Alpha Old Timers Honors Weah

first_imgAlpha Old-timers, probably the most organized old-timers team in Liberia has organized a top rated honor for Africa football legend Ambassador George Weah for his numerous services to Liberia and the world.A release signed and approved by Joseph Dortu and Sunny Nyemah, chairman of the organizing committee and President of Alpha Old-timers respectively, noted that the ceremony is intended to honor the Liberia Peace Ambassador for his meaningful contributions toward peace, sports, as well as his Hall of Fame award recently in Mexico.Alpha also noted that the former world footballer of the year has been in the vanguard of fostering unity and good sportsmanship among Alpha members as well as other teams of the Liberia Old-timers National Association (LONA).The release added that a tournament which began last Sunday, January 19, 2014 at the Subah Town sports pitch, (the home of Alpha) in Du-Port Road, Paynesville saw Cheetah thrashing Satellite 3-2 in the opening encounter.Satellite took the lead in the first stanza, but surrendered 2-3 to Alpha. In the second engagement, Ambassador Weah’s Red Bull demolished Trojan 6-1 to close the day’s encounter.Meanwhile, the tournament will continue this Sunday with more matches. In first match, former Lone Star captain, Joe Armstrong Nagbe, LFA top flight outfit, LISCR FC President Mustapha Raji , Alpha Boss Sunny Neymah, Abel Sneh and Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) Deputy Director General Legerhood Rennie will lead a squad against probably the tournament’s favorite Red Bull led by Ambassador Weah, former Lone Star striker Musa Shannoh, Eugene Fallah Kparka of the Honorable House of Representative, and former Alpha President Theophilus Gould.The second match will see Satellite and Trojan coming face to face. National Police Director Christopher Massaquoi, Lemuel Sherman and Andy Quimie will lead a formidable squad to outdo a Trojan side that has Liberia Business Association (LIBA) boss Dee-Maxwell Kemayah, Joseph Farkollie, Willie Knuckles, and Brownie Samukai.At the same time, Red Bull will engage satellite in the third match, while Trojan and Cheetad will close the day.The organizers have meanwhile called on all football lovers to turn out to watch contemporary old-timers football where Weah, who conquered the world in 1995, will showcase his talent.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

President Sirleaf Makes Additional Appointments

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has nominated the following persons to positions in government:The JudiciaryCounselor Roosevelt Z. Willie, Judge Criminal Court “A”Ministry of Finance and Development PlanningMr. Amara M. Konneh, MinisterDr. James F. Kollie, Jr., Deputy Minister for Fiscal AffairsMr. Eddie Eesiah, Deputy Minister for AdministrationDr. Mounir Siaplay, Deputy Minister for Economic ManagementMs. Tanneh G. Brunson, Deputy Minister for Budget & Dev. PlanningMs. Romell A. Watson, Assistant Minister for AdministrationMs. Juah K. Fieka, Asst. Minister for Revenue & Tax PolicyMr. Alieu F. Nyei, Assistant Minister for ExpenditureDr. J. Alexander Nuetah, Asst. Min. for External Resources & Debt Mang.Mr. Augustine Blama, Assistant Minister for BudgetMr. Lee Mason, Asst. Minister for Regional & Sectoral PlanningMr. Sekou A. Sanoe, Comptroller GeneralMinistry of TransportMs. Angela Bush, MinisterMinistry of LaborMr. Neto Zarzar Lighe, MinisterMinistry of Foreign AffairsMr. Isaac Nyenabo, AmbassadorMinistry of Commerce & IndustryMr. Hanson Kiazolu, Assistant Minister for Industry (replacing Mr. Sei Gahn)Ministry of State for Presidential AffairsMs. Kaitee Korto Flomo, Junior Aide de Camp to the PresidentMr. Stanley G. F. Stubblefield, Local Aide, Margibi CountyLiberia Airport AuthorityMs. Rose Stryker, Acting Managing DirectorForest Development Authority BoardMr. Isaac Manneh, Member (replacing Mr. Jucontee Woewiyu)Mr. Robert Gbobeh, MemberCentral Bank of LiberiaMs. Elsie Dossen Badio, Member of the Board (replacing Ms. Mildred Reeves whosetenure has expired)National Housing AuthorityBishop George Harris, Chairman, Board of Directors (replacing Mr. Francis Carbah)Mr. Floyd Thomas, Member of the Board (replacing Mr. Sam Gibson who resigned)Mr. Samuel Wlue, Managing Director (replacing Mr. Sam Thompson who isbeing reassigned)Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LIBTELCO)Mr. Sebastian Muah, Managing DirectorNational Port AuthorityMr. Tornolah Varpilah, Chairman of the BoardMr. David Gibson, Member of the Board (replacing Mr. Morris Dukuly)Mr. Cecil Barnes, Member of the Board (representing the Shipping & StevedoringAssociation)Liberia Petroleum Refining Company Cllr. Felicia Coleman, Member of the Board (replacing Mrs. Tupee Neyor who resigned)Mr. Amin Modad, Member of the Board (replacing Mr. Manyu Kamara)Liberia Maritime AuthorityCllr. Juah Lawson, Chairman of the Board of DirectorsMr. James Debbah, Member of the Board (replacing Mr. Debar Allen)General Services AgencyMr. Cole Bangalu, Deputy Director General for Administration (replacing Mr. Galakpai Kortimai)Grand Bassa Community CollegeMrs. Auguria Herring, ChairpersonRev. Nellie Wright, Vice ChairpersonHon. M. Gbehzohngar FindleyHon. Olubankie King AkereleHon. Etweda A. CooperHon. Hans BarchueMr. Simeon FreemanMr. Tarr Seyway, Student RepresentativeCllr. David A. B. JallahArcelor Mittal LiberiaEquatorial Palm Oil CompanyLiberia Agriculture CompanyChevronAccording to an Executive Mansion release, these appointments are subject to confirmation by the Honorable Liberian Senate where applicable.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

ANC’s POSITIONS ON THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS PRESENTED TO THE CONSTITUTION CONFERENCE RECENTLY CONCLUDED IN…

first_imgA. IntroductionPlease find below the ANC’S positions on the proposed amendments adopted by the recently concluded National Constitution Conference (Conference) in Gbarnga.By way of background, the Constitution Reform Commission (CRC), whose members were appointed by the President and charged with the responsibility of overseeing a process that would lead to reforms to our Constitution, presented delegates at the Conference with 25 proposed amendments. The CRC claims that the proposed amendments were the result of consultations it had in all 73 legislative districts of Liberia and the Diaspora.We believe that there are many reasons to question the process the CRC used to come up with the 25 proposed amendments it presented the delegates—whether the process as designed was capable of producing results that broadly reflected the views of Liberians on the key issues they would like to see addressed as part of a constitutional amendment process. There are also many reasons, we believe, to question the way in which the delegates who voted on the proposed amendments were chosen and the way the voting process was conducted in Gbarnga, and we will raise whatever questions we may have separately.For