Dear Editor,The Alliance for Change recently announced that they would be going to the Local Government Elections 2018 alone, without A Partnership for National Unity, to prove that they are not dead. There is an old saying, “Post mortem can’t bring back the dead”, this is actually referring to the Alliance for Change trying aggressively to resurrect from an already dead political party.The Opposition Leader and General Secretary of the PPP, Cde Bharrat Jagdeo, has shared his experiences, where AFC members publicly confessed that their principles was sold by the leadership of the AFC for a few leaders to enjoy the “good life”.At a meeting in Fyrish, Corentyne, at which Cde Bharrat Jagdeo was present, a longstanding member of the AFC said he was offered a portion of the road shoulders contract in Region Six in return for him remaining in the AFC, but he refused to be part of the corrupt coalition Government. He also said all the membership of the AFC realise their mistakes and have recommitted their support for the PPP.Coalitions are traditionally very strained and unstable relationships. The most detrimental facts about coalitions is that they have to sell out the party’s principles to ensure leaders such as Nagamootoo, Ramjattan, Patterson, Trotman et al enjoy the good life; and as such, the main reasons why the AFC is dead or highly unpopular with voters and supporters is that they cannot take a stand against the coalition leader, President David Granger, because of the danger of being ditched.Many coalition governments have failed. Switzerland is the only exception in Europe, with a permanent coalition Government by means of its seven-member Federal Council elected for a fixed four-year term by Federal Assembly on a party proportional basis.Many European democracies can be measured by the average life span of governments. According to an estimated score, Germany has been 37 months, Italy 13 months, Belgium 22 months, and the Netherlands 27 months. Guyana also was part of a failed coalition Government, and now history is repeating itself.Politicians use the coalition name to safeguard their vested political interests, which means that the APNU/AFC coalition Government has failed to deliver on almost all its promises to the Guyanese people, but ensure that the leadership enjoys maximum benefits.AFC is dead. Guyanese should ensure that they have a proper funeral.Regards,Zamal Hussain
Dear Editor,In an opinion poll being conducted by the North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA), voters are showering accolades on the PPP Presidential Candidate Mr Irfaan Ali.Irfaan, as he is widely called by voters, has been standing side by side with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo (and leader of the PPP) in the street battle for early elections as legal luminary Anil Nandlall leads the fight in the courts to force the Government to abide by the Constitution and judicial rulings.NACTA has been conducting opinion surveys in Guyana since 1990 on electoral and other socio-politico matters. In a survey conducted in June-July, a majority of voters supported the call for abiding with the CCJ ruling on the No-Confidence Motion and the holding of elections. The latest finding of the ongoing tracking poll sees an increase in that view. Voters express confidence that elections will be held this year and that the President, David Granger, should announce a date so that GECOM can commence preparation for a poll.The latest survey also finds an increasing endorsement of Irfaan as Presidential Candidate of the Opposition PPP as compared with earlier NACTA polls conducted in February, April, and July. Voters are getting to better know and understand the PPP candidate for President and they feel he has a very good chance of being elected, especially since he has the endorsement of Jagdeo.Voters were asked to describe some of the positive and negative attributes of the potential Presidential Candidates. Voters describe Irfaan as hard-working, energetic, vibrant, courageous, youthful, and visionary. An increasing number of supporters believe he will make for a good President especially since he will have former President Bharrat Jagdeo at his side for advice and guidance. Jagdeo has been described as the best Finance Minister in recent times. A large majority rated his presidency positively, saying they had a better standard of living.On Irfaan, voters stated he was among the most effective Opposition parliamentarians after Opposition Leader Jagdeo. Irfaan, alongside Gail Teixeira, Anil Nandlall, Frank Anthony, and others held the Government to its toes, exposing contradictions. Irfaan played a most important role in parliamentary scrutiny which is a critical tenet of democratic governance. In addition, voters say Irfaan made very insightful remarks on budgets and Government policies when he was in Government and in Opposition. They say he was effective at exposing wasteful expenditure and questionable spending that were subsequently addressed by the Auditor General.Voters describe Irfaan as the most effective Head (Chair) of the Public Affairs Committee (some say the most effective in the history of Parliament, taking Government to task) exposing flaws in Government spending and lack of accountability. Many voters also say that when he was a Minister, Irfaan