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Agriculture Minister’s Approach to Media

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Poetry November 20, 2014

first_imgGermaway Jabaru GermawayTribute to The Late Dr. Jabaru CarlonBy Togba-Nah TipotehGermaway Jabaru germawayKamba eh ku ma feh wayAs you make your transition into gloryWe are in the position to pass on your storyA story of a Liberian so patrioticBuilding a society so democraticWith heart and handMaking no demandYou serve the people through your intellectSeeking the people’s interest to protectPromoting the people’s governanceStruggling to end elitist deterrenceWith people’s governance in the hall of primacyAnd elitist deterrence in the dull of historyYou march on in historic transitionYou march on in democratic positionSo, march on to victory JabaruSo, march on into history JabaruGermaway Jabaru germawayKamba eh ku ma feh wayA Tree That Refuses to Bear FruitsBy Eric G. GbanlonCell #: 0886220513A tree that refuses to bear fruit,Stands in a place of needWith nutrients passing through the tips of its roots,It is pregnant, but does not deliver a seed.A tree that refuses to bear fruits,Produces fine flowers on which no bird sat to feed.It dresses like a general, wearing combat and boots,But in times of war, finds pleasure witnessing its men die on the field.The tree that refuses to bear fruits,Is the tree that no farmer would need.Like a tree that refuses to bear fruits,Is a leader that possesses the spirit of greed.When Ebola leavesBy Lekpele NyamalonI can feel the dayFar within my soulWhen we can shake hands againAnd embrace without fearWhen boys and girls can walk to schoolAnd play like birds soaring on skiesI can see the smiles roaring on the faces of teachersTo hug their students and make them learnI can smell the palm butter and smoked fishPouring from the cookshops and restaurantsHappy that the war is overI can hear the horns of the pen pen boysScreaming like bats on top of the worldI can feel the breadth of the preacher manThanking God that his prayers are answeredI can see the sun smiling at usGreeting with hope from aboveWhen Eebola leavesWe would all be merryBut keep those little buckets manning the doorsLike a baby left by EbolaShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Hindering of NDC’s work

first_imgDear Editor,The Minister of Communities treatment of the established Local Government Commission (LGC), seeks to put asunder, the marriage of Local Government Organs and the communities they are elected to serve. Contrary to his advocacy leading up to the passing of, and assent to the Local Government Act 13 of 2012, we are now witnessing a more than opposite turnaround of intent.Not so long ago, the duplicitous Ronald Bulkan in his August 2013 speech on the matter to the Tenth Parliament, stated:“The Joint Task Force determined that the commission would monitor the activities of local government organs, some of which included the following: the commission will be empowered to monitor the activities of local government organs, some which include staffing matters, appointment of tribunals, disciplinary matters, hiring of personnel, remuneration matters, vacation and other leave, dismissal of personnel, receiving complaints, making rules and regulations and regulating the operations of the local authorities. What is envisaged and proposed is a system that leads to and allows for greater autonomy. You can recall article 75 of the Constitution which mandates that as well as the devolution of powers.”He further advanced that “what we want is for these local democratic organs to breathe freely and that the oversight that they would be subject to should not be suffocating and subject only to ministerial control. These local democratic organs must be empowered, as is required by our Constitution. They must be able to take decisions in the best interest of their respective communities, not of some political party; it is all about local democracy.”To date, after eons of delays towards establishment, the LGC is without an Office; without any transportation and the monies that were allocated for the LGC by the Parliament, is not being accounted for. The Commission is without any money, although appropriations were approved in the Budget for the year 2018. The bigger question is what is happening to the Commission members ‘stipend’? Months have gone by and the members are awaiting their salaries/stipend.It is known that the Commissioners have received scores of complaints that they cannot act on, due to the handed down suppression of the entity the Bulkan led Ministry under which its finances and empowerment fall. From their shameless actions, one could easily see that the APNU/AFC is deliberately frustrating the members of the Commission to take action against the many delinquent staff.While it cannot be denied that some NDC’s are doing their best, others are finding it extremely difficult to implement their work program. The Regional Executive Officers (REOs) and Overseers are hell bent on taking political directives from the APNU/AFC. As a consequence, the NDC’s are not getting their work done in the interest of the people.Recently emerging, there have been a number of negative activities by some REOs and Overseers which are outright unacceptable. In an east NDC, the Overseer has turned away numerous persons from paying their Rates and Taxes and is demanding new property valuations as the new base for the Taxes. This column wishes to make public the nasty situation of REOs enquiring as to whether particular rice farmers have PNCR membership Cards, before supporting works are done in their area.It is a travesty that persons in this employ who have responsibilities of service to the people, utilizes their position to advance partisan political positions. Also, an extreme lawless and damning position of the APNU/AFC government to offer protection to the party stooges and political hacks who are placed in these positions to misbehave and stymie the programs of elected councils. With the current approach, the impact of the 2016 Local Government Elections has turned out to be farcical.The gestation period for the empowerment of the LGC, as in the period of the bill referred to by Mr Bulkan in his speech, has gone way beyond that acceptable for Humans, Elephants and Asses. It is stifling the people, has stultified efficiency and it is leading to ultimate failure and decay. Legitimately elected Councilors are not allowed to function in a proper way, and the undermining of the Councilors is a detriment to development. The local democratic organs must be able to breathe freely and the oversight that they are subject to, should not be suffocating and subject only to ministerial control.Sincerely,Neil Kumarlast_img read more

