Japanese Grant to Build Women and Children Protection Center

first_imgA grant assistance agreement has been signed between the Japanese Government and a local charity, The Foundation for the Rights of Women and Children, the FRWC. Under the agreement, the Japanese Government through its Grant Assistance for Grasssroots Human Security projects scheme, will make available US$71.9K to the FRWC for the construction of a protection center for women and children in Caldwell, Montserrado County.According to a FRWC press release, Executive Director Massa Kiawu-Metzger announced that when completed, the project will serve as a protection center for adolescent girls and child victims of domestic violence. These victims will receive counselling to ensure that they get the necessary help and advice they need to better handle their cases.Japanese Ambassador to Liberia, Kaoru Yoshimura signed on behalf of his government while FRWC Executive Director Kiawu-Metzger signed on behalf of her organization. Mrs. Metzger lauded the Japanese government for the assistance and promised the funds will be used for its intended purpose. She further assured that when completed, the facility will serve as a place of hope for vulnerable women and children at all times. Ambassador Kaoru Yoshimura said his government was delighted to provide assistance to grassroots organizations that will help to restore the dignity of victims of domestic violence.He noted that due to the vulnerable family structures after the civil war and the Ebola crisis, cases of delinquency and status offenses of men among youth increased in various communities. He expressed the hope that with the combined efforts of development partners and other stakeholders, the project will help cut the chain of intergenerational poverty and benefit the communities as well as sustain it for generations. 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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Journalists End Training on Security Info Gathering

first_imgSeveral journalists, particularly those assigned to cover justice and security issues, on Saturday December 17, completed a two-day seminar held under the theme, “Media Coverage of Justice and Security Institutions.”Topics covered during the gathering were how to access information from security institutions, information considered as classified and basic criminal justice terminologies.The training was held at the office of the Center for Criminal Justice Research and Education on Camp Johnson Road. It was organized by the Liberia National Law Enforcement Association (LINLEA).The seminar provided an opportunity for journalists and directors of public affairs of law enforcement agencies for the first time to discuss challenges and find ways to cover security related matters.Those public affairs directors that attended and made presentations were Sam Collins of the Liberia National Police (LNP), James T. Kpadeh of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA) and Mrs. Jasseh Ganyan of the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS).LINLEA’s president Cecil B. Griffiths said the intent of the training was to bring the public affairs directors and journalists together to resolve constraints encountered by journalists in accessing information from law enforcement agencies.“One of your major challenges is the lack of information sharing, and the need for cordial working relationship between the public affairs directors and the journalists,” Griffiths.In separate remarks, Collins, Kpadeh and Ganyan lauded the organizer and promised to ensure that the lessons learnt would be implemented by their respective bosses.“Law enforcement agencies and journalists need to cooperate to facilitate each other’s work,” said LNFS press director Ganyan.Meanwhile, in her remarks, journalist Victoria Wesseh of the Analyst Newspaper described the training as a “way forward for both the law enforcement agencies and journalists.”She called on heads of law enforcement agencies not to see journalists as their “enemies, but to consider them as partners in keeping our country peaceful.”“We are not your enemies. We are only doing a professional job to ensure that our country is stable,” Wesseh assured.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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Senate Debates Bill Seeking Clarification on “Powers and Authority” of NEC

first_imgSen. Sherman at Tuesday’s hearing The Liberian Senate is expected to debate a bill submitted by Grand Cape Mount County Senator Henry Varney Gboto-Nambi Sherman, seeking clarification on the powers and authority of the National Elections Commission with respect to the qualification of political parties and organizations and independent candidates for the ensuing election(s). Senator Sherman, who chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims & Petitions, recently submitted the bill. Last week, the Senate constituted itself into a committee to debate the strongly-worded bill; but, after almost two hours of deliberation, it gave the bill a cautious welcome and voted to send it back to committee’s room for adjustments and a final report to ready it for final debate.According to Senator Sherman, the bill which also seeks clarification on the determination of election results and election disputes, has become necessary because of decisions of the Supreme Court growing out of contestation of election results by candidates in the 2014 Senatorial mid-term elections. “In those (2014 Senatorial election disputes) decisions the Supreme Court ruled, among other things, that it, not the NEC, is the determiner of election results and that an appeal to the Supreme Court from the decision of the National Election Commission on election results serve as a stay on the decision of the NEC.”During Thursday’s debate, Senator Sherman made an emotional reflection on the December 2014 Special Senatorial Election, in which decisions to allow four Senators, declared winners by NEC, to take their seats, was delayed due to complaints to the Supreme Court by the defeated candidates.