Is this flag design another way for APNU/AFC to milk Guyana’s teats?

first_imgDear Editor,The APNU/AFC regime upon taking up the mantle of leadership in Guyana announced the need for regional flags. The idea of regional flags was packaged and sold as a representation of independence. Editor, I believe the Golden Arrowhead serves that very purpose. In addition, this move was soundly rejected by residents and several of the regional officials who also are against the renaming of the regions.In spite of this, on Tuesday January 15, the Department of Public Information (DPI) posted an article which stated that the Government is moving forward with the proposed regional flags and renaming of the regions.This Government has had three and a half years to implement such a trivial project. That it finds the need to focus, at this time, on matters which will have no significant impact on the well-being of a population which has to grapple daily with medication shortages, run-down public infrastructure, higher costs of living and the other effects of the current economic downturn, is testimony to its misplaced priorities.The resources allocated towards this frivolous project can be redirected towards job creation, enhanced public security, better roads, improved potable water supply, efficient garbage collection etc.Editor, on the Communities Ministry’s website is a pdf document with ten well designed flags carrying descriptions and an explanation of the region. When was the graphic team procured? How was this done? Is this another situation like the seven regional newsletters; where an AFC graphic artist is paid $90,000 per month for each of the seven newsletters? This AFC graphic artist receives a monthly salary of $630,000 and is also paid to design the Chronicle’s front page. Is this flag design another way for the APNU/AFC to milk Guyana’s teats?Readers may recall that this Government fell on December 21, 2018, and rather than using the time remaining to further milk the treasury, the Government should try to bring relief to the long-suffering citizenry. For starters, the roads in Albouystown were destroyed during a pipe laying exercise by the GWI, it has remained in a poor state for almost two years now.Yours truly,Jason Abdullalast_img read more

Trade unions lament GuySuCo’s discrimination strategy

first_imgThe Guyana Sugar Corporation’s recent refusal to release with pay several sugar workers to attend the 21st Delegates’ Congress of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) has been deemed as an attack on the Union’s constitutionality and union democracy.GTUC President Lincoln LewisThis is according to the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) and the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), both of which in a joint statement of protest on Wednesday, condemned GuySuCo for its “discriminatory stance” regarding GAWU’s recently-concluded 21st Delegates’ Congress, an event which is held once every three years.FITUG and GTUC posited that attending the Congress has been a tradition that has existed for decades, noting that it was in the interest of workers’ welfare. However, the Sugar Corporation had reportedly disallowed sugar workers from obtaining paid release to attend the Congress as delegates.“GuySuCo decided to disrespect in denying the worker-delegates to the GAWU Congress paid release and transportation. In previous Congresses, the requisite number of workers who are members of GAWU and were formally selected as Congress Delegates would receive paid release for the duration of the Union’s Congress and assistance with transportation to the Congress venue,” the trade union umbrella bodies pointed out.GAWU President Komal ChandThe unions noted that GuySuCo’s approach was “vexatious” and “unhelpful to good industrial relations” and contemptuous of the institution of trade unionism”, adding that workers were allowed to attend the Congress, despite the Corporation’s financial difficulties, in the 1980s and 1990s.“FITUG-GTUC, now having been alerted by this travesty, is duty-bound to ensure that such undermining of trade union democracy does not continue nor affect the trade union movement,” the bodies added.On August 21, the Delegates Congress was held at the Bath Primary School, West Coast Berbice. However, on August 20, GAWU had registered its concern, having sent a letter since July 7, 2016, to GuySuCo where it sought to discuss the release of workers to attend the observances. GAWU claimed that they were told that the Sugar Corporation would not do so.Reports indicated that the Sugar Corporation’s cash-strapped financial status had reportedly restricted it from approving the release of the workers and assisting in transportation.GAWU, however, accused GuySuCo of undermining the Union, pointing out that the refusal was “anti-sugar worker”.GAWU had termed the entire situation a “travesty”, and posited that it has contributed to an “undermining” of the country’s “fragile democracy”, which has been making its way into the Union’s operations. At the Congress, GAWU President Komal Chand had called for a united trade union movement. GTUC President Lincoln Lewis called on all trade unions to not allow politicians to deny the unions the right to fight for workers. Lewis had also echoed the sentiments of GAWU that the rights of workers were “under threat” by political leaders.last_img read more

