Last week, August 12, several countries, including Liberia, commemorated the International Youth Day to honor the actions of young people around the world to improve their well-being and that of their communities. During the said week, Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia in close collaboration with the Catholic Media Center, Radio Veritas launched ;“Youth Media Education Program”(YMEP).In sic with the theme for this year’s IYD: “Youth Civic Engagement” and in preparation for the Conference on Youth Involvement in Peace and Security, Amman-Jordan, to which the Executive Director of MOP-Liberia has been selected from a list of over ten thousand applicants across the globe, MOP Liberia organized schools debate on highlighting the role as well as the meaningful involvement of young people in peace and security. The theme of the debate: “Should young people be involved in peace and security issues?”We agreed that in actualizing the role of young people in peace and security, it is essential to deal directly with the issues of poverty, cronyism and corruption. Youth should first ask themselves if they are part of the problems or the solution and if they have done enough for their school and society, whether their attitudes and behaviours are in tune with national development.We also agreed the only way to defend peace is to sustain it. Young people, they argued play a cardinal role in maintaining peace and security, therefore, should be meaningfully involved.We concluded our debate and dialogue on the motion that for peace and security to prevail over conflicts, violence and war, government, policy makers and implementers must invest in social security and commit to a strategic partnership with young people.We must teach young people to live in peace and promote a culture that engages youth in poverty alleviation programmes, such as vocational and literary skills development. The issues of corruption, cronyism has to be dealt with at all level. We must also educate the population, especially those in positions of authority on what to do to take the lofty SDGs from rhetoric to reality. As Aristotle said: Good habits formed at youth make all the difference”Messengers of Peace (MOP) – Liberia is keen to empower young people to unleash their potentials and form habits that put them in the right position. We cannot and must not be seen to encourage corrupt practices. Young people must be proud of their achievements and strive for excellence.Peace and Development in Liberia, especially as we cope with the aftermath of Ebola and the countdown to an Ebola free country is essential and achievable if we address issues of poverty, cronyism, bribe and corruption.Our Ebola Educates programme continues and we seek your support. We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to the very important visitors to new MOP office located on Broad Street and look forward to others as we partner to eradicate Ebola from our country.Until next week, when we come to you with our concluding article on: “Ebola Educates: Poverty, Cronyism, Corruption and Development-Part IV”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The River Gee Detachment of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has arrested a woman with a huge quantity of chemical substances mixed with glucose used in the preparation of precursor used to mix illegal drugs. It is one of the substances involved in the production stages of toxic chemicals, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.River Gee DEA Detachment Commander, William Martins, identified the suspect as Satta Walker, a notorious drug importer.The suspect is said to have been trading in harmful drugs in the county over the years.DEA Director-General, Anthony K. Souh, confirmed to the Daily Observer via mobile phone yesterday that his agents are deployed all over the country. Director Souh, however called for the implementation of the drug law to help curb the proliferation of various harmful substances including cocaine and heroin in the country. He said if those caught in possession of dangerous drugs are not prosecuted, the country will lose many of its youthful population to drug addiction.The DEA County Commander for River Gee put the street value of the 400kg drug at L$200,000. The drug was tested in the presence of the peacekeepers of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) Team in River Gee.Major Martins pointed out that Satta was arrested in Joquiken, a gold mining area where the use of narcotic drugs is widespread.Meanwhile she has been charged with illegal possession of unlicensed manufactured controlled drugs or substances under the country’s new drugs law that was approved by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on October 11, 2014.The suspect Walker has been sent to the Fishtown Magisterial Court for trial.Since the destruction of a huge quantity of drugs on June 26, during celebration of International Drug Day in the county, this is the first major arrest of drugs the DEA Office has made in River Gee County.