On the 167th anniversary of the birth of Liberia, Africa’s first independent republic, we, at the Universal Human Rights International (UHRI) wish to reecho the humanitarian emergency alarm sounded daily since July 2003 (over a decade ago) on the humanitarian crisis facing Liberian refugee women and young Liberian-American children evacuated by the United States Military from Monrovia to safety in the United States. It is unconscionable that the governments ofPresident Barack Obama the United States of America and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, both in their second and final terms of office, have chosen to ignored the plight of their citizens and reneged on their legal and moral obligations to protect their own citizens, especially vulnerable young children and women. While this crisis predated the ascendancy of both Obama and Sirleaf to power, there is no excuse or justification, whatsoever, for ignoring the suffering of the citizens they were elected to protect and paid a salary to serve. On this 167th anniversary of Liberia’s existence (?independence?), we call on Presidents Obama and Sirleaf to use their good offices and end over a decade of unnecessary and unjustifiable suffering and misery for over 7,000 Liberians who entered the United States after October 2002 and have since been denied protection contrary to pleas from the Massachusetts Delegation to Congress and the late Senator Edward Kennedy (See attached letter).Additionally, as President Obama is seeking $500 million dollars to support and arm rebels in Syria and nearly $4 billion dollars to assist unaccompanied minors entering the USA illegally from Central America, surely, he must address the plight of accompaniedAmerican children and Liberian refugee women evacuated from Liberia by the United States Military over a decade ago. We also call for a constitutional amendment in Liberia making Citizens’ Initiative a part of Liberia’s political life. Citizens’ Initiative is a measure of participatory democracy that allows citizens, as the supreme source of state power, to propose good laws, repeal bad laws, set the salaries and benefits of politicians without the approval or permission of the president or legislature. Citizens’ Initiative, which dates back to the 5th Century B.C. in Athens, Greece works great in 2014 in the European Union, Switzerland and 24 states in the United States of America.On June 13, 2003, President George Bush ordered Operation Shining Express, a deployment of an American naval task force based around the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3) to rescue U.S. embassy personnel and American citizens during the Second Liberian Civil War. The deployment announced on June 13, 2003 lasted until July 2003.Considering the appalling state of Liberia’s education, widespread poverty and political landscape rife with corruption, greed and advancing of personal and family interests above national interests as well as 167 years of political gimmickry that has rendered Liberia’s political elite as masters over the impoverished masses of citizens, we believe now is the time for the citizens of Liberia to embrace Citizens’ Initiative and thereby bring lasting security, equal opportunities and sustainable development to this country. Citizens’ Initiative is the only sure way for more transparency, justice, security and equal opportunities in the republic of Liberia because this measure puts citizens in charge.As Liberia commemorates 167 years of existence (?independence?), the president appoints all mayors, governors of all political sub-divisions, cabinet members, heads of all public corporations, thus putting too much power in the presidency. Only politicians and their friends and family members are celebrating their freedom to travel first class, drive expensive cars, enjoy huge salaries and benefits while poor citizens are living in misery and hopelessness at home and abroad.Beyond widespread unemployment, the deplorable education system, other consequences of the breach of trust include greed and corruption which seems to be the order of the day. Public service in Liberia has become the primary path to acquiring personal wealth for Liberia’s ruling elite. The gap between the rich and poor continues to widen, evidenced by the outrageously high salaries and benefits politicians have assigned to themselves and their family members. The number of sub-standard schools and universities across Liberia is alarming and growing with many places of worship setting up sub-standard schools without adequate facilities for learning.July 26 celebration is mired by widespread boozing and dancing on the streets. Meanwhile, the Liberian economy, Liberia’s largest churches, security sector and big banks are all controlled by foreigners. There seems to be evidence that growing political corruption also means that ‘brown bags’ and corporate money have potentially powerful influence in the government.When it comes to national leadership, it seems that the process has been effectively rigged by the ruling elites against ordinary Liberians without access to foreign higher education. Even President Roberts, one of the greatest selfless leaders of the world, evidenced by donation of his estate to educate Liberian children never had access to foreign higher education. Additionally, many of the brightest and most creative minds of the 21th century, including millionaires and entrepreneurs in America such as Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, never completed college and they were 20 and 21 years old when they started their companies.By creating unrealistic standards for national leadership out of the reach of most Liberians such as foreign higher education requirements, the ruling elites have established an unjustifiable political hegemony that have robbed majority of Liberians of a role in national leadership. Liberian citizens continue to be robbed of natural resources due to corruption, robbed of a role in leadership through the lack of citizens’ initiative laws and the requirement of foreign higher education for leadership. Liberians have been robbed of the future by effectively denying innovative youths a chance to tap into their God-given talents and potentials.On the other