After 2 monthsEmployees of the Local Government Commission (LGC) have finally been paid, after waiting for over two months for the Communities Ministry to release the monies.This was confirmed by a commissioner of the constitutional agency on Friday, who noted that while the payments were disbursed, concerns are still being raised as to why the Commission has not been aligned to the Fiscal Management and Authority Act, so as to acquire control of its financial expenditures.Without this document, there are inaccuracies in the salaries which are set aside for some commissioners, since this amount was a temporary fix until the amendment was intact. Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan was responsible for ensuring that all legislations were in place when the Commission was established.“They paid what was owed but they never paid what was budgeted for us for 2019. I think the issue with which budget agency we’re under was just because they didn’t want to pay us proper salaries. Some of the staff are being paid way above the public service while some of the commissioners are still given a small salary, like a stipend,” the commissioner said.The commissioner questioned why the LGC is recognised as a constitutional agency but not as one which can manage its finances.“What was budgeted for us was never paid. From the time the Commission was sworn in, we were receiving this payment because although we are a constitutional agency, the Communities Minister was supposed to do a simple amendment to ensure that we are aligned to the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act. Although the 2019 budget was approved, they refused to give us. How are we recognised for everything as a constitutional body, but we’re not recognised for payments,” the commissioner added.This issue was brought to the fore some weeks ago, to which Chairman of the Commission, Mortimer Mingo, explained that the Permanent Secretary of the Communities Ministry, Emil McGarrell, refused to countersign documents to release funds for salaries and other expenses.“It then became apparent, by a way of a letter received by the Commission from the Deputy Permanent Secretary… that the Ministry was not in agreement with the level of pay that the Commission’s staff was receiving, since according to the letter, these salaries were not in keeping with the traditional public sector emoluments,” Mingo had said.As such, the LGC opted to settle the matter through a meeting with McGarell on January 28, but the Permanent Secretary did not withdraw his decision not to sign the documents.This sparked some controversy with former Local Government Minister, Ganga Persaud who placed the blame on Bulkan, stating that operations were stymied due to the withholding of funds.“If this Government can react to its Commission and the 27 staff members that it has done, then I think it is really unjust. It is a travesty and an injustice against the working people of this country. It is a crime against humanity,” Persaud had told Guyana Times.According to Persaud, this move is aimed at leaving the Commission with no other option but to relinquish its responsibilities to the Ministry, another way for Government to take control of local democratic organs. All entities under the Commission are also deprived of payments for this time.Persaud said to rectify this issue, the Commission must be duly established to function as any other constitutional body.
As interest in the Python programming language increases, a new open-source project wants to help developers start building applications in the language. Dash, created by the online data analytics and visualization solution provider Plotly, is a Python library for analytical, web-based applications. Dash has been under development for two years. The company first released Dash as a public proof-of-concept on GitHub and has continued developing the project behind closed doors. This week, Plotly is releasing Dash as an enterprise-ready solution and an open-source tool. “Explore data, tweak your models, monitor your experiments, or roll your own business intelligence platform. Dash is the front-end to your analytical Python backend,” the company wrote on the project’s website. According to Plotly, Dash can be used for data analysis, data exploration, visualization, modeling, instrument control and reporting. The project is lightweight with just 40 lines of Python; provides an interface for typing UI controls such as sliders, dropdowns and graphs with code; and is completely customizable. “Our goal with Dash Enterprise is to make sharing a Dash app internally as easy and secure as possible. No dev-ops required. Dash Enterprise handles the URL routing, the monitoring, the failure handling, the deployment, the versioning, and the package management,” the company wrote in a post. “If you’re using the open source version locally, there are no restrictions. You can manage deployment of Dash apps yourself through platforms like Heroku or Digital Ocean.”
Software testing is a perfect use case for artificial intelligence. Most testing today continues to be done manually, which is not efficient in a world of continuous delivery.According to David Hurwitz of testing company Appvance, 97% of the money spent on testing is going to labor – much of which is outsourced. “Software testing was the first area to get outsourced, and it’s still a predominant area today,” he said in a recent interview. Artificial intelligence, he said, “portends a tremendous sea change in how and where labor is allocated for testing.”Appvance this week announced that it has seen strong growth in Appvance IQ, its AI-driven unified test automation solution launched last September.“Software test automation has been around for three decades without making a dent in the crippling labor intensity of software testing,” said Kevin Surace, CEO and co-founder of Appvance, in a recent news release. According to Hurwitz, an automated test platform can help organizations get by with 1 percent of the testers they use now. “If you only need so few, you might as well have it in-house,” he said, noting the cost savings they would reap and cutting into the US$28 billion outsourcing market. “And,” he added, “there would be advantages for DevOps and agility.”Hurwitz said the top 18 quality outsourcing firms have 262,000 dedicated resources, citing a 2016 Gartner report on application testing services. “That’s an army,” he said, “and it’s got a long tail behind it.”Organizations can use machine learning to map an application and cognitive generation from user logs in their regression and UI testing. “AI will drive a vast change in how the industry operates,” Hurwitz said.