Guyana is not on the mend, it’s falling apart

first_imgDear Editor,I was totally dumbfounded upon reading in sections of the media an editorial captioned ‘Guyana on the mend’. There were so many inaccuracies and empty rhetoric devoid of any factual data that the only conclusion that I could have drawn is that the editorial is bent on ‘selling dreams,’ just like the Coalition Government is selling dreams to a ‘good life’.The editorial said the crime rate, especially murder, rapes and gang violence, has reduced and road fatalities are lower’. In January this year, the same media house carried an article captioned ‘US warns its citizens about Guyana’s crime rate – says local police lack resources to respond to serious crime’. I had stated that the US Department had asked its citizens to exercise increased caution when visiting Guyana, due to the country’s crime rate. That same article further added that, in terms of crime, ‘Guyana is at the same level with Jamaica…Since the year started, there has been an increase in armed robberies, with three to four reported cases daily’.Every day the newspapers’ headlines on crimes are sending shock waves throughout this country. I wonder why suddenly an editorial in the same newspaper can carry such a contradictory editorial.The editorial lauded the Guyana Revenue Authority for being less corrupt, reducing the smuggling of counterfeit items and increasing its revenue collection. The writer needs to understand that bringing a few smugglers to justice has not reduced smuggling. Most of the times when smugglers are caught, it is because they failed to adequately bribe the relevant officials. Only recently, a high-ranking SWAT officer was intercepted with 30 cases of whisky. In that case, the arresting officers were not aware whom the whisky belonged to. Then, in April, a boat smuggling fuel was intercepted simply because the GEA officials were not aware that a senior Government official was involved.Be not fooled, smuggling in Berbice is business as usual! Moreover, it does not take a fortune teller to tell us the increased revenue collection is the result on increased taxation, and the 200 new taxes are catapulting this nation into poverty! Businessmen and citizens are reeling from this increased taxation, but the writer sees this as complimentary. The writer should tell us how effectively this increased revenue is being spent by this spendthrift Government!On the other hand, the Government’s policies have negatively impacted the construction sector mainly through increased taxes and other fees. In November 2017, the World Bank highlighted a decline in doing business in Guyana. The Report for Ease of Doing Business in 2018 showed that Guyana slipped two places, from 124 to 126.In addition, the Bank of Guyana Report 2018 stated that construction and service activities were relatively flat at the end of March 2018. Private Sector credit to construction and engineering declined by 11.6 per cent, while public spending on construction projects fell by 37.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2017. The Finance Minister had projected construction to grow by 14.5 per cent in 2018. It seems that the Sector is off to a ‘good’ start.The writer unabashedly bragged about the Government’s “zero tolerance” policy on crime, corruption and illegal drugs working, when an entire penitentiary was razed to the ground by inmates, drugs are being openly peddled even in our prisons, and prisoners celebrate parties with expensive liquor and drugs. So one can just imagine what happens on the outside! Moreover, corruption has been galloping in all directions and at all levels from the very inception of this Government taking office: the lack of transparency and accountability in the Durban Park project, the Sussex Street Drugs Bond, the single sourced drugs’ procurement, the awarding of contracts to party hacks and cronies who are ill-qualified, etc. In every region there are reports of corruption from AFC Party officials, especially in Region 6; and, most remarkably, until now, Cabinet still awards contracts while the Procurement Commission remains toothless and neutered.Moreover, far from the truth, people do not believe that things are getting better under this Government, and that the country is on the mend. The economy is on a downward slide, recording the lowest growth rate of 2.1 per cent in 2017, and inflation is on the rise, with over 5000 dismissed sugar workers living in dire poverty. Even those who are currently employed are finding it difficult to have three square meals. Since 2015, they have not been given a cent increase, and, in fact, many benefits were snatched from them. Until now, the Government does not have a plan to resolve the many debilitating issues affecting GUYSUCO, while the sugar production level keeps on decreasing. Forsaking agriculture for oil is asinine.Youths are still jobless, as their exodus gains momentum, and their hopes have withered beyond redemption under this Government. Unfortunately, ‘empty promises and propaganda are NOT things of the past, as this Government continues to sell dreams of a ‘good life’! Guyana is not on the mend, it’s falling apart!Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC Councillor, Region 6last_img read more