now, though, we want to focus on presenting you our position as a party on each of the proposed amendments presented to the delegates at the Conference in Gbarnga and the rationale for every position we adopt.After each proposed amendment or after each group of related proposed amendments, we then state the ANC’s position and the rationale for our position.One final point: We found most of the proposed amendments to have sound policy rationale and thinking behind them. However, we should caution all of us against the belief that all we need to do to solve a problem is to assert the problem or its solution as a constitutional provision. Merely stating a policy goal as a constitutional provision does not, standing alone, guarantee that we can attain that goal as a society. To achieve it, we must work hard at devising and enacting the right mix of policies and have the political will to stick with them.Our Constitution of 1847 and our current Constitution were not perfect documents but they did a good job in laying out the fundamental rights of Liberians and the duties and obligations their Government owes them. The failures we have suffered as a state and the massive economic and development challenges we still face today are therefore due to no fundamental defect in the Constitutions that have governed us. The setbacks we have suffered and the immense development challenges we face today are simply a result of the failure of Government, not of the Constitution. So while we believe that there may be a need to include in our Constitution the ideas expressed in some of the proposed amendments, it is worth pointing out that doing so is only half of the battle. The greater fight is in getting to power the right Government that can follow through with devising and implementing policies that give life to those principles we hold so dear that we include them amongst the rights and obligations enshrined in our Constitution.B. The Proposed Amendments and the ANC’s Positions/Rationales1. REDUCTION OF THE PRESIDENTIAL TERM OF OFFICE FROM SIX TO FOUR YEARS2. REDUCTION OF THE SENATORIAL TERM OF OFFICE FROM NINE TO SIX YEARS3. REDUCTION OF TERM OF OFFICE OF REPRESENTATIVES FROM SIX TO FOUR YEARSANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE with all three proposed amendments regarding reductions in terms of office for the President, Senators, and Representatives. The democratic goal of popularly elected government is best served when, as frequently as possible, people can pass on the performance of their elected leaders by subjecting them to the scrutiny of the election process. Terms of office of nine years (for Senators) and six years (for Presidents and Representatives) simply do not provide people the opportunity to frequently review the performance of their elected leaders by way of the election process.4. PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNERSHIP SHOULD INCLUDE MINERAL RESOURCES5. PROPERTY OWNERS ON WHOSE LAND MINERALS OR NATURAL RESOURCES ARE FOUND SHOULD SHARE THE BENEFITS ACCRUED BY GOVERNMENT AND BE PART OF THE NEGOTIATIONSANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE in principle with Propositions 4 and 5. Subject to the principle expressed in Article 7 of our Constitution that the country’s wealth should be used for the benefit of all of its people, we agree with the general proposition that owners of property containing mineral or other natural resources should in some way directly share with the Government the benefits gained from the exploitation of those resources. The exact formula to determine how to compensate property owners while keeping faith with the directive of the Constitution to use the country’s natural resources for the benefit of all of its people is something that can be decided with the aid of economic and other experts. We are not sure what is meant by that such property owners should be “part of the negotiations.” We do, however, agree with the general notion that a person may assert and seek to protect his or her property interest in any land or real property at any time.6. PERSONS OF NON-NEGRO RACE SHOULD NOT BECOME CITIZENSANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE. The historic imperative behind the non-negro clause in the citizenship article in the Constitution is still relevant today. There are still reasons for Liberia to keep faithful to her founding mission: to serve as a refuge or haven for Black people fleeing persecution from anywhere in the world or simply looking for a homeland they can call their own.7. DUAL CITIZENSHIP SHOULD NOT BE ACCEPTED IN LIBERIAANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE DISAGREE with the proposed amendment abolishing dual citizenship. In a globalized world where multi-citizenship is increasingly common and necessary for a person to achieve his full potential in whatever society he may find himself, Liberia shortchanges herself and those of her children compelled by various factors to adopt the citizenship of another country if, on account of that, she denies them full participation in the life of their country of birth.8. DUAL CURRENCY SHOULD BE ABOLISHED IN LIBERIA; THE LIBERIAN DOLLAR SHOULD NOT BE REJECTED AS TEAR TEARANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE that the Liberian dollar should under no circumstance be rejected as legal tender in Liberia; we also favor a single currency economy but believe we should first put in place policies that would ensure our economy can survive the transition to a single currency (Liberian Dollar) economy.However, we do not believe that the question of dual currency is something we need to include in our constitution—making it a constitutional matter may tie the hands of future policy makers who may have to change policy on currency issues to deal with particular economic emergencies and may not have the luxury of time to amend the Constitution before effecting a change in policy.9. THE VICE PRESIDENT SHOULD NOT PRESIDE OVER THE SENATE BECAUSE OF THE PRINCIPLE OF SEPARATION OF POWERSANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE DISAGREE. As President of the Senate, the Vice President plays the crucial role of casting the tie-breaking vote when the Senate is split fifty/fifty on an issue. Other than that, the Vice President’s role as President of the Senate is largely ceremonial. He or she takes no part whatsoever in the key law-making function of the Senate.The proposition that Vice President should not serve as President of the Senate because by doing so he violates the “principle of separation of powers” ignores the fact that a complementary and necessary counterweight to the principle of separation of powers is the principle of “checks and balances,” which allows one branch of government a limited role or say in another branch’s exercise of its core functions.For example, making law is a core function of the Legislative Branch. The principle of checks and balances allows the President, however, to check the Legislature’s