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Joint Resolution (LEG-002 of 2010) that set the threshold upon which the 2011 elections was conducted cannot be the same instrument upon which the upcoming 2017 elections should be held because it would violate the country’s Constitution, the Elections Coordinating Committee (ECC) has warned.The 2010 threshold process contravened article 80 (d) and (e) of the Liberian Constitution for which the Legislature and the National Elections Commissions (NEC) are again resolved to tread a similar path. The ECC Executive Director, Oscar Bloh, told a news conference in Monrovia yesterday that the special arrangement under which the 2011 elections were conducted cannot be used for the upcoming elections as it would cause the country to perpetually violate its laws.But it appears that this would actually be the case as Members of the House of Representatives on September 27 voted not to set a new electoral threshold for the 2017 Presidential and Legislative Elections.The lawmakers’ decision was an endorsement of a report from the Committee on Elections and Inauguration advising them not to set a new threshold for next year’s elections. That body has written the Senate for its concurrence.The Chairman of the House Committee on Elections and Inauguration, Representative Gabriel B. Smith, said in his report that on the basis of history and electoral tradition, quoting Article 80 (d) and (e) of the 1986 Constitution, it is assumed that a threshold should serve two regular periods of six years, and in so doing, it would be “lawfully incorrect” and “politically troublesome,” for the 53rd Legislature to prescribe a new threshold on the basis of a census report for which the 52nd Legislature had already passed a resolution.However, many observed that the lawmakers’ decision has political undertones. Observers have said that the lawmakers are afraid to lose their strongholds should a new threshold be set causing district demarcations to be restructured.The ECC, however, said in a statement yesterday that it is deeply concerned about this unconstitutional situation. The ECC is a non-partisan professional network of civil society organizations that monitors, documents, and reports on election issues with the aim of promoting transparency and accountability in the country as well as strengthening the democratic process. The committee collaborates with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).It said: “We are deeply worried that no decision has been reached between the NEC and the Legislature on setting a new threshold to reapportion districts for the upcoming elections, which is in keeping with Article 80 (d) and (e) of the Constitution.” Article 80 (d) states that each constituency shall have an approximately equal population of 20,000, or such number of citizens as the Legislature shall prescribe in keeping with population growth and movements as revealed by a national census, provided that the total number of electoral constituencies in the Republic shall not exceed one hundred.While the ECC statement stipulates that: “Immediately following a national census and before the next election, the NEC shall reapportion the constituencies in accordance with the new population figures so that every constituency shall have as close to the same population as possible; provided, however, that a constituency must be solely within a county.”But the ECC pointed out that in 2010 constituencies were not apportioned based on the 2008 census report, as they should have been legally. “Rather, the Legislature through a joint resolution in 2010 instructed NEC to set a special threshold, which led to the addition of nine new districts (seats) to the then existing 64 that the 2005 elections produced.”“This joint resolution, which contravened Article 80 (d) and (e), has expired because it was meant for the 2011 elections; and therefore, this same formula cannot be used for the 2017 elections.”Under the Liberian democratic structure, representation is not based on registered voters, rather the country’s population informed by a national census report—which in this case is the 2008 National Housing and Population Census.In view of the above, the ECC calls on the Legislature to convene a special session to set a new threshold based on the 2008 nationwide census report. The ECC added that this should be done before the start of the voter registration exercise.In a related development, the ECC also said it has observed with concern non-compliance in certain provisions of the Liberian Constitution by some political parties and independent candidates, who are required by law (Constitution, Article 83 d) to publish and submit to the NEC, detailed statements of assets and liabilities by the first of September each year.While it may be true that some political parties have submitted financial statements to the NEC, “the constitutional provision cited above dictates that the report filed with the NEC must be published to satisfy both conditions of publishing and submitting.” The ECC also commended parties that have made their financial reports public. In furtherance of the above observation, the ECC recommended that the NEC publish names of all political parties that have failed to submit their financial statements, while at the same time compel these parties to comply with the Constitution.