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Another day, another episode in a crime- ridden state

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first_imgDear Editor,It is another day, and another murderous assault has taken place on another citizen of this country. The media reported the spine chilling statistics of 32-gun crimes in 35 days of the year so far. These are the occurrences in an area of the seat of Government where that very same Government has promised to deal with crime and bring back safety and security to its citizens.Guyana is a far cry from the ideals of what that Government promised. Today crime is at an all-time high, with a Government that is clearly looking the other way, or one that pretends that these things are not happening.Another media report captioned “Guyana edging towards another crime wave”, this in referral to the crime wave that engulfed Guyana from 2002 to 2008. During that time, the PPP/C Administration was in office and much of the blame for that crime wave was laid upon it. The then Opposition — which included many of the Coalition members — levelled some of the most humiliating criticisms at the PPP/C; even calling for the resignation of Home Affairs Minister Mr Clement Rohee. That Coalition is now in Government, and the crime situation remains; in fact has escalated to an all-time high. So what has become of the Public Security Minister now? Is he asleep? And what of the Government? Have they forgotten their moral and legal obligation to this nation?Quite interestingly, and food for thought for the Coalition, is that although workers were brutally axed from their jobs without any means of sustenance in the foreseeable future, they are not the ones doing any of these brutal armed robberies. Further proof also is that armed robberies are not a statistic that is mentioned in the constituency of the dispossessed sugar workers. Armed robberies and murder continue to be a prominent feature, as well as the way of life of the constituents of the PNC-led Coalition. It is a horrible disgrace on their part. I rest my case.Respectfully,Neil Adamslast_img read more

Exemplary lives of 2 mentors

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first_imgDear Editor,Recently, two men – whom all who knew them would agree they were role models, not only to the people from Aurora, Essequibo Coast but for the entire country – Ramjohn Mohamed Khan, called “Uncle Johono” or “Johano Majey”; and Gladstone Augustus Mack, familiarly called “Brother Mack” and “Uncle Mackie”, died about a month of each other.“Uncle Johono” lived for 105 years and “Uncle Mackie” for 107. They were both farmers, devoted husband and fathers, had the same number of children – 10 – were community minded, worked very hard to educate their children, and similar earning habits and religious convictions were very strong.Aurora Village, on the Essequibo Coast, has traditionally and will always be agriculture based; rice cultivation and ground provision, as well as greens, and other vegetables. “Uncle Johono” was a rice farmer; he and my father were very good friends, their rice farms were close so as a lad in company with my father, we would walk to and from our home with “Uncle Johono” and would also visit each other’s watch house.Those were the days when the farmer ploughs the land with his bull, plants the rice, cut it by hand, fetch with bull and slide, mash it, wind it, bag it, fetch it again then sell it; the entire process was manual. Now, the entire process can be mechanical. “Uncle Johono” was also during all those days a member of the church committee, and later became the Imam of the Aurora Masjid.As for “Uncle Mackie” or “Brother Mack”, he was a ground provision farmer whose farm land was about eight miles away from his home and the only means of transportation was by boat, and before he bought a seagull engine he would sail or paddle his boat with his produce to the market place. My father and “Uncle Mackie” were good friends too, and their farm lands were next to each other, so as a boy I was fortunate to spend a lot of time in his company. When I became a farmer decades later, I got a lot of advice from him as it relates to farming; he was always a member of the farming group and strongly believed that together we aspire, together we would achieve. He was tireless in his advocating for better prices for farmers’ produce, yet he found the time to be at church every Sunday and in the absence of the priest, would conduct services at the Methodist Church in the village.Aurora, a place known to have produced many academics, doctors, lawyers, head masters and head mistress, entrepreneur, etc but when any discussion takes place, “Uncle Johono” and “Uncle Mackie’s” names have to be mentioned. It is interesting to note there were other persons in the village that lived close to the century landmark. The two men are at the top for many, many reasons.The amount of people, from all walks of life, race and religion, who attended their funerals and paid tributes, expressed condolences and sympathy to their children and other relatives were a testimony to the exemplary lives both of these men lived and may their souls rest in peace.Yours faithfully,Archie W CordisResident of Auroralast_img read more