“Obviously, there is no need for the interpretation that it is the National Elections Commission, not the Supreme Court, which has the power and authority to determine election results,” Senator Sherman noted, and further argued that “by the Supreme Court’s ruling that an appeal to it from a decision of NEC on election results stay that decision, counties were denied their rights under the Constitution to representation at the Liberian Senate over a long period of time.” Sherman named himself and Senators Jim Tornolah of Margibi, Gbleh-Bo Brown of Maryland, and Conmany Wesseh of River Gee counties as casualties of that delay. Referencing the Constitution, Senator Sherman quoted Article 83(c) which provides that returns (results) of an election shall be declared by the National Elections Commission; and that Section 4.14 of the 2004 amendment to the Elections Law provides that NEC shall collect all the tabulated results of the elections and announce the returns not later than fifteen (15) days after the elections.Senators (in their numbers) who welcomed the bill suggested that the time stipulated for the Supreme Court to render judgment is not sufficient; while some even suggested that the two months (November and December) after the October polls and before the January inauguration be allotted for the Supreme Court’s investigation of election complaints. One of the sticky contentions raised by some Senators, however, is what happens (with respect to financial compensation) if the candidate declared by NEC as the winner in an election takes the seat, but is later found guilty by the Supreme Court. The argument then ensued that to avoid such entanglement, the NEC should remain the only authority to declare the legitimate winner in an election it conducts. Certainly, Cllr Sherman asserted, “The ruling of the Supreme Court that an appeal to it from challenges to election results serves as a stay to the implementation of the decision of the National Elections Commission, constitutes a violation of the constitutional rights of counties’ representation in the Legislature, or to whatever other office of the Liberian government for which an election was held.”To preserve this constitutional right, Senator Sherman’s draft law provides that “an appeal to the Supreme Court would not serve as a stay of the decision of the NEC on disputes over election results or any other election dispute. This draft law also shortens the time for election disputes to be disposed of by the National Election Commission and the Supreme Court so as to ensure that a successful candidate at an election is timely inducted into office,” he said, calling for “the expeditious enactment of this draft into law so as to govern the ensuing October 2017 elections.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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2C Stresses Need for Quality Music in Liberia, If…

first_img2C being welcomed traditionally by the president of the Liberia National Culture Union at the Roberts International Airport (RIA)A U.S.-based Liberian artiste, Romeo Mulbah, known affectionately as 2C has called on musicians to raise the bar. He said there is a need for Liberian musicians to produce quality music, if they must rule the world’s music scene.Mulbah, who spoke to reporters at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) upon his arrival, said many musicians in the country should be mindful of the fact that the profession is no longer a child’s play.  He stressed the need for musicians to embrace professionalism as a code of conduct.“I am unhappy with the way things are going on in the music world as the music market is daily flooded with unpleasant music. All hands must be on deck to get rid of this menace, which has eaten deep into the growth of the Liberian music industry.“As long as you believe in yourself, work hard and chase your dream, you will become successful in life,” he said.The Liberian international star explained that he was 12-years old when he first met his manager, only identified as Charles. He said at the aged of 5 he left the country for neighboring Ivory Coast, where his love for music started.“I am trying to put Liberia on top of music on the international scene,” he said.2C said Liberian musicians should get out of the box. “If you want to be recognized globally, you got to spread your wings as much as possible,” he said.According to him, Liberia has talented individuals but “lots of Liberian musicians are not recognized globally.”Mulbah indicated that he was scheduled to visit Ghana, Senegal, and Gambia but chose to first come to Liberia, adding, “there is no place like home.”Touching on his latest song “Mr. Mechanic”, Mulbah said the song tries to send out a message that whenever a boyfriend breaks the heart of a girl she will definitely find another guy to mend her broken heart. Akon recently signed the artist to his record label Kulture, and the deal is expected to last for four years.“It has been my dream throughout my life to sing alongside Akon,” Mulbah said.The Liberian international singer described Akon as a god of music in Africa, stressing, “everybody looks up to him.”Following the deal with Akon, Mulbah said he had become the happiest person on earth, noting, “when an artist is attached to Akon, more doors are open.”Mulbah called on Liberian musicians to work harder, produce quality music and put aside jealousy. While in the country, 2C met with Minister Len Eugene Nagbe and Ambassador Judy Endee, Liberia’s cultural ambassador. He also met other local artists and engage in some philanthropic work in Bong, where he hails from.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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EPA, UNDP Create Early Warning System