“The NEC is a government institution that is under obligation to let the public know which political parties have submitted their financial statements, and which have not done so,” Mr. Bloh said.The NEC is yet to comment on the concerns of the ECC.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Cummings (right) and Sulunteh. The Alternative National Congress (ANC) has named Liberia’s former Ambassador to the United States, Canada and Mexico, Jeremiah C. Sulunteh as running mate to the party’s standard bearer, Alexander B. Cummings (nicknamed ABC), barely two months after Sulunteh resigned from the governing Unity Party (UP).Cummings announced Sulunteh as his running mate, shortly after he was formally endorsed as standard bearer by members of the party’s executive committee.The ceremony, which was witnessed by party delegates from Liberia’s 15 counties, was held last Saturday at the Kakata City Hall in Margibi County.Since he crossed over to the ANC last month, Sulunteh has been accompanying Mr. Cummings on his trips across Liberia – the most recent one being to Gbarpolu and Bomi counties where the ANC held primaries that endorsed Cummings as standard bearer.Shortly after the Cummings-Sulunteh ticket was announced, executive committee members of the party described Mr. Cummings’ election as historic, “because of the political trend the ANC has illustrated. It is the first of its kind in the country’s political history for the political leader of a party to be elected standard bearer through a county-by-county primary election,” they asserted.The ANC is one of Liberia’s newest political parties, having gained full-fledged party status in 2013.Cummings said, “The party is dedicated to creating an inclusive government that will work for Liberians at all levels.”Meanwhile, Sulunteh served as senior national vice chairman of the ruling Unity Party that successfully re-elected President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2011. He resigned from the party on February 15.After his endorsement, Sulunteh expressed gratitude to the ANC and Mr. Cummings. “I am honored by my election as Cummings’ vice standard bearer. I believe and trust in Cummings’ leadership capacity and I am also inspired by Mr. Cummings and by his leadership. He is the best alternative Liberia has longed for due primarily to the many challenges the country faces. He is a reformer and achiever. The leadership and dedication of Cummings has inspired me so much, and the structural cohesion at the ANC has impressed me as well,” said Sulunteh.“With me as your pick, send me, because we will both sail Liberia to the destination where our children and children’s children can be proud of,” Sulunteh added.A crowd of Sulunteh supporters, under the banner, “Friends of Jeremiah Sulunteh,” also joined the ANC activities on Saturday.Mr. Sulunteh rose through the ranks of Liberia’s public service from senior commercial aide at the Bong County Agriculture Development Project in 1981, to the position of Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States, Mexico and Canada.He has held several cabinet positions, including Minister of Transport, Minister of Labor, Transport and Post and Telecommunications. Following his first appointment as Transport Minister, Sulunteh undertook a project to build an elementary and junior high school in his hometown of Gboimu.In addition, Mr. Sulunteh taught Economic Development at the Cuttington University Graduate School, his alma mater, and Public Finance Administration at the University of Liberia. He and his wife, Kabeh, are blessed with three children.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
LIBA executives along with other members from Liberia and USA pose for a group photo after the pre-launchThe Liberian Business Association (LIBA-Liberia) and the United States chapter of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA-USA) have pre-launched a new business idea, “Put Liberia First Campaign,” to encourage Liberian-owned business entrepreneurs to support each other.Jackson George, executive director of LIBA-USA, who pre-launched the campaign, told a cross section of Liberian businesses that the campaign is also aimed at encouraging Liberians to support Liberian-owned businesses.Mr. George said the “Put Liberia First Campaign” will serve as a promotion tool to encourage business owners to prioritize Liberian-owned businesses, as well as products created by Liberians, on the market.At an elaborate meeting held yesterday in Paynesville by LIBA-Liberia and LIBA-USA, the executive director further said the interest of Liberian business institutions and entrepreneurs will “benefit from this unique opportunity that recognizes their efforts towards achieving quality.”In remarks, the president of LIBA-Liberia, David K. Sembeh, expressed frustration with the way Liberian businesses are treated.