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The Time is Now (Part 1)

first_imgDear Editor,This year’s International Women’s Day theme, “Time is now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives” could not be more apt as women’s activism globally is on the increase in sharp contrast to a slowing down on the advancement of the women’s agenda. This slowing down or reversal is no more telling than here in Guyana.After decades of activism, especially sustained by rural and working women for their right to vote, to work, equal access to health and education, to end discrimination against women and to end domestic and sexual violence, and to hold political office, we are witnessing our proud achievements as Guyanese women being rapidly undermined and reversed by the APNU/AFC Government.The World Economic Forum 2017 Global Gender Gap Report concluded that:“On current trends, the overall global gender gap can be closed in exactly 100 years across the 106 countries covered since the inception of the Report, compared to 83 years last year. The most challenging gender gaps remain in the economic and health spheres. Given the continued widening of the economic gender gap, it will now not be closed for another 217 years. However, the education–specific gender gap could be reduced to parity within the next 13 years. The political dimension currently holds the widest gender gap and is also the one exhibiting the most progress, despite a slowdown in progress this year. It could be closed within 99 years. The health gender gap is larger than it stood in 2006.”Guyana, which was reported on for several years in the Global Gender Gap reports, was ranked number 66 of 145 countries in the 2015 Global Gender Gap Report with a ranking of 1 for both Educational Attainment and Health and Survival, and 37 for Political Empowerment and 124 for Economic Participation, its weakest area. Guyana, however, strangely is no longer included in the reports of 2016 and 2017.Of note is that of 125 achievements advertised by the APNU/AFC coalition Government for its second anniversary, not one related to the status of women, youth or children in our society. These omissions are most significant.Despite the fact that the  APNU/AFC coalition Government inherited a healthy economy and an emerging middle-income, democratic nation,  we, in Guyana, have witnessed the regression in the economic participation and empowerment of women, and lack of concern of the APNU/AFC Government with its retrograde measures such as the practical abolition of the “Women of Worth” programme, and the “Single Parents Assistance Facility and the abolition of the “Cash Care Programme” for all children in school, the introduction of VAT on essential items and services that were designed to help the poor and vulnerable, and the noticeable reduction of women’s presence and role in the political and public spheres.After two years of the APNU/AFC Government, the emerging trend in Guyana is clear, the Government is reversing the democratic gains, bit by bit, methodically; the decline in all sectors of the economy, increased poverty and hardships with 200 new taxes, reversals of the social programmes, including property rights through the housing programme, reversals of social safety nets for children and elderly, and of course, witch-hunting of political opponents to the Government.Since the APNU/AFC Coalition took office, we are witnessing at an alarming rate an open level of discrimination against women, most especially Indo-Guyanese and Amerindian women, particularly in the public sector. Pre-1992, Indo-Guyanese and Amerindian women held less than one per cent of the public service posts, now 26 years later, they have once again been reduced to a token presence.The composition of Government and State Boards in 2015, 2016 and 2017 has been overwhelmingly male-dominated, and, visibly dominated by one ethnic group. This reduction of women’s participation in decision-making, workforce and in the economy is telling and an indictment of the Government.This discriminatory trend is not only focused on women in high and senior positions, but women also at the lower levels of the public service. Women who were in clerical and lower technical areas have been terminated as “suspect PPP supporters” because of their ethnicity or alleged political affiliation.The State-owned sugar industry is the largest single employer in the Public Sector. The closure of Wales Sugar Estate in December 2016 led to 1700 workers losing their jobs of which 300 were female (field and administration). With the closure of three more estates in December 2017, another 5000 workers have lost their jobs with more pending; of these, 2000 are females. Women in the sugar sector have become mere “collateral damage”.The multiplier effect of more than 2000 women in one sector losing their jobs coupled with their male counterparts is devastating at the individual, familial, community and national levels. In a small economy such as ours, their removal is irreparable, unless the Government takes corrective measures. Regrettably, the Government churns out a time-warped mantra of the 1970s of investing in making and selling plantain chips as an entrepreneurial opportunity! Surely, this cannot be the answer!Sincerely,Gail Teixeira, MP;Priya Manickchand,MP;Gillian Burton-Persaud,MP;Pauline Sukhai, MPlast_img read more

