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Vermont Finance and Management Department receives national award

first_imgGovernor Jim Douglas applauded the work of the Vermont Department of Finance and Management for receiving the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) – the organizations highest form of recognition.  This is the second year in a row that the State of Vermont, through the Department of Finance and Management, has received this award for the comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).“The team at Finance and Management has done a tremendous job ensuring that my Administration, the Legislature and Vermonters have the best possible fiscal information,” said Governor Douglas. “Timely and accurate reporting is critical in making good decisions, providing the transparency taxpayers expect and maximizing our limited resources.  Commissioner Reardon and his team deserve a great deal of credit for their sound management of taxpayer money during a very difficult time.”Commissioner Jim Reardon, who has been at the helm of the Finance and Management Department for the past five years stated “I am very proud of my staff in the Financial Operations Division, they are a talented and committed team of state employees that take great pride in their work.”According to the GFOA, Vermont’s CAFR was judged to meet the highest standards of financial reporting by an impartial panel of experts.  The CAFR demonstrated a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” by clearly communicating Vermont’s “financial story” and motivating groups and individuals to read the CAFR.The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association based out of Chicago, Illinois and Washington D.C. and serves approximately 17,500 government finance professionals in the U.S. and Canada.Source: Governor’s office. 7.21.2010###last_img read more

Colombia’s GAULA helps train Latin American security forces

first_img GAULA officers have spent more than five years training Honduran security forces in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. GAULA officers are helping Honduras develop a professional anti-kidnapping unit and an anti-extortion team, according to Guatibonza. The Colombian military has plans to engage in anti-extortion training programs in 2014 with Guatemala and Mexico. In early September 2013, Colombian Marines trained members of the Honduray Navy in maritime interdiction of drug traffickers. The training took place on board the ARC Caldas, a Colombian missile frigate, in Puerto Cortes on the Northwest coast of Honduras. In addition to those training efforts, the Colombian Air Force and the Honduran Air Force have an agreement to exchange intelligence and participate in joint training programs, said Gen. René Osorio Canales, the leader of the Honduran Armed Forces. The Colombian Air Force has agreements with Mexico, Brazil Panama, the Dominican Republic, and Peru to cooperate in the fight against drug trafficking. “We welcome the recent visit of Colombian Defense Minister Pinzón as part of his Central American tour,” Osorio said. “”The idea is that Honduras can join its friends in the region against the common enemy and we appreciate Colombia´s help in this.” By Dialogo November 13, 2013 Cooperating with Honduras In recent years, the number of kidnapping and extortion cases have increased in Colombia and other Central American and Caribbean countries. Many of those offenses are committed by organized crime groups, such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN) in Colombia. In El Salvador, the street gangs Mara Salvatrucha, which is also known as MS-13, and Barrio 18 are responsible for many kidnappings and extortions. Those two gangs also operate in Guatemala. The Lorenzana drug trafficking organization and the Mexican organized crime groups Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel also operate in Guatemala. International cooperation is crucial in the fight against kidnapping and extortion, according to Colombian Gen. Humberto Guatibonza, director of the GAULA, Colombia’s anti-kidnapping and anti-extortion unit. Colombia’s Unified Action Groups for Personal Liberty (GAULA) is the country’s elite anti-extortion and anti-kidnapping unit. The GAULA is respected around the world for its professionalism and effectiveness in combatting organized crime. “In countries such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, kidnapping has become a major transnational scourge to the point where we simply have to join forces,” Guatibonza said. Extortion of small businesses, street vendors, and taxi drivers is also a major problem throughout Latin America, he said. “The micro-extortion phenomenon has shot up across the Latin American region,” Guatibonza said. “We are working with our partners to start hitting the entire structures behind this crime and to build support networks for the victims.” Kidnapping and extortion The GAULA’s efforts are a key reason that kidnapping in Colombia dropped by close to 90 percent during a recent eight-year span. In 2004, 1,607 kidnappings were reported in Colombia. In 2012, 305 kidnappings were reported, according to the Colombian Ministry of Defense website. GAULA officers instruct security forces from other countries at the Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada training school, located 25 kilometers south of Bogota in Sibaté. The training facility opened in 2004. In recent years, officers with the GAULA have trained with security forces from eight Central and South American countries in anti-kidnapping tactics and anti-extortion tactics, including more than 400 police officers from El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala and Honduras. Some GAULA officers also travel to other countries to participate in training programs, Guatibonza said. “This year alone, we have sent specialists from Colombia to a range of countries in the Central American region to help them improve their intelligence and judicial investigations into kidnapping and extortion crimes,” Guatibonza said. During his recent trip, Pinzón was also promoting Indumil and Cotecmar, two Colombian businesses which sell military- and police-grade weapons, such as the Cordoba pistol, the Galil ACE rifle, and river and ocean patrol boats. These efforts were secondary to the defense minister’s primary mission, which was to strengthen ties and cooperation between Colombian security forces and those of other Latin American countries, Restrepo said. “Boosting [Colombian] arms sales is important but still is of marginal interest compared to the strategic diplomatic goals of our country,” Restrepo explained. “It makes perfect sense to invest in strengthening relationships with the security services and the military in these regions,” he said. In recent years, some Colombian businesses have increased their sales of surveillance equipment to the militaries of other countries in Central America, according to Restrepo. But the joint training efforts between Colombia and other security forces is more important , he said.center_img Training security forces o Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón recently visited military officials in seven countries across Central America and the Caribbean to discuss how officials can strengthen cooperation on security issues. In late September 2013, Pinzón met with military officials in Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago. Pinzón and officials from the other countries discussed the possibility of increasing opportunities for the Colombian military and National Police to provide training in fighting international drug trafficking and battling organized crime. Cooperation between the countries of the region is crucial in the fight against transnational criminal organizations, Pinzón said. “We need to show solidarity with these countries that are tackling problems similar to the ones we face,” said Pinzón. “To the extent that this interrupts trafficking, it interrupts criminality and reduces the flow of resources that come to finance violence and terrorism in Colombia, so we all win.” The increase in recent years of extortion schemes by transnational criminal organizations means Colombia and other Latin American countries should strengthen their ties and share information and resources in the fight against organized crime, said Jorge Restrepo, director of Cerac, a conflict analysis think tank based in Bogota. “Colombia has a strategic interest in getting closer to the intelligence and security services in Central America and the Pacific basin,” Restrepo said. “The recent rise of extortion and money-laundering groups in Colombia goes through international criminal networks that originate in South America and move through Central America to the U.S.” Boosting commerce Strategic interestlast_img read more