exercise of its core law-making core function by the use of his or her veto power. That is why when the President vetoes a bill, we do not say he or she is violating the separation of powers principle and infringing on the law making duties of the Legislature.Similarly, it is the core function of the President to appoint cabinet ministers and ambassadors. However, our Constitution by design allows the Senate to check the President’s exercises of his or her appointment powers by requiring that nominees for cabinet and other positions be approved by the Senate. This is why when the Senate rejects a person nominated by the President for a cabinet or other position we do not say the Senate is violating the principle of separation of powers and infringing on the appointment powers of the President.It is for the same reason that it is wrong as a matter of constitutional law to say that the Vice President violates the principle of separation of power when he sits as President of the Senate. The Constitution by design establishes the Vice President as President of the Senate, where he has the very limited role of breaking a tie in the Senate and thus checking the Senate’s ability to create deadlocks that could stymie the functioning of government. This is a design that works well; there is no need to tamper with it.10. THE CHIEF JUSTICE SHOULD BE ELECTEDANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE DISAGREE. Of all of the judges in Liberia, the Chief justice, who is the top judge in the land, should be above politics. Subjecting the Chief Justice or any other justice of the Supreme Court to elections and hence to the political process could have far reaching consequences for the independence of the judiciary. Political calculations are more likely to be factored into the decisions of judges who gain their office by way of elections rather than by appointment. A judge who needs popular support to win an election may rule a certain way in a case not because he or she believes that is what the law requires but because publicly sentiments favor a particular outcome. Election of judges also raises the specter of money, which is so part and parcel of politics, corrupting the judiciary. Elected judges would need money to run campaigns and the independence of judges in cases involving their campaign donors could, fairly or unfairly, be called into question.11. SUPERINTENDENTS, COMMISSIONERS, MAYORS, AND CHIEFS SHOULD BE ELECTEDANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE. Devolution of power to the local level and providing people the right to directly elect their leaders is the best way to ensure a leadership that is accountable, and thus responsive, to the people.12. RESPECT AND RECOGNITION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES SHOULD BE ENSHRINED IN THE CONSTITUTION AND EDUCATION AND JOB OPPORTUNITIES ACCORDED THEMANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE that as a country and a people we must enact and implement policies that accommodate and provide for the disabled, and that we should consider how to give expression in our Constitution to a national commitment to devote special attention to, and accommodate the needs of, the disabled.13. ELECTION COMMISSIONERS SHOULD BE ELECTED AND NOT APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENTANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE DISAGREE. We appreciate and understand the reasoning behind this proposed amendment, which is to ensure that we have independent and fair election commissioners. However, we believe that electing election commissioners will produce more harm than good and possibly even corrupt the election process. Electing election commissioners effectively means that people (election commissioners) who should be monitoring the election process as neutral parties would themselves be participants in the process. Moreover, election commissioners are likely to run for office under the banners of various parties. We could thus easily have election commissioners who have run on the banner of one party monitoring elections involving candidates from an opposing party. This could certainly create the appearance, if not the reality, of bias by election commissioners who will be perceived as partisans and unfair, something that could undermine public confidence in our election process.We believe that we can achieve the goal of having independent and fair election commissioners without subjecting them to partisan and divisive elections. We can do so, for example, by limiting the President’s powers to appoint all of the election commissioners. The President may appoint two of the five election commissioners; the two opposition parties that achieved the next highest number of votes in the preceding election could each appoint one commissioner each and the other commissioner could be appointed by civil society groups. Also we could require that all election commissioners should not be registered members of any political party. We can also maintain the requirement that election commissioners are appointed for fixed 5 year terms during which they cannot be removed by the President or anyone else, except for proven criminal or unethical conduct. Importantly, we can do all of this without even amending the Constitution. Article 89 of the Constitution provides for the establishment of the Elections Commission as an autonomous agency of Government. Nothing in Article 89 gives the President the power to appoint election commissioners. Instead, Article 89 expressly provides that “The Legislature shall enact laws for the governance” of the Commission. Accordingly, it is the Legislature that passed a statute granting the President the power to appoint all election commissioners and the Chairperson of the Elections Commissions. The same Legislature can pass a statute repealing the old statute and limiting the President’s powers to appoint election commissioners.14. CONCESSION NEGOTIATIONS SHOULD INCLUDE THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND CITIZENS OF THE LOCALITY IN WHICH THE NATURAL OR MINERAL RESOURCE IS SITUATEDANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:As we have stated above in response to Propositions 4 & 5 and as we state below in response to Proposition 17, we believe that subject to the general principle expressed in Article 7 of the Constitution that the Country’s natural resources should be exploited and used for the benefit of all Liberians, the Government should share with the owners of property on which minerals or other natural resources are found the gains derived from the exploitation of those resources. As we have also stated, we agree with the general notion that a person may assert and seek to protect his or her property interest in any land or real property at any time and the Government should take those interests into account when negotiating any agreement involving the exploitation of land or mineral resources. We should, however, give serious thoughts to striking