One of the industry’s few remaining independent software companies LetMC.com has undergone a management buyout, it has been revealed.The company’s management team led by Managing Director Glyn Trott (pictured) supported by Barclays, has raised £500,000 to buy the firm from its Welsh letting agent owners, Pinnacle.“As the founder of LetMC.com the management buyout seemed the natural evolution to ensure I could allocate further capital to the growth of the business,” he says.“Initially I felt the only option would be to give away equity to raise capital which would dilute my shareholding and ultimate control, so when Barclays offered to provide debt finance I was delighted as this allowed me to take the business in my chosen direction while maintaining full control.“With the rise in ‘prop tech’ and online estate agents, software development is playing a bigger and bigger role in the property sector.”LetMC is based in Cardiff and was set up in 2004 by Pinnacle as an in-house development project and initially run from a garage but now has offices including a bar for its 22 staff.“This was a complex transaction but demonstrates the bank’s commitment to supporting ambitious growth propositions,” says Barclays business manager Jason Coleman.LetMC, which stands for Letting Management Centre Ltd and is based in one of Cardiff’s tallest office blocks, says the buyout will enable it to expand the business, although Glyn admits one of the company’s biggest challenges is finding good software developers in the area.Its management team also have ambitions beyond software. During the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow its IT director Leuan Williams won a bronze medal in cycling.Glyn trott letmc.com letting agency software pinnacle property lettings software pinnacle lettings LetMC property software April 11, 2018Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » Software supplier LetMC.com in management buyout previous nextProducts & ServicesSoftware supplier LetMC.com in management buyoutMD Glyn Trott has led an MBO of the firm with help from Barclays in order to expand the firm 14 years after it was founded.Nigel Lewis11th April 201801,799 Views
During the period between February 2015 and October 2015 Mr Cakirgoz caused and/or allowed the company to trade with a lack of commercial probity in that it failed to provide goods to the value of at least £58,065 paid for by at least 58 customers Ali Cakirgoz had a total lack of regard for his customers. But thankfully his bogus sales activities finally caught up with him and we have been able to put the brakes on his deceitful activities. Mr Cakirgoz failed to maintain, preserve and/or deliver up adequate accounting records for the period February 2015 to October 2015 and as a result it has not been possible to fully ascertain: Notes to editorsTotal Engine Replacement Limited (CRO No. 094600350) was incorporated on 26 February 2015 and was registered at 10-12 Marshgate Lane, Marshgate İndustrial Estate, London E15 2NH.Details of Ali Cakirgoz’s disqualification undertakingOn 6 April 2018 the Court made a Disqualification Order against Mr Cakirgoz, effective from 27 April 2018, for a period of 12 years. The matters of unfitness which Mr Cakirgoz did not defend in the disqualification proceedings were that: Ali Cakirgoz, 61 of Waltham Abbey, is subject to a disqualification order which prevents him from acting as a director for 12 years.Total Engine Replacement Limited was incorporated in February 2015, advertising replacement engines on numerous websites that were all registered to the company.But Trading Standards and the Insolvency Service began to receive complaints from customers who said they hadn’t received their products and couldn’t get hold of anyone at Total Engine Replacement.The Insolvency Service carried out an initial investigation into the company’s activities before gathering enough evidence to place Total Engine Replacement into compulsory liquidation in September 2016 after a petition was presented by the Secretary of State.Investigators found that despite accepting payments from their customers, Total Engine Replacement failed to deliver any of the products they had promised. Customers who then attempted to complain were left frustrated as the company left emails unanswered and disconnected telephone numbers.In little over a year, Total Engine Replacement failed to provide goods to the value of at least £58,000 to around 58 customers.The director, Ali Cakirgoz, did not co-operate with the enquiries and when asked, failed to maintain adequate accounting records. This meant investigators were unable to establish exactly how much money was received, where the money was paid into and what were the company’s current levels of assets and liabilities.Following the disqualification, Ali Cakirgoz is now prevented from acting, directly or indirectly, as a director of a company having allowed Total Engine Replacement to trade with a lack of commercial probity and failing to maintain adequate accounting records.Irshard Mohammed, Investigation Supervisor with the Insolvency Service, said: DisqualificationA disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot: LinkedIn Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings.Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of other restrictions.The Insolvency Service (England and Wales)The Insolvency Service, an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), administers the insolvency regime, and aims to deliver and promote a range of investigation and enforcement activities both civil and criminal in nature, to support fair and open markets. We do this by effectively enforcing the statutory company and insolvency regimes, maintaining public confidence in those regimes and reducing the harm caused to victims of fraudulent activity and to the business community, including dealing with the disqualification of directors in corporate failures.BEIS’ mission is to build a dynamic and competitive UK economy that works for all, in particular by creating the conditions for business success and promoting an open global economy. The Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team contributes to this aim by taking action to deter fraud and to regulate the market. They investigate and prosecute a range of offences, primarily relating to personal or company insolvencies.The agency also authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.Contact Press OfficeMedia enquiries for this press release – 020 7596 6187 or 020 7637 6498 How much money has actually been received by the company and the full details of all of its customers Which bank accounts the funds have been paid into What has happened to the known funds of £86,691 paid to the company What the current position with regards Assets & Liabilities is You can also follow the Insolvency Service on: Both the winding-up proceedings and the subsequent disqualification action show that we will use the full weight of our powers to take firm action against both companies and individuals that operate in such an unscrupulous way. Press Office Email [email protected] This service is for journalists only. For any other queries, please contact the Insolvency Enquiry Line.For all media enquiries outside normal working hours, please contact the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Press Office on 020 7215 1000. act as a director of a company take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership be a receiver of a company’s property Office currently closed during the coronavirus pandemic. Twitter Media Manager 0303 003 1743 Engines were marketed for sale through a number of similarly named websites and orders taken either over the phone or by email Quotes were provided and sales invoice raised in the name of the company Quotes were provided and sales invoices raised in the names of unconnected 3rd party companies The engines were not delivered as promised and customers were unable to contact the company as their websites were taken down, email addresses unanswered and telephone numbers disconnected The company was not registered at the registered office address Between 26 February 2015 and 28 October 2015, at least 59 complaints totalling £58,065 were made to Action Fraud by customers who had not received the goods that they had paid for YouTube
Café chain Pret A Manger is offering 30 places on its National Apprenticeship Service scheme.The training is carried out in Pret shops and in Pret’s newly opened academy, based in Victoria, London.The Pret School Leavers Programme was established in 2012, with an initial intake of nine students.Andrea Wareham, director of people at Pret A Manger, explained: “The School Leavers Programme has been a real highlight for us over the past couple of years. Its success has meant that, this year, we’re delighted to be able to offer even more young people in the UK the chance to start a career with Pret.“The continued growth is testament to the enthusiasm and ongoing hard work of the previous classes that have passed through the programme. They continue to make us proud on a daily basis, and we believe we’ve unearthed some real stars of the future that are destined to have long and successful careers here at Pret.”The company stated that 72% of its managers come from being part of the Pret team initially. She added: “Youth employment in the UK is something we’re extremely passionate about. We know that further education isn’t always the preferred route for everyone, and we’re looking to hear from those who have just finished school and are keen to get a head start on their career right away.”The programme is said to teach skills such as money management, negotiation and teamwork, as well as working on confidence.Candidates will start in September and applications are open now.