hand, unnecessary government bureaucracies and commissions continue to be created as avenues for the elite to siphon wealth for themselves and their families, many of whom reside overseas. Laws have been enacted not for the common good of ordinary citizens but for the benefit of multi-national corporations and the ruling elite. Although the constitution claims that “All power is inherent in the people,” ordinary Liberians are powerless in the face of powerful corporations, foreign-owned companies that dominate the Liberian economy and the ruling elite. Without citizens’ Initiative, the citizens cannot exercise their power as the boss of the republic.Accordingly, we wish to reassert the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of these accompanied young Liberian-American children and Liberian refugee women as human beings who deserve to be protected both at home and abroad. Inalienable rights are in fact God-given rights-not given by any man and rights which no man can take away.Liberian refugee women suffering for over a decade deserve better. We call on both President Obama and President Sirleaf to use their good offices and end the unnecessary suffering of American children and over 7,000 Liberians who entered the USA after October 200. We call on citizens of Liberia to join ranks in pushing for a constitutional amendment that brings to birth in a new day of true freedom, justice, peace, equal opportunity, prosperity and security in Liberia and Africa.With our children set free in America they can begin to live their dreams and contribute their quotas in making our world a better place. With Citizens’ Initiative, Liberia will be a prosperous nation that guarantees justice, security and equal opportunity for all citizens and a level playing field for foreign investors to compete in a free market place.Torli H. Krua is President of the Universal Human Rights International (UHRI), a non-profit organization that promotes democracy and citizens’ initiative in Africa and refugee rights in the USAShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Health workers and residents are contending that the slum communities of Monrovia and other parts of Liberia where they live and work are highly vulnerable to the spread of the Ebola virus and should be urgently decongested.In several interviews with the Daily Observer in Monrovia Tuesday, health workers and residents expressed fear and apprehension about the grave danger posed by over crowdedness and congestion in the slums particularly during the prevailing Ebola crisis, pointing out that physical contact is one of the surest ways for people to be infected by the deadly Ebola virus.Practical strategies should be designed to begin decongesting slum communities they urged, adding that urban planners, health authorities, environmental experts, residents and other stake holders should begin holding discussions on how and where to relocate populations from overcrowded slums.“Prioritizing on the national development agenda the relocation of slum dwellers to environmentally friendly areas in Monrovia and other parts of Liberia should no longer be delayed, they emphasized adding that the construction of sustained medical facilities within slum communities should also be included. “Our people are living in dehumanizing conditions that should claim the immediate attention of all Liberians in and out of the country,” health worker Samson Doelue declared.Another health worker, Martha B. Roberts, pointed out that the vulnerable slum dwellers also face other serious threats such as sea erosion and the lack of public sanitation facilities.Slum dwellers have over the years pleaded for basic but critical benefits such as better equipped health facilities, water and electricity, but their cries have for the most part, fallen on deaf ears.“I believe that their relocation to environmentally friendly areas is one of the best alternatives that would ease our vulnerability to water and air-borne diseases,” Madam Roberts maintained.When contacted in the largest slum community of West Point in central Monrovia, residents told the Daily Observer that the proposal advanced by some to relocate slum dwellers is indeed realistic and sustainable.“We are willing to relocate but, the initiative must be designed to suit the current housing conditions in Monrovia and its environs,” West Pointer Blamo Sonpon stressed.New locations for residents should be environmentally friendly, crime free and contain basic necessities that would enhance our livelihoods including quality water systems, schools, healthcare facilities among others, said Mr. Sonpon.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Cheerful football fans are expected to watch the first football tournament after nine months since football activities were banned in July-2014 at the Blue Field in Monrovia.Today at 2:00pm on the Blue Field in the PHP Community, local football giant, BYC I would host Nimba United in the opener of Group A of the Coca-Cola Top 8 Tournament. In the second derby, Mighty Barrolle, (the Kanyan Pepper Boys) are expected to rub shoulders with LISCR FC at 4:00pm. On Saturday, FC Fassell will host NPA Anchors at 2:00pm in the Group B and IE and Aries will play at 4:00pm. The clash of the titans would be on Sunday, with BYC I and LISCR FC fighting for the top; while Mighty Barrolle and Nimba United will lock horns. Fans are expected to throng the stadium with red, blue, yellow and green shirts and flags. Prior to the opener there will be a formal program. Youth and Sports Minister Eugene Nagbe is expected to be in attendance.The 8-day tournament is expected to run from today to Friday, May 8. The winner is expected to pocket US$2,000 and a trophy, while the runner-up would receive US$1,000.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
