Dear Editor,Reading the Stabroek News article of November 7, 2018, captioned “Berbice Bridge Company to comply with (alleged sic) “unlawful takeover” was an unfortunate occurrence. This statement from the Company was pointless. If it was an unlawful takeover, then take the Government to court; why comply?Some may want to say that this is a political act, but I beg to differ. What other choice does the Minister have but to use the rule of law and the terms of the concession to ensure that the traveling public benefits from an environment that supports consistent tolls (subject to inflation)? For those of you that are unaware, the Berbice Bridge costs four times as much for a car to cross compared to the Demerara Harbour Bridge. If this is the price for private ownership, then it makes sense to nationalise if the Berbice tolls are to increase further.When considering this issue, we must frame the entire matter at a strategic level while allowing for three pertinent matters:1. The toll rates and the public interest;2. The rule of the law/ terms of the concession agreement;3. The financing model/returns to the investors.In that regard, if the Minister did not act in light of the unyielding position of the Company to increase the rates starting at 360% and more, then he could have accused of dereliction of his duty. It is standard practice globally that regulators must protect public health, welfare, and safety, while respecting the profit opportunities of the investors when it comes to the operations of public infrastructure. This Berbice Bridge is a public infrastructure. Under no circumstance were the recommended toll increases, as suggested by the Board, in the public’s best interest, reasonable and fair. After all, whether privately or publicly owned, the Berbice Bridge is for the public good and must be treated accordingly.Secondly, the rule of law/concessionary agreement is framed from the Berbice River Bridge Act, Act No. 3 of 2006. In that Act, the Minister is tasked with monitoring “the Concessionaire’s obligations under the Concession Agreement”. If by way of that monitoring process the Minister so deems the tolls as out of order, the law provides him with the power to “specify the maximum of tolls that shall be charged during the Concession period in respect of any class of vehicles”.It is in the laws and thus to see the Company crying “unlawful” is absolutely counter-intuitive. If a company managing a public infrastructure behaves in a manner that is not in the best interest of the traveling public, then it is the duty of the Government of Guyana to swiftly take action to preserve law and order. For this principled reason, I support the decision of Minister David Patterson on this specific transaction to temporarily take over the operations of the Berbice Bridge.Now, with all that said, the nation owes a debt of gratitude to the investors for investing in a project that many had said was un-doable in 2008. When that investment was made, the economic fundamentals were much more favorable. Since then those economic fundamentals have deteriorated markedly because of the policy paralysis in the APNU+AFC Government. The average GDP growth rate during that period (2009-2015) was just under 5%; today it is averaging around 2%. There was a sense of economic buoyancy in the Berbice area under the PPP, which is very absent today under the APNU+AFC. Under the PPP, there was a shortage of sugar workers; today some 7,000 of them are on the breadline- mostly in the Berbice area. There is such a fundamental deterioration in the economic conditions in Berbice today, compared to those PPP days; only the unaware will not understand that there is a direct correlation between the economic malaise in Berbice and the number of vehicles using the bridge in 2018. A very difference economic environment was present in 2009.Unfortunately, the financial model build for 2009 was a massive success in those PPP times, but because of the poor economic conditions currently under the APNU+AFC Government, it has virtually collapsed today. But in spite of this failure, the bridge must not be allowed to fail because it serves a national need. Therefore, it is time to nationalise the bridge permanently and pay off the investors what is due to them.The fact remains that the State has successfully managed the Demerara Harbor Bridge and that model can be easily be adopted on the Berbice River Bridge. Because of space, I shall get into the how, in another letter outlining in detail some recommended models and options. The Minister has only one option today – nationalise the bridge permanently and pay off the investors.Sasenarine Singh, MSc – Finance, ACCA