first_imgThe event brought together over 60 participants representing various stakeholders from Montserrado, River Cess, Bomi,Grand Bassa and Margibi counties.Authorities of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport (MoT), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) under the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS), and its international partners on August 27-30, 2018, conducted a three-day awareness workshop on climate change aimed at creating public consciousness on the Early Warning System (EWS).The awareness workshop, which was held with national stakeholders, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the media on the benefits and sustainability of EWS, began in Tubmanburg, Bomi Country, under the theme, “Taking Climate Information to the End-Users.”The event brought together over 60 participants representing various stakeholders from Montserrado, River Cess, Bomi,Grand Bassa and Margibi counties respectively.The training was intended to educate local people on how to use the “WeatherBug” mobile app to forecast the weather condition within 10 or more days.According to EPA, there are 11 weather stations in 10 counties that collect information from the 15 sub-political division of the country.In a presentation, Jeremiah G. Sonkan, NCSS National Coordinator, said the term “Early warning” as used in many fields, is to describe the  provision of information on an emerging dangerous hazard that enables advance action to reduce the associated risks. Sonkan said EWS exists for natural geophysical and biological hazards, complex socio-political emergencies, industrial hazards and personal health risks.He said EWS can be set up to avoid or reduce the impact of hazards such as floods, landslides, storms and forest fires.Sonkan indicated that early action can also prevent a hazard turning into a human disaster by preventing loss of life, and reducing the economic and material impact.He described climate change as a threat to human development, and has economic implications for poor countries, leaving them more vulnerable.“It is safe to say that our livelihood activities are climate sensitive, and therefore, in need of EWS as a first step to adaptation,” Mr. Sonkan said.A participant, Ruth Varney, said the training has helped her understand the importance of taking preventive measures to stop the embarrassment that is associated with climate change.Madam Varney said the issue of climate change is everybody’s business. As such, it needs both national, and local attention by creating constant awareness.She said human activities have impacted the world so much that it is creating hardship on the environment.Madam Varney said with the EWS training, the participants are able to forecast the weather and prepare themselves for rain and sun.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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The Need for a National ICT Conference to Drive the Pro-poor Agenda and Revive…

first_img– Advertisement – “For some of us, the future is now, therefore, sharing knowledge and investing in each other’s capabilities will help us to chart the way through the extraordinarily complex labyrinth with which we are faced.” By Dr. Darren Wilkins | 0886703789\0777129092 | DWilkins@SaharaTechnology.ComIn 2007 when Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took over the affairs of Liberia, she explored every opportunity that could bring development to Liberia; a country that had just emerged from a devastating 14-year civil war. One of the opportunities Madam Sirleaf explored was the infusion of Information and Communications Technologies or ICTs in her developmental agenda. Hence, the Government of Liberia (GoL) decided to host the nation’s first ICT Conference with the aim of formulating a national policy on ICT. That Conference brought together several stakeholders including: GoL’s Ministries, Agencies and Commissions or MACs, Local Government officials; the Liberian business community; multinational institutions such as Georgia Institute of Technology (GeorgiaTech), Microsoft Corporation, Cisco Systems, OSIWA, ZTE Corporation, HAUWEI, the World Bank among others.Subsequent to the 2007 National ICT conference was the blitzkrieg of Liberian ICT professionals (including myself), constituting the country’s “brain gain” from the Diaspora, into country. Other developments that followed the Conference included: the creation of the Telecommunications Act of 2007, the development of National Telecommunications and ICT Policy 2010-2015, the landing of the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) optical fiber cable and many other developments that give birth to