Can Public Works Meet the very Serious Challenges Facing It?

first_imgOne of the puzzling policy actions for which President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will most certainly be remembered is her many appointments of non-engineers to head distinctly engineering institutions.Only history will judge how prudent these appointments were. The first was her appointment of Willis Knuckles in 2006 to head the Public Works Ministry. But following the fire that partially destroyed the Executive Mansion, imperiling it for the past 10 years, she gave Mr. Knuckles the job she had originally intended for him, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs. He replaced Morris Dukuly, who honorably resigned immediately following the fire.Another puzzling appointment of a non-engineer to Public Works was Attorney Samuel Kofi Woods, a renowned Human Rights Lawyer. After serving in that post for roughly three years, he resigned to return to his vocation as a Human Rights Lawyer.Another such appointment – of a non-engineer to head a distinctly engineering Ministry – was counselor Patrick Sendolo as Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy.Ever since Arthur Sherman, Liberia’s first Mining Engineer and founding Director to the Bureau of Mines and Geology, departed to pursue his business interests, that office, which later became the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, has with one exception, been handed by an engineer. That one exception was James Y. Gbaryea, a politician from Sanoyea, Bong County, whom President William R. Tolbert appointed Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy.Few years ago President Sirleaf did it again by appointing a lawyer, Patrick Sendolo, as Minister.Most recently the President named her third non-engineer as Public Works Minister. He is young Gyude (Warrior in Grebo) Moore. He is a technocrat who for several years served the President in the Projects Implementation Section of the Executive Mansion.Just as Knuckles and Kofi Woods, Gyude Moore inherited an extremely tough assignment, fit for a highly efficient and tough civil engineer, in the order of Gabriel Johnson Tucker, who was reputed to be the most accomplished and celebrated Public Works head.Knuckles inherited a war-devastated road system, and so did Kofi Woods. Both tried, with limited success, to fix the problem. But their efforts were bedeviled by the lack of financial resources to do what Public Works needed to do to fix the consummately challenging road conditions not just in the capital, Monrovia, but throughout the country.Just recently this Newspaper, the Daily Observer, reported that the road to Saclapea, Nimba County, leading to Southeastern Liberia had been cut, making it impassable. Hordes of automobiles, including produce-carrying ones, as well as hundreds of passengers, including farmers, businesspeople NGO and government officials were stranded.When President Sirleaf demanded that the Observer Publisher, Kenneth Y. Best, travel to Sinoe County “to see the bad roads you’ve been writing about, “—a trip that made Mr. Best sick and landed him twice in the John F. Kennedy Medical Center – it was indeed because of the atrocious road conditions barely three weeks to Independence Day. Yet Sinoe had been designated for the 26 celebration. Though passable by 26, the roads remained very bad. That was Minister Moore’s first major challenge. He succeeded in it. Many people were able to travel by road to Sinoe for 26.But the Daily Observer in the last two weeks have reminded Minister Moore that the challenges are far from over. On Monday this week, Minister Moore was landed with another road crisis. Our Public Works and Sanitation Correspondent Edwin Fayia reported that the bridges and road in the Paynesville Pipeline Community were in bad shape. He backed his revelation with graphic photos of a road and bridge, with water gushing through both due to the heavy downpour of rain.Lutheran Bishop Jensen D. Seyenkulo had called the Observer Publisher one night in desperation, demanding that the newspaper come and see what he and his neighbors were going through and report the deplorable situation to Public Works and the public. The Bishop appealed to Minister Moore to prioritize, during the dry season, the rehabilitation of the Pipe Line roads and bridges. Bishop Seyenkulo lamented that hundreds of business people and residents were stranded across the creek connecting the Pipeline Business District to the Red Light market. The Bishop appealed to Public Works Minister Moore and his principal deputies “to leave their offices and tour community roads in Monrovia and its environs for practical experience.”The very Paynesville Highway leading to the Liberian interior is daily becoming impassible, especially as one passes through the Red Light market. Vehicles and pedestrians, even motorbikes, have to wade through huge puddles of water which appear more like rivers of mud. That road is on the verge of being cut, just like the Saclapea road. Yes, Public Works Minister Gyude Moore is no civil engineer, but he is now called to muster all the ingenuity he has to engage the experts in his ministry and anywhere else he can find them to help, as a matter of urgency, to fix these roads.We are afraid that the heavy rainfall cannot be used as an excuse; for everyone knows that it has been raining heavily in Liberia from time immemorial. We cannot now blame the good Lord for this wonderful rainfall, propelled by, again, the blessed rain forest he has endowed us with to be able to grow our food. Too bad we are not growing our food, but have to import most of it. But we most certainly cannot blame God for that.We think Minister Moore has to put on his mantle as a warrior to make the impossible possible, he must find the money and the engineers and do the trick by making the nation’s roads throughout the country – the cities and countryside alike – passable throughout the year.This is his challenge. And we believe that with God, all things are possible!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