Image by the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency.BROCTON — A northern Chautauqua County based manufacture has adjusted its production in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.Jamestown Plastics’ owner Jay Baker, says his team has begun work designing face shields for the health care and emergency response industries.Rather than simply copy the style of face shields that have been around for decades, Baker says his company will be constructing an original design.“Innovation is hardwired into how we approach life here, and none of it would be possible without our ‘Jamestown Plastics Family’ of incredible employees who know going above and beyond is in all of our job descriptions,” said Baker. The TrueHero™ Extreme Coverage Face Shields, produced by the company, will first be deployed to a medical office in Mayville.Constructed of Clearon™, a medical grade, PETG plastic, the face shields offer exceptional visual clarity, explained Baker.Additionally, the reinforced shield features a proprietary flanged edge that, unlike flat shields, maximizes protection from the periphery. Multi-Port Exhaust channels release heat and moisture, yet preclude the entry of germs.The shield offers full-range view ability, is extremely lightweight, and easily grasped from behind to satisfy handling protocol. It attaches with an infinitely adjustable hook-and-loop strap for all-day comfort, and a foam forehead pad enhances comfort. The shield can be customized by simply trimming the material with scissors.Locally, the Chautauqua County and the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency have led the charge in communicating the need for additional PPE production countywide, encouraging manufacturers to retool, where able, to produce supplies needed for COVID-19 pandemic response.The team created a logistics plan to fulfill the 14,000 face shields needed locally, followed by order coordination for the additional 59 statewide emergency operations centers. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)
The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) and Strolling of the Heifers announce the finalists for the 2011 Business Plan Competition. From the 39 submissions received by the April 11th deadline, the selection committee chose 20 finalists as follows below. Finalists in the “General Business Existing Business” category are (in alphabetical order): (1) Dreamcatcher Entertainment by Bill Forchion; (2) Kaye Audio, Inc., by George Kaye; (3) Laura Zindel Design by Laura Zindel; (4) Saxtons River Distillery, LLC, by Christian Stromberg; and (5) Spirit Hill Farm Back Roads Granola by Virginia Vogel.Finalists in the “General Business New Business” category are (in alphabetical order): (1) Muse Tec by Daniel Kasnitz; (2) Next Step Sustainable Business Consultancy by Ben Griffin and Bonnie Sigwalt; (3) Pinewood TMS, LLC, by Julie Plummer; (4) Rock River Studio by Christine Triebert; and (5) Student Cultural Exchange, LLC, by Peter and Jesse Friedman. Finalists in the “Food/Farm New Business” category are (in alphabetical order): (1) Big Picture Farm by Louisa Conrad and Lucas Farrlell; (2) Entera Artisanal Catering by Tristan Toleno; (3) Just Pies by Andrea Waisman; (4) The Fox Shop by Cindy Logan; and (5) Whetstone Cider Works, LLC, by Jason MacArthur. The finalists’ full business plans are due at BDCC by 4 p.m. May 23. Final presentations, lasting up to 12 minutes per finalist with an additional 10 minutes for questions, will take place on the morning of June 1 at the Marlboro College Graduate School. Winners will be announced that afternoon, and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has been invited to present the awards.For the General Business division, the top prize in the ‘Existing Business’ category will be $12,000, the second-place prize will be $6,000, and the prizes for up to three runners-up will be $2,000 each. For the General Business ‘New Business’ category, the top prize will be $6,000, the second-place prize will be $3,000, and the prizes for up to three runners-up will be $1,500 each.In the Food/Farm division, the top prize in the ‘Existing Business’ category will be $10,000, the second-place prize will be $5,000, and the prizes for up to three runners-up will be $1,500 each. For the Food/Farm ‘New Business’ category, the top prize will be $5,000, the second-place prize will be $2,500, and the prizes for up to three runners-up will be $1,000 each.More information about the Business Plan Competition can be found online at the BDCC website http://www.brattleborodevelopment.com(link is external) or by contacting BDCC at 802-257-7731.BDCC is a private, nonprofit economic development organization that serves as a catalyst