Coalition bridge is breaking down

first_imgDear Editor,It is clearer now than ever before that the coalition bridge is breaking down. Evidence of this fragmentation seems to be spiralling from all angles as a bitter divorce looms.The unravelling of the incestuous relationship comes as no surprise to many. This is since there were really no core foundation principles that would have hopefully merged into something stronger, in support of national and local development. The implication points to the ultimate and further weakening of national and local governance structures which must be remedied with some measure of objectivity.One cannot help but observe the shallowness of decisions, levels of unpreparedness and lack of the coordination of this underperforming coalition. Recently, several A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) members refused to sit in the Parliament when the vote was about to be taken in relation to objections advanced by the Opposition regarding the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) staff’s duty-free vehicle concessions.The situation was indeed overwhelming and quite shameful when Chairman of the Alliance For Change (AFC), Vice President Khemraj Ramjattan and Business Minister Dominic Gaskin abstained from voting with their colleagues on the Government benches. It was also most embarrassing to see the Leader of the AFC, Raphael Trotman and the Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo voting for the motion and the other members voting with the Opposition against the motion.Is this the way that the Members of Parliament representing the Government wish to convey their representation of the people in the country’s highest decision-making body? It is quite obvious and troubling that such levels of unpreparedness regarding critical national matters do not augur well for the coordination required in moving Guyana forward. Simply put, this coalition Government is signalling their resolve and focus on bribing and fooling people to win their support.This motion itself was one which should not have been brought to the honourable House in the first place.This motion was before the House for several weeks for debate. And the APNU/AFC were made fully aware that it was wicked and nasty to use their parliamentary single-seat majority to pass such a motion when these matters could be dealt with by existing policies and rules to govern exemption of taxes and entitlements. It was indeed a total waste of time and abuse of the entire parliamentary mechanism, staff and money to facilitate such skulduggery.The Public Service Register for travelling positions is clear regarding the categories for Ministries, agencies and departments which should be beneficiaries and the level of benefits which should be accorded. Most ridiculous was the fact that many on the Government benches were lying through their teeth because it is public knowledge that Surrender Lall-Boodhoo is not working at the FIU office.It is important to point out that the granting of the concessions by the National Assembly would have been creating a serious precedent in the entire public/civil service, along with all the related agencies. Critically, it highlights the priorities of selected members on the Governments’ side, as well as their lack of concern for critical areas which should be truly prioritised and supported.Reference herein is made to the Commissioners of the Local Government Commission, whose critical role in the functions of municipalities, village and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) demand that they are granted concessions for vehicles as a critical support.Further, there are literally hundreds of similar cases, in the Ministries, State agencies, semi-autonomous bodies, and constitutional agencies that will not only be demanding the same concessions, but are truly deserving of the support. The Opposition has saved this nation from a PNC-planned recipe for riot in the demand for duty-free concessions, and towards measures for a more objective approach to be pursued.The Minister of Finance must assert himself and he should have brought a ‘Bill’ to change the law and give the GRA Commissioner General the powers to take the appropriate action where necessary if the current system needs any adjustments.Sincerely,Neil Kumarlast_img read more

Is this the protection rape victims get?

first_imgDear Editor,The recent report of the alleged sexual advantage (rape) committed on the helpless thirteen-year-old who was left in the care of a senior who was supposed to protect and serve but chose to serve in a different way by the media houses has me wondering what their true intentions are.Kudos to the young girl for confiding immediately in her mother when she returned; good sense prevails and the appropriate actions are being taken.What is sickening to me is reading that the Prosecutor, whom I’m assuming is also a police, chose not to object to bail being granted to the rapist who is also a member of the Force.There are numerous cases that are not as serious as that and the prosecutors would find all sorts of reasons for denying bail, and in some cases, should they agree to bail they would ask that the Passport be submitted or the person report to the station every week.Lo and behold, there wasn’t such a request. Incidentally, the better judgment of the Magistrate prevails.Good job, Your Honor. I have raised my concerns about the actions of Police Prosecutors’ actions in various court matters by way of Letter to the Editor a while back, but no one sees it fit to address that.Editor, my main concern is about the way the story was carried in the media. They spared no expense to post the image of the alleged rapist and the address where the horrible act was committed. It’s my humble opinion that secrecy should have been exercised to protect the innocent child. No doubt that residents in the area would easily identify the victim and mixed reactions would be meted out to her.Is that sensible reporting? It’s my understanding that media houses undergo training/seminars or are aware of ways to protect such victims, not pointing them out to the public technically. It just shows that no one is to be trusted, and with so many suicides occurring, I would only hope we don’t have any more arising from this carelessness. I guess the media is under the impression that their action is proper protection for rape victims!Sincerely,Sahadeo Bateslast_img read more