the right balance between the extent to which we want to constitutionally protect people’s property rights by having them as parties to all negotiations with investors, and the extent to which we may scare off potential investors wary of the burdens and legal complexities and uncertainties that result from having to negotiate with multiple individuals or entities, with each having potentially competing or conflicting interests, before entering agreements with Liberia.15. CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS SHOULD PRIORITIZE THE PARTICIPATION OF LIBERIANS IN ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES AS REFLECTED IN ARTICLE 7ANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:Article 7 of our Constitution provides that:“The Republic shall, consistent with the principles of individual freedom and social justice enshrined in this Constitution, manage the national economy and the natural resources of Liberia in such manner as shall ensure the maximum feasible participation of Liberian citizens under conditions of equality as to advance the general welfare of the Liberian people and the economic development of Liberia.”The ANC agrees that as a Country we should consider how to include provisions in the Constitution that give Article 7 teeth particularly when it comes to Liberianizing our economy,16. CHILDREN’S RIGHTS SHOULD BE REVISITED SO THAT IT DOES NOT INTERFERE WITH PARENTAL DUTY TO DISCIPLINE THEIR CHILDRENANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:We do not understand what this Proposition means and thus cannot state a position on it at this time.17. TRADITIONAL PEOPLE SHOULD OWN THEIR OWN LAND AND BE A PARTY TO ANY NEGOTIATIONS WITH INVESTORS OR CONCESSIONAIRES ON SAID LANDANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:We agree that “traditional people” should have ownership rights to lands they have occupied through the years. As we stated in our position on Propositions 4 & 5, subject to the principle expressed in Article 7 of the Constitution that the country’s wealth should be used for the benefit of all of its people, we agree with the general proposition that owners of property containing mineral or other natural resources should share the benefits gained from the exploitation of those resources by the government. We are not sure what is meant by that such property owners should be “part of the negotiations” or “party to any negotiations.” We do however agree with the general notion that a person may assert and seek to protect his or her property interest in any land or real property at any time and the Government should take those interests into account when negotiating any agreement involving the exploitation of land or mineral resources. However, as we have said before, we should give serious thoughts to striking the right balance between the extent to which we want to constitutionally protect people’s property rights by having them as parties to all negotiations with investors, and the extent to which we may scare off potential investors wary of the burdens and legal complexities and uncertainties that result from having to negotiate with multiple individuals or entities, with each having potentially competing or conflicting interests, before entering agreements with Liberia.18. THE CONSTITUTION SHOULD ENSURE WOMEN’S PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNANCE AND NATIONAL AFFAIRSANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE. Despite the command of Article 11(c) that all people, including women, should enjoy the equal protection of the law, we believe that because of cultural and other reasons, women have been at a historic disadvantage when it comes to fully participating in national governance. We are thus open to seeing how our Constitution can compensate for or prevent the effects of cultural practices that have so disadvantaged women and thus ensure the fullest participation of women in national affairs and governance.19. THE CONSTITUTION AND ALL LEGAL DOCUMENTS SHOULD CARRY THE PRONOUNS “HE/SHE”ANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE. It is simply time to promote gender equity in every way possible.20. AGE OF MARRIAGE FOR GIRLS SHOULD BE AT LEAST 18 YEARANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:The policy objective behind this proposition, which is to prevent the early marriage of girls in their preteen or early teen years in certain segments of our society, is laudable. To the extent we cannot achieve this same objective by passing statutes, we may consider appropriate amendment to the Constitution. In order to avoid the appearance, if not the reality, of discriminating on the basis of sex or gender, any statute or amendment to this effect, should also speak to the age of marriage for boys.21. WOMEN SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO EDUCATION EQUAL ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL OPPORTUNITIES (EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATION)ANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:As stated above in response to Proposition 18, we are aware that despite the command of the equal protection clause of Article 11(c) of the Constitution, which effectively guarantees equal opportunity for all irrespective of gender, women, by virtue of our culture and tradition, have been at a historic disadvantage when it comes to equality of opportunity. We thus agree that as a country and a people we should do all in our powers to grant women equal access to economic and social opportunities by first enacting and implementing appropriate policies and, where necessary, by constitutional prescriptions.22. THE CONSTITUTION SHOULD GUARANTEE INHERITANCE RIGHTS FOR TRADITIONAL WOMENANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE AGREE. Too many women are robbed of their property rights, including rights to property improved and developed by the sweat of their brow, because of the operation of traditional inheritance practices in various segments of our society. Anything we can do, including appropriate amendments to the Constitution, to prevent this travesty is most welcomed buy us.23. PEOPLE IN PROLONGED CO-HABITATION SHOULD ENJOY MARITAL STATUSANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:We understand that the reasoning behind this proposition is to prevent the all too frequent circumstance where one party to a relationship (usually a woman) who, after investing all of her time, energy and resources to the material development of the other party to the relationship, is abandoned by the other party without any legal recourse. We agree that to the extent there are laws now on the books that deal with this problem, i.e. recognizing so-called “civil” or “common law” marriages, they need to be rigidly enforced. If there are no such laws, we should work to enact them. Amending the Constitution may be considered as a last resort, but we should be wary of turning the Constitution into a legal code.24. LIBERIA SHOULD BE