Incomplete, under-renovation smaller airport

first_imgDear EditorOur ancestors, many moons ago, voyaged across the Atlantic on the likes of the Elisabeth, Louisa Baillie, Whitby, Hesperus and Glentanner among other vessels. With the advent of technology, we now have air travel, allowing us to access distant lands in a matter of hours.The Cheddi Jagan International Airport previously known as the Timehri International airport is well known to all Guyanese. Editor this facility was opened to commercial traffic since 1946. Over the years changes and developmental works were done to modernise this airport. The PPP/C, with a vision for the future of Guyana with new and developing sectors such as tourism and hospitality with our specific brand of eco-tourism; oil and gas; Guyana being a gateway to South America and the bridge that connects South America to the Caribbean understood the necessity for this transformational project. This was not a stand-alone project, it was accompanied by investments in an international brand hotel like the Marriot; the provision of cheap electricity with the Amalia hydro-electric scheme which with the significant reduction in the cost of electricity would have stimulated agro-processing and manufacturing; the need to accommodate larger aircraft to lower the cost of freight and to have access to wider markets for our many non-traditional exports. This interconnected group of projects was totally misunderstood and incompetently handled by the APNU/AFC Administration when they came to office in May 2015. This has left us as a country with a situation where we are getting less and paying more. This design and build fixed-priced contract had envisioned eight boarding gates (air bridges), a significantly extended runaway, new terminal buildings, state of the art check-in and communication facilities, adequate conveyor belts to accommodate simultaneous multi arrivals and concession areas to facilitate transit and other global travellers.This incompetent group renegotiated the contract, giving us two air bridges and has now found extra money from the national purse to buy another two at a higher price, in a most questionable manner. The PPP/C has already indicated that we intend to call for a “value for money” audit on this project. Are the Guyanese people getting the right value for their monies spent?Regardless of all these questions, the biggest question I have today, Editor, is the real completion date. On the Public Infrastructure Ministry’s website, they have a lovely description of the project and I quote; “The Cheddi Jagan International Airport Expansion Project will be a behemoth in infrastructural development. With a new scheduled completion timeline of December 2018…”The shock of December 21 may still be upon Minister Patterson and he may not have changed his calendar, but we are in 2019 now sir. The project, as of December 31, 2017 had spent US $111.79 million (81 per cent) of the US$150 million allocated to the total project cost. When is the project really expected to be completed since another deadline has been missed? What will be the final price? Will they be attempting to appropriate further funding? These are all questions the already burdened taxpayers of this country need answers to, someone please help.Editor, I call on the people of Guyana to pay close attention to this cabal during their lame duck period of governance. Where their caretaker status must be emphasised. This must not be a case of taking a transformational project and turning it into a cash cow to facilitate campaign funding. At the time of the PPP/C Government, they said the project was overpriced and unnecessary. The APNU/AFC, with their visionless approach, took it over and the world is now a witness to their mal-administration and incompetence. We have an incomplete, under-renovation smaller airport with fewer facilities at the time of penning this letter.Yours truly,Bishop Juan A Edghilllast_img read more

Govt’s obsession with PPP/C caused them to turn a blind eye on crime

first_imgDear Editor,When the PNC/AFC coalition, or what you would like to call them, were in opposition, one of their manifesto promises was that they would curb crime. They promised the electorate that they would bring crime to a screeching halt because they had the willpower and the mechanisms to do it. It was a believable call because it also caught the eyes of the international community in our midst, they too were somehow convinced that the PNC-led coalition would do it. Here we had a group of individuals who – so it seems – would put a dent on crime once and for all. However, that veiled mask of putting an end to crime all came off when they got into office.There was a dramatic change in plans as soon as they took on the reins of power because, for starters, crime, criminals and crime-fighting got a new name and a new lease on life. Criminals got a sudden makeover, as they were given a pat on the back and released en masse by the PNC. The jubilee celebrations saw untold numbers being sent back into society to continue where they left off.The subtle message here was that you are no longer called criminals but you are “baptised” and given a new name. That message has been carried ever since by criminals throughout the length and breadth of Guyana as they have embarked on that nefarious mission that is unprecedented in our history. Crime got a spike and an upsurge which in many instances has seen deadly consequences.In addition to that deceptive appearance of bringing an end to crime, the PNC got into their age-old obsession of getting even with the PPP/C. They embarked on that mission with a vengeance rounding up every PPP/C person they could muster, with the sole aim of humiliating and incarcerating, and believe you me, if they had the “all’s clear” they would have done it, even going the full length of imprisoning their opponents without a trial. They would have incarcerated every last member of The PPP/C or anyone associated with that party had “the law” allowed it.So, millions were spent on the so-called crime-fighting as it pertains to getting the PPP and its associates all “locked up,” while turning a blind eye to the real cause and root evils of crime in society.So, the natural consequences of that obsession campaign saw the very Government of The PNC becoming criminals themselves with the many corrupt transactions they are embroiled in. And this has been the situation in Guyana to this very day, where criminals roam free while the ordinary citizenry languishes in misery.Sincerely,Neil Adamslast_img read more