Ministry to have emergency meeting with “Draga” owner

first_imgSunken dredge in Mazaruni RiverThe Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) will convene an emergency meeting on Monday with the mining operator to have the sunken dredge “Draga” removed from the Mazaruni River.The sunken dredge in the Mazaruni RiverThe Natural Resources Ministry has released a statement in the wake of concerns raised by residents of the area that the sunken dredge can lead to grave harm for those traversing the river.The Ministry said it has confirmed that between the responsible mining operator and MARAD, there will be an intensified effort to remove the dredge from its location in the Mazaruni River.“The Ministry of Natural Resources can confirm that the Ministry is mindful of the many complaints from the public and is committed to ensuring that this issue is addressed as soon as possible,” the statement read.The dredge, which is owned by Crown Mining Supplies at Piremap Falls, sank some two months ago, causing the water levels to rise.However, the Ministry noted that while there has been some degree of restriction in the river due to the salvage cables attached to the wreck, it was reported that some cargo and passenger boats have been able to pass the area without hindrance, using a back channel.The water level has caused some difficulty in the salvaging efforts, the statement added.An emergency meeting will be convened on Monday between an advisory board of MARAD and the operator responsible for the sunken dredge, to discuss emergency modalities for its removal.Villagers in the area have registered their concerns that the situation is a “disaster waiting to happen”, as the water may recede at any time and force boat operators to take even more chances. They argued that the company was doing nothing to remedy the problem. “There has been no apology, no information, no relief, nothing,” one resident complained.last_img read more

Dimeh Women Prioritize Culture

first_imgCelebrating and conserving our culture is a way of life for many of our people. Even though many say the practice of culture has totally vanished from Liberia, while Western values have eaten up the soil of Liberia and Africa at large. For these reasons, there are many Liberian children who do not understand their culture and the way of life of their ancestors.Unlike many towns around Liberia, Dimeh Town in the Dowen District of Bomi County, has vowed to make culture a top priority in their community, noting that the way of their fathers cannot be forgotten.It was revealed by the Chairlady of the Town, Madam Janet Rogers that the community has been practicing its culture since they were born and took over from the elder people they met there.She noted that before a child becomes a matured man or woman, they are trained in the ways of their fore-fathers.“Our main expression of our culture here is dancing, so all the women in this town —one way or the other— know how to dance. Their Cultural education has nothing to do with their Western Education. We make it our duty to teach them our culture before they become old enough to go to school,” she explained.She said out of appreciation to their culture, the women of Dimeh founded a women’s dance troupe to entertain visitors during important occasions and ceremonies.She said the masked dancer known as “the Country Devil” will wear a white clothe signifying Purity and togetherness.“Because of the way we have treated our culture in this part of the country, we have had international guest from all parts of the world come and talk to us about how we respect our culture,” Madam Rogers explained.“When our culture is practiced in the midst of a certain group of people, there is much more love and unity than expected. Our children know the meaning of respect and they know what it means to be obedient,” she said.Madam Rogers explained that girls in the Sande bush no longer spend a long amount of time there. “The bush only opens when the girls close their regular schooling activities. We decided it should be that way so that the girls would not get distracted from regular Western school,” she said.However, she said the community would continue to attach values and respect to its cultural heritage.Like other Women performing on the ceremony marking the 26th anniversary of the late Bai T. Moore, 4 year old Bendu Sonnie, beautifully danced to one of the native songs that was sung in the Vai dialect.According to onlookers around, little Bendu has been a part of the cultural team for almost a year. It was revealed by others that she has expressed a lot of interest in cultural dance and it is possible that she might continue dancing in the future.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