A CHRISTIAN NATIONANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:WE DISAGREE. We understand and appreciate the historic role Christianity played in the founding of our country. We are aware of the role Christian churches continue to play in the development for our country through the provision of education and health care to people all over Liberia. However, we strongly believe that including language in our Constitution that “Liberia should be a Christian Nation” is destructive of our body politic as it would suggest that Christians occupy a special status in our Country vis-a-vis people of other faiths and religions. This would violate the equal protection clause of Article 11 as well as the separation of religion and state clause of our current Constitution of Article 14. Moreover, we only need to look at other countries, including ones in Africa, that are torn apart by sectarian strife, to appreciate what can happen when we throw the very incendiary device of religious division onto the already highly combustible mix of social problems we face today. Also, simply because there may be majority support for designating Liberia a “Christian Nation” in the Constitution does not make it the right thing to do. One of the basic tenets of a constitutional democracy is that there are certain rights so sacred that they should not be subjected to the whims and caprices of a prevailing majority. We thus carve out those rights, which include the right to freedom of religion, and put them in the Constitution where they are supposed to be beyond the reach of any majority. The fact that one may be able to muster the two thirds vote required by Article 91 to amend the Constitution in a referendum and trample on those rights simply means that we have a tyranny of the majority, which is as dangerous as the tyranny of a single dictator.Imagine it this way: what if, by virtue of demographic and other changes, today’s minority becomes tomorrow’s majority and wants to use its majority power to amend the Constitution to essentially designate its religion as the official religion of Liberia. How would members of today’s majority feel?25. CUSTOMARY LAWS SHOULD BE MADE CONSTITUTIONALANC’S POSITION & RATIONALE:We understand the thinking behind this Proposition, which is to harmonize customary laws with civil law, or laws based on western tradition. We agree with this goal in principle. However, we must keep in mind that there are certain customary laws that simply cannot comport with the basic precepts and principles that undergird or Constitution. Accordingly, where there is no conflict between a particular customary law and the Constitution, we have no objections to that customary law being “made constitutional.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Japan 8,060mt Rice Donation to Benefit Farmers

first_imgThe Japanese Government has donated over 8,060 Metric tons of rice to the Liberian Government through the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Agriculture Ministry. The rice, according to Commerce Minister Axel Addy, is to be sold and proceeds used by the government to improve the livelihood of farmers and citizens as a whole.The donation by the Japanese Government shows another great commitment and continued support that they have made thus far.It can be recalled that recently Japan and Liberia signed a Non-Project Grant Aid valued at 4.2 Million United States Dollars for economic and social development.Presenting the rice to Government yesterday, Japan Ambassador to Liberia, Kaoru Yoshimura said “I am happy to today to hand over the 5th Kennedy Round (KR) food aid weighed 8,060 metric tons of rice to the Government today.”The KR is grant aid provided to developing countries with food shortages for the purpose of buying rice, wheat, maize or other grains.Based on the food aid rules of the International Grain Agreement, which came into effect as part of the Kennedy Round (KR) at the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1967, it began in 1968 and is referred to as “KR” because it came out of the Kennedy Round.He said that the donation is to ensure that Liberian get access to health, sufficient and safe food as well as the implementation of projects that will ensure self-reliance in the production of food to achieve food security in Liberia.“The KR food aid donation is materialized as a result of an agreement between the two Governments for the grant of five hundred and ten million Japanese Yen towards the implementation of the food assistant project by the Government of Liberia in November 2013,” said Ambassador Yoshimura.According to him, after few months of hard work on the part of the both governments, “We are finally witnessing the realization of this agreement today and I would like to especially thank the Ministry of Commerce and other related ministries in the country.”Ambassador Yoshimura indicated that the handover ceremony is not the end of the aid, rather the beginning of new development projects but Japan will always remain a true partner to Liberia.“After handling this rice over, the Liberian Government will sell the rice in the market and utilize the proceeds for socio-economic projects which are called counterparts funds projects,” he said.The Japanese Ambassador said that the achievement of the food security is the principle of Japan’s development assistance to Liberia.He said his Government will therefore put a lot of effort into working with Liberia and other organizations across the world to achieve food security.  “Where there is food insecurity,” he said, there is starvation and fear as well as an environment where people are unable to demonstrate their maximum potential for growth and development.”He disclosed that Japan is currently supporting the World Food Program (WFP) food program for vulnerable groups in the country with a grant amount of approximately US$2,837,000.Receiving the rice on behalf of the Liberian Government, Commerce Minister Axel Addy commended the people of Japan for their tireless efforts and support to the Liberian economy.Minister Addy disclosed that the rice donation is not the first as other donations include the construction of bridges as well as assistance with the Mount Coffee Hydro project. “It is a pleasure today to receive another food aid from the government of Japan, this has been a long standing program. Today we have FOUTA, United Commodities Industry (UCI) and all of them are rice importers; all we can say to them is to purchase the rice so that our farmers can be empowered,” he urged.The Commerce Minister then pleaded with consumers to swiftly purchase the rice, which he said will help finance other projects that will empower local farmers in the country.“It’s important that we consumers buy the rice so that local farmers can be empowered and today we can boast that the farmers are empowered through the continued purchasing of rice,” he said.For her part, Agriculture Minister Dr. Florence Chenoweth thanked Japan for the assistance, saying that the impact of the program supports the whole cycle of rice production in Liberia. She noted that though Ebola took away almost everything, the full cycle of support from the Japanese Government must be commended.”However, we will ensure that farmers benefit from the donation,” she said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