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“Georgetown we have a problem”

first_imgDear Editor,There is a NASA-produced documentary titled “The Journeys of Apollo” in which the Apollo 13 mission produced the popular phrase “Houston, we have a problem”, as the astronauts communicated their discovery of the explosion that crippled their spacecraft.In Guyana, the Town Clerk has caused all and sundry to produce the phrase “Georgetown we have a problem”, to describe the crippled state of our capital city, due to mismanagement, venality and incompetence.By now it ought to be crystal clear that our style of management of our capital city is not working, and in fact, is a total disaster.What we have now in spite of a significant amount of work that has been undertaken in recent years to review and improve the Local Government sector more popularly known as ‘Local Government reform’, is our capital city being run under very archaic laws dating back to the colonial times, laws that cannot relate to, nor deal effectively with, the current circumstances.What we have now is the Town Clerk of Georgetown cloaking himself with ridiculous powers, scope and authority to completely ignore the views and wishes of the elected Council, of the laws pertaining to procurement, of covenants ascribed to State lands, of accounting and audit regulations, of even answering to the Communities Minister.All over the world city governments are run like businesses, municipalities have become municipal corporations, with executive Mayors and city managers who are given by charter a large degree of control and responsibility. Right nearby we have the likes of the Port of Spain Corporation and the Kingston Corporation.In none of these places do we have a Town Clerk, who is merely the Secretary to the Council, who performs several administrative tasks, running around creating havoc, as this one is doing. In fact none of the previous Town Clerks of Georgetown ever attempted to seize and convert public open spaces into private housing projects, to establish parking meter systems in our city on the basis of a falsehood that the previous Council had approved it, of withholding statutory deductions from the Guyana Revenue Authority, the National Insurance Scheme and the Credit Unions, of granting contracts amounting to billions of dollars without adherence to tender board procedures and of jaunting around the world for no practical purposes.Sincerely,Magagula Jacksonlast_img read more

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Onwards to a Police state – PNC

first_imgDear Editor,Reference is made to a press release titled, “Government to submit Brief to Speaker addressing consequences of Dec 21 vote,” posted on the coalition Government’s Department of Information (DPI) website.In it, the public was told: “Until and unless fresh elections are held, the Government remains in full control of the governance apparatus of the state and will continue to carry out its mandate according to its constitutional requirement. Any suggestion to the contrary is intended to breed anarchy and disorder in Guyana and that too will be resisted.”These are the most chilling statements issued thus far by the coalition Government since it fell on December 21, 2018. Unless this is bluff and desperation, there are profound implications here.First, the coalition Government appears to be ready to assume de facto status and, if necessary, organise a state of emergency on false pretenses in order to declare martial law and dismiss the constitutional edict of fresh elections.Secondly, the coalition Government wants to muzzle free speech and the relentless public criticism of its refusal to resign from office, and call new elections as the Constitution requires.The coalition Government is publicly calling all critics and the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Bharrat Jagdeo, the latter having accused the coalition of a judicial coup, anarchists or enemies of the state bent on “anarchy and disorder.”State media and state organs including the DPI are being utilised to tell citizens and the Leader of the Opposition to be quiet, to shut up, to have no expressed opinion about matters that occurred in their National Assembly on December 21.The Leader of the Opposition was told that he must know his place which is to say his constitutionally created office must now take instructions from junior Ministers of the coalition Government. In other words, the coalition is using intimidation to swallow Opposition politics.Third, public notice is now given that anyone who speaks out will be “resisted” by the coalition Government which has at its disposal, the full arsenal of state apparatus. The coalition has already, or is about to swallow the State. The State will do the biddings of the coalition.It is time to be prepared to be arrested and booked with bogus charges for writing or speaking. It is time to anticipate the army mobilising against citizens in the street and establishing camps on their private property. It is time for “wanted” bulletins to be issued for persons for mere questioning. It is time for unlawful detention. This press release makes clear that there is no more equal protection.Finally, the fallen coalition Government rejects the idea that it is a caretaker Government. Instead, it tells the entire electorate that it will not only exist but “continues” to govern in full capacity (“carry out its mandate”) as if December 21 dropped off the face of the calendar. There no longer is any original mandate. Onwards to a Police state.Sincerely,Rakesh Rampertablast_img read more

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Reoccurrence of dictatorial doctrine