To celebrate its accreditation as an official none-governmental organization, Mineke Foundation has announced the holding of graduation for 75 students from its soap making and pastry management classes.The graduation ceremony, according to Tonia Dabwe, the founder of the school, coincided with the official launch of the foundation, which is scheduled to take place today, Tuesday.Madam Dabwe is in the country with a high-powered seven person delegation from Holland for the launching ceremony. She described the prospective graduates as “people with significant roles to play in the society, because it will be through their skills, that the country will experience economic and social development since they will be graduating with lifetime skills such as soap making and pastry management.Most of the prospective graduates are women, except for the few men who completed the three months soap-making course. Some of the female students completed the soap-making course, but a majority of them took the pastry production course which lasted for 10 months. “Some of the students were also required to complete business courses as “extracurricular activities,” because if a student understands how to make pastry or quality soap, that does not mean they have good business management skills,” Mineke’s founder said. She said the business courses are designed to help the students develop their business management skills. “The great news is that our entire population of students passed the theoretical and practical examinations set up to see if they actually understood the concepts of the lessons that were taught,” Madam Dabwe said. Speaking about today’s launch of the foundation, Madam Dabwe said since the foundation operates as a legally established entity, its scope of operations will have to be expanded very soon beyond the Gardnersville Community to other areas in Montsserado County despite the financial challenges.“The exciting news about this launch is that we are now becoming an official organization since we started work in Liberia more than three years ago,” she told reporters in a joyous mood.It may be recalled that in March this year, the foundation graduated 25 people both in soap making and pastry production.The event today is expected to be attended by government representatives, national and international NGO representatives, members of the diplomatic corps, staff and trainees as well as friends and well wishers of Mineke Foundation. The Foundation was established in Holland in 2009 with a focus on social and economic development of Dabwe Town, Liberia. It undertakes projects such as establishing youth clubs, vocational and entrepreneurial training for youth and the current soap making and pastry programs.“We think the issue of women’s empowerment in Liberia is every one’s business because on the average level in Liberia women carry the hardest burden to take care of the families,” Madam Dabwe said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Senate mandates its committees to inquire The Senate yesterday mandated its Committees on Judiciary, Claims, Petitions, and Human Rights and Social Security, Pension & Insurance to inquire why the National Social Security &Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) decided to invest US$1.4 million in the Cocopa Rubber Corporation at a time when the price of rubber on the global market is at its lowest.The Senators, at their 45th day sitting, also want to gather from the NASSCORP authorities whether a risk analysis was done before the transaction, especially in the wake of recent workers unrests.The lawmakers’ concern was prompted by a letter from the Senate chairman of the Committee on Concession & Investment, Bomi County Senator Sando Dazoe Johnson, in which he requested Senate Plenary to invite the NASSCORP leadership to provide a detailed explanation of the transaction.“We are aware that monies within the custody of the National Social Security & Welfare Corporation are collected from workers across the country with the intent of providing retirement and other social reimbursements to beneficiaries,” he said.NASSCORP, Senator Johnson said, “needs to provide reasons to the plenary of the Liberian Senate as to why they are investing our people’s money at a time when the present government is phasing out. There is a tendency that accountability could be lax and people could carry out the dubious act.”The Liberian-owned plantation, which is situated on the Ganta-Saclepea highway in Nimba County, was in 2016 hit twice by strike actions when workers went on rampages, setting up roadblocks in demand of months of salary arrears.The Nimba Rubber Incorporated, a Liberian-owned business, and the National Investment Commission on July 7, 2016, signed a concession agreement for the running of the Cocopa Rubber Plantation, which value was said to exceed US$20 million at the time. The concession agreement was reportedly entered into without Legislative approval.Meanwhile, the Senate’s outspoken chair on Post & Telecommunications, Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, tried in vain to convince her colleagues that the Committee on Social Security, Pension & Insurance, which has the oversight responsibility for NASSCORP, should take the lead in the inquiry. Instead, the Committee on Judiciary was tasked to take the lead since it was agreed by consensus that that matter had “legal implications.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) – Advertisement –
AFC employees operating the bottling assembly lineOffers a unique mixture of career growth opportunitiesA 100 percent Liberian owned beverage company, Atlantic Foods Company, with an initial investment of US$1.2 million, has been launched to bring about innovation to the Liberian fruit juice and mineral water manufacturing sector.The company will produce bottled water, orange juice, ginger, and citrus ginger beverages.Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, who cut the ribbon at the launch in Marshall, Margibi County on Friday, thanked the chief executive officer, Amin Modad, for the investment.“When I think about your investment, it says a lot to me because you took your time, resources and everything for it; and these mean a lot to me,” Veep Boakai said. “Amin, I know this is the just the beginning.”Ambassador Boakai said Modad has a good business and investment plan for the country, and called on other citizens to emulate his good example.Vice president Boakai cuts the ribbon to the building as Mrs. Modad and other looks onThe Deputy Minister for Industry (DMI) at the Ministry of Commerce, Roland S. Carey, also congratulated Modad for the investment.