for industrial and commercial growth in southeastern Vermont. Its primary objective is to create and retain a flourishing business community that supports vibrant fiscal activity, and improves the quality of life of all its residents. Founded in 1954, BDCC owns and manages the Cotton Mill industrial park/incubator and the new Business Park at the former Book Press building, among other facilities, and is one of 12 Vermont Regional Development Corporations. Finalists in the “Food/Farm Existing Business” category are (in alphabetical order): (1) Downstreet Cafe by Adreana Porteur; (2) High Meadows Farm by Howard Prussack; (3) New Leaf CSA by Elizabeth Wood; (4) Putney Mountain Winery by Kate and Charles Dodge; and (5) Side Hill Farm by Kelt and Kristina Naylor. Strolling of the Heifers, based in Brattleboro, Vermont, was founded in 2001 with the goal of helping to save and sustain family farms by connecting people with healthy local food. Annually in June, it presents the Strolling of the Heifers Parade, in which heifer calves and other farm animals, bedecked with flowers, are led up Brattleboro’s Main Street. When it’s over, the crowd follows the parade to the Live Green Expo for food, entertainment, education and fun. As part of its 10th anniversary in 2011, Strolling will also present the first Slow Living Conference, the first Tour de Heifer bicycle fund-raising event, and the first Farm/Food Short Film Festival. A summer internship program placing youth on family farms, developed and piloted by Strolling of the Heifers, will become part of the Windham Regional Career Center’s new agricultural curriculum.
‘‘Karina’‘ is a 16-year-old gang member who learned to play the violin, and now she is part of a string orchestra that includes 30 girls from two rival gangs that subjected the country to violence and set its crime rates among the highest in the world. ‘‘The most difficult part was to know that we were going to be near the other gang. It was difficult to sit by their side. But once we started to learn how to play the instruments, we focused on that in order to move the orchestra forward,” the young lady confirmed to AFP, under the fictitious name of ‘‘Karina’‘. The Female Orchestra of the Salvadoran Institute for Childhood and Adolescence (ISNA), created for young girls (between the ages of 14 and 17) that were members of the “Mara Salvatrucha” (MS-13) and “Barrio 18” gangs, was featured with the National Youth Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert that took place on the evening of September 20. The orchestra is sponsored by the Organization of American States (OAS) as part of the truce agreed between the maras (gangs). An enterprise foundation theater, located in the west of San Salvador, was the setting where the ladies debuted as musicians, playing violins, violoncellos, and violas to interpret four pieces with the philharmonic: ‘‘Cuerdas al Aire’‘, ‘‘Canción del Folclor Francés’‘, ‘‘Brilla, Brilla Estrellita’‘, and ‘‘Cumbia’‘. The orchestra is part of a pilot project organized by the Inter-American Commission for Drug Abuse Control (CICAD), and the OAS’ Department of Education and Culture, along with Colombia’s Batuta Foundation. According to official figures, Salvadoran prisons hold over 10,000 gang members, while about 50,000 are free in local districts and streets. By Dialogo September 25, 2012
NAFCU’s Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee Conference begins today at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco with a pre-conference workshop and a welcome reception.The pre-conference workshop will be led by NAFCU Executive Vice President and COO Anthony Demangone. The workshop offers board members an overview of understanding different financial statements as well as the opportunity to earn credits for the NAFCU Certified Volunteer Expert program.NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger will kick off the week’s presentations tomorrow with a welcome address and a Washington and Industry Update on current legislative and regulatory news and its impact on credit unions. continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