first_imgDear Editor,Some time back, Sir John Robert Seeley coined the axiom “History is past politics and politics present history”. What this means in Guyanese local parlance is not only the rhizome relationship between history and politics but also how politics and history have evolved and manifested themselves. Since 2015, some sections of Guyana have always wondered if the above would repeat themselves under the APNU/AFC coalition regime, namely the reoccurrence of PNC dictatorial doctrine of State cameralism and biological nationalism. Their suspicion was brought about by the current regime’s useless moribund manifesto, poor governance and now the refusal to accept or even acknowledge the constitutional verdict of the No-Confidence Motion. While the Government has the right to appeal and carry its case against the No-Confidence Motion all way until hell freezes over at Caribbean Court of Justice, not everyone, however, is convinced or even fooled by its action. From the outset, the Government’s reckless, careless and callous actions have always looked like a duck, walked like a duck, quacked like a duck and now, it smells like a duck to them.Shocking as it may sound to loyalists of the APNU/AFC coalition regime, only a small section of Guyana disagrees with the feeling that the country is descending into a constitutional crisis and strongman tactics. The regime continues blaming Charrandas Persaud, the messenger, instead of addressing his message: you have failed your supporters, your party, and above all, your nation, to deliver as promised. For those not in the know, recently, rambunctious Khemraj Ramjattan on GlobalSpan24x7 lambasted Persaud, calling him a Judas repeatedly. What a crying shame. Ramjattan and others like him in the coalition see politics as a self-contained game with inflexible rules. Party members must toe the line especially when the stakes are high. This position smacks at the heart of the coalition campaign and manifesto as well as at the “good life” promulgation for Guyanese. Instead of seeing the entrance into leadership as a historical moment to wield State power in accordance with visions of a good life for all, the regime has extended State benefits to itself and increased the tax burden on the populace, among others, with unconstrained freedom of action.Upon reading the literature on the evolution of political history, one is inclined to say that the mindset of the regime is not guided by grand ideas, which apparently should be the main focus, but how each individual should successfully apply him or herself for advantages within an unstable political system. Do you remember the perks and salary increases coupled with the noble missing principles of transparency and accountability? Aww, it hurts bad, bad. The approach to understanding the individual within the current regime should not be on ideology and belief since that would be a futile endeavour and exercise. The focus ought to be on prosopography, a study of the collective biography of a group that invariably means exploring the hidden and dark side that frequently determines individual action. I have to call in the local Sigmund Freud to psychoanalyse “dem boys” in the regime.There is little doubt that the APNU/AFC regime has “slapped up” GECOM to ensure that no Charrandas episode would ever be repeated under its watch. A section of the local media in its editorial on February 25, 2019, quipped that “There is no spin to be placed on it. The Government majority on GECOM has allowed itself to be subverted and this constitutes a serious blow to constitutional governance and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms”. Even the regime’s blind loyalists, extremists, and propagandists would shake their heads in the affirmative and say “Amen you can say that again”. A national responsibility now rests on those who have showered so much support and blessing to speak out against despotism in GECOM. One person said to me, “we have started the fire of resistance, we have to now encourage others to fan the flames of resistance”. It is the human thing to do.Sincerely,Dr LomarshRoopnarinelast_img read more

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Granger will have to give this nation what it wants, whether he likes it…

first_imgDear Editor,If President David Granger hopes that skirting around the CCJ decision and ignoring the importance of swiftly appointing the GECOM Chairman would rally the public to him, he will be disappointed. The last credible polling I saw pegs his popularity at below 38 per cent and the popularity of the corrupt and incompetent PNC-led coalition that he heads, even lower than that.Guyanese in increasing numbers are rejecting these PNC tactics of pretending that the No-Confidence Motion was not successfully passed and that the Judiciary has not spoken. This is bad news for Mr Granger because every day he delays is another day he will be personally held for the destruction of democracy in Guyana along with the shutting down of the economy.The GDP numbers were positive because some US$180 million in oil pipelines pass through the books of Guyana but such a pass-through transaction does not mean any serious tangible economic wealth for the people was created. To better understand the reality in the economy at the granular level which impacts the lives of the ordinary man, just calculate the non-oil GDP growth. From my computation, the non-oil economy declined by some 1.3 per cent. So, Mr Granger does not have real economic buoyancy on his side.The only weapon team Granger has is a public address to the nation but from the way things are shaping up after observing the PNC-held street protest against GECOM, even their core supporters are not interested in following Mr Granger blindly; their number was under 100 protesters.The bottom line remains, there is not much that Mr Granger can do now to shift public sentiments about this no-confidence vote. In the eyes of the majority, the Government has fallen and we have an illegitimate and illegal gang of interlopers who parade as a sort of junta claiming to be a Government.Mr Granger had a chance after the CCJ judgment to level with the people and take back leadership on this issue but as usual, his poor management style bubbled to the top and he failed again. If I were him, I would have addressed the nation. In that speech, I would have stated clearly what I was thinking and why it was important to seek judicial review and apologise to the nation for the delay and thank them for their patience.I would have laid out a road map for the next 3 months and announced a date of the elections as October 18, 2019 (4 months after – enough time for GECOM). I would have announced a new GECOM Chairman (he has 18 names with a world-class citizen like Major General (Rtd) Joe Singh on it).I would outline what my government had done for the people over the last 4 years and the challenges I faced along the way and just ask the people for another chance since the Guyanese people are a forgiving lot. I would have formally launched the campaign. Such firm and bold leadership would have given him a way out of this political impasse and may have even improved his political chances. That is how pragmatic and principled people operate and this is how you gain the respect of the people. This is what Bharrat Jagdeo does every week at his press conference – level with the people.As we all know, there is a major shortage of pragmatism and principled behaviour in the Granger DNA so what we got instead was more subterfuge and deception, more division in the nation, more intransigence and a total news blackout from State House. At the end of the day, the failure of Mr Granger to personally communicate with the people on this CCJ issue is a microcosm of a larger strategic failure of his presidency – his inability to expand his support base outside the usual Congress Place followers. As we saw in 2015, Mr Granger could not have won those elections without crossover votes from the sugar belt, the urban business community and the urban professionals.He has now permanently lost all of these people and there is no chance of him ever recovering them unless he does right by the rule of law and the Constitution. Saying I will follow the Constitution is not the same as actually following the Constitution and unfortunately, team Granger thinks the people are so stupid that they cannot see the “three card trick game” that the PNC is attempting to play on them by gambling with the intelligence of the people.Everyone in the room, save and except for the delusional, know that Mr Granger will have to give this nation what it wants, whether he likes it or not.Regards,Sasenarine Singhlast_img read more