World Bank Prez Arrives in Liberia Today

first_imgWorld Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim is expected to arrive in Liberia today to further strengthen the Bank’s continuing response to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Dr. Kim, a strong advocate for the global fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, will meet President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and senior officials of the Liberian Government.He will be expected to reassure the government and people of Liberia of the Bank’s commitment to assist Liberia to achieve zero Ebola virus transmission. Dr. Kim, who is also a public health expert, will visit the Ebola Emergency Operation Center (EOC) in Monrovia and meet with the Incident Management System representatives, donor partners involved in the Ebola response, health workers, EVD survivors, contact tracers and burial team members. He will also hold a press conference today at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The World Bank Group is mobilizing nearly US$1 billion in financing for the three countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis. A total of US$518 million has been disbursed for the emergency response. The funding is helping Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone provide treatment and care, contain and prevent the spread of infections, help communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis, and improve public health systems, a statement from the World Bank said Monday.Additional financing of a US$285 million grant was approved by the World Bank Group’s Board on November 18, 2014, with a US$115 million allocation for Liberia.This money, the Bank observed, will help scale-up community-based care and support for faster identification, triage and care of Ebola patients, enable a surge of international health workers, laboratory services, and essential supplies, and restart basic health services.The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, is also providing commercial financing to enable trade, investment and employment in the three most affected countries, including Liberia. The financing includes a rapid response program which is helping to ensure continued operations of business and supplies of essential goods and services.Majority of the World Bank Group’s financing to the worst affected countries in West Africa is coming through the Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), which was established in 1960 to help the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.8 billion people living on less than US$2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about US$18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

MESSENGERS OF PEACE

first_imgWe would like to begin the New Year on a high note by paying special tribute to all health care providers-medical doctors, nurses, clergymen and women, volunteers and others who lost their lives to the Ebola epidemic of 2014.We thank them for their sacrifices, display of valor, professionalism, selflessness and uncommon volunteer action that has inspired all of us. Because of their action and sacrifices, we look forward to 2015 with renewed energy and commitment believing that all interventions put in place in the fight against Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) would eventually lead to the eradication of EVD from Liberia.Building a lasting, multimedia memorial for those whose sacrifices provide us with a space to live would be a worthwhile project. As a nation, we need to commemorate the lives of those lost to EVD so as not to forget what we have been through and what lies ahead.Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia takes this opportunity to call on Government of Liberia, International Organizations and Civil societies to provide the much needed coordination policy to end the fight against Ebola, to strengthen the health care system and to equip our schools with hygienic facilities and supplies. We can only improve the lives of those that have survived and honor the memories of those who lost their lives to the epidemic. According to Albert Camus in The Plague-“What is true of all the evils in the world is true of plague as well; it helps men to rise above themselves.”Together, we have come this far. The concept of “it takes a village” is given further expression through such all-embracing action of our heroes and heroines. For us at MOP-Liberia, we are refreshed to know that our hard work, through the various community education outreach programme and weekly column has paid off and we remain committed and ready to develop programmes that protect young people, particularly children against all risks. We intend to go further on a new journey that leads to the prevention, control and eradication of EVD from Liberia.For a disease with such high fatality and social consequences as Ebola, the wise saying that prevention is better than cure makes cannot be overemphasized. It is on this premise that we would like to request the Government of Liberia to continue ensuring the safety of all our health care providers and volunteers risking their lives in the fight against the Ebola virus.On a related note, we are pleased that schools are scheduled to reopen next month and we are quick to caution that if there are no concrete steps to equip schools and educate the youth about EVD, as well as put in place the necessary precautionary measures, then the mediocrity that places us at risk will continue. A long term plan and strategy should be employed to guarantee the safety of our children.News of significant progress in the development of effective vaccines deserves our attention, particularly considering the expert opinion of their safety and we are optimistic that the treatment regimen, protocols and vaccines would make the difference.  Beyond the scientific breakthrough of Ebola vaccines, we must remember to address the issues surrounding the political sluggishness, unemployment, corruption and grossly inadequate healthcare infrastructure, among others, which constitute a drawback to the progress made so far.Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Notes of Forward Looking Interventions in the Fight against Ebola”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Germany Promises Support to Post Ebola Recovery Plan