“It is pitiful to note that there are perceptions out there that we Liberians are not patriotic citizens, not nationalistic, and not supportive, especially when it comes to business; and it is true, so this campaign is to conscioustize us to move forward.“We want to set Saturday aside for this campaign and everyone here should serve as ambassadors out there and where Liberian businesses can feel the impact of other Liberians,” he said.However, Mr. Sembeh said the campaign is not intended to push out foreign counterparts, “we are not against them doing business in the country, but we want to make sure that Liberians take back their economy.”For her part, M. Leelai Kpukuyou, secretary general of LIBA-Liberia, urged Liberians to support Liberian owned-businesses.“Go to a Liberian restaurant to eat, visit a dry cleaner, be able to get in touch with Liberian travel agencies, and construction companies wherever we can in order to support our own economy,” she said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) has announced with immediate effect a US$0.12 (twelve United States cents) and US$0.13 (thirteen United States cents) increase in the prices of gasoline and diesel fuel respectively.According to a petroleum price circular issued by the government, the retail pump price for a gallon of gasoline is now being sold at US$3.37 or its Liberian dollar equivalent of L$440, while the retail pump price for a gallon of diesel fuel is now sold at US$3.44 or its Liberian dollar equivalent of L$450.The decision to increase the prices of gasoline and diesel fuel on the Liberian market is a result of a shift in the parameters that are frequently used to determine the prices of these products in the country.The release thanked all petroleum product stakeholders for their commitment in adhering to the price adjustment formula.Meanwhile, the circular warned that the Ministry of Commerce’s inspectorate will closely monitor the approved ceiling prices to avoid the arbitrary hike in the pump prices of gasoline and fuel on the local market.The circular further warned that the Ministry of Commerce will also be closely monitoring the effectiveness of the price circular to ensure that importers do not undercut fellow competitors on the market.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
– Advertisement – Former Liberian Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Nathaniel A. Barnes, was among several volunteers who recently donated blood to save lives, particularly children and adults suffering from anemia, malaria and other diseases and are in desperate need of blood transfusion.June 14 of every year is commemorated as World Blood Donor Day, and the Ministry of Health, through the National Blood Safety Program (NBSP), observed the day by campaigning for blood donors.Dr. Barnes described it as a worthy cause to donate blood to stop preventable deaths. He pleaded with all ‘healthy and emotionally composed’ citizens to donate blood to save the lives of people who needlessly die on a daily basis across the country due to lack of blood.He encouraged Liberians to donate blood “To help families, friends or relatives who don’t have money to pay for blood or when the time comes and there is no one around to donate blood.” He backed his call by donating blood.For his part, the Assistant Minister for Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Samson K. Arzoaquoi, said the two regional blood banks in the country need blood to save lives, and called on volunteers to donate blood.“The most common medical emergency health care need at all health institutions across the country is the need for blood transfusion,” Dr. Arzoaquoi said. He noted that those who donate blood are very special people that everyone should applaud.“As we celebrate blood donors’ day let me say a big thank you to all donors and call on them not to stop their sacrificially giving of themselves to see others in need of blood stay alive,” he pointed out.He said in order for the blood safety program to survive, partners, including WHO, ACCEL, among others, are requesting that there should be a national blood policy.“As we are here today, somebody is dying because there is no blood and as we are here somebody has died because he or she did not get blood,” he noted, calling on all qualified blood donors to give blood often.Also making remarks on behalf of the WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Madam Gertrude Mulbah said the theme of the occasion, “What Can You Do? Give Blood. Give Now. Give Often,” goes beyond just thinking about giving blood to relatives and friends.“If my boss was here today she would have said these words coming from my mouth, ‘Everybody can play a role in an emergency situation by giving blood.’ Blood transfusion is an essential component of emergency healthcare,” Madam Mulbah said.“As we commemorate World Blood Donor Day, my boss is urging all countries in the region and all stakeholders involved in blood donations to maintain adequate supplies of safe blood. This will allow national blood transfusion services to respond in time to the increase in blood demand, especially during emergencies,” she said.The program director at the NSBP, Madam Lwopu M. Bruce, said blood donation should be free of charge and voluntary.“Our campaign is to create sufficient awareness so as to welcome on board many voluntary donors,” Madam Bruce said. She commended six of the donors who, over time, have not hesitated to give blood.The NSBP certificated Prince G. Gargar, Emmanuel J. Zah, Prince Mahnweh, Winston, Arkie J. Tarr, among others, for donating blood voluntarily and free of charge.A cross section of celebrants singing the national anthem at the start of the eventShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Dr. Barnes gives blood