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Govt to investigate Global Fund multimillion-dollar fraud findings

first_img… fearful organisation will threaten to withhold grantsBY DEVINA SAMAROOGovernment will soon launch an investigation into findings of a multimillion-dollar fraud in its malariaPublic Health Minister, Dr George Nortonprogramme, which is funded by the Global Fund International Organisation.Following complaints of mass irregularities in the Global Fund malaria grant in Guyana, the international organisation commenced an investigation into the matter, covering the period January 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015.According to the findings of the investigation, there were complaints of fabricated data in relation to the distribution of bed nets, malaria surveillance activities and associated fraudulent expenditures, including ‘per diems’ and fuel for programmatic work that allegedly did not take place.Reports indicate that these irregularities affected expenditures totalling US$72,973 which the organisation will likely seek to recover.The irregularities were facilitated by the inadequate management of the Global Fund malaria programme by the Vector Control Services (VCS) of the Public Health Ministry, which included poor record-keeping and a failure to respond to Global Fund Secretariat Management Actions.During the period under investigation, Dr Reyaud Rahman was the Director of the VCS. He resigned in December 2015.Taking actionWith an allegation of corruption and fraud of such magnitude being levied against the Government, Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton said an investigation will be launched as soon as possible in order to determine the best course of action to be taken.Since the possibility is high Government that will be required to pay back the recoverable monies, Dr Norton said an independent investigation into the findings in the Global Fund report is necessary to confirm the validity of the information.“The Global Fund is probably asking for a repayment or a refunding, and we would not go about doing so without investigating and see what measures we need to take… We will take whatever measures and the corrective actions will be taken,” he explained.He noted too that the investigations will determine whether or not any actions should be taken against culpable individuals.Asked if the international organisation has threatened to withhold untouched funds or prohibit further funding until the matter is resolved, the Health Minister responded in the negative; however, he noted that nothing is preventing them from taking such a route.“While I hope this is not the case, it certainly stands to reason that such actions might very well be taken,” he stated.Moreover, Dr Norton said he plans to arrange a meeting with the local representatives of the organisation to further discuss the matter.BurdenDr Norton posited that it will be awfully burdensome if Government is mandated to reimburse Global Fund of the millions of dollars allegedly swindled under the malaria programme.Even more disadvantageous, he said, is the likelihood of Guyana becoming blacklisted from receiving further funding.“At this point in time, paying any debt of that nature would certainly not be in the best interest of the economy of the country. We cannot afford to do that. It is unfortunate that this had to happen, we are definitely in need of such funding and we are just hoping that this will not affect us in the future to access such funding,” he expressed.Nonetheless, the Minister noted that it was quite odd that the Global Fund chose only now to launch the investigation.“Why would Global Fund wait five years after they started giving us access to funds before they started checking on accountability…” he pondered.Inflated figuresAccording to the report, employees of the Global Fund malaria programme, VSC, and the Health Ministry were interviewed in relation to the complaints of irregularities.The report said the investigation found evidence that VCS employees inflated the number of long-lasting insecticide impregnated mosquito nets (bed nets) reported as distributed and had fabricated underlying bed net distribution documents to support the inflated figures.Additionally, the report said VCS employees also fabricated documentation for another surveillance activity relating to the operation of malaria committees.The report further stated that two VCS malaria supervisors responsible for distributing bed nets in the regions confessed that they had inflated bed net distribution figures in the Semester Reports and that they had fabricated underlying documentation to support the figures.The two individuals claimed that an administrative employee had instructed them to inflate the figures.However, when interviewed, the VCS administrative employee denied passing instructions for the figures to be inflated.The report also stated that the former VCS Director claimed he never gave instructions to inflate the figures or fabricate the documents.The report noted that there was an analysis of over 46,000 individual names and signatures on the bed net distribution activity sheets to assess if the activity sheets contained indicators that bed nets had not been distributed to beneficiaries, and upon completion of this exercise, it found that it could not obtain reasonable assurance that 20,981 bed nets, which represents 45.2 per cent of the total reviewed, had been delivered to beneficiaries on the basis of anomalies found in the bed net distribution activity sheets.This figure did not include bed nets where it appeared that a single individual, such as a community health worker, mining camp leader or a family member, had signed legitimately on behalf of a group of individuals.The investigation also found that the average incidence of signature anomalies across the regions and periods under review was similar, indicating that the fabrication of underlying bed net distribution documentation was systematic.last_img read more