Montserrado County Senator, Amb. George M. Weah is investigating the kickoff of the 2015 National County Meet, amidst the stoppage of the usual US$350,000 from the government.Senate Plenary mandated the Montserrado County Lawmaker, who is former world class player, in its Tuesday’s Session to lead a specialized committee to probe the unsupported 2015 National County Meet, and advice the Senate in a week.The choice of Senator Weah’s Committee was owing to a communication from Rivercess County Francis S. Paye, indulging his colleagues not to allow the County Meet to kick-off in March because there is no government’s budgetary support.Senator Payne urged his colleagues to postpone the County Meet to October, considering sufficient time and government’s support.He said enough time should be given for preparation for the 15 counties and there must be adequate financial support from government as in the past.It may be recalled that Youth and Sports Ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Affairs has set the Annual National County Meet in March.The 2015 County Meet would officially begin in March and run through the Easter week in April to last for about three weeks.The official kick-off will be held in Sanniqullie, Nimba County; and all the 15 counties have been placed in four regional groups for the first rounds to be played at venues in Nimba, Bong, Grand Gedeh and Margibi Counties.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has praised outgoing Egyptian Ambassador to Liberia for his pivotal role played in cementing the cordial ties between Liberia and the Arab Republic of Egypt. Minister Ngafuan stated that Ambassador Sameh Lotfi has distinguished himself as a dynamic diplomat, who never ceases to identify new opportunities for strengthening the bilateral relations between Liberia and Egypt.A Foreign Ministry release quoted Minister Ngafuan as saying that the Egyptian envoy executed his duties with commitment, excellence and diligence, adding, “We are grateful for the true spirit of representation, which he has demonstrated on behalf of his great nation and people.”Minister Ngafuan spoke at the occasion marking the official celebration of the 63rd Anniversary of the July 23rd Revolution of the Arab Republic of Egypt and at a farewell dinner in honor of Ambassador Lofti, whose tour of duty has ended. He said Ambassador Lotfi’s tenure ends at a time when Liberia is just beginning to recover from the impact of the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD), which claimed the lives of many Liberians and caused social and economic disruption.“We would have loved him to stay a little longer to help us with this recovery from a virus, which he and his country helped us defeat. But the reality of his profession as I have seen is that diplomats are always on the move at the call of duty.” He further said that at the height of the onslaught of the Ebola virus disease in Liberia, the outgoing Ambassador worked tooth and nail to mobilize assistance from the Egyptian Government, in solidarity with the people of Liberia to fight the disease. “Mr. Ambassador, during your tenure, Egypt provided assistance in the form of medical supplies and equipment and doctors at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) referral hospital to assist the Government of Liberia in its combat against Ebola and other challenges of the health sector,” the Minister indicated with deep appreciation. Minister Ngafuan further observed that the relations between Egypt and Liberia have been cordial and mutually respectful and beneficial with Egypt providing technical assistance to Liberia including short-term training program and long-term bilateral scholarship based on Technical Cooperation Agreement between the Egypt Fund for Technical Cooperation with Africa and the Government of Liberia which continues to greatly impact the human resource development of the country. “We are happy that you turned a milestone in the history of your great country and your place in history is well deserved. I want to take this time to congratulate you on this joyous and auspicious occasion. I am particularly impressed by the remarkable progress that your country has made since the transition from the events at the Tahrir Square to democratic elections, which finally saw the ascendancy of President Al-Sisi to power.”Minister Ngafuan stated that the July 23rd Revolution played a significant role in the political and economic development of Egypt. He also noted that the decision to institute a republican government launched Egypt into a new era of Nationalism, industrialization, unprecedented infrastructure development and Agrarian reform at which time Egypt has begun to show early signs of the pivotal role it would play in the non-aligned movement of which Liberia is also a founding member. For his part, Ambassador Lotfi paid a special tribute to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and officials of her government for the cooperation and support accorded him during his three years of diplomatic assignment in Liberia. He stated that those three years have produced a stable development and cordial bilateral relations