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Race and alleged discrimination: responsible handling of this issue

first_imgDear Editor,Permit me space in your newspaper to comment on an issue, which if not handled properly by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), could become an unnecessary issue about race and alleged discrimination.On the face of it, the People’s Progressive Party Commissioners at GECOM could perhaps be genuinely forgiven for believing that Vishnu Persaud’s race had played the greatest part in him not being selected as the Deputy Chief Elections Officer; a post I am aware he had held for a number of years during the Steve Surujbally era.But from what I know, there had been much discontent with his handling of voter education exercises and programmes during the time Persaud had worked both as the deputy chief and as the public relations insider at GECOM. He was the one responsible for voter education and could have done a better job while he was at it. I think Commissioners who had been in place for a while would have noted questions about his performance and would have leaned towards voting against him as they did. They also might have briefed Chairman James Patterson about this, hence the fact that he threw in his casting vote to settle the issue, albeit amid a cloud of suspicion about race playing the major part in his rejection. This is a rather unfortunate development.I therefore sincerely hope that a way could be found to indicate to the general public that there are issues other than race pertaining to Persaud not getting the nod from the three People’s National Congress Commissioners and the Chairman. I make a case for responsible handling of this issue because this proverbial albatross of race which hangs around the neck of the Guyanese society, needs no more fuel to ignite racial insecurities and anxieties.Given his vast experience and familiarity with operations at GECOM, I make a bold suggestion for him to be retained in a consultative capacity given the enormous level of preparations required for Local Government Elections and the General Elections in 2020. He could do no harm if he is so retained and such a move on the part of those at the agency could help to ease lingering suspicions about the motive for not picking him.Sincerely,Winston Marslast_img read more

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Rejected rice again; no one is accountable, business as usual