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Zika fears rise in Wakenaam

first_imgBy Devina SamarooHealth authorities are concerned about the unavailability of practical means to detect the presence of the ZikaThe Wakenaam Cottage Hospitalvirus on the island of Wakenaam in Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).Some 20 persons who visit the Wakenaam Cottage Hospital on a daily basis are diagnosed with the Chikungunya virus, given the symptoms they exhibit.However, those persons could very well be diagnosed with the Zika virus, since the symptoms are similar, but there is no way to confirm owing to the unavailability of facilities in the region.“Most of the time, the patients come and they have rashes and fever, we would diagnose them with Chikungunya and give them the treatment,” Resident Doctor (Ag) Marcia Evelyn explained.The Chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne disease, features the sudden onset of fever two to four days after exposure. The fever usually lasts two to seven days, with accompanying joint pains typically last weeks or months but sometimes years.Initially, the Zika virus was considered to be less severe than the Chikungunya since it causes mild symptoms like low fever, headaches and joint pain.However new research has linked to disease to paralysing disorders.Both diseases are treated symptomatically since there is no actual cure for the infection; however, it is critical to any society to monitor the spread of the disease.Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton noted that it is definitely a concern that residents of Wakenaam are unaware whether or not they are infected with the Zika virus, noting that measures must be put in place to remedy the situation.He noted that a prevention and awareness campaign definitely needs to be introduced to the island.Meanwhile, the regional health officials explained that many of the persons on the island live in poverty and therefore cannot afford travel to the Georgetown Public Hospital for further testing.At the moment, those persons exhibiting symptoms of the Chikungunya virus, which is similar to the Zika virus, are being prescribed symptomatic treatment and sent home.French researchers recently discovered that in addition to causing severe birth defects, the Zika virus can result in a rare neurological ailment in adults and is linked to paralysis-causing myelitis (inflammation in the spinal cord).Myelitis can affect limb movement and cause paralysis by interrupting communication between the spinal cord and the rest of the body.Emerging research also shows that the virus may cause eye damage in babies.The virus has also been classified as a sexually transmitted disease, after there have been less than a handful of reported cases of sexual transmission.Persons exhibiting the symptoms are advised to visit the nearest health institution to get tested. Currently, there are nine confirmed cases of the Zika Virus in Guyana.last_img read more

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WOW being extended to hinterland communities

first_imgIndigenous women will be given another opportunity to upgrade their economic standing with the introduction of the Women Of Worth (WOW) microcredit initiative to the hinterland regions.This programme has since been beneficial to coastlanders; however, it is the Ministry’s intention to ensure that women in the outlying areas have the opportunity to access loans to expand income generating projects.During an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), Social Protection Minister Volda Lawrence explained that aMinister Volda Lawrencenumber of single parent women and women’s groups in the hinterland have already submitted proposals and the Ministry is in the process of reviewing them.“… What has happened is that we have had several beneficiaries, but they are from the coastland, so we are going to move the staff into the outlying areas so that they can reach other women in those areas so that we can spread it around… they have already been to Region Nine and there are four women there who qualified for the loan and what we have to now look at are those women who applied through groups,” Minister Lawrence pointed out.This process will officially begin in September.Minister Lawrence said the loan officers will be going into the hinterland communities to engage the women on the project and work with them to ensure they are viable.The WOW Programme, which started under the previous Administration, empowers single parent women to take advantage of the economic opportunities around them, and so increase their participation in society.The sum of $40 million was allocated to the Ministry to fund this initiative, which allows the women to access loans to expand business projects.Additionally, hinterland residents who are not single parents will also have access to loans through the People Of Worth Entrepreneurial Resources Project (POWER), which is currently being rolled out.last_img read more

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2 busted with cocaine in Kitty

first_imgTwo persons were arrested on Thursday after they were intercepted in Georgetown with a quantity of cocaine.According to Police reports, at about 13:00h, Police ranks received information which they acted upon and in doing so, they intercepted a motor car on Duncan Street, Kitty, Georgetown.A search was then conducted on the two persons and on the vehicle during which a bag containing 5466 grams of suspected cocaine was found in the car. the office subsequently arrested both the driver and the occupant of the vehicle who are assisting with the investigations.last_img read more