“What we are launching here today is my shop; I will take care of my shop. So, Mr. Modad, thank you for the venture, you have our support. We are particularly proud of Amin because he came from the Ministry of Commerce and we must do everything to support you,” he said.The chairperson of the National Investment Commission (NIC), Etmonia Tarpeh, thanked Modad and encouraged other young Liberians who want to do business in Liberia not to give up.Earlier, the chief executive officer of AFC, Amin Modad, said the company hopes to revolutionize the food processing industry in the country. He said the company uses the latest technologies to ensure that no part of the natural fruit goes to waste.Modad noted with delight the birth of the AFC fruit juice, saying that its primary objective is to add value to domestic growth with the initial focus on producing and exporting quality beverages.“As a solely Liberian owned company, we aim to empower and develop the professional capacity of our people. AFC intends to employ Liberians at every level of the corporate structure.“The beverage industry offers a unique mixture of career growth opportunities in mechanical engineering, chemistry, biology, sales and marketing, finance and accounting, logistics and distribution and presently we have 41 Liberians in our employ,” he said.Explaining the company’s vision, Modad said AFC will support self-sufficiency and reduce Liberia’s dependency on importation by ensuring adequate and consistent supply of locally produced food and beverage products.According to him, clean healthy drinkable water is essential to healthy living and a key requirement for socio-economic growth.“Our strategy includes ensuring the empowerment as well as creating market access and opportunities for local produce by establishing produce purchasing stations (for agricultural inputs) and wholesale distribution centers (for processed goods) in various populated and accessible urban and rural communities,” said Modad.Mr. Modad explains the process of the plant to Vice President Boakai during the tour of the facility.Speaking to Modad in an interview, he said coming from a trade development background, he believes that Liberia’s comparative advantage is its natural resources and assets, “thus, sustainable economic growth rests on how Liberia trades its natural resources.” He said: “This must begin with encouraging Liberian participation and dominance in the supply and value chains of critical growth sectors such as agriculture and agro-processing.”He said the production of beverages and packaged foods “will impact poverty reduction and foster community development by creating jobs, providing market access to local farmers and out-growers, positively impacting Liberia’s balance of trade through import substitution, reduce mortality rate, improving health, and creating a new value chain that other Liberian enterprises could benefit such as traders, transportation companies, professional service providers.”“AFC will be involved in the manufacturing and trading of food products. The company will offer a wide variety of packaged products including beverages, edible oils, fruits, vegetables, processed snacks, and traditional ready to eat Liberian cuisines.”He said Liberians love their traditional red palm-oil, “in fact, it is preferred over the processed and imported oils. However, there has never been any form of mechanized processing or bottling of edible oils in Liberia. Thus, this provides an untapped potential for the domestic consumption as well as exports to Diaspora markets.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
UP Chairman Wilmot Paye (center) and other opposition leaders in response to President Weah’s 2019 annual message.Opposition political parties, including Liberty Party (LP), Alternative National Congress, former ruling Unity Party (UP) have termed as wasted time and deception the message delivered by President George M. Weah because his administration has produced tremendous hardships on the Liberian people as one of worst governments on the planet.President Weah yesterday delivered his annual message to the 54th Legislature as mandated by Article 58 of the 1986 Constitution. According to the four political parties, Weah, as expected, failed yet again to assure Liberians that he is committed to serving as president for all.According to chairman Wilmot Paye who read the parties’ statement, he said on January 22, 2018, President Weah pledged “to end corruption, be president for all Liberians, and change the unacceptable trend of Liberians being spectators in their own economy, and noted “what Liberians have endured in the last year is contrary to the pledge made on January 22, 2018.”He said from all indications, not only are Liberians spectators in their own economy but they are now also effectively bystanders in the affairs of their own country. The President, his cronies and a handful of foreigners are the main actors and participants in the Liberian economy, he said. “And even more appalling is that some of his foreign business partners have horrible criminal past in their countries,” he added, though he did not elaborate further.Mr. Paye said public corruption has galloped out of control and noted that the governance is characterized by skulduggery, bigotry, hypocrisy, falsehood, abuse, and misuse of public office and power. Violation of the Constitution and laws of Liberia has become commonplace and is pervasive throughout the administration. The President and his officials are above reproach, violating laws and tearing down systems and procedures with impunity, Paye said.He said despite his declaration in early 2018 that he inherited an “empty” treasury, a claim later refuted by his predecessor, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President Weah and his officials have only worsened Liberia’s woes.According to him, daylight robbery motivated by insatiable greed is on the rampage, stating “this has caused a total loss of confidence and trust in the governance system.”