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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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Ellen Hails Community Leadership in Ebola Fight

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reiterated her admiration for the robust manner in which communities across Liberia combatted the Ebola Virus Disease that ravaged the country.She also expressed gratitude to those who played leadership roles in the various communities during the crisis. She said efforts from the communities, coupled with the interventions of the international community and other partners enabled the country to contain the virus.According to the President, Liberia has been successful thus far in its battle against the EVD because the communities took charge, took leadership and took ownership of the fight.  She further indicated that the Liberian communities must now begin to take on the challenges of their recovery as they did successfully during the Ebola crisis.President Sirleaf made these comments when she delivered the keynote address at the First National Ebola Conference on Thursday. The conference focused on the perspectives of community leaders. The two-day event, organized by IREX and NAYMOTE with funding from USAID, took place at a local resort in Monrovia. “While we applaud our doctors, nurses, the Incident Management System and all of the other medical practitioners who have helped to bring us thus far in the fight against Ebola, we recognize you, the communities, those  leaders who mobilized their [people’s] rapid response that have led to this level of success today.”It may be recalled while speaking with United States   President Obama about the Ebola crisis during her visit to the White House recently, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf paid tribute to the various Liberian communities for their role in the fight.“The one critical element in all of this was our people, particularly our community people. They took responsibility, they took leadership and they took ownership. And going forward, we want to strengthen them,” she told the US leader. President Sirleaf told the conference that Ebola has lifted our spirit of making Liberia a place for each and every Liberian. She lauded the volunteer spirit of young people that were involved in the fight.She noted that the IREX, USAID and NAYMOTE initiative has identified gaps, calling IREX to share this information to enable government to manage any possible recurrence. She described the initiative as a welcome development.The onus is on civil society organizations (CSO) and the media to lead this initiative that will enable us to enhance our growing democracy, she declared.The President noted that with every crisis comes opportunities and we must use these to put our country in a better position.US Ambassador, Deborah Malac said without the involvement of the various communities in the fight against the virus, it could have been a different story.  She lauded the involvement of the various   communities, which has helped to curb the infection so far.“We want to say a very big thanks to the communities and their leaders who said we are not going to allow this disease to beat us.”She disclosed that she and the President have been discussing how to harness the energies and experiences of the communities during the Ebola fight and move these in different directions in  the post-Ebola period.A participant at the conference said communities the world over, many of which are vibrant, enlightened and cooperative, served as the backbone of every society or country, but this has not often been the case in Liberia.This, he said, is because the people continue to live in abject poverty caused by rampant corruption, which has brought about mistrust from the people towards their government. He indicated that the Ebola crisis was totally a different story as it compelled the people to collaborate with their government.“Ordinary citizens took upon themselves, all in an effort to save their communities and to a larger extent the Liberian state. At no time in the recent history of the country had the people closely collaborated with the government on such a unified front, a participant at the ceremony said.”Meanwhile, the conference is a result of 60 Community Leaders’ Forums organized by eight national NGOs through IREX/USAID grants. The input from over 1000 ordinary community leaders in thirteen of Liberia’s fifteen counties revealed common issues across the country and enlightening information on how the communities set about dealing with them.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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Woman’s Body Found in Wood Camp Community

first_imgThe body of an unidentified woman was on Saturday, April 30, found lying at the back of the Assembly of God Mission (AGM) High School in the Wood Camp community of Paynesville, outside Monrovia.The body, with a deep gash inflicted on the forehead, was discovered on Saturday lying on her stomach along the road, community residents said.Residents, who could not identify the body, contacted authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP), who later arrived at the scene and wrapped the body in plastic “to avoid tampering.” The body remained unidentified by community residents up to the arrival of the LNP’s forensic team.Residents, however, believe that the woman was killed in another community by unknown individuals and later dumped in Wood Camp.“This woman was killed in a different place, because no one in the community can recognize her face,” one of the residents said. After examining the body, LNP forensics disclosed to the district coordinator, who was representing the community chairman that the woman’s body parts were not tampered with.According to district coordinator Johnny Bookai, only bruises were discovered on parts of the woman’s body, which indicated that she fought with her assailant (s) before she was overpowered, and killed.“From what I saw, I cannot tell you the cause of death until the forensic team comes out with their report. There were no parts of the body extracted, but only bruises and the deep cut in the head,” Mr. Bookai observed.Bookai has meanwhile called on residents of the Wood Camp Community and Montserrado Electoral District #3 to remain vigilant in the wake of an increase in crimes in the community.It may be recalled that armed robbers last Monday attacked several homes in the Wood Camp community where the LNP said it arrested five suspects in connection with the robberies.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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House Considers 17-year Tax Cut Deal for Cement, Steel Factory