Our daily lives have become increasingly burdensome

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first_imgDear Editor,It is with utter disgust and disappointment that I am writing this painful letter. It makes me wonder what role the Public Utilities Commission is fulfilling if it is only to approve increased rates demanded by GPL and GWI. According to a multitude of customers, these two entities are as thieving as those in Government!The Managing Director of Guyana Water Incorporated, Dr Van-West Charles, pledged to fulfil the company’s mission statement “To deliver safe, adequate and affordable water and to ensure safe sewerage systems for improved public health and sustainable economic development”. He had promised to achieve this by improving water quality, ensuring that citizens are having equal access to running water, upgrading to a 24-hour supply and guaranteeing the required water pressure. In addition, he said that his quest will be to make GWI more “customer-centric” by embarking on community outreaches to solicit feedback. He further stated that GWI has established countrywide zones for close monitoring and swift action.How can we believe the above statement when the entire Berbice was plunged into an acute water shortage due to GWI not delivering on its promises? It is no surprise that the entity has mimicked the coalition Government! Berbicians in many areas have been without water for nearly three days and it was only when GWI was contacted that they proffered an explanation that is as obnoxious as the service it offers to the public. Placing an advisory nearly two days after is unacceptable. I was told that these areas where GWI pumps are located have been affected by low voltage. However, even so, it has definitely taken a long time for GWI to engage GPL for the problem to be fixed. But since both can be classified as the worse service providers this country has ever seen; the inordinately long period to fix minor problems are quite understandable. Moreover, the “customer-centric” nature of GWI only kicked in on the second day of the water problem. What has happened to the need to give timely feedback to customers to apprise them of the problem and when the situation can return to normalcy?Unfortunately, it is difficult for customers to accept GWI’s frivolous excuses when these stoppages have been quite frequent over a long period of time, especially in the Chesney, Kilcoy and Fyrish areas. In these areas, it has become a weekly routine and despite customers’ protests, the water problems worsen. We are not only affected by water shortage but by poor quality of water and bills which are riddled with “errors”. Numerous complaints were made by customers who claimed that they are being made to pay the same amount on the bills twice. This was raised at the RDC meeting by one of the Councillors who produced one such bill. The “customer experience” is definitely getting worse Dr Charles! This hogwash service in totally unacceptable.The frequent blackouts by GPL and water shortages by GWI have now become daily plagues which citizens have to deal with. It is ironic that citizens are now paying more for these services and are increasingly being provided with poorer services. Our daily lives have become increasingly burdensome while this Government, though relegated to “caretaker” status, has continued to ignore the cries of the people!Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC CouncillorRegion Sixlast_img read more

Cove and John Ashram reaches out to struggling single mother

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first_imgBy Indrawattie NatramSharmila Singh, 41, of Lot 17 Dundee Mahaicony, West Coast Berbice, was the latest beneficiary of the Cove and John Ashram outreach programme. The mother of 11, who hails from Mahaicony Village, resides in a swampy area in the Dundee community.The team from the ashram visited Singh’s home on Sunday and presented her with items that would make her life much more comfortable. According to spiritual leader and administrator of the Ashram Swami Maharaj, he heard about Singh’s case and immediately ventured to her home, assessing the situation for the ashram to be of help.The Swami explained that devotees along with students from the Hindu College, put together hampers, two benches and two tables for the family. He disclosed the Ashram also partnered with Food For the Poor in providing three mattresses and sheets to the family, who previously slept on the ground. Reading materials and other useful schooling amenities were also provided for the children.The devotees of the Ashram during their visit offered words of encouragement to the mother and assured her the Ashram will continue to assist her to provide for her children.Headmistress of the Hindu College Rajkumarie Singh spoke to the children encouraging them to take education seriously. She also promised to provide text books to the children to continue their studies.The mother of 11 was left to shoulder responsibilities for her children in January 2016 after her husband committed suicide. The mother explained that she provides for her family with whatever meagre domestic work she is afforded.Living on a plot of land provided by her husband’s parents, Singh lives with her children in a shack that can only accommodate four persons, but the family has to make the best of a bad situation, she lamented.Apart from helping the family, the Ashram last weekend also assisted families in Unity, Cove and John, Beehive, East Coast Demerara, with bed sets and food hampers. This coincided with the Ashram’s 60th Anniversary.last_img read more