“Liberia is now a society balkanized into those “for” and “against” George Weah. Those perceived to be against Weah are viewed by senior members of the administration as “enemies of the state.” But in his message, the President ignored the deepening division that he has caused in the country. His message showed no indication that his administration is committed to reconciling Liberia. Nevertheless, the President tried to deceive the world that Liberia is either still the country it was when he assumed office more than one year ago,” he said.He said Liberians have waited in vain for a detailed explanation from the President on how the administration “infused” US$25 m into the economy in response to last year’s monetary crisis. There is no trace of how US$17m of this amount was used.“For the first time since Liberia returned to democratic governance, we have a President whose finance minister does not prepare quarterly or mid-term reports as required by Law, the 2018/19 budget is a classic example. Instead, the finance minister is like a parrot perched on the branch of an oak tree programmed to make noise. That is not the function of a finance minister,” he said.The President needed to provide satisfactory answers for questions surrounding the L$16bn (some say L$15 billion, L$10.5 billion) reported by his own Ministers of Justice and Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism to have gone “missing” last year. The message provided no such answers other than what the nation has already heard.He could not speak to these issues because of a previous position he had taken on this grave matter. “Where is the report from the investigation commissioned by the President? We are shocked that the biggest scandal that has plagued this government will be addressed by two lines in the President’s message. What an irony!!! It looks like the nation should brace itself for many more millions, if not billions, to go “missing” without a trace before the President leaves office.“We do not understand why the Legislature, a separate branch, has not shown interest in the grave issues that confront Liberia today,” he said.INCREASING LEVELS OF CORRUPTION“We urge the 54th Legislature to immediately proceed to cancel the fraudulent EBOMAF, ETON, and other dubious deals that have impugned on our nation’s reputation. More specifically, we encourage all opposition representatives and senators to demonstrate patriotism by pushing for cancellation of these and other criminal deals,” he said.The vast majority of Liberians hate corruption, but the President has gowned it and given it a top seat within his administration.“Do not take this year’s message seriously. Insofar as the President did not address your needs, concerns and the pains that you endure daily, his message lacked credibility. Remember that as you struggled to endure hardships imposed by bad governance fueled primarily by an unprecedented level of corruption, President Weah and his officials are busy enriching themselves. They are doing so at your expense. See what they have acquired for themselves in just one year despite the economy being in such a horrible state.“Besides, what you heard from the President fell far short of fulfilling the requirements stipulated in the Liberian Constitution. It answered no questions about how his administration intended to tackle corruption. It failed to speak directly to the fiscal indiscipline and other myriads of financial improprieties that the President and his administration have caused in just one year.“Even the Public Financial Management (PFM) and Budget Laws are violated with impunity. The President and his team do not believe in accountability and transparency. This is one way they can fund their meaningless globe-trotting adventures,” Paye said his strongly worded statement.He added “They are wastefully spending your money. At the same time, they profess to be “working for you” or “in your interest.” This is false! They are serving their own selfish interests. That is why they ignored your views and are trying to suppress dissent with acts of violence. They want you to cheer for them as they loot.“You are probably unaware that the administration has acquired a private aircraft to facilitate the President’s foreign travels. The same President who had lied that he “inherited an empty treasury” is the one flying in a private aircraft procured with your money. That aircraft is kept abroad to avoid any possible public backlash. They want you to believe the aircraft belongs to a friend.“This is false! There is no wealthy person anywhere in the world to be so “generous” as to allow the leader of any nation uses their aircraft for every travel. Who bears the cost of maintaining such an aircraft? The President may be thinking that you have no way of determining if the aircraft he flies in regularly was purchased last year. That was part of the criminal loan deals that the President struck last year against growing public outcries.“Besides, it makes no financial sense for George Weah to pretend to have “reduced” the salaries of public officials under the guise of instituting austerity measures while at the same time he has increased non-program expenditure by more than tenfold. This is criminal,” Paye said.“Also, the President tried to divert your attention from the alarming pace at which he and his officials have been accumulating real properties. This is in flagrant violation of the Liberian constitution and laws. This is the same President who declared before a US Court prior to the 2017 elections that he was insolvent.“He pleaded to pay US$160 a month for child support. In a single year, however, he has undertaken enormous private building projects for himself.“As he does this, prices of commodities have gone through the roof. The Liberian economy is bleeding profusely. There are no recovery efforts in sight. Where is the President getting the millions from to fund his private ventures? As expected, his message avoided this question.”he said urgent actions need to be taken to curtail the unending wave of corruption and bring to bear the full weight of the law on those culpable of looting state resources at the detriment of the people and the country,” according to Chairman Paye.VIOLATIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION & LAWS; NATIONAL SECURITY; GOVERNANCE AND RECONCILIATION“The first year has been a disaster. Most Liberians expected the President to apologize for the countless laws and provisions of the constitution that he and his officials have already breached since January 2018. Even though these violations are grave and warrant impeachment proceedings too, he does not care. He has no interest in promoting the rule of law and good governance during his tenure. This is an assault on our democracy.You waited for one year for the president to speak to issues of concern to you. You expected to hear his position on the frequent attacks on the fundamental freedoms and rights guaranteed by the Liberian Constitution but which are today violated with impunity.