View image | gettyimages.com Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Last night the joy in Metsville reached euphoric dimensions as the improbable became the unbelievable: The Mets had swept the Cubs in four straight games, winning the National League pennant. Now they’ll play either the Kansas City Royals or the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series starting Tuesday.This amazing outcome for a team that unarguably sucked this summer had even seasoned observers saying crazy things as they tried to wrap their heads around it.In the post-game analysis on SNY, Mets former manager Bobby Valentine, whose grin is broader than the one permanently plastered on Mr. Met, said he was so happy that he felt like ripping his clothes off, which provoked such laughter off camera that the studio started to sound like a sports bar in Queens. Remembering how he once showed up in the Mets dugout wearing a fake mustache after he’d been ejected for arguing with an umpire, you wouldn’t put it past him.But you couldn’t blame him. Valentine was the skipper the last time the Mets reached this far when the Mets played the Yankees in the 2000 Subway Series—and the Yanks predictably triumphed.In another studio Keith Hernandez, the great Mets first baseman with the dapper mustache, could barely contain himself as he tried to control his emotions, keep his suit buttoned, and describe what he said was an historic night for the franchise—and he’d been part of the 1986 World Series, the last time the Mets won it.And that victory was never assured since Boston had taken an early 2-0 lead in the series before New York battled back. The Sox were about to clinch Game Six at Shea Stadium before the hometown crowd. The Mets were behind by a run in the bottom of the 10th inning with two outs and two strikes on Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson when his legendary squibbbler up the first base line slipped under the glove of Boston’s Bill Buckner. Following the advice of the immortal Mets sports radio announcer Howie Rose, we “put it in the books.”Granted, over the years, Mets fans have been through a lot themselves, which makes the victory all that sweeter. We never take anything for granted. The darkness is always lurking off the foul lines.Even last night, no lead was enough, especially when the Cubs had men on base. That’s the difference in confidence between Mets supporters and other fans.In the back of our minds we remember 2004, when the Yankees had a 3-0 lead over the Red Sox for the American League pennant. Back then Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry admitted that he’d be hard-pressed to choose between the Red Sox’s finally winning the World Series in what seemed like a gazillion years or his beating the worst president since World War II, George W. Bush.This time around we knew that baseball whiz Theo Epstein had left Boston to oversee the Chicago Cubs, bringing along Sox slugger Manny Ramirez to give hitting tips. How many times in the last few days have Boston fans evoked 2004, saying they’d like to watch a closer series? Are they kidding me? Let them root for the Blue Jays! We wanted it to end right there and then. But first we had no choice but to hang onto every pitch.In the fourth inning, the Cubs had the bases loaded with no outs, for crying out loud, and they were only down by four runs. We’d seen what they’d done to the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates. They had slammed them to the ground. Then Cubs’ Starlin Castro drilled a shot toward left field. In a nanosecond our captain, David Wright, leaped high in the air like the great ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and snagged it in his glove.It may have been the defensive play of the game, and it was done by a guy with spinal stenosis, a debilitating, painful condition that had sidelined him for months this season, even casting doubt on whether his career as a Met was over. Now, he’s going to the World Series to represent a team he’s played for since he first came to the Majors.And what about the guy who cried this season when he thought he’d been traded? Wilmer Flores heard the news from social media as he took his position at short stop, fighting back the tears, as fans at Citi Field applauded him for his service. His unabashed loyalty to a team he’d been associated with since he was 17 years old was cathartic. At the time, the idea that a player actually cared about being a Met when the team was barely above .500 seemed inconceivable. After all, this was a team that had been no-hit by a no-name pitcher from the San Francisco Giants when there were more SF fans than Mets fans in the stands.Last night in Chicago Flores caught a foul amid the bull-pen crowd gathered near the third-base stands, making a play reminiscent of Yanks’ Derek Jeter. It was a huge out. The metaphorical clouds of doom and gloom that had been gathering suddenly parted, at least temporarily. Soon, the team’s transformation from mediocre to superior was complete with an 8-3 win.Following his unparalleled Mets pitching peers—Noah “Thor” Syndegaard, Matt “The Dark Knight” Harvey, and the lanky, long-haired Jacob DeGrom—Long Island native Steve Matz pitched a great game. The 24-year-old rookie lefthander who starred at Ward-Melville High School almost