was results-oriented, and they are confident that an Irfaan Presidency will get results. They note, for example, that his Housing Ministry gave out the most house lots in the history of Guyana. And that he also effectively ran the Ministry of Tourism at the same time. Many felt he was like a super Minister. During his tenure at Tourism, there was an increase in tourists in Guyana. The country received tourism awards and was spotlighted internationally.Many voters feel Irfaan, although young, has the experience and capacity to take Guyana forward. They say he has shown maturity, and that he understands the multi-cultural and multi-dimensional politics of Guyana. Some say he has grown from when he was a Minister and would have learned from mistakes he made when he was a Minister of Government. They also note he has spoken well on oil and gas and that he will be able to take Guyana forward, especially in the coming energy economy.Some voters note that Irfaan has been unfairly maligned in the media without incontrovertible evidence. Some also point out that Irfaan has recognised and owned up to mistakes in his past conduct and that he has learned from them. They feel he will make for a much better President than when he was a Minister.Yours truly,Vishnu Bisram
In light of the ongoing controversy surrounding the Parking Meters Project initiated by City Hall in Georgetown, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is calling for widespread public consultations on how the city addresses its parking woes.This call was made by General Secretary of the PPP Clement Rohee at the Party’s weekly press briefing on Tuesday.Rohee was asked whether the Party would support parking lots in the city as opposed to parking meters, to which he responded saying that no support will be given to any initiative undertaken without public consultation.“We don’t support any of the two so long as there are no consultations with the people,” he said affirmatively.The General Secretary noted that the question of resolving the parking situation in the city requires wide consultations with all stakeholders so that whatever decision is taken is done in the interest of the people who will be affected.“There must be broad and wide consultations with the citizens of Georgetown and the consultations must be public-like town hall meetings. Then they must publish what came out of the consultations so that others who didn’t go should hear,” he remarkedMoreover, the PPP General Secretary outlined that another important factor that needs to be taken into consideration is the collection of revenues from either parking meters or parking lots.“Anything that has to do with the payment of monies… we have know how that is going to be in place also because if a person is going to walk around with a receipt book, we all know what could happen,” he stated.However, Rohee opted not to pronounce on whether his party will support either initiative, noting that he cannot preempt the outcome of the consultations, which he maintained is crucial.Only Monday, during an address to Councillors of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC), President David Granger suggested that the Council consider introducing parking lots in the city to address the congestion.The Head of State did not make any mention during his address to the ongoing controversy surrounding the Parking Meters Project. Over the past weeks, City Hall came has come under fire for signing the contract with National Parking Systems/Smart City Solutions Inc.Many persons, including Councillors, have raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the deal, which they claim appears to be a shady one aimed at exploiting the local populace.In fact, Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan had stated that he could not find proper information about the company or any records of it providing parking meter services in any other country.However, President Granger told the City Councillors on Monday that his Administration will continue to support the Council in their drive to push the urban development agenda, however it will have to be transparent and accountable in its operations.In light of the parking meter controversy, Cabinet has ordered that the Legal Affairs Ministry and the Attorney General’s Chamber review the contract between City Hall and the Guyanese-owned companies.
Prosecutor’s latenessA Police Prosecutor who was late for an afternoon session at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court has caused the dismissal of eight cases.Lance Corporal David Goodridge, who is the current prosecutor, arrived about 15 minutes late to the courtroom on Thursday. Presiding Magistrate Zamina Seepaul-Ally commenced the session in his absence.Though the gravity of each offence was not read out in court, Ally dismissed the cases on the grounds of absence of the Prosecution.The defendants, whose cases were dismissed, were not present at the time. Those freed included Jagdesh Narine, Quason Bobb, Ravindra Sugdeo, Mario Profit and Denzil Astrage.Additionally, Jamal Bourne, who was said to be a prisoner en route to court also had his case dismissed, owing to Prosecutor Goodridge’s absence.The Saprendaam Magistrate’s Court is currently being housed at the Better Hope Community Centre due to reconstruction works that are on-going.