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Senior Finance Officials Under 21-Day Surveillance

first_imgThe Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has now officially “joined” the fight against the deadly Ebola virus, which last week snatched away one of their senior colleagues, Mr. Patrick Sawyer.Mr. Sawyer, who met his untimely death in Lagos, Nigeria, after he had gone there to attend an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) conference, was the Coordinator of the ECOWAS National Unit at the MFDP.Speaking with our Health Correspondent Sunday, July 27, the MFDP Media Services Director, Mr. Sidiki Trawally, stated that individually, the Ministry’s staff have been engaged in the preventive methods and “most of them have their personal sanitizer, which they use daily.”Mr. Trawally said that in order to strengthen their involvement in the anti-Ebola campaign, the Ministry has put in place a thorough sanitary program and admonished all staff to use the hand washer or personalized sanitizers or disposable gloves available at the Ministry’s entrance.The Ministry announced Monday that in order to instill confidence in users of services at the MFDP, “At the very highest level of the Ministry, all senior officials who came in direct or indirect contact with Mr. Sawyer have been placed on the prescribed 21-day observatory surveillance period starting July 20th, the day Mr. Sawyer departed the country for Nigeria.” The Ministry further said that all concerned senior officials have been requested to telecommute (work from home) until certified by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) to return to active duty.In addition to the above measures, the Minister of FDP, Amara Konneh, has requested the Ministry of Health to immediately quarantine and properly sanitize both the former Ministry of Finance and the former Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs buildings, including the newly constructed National Authorizing Office of the European Union.“Due to these measures, the Ministry [was] temporarily shut down 12 PM on Monday, July 28, and reopened on Tuesday, July 29.”The Minister has also given permission to other employees, who made no contact with Mr. Sawyer, but have been traumatized as a result of the situation in the past few days and would like to take some time off, to stay home until they deem it necessary to return to duty.Among other things, however, all essential employees still working at the Ministry have been asked to observe strictly the following measures: “Use of the elevator is restricted to only 4 persons per trip; absolutely, no clustering on the stairways; no gathering of more than five persons, except for meetings in conference spaces or spatial environment; absolutely no handshakes, hugging of other physical bodily contact; and please report any suspicious illness or strange conditions amongst employees.The Ministry has also asked that only persons with genuine business dealings and transactions would be permitted on the premises and that all employees are further encouraged to wear long-sleeved clothing to minimize any possible risk of exposure.“Notwithstanding, the general public is advised to carry out their normal transactional businesses at the Ministry and follow closely the measures announced in the interest of public health.Meanwhile, the MFPD tax policy unit will review, in conjunction with the Liberia Revenue Authority, a proposal for the relaxation of tariffs and duties on the importation of sanitary materials and other bleach products during the period of this situation.” (For the latest news and updates, follow us at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Liberian-Observer-Online/42279623238.)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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Minister Addy Promises Gov’t Support to Liberian Businesses

first_imgThe Minister of Commerce and Industry (MOC),Axel M. Addy, has promised more of Government’s support to Liberian-owned businesses operating in the Country.Minister Addy made the assertion on Friday, July 11 during the grand opening of Aminata and Sons new state-of the art filling station in Sinkor.According to him, the government is committed to helping Liberians “go into genuine and honest business” noting that each step in any good business should be taken towards improvement.He described the station as the “pride of Liberia” which has emerged from “a filthy station to a filling station” and is ready to serve and provide job for more Liberians.“When we say only Liberians can build Liberia, this is it. Toure cannot remove this and go anywhere; he has an investment and pays his taxes to Government,” Minister Addy said in his comments before launching the new station adding, “Toure, you have made us proud and you have given us reasons to believe in more Liberians.”The new Aminata Service Station magnificently stands on 17th Street in Sinkor with four pumps containing six electric fuel service pumps. The biggest supermarket of any service station in the area is within the new facility and as well as Peace Café, which is ready to provide breakfast for your desires.The station has also introduced the “Fuel Filtration Machine”. The machine has the capacity to carry out a thorough cleaning of vehicle fuel tanks. It separates and sucks out water from fuel in the tanks. Slots and particles in vehicle fuel tanks clog and damage the fuel injection system. The filtration machine is built to solve that problem; it has the capacity to dislodge slots and particles from the tank and improve fuel injection system.For his part, the Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum and Refinery Corporation (LPRC), T. Nelson Williams, has acknowledged the CEO & Managing Director of Aminata and Sons  for building a modern service stations in the country and providing jobs for thousands of Liberians.The LPRC boss observed that few years ago, Total-Liberia was the only filling station in the country that was selling brand on the market to consumers, “today, we are proud that Aminata and Sons has taken the lead too.”He noted that out of the ten importers of petroleum products, they have at LPRC; Aminata and Sons is in the third place, particularly when it comes to selling petroleum product on Market.“So, it gave me great joy and pride to be here today to see another station being open by Mr. Siaka Toure, CEO of Aminata & Sons,” he declared.Mr. Williams emphasized that Aminata & Sons filling stations are moving outside of Monrovia, “We need to decentralize the gas string sector of the petroleum market and SiakaToure is doing that.”Meanwhile, Mr. SiakaToure, CEO of Aminata and Sons filling stations, told the gathering that his company was upgrading its standards and outlook as a result of the constructive criticism from the Liberian people.“You said you were tired of the filthy stations, the old manual hand pumps. You said you were tired of all these and you were asking questions and now we have answered the questions and we have given you what you deserved – quality service stations with modern outlook,” Mr. Toure declared.He then thanked the Government of Liberia for creating the favorable atmosphere for good business that led to the banks believing in them.The Aminata and Sons Chief Executive Officer also extended appreciation to the banking community especially ECOBANK for it support.Aminata and Sons chief executive officer concluded by saying his filling station will continued to make the difference in Liberia by providing good service to its people.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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Man Detained for Chewing Parts of His Wife