got a hit down the right-field line himself. In his Major League debut back in June, he’d hit a two-run double, and went 3-for 3. When he was 11, Matz had reportedly first come to the attention of professional baseball when he was spotted by a scout at Baseball Heaven in Yaphank, which many frustrated parents of Long Island Little Leaguers probably know as Baseball Purgatory. Now he’s living the dream, pitching his favorite team from childhood into the World Series.There are many things to savor from last night’s game, which condemned the Cubs to their 107th consecutive season without a championship. To them, we say, wait ‘til next year.First, hats off to Terry Collins, the oldest manager in baseball, at 66, who pointed out that he clinched the pennant on what would’ve been his parents’ 73rd wedding anniversary. He’d played for a decade in the minors, and became a manager in 1981, even getting fired along the way.As Collins told reporters in Chicago after the game, he got a note from his mom when he was 12 years old so he could skip school and watch the 1960 World Series between the Pirates and the Yankees. “Then I’m sitting there tonight (thinking), ‘Holy crap, now you’re in it, after all these years!’”Collins made a lot of great moves over the season to keep the team competitive. To the consternation of fans, he stuck with the slumping first baseman Lucas Duda in the playoffs—he’d been 3-for-24—and last night Collins was rewarded big time. Duda hit a three-run blast off Cubs’ Jason Hammel, who’d had him buried in a 3-2 hole. Up next was catcher Travis D’Arnoud, who also homered. The team had a four-run lead and the first inning wasn’t even over. But I don’t know any long-time Mets fans who dared to relax. It was too early for that.Weird things also happened last night in Chicago. When D’Arnoud was behind the plate, the Cubs Tommy LaStella fouled a ball off his face mask that plunked the Cubs Miguel Montero’s batting helmet as he stood on deck. Cubs veteran catcher David Ross blanked out that our pitcher, Steven Matz, only had two strikes when he ran off the field thinking his team was out of the inning. Maybe Ross forgot he was in the National League.And poor, pitiful, portly Kyle Schwarber, a former catcher whom the Cubs stuck in left field. He landed flat on his belly more than once, his white uniform stained green with Wrigley Field grass, his miscues helping the Mets pile on their lead.This team may have never trailed in the playoffs but that was the farthest thought from my mind when Yoenis Cespedes, the Mets phenomenal center-fielder with the thick bushy eyebrows, was spotted in the dugout, wearing a pennant championship T-shirt as well as his protective goggles for post-game champagne spraying. Cespedes hadn’t been seen since he’d left the game in the second inning with a sore shoulder. Good god, the game wasn’t over yet! Talk about a jinx, about hubris, about tempting fate! Put a duffel bag over that guy and hustle him back inside the locker room!But there were his teammates leaning over the railing, smiling, laughing, waiting to mob the mound. Bartolo Colon, our 42-year-old veteran pitcher, looked like a bemused Buddha as he contemplated his first trip to the Fall Classic. He’d come on to relieve Matz in the fifth-inning after three Mets players had let a shallow two-out pop-out drop amid them. Colon pitched perfectly, keeping the Cubs at bay.And then, when we thought there was nothing left for him to prove, Daniel Murphy hit a two-run homer in the top of the eighth-inning. It was Murphy’s sixth consecutive home run in the playoffs, not only a franchise record, but one for the history books! His achievement earned him the MVP trophy for the National League championship series. Afterwards, the Mets right-fielder Curtis Granderson told reporters that “I can tell my kids I played with Babe Ruth!” Some of us would nominate Granderson as the Mets MVP for the inspiring role he’d played all season long in keeping the team in the hunt for October.Asked for an explanation about his amazing home-run streak, Murphy said, “I can’t explain. Just ride it…” As he put it to another reporter, “Let the blessings flow!”Who thought he’d stay this hot? Nobody I know. After all, during the regular season, he only hit 14 home runs, his career high, and here he was aiming for the record books. When he came to bat in the eighth inning, who expected him to “go yard”? The Mets had six runs, the Cubs only one. But then lightning struck again—and Murphy hit a two-run homer beyond the ivy-covered walls of Wrigley Field. You just can’t make this up. No Hollywood producer would buy this script.But here they are, four games away from a ticker-tape parade down Broadway. Who would have believed it?