Nimba County football coach, Muta Fofana, has said that he lost the County Meet soccer finals to Grand Bassa because his boys underestimated their opponents.He was speaking for the first time since the team lost the finals 1-2 to the champions, Grand Bassa in the 2013-2014 National County Meet.He said, “I think we were so overconfident for victory so when our boys made up their minds it was too late to recover.” “I always told my boys not to underestimate any team,” he said, “but they failed to adhere to my advice.”Under Coach Fofana, Nimba became the only undefeatable team and didn’t draw any of her games in the last County Meet. The team only suffered its 1-2 defeat to Grand Bassa in the finals.He has meanwhile called on the leadership of Nimba County to give all necessary support for preparation of the next County Meet in early August, this year. He commended his players for reaching the finals, since only the best teams reach the finals.Nimba County reached the soccer finals of the County Meet, and only lost to eventual champions, Grand Bassa County in match that brought the best in Liberian County Meet football.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…says less liquid cash means less robberiesIn light of a number of armed robberies that involved victims who would have just exited commercial banks,Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattanthe need to carry less cash and more credit or debit cards is again coming to the fore.The Government Information Agency (GINA) quoted Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan as the most recent public official to call for more persons to ‘go plastic’.Minister Ramjattan made the call as he was responding to questions about the role of citizens in the crime fight. The Minister, while speaking at the Golden Jubilee National Symposia Series on Monday at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, said many robberies involving large sums of money would be reduced if business people and others made the switch to plastic.He noted that some business people “walk around with millions and millions of dollars,” according to GINA.Ramjattan explained that most of the big robberies that have occurred happened because some persons have “inside information of some car or bag got 10 million, five million or three million dollars.”As such, he reiterated previous calls for Guyanese to go plastic, but noted that a lot of people don’t want to do this because they seek to avoid tax payments.The result, he likened to a double whammy, “you’re avoiding taxes, plus you’re getting robbed.”The Public Security Minister stated his Government will continue to do its part in the fight against crime and touted tools such as surveillance cameras as important. However, he highlighted that the employment rate must be increased as another way “to get the crime rates down.”In July 2013, following a spate of armed robberies, then Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell urged members of the business community to be more security conscious, noting that it’s time to do less liquid cash transactions and utilise ‘plastic’ to transact business.He had explained that the maximum use of ‘plastic’ will definitely impact on robberies and the violence associated with armed robberies.In August 2014, then Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh had sought to discourage his fellow countrymen and women from carrying large and bulky amounts of cash.The Minister had said there is no compelling or legitimate reason for a citizen to be walking around with large volumes of cash to do financial transactions as he pointed to the many alternative options available, including going plastic.This is not the first time the Minister has sought to deter citizens from carrying large sums of cash.Among the policies the former Finance Minister’s Government had introduced was the launch of a $5000 bill which reduced the physical bulk of cash and the move for Government Ministries and agencies to pay their employees via bank orders; a practice which has been significantly replicated across the Private Sector.However, the practice of business persons and other Guyanese of moving around with large sums of cash continues unabated and many criminal elements are said to be lurking around commercial banks, particularly in the country’s commercial centres, on the look out for their next victim.
The Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS) has disclosed a plan to focus on a school feeding program in the coming academic year as a means of attracting more students and keeping them in school.MCSS Superintendent, Benjamin Adolphus Jacobs, made the disclosure on Thursday at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) regular Ebola Hour press briefing.According to him, MCSS will prioritize the school feeding program to help increase students attendance at school.“The school-feeding program in the upcoming year,” he said, “will to help boost the reflection of learning for the children at the various MCSS campuses as well as increase enrollment.”“No one can learn on an empty stomach, especially the little ones. Many of them will come to school in the morning hungry and weak and cannot respond to their teachers, even at question time. Many of them will not ask questions and sometimes leave campus during recess and run home because of food, Mr. Jacobs stressed.He explained that, many of the school going children were appearing in the classroom without eating anything at home, which he said was causing serious problems in keeping them focused on learning.The MCSS Superintendent further explained that, “due to the fight against the deadly Ebola virus and the issue of breaking the transmission, his administration is hoping to run three shifts, morning, evening and night, as a mean of reducing over crowdedness in the classroom.“We will also have Thermometers testing students and teachers on campus.”He continued, “We are securing vehicles for the three region, Central Monrovia, Sinkor and Bushrod Island, to help in carrying any sick person, both teachers and students, for treatment. “We will have one room reserved on each campus to have the person there before hospital attention is provided.”According to him, they will conduct workshops for teachers and students before the official opening of school and will also observe all Ebola preventive measures on campuses and will have rooms reserved for any outbreak of the disease. He further explained, “We are training guidance counselors for most of our schools that will help to guide many of our students in their learning process. We are also hoping to construct hand-pumps on some of our campuses as a way of improving sanitation.The MCSS Superintendent also disclosed that the counselors will be helping students who are not academically sound and will be guiding them and making sure that such students attend vocational institutions.He disclosed that schools might open in late January or February and close in the late August or September. “We are also working on classes running from Monday to Saturday if all goes well and the Ministry of Education will come up with a position. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