Senate Debates 15% National Budget Bill Soon

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first_imgAccording to an impeachable source, an intense debate looms in the Senate Chamber when a Bill proposed during the 2nd Session of the 53rd Senate calling for the allotment of 15% of the National Budget as County Development Fund (CDF) re-appears this week.The Bill was sponsored by River Cess Senator Jay Jonathan Banney, and signed by 15 Senators of the joint committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget in a prepared report.The report recommended that 15% of the fiscal national budget be appropriated annually for the development of the 15 political subdivisions of the country, and that such be passed into law.Counties are currently receiving an amount of US$200,000 annually as CDF, which all the Senators agreed was inadequate to address their  (the counties’) many development needs.Although every Senator present at last year’s debate agreed to the need for an increment in the CDF, some argued the recommendation for a 15% allotment was too much.Senators Frederick Cherue and Abel Massalley welcomed the recommended increment, but suggested an annual allocation of US$1 million and US$2 million rather than 15 percent; which they argued was too much and called for an amendment. Senator Dallas Gueh contested that anything below 15% of the national budget would be far too small.The return of the 15% National Budget Bill comes in the wake of recent proposal by House Speaker J. Alex Tyler and subsequent approval by the House of Representatives that an amount of 73 million United States Dollars be placed in the 2014/2015 National budget for direct district impact projects.Speaker Tyler, who was making remarks at the joint program held in the Rotunda of the Capitol Building during a joint session for the opening of the 3rd Session of the Legislature on January 13, 2014, did not say who would manage the funds (Legislature or Executive). However, some lawmakers have been saying that the money is going to be managed by district residents by expended by the Executive. He explained that the appropriation for infrastructural development should be in what he referred to as a “ballpark figure” and that implementation of each project identified would be clearly and specifically vetted on a project-by-project basis and approved by the Legislature before final appropriation and implementation is made.Speaker Tyler said the allotment would be distinct from the County Development Fund, saying; “this is one of the ways we believe that much needed development can reach and impact our people in rural Liberia.”Speaking on a radio talk show Monday, January 20, Senator Dallas Gueh said he would rather discuss the 15% Bill proposed in the Senate because according to him, it is more feasible.Meanwhile, there are indications that that first piece of legislation passed by the Lower House will soon be transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.However, with a more controversial Bill before that august body for action, many legislative commentators foresee the constitution of a conference committee to help reconcile the two Bills drafted “in the best interest of our citizens.”In  related development, the  Senate committee authorized to handle financial and currency matters is expected to make a written report to the Senate plenary on its findings responsible for the continuous rise in the exchange rate between the Liberian Dollar and the United States Dollar, when that body convenes in Chamber for its third day sitting.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Arrest Warrant Issued in Case of Murdered Belgian