the partial “e-environment” we continue to enjoy today. And, three years after that Conference, I would write Liberia’s first book on ICTs; “A Digital Liberia.”The 2007 national Information Communication Technology (ICT) conference set the stage for many phenomenal changes in Liberia. Today, when you look around, you will that mobile phones have become ubiquitous; Internet and broadband access are becoming commonplace and affordable; ICTs have been adopted in all sectors including government, education, business, non-governmental organization (NGO), et al.ICTs now affect every development sector – supporting the work of hundreds of thousands of Liberians in government and the private sector; creating new ICT-based jobs; assisting healthcare workers and teachers; facilitating political change, etc. Indeed, the 2007 conference set the stage for many things to happen.Yet, despite the progress made, there are still a plethora of challenges that continue to face the sector and the nation as a whole. For example, the issue of digital inequality, especially between those in Monrovia and those in the rural areas, still endures. The Government’s inability to implement a robust e-government program is a problem inherited from the previous government. The list goes on!It has been over a decade (2007-2018), since the last national ICT conference and almost a year since the end of Madam Sirleaf’s government.  A new Government has taken over with a new agenda; an agenda intended to better the lives of the people, especially those considered poor, marginalized and vulnerable.  Now, as with any 21st century economic agenda, ICT is required to achieve the much anticipated and quintessential result; sustainable economic development. Hence, it is for this reason, I am calling on the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications to consider a national ICT conference (National ICT Conference ‘2019). I mentioned 2019 (January or February) so that we can have time to plan and prepare for proposed the event.The National ICT Conference ‘2019 will take advantage of phenomenal evolution that occurred across Liberia’s ICT spectrum since 2007, and bring together diverse stakeholders in the ICT value chain. This assemblage will involve discussions and the sharing exciting ideas, so as to help strengthen our ICT sector and drive the Government’s Pro-poor agenda.The proposed conference will play a crucial role in coordinating synergies between stakeholders and fostering ICT innovation culture in Liberia.Ad­di­tion­al­ly, the con­fer­ence could be used to fa­cil­i­tate the of­fi­cial launch of the revised Na­tion­al ICT Plan 2018-2023. This Policy is the re­sult of a se­ries of con­sul­ta­tions which have al­ready tak­en place and the con­fer­ence could bring to­geth­er na­tion­al stake­hold­ers in gov­ern­ment, busi­ness, acad­e­mia and civ­il so­ci­ety to un­veil the Policy.The proposed con­fer­ence will pro­vide a fo­rum in which na­tion­al stake­hold­ers will be ex­posed to and share views on key pol­i­cy is­sues and trends in ICT for de­vel­op­ment. We can also use the “Conference” to bring together youth innovators to exhibit their innovations and ideas. The Conference will allow ICT researchers and practitioners to present papers and ideas on ICT for the betterment of our sector and country.  This will make the Conference more practical.By discussing cutting-edge global trends and inviting young innovators, the event will drive innovation and foster higher aspirations at all levels. Moreover, the conference will seek to explore the role of ICT in creating a more inclusive society for all persons.The proposed Conference will invite all stakeholders including: GoL’s ministries, agencies and commissions or MACs, Local Government officials; Local ICT firms, Local colleges and universities, the Liberian business community, NGOs, the World Bank, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), GTZ, DFID, Chinese Government; multinational institutions such those who were invited in 2007 Microsoft Corporation, Cisco Systems, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), ZTE Corporation, HAUWEI, GOOGLE, CSquared, Georgia Tech, MIT, Harvard, etc.Across the Liberian spectrum, ICT has evolved over the years into a critical enabler and facilitator. It has enabled different sectors of the economy leapfrog their capabilities and, therefore flourish. Moreover, ICT has become an important stakeholder in breaking down the digital divide, making information easily accessible to many; thanks to the mobile phone and mobile internet.As ICT continues to change rapidly, so too are the demands of people. Hence, there is a need to continuously foster cooperation and partnership among different stakeholders locally and globally, in order to respond to these changing demands and changing times. In order to achieve this, a national ICT conference becomes necessary. Also, new trends continue to be evident; from cyber-enabled interference to democratic elections and so on. We are stronger when we share knowledge, improve our cooperation and invest in each other’s capabilities.For some of us, the future is now, therefore, sharing knowledge and investing in each other’s capabilities will help us to chart the way through the extraordinarily complex labyrinth with which we are faced.Now, while I am proposing a National ICT Conference ‘2019 to revive our ICT sector and drive the Pro-poor agenda, I am also proposing that the conference remains a yearly event to keep the momentum running. The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications can jump start this initiative by setting up a national committee consisting of major stakeholders in the sector to begin preparations.Finally, it is important to note that the proposed national ICT Conference is not only intended to bring stakeholders together and set the nation’s agenda on ICT. It is also intended to illustrate real Government’s commitment and pledge to ICT development in Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Dr. Darren Wilkinslast_img read more

