…beneficiaries fear being short-changed by GovtEven as pensioners remain concerned over how much of their pension benefits they will actually get, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and the Agriculture Ministry are mum over the state of the pension fund for unionized workers.Even as the workers remain in the cold about the status of their pension fund, some have questioned whether they would be treated like the bauxite workers, in Region 10. A senior manager who is part of the fund told this publication that, in 2002, the then Government had signed an agreement with the two large bauxite unions, providing six weeks’ severance pay for every year of service, with a cap of 104 weeks. Additionally, the Government committed to pay the pension plan deficit and bring up to date outstanding payments for NIS and PAYE. The manager said that almost $3 billion was paid out by Government to fulfil these obligations.This newspaper was also told that, separate from the pay out, the Bauxite Industry Pension Plan (BIPP) was wound up and the full benefits were paid to all members of the bauxite industry pension plan.This is a major concern for another beneficiary of the GuySuCo pension plan called STEPS (Sugar Trading Enterprise Pension Scheme), which is the largest pension plan in the country. Its officials have said there seems to be no focus on protecting the workers’ benefits and ensuring fair treatment of sugar workers.Just over 5400 sugar workers were dismissed as Government closed four sugar estates and vested their assets into the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) since the end of 2017.There is major fear that Government would short-change the workers, a former employee told this publication on Saturday.“Instead of the workers being paid both their contribution and that of GuySuCo, workers are concerned that they may end up with far less than the same treatment enjoyed by the bauxite industry,” a former senior staff stated.The STPES Fund has a history of negative figures, but several persons have opined that with the closure of several estates and the downsizing of the industry, there will be an influx of persons into the pension system.Reports are that the Employees Retirement Benefits are in negative territory by $1.1 billion, as opposed to $2.4 billion in 2014, according to the 2015 financial statements produced by GuySuCo. And according to well-placed sources, the state of the fund has not improved.A former employee of the Corporation had told this newspaper that Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) pulling out from the fund has added pressure to the fund.The employee had expressed the view that Government had to be aware of the dilemma. He said this on the basis that there was no likelihood that foreign investors would have joined the fund, as the Financial Act currently prohibits certain levels of offshore investment.According to the former employee, there is likelihood that the scheme will lose its viability to provide a pension for those who are already receiving a pension, because of the lack of investment portfolios.“The pension is already burdened by those already receiving a pension, and it will be exacerbated by the additional people who will now become eligible for pension as a result of being severed from the company,” he added.While the pension fund had been in trouble before the new Government took office in 2015, there was no move made to stabilise the fund, especially in light of plans to downsize the industry.When contacted for information on the fund, GuySuCo’s acting Chief Executive Officer Paul Bhim had professed that the fund had a surplus. However, he was unable to provide details on exactly what the balance of the fund represented.He had informed this publication that there is usually a three-year valuation exercise done, with the next one due in June 2019. Bhim had revealed, however, that this exercise would be brought forward to this year, due to the massive changes.
A disappointed Delhi Capitals skipper Shreyas Iyer said bowling at the death overs is a major concern for his team which was thoroughly outplayed by Mumbai Indians in a return leg IPL clash here Thursday.The hosts, who were on a roll with a hattrick of victories, suffered a 40-run defeat against Mumbai Indians after being restricted to 128 for nine while chasing 169 here.It was Delhi’s third loss out of the four matches that the hosts played at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium this season.”It is important for us to win the home games. Especially on these wickets. We lost the toss as well and they outplayed us in all three departments. Credit to them,” Iyer said.”A lot of concern as far as the death overs were concerned. It wasn’t easy to bat in the second innings. The ball was stopping. It was difficult for the new batters. The last three overs were game changing,” he added, referring to the 51 runs that the hosts conceded in the last three overs.Iyer said they gave away 20 runs more after being asked to bowl first on this wicket.”We would have chased. That is what we had on our minds. We have been chasing in all our away games as well. We gave away 20 runs more on this wicket,” he said.The @mipaltan are now on the No.2 position in the #VIVOIPL points table after Match 34. pic.twitter.com/8gIxcufL8gIndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 18, 2019Asked if Delhi have been training on similar wickets, Iyer said: “We practice at the nets and those wickets are also slow. When you come here, it is totally different.”advertisementMI skipper Rohit Sharma said they had a good score on board and praised the bowlers, especially spinners, for defending the total of 168 for 5.”After the first two overs that we played, we thought 140 was the good score. Quinny and me had that talk and then luckily towards the end we had wickets in hand and could use our power-hitters to play just the way they’ve been playing,” he said.”We then knew we had the spinners, who did the job perfectly. The toss was something where I had made up my mind. Even in the last ODI against Australia we found it tough to chase. I knew that if we got 140-150, we had the bowlers to keep us in the game.”Young spinner Rahul Chahar was the top bowler for Mumbai as he returned with three wickets to derail Delhi’s chase early on.Talking about Chahar, Rohit