“Liberians are today denied their basic rights, which include the right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of press and expression, academic freedom, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion and the pursuit of happiness.“These rights and principles form the basis of our national policies and are no gift from any President. They are immutable. Their implementation or enforcement does not depend on whether or not a President deems it necessary. President Weah has no choice but to show respect for them and ensure their unhindered implementation or enforcement.“For those Liberians who might have anticipated genuine transformation during this era, events of the past one year are sufficient to make you rethink. You need a rude awakening. You need to realize that our governance system has now reached a crisis level.“Last year’s violence against the residents of Montserrado County’s District #13 during a by-election was not mentioned yesterday. In that by-election, marauding bands of thugs brandishing deadly weapons disrupted a peaceful rally organized in support of Candidate Cornelia Kruah-Togba. That incident left many innocent citizens wounded.“Even though the President was in the district campaigning for his party’s candidate when the attack took place, he ignored it.“So, it doesn’t matter to this President if scores of Liberians perished under his watch. As long as that is done in his name and against critics and political opponents, it does not matter. He will never bother to speak about it. He won’t as long as it does not serve his purpose. He has relegated the presidency to be an instrument for pursuing his narrow interests,” Paye noted.He said, “Rep. Kolubah himself later informed Liberians and the world that his residence had come under gunfire during the early hours of January 21, 2019. According to him, the Liberian National Police simply stood by. In a country that had undergone nearly two decades of institutionalized mayhem, this is worrisome.“Yet, yesterday’s message was not to address an issue as grave and life-threatening as this and other acts of violence. You probably expected that a reasonable reaction from any serious leader would have been to apologize to parents whose kids were wounded as a result of that assistant minister’s barbarity and bring that idiot to face the full weight of the law. This was never done.“What the President presented (yesterday) was a compilation far removed from the harsh reality that you face. What he said was simple. You can cry and cry and cry and cry, but you will eventually get exhausted and capitulate to my whims and caprices. So, it is up to you. This is further evidence of arrogance and callous insensitivity.“For one year, this has been the hallmark of his administration. It shows that his administration will continue to downplay your pains and plight. This spells danger for Liberia. Such an attitude is reminiscent of the days of anarchy. This is why we must put aside our ego, sectional, tribal, partisan and other parochial interests to unite in one accord. We must insist on an immediate and unconditional return to the rule of law. We cannot detour to lawlessness.“We must never forget that more than 200,000 of our fellow citizens were slaughtered for the peace and democracy that the President and his administration are taking for granted. The human sacrifice was enormous. We have journeyed too far to be pulled back. It does not matter who is at the helm of political power in Liberia. Let wrongs be recognized as wrongs. They never mutate. Only the perpetrators change from time to time.“Additionally, there has to be an immediate end to the deliberate destruction of integrity systems and institutions. These integrity systems were designed to improve governance. They are the only civilized way whereby we can hold public officials accountable.“Through these means, we had regained our reputation as a respectable member within the comity of nations. Yet, within a single year, that reputation has vanished! Liberia has once more become an example of a country with bad governance.“The President does not honor our commitment under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Procedures, laws, and systems for Public Procurement and Concession have been breached. His refusal last year to declare his assets was to pave the way for his personal projects and private financial ventures. The situation in the country is troubling. The 54th Legislature should disprove growing suspicion among Liberians that it has now become an auxiliary organ of the presidency.“The serious and decent members of this Branch need to promptly investigate all acts of violence and the many grave issues confronting the country but which the Executive Branch is downplaying. The 54th Legislature cannot join the President’s cheering squads. As we say here in Liberia, “Small shame is better than big shame”. So, you can redeem your image now!“The culture of impunity must stop now! This must stop before the 2020 senatorial election! Liberians have already suffered too much from violence and can tolerate it no further. Violence, as history has shown, will only beget violence. You must join us to save Liberia from its new predators.“Liberians, you will note that President Weah made no mention of serious governance and other structural reforms in government. He was more concerned with seeking to repeal Laws that grant tenured positions to institutions of government that should promote good governance and integrity in the public service. Towards this end, we the four Collaborating Political Parties commit to mount pressure on the government and constructively engage our foreign partners to help institute the necessary reforms in our Electoral System to ensure Free, Fair and Transparent elections in 2020, 2023 and onward.”SEPARATION OF RELIGION AND STATEContinuing, Chairman Paye said “Last week the President and his officials celebrated one year in office. What were they celebrating? They were celebrating their successful looting of Liberia. They celebrated their unlawful acquisition of properties at your expense. Indeed, they had to celebrate.