between Liberia and Egypt. While acknowledging the solidity of the relations and the existing cooperation between Liberia and Egypt, the Egyptian envoy stated that during his tenure, Liberia- Egypt relations was marked by mutual bilateral cooperation with rewarding benefits. He said his tour of duty in Liberia witnessed the visit of high level Egyptian officials including the General Director of the Egyptian Social Fund for Development and the Special Envoy of President, Al Sisi, to Liberia and reciprocal visits of Liberian official to Egypt for training and working of joint committee to be discussed in the near future. While reflecting on the deadly EVD outbreak, which ravaged Liberia, the Egyptian diplomat stated that his country’s refusal to shut its doors was a stance of solidarity with their African counterparts so as to share the country’s struggle to defeat the Ebola epidemic. Ambassador Lotfi also said the celebration of the 63rd Anniversary of the July 1952 Revolution marked a significant milestone in his country’s history, as the occasion corresponds with the inauguration of new projects such as the Suez Canal, which is now ready for navigation and will formally be opened on August 6. He further asserted that the newly constructed two way route promises to nearly triple revenue from the Suez Canal to over US$3 billion per year by 2023. The Egyptian envoy said the new canal will minimize the waiting time for vessels to three hours at most, instead of 8-11 hours and will support the Suez Canal Area Development Project that will turn Egypt into an international logistics center. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
A sod-turning exercise on Wednesday has signalled the construction of the first Community Development Council (CDC) facility to be erected in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara- Berbice).Regional officials at the sod-turning exerciseThe facility will be named after former Assistant National Director of CDCs, the late Sandra Adams, and will be constructed at Washer Pond Road, Mackenzie.Speaking at the sod-turning exercise which was attended by numerous officials, National Director of CDCs, Eugene Gilbert, stressed the importance of CDCs having a facility in which administrative and marketing functions can be executed. He recalled having, in 2016, discussions with the late Adams regarding the setting up of the first such facility in Guyana.After efforts were made to acquire the land in Linden, he said, the process of negotiation with the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) to officially acquire the land was then executed.Fast forward, Gilbert said, this process has since been completed and the design and construction companies have already been consulted.“We’ve basically completed all the procedures relating to NICIL’s consummating the arrangement”, he announced.Gilbert added that resources have also been gathered, and he explained that much of these resources came from contributions from various CDCs and corporate entities and individuals.He said a full financial statement of this will be made available. Nevertheless, he noted that in excess of $5 million dollars still has to be raised to offset construction of the facility.Some of the resources gathered, Gilbert further stated, were also set aside to facilitate training exercises in areas such as project evaluation and monitoring. “In order for you to be sustainable, training in these areas has become critical. And we hope that this Centre will be a focal point at which many of these activities will take place”, he told CDC officials.In her remarks, Minister with responsibility for CDCs, Valerie Adams- Yearwood, said the initiative is a very good one, and will serve as a reminder of all the hard work put in by her late sister, Sandra Adams.“This was a ‘baby’ for the late Sandra Adams. Every day she spoke about having this CDC Office… Currently, we don’t have a location of our own, and she was always concerned that, as a CDC, we shouldn’t be borrowing space…but the CDC should be independent; and because of that, this initiative…she has not lived to see this reality, but even though she is not here in body, I know she is here in the spirit… I want to say to the CDC groups, let us see this building become a reality! I appeal to corporate Guyana to help us to make this facility a reality”, the minister stated.Region 10 Chairman Renis Morian, in his remarks, applauded the strides made by the late Adams and the work done in relation to the development of CDCs. He noted that it has set the foundation for such development. “I’m happy that the Government supports the endeavours and the works that we’re doing going forward. I look forward to see local faces on this construction…” Morian said.Linden Mayor Waneka Arrindell pointed to Linden having many “firsts” as it relates to community development. She also applauded the contributions of the late Adams.