first_imgDear Editor,Just about three months after the Panama fiasco, news of another rejected batch of exported rice – this time in Jamaica – is sending shockwaves in the industry. Every time there is a question concerning the quality and safety of Guyana’s rice in an export destination, we must be shocked and worried because such occurrences threaten the total export market. Jamaica is one of the more important export destinations for Guyana’s rice. This is not the first time that poor quality rice has been quarantined and rejected by Jamaican authorities. The rejected batch of rice in Jamaica follows a similar, but larger batch, that was exported to Trinidad and rejected and then exported to Panama and rejected. When Guyana sends poor quality and unsafe rice to any destination, it is a threat to all the markets, all thirty-five destinations that Guyana export rice and paddy to.The response from the APNU/AFC Government is business as usual, not a word of concern. Even as stakeholders in the industry express their shock, there is total silence from the Minister and the Ministry of Agriculture. The GRDB, with responsibility and oversight for rice and paddy export, is also silent. Even more worrisome is that the Agriculture Minister ignored the problem and jetted out of the country to attend what is nothing but a talk-shop food safety conference in Ethiopia, a trip costing more than $2 million. This Minister has a propensity for running away from the problems and always hiding somewhere far. His disinterest in things that impede the growth of agriculture in Guyana must flabbergast all Guyanese. Once again, Minister Holder is MIA, missing in action. This is misconduct in office.The revelation of yet another batch (more than 70 tonnes) of exported poor quality, fungus infected rice, raises serious questions and demand answers from the Minister and from the GRDB. The GRDB has a standard protocol designed to prevent the export of poor quality rice products, whether it is bulk rice, packaged rice, paddy or bran. Inspectors and testers visit the source of the rice product before it is prepared for export and then scrutinise the product before export by physical examination and testing at the wharf during the loading process. The standard protocol, therefore, requires the GRDB to certify that the rice or rice products loaded into ships for export meet all standards specified by the importing country. This is an intense, intrusive process for which the GRDB, the Ministry of Agriculture and Guyana have no apologies. It is designed to ensure that what is exported meet the specifications of the importing authorities and countries.Given the frequency of poor quality and unsafe rice being exported, the questions beg themselves: are the standard protocols still in place? If they are not being rigidly implemented, who is responsible for easing the rigidity with which these protocols are to be implemented? If they are no longer implemented, why not? What mechanism has been put in place to prevent the export of poor quality and unsafe rice and rice products? Is it now a free-for-all, where private exporters are no longer subjected to checks and balances? Has the Government abrogated its oversight and regulatory authority? Why has there not been an investigation already?In the past, as Minister of Agriculture, I visited Jamaica and other export destinations. I often met the relevant Ministers in these countries and always provided assurances that the Government of Guyana is playing an active oversight role. In instances where there might be glitches that affected the smooth export process, I ensured that I was in the loop and that the relevant GRDB officers were engaged aggressively in resolving problems, even if it meant travel to the export destinations.Just as in the Panama situation, the GRDB is already late in its response and the Agriculture Ministry and the Government are recklessly hands-off. The GRDB is accountable and must publicly address what happened and what they are doing about this latest episode which threatens the market for rice. This cannot be treated as business as usual. The farmers and the country need to see that the GRDB and the Agriculture Ministry are acting aggressively and decisively to assure the market and the farmers in Guyana that exporting of poor quality and unsafe rice and rice products will not repeat itself. The GRDB Board continues to display impotence. An independent investigation is needed immediately.Sincerely,Dr Leslie Ramsammylast_img read more

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President seems to be in a perpetual state of slumber

first_imgDear Editor,When Dr Ashni Singh was Finance Minister and his wife was working in the same Ministry, Dr Singh, his family and the PPP/C Government went through tremendous criticisms from the PNCR, other political parties and certain sections of the media. The cry was “conflict of interest”. This was also the fate of Mr Khurshid Sattaur – former Commissioner General of Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and his sons during their employment at GRA.Today, the officials of the coalition Government are doing worse in every sector of the country and the overwhelming silence from the media and civil society is deafening. This Government needs to understand that their officials are “Politically Exposed Persons” (PEPs) and the standard operating procedures must be applied.They are required by law to declare annually all their assets, contracts, businesses, etc, and they cannot be involved in certain activities or business.Mr Charles Ceres and Mr S Hopkinson are known businessmen and they are entitled to land and other State contracts, etc but they also should do their due diligence and refrain from investing with known PEPs, State officials.We have already seen the demise of SOCU through massive corruption and now SARA is about to face similar questioning. The President seems to be in a perpetual state of slumber with so many inappropriate things happening under his nose. Wake up, sir!Yours truly,Ragubeer Persaudlast_img read more

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Abolition of death penalty not a priority – President