Mayor Gibson “we will work with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A)”Paynesville City Mayor Cyvette M. Gibson was yesterday inducted as president of the Association of Mayors and Local Government Authorities of Liberia (AMLOGAL) at a program held at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia.Her 10-person administration will steer the affairs of AMLOGAL for the next two years. Madam Gibson said AMLOGAL will function to embrace all local authorities to build their capacities to become part of the government’s decentralization program.She said soliciting support from stakeholders and partners will be “our key strategy towards achieving this goal.”“In this regard, we will work with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A) to put in place a full-fledged secretariat in six months, including hiring a robust, dedicated, and effective administrator with strong implementation skills to lead the secretariat,” she said.The secretariat will begin the implementation of “our five-year medium-term strategic plan under our leadership. During the same period, we will strive to obtain a Legislative Charter for AMLOGAL to enable it to have the appropriate status deserving of such an organization in the eyes of the Liberian society and the international community,” said Gibson.She said her leadership will engage the MIA to initiate the drafting of an act to be submitted to the Legislature.Mayor Gibson called on the MIA, UCLG-A and Cities Alliance to organize a one-week team building and resource mobilization training workshop for quick impact skills development and capacity building of the twenty city mayors who are the nucleus of AMLOGAL.“I assure our partners that the burden of financing this organization will not be your obligation. The first line of funding for AMLOGAL will be a one percent assessment of our individual city budgets which will be contributed as the annual membership dues,” Madam Gibson said.The secretary general of the UCLG-A Secretariat, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, pledged the organization’s support to the Liberian chapter.“I want to thank you for your clear vision, objectives and core values as mayors, who have led the formation of this body. I urge you to push your government to sign and ratify the Local Government Chapter. Since 2014, your government has yet to sign or ratify that agreement,” he noted.In remarks, the senior urban specialist of Cities Alliance, Mr. Omar Siddique, promised his organization’s commitment to providing financial support to the new AMLOGAL leadership.He disclosed that Liberia has become the 41st country in Africa to organize the local government association, stressing that this will further promote development at the local level.MIA’s Deputy Minister for Urban Affairs, Mr. Stephen Y. Neufville, said AMLOGAL will be a catalyst bringing many development benefits to Liberia as it paves the way for knowledge sharing among sister cities.Among the visitors at the occasion were Vice President Joseph Boakai, House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay, Speaker, Pro Tempore Armah Z. Jallah, Internal Affairs Minister Henrique Tokpa, Deputy Minister at MIA Stephen Neufville, and GSA director general Mary T. Broh.Others were Mr. Ngouelondele, Acting President of African Mayors & local Authorities/Mayor of Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, Parks Tau, World President of Mayors & Local gvt Assoc, Republic of SA, Clare Short, Chair of Cities Alliance Mgmt Board and Mr. Farid Zarif, SRSG.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Liberia, Africa’s first independent and sovereign Republic, has also been, since the early 1930s, the continent’s first rubber producing country, and yet in nearly 90 years has not yet been able to produce a single rubber band, glove or any other rubber product.That seems to have been the plot or scheme of Harvey S. Firestone who, in 1926, signed agreement with the administration of President Charles D.B. King for one million acres of land to grow natural rubber in Liberia.Mr. Firestone first attempted to grow rubber in the Philippines, but they turned him down for fear that if they allowed Firestone in, it would signal a death knell to Philippines’ quest for independence.Firestone’s next stop was Liberia, in his determination for the United States of America (USA) to grow her own rubber and break the British monopoly on rubber in the world.Mr. Firestone found Liberia’s rich soil, rainfall and climate to be, as he put it in his own words, the best place on the planet to grow