first_imgThe Federal Republic of Germany has committed to provide more support to Liberia, including the attraction of private investments that will help the country in its post Ebola recovery efforts.German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Muller, who led a 30-member German delegation to Liberia, made the commitment during a press briefing jointly held with Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan over the weekend at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Capitol Hill.  The Dr. Muller-led delegation, which was co-led by the German Minister of Health, Herr Hermann Groehe, was in the country primarily to assess the impact of German contribution to the Government of Liberia’s fight against Ebola and to discuss the possibilities for strengthening German-Liberian financial and technical cooperation.”As I told the President, this country must not fall into depression now or after the Ebola crisis; that is why we need to make considerable investment in infrastructure and in the agricultural sector… That is why we have taken the decision to double our support in the coming years,” the German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development said through an interpreter.Dr. Muller, who emphasized that private investment is paramount to the development of any nation, disclosed that his government will lobby with private sector actors in Germany to attract private investments to Liberia.Dr. Muller and delegation, which also included two members of the German Parliament, met and held talks with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf prior to the stakeout and indicated that as a result of the excellent relationship subsisting between President Sirleaf and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, two important development issues have been included on the agenda of the forthcoming Group of Seven (G7) Conference.The two issues, said Dr. Muller, are creating a fair value chain aimed at producing a fair standard of production in developing countries and empowering women through technical vocational education.Dr. Muller urged Liberians to continue the fight against corruption by engaging in efficient governance and to further strengthen the rule of law, adding, “These are the bases and required bureaucracy which attract private investment.”He also gave assurance that the German government will solidify its diplomatic and bilateral ties with Liberia by increasing support to the country’s energy, agriculture and education sectors.The 30-member German team also included two members of the German Parliament and several German journalists and civil society actors.Liberian Foreign Minister Ngafuan, on behalf of President Sirleaf and the Government and People of Liberia, conveyed profound gratitude to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Government and people of Germany for their unswerving support to Liberia both during good and bad times.”We in Liberia are not only grateful that officials of the German Government could visit Liberia, but also we take positive note of the size and composition of the delegation, which speaks volumes about the strength of the bilateral relations between our two countries and Germany’s firm commitment to being a stronger partner with our country in good as well as in bad times.”The 30-member German delegation is the largest to visit Liberia in recent times.A foreign Ministry release said Minister Ngafuan praised the German Government and people for their  demonstration of strong solidarity with the Liberian Government during and after the Liberia civil war and in particular during the critical time of the Ebola Virus pandemic.”Not only did the Government of Germany keep its diplomatic mission operational throughout and including the peak of the pandemic, but we were honored to have been visited in September 2014 by Ambassador George Wilfried Schmidt, Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel and by Mr.Walter J. Lindner, German Ebola Coordinator to West Africa in October 2014. It is good to have Ambassador Lindner, back again.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Momoh Donates to PUL

first_imgFormer Inquirer photo-journalist, James Momoh, last Friday donated three cartons of stationeries to the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) at the union’s Clay Street offices in Monrovia.The donated items cash value is about U$250, he said.Making the presentation at the PUL’s office on Clay Street in Monrovia, Momoh, presently based in the United States, said the donation is to augment the activities of the PUL to become stronger.He said in the wake of the 2017 Presidential Elections, the PUL must be supported in every way to be able to provide education to the masses.“It is the duty of the PUL to educate the people so that they are able to understand the electoral process.“If the people are not educated to make better choices of candidates, our society will stand to lose,” says Momoh, who is an adjunct faculty member on media relations at the African Center for Strategic Studies, (ACSS) said.The ACSS is within the National Defense University in Washington D.C, in the United States.He called on the media to play its statutory role to ensure an informed Liberian society that is able to make better decisions in the 2017 presidential elections.Meanwhile, he said his role at the ACSS is to ensure that the media in the West Africa sub-region get educational support to operate freely to educate the masses.Receiving the items, outgoing Secretary General of the PUL, D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh said the PUL is overwhelmed by the donation and assured Mr. Momoh that the items would be used for the intended purpose.He called on Liberians in the Diaspora to identify with the PUL to ensure better performance in educating the people.He commended Mr. Momoh for his support and expressed the PUL’s gratitude for his selfless donation.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Cartoon: March 21, 2016

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