first_imgFlashback: Program making official signing ceremony for the Agreement between the Government of Liberia and TIDFORE (Hong Kong) Investment (LICEMCO) for the Establishment of a Steel Plant in Liberia In an endeavor to develop a sustainable economic environment and boost the country’s steel and cement industries, the House of Representatives is investigating a 17-year tax cut proposal from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.The tax cut deal is part of an Investment Incentive Agreement with a 17-year agreement term valued at US$200,000. The draft law is entitled: “The Investment Incentive Agreement between the Republic of Liberia and the TIDFORE Investment Company and Liberia Steel and Cement Mining (LICEMCO).”The Joint Committee on Investment and Concession and Lands, Mines and Energy, chaired by Grand Gedeh District #1 Rep. Zoe E. Pennue, is analyzing the Tax Cut Deal and will report to plenary in two weeksAccording to the bill, LICEMCO will develop and operate a steel and cement factory (plant) in accordance with the International Mining Standards & Laws and prudent business practices. In a letter to the House of Representatives, President Sirleaf said the investor under the incentive agreement will completely construct, acquire and install proposed steel plants infrastructure and equipment at the facility (plant).The President also said if the Legislature ratifies the 17-year tax cut proposal of LICEMCO it will “provide for safety procedures, create jobs at all levels, cause the investor to enhance its corporate social responsibilities, generate needed revenue for the country and promote economic development and sustainability.”“This Investment Incentive Agreement is in line with Liberia’s relevant laws and public policy to complement the development plan of the mining and steel sector of Liberia.”The President further said: “As government commits to creating jobs and a sustainable economic environment, the passage of Law of this Investment Incentive Agreement will demonstrate Liberia’s commitment and implementation in that endeavor.”The Joint Committee on Investment and Concession and Lands, Mines and Energy is analyzing the Tax Cut Deal and will report to plenary in two weeks. Grand Gedeh County District #1 Representative Zoe E. Pennue and Nimba County District #9 Representative R. Matenokay Tingban are the chairman and co-chairman of the Joint Committee, respectively.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) – Advertisement –last_img read more

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‘Diabetics Don’t Have to Die Prematurely’

first_imgMs. Matthews explains methods to manage diabetes– Ms. Sharon Matthews, Liberia Diabetes CenterDiabetics should not have to die prematurely, because there are steps to take to manage the disease and enjoy a long, happy life, according to Ms. Sharon Matthews of the Liberia Diabetic Center (LDC).In an interview recently in Monrovia, Ms. Matthews said because many diabetic Liberians are not aware of their condition, they become victims when their sugar levels are high and they are rushed to medical centers for help.She said the center is in contact with a diabetic who was at the point of going blind but got relief when she was helped with preventable steps that brought her blood glucose level back to normal.“The woman explained that she was going blind and was so confused. She said she experienced blurred vision, which is one of the symptoms of diabetes.“Another symptom she complained about was being very thirsty; and frequent urination and tingling pain or numbness in the hands.“That is why LDC has been calling on Liberians to get tested,” said Ms. Matthews, manager at the LDC in Monrovia.Ms. Matthews said from studies and collaboration with medical centers in Monrovia, there is a troubling report that points to preventable deaths from diabetes.“Since many people have not checked whether they are diabetic or not,” she said, “there are situations where an unknown sufferer may collapse at work and the person is rushed to a nearby clinic.”She said without being aware of the history of the individual, what normally happens is that glucose is administered to the patient and in most cases the patient’s sugar level is high and therefore the administration of glucose with sugar concentration leads to instant death.“Sadly many people in our community credit witchcraft for the cause of death in such a case and clinics and hospitals we are in contact with are reporting that many people have lost their lives because they are unaware of being diabetic.“It makes sense for Liberians to be conscious of their medical history so that wrong doses or treatments are not administered at a critical time when an individual is not able to contribute to a decision that affects his or her health,” Sharon said.She said there are different types of diabetes and, depending on an individual’s physical makeup, he or she may be at risk of one type or the other.She explained that once an individual suffers from diabetes and is unaware of it, there is a high chance of suffering from related health problems. “Diabetes can lead to heart disease and stroke, kidney problems, foot problems, like ulcer and amputation, nerve damage and eye problems and blindness,” she added.She said LDC wants Liberians to know that if anyone suffers from diabetes, he or she can manage it with small steps to make a big difference to live a longer, healthier life.“We encourage Liberians to get tested and then once it is determined that one is a sufferer, we will provide you a method to ensure that you are on the right path to a healthier life,” she said.Meanwhile, the Liberia Diabetic Center is developing a gymnasium in Monrovia to afford people with diabetes access to exercise, which is key to managing and preventing diabetes, said Mr. James Momo, executive director of LDC. “We have a holistic approach that deals with obesity, hypertension (commonly known as pressure), environmental factors, counseling and nutritional support,” he added.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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Ellen Frowns at ‘Abuses’ on Social Media

first_img– Advertisement – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has denounced the spate of abuses that has been posted on social media by Liberians during the recent elections , suggesting that the country’s democracy is at stake if it continues.The President’s statement came yesterday, less than two hours after Jerome Korkoya, chairman of the National Elections Commission (NEC), declared campaign open for the runoff between George Weah of the opposition Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) and Vice President Joseph N. Boakai of the governing Unity Party (UP).The runoff, Korkoya said, will be held on November 7, since none of the 20 political parties that participated in the October 10 presidential elections obtained the 50 percent plus one of the total votes cast as required by the Liberian Constitution.However, President Sirleaf said she has observed that a week following the end of the first round of voting on October 10, her attention was drawn to a surge of abuses displayed on social media (mostly on Facebook) by Liberians, which she said are extremely inimical to the survival of the country’s peace and democracy.“We condemn the abuse and misuse of social media through the use of invectives, hate speech and outright vulgarity, which denigrates adversaries with whom we might hold disagreement,” the President said.She said that in light of the progress her government has made, “I call on our fellow citizens to remain civil, responsible and continue to be tolerant of diverging opinions and views that might not necessarily be favorable to ours.”She said further that resorting to profanities on social media contributes nothing to the national discourse, “but only serves to taint our national and international image.“We must all express our indignation to this unacceptable way of politicking and seek to continue the decent democratic values that have brought us this far as a nation and people,” the President said.As Liberians pat themselves on the back for peacefully voting in the October 10 polls, all must continue to demonstrate the same path of love for country by and through each of their individual actions, she said.The President also admonished that all Liberians should focus on how they will consolidate the democratic gains made over the last 12 years by voting peacefully and nationalistically, respecting the law and keeping the peace for the greater good of Mama 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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