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172nd Independence Day Oration: TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER (Full Text)

first_imgLiberian Nobel Peace Laureate, Leymah Gbowee National Oration by Leymah Roberta Gbowee on the 172nd Independence Anniversary of the Republic of Liberia, July 26, 2019  H.E. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, H. E. Jewel Howard Taylor, Vice President Republic of Liberia, His Honor Frances Korkpor Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, Hon. Bhofal Chambers, Speaker and Members of the National Legislature, Hon. Albert Chie, Pro Temp and members of the Senate, Dean and Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Officials of Government, women of Liberia – women oh women – members of the religious community, members of the traditional council, foreign guests, business leaders, students, members of the fourth estate, fellow citizens.This is another great day the Lord has made and I will rejoice greatly and be glad.Every year, a Liberian is given the task of being National Orator. When you sit from outside, it seems like a really beautiful and colorful experience; which in fact it is. The pressure that comes with this national duty is beyond description. Everyone has a piece of advice on how you should proceed. I have a sister who asked me to include everything in this speech from how to be better Christians as Liberians, to morality and infidelity, to domestic violence issues, just about everything. I have received emails on different thematic concerns and what I needed to say. People have asked me to come and speak the truth, others just wanted it to be the typical Leymah style speech straight from the heart. These requests added additional pressure to the already mounting expectations.July 26 is one of the few moments where almost all of the population and diaspora community gather to listen to the National Orator, hopeful that the message will speak to issues that are important to their daily existence, the future of their children and the growth and development of the nation. Many also listen to this moment hopeful that the designated speaker will recommend solutions to national issues and that government will take strides to implement some of the recommendations.When gathering my thoughts in preparation for this speech, I drew on a daily practice that I frequently use to guide my steps – which is to sit back and do an analysis of the situation that I am confronted with or my interactions. What I deduce from all these requests back and forth is that Liberians are generally concerned about their nation and all they wish for is the very best. This concern cuts across all counties, ethnic, gender and financial lines and it is not aligned to any political party or movement.The theme for today’s celebration is really befitting for the times that we find ourselves in, “Together We Are Stronger”. We are at a place in our national’s life where it is very important for us to begin to speak the language of unity, this language of unity and togetherness is a language that we have used from the founding of this nation. Our national anthem propounds this message of unity, our pledge to the flag speaks of it, in our traditional and native languages we have very special ways of speaking about togetherness. The Kpelle people say “Kukatonon”, the Lorma people will say “Zeewelekeze”, every tribe in this country has a special way of speaking about togetherness.The question that kept coming to my mind is: for a nation that has so many ways of preaching togetherness and so many symbols of national unity, why do we need to focus on this now and why do we find ourselves drifting further and further away from the dreams of our founding fathers and mothers? Why has unity evaded us? Why is unity like a mist in this land, we preach it, we proclaim it but we unfortunately cannot hold on it?To help me answer these questions, I did a mini tour of different communities in our country, trying to get views of Liberians – technically seeking help from ordinary Liberians to craft this speech. I wish my team and I had created a video documentary for everyone in this room to watch. From Bong to Bomi, Cape Mount to Center and Randall Streets, students, teachers, religious leaders, petty traders, sex workers, also our neglected brothers and sisters commonly called Zogos and Zogees. I wanted to hear from all of them about how we as Liberians, can be stronger together.The themes were consistent. The recommendations were synced. Some wanted to go straight to the point whilst others thought it was important to talk about why we are not together in the first place. Others felt it was important to define “togetherness” before we could even proceed. The youngest respondents were between 10 and 13 years old.The tour also had a very interesting spin. On many occasions, I was being questioned by my participants:How can we be together, Madam Gbowee, in the presence of