rubber successfully. He immediately opened the Firestone plantation along the Farmington River in what is now Margibi County.Firestone did two things more to ensure that Liberian officialdom and Liberians were on his side: first, he encouraged most Liberian officials to grow rubber, which he bought, making many leading Liberians rich; second, he employed thousands of Liberians and became the country’s first major concession and largest employer besides the government.In the process, Harvey Firestone and his family became very rich—billionaires.Firestone was good for Liberia except for one thing: the company deemed Liberia fit only for a rubber plantation that produced ONLY raw material to feed American factories, and nothing else. That is why in Firestone’s nearly a century of operation in Liberia, it has manufactured absolutely nothing here, but rather, until this day, June 7, 2018, shipped every ounce of its rubber to the USA and other foreign parts. That is why we say that Firestone saw Liberia as simply fertile ground for producing raw materials— nothing else.Two questions arise: first, how was it possible for Firestone to treat Liberia, a country that has been so good to Firestone, so badly and so contemptuously? The second question is, how have Liberian officials and successive Liberian governments allowed Firestone to do this—treat Liberia so badly—for nearly a century—92 years to be exact?We can venture a third question: how was it possible for all these Liberian rubber planters, from James (Jimmy) Francis Cooper, the first Liberian rubber planter, to many other Coopers, Dennises, Shermans, Freemans, Jacksons, Tubmans, Tolberts and the biggest rubber planter of them all, Harry L. Morris of Kakata and Todee, yes, how did all of rubber planters to allow Firestone to get away with this—slaving after this company’s US dollars and remaining naked as purely producers of Firestone’s raw material—rubber, and nothing else?But as the saying goes, nothing lasts forever. Today, we have another Cooper, whose name was also James, from Sinoe County, son of Henry Cooper—Henry is a popular name among the Coopers, who hailed from Sinoe, built a several hundred acre rubber farm in Bomi County. Today, the son of this James E. Cooper, also called James the II, has decided to brave the century-old powerful current by dreaming a serious dream. Young James E. Cooper, Jr., son of a Sinoe Cooper and an American mother, is dreaming of adding value to Liberian rubber by manufacturing rubber gloves, boots, adhesives (glues, gums, pastes), solvents (thinners), gaskets, rubber roofing tiles, re-threaded automobile tires and later freshly manufactured automobile tires.This is nothing short of revolutionary and we appeal to the government of President George Manneh Weah to give its firm backing to this great and historic initiative.Mr. James E. Cooper, Jr., tells us that he is not alone. Several other rubber planters have already started constructing rubber processing facilities in various parts of the country, including Kakata, Margibi County, and Nimba County.Mr. James E. Cooper, II says not only will these rubber processing and manufacturing enterprises produce finished products; they will also cause thousands more people to be employed in the rubber sector. They will not just be tappers, but engineers and technicians working in manufacturing plants.Presently, Mr. Cooper’s processing plant is producing TSR 10 rubber for export to Malaysia and the USA where it is used to manufacture automobile tires. He also produces smoked sheets for export.Mr. Cooper is in negotiations with Sri Lankan manufacturers to come to Liberia and join him by bringing in their technology to start rethreading tires, and later the real thing—brand new automobile tires for export to the Mano River Union and ECOWAS markets.Mr. Cooper and his fellow rubber processors have an even bigger dream: the Free Trade Agreement, spearheaded by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, which was signed in Kigali last week by 48 of the 53 African nations.Cooper and his colleagues are on to creating Liberia’s industrial revolution. Let us all join in this great endeavor by giving Mr. Cooper and all his colleagues our fullest cooperation and support. The media must play their part, and so, we fervently pray, will the Liberian government.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Justice Yussif Kaba It took the government over seven months to get close to the end of a bond strife for five current and former officials of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) on trial for their alleged involvement in the ‘missing’ L$16 billion.The impasse was resolved on Wednesday, September 4, when Chamber Justice Yussif Kaba revoked his alternative writ of certiorari issued on Monday, September 2, to review the judgment of Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’, who is presiding over the trial of the case.Judge Dixon had earlier remanded former CBL governor Milton Weeks and two other co-defendants, including Richard H. Walker, director for operations, and Dorbor M. Hagba, director for finance, at the