“They celebrated your suffering. They are glad that you are enduring excruciating hardships while they enjoy your resources. They celebrated the violence that their thugs and fanatics unleash against innocent citizens, which is now a routine. They will continue to celebrate a further dismemberment of the economy. They have nothing to offer you.“They do not care if your children drop out of school because you cannot afford to pay their fees. They do not care if hospitals and clinics are empty of medicines and have therefore become temporary funeral homes rather than being treatment centers. They just do not and will not care.“While they were celebrating their looting of Liberia in disregard for the sufferings you have endured under his watch, one of the President’s spiritual advisors chose to insult your intelligence and abuse the moral sanctity of the nation. There are many genuine Christian preachers. They are on bended knees praying for Liberia.“The Liberian clergy has always spoken out against societal ills. We value their courage to stand for the truth and with the suffering masses, as the Bible demands of them. Religious leaders of every faith have never at any time forsaken the people. They see their sufferings and empathize with them,” concluded.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
– Advertisement – Rep. Barway; “…besides the chemically fertilizer exposure, the GVL is in bad labor practices and has since resulted to masses wrongful dismissals, and a death of the excavator driver, popularly known as ‘Albert.” — Rep. Barway Complains to House of Representatives, and to Summon GVL CEOAt least 10 female workers of Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL) in Grand Kru County have suffered ‘miscarriages’ because of chemical exposure amid GVL’s failure to provide the necessary Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), Grand Kru County District #1 Representative Nathaniel Barway, Sr., has complained to the Plenary of the House of Representatives.Rep. Barway said the victims are from Garraway, Weadebo and Trembo Sections.A medical doctor, assigned at John F. Kennedy Hospital, who requested not to be named, told the Daily Observer yesterday via mobile, that there are obvious surgical abortion methods and medical abortion methods, but not many have heard of chemical abortion.“A chemical abortion is nothing more than a non-surgical abortion method wherein the pregnancy is terminated by introducing medication or chemicals or because of chemical exposure into the system that prevent the pregnancy from progressing,” the medical doctor said.Rep. Barway, who is also the House’s co-chairman on Internal Affairs, stressed that besides the chemical fertilizer exposure, the GVL is in bad labor practices and has since resulted to mass wrongful dismissals, and a death of an excavator driver, popularly known as ‘Albert.’According to sources, Albert happens to be a relative of Rep. Barway.In his communication, which was read on Thursday, March 7, the 17th day sitting, Rep. Barway urged Speaker Bhofal Chambers and his colleagues to summon the General Manager of GVL, to answer why he should not be held responsible for the unfair labor treatment of employees of his company, as well as for the contradictions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the communities in Grand Kru County District #1 and GVL.Unfair Labor Treatments“Here are few counts as examples of the unfair labor practices against its employees: Daniel Cooper, a truck driver for GVL who was transporting oil palm from Grand Kru to their factory in Sinoe got in an accident. As per traffic regulation of Liberia, when an accident occurs, a traffic officer/LNP has to be informed and invited to investigate the issue but this was not done at all, and the driver was dismissed without any compensation when the truck was not damaged and is in use up to present. Another employee, Emmanuel Sackor, whose brother was caught stealing palm at night and was taken to court and found guilty but GVL management transferred the crime to Emmanuel Sackor who was not part of the theft. Yet he was dismissed by GVL,” Rep. Barway said.He added: “Another employee, Peter Wesseh, a security officer of GVL and tractor operator, were asked to transport few mattresses from Grand Kru to Sinoe highway when GVL was carrying on road maintenance between Grand Kru and Sinoe Counties. While taking mattresses back to GVL’s office in Grand Kru after the road maintenance work, two of the mattresses dropped unknown to them (the transporters) and they could not locate them. The management of GVL asked the two employees to pay for the mattresses with immediate effect, but Peter Wesseh did not have cash (money) on hand to pay and for that he was dismissed by GVL, but the tractor driver who had money to pay, is still working.”‘Contradictions’ in MOUThe Grand Kru County lawmaker further said according to the MOU between employees/citizens in District #1, Grand Kru County and GVL, employment for community citizens is done with the ratio of 6 hectares to one employment. This means that when any employee who is employed under such arrangement is not able to continue the work, he/she should be replaced by any other person recommended by the community, but GVL disagrees to such replacement.“GVL agrees according to appendix B-1 to issue 50lb bag of clean rice to each employee as motivation per month. But unfortunately, outside of the MOU, GVL again has attached an unfair condition (an employee must work up to 23 working days before qualifying or rice. This condition is not in line with the fair labor practice of Liberia. We tried to plead for at least 18 working days, but GVL failed to do so,” Rep. Barway wrote.