said: “Rahul Chahar was there with us last year, we wanted to get him in even last year where Mayank was playing.”He has a good attitude and is clear with what he wants to do. They had left handers and Rahul was confident to bowl to left handers, which is what he told me before the innings.”Asked about his decision behind selecting the playing XI, the MI skipper said: “Jayant (Yadav) was an obvious swap with the number of lefties they had. With Cutting, we wanted him to expolit the new ball and I thought it was a good move to send him up.”The top three remains the same and numbers four, five and six depends on the situation and the venue, which is something we’ve conveyed to the boys as well.”Hardik Pandya, who was adjudged the match of the match for his 15-ball 32, said he has been hitting the ball well.”Even I was telling myself that I don’t think I’ve ever hit the ball better. I have been working hard in the nets and it has been coming off well for me. I like to keep the basics straight, even in the death if you keep your shape and hope for bowlers to miss, you can hit hard,” he said.”I am using my brain well, reading the wicket well in this season. I have five more games to go and then the play-offs, and I hope to keep going like this through the season.”Quinton de Kock, who had hit a 27-ball 35, said playing big shots was very difficult on the slow Kotla wicket.”It was quite slow and sticky, we knew if we had wickets in hand at the end, we could capitalise. It was not a wicket where you can walk in and play shots from the first ball,” he said.”I was trying to find my rhythm slowly and took some time to get my eye in. We know what our strengths are and we are learning every game. It was horrible (about wicket-keeping today), not used to these kind of tracks.advertisementAlso Read | Using my brain well in IPL this year: Hardik Pandya after MI winAlso Read | Rahul Chahar joins forces with Pandyas to lift Mumbai Indians to No.2Also Read | Rahul Chahar a smart guy, love his attitude, says Rohit after MI crush DC
A grieving First Nation in northern Ontario has released the names of a mother and four children killed in a house fire last week.Officials say those died were Geraldine Chapman, a 47-year-old “longtime foster parent,” her six year-old biological daughter Shyra Chapman and three foster children.They have been identified as 12-year-old Angel McKay, nine-year-old Karl Cutfeet, and seven-year-old Hailey Chapman.Community members say they recognized all the children as Geraldine Chapman’s and considered the blended household as a family unit.The five were killed last Thursday in a fire that levelled their lakeside house in the community commonly known as Big Trout Lake, about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont.Community members say Chapman’s eldest daughter, 19-year-old Thyra Chapman, was accompanying another Big Trout Lake resident on a medical trip at the time of the fire.Chief Donny Morris says that while the investigation into the deadly blaze is winding down, the cause is still undetermined.He says the community is focusing on supporting the family and coping with the loss, and requests privacy until they are ready to discuss the “direct and underlying” factors behind the fire.The Canadian Press
Prose, an innovative social platform where readers and writers create and consume literature, has partnered with unite4:good, a global movement for kindness and social good, to launch the first #write4good campaign.Kicking off on July 8 and running through August 28, the campaign asks participants to craft written responses over 500 words in length to a challenge prompt on the Prose platform. The top entry will receive $3,000, which will be applied to the student’s account at an educational institution. The campaign will also award second and third place winners with $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.A panel of selected judges from Prose and unite4:good will identify winning entries based upon the quality of the content, authenticity, and creative edge. The panel of judges include Anthony Melikhov, founder of unite4:good; Wilmer Valderrama, CEO of WVE; Geneva Wasserman, president of U4G Entertainment; William D. Garner, New York Times bestselling author; Susan Wright Boucher, writer and creator of Plugged In, a blog dedicated to social media, recruitment, technology and career management; and Kelly Knox M.A, artist and teacher of visual and performing arts. Throughout the competition, both Prose and unite4:good will share entries on their platforms and social media pages.“This campaign is one of countless opportunities provided to writers by Prose,” said H.B. Augustine, co-founder of Prose. “By establishing a more dynamic presence in the writing, education, and social good communities, we hope to reiterate the power of the written word and the global impact that writing can create.”The winning entries will be announced September 15, in tandem with the launch of the new unite4:good platform, which will connect the digital world with real world action by uniting individuals, brands, nonprofit organizations, thought leaders, and influencers for the common purpose of motivating people towards Acts of Kindness and creating a positive social impact around the globe.“The unite4:good movement is based on the knowledge that positivity and kindness are the keys to true happiness,” said Melikhov. “By creating positive, uplifting, and inspirational works through this writing initiative, we are asking individuals not only to dig deep and share what they stand for, but to also inspire others with their actions and words.”How the competition works: • Participants sign up for Prose via the Prose app or website, and join the unite4:good movement on unite4good.com. • Participants respond to the #write4good #Iam4 challenge prompt on the Prose website. Qualifying entries will be over 500 words in length, with no word limit. • Entries will be accepted from July 8 to August 28, 2015. Only one entry will be accepted per participant. • The winners will be announced by Prose and unite4:good on September 15. • Three winners will receive $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively, which will be applied to their student accounts at an educational institution.To learn more about the #write4good challenge, please visit www.theprose.com/p/write4good.