Monrovia Central Prison, until they can file a new bail each in the amount of L$1,058,000,000.Dixon also released the two other defendants, Joseph Dennis, deputy director of Internal Audit and Deputy Governor for Operations, Charles Sirleaf on medical grounds, but with an order to pay their L$1,058,000,000 within a week.Dixon’s action was due to a new charge of money laundering brought against the defendants, adding yet another accusation to a series of corruption charges against the CBL’s officials.However, Justice Kaba said that the defendants should surrender their passports or all of their travel documents to the office of the sheriff. He also warned that “the defendants (petitioners) should not travel beyond the cities of Brewerville, Paynesville and the Atlantic Ocean.” He added that the defendants should report to the sheriff’s office weekly, each Friday.Initially, Weeks filed a property evaluation bond to the amount of US$909,319.88 to secure his release from pre-trial detention, while the Accident and Casualty Insurance Company (ACICO) secured the bond for Charles E. Sirleaf, deputy governor in the amount of US$60,000.The company also secured a US$60,000 bond for Richard Walker, director for operations, Joseph Dennis, deputy director for internal audit and Dorbor Hagba, director of finance.Those bonds were to secure their release on the first charges, which include economic sabotage and theft of property. Later, the prosecution added a new charge of money laundering, which Dixon set the bail to L$1,058,000,000, leaving to the defense team to appeal against the new bail before Justice Dixon.The charges were brought based on the release of the USAID-backed Kroll report, and the report by the Special Presidential Investigation Team (PIT), which uncovered a wide-range of discrepancies in the printing of new Liberian banknotes worth billions of LRD, and the controversial disbursement of US$25 million intended to be infused into the economy to curb the rising exchange rate between the Liberian and US dollars.It is yet unknown when the trial of the case will resume.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…sentenced to more than 12 years in jailTwenty-seven-year-old Vanessa Baird was handed a 12-and-a-half-year prison sentence on Tuesday after she admitted to killing 43-year-old push cart vendor Percival Williams, on December 21, 2013 over $1000 at the Parika Stelling, East Bank Essequibo.Represented by Defence Counsel, Mark Conway, the mother of one, in tears, asked the court to be lenient with her so that she can return to care for her seven-year-old child.According to the State’s case which was presented by Prosecutors Abigail Gibbs, Natasha Backer and Tiffini Lyken, Williams was given $1000 by his would-be killer to purchase Chinese food for her and her son. At some point however, she asked Williams, a former Hague, West Coast Demerara resident for the money that she gave him and the two exchanged expletives after he did not comply.Baird held onto Williams’ jersey and a scuffle ensued and she then stabbed him in the lower chest area. The prosecution further relayed that the accused in her caution statement admitted that she had taken the knife from another person and committed the act.Williams immediately fell to the ground and was pronounced dead at the Leonora Cottage Hospital. His post-mortem examination showed that he died from perforation of the lung and heart due to stabbing. Reports back then were that Williams had converted the money to his own use.In making pleas of mitigation, Baird’s attorney observed that at the time of the incident, the woman was encountering financial difficulties being a single parent. Conway highlighted that his client has reflected on her actions and has improved her ability to have self-control. The court also heard that the woman now attends church services, sewing and drama classes whilst being incarcerated.Presiding Judge Navindra Singh, noted that it did not make sense to kill Baird in the manner which he lost his life. He encouraged her to seek out anger management classes as she continues the rehabilitation process. Baird’s time spent on remand awaiting trial will be deducted from her overall sentence.
Essequibo drug bustThirty-year-old Eknauth Persaud, called “Patel” of Lot 66 Onderneeming; and Dhanraj Singh, called “Roy Pang” of Golden Fleece Estate, Essequibo CoasEknauth Persaud aka Patelt were on Friday granted $1 million bail for the recent 42 kilograms drug bust.Additionally, Manuel Diaz, 36, a of Sand Felix, Venezuela, who was jointly charged with the men was however remanded.The trio made their first appearance before Magistrate Ester Sam at the SuddieMagistrate’s Court on Friday to answer to a narcotics trafficking charge. However, all three of the men denied the charge.The prosecution is contending that on January 6, 2017, at about 17:30h, the trioManuel Diaz from Venezuelahad in their possession 42 kilograms of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.They were reportedly caught during a joint operation in G Division (Essequibo Coast-Islands).Reporters are the ranks went to ‘back street’ Golden Fleece, Essequibo Coast where a motor car bearing registration plates PMM 9059 was seen proceeding in a northern direction. The car had two occupants along with the driver, Dhanraj Singh.Ranks stopped the car and conducted a search, during which two white bags containing 70 parcels wrapped with clear tape and brown card board were found.Dhanraj Singh aka Ripe PangEach parcel contained leaves, seeds and stem suspected to be cannabis. The trio was told of the offence but remained silent.The matter will continue on February 2.