first_img… Govt in “no rush” to hold consultationsDespite repeated calls from the international community, the death penalty will not be abolished anytime soon in Guyana, with top Government officials declaring that this measure is not a priority.One day after United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) officials urged that the death penalty be removed from the law books, Government affirmed that there is no rush for this to occur since there has already been a moratorium on capital punishment since 1997.President David Granger, during a recording of his weekly telecast “The Public Interest” on Thursday, made it clear that all governments have their priorities; however, the abolition of the death penalty is just not a pressing matter to pursue.Positing that his utmost priorities are the eradication of poverty and alleviation of illiteracy, President Granger argued that the sidelining of this issue does not mean his Government will rush to execute prisoners.“Right now, persons who are being convicted and sentenced to death will not fear that the penalty will actually be carried out… It is not one of my priorities to order the death penalty, I am not about to order an execution,” he explained.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, during the chairing of the post-Cabinet press briefing on Thursday, iterated that there is no urgency in abolishing the death penalty.In fact, he explained that it is a complicated situation given that the death penalty needs to be enshrined in the country’s laws in order to be compliant with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regime.“We are aware that recent laws dealing with countering terrorism include the death penalty brought us in compliance with FATF. We are placed in a position where credible international organisations are calling us to enact certain laws which we complied with so we may not be put on certain lists and made a pariah state where terrorism is concerned,” he stated.Notwithstanding, Trotman said holding consultations on the matter is not important at this moment.“Government is not rushed to remove it from the books. Should we do so, we will have widespread consultations with the people of Guyana,” the Minister said.The conversation surrounding the abolition of the death penalty in Guyana became slightly complex after the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Administration included capital punishment in its anti-terrorism laws, even though it had signed on to join worldwide efforts to abolish the death penalty.Ahead of a judicial colloquium on the death penalty on Wednesday at the Marriott Hotel, several UN and EU officials once again emphasised the importance of the death penalty to be repealed and called on Government to make advancements in this regard.The officials also expressed hope that Cabinet will find it fit to remove capital punishment from the recently passed Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation.With Government insisting that the death penalty is required to render Guyana FATF compliant, others are contending that this is not the case.Former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall had asserted that in other countries deemed FATF compliant, the death penalty is abolished.He pointed out that in France, where FATF is headquartered, the death penalty has been abolished decades ago; and the country is still FATF compliant.Nandlall had lamented that the country will only suffer, having the death penalty still enshrined in its laws while standing in solidarity with the worldwide movement to abolish capital punishment, which has been deemed inhumane and completely ineffective in deterring crime.last_img read more

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Delta’s Liberia Passengers Will Have to Catch Flight from Accra

first_imgDelta Air Lines last week announced that it has reached agreement on what it calls “an enhanced partnership” with SkyTeam partner Kenya Airways to offer convenient connecting flights between Monrovia, Liberia, and Accra, Ghana.The services will begin effective September 1, 2014, operating three times a week on a Boeing 737 aircraft operated by Kenya Airways (KQ). The Kenya Airways flight will offer seamless and convenient connections with Delta’s nonstop flights between Accra’s Kotoka International Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.“Delta has had a presence in Liberia for four years and we are pleased to be able to continue this association with the country through our new partnership with Kenya Airways,” said Perry Cantarutti, Delta’s senior vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Delta recognizes the importance of offering services between Monrovia and the United States and we would like to thank the Liberian Government for its continued support. Delta remains committed to the country and facilitating travel to the U.S. with our Kenya Airways partner.”This service replaces Delta’s three-times weekly operations from Monrovia’s Roberts International Airport to Accra, Ghana. Passengers connecting onto Delta’s Accra to New York-JFK services from Kenya Airways will enjoy through check-in for their entire journey from Monrovia – collecting their boarding passes and checking in luggage from Monrovia through to their final destination in the United States.Passengers connecting in Accra will be able to proceed directly to the transit lounge, without the need to clear Ghanaian immigration, for the flight departure from Delta’s dedicated airport gates to New York. Delta staff will be on hand to ease the connecting customer process and the transit time in Accra is anticipated to be one and a half hours. SkyMiles and Flying Blue members will continue to enjoy mileage accrual and elite benefits like extra baggage allowance, priority boarding, and lounge access on both airlines.Business class passengers connecting through Kotoka International Airport will be able to access the new Sanbra Priority Lounge, which is positioned next to Delta’s airport gates, and provides customers with a luxury lounge experience prior to their flight to New York-JFK. The lounge has capacity for 108 people with leather seating, free Wi-Fi, complimentary snacks and a wide variety of soft and alcoholic drinks, as well as televisions and shower facilities.Delta’s sales office will remain open in Liberia and continue to sell tickets to the U.S. The airline will also continue selling tickets from the U.S. to Liberia.Kenya Airways’ Regional General Manager for West Africa, America, Europe & Asia Pacific, Julius Thairu said: “This strategic partnership with Delta Air Lines enhances our presence in West Africa and cements our position as Africa’s premier airline. By providing a seamless connection from Liberia to Delta’s Accra to New York service, it significantly boosts Kenya Airways’ efforts to link Africa to the rest of the world. This will provide our guests from Africa with an additional efficient and convenient connection to the U.S. on Delta Air Lines. It ties in with our long-term growth strategy to increase our footprint across the world.”The Monrovia-Accra-New York schedule will leave Monrovia at 18:00 and arrive at 20:00 and arrive in Accra at 20:00. Thereafter, it leaves Accra at 22:35 and arrives at  05:13.Delta’s daily services between Accra and New York are operated with a Boeing 767-300 aircraft with 225 seats, comprising 25 seats in BusinessElite, 29 in Premium Economy and 171 seats in Economy.Once onboard, passengers in the BusinessElite cabin will enjoy forward-facing seats that convert to a 180-degree fully flat-bed and offer direct aisle access in a 1x2x1 configuration.  Delta has also invested in its economy class with seats that provide additional legroom, adjustable headrests, personal in-seat entertainment screens with over 350 films, 250 TV shows, 100 hours of HBO, 4,500 songs and 30 games and USB power at each seat. All Economy passengers will be provided with a complimentary amenity kit to improve their flight experience.Delta Air Lines operates services to four African cities in four countries. The airline has grown from 22 weekly departures to and from Africa in December 2006 to 29 in summer 2014.Passengers travelling from Liberia can book flights to the U.S. on Delta and Kenya Airways via travel agents and Delta’s dedicated reservations teams in Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Ancient Bassa Town Gets Anti-Ebola Materials