first_imgThe Buchanan City Court in Grand Bassa County has charged a 26-year old man identified as James Kollie, a resident of Pearchuzohn C community, in Lower Harlandville Township with the crime of Aggravated Assault and Criminal Attempt to Commit MurderAccording to records of the court, defendant Kollie, with criminal motives, on New Year’s Day severely flogged his wife, Ruth Nah-Kollie in their community, and allegedly chewed up her left ear, left hand finger and left breast.The records indicate that the victim is hospitalized at the Liberia Government Hospital in Buchanan CityThe court, presided over by Senior Associate Magistrate Richard Browne, has considered the act allegedly committed by the defendant as criminal and contravenes Section 14.20 of the New Panel Law of the Republic of Liberia.Meanwhile, the court has detained defendant Kollie at the Upper Buchanan Central Prison, pending the recovery of the victim and subsequent trial proceedings.According to the Police Charge Sheet, the defendant was arrested on Friday, January 2 and acquainted with his constitutional and Miranda rights.During the preliminary interrogation conducted by the police, the defendant said he could not remember what transpired between him and his wife that fateful night because according to him, he was intoxicated with a “mixed up liquid”.The police record indicates that witness’ statement coupled with physical evidence observed showed that defendant Kollie cut or chewed the left ear, left hand finger and left breast of the victim.The police therefore charged the defendant with the crime of Aggrevated Assault.The fuss between the couple started when the defendant reportedly asked his wife to prepare his bath water, which she did but he did not take his bath. Instead he went back in the street to enjoy himself, the report alleges.The victim told the police that upon her husband’s return, he knocked on their window and began to abuse her and her mother.  ‘’When I finally opened the front door, he attacked me and began to flog me severely with anger, thus committing the act against me.’’ She added.The police has forwarded the defendant, the victim and charge sheet to the court for pre-trial.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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United Men’s Club Distributes Medical Supplies in Nimba

first_imgA United States based Nimba organization, United Men’s Club, has concluded distribution of Ebola related medical supplies valued at more than US$5,000 to citizens in Karnplay, Gbelay-Geh District, and Bahn, Zoe-Geh District, respectively.   On behalf of the United Methodist Church (UMC), the vice president, Leadopoe Geain said, “I just want to extend our thanks and appreciation to all the men and women that made sacrifices during the deadly Ebola outbreak.”Special appreciation was expressed to all the medical personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice during the outbreak.“These supplies are our way of joining these men and women to help the fight to eradicate Ebola and protect them even after the disease has left the country,” he said. “We hope to continue similar services to our home county even after this deadly virus has left.”United Men Club is an all men’s organization based in Pennsylvania, USA. It consists of young men who focus on promoting brotherhood among their members and are committed to improving their community through services such as mentoring.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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Albino Society Honors Piah

first_imgPress Secretary (to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf), Jerolinmek Piah, has received a certificate of honor from the Liberia Albino Society for his immense contribution in improving the lives of its members.Making the presentation at his temporary office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday, April 17, the association’s program committee head, Ms. Ruth Tulay, said that the certificate was a symbol of honor in recognition of Mr. Piah’s support to the association.Ms. Tulay recounted the honoree’s immense support to the association’s during its formative stage; emphasizing, “When Albinos were nobody and struggling to establish the association, Mr. Piah stood with us and made sure that our voices were heard on radio and on television.”She indicated that Mt. Piah created the opportunity and ensured that the Liberia Albino Society met with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to share their vision with her. “For that we are giving him his flowers while he is alive,” Ms. Tulay said.Mr. Piah, upon receipt of the certificate lauded the Albino Society for the recognition and noted that the honor would further motivate him to do much more for other disadvantaged people in the Liberian society.He said when he does things based on his conviction to help others, he does not anticipate pay or recognition in return however, he accepted the certificate from the Liberia Albino Society, saying, “People who have been helped would want to say thanks for the role others have played.”The society also recognized renowned Liberian artist, Ms. Miatta Fahnbulleh, who is affectionately referred to as Aunty Miatta. They presented a “certificate of honor” to   for what they termed as her “standing with us” from the inception of their organization.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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Health Workers Launch Scathing Attack on Dr. Dahn

