As Holness did earlier, Roberts expressed concern about the slow pace of the electoral machines being used in seven of the 63 constituencies, complaining that they are frustrating the electoral process. But unlike Holness, Roberts was fuming. He charged that some of the machines are malfunctioning. This, he said, has slowed up the process considerably. As such, Roberts charged that persons administering the electoral process in the constituency are taking as much as half hour per voter. Patrick Roberts, the man who has been chosen by the People’s National Party (PNP) to unseat leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Andrew Holness in St Andrew West Central is very displeased. Both Holness and Roberts crossed path at the Dupont Primary School, located on Olympic Way in the constituency.
1 September 2010Seventy-three new ambulances bought specifically for the 2010 Fifa World Cup have been redistributed among state hospitals in South Africa’s North West province.The North West provincial government bought the new Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz ambulances to the tune of R17-million (US$2.3-million) ahead of the football spectacle to meet the potential demand for health services during the event. The Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, North West’s platinum mining area, was one of the World Cup host venues.The ambulances have now officially been distributed to the province’s four municipal districts. Bojanala Platinum District Municipality’s public health system was the major beneficiary, receiving 28 ambulances.The government health services of the Ngaka Modiri Molema district were allocated 17 new vehicles. The Dr Kenneth Kaunda district received 16 ambulances, while 10 went to the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati district health services.All these vehicles were stationed in the benefiting communities during the World Cup, said the province’s Department of Health and Social Development spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane.The North West Emergency Medical Rescue Services College in Orkney, whose health professionals were deployed during the tournament, has been granted two ambulances to use.“The department bought a new fleet of ambulances to meet World Cup demand,” said Health and Social Development MEC Rebecca Kasienyane in a statement. “This was necessary because we did not want the tournament to affect existing emergency services.”Improving servicesMaking the new ambulances available to public health is part of North West’s drive to bolster its services, Lekgethwane said.More ambulances should improve response time to communities’ emergency calls, he said. “The response time in the province has not been good. The communities were always complaining,” Lekgethwane added.“The more ambulances we have, the earlier we’ll respond to emergencies.”More than 40 other new ambulances were allocated to the districts in early 2010, according to Lekgethwane.As North West is still facing a shortage of the life-saving vehicles, the 73 inherited from the World Cup are welcome, Kasienyane said. “I must however emphasise that these ambulances will not completely eradicate the shortage, but we do believe they will substantially improve the situation.”The provincial government will continue to look for additional funds to buy more vehicles, “because we know that a shortage of ambulances hinders transportation of patients such as pregnant women, the seriously sick and those injured in road accidents, to hospitals and clinics”.Call for cautious drivingOne of the prevailing challenges was to ensure that old ambulances are replaced with new ones, and are no longer used. Kasienyane also appealed to emergency drivers to drive more cautiously.“The department has also previously dealt with cases of negligent driving on the part of our drivers,” she said. “This has led to substantial shortfalls.”First published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.
The steady increase in sightings of salt water crocodile nests in the swampy creeks of the Bhitarkanika National Park on the Odisha coast for three consecutive seasons has elated ecologists, who have hailed this achievement as the outcome of long-term conservation efforts.The wildlife wing of the State Forest Department has come across 80 crocodile nests in their wild habitats in 2017 in Bhitarkanika, compared with 75 in 2016 and 70 in 2015.“We have spotted 80 nests in the wild. But the number of crocodile nests could be more as we could not trace all of them due to inaccessibility. Of the 80 nests, 70 are in the Kanika range. For the first time, we discovered three crocodile nests in the Gahirmatha range,” Bimal Prasanna Acharya, divisional forest officer of the Rajnagar Forest Division told The Hindu on Tuesday.Bhitarkanika is said to house 70% of India’s estuarine or salt water crocodiles, conservation of which was started over four decades ago in 1975.Back then, when the Government of India and the United Nations Development Programme focussed on saving crocodiles in Bhitarkanika, there were hardly three or four nests sighted in the area and the population of salt water crocodiles was estimated to be 95, including 34 adults. Now, the numbers have grown to 1,682.Long-term effortSince 1977, salt water crocodile eggs have been collected and young crocodiles have been released in the creeks and the estuaries of Bhitarkanika. A decade ago, this practice was discontinued, allowing crocodiles to grow in their natural habitats.“More than 3,000 crocodiles have so far been released into the waters of the Bhitarkanika. We have been able to reverse the trend of a declining crocodile population and make the area a safer habitat for the reptile,” said Sudhakar Kar, a former scientist with the Odisha Forest Department and an expert on crocodiles with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.The Bhitarkanika National Park is a place where the rivers Brahmani, Baitarni, Dhamra and Pathsala meet the Bay of Bengal. The mangrove wetland and a large number muddy creeks provide perfect conditions for estuarine crocodiles to nest. Moreover, the nesting sites of crocodiles are located at places where tidal waves cannot wash away the eggs.“Unlike other crocodiles, estuarine crocodiles lay eggs by creating a mound made of leaves of a particular mangrove species, which are plentifully available in Bhitarkanika. Other crocodile species dig the soil for laying eggs,” said Dr. Kar.Crocodiles start laying eggs by mid-May, with an incubation period of 75 days. The female crocodile guards the nest devotedly for three months. During this period, she tends to attack anything that approaches the nest. Hatchlings come out in the month of August. An average of 25-30 eggs are found in a nest and 30% of hatchlings may finally survive.Dr. Kar said there are large habitats for salt water crocodiles in the Sundarbans in West Bengal, and in the large mangrove wetlands of the Andaman Islands, but they cannot match the density and population of crocodiles in the wild habitats of Bhitarkanika.The national park is also home to the only white-coloured captive crocodile named Gori. Many albino crocodile species can be found in the Bhitarkanika’s waters. The park also houses the world’s largest salt water crocodile, measuring about 23 feet — this was recorded in 2006 in the Guinness World Records.Dr. Kar said, “Salt water crocodiles devour predatory fishes. Hence, more fish thrive with the presence of crocodiles in the water.” He added, “The existence of salt water crocodiles depends on dense wet mangrove forests and the steady discharge of fresh water into the sea. Odisha has the distinction of having all three Indian species of crocodiles. ”