As Ebola continues to decline in Liberia, the Angie Brooks International Center for Women’s Empowerment (ABIC) has launched a two-week anti-Ebola awareness campaign for marketers and residents in Gbarnga, Bong County.The launching last Sunday brought together market women, town chiefs and community dwellers.ABIC’s Project Manager, Mrs. Henrietta Tolbert, said the awareness campaign is focusing on market women in the county’s capital, Gbarnga, and in remote parts of the County. The aim is to educate women about the dangers of the virus and show them the preventive measures that will keep them safe.“Basically, we will be asking our marketers about Ebola and what they understand about it since the outbreak. Whatever knowledge they have will be enhanced with more education and tools to empower them to eradicate Ebola,” Mrs. Tolbert explained.According to her, the awareness campaign will be followed by intensive training to enable the market women to also spread awareness in the towns and villages where they reside or do business to help eradicate the killer virus.The campaign began with the training of 15 persons who will join the ABIC team to make sure all marketplaces and communities in the county are informed about the Ebola virus.“We trained these persons so that they can assist us in conducting the awareness training in the language spoken by the people in the various towns and villages.“We are doing this to send the message across in a very simple way to our people,” she said.Mrs. Tolbert warned that the issue of complacency remains high on the agenda because a majority of the people no longer follows preventive measures like washing hands frequently, avoiding bush meat and secret burials.”She called on every Liberian to join the fight, cautioning that it takes one case to cause another serious outbreak of the virus in the country.The ABIC team spent two weeks in Margibi County, also engaging in a widespread awareness campaign there.“We will distribute hand washing buckets, chlorine and disinfectants to market places and communities to empower them in the fight,” Mrs. Tolbert said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Ministry of Labor has instituted stringent measures aimed at protecting employers and employees at workplaces across the country.According to a statement issued by the entity’s Director of Communications J. Kortu Nyandibo, quoting Minister Neto Z. Lighe, the new guidelines, named; ‘Regulation 19’ is intended to “facilitate the speedy and expeditious disposition of all Labor actions filed before it.”The move is to afford the Ministry the opportunity to quickly arrest labor related matters, arising from workplaces.“Pursuant to Section 34.2(a) of the Executive Law which empowers and authorizes the Ministry to regulate and set guidelines for the protection of the rights of both employees and employers in the country, and in conformity with Section 4302 (3) of Chapter 42 of the Labor Practices Law of Liberia, the ministry announces the regulation setting forth the timing and duration of labor hearings,” Lighe declared.Providing details about the new rules, the Labor boss said Section 1 of Regulation 19 specifies and mandates that “all Labor hearings at the Ministry of Labor shall be concluded in a minimum of two months and the maximum of six months.’’“All hearing officers are mandated in the spirit of speedy and expeditious disposition of Labor actions or disputes, to declare null and void, all cases pending before the Ministry of Labor and which the parties litigant and/or their counsels have failed to proceed or continue after 120 days, for abandonment and failure to proceed.“Section 2 also assures that this mandate is in keeping with Article II Section 9 of Appendix No. 3 of the Labor Law and Labor Practices Law of Liberia,” he said.According to Lighe, pronouncement of this regulation becomes imperative owing to the increased number of protracted cases on the docket of hearing officers at the Division of Labor Standards. It therefore is deemed expedient to guide against undue delays in handling labor disputes.It is in the same spirit and intent of speedy and timely investigation of labor cases that the question of default judgment was raised and regulated in several labor related laws introduced by the government of Liberia, said Lighe.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says the over-centralization of decision making is a major cause for the slow pace of development in the country.She said the government will exert every effort to ensure that total decentralization of government’s decisions is achieved.Liberia News Agency (LINA) Margibi County Correspondent said President Sirleaf made the statement over the weekend in Kakata, Margibi County, when she dedicated the Margibi County Service Center (MCSC).She also observed that having realized the over-centralization of government’s functions, her administration has now embarked on the decentralization process by opening more county service centers.“Government’s decentralization program started when the Governance Commission Chairman, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, initiated the process, which has today come to fruition.”Dr. Amos Sawyer and his colleagues have been the major driving force behind the decentralization program and therefore the government must recognize them “for their tireless efforts,” said the President.She said the program consists of economic, political and administrative components and other essential elements that will ensure that government is brought to the doorsteps of the people.President Sirleaf also mentioned that the program started with the County Development Fund (CDF) and the Social Development Fund (SDF), which enable each county to receive direct budgetary support to their County Development Agenda (CDA) as well as the social development drives.She said in furtherance of the exercise, a draft of the Local Government Act has been submitted to the National Legislature for enactment into law, which will make way for the decentralization of government activities.Further, President Sirleaf said due to the significant nature of the Decentralization Program, it is only implementing the de-concentration component of the program pending the enactment into law of the Local Government Act before the National Legislature.She called on Margibians to take advantage of the Service Center and utilize it for their own good, adding, “You must take ownership of the center and avoid those vices that have the tendency to spoil it.”She also seized the opportunity to commend the European Union (EU) and the Kingdom of Sweden for their total commitment and support, which is making the Decentralization Program a reality.Making remarks, the Swedish State Secretary for International Development Cooperation, Ms. Ulrika Modeer, described decentralization as a very good form of governance.Madam Modeer said that the Swedish Government has approved 158 million euros for Liberia for the next five years.She said of the amount, a significant portion will go towards supporting government’s decentralization programs.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)