New restaurant, warehouse approved for development in Dawson Creek

first_imgCity council on Monday approved a development permit for the restaurant among a couple of other development applications. The restaurant is proposed on three vacant lots along Eighth Street and 114 Avenue, across from the Northern Lights College.Chief administrative officer Jim Chute noted the lots are actually remediated brownfield sites that used to be occupied by a Turbo gas station.Mayor Mike Bernier joked that his son told him having a Wendy’s built in Dawson Creek was the only thing he wanted his dad to accomplish as mayor.- Advertisement -The permit requires the successful completion of a 10-day notification period and receipt of the required financial security in the amount of $50,000.Council also approved a development permit for the construction of a 4,800-square-foot office and warehouse building proposed by Techmation Electric and Controls for 69 Vic Turner Road.The property currently houses a 40-foot office trailer and two, 40-foot sea-cans which are being used as tool cribs. The proposed building will be used to provide electrical and instrumentation services to the oil and gas industry and approximately 10 employees will be working out of the location.Advertisement The permit is also subject to a 10-day notification period, and a $60,000 security bond.last_img read more

Transfer tips: 15 star players likely to move this summer – to your club?

first_img 11. Hal Robson-Kanu (Unattached) – A shock star of Euro 2016, the Welshman ran down his contract at Reading and could now find himself moving to a top-flight team. Hull City, Celtic and even (reportedly) Leicester are fighting it out for his services. 15 15 15 12. Christian Benteke (Liverpool) – His first season as a Liverpool player is likely to be his only one, if a suitable buyer can be found, following last summer’s £32.5m transfer. He didn’t suit the Reds’ style of play and now is way down the pecking order at Anfield. Crystal Palace, who are in desperate need of a goalscorer, could hand him a Premier League lifeline. 15 13. Clinton N’Jie (Tottenham) – Many felt the Cameroon international would be handed another chance this year after his debut campaign was cruelly interrupted by injuries. It seems, though, he’ll move back to France on loan as Spurs plot their summer transfer business. 15 2. Jeremy Mathieu (Barcelona) – Versatile French centre-back Mathieu appears to have been ousted by compatriots Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne, who moved to the Nou Camp this summer. At 32, he’s edging towards the latter stage of his career but will be more than capable to do a job for someone over the next couple of years. 15 7. Enner Valencia (West Ham) – After an excellent showing at the 2014 World Cup, injuries have stopped Valencia showing his true talent with the Hammers. Now, under Slaven Bilic, it appears he’s been left behind, with Swansea and Lazio wanting to sign him. 1. Mario Gotze (Bayern Munich) – Click the right arrow above to see which others stars are likely to be on the move this summer… – It wasn’t meant to be like this. The German youngster should have seen his career hit an upward curve after scoring the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final. Instead, he’s seen his career stagnate a little in Bavaria under Pep Guardiola. It appears even with Carlo Ancelotti coming into the club, his days are numbered. And while he has been linked with switches to Tottenham and Liverpool, it’s more likely he’ll end up back at Borussia Dortmund. 3. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City) – After a glorious Premier League title-winning campaign last season, the Algerian looks likely to jump ship and earn a ‘dream’ move. He won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in April, and is now set to choose between Chelsea, Arsenal and Barcelona for his next destination. 15 15 10. Arda Turan (Barcelona) – It was always going to be hard for the Turkish midfield to make an impact last season given he could only play from January onwards. Now, after just nine starts, he could well be leaving the club in the coming weeks. Arsenal and Chelsea could make bids, along with several other top European clubs. 15 15 9. Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg) – After four seasons over in Russia, the Belgium midfielder could well be on his way back to western Europe. Everton and Leicester City are both keen on the player who scored against Ireland at Euro 2016, while Inter Milan are also keeping tabs. The new football season is coming up fast so get ready for some transfer scrambles.In less than a month, the new campaign will be underway with a host of stars lining up for new clubs.But who are the players likely to move teams in the coming weeks? talkSPORT takes a look.Click the right arrow above to see which superstars are likely seal a transfer before the summer window ends… 4. Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United) – The Frenchman was absent in patches for the Magpies last year as they were relegated from the Premier League. Now, though, after some excellent Euro 2016 displays, he could be about to ditch the Championship side for top-tier club. Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United, Crystal Palace, and Arsenal keep an eye on his availability. 15 8. Joao Mario (Sporting Lisbon) – After appearing in every game at the European Championship in France, Mario is, understandably, interesting a couple of clubs. Chelsea and Inter Milan are currently the likely contenders for his signature, despite his club’s insistence he won’t be sold. 15 15 15 15. Andre Gomes (Valencia) – Another Portuguese player who can earn a transfer off the back of Euro 2016, Gomes has previously been linked with Chelsea and Manchester United. Real Madrid and Barcelona were also sniffing about, but it’s probable he will move to a club with a slightly lower standing. 15 5. Piotr Zielinski (Udinese) – After impressing with Empoli last season, the Polish international is set for a transfer this summer, according to agent Bartolomej Bolek. He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “We’ve decided [what his next club will be], but it’s a secret.” Liverpool and AC Milan have been rumoured with interest so far. 14. Paul Pogba (Juventus) – It might not happen in the next couple of days, but the Frenchman’s return to Manchester United should go through, unless something serious happens to derail it. Juventus would be foolish to turn down a bid of around £100m. It’s a game of poker now, between Ed Woodward, Pogba’s agent and Juventus. 6. Gabriel Barbosa (Santos) – Another year, another Brazilian wonderkid. ‘Gabigol’ has been handed the ‘new Neymar’ tag and could well move to Europe this summer. The player himself has hinted a move is imminent, with Barcelona, Arsenal, and Chelsea interested. last_img read more