first_imgThe National Health Workers Association of Liberia, (NAHWAL), has issued a three-page communication to the Senate, cataloguing alleged misdeeds that, if considered, the Senate would not be able to qualify Deputy Minister of Health, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bernice Dahn for the post of Minister.In the communication dated April 20 and signed by Messrs George Poe Williams and Joseph S. Tamba, secretary general and president, respectively of NAHWAL, Dr. Dahn, among other things, is accused of constantly discouraging partners who wish to increase incentives of health workers, as is now the case at Redemption Hospital in New Kru Town.NAHWAL, according to the letter, “strongly believes that if government’s agenda is for an improved health care delivery system in the post-Ebola era, then certainly, Dr. Dahn, the former CMO, who led the sector for ten years to its total collapse, cannot be a worthy steward of the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare.”NAHWAL recalled that it took Dr. Dahn ten years to diagnose the employment of health care workers as a problem, only after the Ministry had suspended and later dismissed NAHWAL’s leadership who had “earlier spoken to this very issue.  This has caused us immense stress, including referring to our colleagues who were dying of Ebola as reckless and dying due to their own negligence.  Yet, it is she who had failed to provide the necessary protective equipment and training for us.”Considering the alleged psychological trauma inflicted on health workers, the leadership of NAHWAL noted in its communication that its membership cannot work with Dr. Dahn as their Minister while they continue to grieve in their hearts.“In fact, Dr. Dahn’s name serves as a flashback and a trademark of distress for health care workers,” the letter noted.Based on issues raised, and many other problems that the health workers claim were instituted by the minister-designate, NAHWAL’s letter concluded that the outgoing CMO had always been a co-conspirator in the misdeeds of former Minister, Dr. Walter Gwenigale.“Health workers appeal to this Honorable body for a Moses, who shall lead us to the Promised Land, and not a Pharaoh, who will keep us in captivity,” the statement said.Further, NAHWAL contends that Dr. Dahn’s confirmation will make no difference to the plight of health workers and that the vote of no confidence in Dr. Gwenigale would be of no effect where one of his collaborators and protégés would be assigned to continue his anti-people positions.“We are convinced that the minister-designate is no different from Dr. Walter Gwenigale; we therefore appeal to you Honorable body not to confirm her,” the statement added.It may be recalled that last November, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf nominated outgoing Civil Service Agency Director General, George T. Werner, to the Senate to replace then embattled Minister of Health, Dr. Gwenigale.The Senate however, through recommendations from the Committee on Gender, Health, Social Welfare, Women & Children’s Affairs, unanimously voted in executive session to reject Mr. Werner.The Senate’s decision was taken after the Secretary of the Senate had read the Peter Coleman chaired committee’s recommendation in plenary, declaring that the then CSA Director General “lacked the requisite qualification” to head such an important post as Minister.In October 2014, the Senate voted unanimously to cite Minister Gwenigale to appear before that body and show cause why he should not be held in contempt for refusing to reinstate two sacked officials of NHWAL.The then Minister’s citation was prompted by a communication from Lofa County Senator, George Tengbeh, to plenary that there was again rumor that health workers would go on strike if their two dismissed leaders were not reinstated as earlier agreed in a meeting between Health Ministry officials and the Senate.The two dismissed officials were never reinstated, and the only remedy as far as the Executive Branch of government was concerned was the announcement that Minister Gwenigale was retiring opening the way for a new minister designate.Meanwhile, the NAHWAL communication has been sent to the Senate Committee on Health, which is responsible for conducting confirmation proceedings on the Minister-designate.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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Koffa Task Force Regains Prosecution Power

first_imgThe Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa-led Special Presidential Task Force (SPTF) investigating the damning Global Witness (GW) report on senior Liberian government officials has once again been given its teeth to bite. Few days after President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf setup the SPTF, it forced two of the most powerful men in the nation to appear in court to answer to corruption allegations. Senator Cllr. Varney Sherman, Chairman of the ruling Unity Party (UP) and Mr. J. Alex Tyler, Speaker of the House of Representatives appeared in court and each was allowed to go home after they had filed in ‘criminal appearance bonds’ over US$1 million combined. Ordinary Liberians began praising Cllr. Koffa, who is also Minister of State Without Portfolio, for having the will to bring alleged corrupt officials to court.However, people were left dismayed when Minister Koffa announced on Thursday, June 2, that he has handed the prosecutorial role of the SPTF over to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), a member of the SPTF, which is a tripartite conglomeration, the other two being the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs (MOS) and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).But late Wednesday, June 8, evening reports surfaced that Justice Minister Frederick Cherue had written Cllr. Koffa and re-assigned the prosecution of persons indicted by his Task Force. It is reported that Justice Minister Cherue, in a letter to Cllr. Koffa dated June 6, advised him to “proceed to investigate and prosecute those found to be criminally responsible for the allegations contained in the Global Witness Report.” The Justice Minister further granted Cllr. Koffa the “Letter of Patent” required by law to serve as a Special Prosecutor for the Global Witness case. According to reports, Minister Cherue stated that his Ministry is already working closely with the Task Force in the matter, and that it is still “willing to provide additional lawyers as well as other assistance to aid the work of the Task Force in ensuring that the case is resolved.” Meanwhile, the Task Force is expected to announce another batch of indictees Thursday, during a special press conference at the Information Ministry. 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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