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first_imgFailure of four of the 17 accused of murdering, Michel Bruno, a citizen of Belgium, to appear before Criminal Court ‘A,’ on Monday, March 31, prompted Judge Yussif D. Kaba to issue an arrest warrant against them.Judge Kaba also ordered a prominent citizen of Grand Bassa County, Rev. Dr. Aba Karngar to appear before it on Monday, April 7, while another defendant, Luther Glader, was absent during the hearing. Rev. Karngar filed a US$489,000 property bond that released 12 of the 17 accused, including Glader, from prison to await trial.When the defendants appeared at the Court on Monday, defendant Glader was not anywhere to be found in the dock. Judge Kaba’s action followed immediately after prosecution prayed the court to suspend further hearing into the matter and ordered the arrest of Musa Dubai, Stephen Badaygar, Prince Tarwo and Alex Peterson, who were also not in court on Monday. However, the defense team argued that the four men were not included in the indictment that brought the defendants under the jurisdiction of the court.They further argued that the action of prosecution was merely intended to delay the trial, praying the court to deny said request.In the court ruling Judge Kaba declared that “even though the four accused names were not mentioned on the indictment, it does not mean that they were not among the other defendants.They were also served a writ of arrest which brought them under the jurisdiction of the court. The writ is clear evidence that they were part of those indicted by prosecution,” he explained.“Besides,” Judge Kaba continued, “they were not covered by the US$489,000 property bond filed on their behalf by a prominent citizen of Grand Bassa County, Rev. Dr. Aba Karngar, for their day to day appearance pending the completion of the trial.Since they were not part of the other defendants covered by the bail bond,” he instructed, “the court clerk is hereby ordered to issue a writ to have them arrested and brought before court to show cause, if any, why they should not be held in contempt pending final determination of murder charges levied against them.”He continued, “the clerk of court is ordered to issue a citation address to the surety (a promise by one party to assume responsibility for the debt obligation of a borrower if that borrower defaults) of Abba Karngar on the bond filed for the matter to appear before the court next Monday, April 7, to show while another defendant is covered under his bail for failure to appear at the court in respect of the nature of the matter.”At Monday’s hearing the prosecution and defense teams concluded the examination and selection of the six member jury that would assist Judge Kaba to determine the matter.    Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Brainstorming Liberia’s Post-Ebola Economic Recovery

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first_imgStakeholders from every sector of the Liberian economy have begun to brainstorm on how to confront economic challenges that arise as ripple effects of the Ebola crisis.These stakeholders from the private, governmental and non-governmental sectors met at a two-day conference recently to develop solutions for post Ebola economic recovery.The two-day gathering was organized by Amin Modad, proprietor of the Bella Cassa Hotel in Sinkor and the Consortium of Concerned Businesses in Liberia,  in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Bank, National Investment Commission (NIC) and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.Mr. Henrique Caine, Executive Director of Fortress Liberia Ltd., who spoke at the event, said that the outbreak of the Ebola virus has led to increase in the cost of shipping to the Mano River Union countries, which three of its four members are the hardest hit of the disease. The three countries are Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.Fortress Liberia Ltd. is a major importer and distributor of cement in Liberia with headquarters in Hong Kong, and operations in Liberia, Ghana, Cameroon, D. R. Congo, UAE, and New York, USA.Fortress was instrumental as the supplier to a local importer that broke a cement monopoly in Liberia that existed for over four decades.According to him, one of the major problems importers are facing, as a result of this crisis, is the astronomical increment in insurance premiums and costs due to restrictions impacting shipping routes and other normal shipping logistics.To offset this increase relating to insurance premiums, according to Mr. Caine, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in partnership with the insurance sector (the 18 local insurance companies actually approved by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) under its new capital reserve standards) should jointly establish a 50-50 gap insurance fund to provide additional coverage at a lower cost to importers.He said that the existing regulation, (although not currently enforced by GOL) requires that a percentage of marine insurance on imported cargo be provided by the local insurance industry. “Imagine what this would mean for this sector if this was enforced!“More important,” Caine continued, “the local insurance underwriters have clearer understanding of the situation on the ground and are better able to assess the true risks from Ebola as opposed to some insurance company sitting in London.”He, however, maintained that the IFC working with the insurance industry can make this happen and help lower costs on imports.“I was asked to sit on a panel and advance my own ideas for post-Ebola economic recovery. Other presenters were asked to advance their own ideas in other key sectors and they did. I suggested the following regarding the trade sector — one short term, medium term solution.”Speaking further on the medium term, Caine said in order to enhance an enabling environment for trade, both import and export, the private sector through established reputable institutions and in full equity partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) should explore financing of two industrial parks equipped with warehousing logistics, trucking, lift equipment, to foster trade and economic growth in Liberia.These are well established joint venture (JV) models to consider in making this happen with the IFC, he said.According to him, one industrial park should be in the vicinity of the Bushrod Island near the Freeport and the other in Buchannan, near the port.“The IFC has already co-drafted legislation in support of economic/empowerment trade zones, so this idea is very much in tune with their own strategic outlook for broad economic growth,” Mr. Caine disclosed.“Note, I am not suggesting a reliance on the GOL which is already cash strapped due to decreased revenues, but advocating for public and private partnerships with the IFC, since they actually have the money to make this happen,” he concluded.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Rep. Cooper, Liberty Party Part Ways