‘Trapped’ Some signs suggest the order may not be respected — authorities in the northern state of Perlis have said they will allow food traders to operate from home and on the roadside, potentially increasing the chance of crowds gathering.Hadi Azmi, a 31-year-old video editor, said he understood the need for restrictions but he also felt “trapped”.”I feel weird as the fasting month approaches because we have to remain indoors and we cannot meet our parents and siblings to break fast and pray together,” he told AFP.And in Indonesia, a possible explosion in coronavirus cases when millions travel to hometowns and ancestral villages after Ramadan has forced the country’s president to issue a ban on the annual exodus.Like Christmas or the Chinese Lunar New Year, the movement kicks off an extended holiday when many Indonesians celebrate Eid al-Fitr with their families to mark the end of Ramadan.The government has called on residents of major cities, including the capital Jakarta, to stay put, and on Tuesday President Joko Widodo said he would ban any mass migration.Researchers at the University of Indonesia have warned the travel rush could lead to one million infections in the densely populated Java island alone and an eye-watering 200,000 deaths.”If you care about your loved ones, stay where you are until all this ends,” Ridwan Kamil, governor of 50-million strong West Java province, said recently.Jakarta resident Romy Gustiansyah said he wouldn’t visit family on Sumatra island this year over coronavirus fears.”I’m sad that I won’t see my family for Eid, but I’m trying to stay optimistic,” Gustiansyah told AFP. “This is just a delay. That’s what I’m telling myself.” Across Asia, home to about half of the world’s Muslims, the coming Islamic holy month of Ramadan is on a collision course with the coronavirus pandemic as clerics call on the faithful to cram into mosques.Authorities have tried to limit the fallout during the sacred period of fasting, which starts Thursday, but in many cases religious leaders have brushed aside concerns about activities that could spread COVID-19.In Bangladesh, clerics lashed out at attempts to reduce the number of people going to mosques, and demanded the country’s secular government allow millions of Muslims to join daily and weekly prayers. In the run-up to Ramadan, mosques have been filling up across Pakistan with hundreds attending Friday prayers, sitting shoulder to shoulder and paying little heed to social distancing.”I will take all the preventive measures, washing my hands and using my mask but it doesn’t mean I will stop attending prayers, especially during Ramadan,” taxi driver Zubair Khan told AFP in the northwestern city of Peshawar.The virus threat at large religious congregations has been highlighted in recent weeks by three waves of infections in Asia, linked to separate, massive Islamic congregations in Malaysia, Pakistan and India. “The quota on the number of worshippers imposed by the government is not acceptable to us. Islam does not support imposition of any quota on worshippers,” said Mojibur Rahman Hamidi, a senior member of the hardline Hefazat-e-Islam group.Islamic leaders in Bangladesh, where tens of thousands of people defied a nationwide lockdown Saturday to attend the funeral of a top preacher, reminded people it is “mandatory” for a healthy Muslim to attend prayers in a mosque.In Pakistan, devotees said worship is more important than coronavirus concerns.Authorities have buckled under religious pressure, allowing daily prayers and evening congregations at mosques after clerics promised to instruct religious leaders to clean their facilities regularly. Rising death tolls Asia is home to some of the world’s largest Muslim populations stretching from the Indonesian archipelago to the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan, and close to a billion Muslims live in the region.Regional death tolls from COVID-19 have been much smaller compared with Europe and the United States but are rising steadily, sparking fears the virus may overwhelm often underfunded healthcare sectors.The coronavirus pandemic has triggered lockdowns throughout Asia, with schools shut and businesses closed, but mosques have largely stayed open.During Ramadan, mosques hold regular prayers and large “iftar” meals to break the fast at dusk, while families host feasts at home with relatives and friends in Southeast Asia, there has been fierce debate in food-mad Malaysia about whether to allow popular Ramadan bazaars, where Muslims buy local delicacies before breaking their fasts.Malaysia has imposed a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, and the government last week said that to ensure social distancing, they would only allow so-called “e-bazaars”, where people order goods online from local vendors which are then delivered to their homes. Topics :