very harsh economic conditions? How can we be stronger together when corruption is still at its peak?How can we be stronger together when individuals who were poor yesterday are now living in mansions and driving cars that cost enough to fund good schools for our children?How can we be stronger together when women are still dying in the hundreds during the process of giving birth?How can we be stronger together when there is a serious war on the bodies of women without any legal recourse in many instances?How can we be stronger together when there is a prevalence of selective justice?How can we be stronger together when political appointment is based not on competence but party affiliation?How can we be stronger together when our educational system is a huge challenge?How can we be stronger together when we can’t feed ourselves?How can we be stronger together when interests are never national but individual?My 13-year-old, very intelligent friend asks, “how can we be stronger together when too many wrongs are never corrected and are allowed to continue from one regime to the other?”One question in particular resonated with me and has stuck with me as I prepare my remarks. The question was: how can we be stronger together when our country is divided in three parts – the Ruling Position, the Opposition and the No Position – and each comes with rhetoric and hate messages that are worse than the war rhetoric?I pondered on the three divisions that were mentioned and decided to probe further on what those three equal parts really represent in our society.Let me start with the first category, the No Position.This is the biggest group, but it comes with the mentality of the smallest minority. No Positions are the ones that suffer the most in our society. Their children are the key recipients of the messy education system. They are the ones who suffer the poor health care system. Justice for most No Positions is nonexistent. They live in abject poverty and can barely afford a meal a day. They are the everyday Esau’s: their political alliances and choices are never developmental driven but driven by stomach infrastructure. They fail repeatedly to look at the plans or even ask for plans from politicians. Rather, they take cash, t- shirts and bags of rice.I agree things are tough. Life is hard. People are hungry. But if we fail to ask the hard questions when we have the power, why are we surprised when we elect SGGs: “Steal, Grab and Go”.No Position has the “government must” and “that the people’s thing attitude”, and they refuse to get involved constructively and creatively in national issues, including issues affecting their daily lives. No Positions hold government responsible for everything including the garbage they throw out the windows when seated in public and private transport.The ‘No Position’ group feel that they are separate from politics and decisions. But this means they have allowed themselves be played like a game of tennis or a soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid. By having no position, they tell themselves they are excused from the dilemma we face as a nation.The second category is Opposition. Depending on which period we find ourselves, these are a bunch of recycled politicians or wannabe politicians. They claim to have all the answers for our national problems, including peace and reconciliation. Opposition suffers from a severe case of amnesia. They refuse to acknowledge that they too have contributed to our national crisis.Opposition is often so desperate for power that they are willing to align with murderers, criminals, con artists and just about anyone to achieve their goals. One interesting thing about the opposition is that their enemies of yesterday can easily be friends of today and critics of yesterday can quickly become praise singers of today.The Opposition, in most instances, operates from a place of intense irrationality with no room for common ground. The opposition is suspicious of every and any interaction with the ruling position, labelling anyone that interacts with the ruling position a “sell out” or a regime collaborator. This makes it difficult for politicians to interact across the divide and increases the level of deception and two-facedness in our daily political interaction.The Opposition in many instances perpetuates “Us versus Them” rhetoric, increasing the division in our country through their words and actions. There is no space for collaboration and partnership to solve the people’s problems.The third category is the Ruling Position.They come into power with “Da Our Time” attitude, winner takes it all. The Ruling Position has a severe sense of entitlement, believing they have the right to a certain position and lifestyle. They have no room for criticism and anyone who holds views contrary to the agreed upon view is seen as the enemy.The Ruling Position expects blind loyalty; which turns the story of the “Emperor with no clothes” into a reality. Leaders are fed a diet of unnecessary praises and lies by members of the Ruling Position. All for one purpose: jobs. Jobs that they are in most cases not qualified for. Political appointments within the Ruling Position have absolutely nothing to do with qualifications but rather a person’s ability to sing the political anthem of the day. “Pressure” in one case or “Gbeyama” in another case.The Ruling Position gives rewards not on the basis on excellence but on the basis of who can denigrate their opponent the most on social media and other platforms. This