Girls in ICT Day is observed every year on April 26 in all member countries and organizations of the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (ITU).The National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) has, for many years, led Guyana’s outreaches into schools with special focus on rural areas. Since the Ministry of Public Telecommunications was established in 2016, GICT Day has blossomed, and the programme to attract the attention of more girls to ICT has been broadened considerably.Female students from several secondary schools across Guyana were exposed to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) operations of GTT during a tour of the telephone company in 2018Tech Day and other GICT events have been held at schools at West Demerara, East and West Berbice, Essequibo and Georgetown.This year, the NFMU’s activities include 2 Tech Camps, to be situated at the St. Cuthbert’s Mission along the Linden/Soesdyke Highway and at the Charity Secondary School on the Essequibo Coast. On Friday, April 5, the NFMU team will travel to St. Cuthbert’s to begin working with approximately 64 girls from the community who already have a basic understanding of cellphone technologies and the Internet.The tech team expects to come away with a ‘Needs Analysis of the girls’, an assessment of the community’s capacity to master more complicated IT programmes, and an understanding of its to work with educational apps. They will also examine the computers installed at the school, most of which are out of order, and will specify what items are needed for a functional computer laboratory at the school.On Tuesday, April 9, the team goes to the Charity Secondary School to hold a full-scale Tech Camp for teenage female students. These students are also computer literate, so the NFMU team plans to engage them in discussions and demonstrations to encourage them to learn Programming, Graphics Design and website development.The NFMU’s Tech Camps for Girls are held every year. In July 2018, at the CTU’s Roadshow and Agricultural Expo held in the Corentyne, female students from the Bygeval Secondary School launched the app they created to measure moisture content in planted fields.The public will be kept abreast with all activities in observance of Girls in ICT.
After firing over 7000 sugar workers, Government is attempting to restructure Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to produce 147,000 tonnes of sugar, even though the latest statistics from the remaining estates show they are some distance from achieving that goal.This projected figure was quoted by President David Granger during his appearance on the radio programme “The Hot Seat” with Stan Gouveia. He willingly admitted, however, that this cannot be achieved this year or next year, but, rather, will take time.“The idea is not to shut down the industry. The idea is to reform the industry, bring the production to 147,000 tonnes and maintain as large a labour force as is necessary. And keep the sugar industry alive”.“And we’re very confident that we’ll be able to return it, if not to profitability then to sustainability, at least in the middle term. It’s not something that is going to happen this year or next year but in the middle term, next three to five years, I’m very confident”.With General and Regional Elections just around the corner, the President also expressed regret at the number of persons who lost their jobs as a result of the closure of estates. He said that besides the 147,000 tonnes of sugar, the Government is also targeting a 5000 member GuySuCo workforce.“It’s very unfortunate that some people had to be terminated… I’m very confident that with the funding they’re getting, this is an achievable target. 147,000 tonnes, as well as a 5000-member labour force”.Last year, GuySuCo produced little over 100,000 tonnes of sugar from the three estates left standing— Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt. In terms of this year, it was reported in October that GuySuCo was lagging in its second crop production target of 33,800 tonnes.Back in 2017, Government had announced plans to close the Enmore and Rose Hall Sugar Estates, sell the Skeldon Sugar Factory, reduce the annual production of sugar, and take on the responsibility of managing the drainage and irrigation services offered by GuySuCo.Subsequently, in November of that year, GuySuCo announced plans to retrench 2500 workers by the end of that year. Amid much criticism, over 7000 were retrenched. Many of these former workers had to take the Government to court to fight for the severance payments they were legally entitled to.The Government then established the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) under the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) to take over the divestment of GuySuCo’s assets that were earmarked for sale. The SPU then recruited accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct a valuation of the assets to be privatised and divested.In June, PWC Managing Director Wilfred Bhagaloo had announced at a press conference that negotiations with a consortium of investors from Guyana, India and Ghana have reached an advanced stage. He had also revealed that Rose Hall estate, which received the most interest from investors, was the targeted estate.That process has effectively been put on hold, owing to the 2018 No-Confidence Motion and the ensuing political upheaval. Government fell to the No-Confidence Motion and approached the courts soon after to overturn the vote. When the matter reached the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which is based in Trinidad, the regional court validated the no-confidence vote after months of legal wrangling.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has always maintained that the Government should be acting in a caretaker capacity only and not be entering into large-scale contracts. In the wake of reports that State assets were being sold to cronies of the party, he has repeatedly warned that, should the PPP take office, any underhand transactions will be investigated. Elections are scheduled for March 2, 2020.
