towns to use their native tongue in their daily routines.The 10 part series sees the towns compete against each other for the opportunity to call themselves the ‘G-Team Winner 2011’ and win a €40,000 Foras na Gaeilge prize to use in promoting their local area. TG4, in association with Adare Productions, are producing this brand new series which will be broadcast on our screens early next year.The town, therefore, has been busy preparing for the penultimate ‘G-Day’ on the 22nd of July which will coincide with the Town’s ‘Window to the Past’ Festival and due to this, an excellent sense of community that has enveloped the town.The Tidy Towns committee have planted new shrubs at the top of the town and are continuing their excellent work throughout the town.And in an effort to improve the standard of Irish, there are events such as weekly Irish conversational lessons and bi-lingual quizzes that are open to everyone and have proven to be a huge success. TRIP TO MILFORDLast week, TG4 made their third trip to Milford to capture some of the preparations taking place in the lead up to G-Day on the 22nd of July.The first stop of the day was to Lough Fern were the crew were taken out for some early morning fishing and then on to visit the Kearney family who are undertaking the challenge to integrate Irish into their everyday life.They then visited the local library where a group of 2nd class pupils from Scoil Mhuire, Milford took part in games though Irish and children from the local YMCA put on an Irish puppet show.Other stops for the cameras were at the erection of the Tidy Towns signage on the approach roads to the town, rehearsals for Paul Smiths upcoming film as well as to Kenneth Bradley’s pig farm! Overall the day was a success and we look forward to their next visit in early July. For more information about these and other events check out Milford’s Facebook(Milford Donegal) and Twitter(@Milford_Donegal) for updates and ways to get involved.EndsMILFORD HOPING TO SCOOP €40,000 TOP PRIZE IN TG4 COMPETITION was last modified: July 1st, 2011 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:MilfordTG4last_img read more

Minister McHugh and Taoiseach back Bliain Na Gaeilge 2018

first_imgMinister of State for the Irish Language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Joe McHugh TD has announced that discussions regarding a financial package to back a year-long official celebration of the Irish language in 2018 are nearing completion.Minister McHugh made the announcement in Killarney, Co Kerry where he launched the annual cultural celebration, Oireachtas na Samhna.The Fine Gael Minister said at the function: “We have carried out a lot of work on the Irish language since Oireachtas na Samhna was held this time last year. We have had a busy year in dealing with the 20 Year Strategy for the Irish language, a new Language Bill, language planning, budgeting and future planning. “There will be lots of events in Killarney over the next five days with activities in many areas including drama, film, culture, language and heritage.“I am pleased to announce that we will have a very special year in 2018. Conradh na Gaeilge will launch their program for Bliain na Gaeilge 2018 on Saturday.“Over the last few months, my Department’s officials have been working together with Foras na Gaeilge, Údaras na Gaeltachta, Conradh na Gaeilge and the other lead organisations in order to promote this concept.”He said discussions are currently underway in order to agree a financial package for the next year’s events and he is hopeful to see the results of these talks before Oireachtas na Samhna finishes on Sunday. “In addition to support from my own Department, I want Bliain na Gaeilge 2018 to receive support across the entire system and, in that regard, I will be talking again with my colleagues in Government in the coming weeks.“Today, I have already received the Taoiseach’s support from the US for the project and he has expressed an interest in launching the full Bliain na Gaeilge Program with me before Christmas.“Bliain na Gaeilge 2018 will be a national and international celebration and will build on the love of Irish in the United States, Canada, Europe and further afield.“To this end, my Department staff in Na Forbacha and the staff of Irish language organizations will be supported by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht staff currently working on the Creative Ireland Program and who also worked on the last year’s National Commemoration of the Easter Rising.“We will all play a major role in this celebration next year in order to tell our story to the world – our story is that Irish is still alive and well and is vibrant not just here in Ireland but in many places around the world.” D’fhógair an tAire Stáit don Ghaeilge, don Ghaeltacht agus do na hOileáin, Joe McHugh T.D. go bhfuil plé beagnach críochnaithe ar phacáiste airgeadais chun ceiliúradh oifigiúil na Gaeilge a chur ar siúl i 2018.Rinne an tAire McHugh an fógra i gCill Airne, Co Chiarraí inniu, áit a sheol sé Oireachtas na Samhna.Dúirt an tAire tráthnóna inniu, “Tá go leor oibre ar bun againn, dár ndóigh, i saol na Gaeilge ó tionóladh Oireachtas na Samhna an t-am seo anuraidh. Tá bliain chrua caite againn ag plé leis an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge, le Bille Teanga nua, leis an bpleanáil teanga, le cúrsaí buiséid agus le pleanáil don todhchaí.“Sa chúig lá atá amach romhainn, cloisfimid ceol, feicfidh muid scoth na drámaíochta agus scoth na scannánaíochta, a leithéid d’ilghnéitheacht cultúir, teanga agus oidhreachta, ní fheicfidh tú in aon áit amháin satír ó cheann ceann na bliana. “Tá bliain thar a bheith speisialta romhainn i 2018. Déanfaidh Conradh na Gaeilge an clár atá leagtha amach acu do Bhliain na Gaeilge a seoladh Dé Satharn.“Le cúpla mí anuas, tá oifigigh mo Roinne ag oibriú as lámha a chéile le Foras na Gaeilge, Údaras na Gaeltachta, Conradh na Gaeilge agus leis na Ceanneagraíochtaí eile ar mhaithe leis an gcoincheap seo a thabhairt chun cinn.“Tá comhráití ar bun faoi láthair ar mhaithe le pacáiste airgeadais a aontú d’imeachtaí na bliana agus táim dóchasach go bhfeicfidh muid toradh ar na cainteanna seo sula mbeidh Oireachtas na Samhna thart Dé Domhnaigh seo chugainn.“Anuas ar thacaíocht ó mo Roinn fhéin, teastaíonn uaim go bhfaighidh Bliain na Gaeilge tacaíocht trasna an státchóras uile agus, chuige sin, beidh mé ag caint arís le mo chomhghleacaithe sa Rialtais sna seachtainí amach romhainn. Tá tacaíocht an Taoisigh, atá i Meiricá inniu, faighte agam don togra cheana féin agus tá spéis léirithe aige Clár Iomlán Bliain na Gaeilge a sheoladh in éindí liom fhéin roimh na Nollag.“Is ceiliúradh náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta a bheidh i mBliain na Gaeilge 2018 agus beifear ag tógáil, lena linn, ar an suim atá léirithe sa Ghaeilge sna Stáit Aontaithe, i gCeanada, san Eoraip agus níos faide i gcéin le blianta fada. Chuige sin, beidh foireann mo Roinne sna Forbacha agus foirne na n-eagras Gaeilge ag fáil tacaíochta ón fhoireann de chuid na Roinne Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta atá ag obair faoi láthair ar an gClár Éire Ildánach agus a d’oibrigh ar an gComóradhNáisiúnta ar Éirí Amach na Cásca anuraidh.“Beidh ról le himirt againn uile sa cheiliúradh seo an bhliain seo chugainn ar mhaithe lenár scéal a insint do phobal an domhain – ár scéal go bhfuil an Ghaeilge beo i gcónaí agus go bhfuil pobail bríomhar anseo in Éirinn agus in áiteanna níos faide ar fud an domhain.”Minister McHugh and Taoiseach back Bliain Na Gaeilge 2018 was last modified: November 1st, 2017 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:donegalirish languageJoe McHughlast_img read more