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first_imgLiberty Party Chairman, Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, has accepted the resignation of Margibi County Representative Roland Opee Cooper from the party, following the fighting incident that occurred between him (Cooper) and another lawmaker in chambers at the House of Representatives last week.Rep. Cooper’s resignation is in compliance with an earlier call upon him by the party executives to resign or be expelled.Opee Cooper is expected to be suspended from the Legislature for at least three months without pay for attempting to molest Speaker J. Alex Tyler. Rep. Cooper is also accused of having assaulted Bong County District # 6 Representative Adam Bill Corneh, who tried to stop him.It all started last Thursday, while Speaker Tyler was announcing the new chairs, co-chairs and members of the statutory and standing committees.  Rep. Cooper allegedly attempted to bully the Speaker, but slapped Rep. Corneh in the face, when he (Corneh) obstructed him.The physical attack claimed the immediate attention of fellow Representatives as Corneh, who according to some of his peers, suffers from high blood pressure, fell back into his seat and his colleagues took papers to fan him as he lay helpless.Speaking yesterday at the Liberty Party Headquarters in Monrovia, Chairman Koffa noted that Representative Cooper never wanted to follow the due process of the party by going through suspension or other factors but sent in his resignation letter to the party.“We wish him well in all that he does.  The party did not carry on any investigation of the matter but we have accepted this letter with our hearts.”The Liberty Party chairman said the Party accepts the resignation of their former lawmaker of Margibi County Roland Opee Cooper, saying that they make no opinion on his cause of resigning.According to the chairman, the party’s regulation states that anyone caught with misconduct should be brought to the party for suspension by the chairman and be turned over to the Executive Committee.Cllr. Koffa described the resignation of Representative Cooper as a great loss to the party but added, “Equally so, the party will not endorse any misconduct from any of its members. I cannot protect anyone who misbehaves all in the name of protecting a seat,” Chairman Koffa said.He asserted that the party will not go further to investigate Cooper’s case of misconduct at the Legislature because he has already resigned and is no more a member of the opposition Liberty Party.“The party expects all its members to conduct themselves orderly and in a good manner that represents the party,” he said.Meanwhile, Cllr. Koffa also disclosed that for the upcoming 2017 Presidential elections the Liberty Party needs a standard bearer that will come from the party. The party will not recruit any new member that will not have the party at heart but just wishes to come and gain political power.He noted that Cllr. Charles W. Brumskine retired as the political leader of the opposition Liberty Party; adding: “He did not resign from politics or Liberty Party.”“Bruskine has the right to run because he is a political animal in the Liberty Party.”Chairman Koffa at the same time disclosed that preparations are underway for the party to launch what he called “Liberty Hour.”He said the Liberty Hour will once a month provide a case study on how the party will continue its normal political activities.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

The PUL Elections—A Good Example for the Elections to Come, But . . .