CCJ’s instructions defied and authority undermined

first_imgDear Editor,Failure to carry out the directives of the CCJ undermines the authority and legitimacy of the court. While not agreeing with the court’s decision or ruling, one should not attack the court. It should be recalled that a year ago, the court ruled that a President cannot run for a third term. The court was not attacked; the ruling was respected. Now the court has ruled that a no constitution vote is valid and was successfully passed on December 21. The ruling should be respected. No disputants in the case should attack the court or stand defiant as such behavior hurt’s the court’s status.After ruling on June 18 that the government had fallen on December 21 and the appointment of James Patterson as Chair was unconstitutional, the court directed the parties to meet and reach a consensus on orders for the court to issue on June 24. The parties could not even meet much less discuss and reach any consensus on a way forward. Now the court will issue orders after asking the parties to make written submission on a way forward. As the highest court of Guyana, while the CCJ is empowered to effect judicial orders, the problem is it has no instruments or any infrastructure to enforce these orders. Those who are obstinate could have serious sanctions, even arrest.The remit of the court is to interpret the laws (constitution) and hand down rulings. It is for the government to enforce the laws through its police power. While the government stated that it respects the court’s rulings, it cannot prepare budget or engage in new undertakings.The court ruled that the chairman, James Patterson, of the elections commission (Gecom) was improperly appointed. His resignation is welcomed. But it should have happened within hours after the court’s ruling and not a week later after a complaint was lodged with the court.The court instructed the opposing parties to meet and try to reach a consensus on consequential orders for the appointment of a new Gecom Chair and a date for elections and to advise the court of their agreement on June 24. President Granger wrote the opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo inviting him for a discussion on the issues but only after the 24th. Thus, there was no way for a consensus agreement by the time the court convened on June 24. Mr. Doug Mendez, the opposition lawyer, said he penned a proposal for an order and sent to Gecom lawyer on June 21 but got not response.The court has re-directed the opposing sides to submit written proposals for consequential orders by July 1 and will issue orders on July 12. The court also instructs them to meet and reach a consensus on a way forward by July 12.I urge both sides to please meet and carry out the instruction of the court – reach a consensus on appointment of a Gecom Chair and a date for elections to help bring stability to the country.Yours truly,Dr. Vishnu Bisramlast_img read more

Couple slapped with fraud charge

first_imgA couple was on Monday taken before Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan charged with fraud.Cleya France and John Freeman of Lot 214 Middle Road, East La Penitence, Georgetown, appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts and pleaded not guilty to the allegation after it was read to them.It is alleged that on July 4, at Bourda Market, they obtained a quantity of greens valued 3,000 from Baldeo Jadia with intent to defraud by falsely pretending that they would have paid him three times the amount, knowing same to be false.According to the prosecution’s case, the couple who shares six children together was given the responsibility of taking the goods to Port Kaituma.However, they claimed that they got into an accident and could not fulfil the promise made to Jadia.Their attorney, Clyde Forde made a successful bail application.They were both placed on ,000 bail and will return to court on October 5.last_img read more