County councillor tells Gardai to produce CCTV footage of alleged attack

first_imgA county councillor accused of assault causing harm to two men told Gardai to produce CCTV footage of the attack if they had it.Donegal councillor John O’Donnell appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court charged with two counts of assault causing harm to two different men. He is charged with assault causing harm to Emmet Gallagher, now aged 22, at the Sultan Takeaway in the early hours of the morning of February 23rd, 2015.He is also charged with assault causing harm to another man Seamus O’Donnell, aged 29, at Gortlee, Letterkenny.Mr O’Donnell, aged 37 and from Kilmacrennan, has pleaded not guilty to both charges.During the third day of the trial, jurors heard the statement of Mr O’Donnell when he was arrested by Gardai.When interviewed, Mr O’Donnell denied the assaults and said he was waiting for due process.He asked Gardai if they had CCTV footage of the incident and when told there wasn’t he replied ‘If you have the CCTV footage from outside Mr Chippie you will know what happened. The camera doesn’t lie….“There’s no footage. That’s a disaster then. I already said ‘There are two sides to every story’… If I had anything to hide I wouldn’t have asked for the cameras.”He was then asked by Gardai if he was denying that he attacked the men.Mr O’Donnell replied “We’ll let it go to court. It will show the full sequence of events. It will show the truth.”He added that it was “silly for me to be here” saying he was not taking anybody to court.Mr O’Donnell added that while he had a drink taken, he wasn’t drunk adding that he had a full recollection of the evening.Garda Paul McKenna had earlier told the court that despite checking a number of local businesses, he could not find any CCTV footage of the alleged incident.However, barrister for Mr O’Donnell, Mr John Berry, then showed CCTV footage from Format Computers which purportedly showed Mr O’Donnell walking towards a taxi.Mr O’Donnell told Gardai that he left the scene to flag down a taxi and asked if that looked like a man looking for a fight.Earlier in the case, one of the alleged victims Seamus O’Donnell said he had to have his nose “packed” on three different occasions after being sent to Sligo General Hospital from Letterkenny University Hospital the day after the attack.Mr O’Donnell claims he approached John O’Donnell after his friend Emmett Gallagher was punched by Mr O’Donnell in the Sultan Takeaway.He admitted asking Mr O’Donnell “What the f*** did you hit the wee boy for?”Barrister for John O’Donnell, Mr John Berry said the fact that Mr Seamus O’Donnell used an expletive in his query brought a tone of aggression to the conversation.Mr Berry put it to Mr Emmett Gallagher that there was a lot of drink taken on the night.“There was drink involved as you said. You wouldn’t be saying that if there was a single sherry or a small glass of wine involved,” he said.Mr Gallagher agreed.Mr Gallagher also said that he had been punched in the face by John O’Donnell in the Sultan Cafe.Another friend of the injured men, Paddy Gallagher said he did not really see a fight between John O’Donnell and Seamus O’Donnell but did see John kicking Seamus.“No I didn’t see the fight, just scuffling but I saw the kick. I know what I witnessed. It was four years ago but you’ll always remember something like that” he said.The court also heard the medical evidence of how both men had been treated in hopsital for their injuries.Judge John Aylmer adjourned the case until next Tuesday.County councillor tells Gardai to produce CCTV footage of alleged attack was last modified: December 14th, 2018 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