The vortex of complaint

first_imgTim CohenIt’s not often you can generalise about a nation, particularly South Africa, but it’s probably true to say that South Africans in general have at least one common quality. We like to complain.By reputation, the British keep a stiff upper lip. By reputation, the French make light of things, and waft them away in a dazzling display of philosophising. By reputation, the Chinese keep stum, and seek solace in the learned balance of Confucius. By reputation, the Japanese blame themselves.But given half a chance, particularly in private, South Africans let loose in blathering explosion of anger and bile in which every conceivable thing or person is to blame, other than, of course, themselves. It’s evident on seemingly interminable talk shows on the country’s many problems and particularly on the anonymous feedback commentary on the internet. Frequently, it must be said, it has a bit of racial edge.It wasn’t always thus. It may just be a kind of wishful interpretation of history, but it does seem as if the stultification of free speech during the apartheid years has invoked a swing in the opposite direction now that speech is all too free. Now, given half a chance, everybody goes wild, so much so that the point is often lost as the arguments move away from the topic and get sucked down more familiar and emotional by-ways. Friends of mine describe this process as the vortex; the great whirl-wind of noise a wobbly nation makes as it desperately tries to keep its balance.So the country’s recent electricity cuts, termed “load shedding” for reasons best known to politicians and people who throw switches, have provided a truly magnificent opportunity for the vortex to be released. The arguments about the electricity cuts have a truly splendid way of allowing the protagonists to simply justify their pre-existing beliefs. Power utility Eskom is a state-owned, corporate entity. It’s a vertically integrated utility and as such, it not only owns, operates and maintains the national transmission grid but is also responsible for generating almost all the country’s capacity. This allows the left to blame government for corporatising the entity, and the right to blame government for not corporatising the entity enough.Whatever the case, it’s well known that Eskom provides some of the cheapest electricity in the world, and not by small margins either. The average wholesale cost of electricity is a full 60% lower than its nearest rival, which apparently is Canada. One of the reasons for this extraordinary proficiency is that South Africa has huge coal reserves and, consequently, generation is close to supply and, consequently, electricity in South Africa is cheap but also dirty.But cheap electricity in South Africa also has a historical explanation too. When Eskom was established as a self-funding organisation, it expanded its generating capacity in line with the growth expectations the organisation’s management anticipated at the time. The big-boom period was in the 1970s when gold was, well, the same price it is now. The country’s growth rate was impressive, and because the lead time in establishing large coal fired furnaces is so long, Eskom built like crazy.The result was overcapitalisation of the company and, for years, Eskom had a surplus generating capacity. Consequently, nobody bothered much. And so the electricity blackouts have caught everyone a bit by surprise, intensifying the vortex into a veritable cacophony of complaint.But in fact, in a way, electricity shortages are the kind of problem you want to have. Most often they suggest strong underlying and democratic economic growth. It means consumers are stepping up and buying electronic goods in small mountains. It means lives are improving in incremental but significant ways with washing machines and stove cookers.Of course, it would be nice if someone had their eye on the ball and managed to plan correctly. And strangely enough, someone did. A government white paper produced eight years ago suggested that at the current growth rates, South Africa would run out of electricity in – you guessed it – 2008.Personally, I blame it on the vortex. Sometimes complaining takes you further away from the problem rather than closer to it. A culture of complaint is often lauded as the first step in recognising a problem. But when it turns a kind of campaigning negative, it constitutes a retreat into argument rather than a spur to better planning. In short, the vortex sucks.Tim Cohen is a freelance journalist writing for a variety of South African publications. He is currently contracted as a columnist to Business Day and the Weekender, where he worked for most of his career, and financial website Moneyweb where he writes on business and corporate activity for an associate site called Dealweb. He was the 2004 Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year.last_img read more