The Guyana Police Force (GPF) on Friday afternoon announced the appointment of Althea Padmore as acting Head of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).Newly acting Head of SOCU Althea PadmoreThe Police, however, did not release the credentials and qualifications of Padmore, who was appointed to manage one of the most important unit within the force.When contacted, the Public Relations Office directed all questions in connection with the appointment to the Police Commissioner. However, calls to the Top Cop went unanswered. On Thursday, Commissioner Leslie James had promised that an appointment will be made before the end of the week.Padmore replaces Head of the Unit Sydney James, who is currently on administrative leave amidst allegations of mismanagement of funds at the unit.The decision to send him on leave came months after a special audit had unearthed several instances of mismanagement of funds and falsification of documents at the entity. The audit had also found some unaccounted-for expenditure which could not be verified by a paper trail.The audit was ordered by the Police Commissioner in February. Although the Top Cop has not commented on the findings of that audit, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan had described the revelations as “damning”.The probe into the operations of the white-collar crime-fighting Unit was triggered after the former British adviser, Dr Sam Sittlington, had made a number of allegations against the Unit.Following those allegations, James was questioned over allegations of improper spending. This is in light of the ongoing investigation and audit which was conducted after termination of the British adviser’s services.The Public Security Minister had confirmed that an investigation was ongoing into the matter and he had noted that there were allegations of monies not being spent properly and had said it is now within the jurisdiction of the investigators to understand the spending procedures at SOCU.After being fired amidst a conflict-of-interest scandal, Sittlington had revealed that SOCU had not been operating in the manner in which it should and he had said there are instances of improper spending.The parliamentary Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has maintained that SOCU, which was set up to fight money-laundering and other white-collar crimes, has become a political Unit under the APNU/AFC regime.The PPP had said that Sittlington was going beyond his advisory role and was taking on executive functions. It was pointed out that Sittlington was going on operations such as raids and arrests.Questions were previously raised about the Police investigating James and whether there could be any bias involved; however, the Public Security Minister had assured that the investigation was perfectly normal and that in addition to the Police’s own internal audits ongoing at SOCU, the Auditor General could come in and take control of the proceedings.He had said the Police auditors were seeking to better understand the systems which had been in place for spending at the agency.
Green builders have an uneasy relationship with chainsaws and bulldozers. To some environmentalists, these noisy inventions conjure up images of ecosystem destruction and irresponsible land development.However, just like a hammer or a level, a bulldozer is just a tool. It can be used for good or ill.Bulldozers are extremely handy when you need to change the grade of a site. Grading matters, and novice builders who ignore grading will eventually be forced to pay attention to the topic.How do hippies build a house? They look for a natural clearing in the woods, they put a few piers in the ground, and they build a house on top of the piers. (Although this sounds like a caricature of the hippie approach, it’s fairly true-to-life. I should point out that as an ex-hippie, I’m allowed to make hippie jokes.)It doesn’t take long to realize the many disadvantages of leaving a natural grade around a building:Although I have had plenty of experience hiring equipment operators and directing the work of backhoes and bulldozers, my own experiences with grading have humble roots. I have spent many years grading with a shovel, rake, and wheelbarrow. Using these simple tools, I have changed a steeply sloping hillside behind my house into a flat yard that is big enough for my sons and me to practice passing a football.The shovel-rake-wheelbarrow triad limits how far one can go to obtain material to use for fill. It’s possible to make a back yard with the cut-and-fill method, but whenever you strip topsoil from one location, you have to be careful that you don’t bury the topsoil too deeply. The opposite problem — filling a depression in your lawn with subsoil — should also be avoided, although most types of subsoil… Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in This article is only available to GBA Prime Members