Lucas Hernandez admits to time-wasting and ‘exaggerating’ injury

first_imgTime-wasting has been on show at the World Cup and Hernandez revealed he was deliberately doing it to help his team close out the victory.He said: “As we saw against Australia, there are moments where I exaggerate a bit.“It is part of the show, part of the game, [and] I am used to doing it. It helps the team to buy some time. I do it from time to time. It is a part of me.” 2 France edged past Australia in Kazan on Saturday 2 Hernandez went down numerous times during the game France left-back Lucas Hernandez admitted he ‘exaggerated’ an injury concern during his side’s World Cup opener against Australia.Paul Pogba scored the winning goal in a game where Les Bleus were far from their best in their 2-1 win over the Socceroos. Hernandez plays for Atletico Madrid, a club he has been with since 2007 and he has recently committed himself to the club by agreeing terms until 2024.And the 22-year-old offered no apologies for his fiery attitude and time-wasting efforts he has learned from Atletico boss Diego Simeone.Hernandez added:  “I learned over eleven years with Atletico and I am still trying to improve. I have already been working with it alongside Diego for four years. It is a strong point of mine.“It is up to me to keep it going and not let up in each match.“I am a quiet player. When I take to the pitch, I know what my objective is — get involved, tackle and be physical.“I am a very aggressive player, regardless of whether it is a World Cup match or a friendly. It is my state of mind. I am ready from the first minute.”talkSPORT will be with listeners all day and all night at this year’s 2018 FIFA World Cup™ with over 800 hours of World Cup content and all 64 games live across the talkSPORT network.last_img read more

LETTERKENNY CHARITY SNAP ANNOUNCE DETAILS OF UNIVERSAL PLAY PARK TO BE OPENED AT BALLYMACOOL

first_imgLetterkenny, County Donegal – Charity SNAP has announced that it will be hosting a public event at Ballymacool Park, Letterkenny on Tuesday, December 9th at 3.30pm to mark the installation of new ‘Universal Play’ Equipment.Local members of the media and community have been invited to attend. SNAP has directly funded the equipment through local fundraising and cooperation with local bodies.Prior to this installation at Ballymacool Park the nearest Universal Play equipment available was in County Cavan. Universal play equipment enables children with a disability to play alongside their friends and siblings.The new equipment installed at Ballymacool includes the following 1) an Ability Roundabout, 2) a Wheelchair accessible See-Saw and 3) A Bicycle Pedal Roundabout.These items have been installed at a cost of over €30,000 which has been fundraised by SNAP in Co. Donegal. A sign is to be placed within the park recognising the generosity and hard work of all who contributed towards this fantastic outcome.About SNAPSNAP (Special Needs Accessible Playpark) is a small organisation fundraising for universal play equipment for local town parks. SNAP’s objective is to create areas of universal play and further plans are underway to reach this goal. Every child has the right to play and SNAP are working toward making that happen for all children. LETTERKENNY CHARITY SNAP ANNOUNCE DETAILS OF UNIVERSAL PLAY PARK TO BE OPENED AT BALLYMACOOL was last modified: December 4th, 2014 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:ballymacoolcharityFeaturesnewsNoticeSNAPUniversal Playgroundlast_img read more