Mauricio Pochettino has urged his Tottenham team not to get carried away with their mauling of Manchester City, but admits he is excited by their ‘massive’ potential.Spurs stunned their big-spending opponents at White Hart Lane on Saturday lunchtime, as they fought back from a goal down to run out 4-1 winners.It was an impressive display from a side which was the youngest fielded in the Premier League this season, and Pochettino believes it is just a sign of things to come.“We are very pleased and very happy,” Pochettino said.“We have big potential, we are very young. I think that today was the (our) youngest team and this is important.“The potential is massive but we need to keep the feet on the grass because you know always after a big win you need to keep your feet on the grass.“Now, this is our tough job but I am very pleased with the result. We can discuss different things but in the end I think we fully deserved the victory.” 1 Toby Alderweireld celebrates scoring for Tottenham
Northern Ireland star Gareth McAuley has admitted they were too defensive in the first half of their 1-0 defeat to Poland at Euro 2016.Ajax striker Arkadiusz Milik scored the only goal of the game in the second half as Michael O’Neill’s men fell to a narrow loss, but Norn Iron did have late chances.And McAuley, speaking to talkSPORT, revealed he felt they failed to use the ball well enough and may have had too many players sitting deep in the first half as they looked to restrict their Group C opponents in Nice.He said: “It is disappointing losing the game but it’s not the end of the world, we’ve got two more games to come.“We set up to try and take something from this game and we’re disappointed we didn’t.“We changed things at half-time a little bit and then when they scored we changed the system again but we didn’t use the ball enough when we had it.“I think we had too many bodies in there at times. We had two spare men. We set up to nullify Robert Lewandowski’s movement and it turned out he moved away and someone else scored in the second half.“We don’t expect to dominate the ball and we have to be good without it – disciplined and focused. We were that, and we were resilient. There is no doubting the spirit and the determination of the lads.”
The findings from an evaluation of Donegal’s Green Prescription programme will be launched on 27 February in Letterkenny.Walking is at the heart of Donegal’s green prescription.The evaluation highlights the health benefits of the programme, as well as feedback from health professionals and community groups on how the Green Prescription supports their work.The Green Prescription is the first of its kind in Ireland and involves a GP or health professional’s referral of patients to free, guided community walks. People can also self refer to the programme. The Green Prescription is based on the idea that physical activity in nature results in positive outcomes for both physical and mental health.Key findings from the evaluation include:· Participants in the Green Prescription programme experienced health benefits such as reduced blood pressure; weight reduction; increased physical activity levels; improvements in mental wellbeing; reduced reliance on medications; and improved sleep.· Health professionals believed the programme provided an alternative and complimentary means of treating many health conditions resulting from physical inactivity and overweight. · Community groups reported that the Green Prescription improved social connections in the community and helped engage ‘hard to reach’ community members, as well as building up a greater awareness of the benefits of nature and green exercise.The Green Prescription Evaluation findings will be launched by Dr. Nazih Eldin (HSE National Lead on Obesity) on Thursday 27 February at 12.30pm in the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny.The Green Prescription programme was developed by the HSE in partnership with local doctors and local communities, Get Ireland Active, the Irish Heart Foundation, Donegal Road Safety Working Group and Donegal Sports Partnership.The Green Prescription programme is based on the idea that physical activity in nature results in positive outcomes for both physical and mental health. The programme aims to prevent and tackle overweight and obesity, while also promoting health and quality of life.If you would like to get involved in the Green Prescription programme, contact the Green Prescription Support Worker, Bill Vaughan, on 087-3680033. DONEGAL’S GREEN PRESCRIPTION TO GET THE THUMBS UP! was last modified: February 11th, 2014 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)Tags:Bill VaughandonegalGreen prescription