PPCC Launches Vendors Register

first_imgAuthorities at the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC) in collaboration with partners on May 27 officially launched the “Vendors Register.” The Vendors Register is an initiative of the PPCC developed for five primary reasons under the theme, “Enhancing Efficiency and Participation of Businesses in Public Procurement.”Based on the theme, the five reasons developed are to enhance efficiency in public procurement; increase the level of participation of businesses and companies in public tenders; facilitate the implementation of the Small Business Act legislated to promote the growth of Liberian-owned businesses; formalize the informal sector of the economy; and improve tax compliance and revenue generation.Prof. Willie Bellie Jr., PPCC Chairman of the Board of Commissioners said, only business and companies listed in the Vendors Register will be eligible to participate in public procurement effective fiscal year 2015/2016, beginning July 1 this year.PPCC Chief Executive Officer, James Dorbor Jallah, among other things, explained that, to enhance efficiency in public procurement implies that once the Vendors Register has been populated through the registration process, PPCC will know all capable supplies for any given procurement contract package and be in the position to advise all procuring entities to utilize more time, and const-efficient procurement methods thereby resulting in shorter procurement cycles and cost- saving to the government.“This time efficiency will result in timely delivery of much needed services and development projects thereby accelerating Liberia’s development through which the cost-savings will provide a space for increased value for money,” said Mr. Jallah.According to him, another benefit of the Vendors Register is to ensure that all businesses, irrespective of their geographical location, will have a fair chance of participation in government tenders.This he said, will depend on the method of procurement utilized for a particular contract package, procuring entities will be required to invite all known vendors. This increase in participation will guarantee greater value for money thereby protecting the public’s interest. He said, the Small Business Act (SBA) has been promulgated to promote the growth of Liberian-owned businesses. “It requires that at least 25 percent of all government procurement contracts be awarded to Liberian-owned businesses. It further requires that a minimum of 5 percent of those contracts be awarded to Liberian women-owned businesses,”This law, Mr. Jallah said defines Liberian-owned businesses as one of which Liberians own majority shares, and for which Liberians are primary signatories to the business’ bank accounts.The Vendors Register will collect pertinent information for all businesses operating in Liberia thereby allowing the PPCC to determine the businesses that are eligible to benefit from the SBA.Various speakers including stakeholders and business representatives expressed gratitude for the launch and promised to cooperate with the PPCC in its implementation across the country. The launch, which was held yesterday at the Monrovia City Hall by the Minister of Commerce, Axel M. Addy, was attended by several high profile individuals including the representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Dee Maxwell Kemayah, president Liberia Business Association, Dewitt von Ballmoos, Director-general, National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), among others. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

US$1.2M Allocated for Sea Erosion Victims

first_imgPrince Anything Wreh, National Housing Authority (NHA Deputy Director for Administration, said government has allocated US$1.2 million for the construction of 100 housing units in the VOA Brewerville City for people affected by sea erosion.Mr. Wreh made the disclosure yesterday at the Information Ministry regular Thursday press briefing on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.He said the amount will go directly towards the relocation or repatriation of victims of sea erosion from West Point, one of the slum communities in Liberia.“The NHA has negotiated for 25 acres of land for the construction of the housing units. The project will kick-off by December and will be completed early June 2017,” Mr. Wreh said. According to him, the construction of each unit will cost about US$ 8,000, where the government has also identified such initiative as a national emergency that needs quick attention.He said the NHA will ensure that the units are purposely for those victimized by recent sea erosion victims only, not to be used for gambling, rent, lease, commercial center or school when completed in June of 2017. “We will have adequate sanitation conditions, bathroom in each of the unit, massive and proper septic tank, and a good road network leading to the main road onward to the estate,” he said. Director Wreh disclosed that there has been a time were people residing in West Point engaged into finding place to sleep at night due to sea erosion that destroyed homes, adding that, “We see people with children leaving to get place for the night and even seeking refuge in canoes and churches. This rainy season, the situation has been more deplorable as well.” “Over a period of time, we are fully aware that our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who reside in West Point have become victims of the sea erosion. Over five thousand have been made homeless. This number was gathered about a month and half ago but with possibilities that the number has increased now,” he stated. Director Wreh said women and children continued to live in a devastated condition, which the government or NHA needs to intervene quickly, through relocation as is ongoing now.He said statistics have shown that most of the people living in West Point are either fishermen or live on the fishing industry in that area. Director Wreh further disclosed that the new location in Brewerville or VoA is also closer to the sea, which will accommodate their livelihood, adding that, “There should be no fear that future sea erosion would lead to relocation of the second West Point.” He stressed that only victims and homeowners will benefit from the 100 housing units, adding that ‘Over the last two years, there have been victims of West Point who have formed an organization called West Point Victims Relief Association. We have 1800 family heads who signed a petition to have government voluntarily repatriate or relocate them.”Meanwhile, according to him, there will be a major conference at the Monrovia City Hall that will bring together all stakeholders from West Point to discuss and look at the plan for the US$1.2 million that has been provided. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Corruption, Division and Poverty Remain Challenges in Liberia