creates a culture among our young people that competence and education are not necessary tools for ascending to any position.The Ruling Position often has misplaced priorities. Their development agenda is nicely written on paper but implementation is basically their private projects.The Ruling Position, like the Opposition, also suffers from a severe case of amnesia, forgetting their actions and reactions when they were opposition.For generations, we have lived in this vicious cycle of Opposition and Ruling Position. When Opposition becomes Ruling Position, too often they adopt the same practices that they used to critique. When the roles shift, the situation remains the same or are exacerbated. While Ruling Position and Opposition continue to argue about who is right, our country is gripped by many vices. Our young people are feeling hopeless. Drug addiction has taken over Liberia. Education is perceived as a mess by both sides of the divide. While Ruling Position and Opposition go at each other’s throats, our children’s futures are being mortgaged, natural resources are sold to those who have no development agenda for the Republic of Liberia. While these groups argue about ideology, Liberian women are raped, abused, maimed with no form of justice. Our country continues to lag behind our neighbors while these groups clash.Fellow Liberians, the beauty of these three groups is that they’re not static and regardless of their positions, they all have to share a common space. The space called Liberia.Friends, I was once told that the meaning of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over but expecting a different outcome. We cannot continue to conduct business in this county as we have done since 1847; 172 years and we are still searching for what it is that brings us together.If I may take you back to the questions that were asked of me during my listening tour, I honestly did not attempt to respond to any of these questions or comments. My role is not to tell you my personal opinion, rather it is to spark a conversation about our shared values and how we can build a future where together we are stronger. As hard and controversial as each of these questions and concerns may seem, these are legitimate concerns and I must state that not one was spoken out of spite but out of hope that things would be better.What I heard in these concerns is the reality that for Liberians to be stronger together, we need to address health issues, teenage pregnancy, teen prostitution, drug addiction and many more. We need affordable and accessible health care for mothers and babies. I heard that we need to address education. Our young people need quality education that prepares them for the future. I heard that we need to address youth unemployment. We must create viable employment opportunities for our youth population beyond pehn-pehn riding.When young people are positioned to be job creators rather than job seekers, it makes it almost impossible for people to be lured into picking up arms and creating instability for a few to be powerful. I heard that we need freedom and justice. When the needs of all are considered, it is easier for people to vision and dream together, peace becomes a collective reality, reconciliation comes more naturally. We must address the harsh economic conditions because families can barely find food to pay their children’s school fees or buy basic necessities.Fellow Liberians, it is time we sit individually and collectively and do some serious soul searching on where we want to go as a nation. For us to be stronger together, we must agree on a set of collective values that we will live by and teach to the next generation. Values that will guide our national politics as well as our everyday life. The Bible says “…two cannot walk together unless they agree”. It will be near to impossible for us to be stronger together if we have not agreed on the values of the journey of togetherness.The values that kept coming up time and time again in my listening tour are transparency, truth, equality and love for country above self.Transparency is something that we heard repeatedly.Mr. President, members of the Legislature, the fight against corruption is not in words, it is in action. You must walk your talk. You cannot preach against corruption and then not declare your assets and keep it locked up. Show us what you came with so that in a few years when you’ve got two houses, we can know that you already had those resources in the bank.Second, truth. Truth has evaded us in this country. We lie to gain prominence, to gain positions of authority. Let us stop lying. Truth will bring unity. From generation to generation, our leaders have been fooled by religious and traditional leaders. Bishops have become partisans. Pastors and Imams have become praise singers. Traditional leaders repeatedly twist our cultural practices to please a powerful few, giving unmerited traditional titles. It’s time for us to bring truth back into the national history.Third, is the value of equality. Liberia is not a political party. Liberia is a nation for all Liberians. In order for us to move forward together, we must recognize that men as well as women, the blind, the physically challenged, and youth groups are equal parts of the society. Mr. President, I will address this to you directly. It is not acceptable for us to have only two women in cabinet. I, Leymah Roberta Gbowee, Nobel Laureate challenge any Liberian to tell me that the men in this country are smarter than the