Singer, songwriter, actress and activist Cyndi Lauper is partnering with National Psoriasis Foundation and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation on I’m PsO Ready, a national initiative highlighting the physical, emotional and social challenges of psoriasis.Cyndi Lauper joins National Psoriasis Foundation to bring national attention to the diseaseThe program aims to inspire people with psoriasis to speak up and celebrate their everyday successes.Today, Lauper reveals she is living with psoriasis, a condition that affects as many as 7.5 million Americans. Like many with this condition, Lauper has struggled physically and emotionally, and she has gone to great lengths to cover up her skin before public appearances. Learn more about Lauper’s psoriasis story at MoreToPsOriasis.com.“My psoriasis made me want to hide, but being in the public eye I knew I couldn’t stay inside,” said Lauper. “During performances I have skin-colored fishnets that I wear to cover the redness and spots or I would wear long sleeves, leather pants. I also use makeup to cover my skin. When I would sweat, because I don’t stand still and sing, it would make the psoriasis even worse.”After her diagnosis in 2010, Lauper worked with a physician and sought home remedies to control her psoriasis. While some therapies worked temporarily, Lauper’s psoriasis would come back, leading to frustration and a sense of hopelessness. After learning more about this condition and talking to others, Lauper wants to share her story and help those affected by psoriasis.“I am usually a very vocal and open person, but I think sharing your psoriasis story is very personal and takes a lot of courage. Raising awareness and educating others is critical. It is very easy to feel isolated,” Lauper noted. “Through I’m PsO Ready, I want people living with the condition to understand that we don’t have to be embarrassed, we don’t have to cover up and we don’t have to settle for life the way it is.”I’m PsO Ready is part of a larger disease awareness initiative — More To PsOriasis — to help people communicate about the realities of life with psoriasis. MoreToPsOriasis.com features information and resources, as well as unique multi-media content including: • Cyndi’s experience – Lauper will share her personal journey with psoriasis through videos and inspirational quotes, including the ways she lives a healthy life. • That’s PsO My Reality – A one-of-a-kind docu-series that follows real people as they take on the daily challenges of managing psoriasis. • Regular updates from Lauper on lifestyle tips, psoriasis-specific events and access to additional patient resources.Psoriasis is a chronic, systemic disease of the immune system that most often appears on the skin as painful, red, itchy patches. Studies have shown psoriasis can have a similar impact as other serious illnesses, such as cancer and hypertension, with 94 percent of people reporting that psoriasis impacts their daily life.“For some people, living with psoriasis can be isolating and cause a lot of embarrassment and low self-esteem,” said Dr. Colby Evans, chair of the National Psoriasis Foundation Board of Directors. “Many people with psoriasis limit dating and social interactions because of their condition. Our hope is that I’m PsO Ready encourages and inspires people with psoriasis to realize they are not alone and to help them take control of their condition.”The most common type of psoriasis is plaque psoriasis, affecting 80 percent of people with the condition. People with psoriasis are at an increased risk for obesity, cardiovascular disease, depression, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and Crohn’s disease, among other associated conditions.“At Novartis, we are continually inspired by the courage of the psoriasis community who struggle with this isolating condition every day,” said Christi Shaw, president of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. “By partnering with NPF and Cyndi, we want to unite the millions of Americans who have psoriasis through a message of empowerment and hope.”