first_imgTough-talking former UNMIL SRSG, Jacque Klein-UNMIL’s SRSGs Reveal in Separate InterviewsA book published about the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has synchronized views of the Special Representatives of the Secretary-General and concluded that corruption, tribal and sectional divide and poverty pose challenges to Liberia’s stability.The book, titled “Story of UNMIL,” was published by Shpend Bërbatovci, Head of Strategic Communications and Outreach, and provides synopses of the five SRSGs who served Liberia from 2003 to 2018, highlighting each person’s work in accordance with a specific objective.The book also provides that each SRSG was tasked with certain responsibilities according to his/her expertise and the time of service.Former UNMIL SRSG Alan DossJacque Paul Klein, the first SRSG to serve as head of UNMIL, has a background in a military career. He was the first to serve as Representative of the Secretary-General at a time Liberia was undergoing a cessation of hostilities, following the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the departure of former and jailed President Charles Taylor to Nigeria.Klein is remembered for his tough-talking and candid threats to warlords who attempted to continue the war that saw thousands of Liberians killed and the country’s infrastructure destroyed.“Liberia still has a long way to go,” he said in January 2017. “The Liberian-American versus native Liberian population tensions, illiteracy and the lack of substantial foreign investment continue to undermine Liberia’s future,” Klein is quoted in the book.Klein is also quoted as saying that though UNMIL has helped to restore peace in Liberia that was once considered a failed state, its people are yet to enjoy the dividends of peace as corruption, poverty, native and Americo-Liberian divide, coupled with tribal division, continue to confront their social lives.Alan Doss succeeded Jacque Klein and was instrumental in setting up the Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP). GEMAP was meant to tackle corruption in high places and to set the pace for good governance in financial management.Although GEMAP did not resolve all of the most intractable governance problems facing the country, including corruption, it did aid Liberia to successfully complete the requirements for international debt relief.Ambassador Margaret Loj, the third SRSG to serve with UNMIL, was realistic in admitting that the mere presence of UNMIL peacekeepers on the soil of Liberia helped to keep the peace.Her advocacy was geared towards the implementation of peacebuilding and reconciliation with peacekeeping, considering that without reconciliation to allow war victims face perpetrators it will be difficult for genuine peace to be restored.“If we don’t urgently work on building the peace while we keep the peace, then we will not achieve our ultimate goal, namely sustainable peace and prosperity,” she said.Karen Landgren followed Ambassador Loj, and she met another confronting problem on the ground, in addition to the security problem that was facing the country. This was the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak.Amid the health crisis, SRSG Landgren, who began UNMIL’s drawdown process, noted that Liberia had the lowest concentration of doctors in the world, given statistics of 1.4 doctors being assigned to 100,000 people.The SRSG noted that widespread poverty was not only the problem responsible for the health crisis, but also corruption was another factor. For example, Ebola funds destined for public health had been diverted.She indicated that Liberia’s “debilitating patronage network” contributed to the country’s inability to confront the disease, as the concentration of political administration is in Monrovia.Farid Zarif, the last SRSG for UNMIL in Liberia, led the mission to a close on March 31, 2018.Ambassador Zarif, who managed the mission up to Liberia’s own sponsored election, also named reconciliation, sectional and tribal divides, regional marginalization, gender bias, among others, as some problems still confronting the peace of the country.“Another priority is national reconciliation. Liberia never got close to fully developing the concept of nationhood, because it always remained split across multiple divides; indigenous versus settlers, tribal versus regional marginalization, gender bias, inequitable sharing of national wealth and economic opportunities, monopoly of political space, impunity for war crimes and mass atrocities, etc. How can you overcome these divides and develop a concept of nationhood that brings everybody together around a common vision? That’s certainly been a priority for me too,” Ambassador Zarif said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Deputy Minister Brunson Pledges Gov’t Commitment to Development

first_imgParticipants pose after the opening of the conference at a resort in Margibi County.Deputy Finance Minister for Budget, Tanneh Brunson has pledged the Government of Liberia unwavering commitment to continuing her partnership with sub-regional bodies as well as with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) for its supports in making sure that “we jointly achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda-Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.”She informed delegates that the Government have adopted the global and continental frameworks-the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, among others.However, this year ICE 22nd session was preceded by an ad hoc expert group meeting from 6 to 7 May 2019, on the theme “National capacities and mechanisms in evaluating progress in the implementation of agendas 2030 and 2063: assessment, challenges and prospects in West Africa.”It brought together 15 West African States, as well as representatives and experts from ECOWAS, UN, the Mano River Union (MRU), and other Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs).Brunson made these remarks on Monday, May 6, 2019 at the opening of a five-day meetings beginning with the AD-HOC Meeting of the Expert Group in Margibi County.“I would like to use this opportunity to extend to you all from the President of Liberia, George M. Weah and at the same time express the gratitude of the Government and people of Liberia to you all,” She said.“As you may be aware, the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts is a body established by the United Nations General Assembly in West Africa, it meets to discuss economic and social performance of member states, based on working documents prepared by the sub-regional Office for West Africa.” she said.She said the Agenda 2063 is developed as a vision for “The Africa We Want” by African Union Heads of State in May 2013.Brunson said the agenda 2063 is a long term development framework that aims to materialize Africa’s vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the world.