women, hence the men should be given prominence in jobs and elected position. I believe that it is high time that the women who fought through tears and blood from the founding of this country to the bringing of peace to this nation should be given positions of leadership based on their competence. As a self-declared feminist in chief, you are being called out to walk your talk. It’s time to stop the old boy’s network.Finally, love for country above self. Liberia is our “Land of liberty”. The reality is that despite our differences, this is our home and we share a common duty to move Liberia forward by taking responsibility as civilians and not expecting government to take on the tasks that are in our own hands. A typical example could be taxi drivers putting bags in their cars to help passengers stop throwing rubbish in the streets. We, all 4.5 million of us are called to use our unique gifts and talents in service of Mother Liberia.Fellow Liberians, a common symbol of unity in this country is the broom. Please allow me to invite three guests that I brought to join me on stage to help me illustrate this point.Let’s study the broom for a moment. A broom isn’t a broom before its tied together. Before being bound together, a broom is a collection of straws scattered with no defined purpose. The scattered straws remind me of the current state of three groups- the No Position, the Opposition and the Ruling Position. When the groups are separated and scattered from one another we are unable to work together to meet our common goals. We cannot be coordinated and we move in opposite directions from one another. To become a broom that cleans the house, the hundreds of tiny straws need to be held firmly together with a very strong cord at the top. Similarly, when the three groups come together, united by the cord of our common values: transparency, truth, equality and love for country, we turn an unproductive situation, an unproductive nation around.When the three groups come together in service of our nation, we will have true peace. Let us remember that peace is not the absence of war, but the presence of the conditions that gives each person a purpose. Peace is all we have standing between our country’s development or sliding back. To have peace, to really have sustainable peace, as it is said in our national anthem, we must unite together through our common values and collective efforts. For we are truly stronger together.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 charged for refusing to give fingerprint to Police

first_imgA man who refused to have his finger prints taken by detectives after an allegation of break and enter and larceny was on Friday arraigned at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts. 32-year-old Davon Robert of Lot 91 Garnett Street, Georgetown denied the allegation when it was read to him. The allegation stated that on May 2, while being in custody at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), he refused to submit his finger to Constable Thompson for his prints to be taken. Police Prosecutor Sanj Singh, who did not disclose the facts of the matter, had no objection to bail being granted, while noting that the case file is completed. Robert was granted $30,000 bail, and he is expected to return to Court on May 15.last_img

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Kitty round-about finally opens to commuters

first_img– final works being doneDespite the fact that the $78.9 million project is partially incomplete, it was opened to vehicular traffic on May 26, as was promised by the engineers.Commuters are allowed to use the newly erected structure, coming from Carifesta Avenue, Georgetown and the Seawall Road, as well as Vlissengen Road. However, it remains blocked to vehicular traffic traversing from the East Coast of Demerara.The site when visited by Guyana Times on Thursday was blocked with barricades to prevent commuters from using the facility at certain points. Several road signs were installed to help road users.It was later explained by an engineer attached to the Public Infrastructure Ministry that the roads were blocked to facilitate the final works on the project, which include markings to guide persons while using the largest round-about in the country.Just days ago, several roads were blocked to accommodate the construction of the major project. The roads included Carifesta Avenue heading East; Kitty Public Road heading West to Carifesta Avenue, and JB Singh Road heading North to Rupert Craig Highway.The blocked roadway had caused some confusion and anger for motorists who questioned the works of the project, deeming it as unnecessary. Nevertheless as the project winds down to its completion, it has been a major time saver for many.Earlier this year, the contract for the project was awarded to S Jagmohan Hardware Supplies and Construction Services. The decision to construct a roundabout at this busy junction was made after a sinkhole had formed nearby.The roundabout is expected to reduce waiting and stoppage time for motorists heading to the East Coast of Demerara and those using Carifesta Avenue, Vlissengen Road, and the Kitty Public Road.When fully operational, the flow of traffic in the area is expected to significantly improve since vehicles heading to the East Coast of Demerara and those using Carifesta Avenue, Vlissengen Road, and the Kitty Public Road will no longer have to stop and wait on the traffic lights.last_img read more

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