Bolton v QPR line-ups: Henry in, change up front, Wanderers duo play

first_imgKarl Henry has been given the nod ahead of Daniel Tozser to replace the injured Alejandro Faurlin in QPR’s midfield for the game at Bolton.Tozser is dropped to the bench along with Sebastian Polter, who loses his place to Conor Washington. Striker Washington has been passed fit following a recent ankle problem and is paired alongside Jamie Mackie.Meanwhile, Bolton’s Jay Spearing and Dean Moxey have been passed fit after groin and leg injuries respectively.Bolton: Amos, Moxey, Dervite, Vela, Feeney, Spearing, Clough, Davies, Heskey, Pratley, Holding.Subs: Rachubka, Madine, Derik, Danns, Wellington, Dobie, Wollery.QPR: Smithies; Perch, Onuoha, Hall, Konchesky; Phillips, Henry, Luongo, Hoilett; Mackie, Washington.Subs: Ingram, Angella, Chery, Tozser, , El Khayati, Petrasso, Polter.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

First MeerKAT telescope foundation laid

first_img15 August 2013The concrete for the first MeerKAT antenna foundation was poured at South Africa’s Square Kilometre Array (SKA) site in the Northern Cape on Wednesday.The SKA project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, which is to be co-hosted by South Africa and Australia.The 64-dish MeerKAT radio telescope is due to come online in 2016 both as a precursor to the SKA and as one of the most powerful telescopes in the world in its own right.The foundation laid on Wednesday is the first of 64 similar foundations – each comprising 78 cubic metres of concrete and 9 tons of steel – that will be built for the MeerKAT over the next nine months.“Designing a foundation for a high-tech telescope is complex and challenging since it has to meet a set of stringent requirements,” Tracy Cheetham, general manager for infrastructure and site operations at SKA South Africa, said in a statement.“The foundations must ensure that each of the 19-metre high antennas with its 13.5 x 16 metre main reflector will be exceptionally stable and able to point accurately at distant celestial objects at wind speeds gusting to 69 kilometres an hour as well as survive wind speeds of up to 144 kilometres an hour.”Another challenge for the design team, working with contractors Brink & Heath Civils, was to ensure that each antenna was carefully earthed and would not be damaged in the event of a lightning strike.To meet these stability requirements, each foundation consists of eight steel-reinforced concrete piles at depths of between 5 to 10 metres, depending on the local soil conditions. A square slab of concrete (5.2 x 5.2 metres, and 1.25 metres thick) rests on top of the piles to add further stability. The 32 “holding down” bolts are pre-assembled in a circle to form a steel ring cage, or so-called “bird’s nest”, into which the concrete is cast.“This first foundation will now be verified through a series of load tests to ensure that all specifications have been met,” Cheetham said.“Getting this absolutely right is critically important for the science to be done with this instrument, and will also inform the construction of foundations for other SKA dishes to be built in the Karoo.”The MeerKAT is due to be commissioned in 2014/15, and to come online for science operations in 2016. It will be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the southern hemisphere until the Square Kilometre Array itself is completed around 2024. Leading radio astronomy teams from around the globe having already signed up to use the instrument.Via the MeerKAT, South Africa is playing a key role in design and technology developments for the SKA, with close to 100 young scientists and engineers working on the MeerKAT project.“Based at the engineering office in Cape Town, and at universities and technology companies across South Africa and Africa, these researchers interact closely with SKA teams around the world,” SKA South Africa says on its website.“In collaboration with South African industry and universities, and collaborating with global institutions, the South African team has developed technologies and systems for the MeerKAT telescope, including innovative composite telescope dishes and cutting-edge signal processing hardware and algorithms.”According to Professor Justin Jonas, associate director for science and engineering at SKA South Africa, the MeerKAT “will make up one quarter of SKA Phase 1 mid-frequency array, and the science planned for SKA Phase 1 is very similar to the MeerKAT science case – just much more ambitious.“Our researchers and students who participate in the MeerKAT surveys have a huge advantage. They are well placed to enter SKA Phase 1. They have the opportunity to become science leaders in future SKA projects.”Up to 2016, South Africa will be constructing the 64 MeerKAT dishes in the Karoo, with construction on the 190 dishes of SKA Phase 1 probably starting around the time the MeerKAT is complete.“The design of the SKA dishes is not yet final, but they should look similar to the Gregorian-offset dish design chosen for MeerKAT,” Prof Jonas expects.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more