Setting New Agenda for SWAL

first_imgEvery organization exists because it has something to contribute to society and with the importance of sports in our society; the Sports Writers Association of Liberia, SWAL exists because it has, like the Press Union of Liberia, much to entertain the disciples of sports.Regrettably, the death of Liberian soccer in 2002, after Lone Star’s inglorious loss to the Black Stars of Ghana, has not been able to awaken despite efforts before the outbreak of the Ebola virus.Another culprit against our sports revival is the invasion or easy access to international sports by fans. Today, Liberian soccer and in fact sports in general do not have much attraction like the period before 2002.While there are sports newspapers that secure their stories from the internet, there are still some of sports writers who ensure that local sports receive the necessary publicity to keep the spirit of local athletes in high gear.And that is where the Sports Writers Association of Liberia comes in. This organization has the responsibility to further the promotion of Liberian sports and athletes.It also has the duty to bring to prominence the prowess of local athletes who are making effort to come to the limelight. But sadly, events surrounding SWAL do not suggest that the organization has its objectives right.And that’s where I am worried about its lack of progress. At the recent elections that brought Mr. Roland Mulbah and his team to power last February, he boasted of his platform to provide a vibrant leadership that could have improve SWAL’s image.It has been seven months now since his administration took over SWAL and what is happening is not the realization of the vibrant leadership, among others that sports writers were informed.What is happening now is a sustained approach of disrespect to the leadership, with its attendant confusion, regarding the handling of SWAL’s finances.Information reaching me indicates that the president, secretary general and the treasurer are at loggerheads on issues involving SWAL’s funds.“Things are not going good in SWAL,” admitted Treasurer Momoh Siryon, “we need serious intervention.”Though he claimed he had sent letters of complaint to several members who are part of SWAL’s advisory committee, he claimed none has shown any interest.Along with his dissatisfaction about the leadership, he said are financial ills in SWAL that he believes only a serious intervention will restore SWAL’s dignity.While it is important for an intervention, I think it is about time, many of us, I included, must demand for a meeting with the intent to restore what is seriously needed to save the association.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Tiawon Gongloe Warns against Money Laundering

first_imgThe Center Against Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing in Liberia (CAMTEFIL) has launched a campaign against money laundering and illegal drug trafficking in the country.Speaking at the official launching ceremony of the campaign, held recently at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) on Broad Street, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe warned public officials to desist from laundering money and drug traffickers in the country.The ceremony was held under the theme: “Capacity Building and Sensitization Campaign against Money Laundering and Illicit Drug and Terrorist Financing in Liberia.”Cllr. Gongloe explained money laundering as a process of taking proceeds of criminal activity and making them to appear clean.  According to him, this is dangerous for any country especially Liberia that is still lacking infrastructures and development.According to Cllr. Gongloe, those infamously known for money laundering are drug traffickers, because “they are eager to generate enough money from their criminal enterprise and their intention is to put the proceeds of criminal conduct into a financial system like people who do legal businesses.”“Some time people engage into ‘white color crimes’ such as corrupt government officials when they convert public money to their own, take bribes, and also carry out money laundering at their various work places,” he stated.According Mr. Gongloe, a drug trafficker or corrupt government official could open a nightclub, a big farm, a transport business, jewelry business and the buying and selling of diamonds with the motive of transforming illegal money to legal money in the society.He stressed that the fight against money laundering is therefore morally justified, but cannot succeed without the collective efforts of all the relevant stakeholders, including law enforcement officers, as well as patriotic citizens.Cllr. Gongloe, who served as Solicitor General, explained that if drug traffickers find themselves in a country where the proceeds of their criminal activities can be easily transformed into good money, they will bring more drugs and the young people will be exposed to drug addiction.”According to him, the feasibility of corrupt officials easily depositing and withdrawing money without being questioned by law enforcers on how much money one can deposit or withdraw could support conversion of public funds into private funds and bribes taken by them into local bank easily.Also speaking, Edwim W. Harris, director, CAMTEFIL, said the fight against money laundering must be seen as a national problem that will help to reduce drug trafficking and other forms of corruption in Liberia.He explained that it was necessary for people in the government and other private sectors to display their assets so as to avoid confusion over their wealth when they leave power.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

How Long? 167 Years Of Suffering

first_imgOn 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)last_img read more

Congested Monrovia Slums Vulnerable to Ebola

first_imgHealth 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)last_img read more

Blue Field Comes Alive with First Soccer Tournament

first_imgCheerful 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)last_img read more

Mineke Foundation Graduates 75 Today

first_imgTo 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)last_img read more