“According to Appendix C-5, GVL agrees to build and improve roads and bridges. The communities and employees have been pleading for concrete bridges, but GVL fails to listen.”Joint Committee InvestigationFollowing the reading of the communication and illustration from Rep. Barway, The House of Representatives Thursday resolved to mandate a Joint Committee on Judiciary, Internal Affairs and Labor to commence investigation into allegations of the ‘Chemical Miscarriages’ and ‘Bad Labor Practices’ and report within two weeks.The decision was based upon a motion proffered by Lofa County District #1 Representative Francis S. Nyumalin, Sr.In a rather brief response, GVL said it is “greatly disturbed by the allegations” made by Representative Barway. “The company operates in compliance with Liberian laws and for the safety of our employees and the communities within which we are based. The company refutes the allegations and will be preparing a full response to the claims made,” a statement submitted by Randall P. Kaybee, corporate communications coordinator, said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
A former West Bank Demerara (WBD) convict is once again before the court, but this time on allegations that he verbally abused and threatened his cousin.Thirty-four-year-old Junior Forester, called “Banga” of Lot 156, Patentia East, WBD, appeared before Magistrate Rochelle Liverpool at the Wales Magistrate’s Court on Thursday when he was arraigned for using abusive language against James Forester, at Lot 2 Stanleytown on December 18, 2017.The Police further stated that on that same date, he also used threateningIn August 2016, Junior Forester called “Banga” was sentenced to serve 18 months in jail for possession of stolen itemslanguage towards his cousin at the same premises. The defendant initially entered a plea of guilty with explanation, but based on his account of what transpired; the court entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf. Forrester, who says he now works at a wash bay in Stanleytown, admitted that he had spent 18 months in prison for a robbery charge. As the prosecution had no objections to him being granted his pre-trial liberty, “Banga” was released by Magistrate Liverpool on $10,000 bail. He will return to court on March 15 for report and fixtures.During August 2016, “Banga” was found guilty of possession of stolen items. The particulars of the previous charge had stated that on August 12, 2016, between 06:30h and 08:15h, he had broken and entered the dwelling house of David Ambedkar at Lot 47 Area L, Patentia Housing Scheme, WBD, and stolen a quantity of jewellery, $80,000 in cash, two wristwatches and an iPhone, amounting to $500,000.During his trial for that matter last year, Forrester denied that he had entered Ambedkar’s house. However, he did admit that he bought the watches from a man called “Todd” for $10,000, and thereby entered a guilty plea to a possession of stolen property charge. It was on these grounds and other surrounding factors such as a previous conviction that he went to jail for 18 months.The prosecution’s case for the robbery matter had stated that Forrester was seen leaving Ambedkar’s home on the morning of the robbery. Acting on this lead, the Police had carried out a search of his home where the two watches were discovered.
The two major telecommunication companies in Guyana have each wrapped up their fitness camp which was aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles among Guyanese while getting them fit in time for today’s Mashramani celebrations.Digicel’s annual Mash Fit Campaign ended on Thursday at the Guyana Cricket Club Ground, and present at the event was the second place contestant in this year’s Soca Monarch competition, Melissa ‘Vanilla’ Roberts, who worked with the trainers to hype the participants.There were approximately 300 persons present at the fitness programme. The event commenced with a warm-up routine that was followed by some intenseSome of the participants practising their dance routinesdancing, and lastly by the team challenge.Digicel Marketing Manager Ramesh Rupchand explained that the aim of the programme was to encourage persons to engage in fitness exercises while preparing them for the much-anticipated Mashramani Day.“It’s basically to promote health and fitness through the Mash period,” he explained.For the last event, the team challenge, participants were placed into various groups. Prizes were awarded to members of the winning team, along with other persons.Meanwhile, the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) continued its Fitness Camp at the Everest Ground. The event, which has been ongoing for a number of weeks, aims at preparing persons for our Republic Day celebrations onSome of the participants engaging in a dance routineFebruary 23.This event also officially ended on Thursday, and there were a number of trainers present at the camp to engage the participants in energizing workouts. Some also featured dance routines to popular soca and dancehall tracks of today’s generation.Present at the event was the coordinator, who explained that this initiative was a good way of introducing different ways in which Guyanese can keep fit while being given a chance to experience an electrifying atmosphere. So far, there has been a substantial amount of persons attending the Fitness Camp, and the support has been tremendous.“I would say the response is great. People want something like this, and it’s great to have different people mingling together in one and getting experience on the different types of fitness,” he stated.When asked if the company would continue this venture in the future, the coordinator noted, “Once the response is like this, we’re going to continue. There is a need for it.”Customers also got a chance to win costumes for the company’s Mash band, titled “Amazon Gems”. Further, the previous winners can also uplift their bedazzling costumes at the Everest Ground.The coordinators are urging the Guyanese public to support this band, explaining, “We’ll be having the biggest and best Mash band on the road. There is no dispute about that.”GTT is collaborating with Pulse Entertainment this year, and will be featuring approximately 300 revellers in its Mash band. The participants are asked to collect their costumes early, and to be assembled on February 23 at 09:00h at their respective places.