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first_imgBy all accounts, the turnout of journalists in Ganta last weekend for the Congress of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) was impressive. There were nearly 300 in attendance. But there were also serious problems.Most of the journalists who turned out were interested in and committed to ONE thing only—the election for president. Other matters on the Congress agenda were treated as totally secondary or non-essential. It was observed that very many of those who turned out remained outside talking politics and “electioneering”. They had little or no time for anything else.They were unconcerned about the PUL’s finances; about how to grow and consolidate the membership; about the PUL’s stance on the forthcoming 2017 elections and how the Union and its print and electronic member institutions could effectively cover them.More importantly, what did the PUL think were some of the salient issues in the coming presidential and general elections and how the PUL’s member institutions would deal with them? How could PUL take the lead in ensuring that the entire Liberian electorate remained FOCUSED on the most important ISSUES that should dominate the discussions in the coming elections?What role should we in the Liberian media play in the debates among presidential candidates, and which media institutions should take the lead in facilitating the presidential and other debates?Are these not some of the important issues the PUL Congress should have been concerned about? We think they very definitely were, but the PUL members in Ganta did not think so. They were concerned primarily about who would be the next president. How disturbingly unfortunate!But the successive PUL administrations, especially in the past two decades, have themselves to blame for this lack of interest in the discussion of issues at PUL congresses.Why do we say that? Because successive PUL administrations have failed to hold regular meetings, as was done in the 1980s and previously. There were regular monthly meetings at the YMCA where important national issues were discussed.Such meetings have in recent times taken place once in a blue moon and only where there is a crisis and PUL members are called only to vote on press releases issued to address a crisis.No, an organization like the PUL, if it wants to be taken seriously in the nation, should take the lead in the discussion of national issues. But to be reduced to petty political rivalry within the Union, as was displayed in Ganta and heretofore, is very sad and tends to make the PUL irrelevant in national affairs. The other matter of concern is how the PUL is being supported – surely not by the members themselves and the member media institutions, but mainly by donors. Where, then, does the Union stand on the critical issue of National Self Reliance, when the PUL is itself so seriously dependent on foreign donors?Finally, the winner of the presidential election in Ganta last week, Charles B. Coffey, is an employee of the Liberian government, working for the state broadcaster, the Liberian Broadcasting System (LBS). But we understand he had earlier pledged that if elected, he would resign his post and once again become an independent journalist.We await that resignation and his assumption of personal independence. That would give the PUL the hope of unfettered leadership. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Giving Back to Muslim Communities

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first_imgAtty. Miller Catakaw speaks with Imam Mustapha Blade of the 17th Street Mosque in MonroviaAlvin WorziMontserrado County District #9 Aspirant Miller Catakaw has distributed rice and cash totaling LD$60,000 to six Mosques in Monrovia. Each received items valued at LD10,000.It was a scene of happiness on Wednesday when Atty. Catakaw made the distribution.The donation comes four (4) days to the end Ramadan, the month-long fasting and prayer of Muslims throughout the world including Liberia.Mosques that benefited from the gift are those in Gbangay, Wroto and Vai towns, Lakpazee, New Matadi, Fiamah, 17th Street and Old Matadi, respectively.In separate presentations, Catakaw lauded the Muslims for denying themselves food and sleep to pray for Liberia as the country approaches the October elections.“We are at a critical junction in our country and prayer is the only thing that can take us through as a country and people,” Atty. Catakaw told the Muslims.He said with the news about the National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairman Jerome Korkoya’s dual citizenship, which is worrisome, it is only God’s intervention that can keep the country stable.He added that “It is time for Liberians to hold together in prayers during these elections.”In response, Imam Mustapha Blade of the 17th Street Mosque praised Catakaw for identifying with Muslims at this period.Imam Blade said Islam is a religion of peace and they have been praying for a peaceful and a violent free election since the beginning of this year’s fasting.Imam Blade asked for Allah’s blessings and direction upon Catakaw, as he contests for the post of representative during the upcoming presidential and legislative elections.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more