Read also: Dozens of office infection clusters emerge as Indonesia seeks to revive economyAs the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) being reimplemented in Jakarta starting Monday would not be as strict as the previous PSBB regime, Dicky said testing was a vital condition to curb transmission. “We are all carrying the virus unless proven otherwise. That should be people’s mindset at this point,” he said.Jakarta reinstated the PSBB amid rising cases and deaths ever since the city began to transition to the “new normal” in June. Most of the cases have occurred in offices, raising concerns about poor implementation of health protocols in workplaces across the city.Other government offices where clusters have emerged include the Communication and Information Ministry with 65 cases, the Defense Ministry with 64 cases, the Finance Ministry with 61 cases, the Youth and Sports Ministry with 43 cases, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry with 38 cases, the Law and Human Rights Ministry with 35 cases and the Education and Culture Ministry with 25 cases. Fifteen ministries have recorded fewer than 20 cases.Dicky said the Health Ministry should be a role model in the implementation of public health protocols to assure that the country could win the battle against the virus. “The ministry must evaluate the implementation of its health protocols. It must be ineffective since there are many confirmed cases among its employees,” he said.Read also: COVID-19 haunts industrial zones in IndonesiaResponding to the finding, the Health Ministry’s disease control and prevention director general Achmad Yurianto said the high number of infected staff members did not necessarily mean the ministry’s headquarters had become a cluster or the source of an outbreak.“If cases are recorded at the Health Ministry, does that mean we’re calling it a Health Ministry cluster?” he told the Post. “This is accumulative data since May. The ministry’s employees live in Greater Jakarta and commute every day”.He also said the ministry had been conducting routine tests for its employees. “Health Ministry employees undergo swab tests every month and those who test positive [for COVID-19] immediately go into isolation,” said Achmad.Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Tjahjo Kumolo asked the staffing officers (PPK) in all ministries, agencies and local administrations to monitor health protocol implementation among civil servants to curb rising cases at government offices.“The PPK must monitor as well as regularly report the effectiveness of such implementation and the working hours division for civil servants every week,” Tjahjo said.Topics : In what seems to be an irony in the country’s fight against the coronavirus, the Health Ministry office in Kuningan, South Jakarta, turns out to be the largest virus cluster in the capital, according to a record by local health officials.A data visualization by the Jakarta administration shows that the ministry had 252 confirmed cases as of Friday, more than any other cluster across the capital, including offices, traditional markets and places of worship.Other government offices are also recorded among those with the most cases, namely the Transportation Ministry (175), the Corruption Eradication Commission (106), the Food and Drug Monitoring Agency (89) and the Tanjung Priok Marine and Coast Guard Base Class I (88). A number of high-ranking government officials are among those infected with the virus. Jakarta secretary Saefullah died on Wednesday after testing positive for COVID-19 and being treated at hospital. General Elections Commission (KPU) chairman Arief Budiman, who is busy preparing the December regional elections, has also tested positive for the virus.Dicky Budiman, an Indonesian epidemiologist at Australia’s Griffith University, said the fact that there was a high number of cases in the Health Ministry was a sign of ineffective health protocols that leave room for transmission.“There is a false perception about health protocols. People think physical distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands is enough but it will be ineffective without routine screening every two weeks for people who travel outside or work at the office to ensure they don’t carry the virus around,” Dicky told The Jakarta Post on Friday.Masdalina Pane of the Indonesian Epidemiologists Association (PAEI) said an epidemiological investigation must be carried out to determine how transmission occurred among those infected in a cluster. She said transmission might occur at the office or other places such as public transportation.