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON (AP) — White House chief of staff Andy Card has resigned and will be replaced by budget director Joshua Bolten, President Bush announced Tuesday amid growing calls for a White House shakeup and Republican concern about Bush’s tumbling poll ratings. Bush announced the changes in an nationally broadcast appearance in the Oval Office. “I have relied on Andy’s wise counsel, his calm in crisis, his absolute integrity and his tireless commitment to public service,” Bush said. “The next three years will demand much of those who serve our country. We have a global war to fight and win.” Card, 58, stood stoically with his hands by his sides as Bush lauded his years of service through the Sept. 11 attacks, war and legislative and economic challenges. Gripping the podium, Card said in his farewell: “You’re a good man, Mr. President.” Card’s eyes were watery. Card said he looks forward to just being Bush’s friend. Bush then gave him five quick slaps on the back and the two walked out of the Oval Office together. The president called Bolten, 51, a man with broad experience, both on Wall Street and in Washington, including the last three years as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Alarmed by Bush’s declining approval ratings and unhappiness about the war in Iraq, Republicans have been urging the president to bring in new advisers with fresh ideas and energy. Bolten has been with Bush since his first campaign for the White House. There was no immediate indication of other changes afoot. “The good news is the administration has finally realized it needs to change its ways, but the problems go far deeper than one staffer,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “Simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic by replacing Andy Card with Josh Bolten without a dramatic change in policy will not right this ship.” To the public, Card may be best known as the aide who calmly walked into a Florida school room and whispered into Bush’s ear that America was under attack on Sept. 11, 2001. He was known for keeping his cool under pressure. When Bush’s father, then President George H.W. Bush, got sick at a banquet in Tokyo, aides and security officials ran toward the president. Card ran in the opposite direction, out the door to make sure the motorcade was ready to rush Bush away. The president called Bolten a man with broad experience, both on Wall Street and in Washington, including the last three years as director of the Office of Management and Budget. “Josh is a creative policy thinker,” Bush said. “He is an expert on the budget and our economy. He is a man of candor and humor and directness. No person is better prepared for this important position.” “I’m deeply honored now by the opportunity to succeed Andy Card as White House chief of staff,” Bolten responded. “I said, ‘Succeed Andy Card, not replace him,’ because he cannot be replaced.” The move cames as Bush is buffeted by increasing criticism of the drawn-out war in Iraq and as fellow Republicans have suggested pointedly that the president bring in new aides with fresh ideas and new energy. Card came to Bush recently and suggested that he should step down from the job that he has held from the first day of Bush’s presidency, said an administration official earlier. Bush decided during a weekend stay at Camp David, Md., to accept Card’s resignation and to name Bolten as his replacement, said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to pre-empt the president. Bolten is widely experienced in Washington, both on Capitol Hill as well as at the White House, where he was deputy chief of staff before becoming director of the Office of Management and Budget. At a White House news conference last week, Bush was asked about rumors that a shake up in the White House staff was in the works. Bush said he was “satisfied with the people I’ve surrounded myself with.” “I’ve got a staff of people that have, first of all, placed their country above their self-interests,” he said at the time. “These are good, hard- working, decent people. And we’ve dealt with a lot. We’ve dealt with a lot. We’ve dealt with war. We’ve dealt with recession. We’ve dealt with scandal. We’ve dealt with Katrina. “I mean, they’ve had a lot on their plate. And I appreciate their performance and their hard work and they’ve got my confidence,” he said. Bush said, “I’m satisfied with the people I’ve surrounded myself with. We’ve been a remarkably stable administration, and I think that’s good for the country.” A veteran of the administrations of both President Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush, Card was widely respected by his colleagues in the Bush White House. They fondly called him “chief.” He usually arrived at work in the West Wing by around 5:30 a.m. and frequently did not leave until 9 or 10 p.m. Card plans to stay on the job until April 14, when the switch with Bolten takes place. Associates said that Card, who was secretary of Transportation and deputy chief of staff for the first President Bush, had wanted to establish himself as the longest serving White House chief of staff. James Steelman, who was President Harry S. Truman’s chief of staff, had served for six years and Card’s tenure will have gone not much longer than five years. A recent AP-Ipsos Poll found that Bush’s job approval has dipped to 37 percent, his lowest rating in that poll. Nearly 70 percent of people say the U.S. is on the wrong track, a six-point jump since February. Bush’s job approval among Republicans plummeted from 82 percent in February to 74 percent, a troubling sign for the White House in an election year. Card did not immediately disclose his plans. His resignation immediately prompted questions about whether he would return to Massachusetts to run for governor or perhaps challenge Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., who currently faces no major GOP challenge for re-election this fall, or Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., whom he helped defeat as the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee and who faces re-election in 2008. Card, a Holbrook native, served as the state representative from his hometown from 1975 to 1982.