first_imgOne of Liberia’s oldest townships, Gluzon Town, over the weekend proudly and for the first time benefitted from pump-buckets, chlorine and soaps to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).Gluzon in the Bassa language means under the rope. It was founded in 1902, and is located in Louisiana Township, Upper Montserrado County. It has over 147 residents.Town Chief Elijah Davies, on behalf of the town, expressed appreciation to the local women and children’s group, Global Vision for Women and Children, Incorporated (GVWC),  for the Ebola prevention supplies.“We are happy, not because of the buckets, soaps and chlorine, but because it is the first time we have   received such things since the outbreak of Ebola in the country,” the town chief said.Mr. Davies, 38, encouraged other local and international institutions as well as their District Representative Josephine Francis, to emulate GVWC’s example.In a rather happy tone, the town chief stated that since the health crisis, none of his people have contracted or died from the virus.The town chief revealed that the three main strategies he used and is still using is frequently washing hands, avoid touching people and forbidding  strangers to sleep in the town.He named Otis Gaharpah, Jarkon Morris, and Randolph Williams, as the town’s watchmen.GVWC is based in the Old Road Community, Monrovia.According to its founder and executive director, Madam Catherine Johnson, makes similar donations in and outside of Monrovia as a way to intensify the anti-Ebola awareness and sensitization campaign.A 2007 retired Lab Technician at the John F. Kennedy Hospital, Madam Johnson said that prior to commencing their campaign, the self-supported organization designed a communication strategy geared towards combating the rapid spread of the world’s largest and most deadly Ebola virus epidemic.Utilizing prepared and approved Ministry of Health and Social Welfare awareness messages,   volunteers carried out community outreach and Jehovah Witness campaign (door-to-door) activities, especially in the Old Road community and the Township of Louisiana.The GVWC director stressed that the government and its international partners alone cannot eradicate the deadly Ebola outbreak in Liberia. Instead, it must take the collective effort of every individual, institution as well as development partners in the country to defeat the virus.Besides distributing assorted Ebola prevention materials, GVWC is also engaged in agriculture. It has 15 acres of land planted in cassava in Bomi County and eight acres planted in Gluzon Town.The organization is seeking partnership with other likeminded entities to strengthen its humanitarian efforts.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Iyanya’s Ebola Peace Concert Postponed

first_imgThe most anticipated Ebola peace concert, which was to take place today, May 23, 2015 featuring one of Nigeria’s talented performers has been postponed due to technical reasons, the organizers have said.“Ur Waist” hit maker Iyanya was set to perform at Miami Beach, Club Gossip and Banana Lodge this weekend but, Marjean Sherman, organizer of the events, said there were issues with securing the entertainer’s flight to Liberia .“Due to Liberia’s outbreak of the EBV, most airlines pulled out as a precautionary measure and have yet to return. Therefore, we have limited flight availability, she explained. “We regret to inform you that this weekend’s Iyanya Concert and events have been postponed due to flight cancellations this morning. Iyanya will be rescheduled and we will notify the public at the earliest convenience regarding the new date. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused regarding the new dates. Thank you for your continued support and patients. Please stay tuned for upcoming information regarding our events.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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