The Guyana Police Force has issued a wanted bulletin for 40-year-old Jadoo Datt of Sheriff Street, Campbellville, Georgetown, who is wanted for questioning inWanted: Jadoo Dattrelation to a conspiracy to defraud the Government of Guyana.Datt reportedly committed the frauds between December 2015 and April 2016.Anyone with information that may lead to the arrest of Datt is asked to contact the Police on telephone numbers 226-2870, 229-2655, 229-2289, 227-1149, 226-7065, 911 or the nearest Police station.
The Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) is expected to make a presentation to Cabinet next week in relation to the controversial amended parking meter By-laws.This was revealed by Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan on Wednesday, who said following that presentation, Government will make a final determination about the project going forward.Bulkan said he has always been on record as supporting the initiative of having parking meters, which is intended to help to restore order to the current chaos faced in the city when it comes to parking.“…the contract that is engaged in, has to be one that is not burdensome to the population. The benefits have to be equitably shared between the concessionaireA parking meter in downtown Georgetownand the Council,” he added.Bulkan noted that a lot of those features were not present in the initial contract, and acknowledged that is precisely why the By-laws had to be rescinded by Government.“It is our hope that the amended contract satisfies the concerns that were expressed by the Ministry of Finance and by the Attorney General’s Chambers… this review and assessment will be done by Cabinet at its next meeting following a presentation by the Georgetown municipality,” he added.Based on a unanimous decision taken on April 4, 2018, the M&CC approved the amended parking meter By-laws. However, only two Councillors opposed the By-laws at the time. Khame Prakash Sharma and Bishram Kuppen argued that the By-laws were in support of a contract that still remains unfair to citizens.The amended By-laws were then presented to the Minister in May 2018 for consideration.The amendments proposed that persons pay $150 per hour and $800 for eight hours of parking in Georgetown. Meanwhile, residents of the city would be issued with a restricted residential pass for free parking from 17:00-19:00h Monday to Friday, while parking will be free on Saturdays.Under the modified contract, both parties had agreed to have an oversight committee set up to monitor, review, and manage the project. The committee is expected to have three representatives from M&CC, three from Smart City Solutions (SCS), and one third party also involved in the process.During renegotiations between M&CC and SCS, the subject of shared profit and contractual obligations were discussed, and it was agreed to have it remain the same being the 20/80 for a period of 20 years. It was also disclosed that in the event of arbitration, the proceedings would be held in Miami, instead of here.Rejecting parking metersDespite these new proposals, the Georgetown Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc (GCCI) and the Movement Against Parking Meters (MAPM) have both rejected the project’s return. From the onset, MAPM and the business community have been opposed to the installation of parking metres in the city.The Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has also maintained its non-support for this initiative.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo still believes that the metering system is not the best arrangement to assist with the reduction or organisation of traffic within the country’s capital city.Jagdeo said the PPP will continue to oppose the initiative for several reasons, chief of them, the fact that the initial contract was flawed. He had also raised concerns about the persistence and continuous interest to have this project re-implemented even when the company is faced with several known controversies.Jagdeo had pitched a proposal where the M&CC could gain more income and treated the parking of vehicles in a much different way as they did before.“The City Council… all they need is maybe 1000 gallons of paint and go around and mark every area in the city and once per month, sell a sticker for $1000 or $2000 and people pay you and they park anywhere in the city once they have the sticker on the vehicle itself,” he explained.That plan, he claimed, is more affordable and takes away the huge administrative cost that the M&CC would have to incur were they to go ahead with reintroducing the parking meters.