Greensprings/Kanu Football Camp is a Milestone for LSFA, Says Akinwunmi

first_imgThe Chairman of the Lagos State Football Association (LSFA), Seyi Akinwunmi, believes the annual Greensprings Kanu Football Camp has been a milestone for the state as it has helped to mould many players.Akinwunmi, a passionate supporter of the camp applauded the management of Greensprings School in their efforts to complement the FA in development of sports at grassroots level.“The annual Greensprings Kanu Football Camp has been a milestone for us at LSFA and we are very grateful to the management of the school for keeping faith with the clinic. Some of our products have benefitted from the camp with two of them now graduates of the school and we are hoping that more will come through. We will continue to partner with the school by providing our technical support to the camp and also sponsor some students to be part of the camp again this year. We are also hopeful that the Lagos State Sports Commission will also assist some students to be part of the camp this year,” Akinwunmi said. As part of the train-the-trainers programme this year, coaches from LSFA will have a one-day session on April 7, with the foreign coaches to update their knowledge on latest hacks in the world of football.Coaches from England and Netherlands are expected to take charge of the camp and they will be assisted by their Nigerian counterparts during the five-day camping exercise holding at the Lekki campus of Greensprings School, Lagos.Former captain of Super Eagles, Nwankwo Kanu has also pledged his continued support to the camp.Kanu, who has been the ambassador of the camp since its inception in 2012 believes the clinic has helped to unearth talents for the country and would continue to discover and nurture educated footballers for the country.Two of the pioneer students of the camp, Musa Alli and Elvis Onyenze; who benefited from the Greensprings scholarship award, have featured for the Nigerian national U-15 team and Kanu believes this kind of experience would help the youngsters in their career.Kanu has promised to be on ground to motivate participants during the camp which holds on April 8 to 13at the Lekki campus of Greensprings School.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more