“We have all gathered here today to discuss recent developments likely to impact economic and social development in West African countries, with a view to identifying major challenges to be addressed and to propose guidelines for accelerating sustainable development in West Africa through the transformation of the economies of the sub-region,” she said.In this light, Brunson urged participants to review the statutory reports prepared by the Secretariat over the years. She further said during these meetings, delegates should review several reports and provide directions.She said: “These include report on implementation of the sub-regional office for West Africa Work Program in 2018 and prospects for 2019. The report on the Regional Profile of West Africa and the Report on Progress in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in West Africa.”She urged  delegates, researchers to all rethink and develop actionable and transformative steps aimed at reducing poverty and other forms of backwardness in our regions, let us all be reminded that our posterity-the generation yet unborn, will hold,” she said.Bakary Dosso, Director of Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) for West Africa, commended the Government of Liberia for agreeing to host this meeting of experts from West Africa to discuss a topic of great interest to “our sub-region, namely, the implementation in West Africa of the 2030 agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2063 agenda of the Africa Union (AU).”Dosso told the participants that the SDGs represent an unprecedented opportunity to eliminate extreme poverty and put the world on the path on the to sustainable development.He said for the 2063 continental agenda, in addition to these global aspirations reflected in the SDGs, is call for action to implement the road map for “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force on the international scene.”In West Africa, Dosso said, a rough estimate shows that, out of an estimated population of 377 million in 2018, just over 200 million or 53.5 percent of people live below the national poverty line. “This clearly demonstrates the magnitude of the challenges we all face.”Countries in the sub-region, according to him, needs to make major reforms to their macroeconomic and financial frameworks, invest in human capital, tackle infrastructure deficits, improve the business climate to meet the above challenges, and positively and sustainably reverse trends.Dosso said the success lies in the ability of the national leadership to execute on time, to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the different agendas to which it has committed for the transformation of their respective countries and the continent.He said institutional capacities for evaluation and monitoring of development agendas have been identified as one of the missing links in development processes in our countries, he told the delegates at the conference.The Sub-regional Office for West Africa, based in Niamey, covers the 15 member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. Experts from these member States form the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts of West Africa.It is also the statutory framework of the ICE, for member States to oversee the development and implementation of the Office’s work program, monitor its activities, as well as provide guidance for the Office’s programmes by ensuring that sub-regional priorities are included as much as possible.In addition the ICE makes recommendations on economic and social development issues in the sub-region, and these may, as appropriate, be considered by the joint ECA-African Union meeting of the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

MP criticises Govt over millions spent on education CoI

first_imgBudget 2018 debateGovernment was heavily criticised during day three of the Budget 2018 debate for spending millions on a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the education sector.Speaking specifically about the education sector, Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Africo Selman, a former member of the main partner in theOpposition Member of Parliament Africo SelmanGovernment, on Wednesday said it was a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.While agreeing with the need for reform and innovation across all levels of education delivery as stated by Finance Minister Winston Jordan during his budget presentation, Selman said this must be done in a way that the most vulnerable groups of children – those living in the far-flung areas – benefit.The Opposition MP noted that the final report has not yet been submitted. “This, I dare say, is deception. Millions of taxpayers’ dollars were spent on this inquiry held in 2016; we are at the end of 2017 and yet the final report is missing in action and a single man is $4.8 million richer. Where are we heading?”Selman told the National Assembly that this wasted money could have been better utilised and some of that total sum could have been pumped into improving Guyana’s premier teacher training institution, the Cyril Potter College of Education, and other important areas.“It is time our children in the Public Sector no longer be subjected to frequent teacher absenteeism, poor curriculum delivery, shortage of text books and materials, and non-submission of grades at the tertiary levels. I urge that this final report be delivered and made public in the shortest time possible.”Selman, an educator, said that in order to ensure that each child was afforded the best possible education, there was a dire need to continue to add to the pool of trained teachers.This year, 450 graduates will join the trained teachers’ workforce and 37 untrained teachers will complete the teacher upgrading programme, to prepare for the trained teachers’ certificate programme. In 2018, an additional 335 trained teachers are slated to join the workforce.“Mr Speaker, we can do everything I have just mentioned and more, but there is still one thing that will prevent us from achieving the good life as it relates to education – that is, ensuring that teachers are available in all corners of the country. Too often, as we go out to the hinterland regions, the stories of quality of living comparisons to the coastland abound from our education officials,” she told the House.Selman noted that basic food items are much more expensive in the hinterland compared to the coastal region and in some cases, teachers have to travel miles to get the basic supplies.QualityIn order to ensure that we improve the quality of education and the opportunities for our young people, the MP said the availability of good teachers was vital – they must be retained. As such, the 80 per cent increase in the remote area incentive as stated in Budget 2018 is inadequate, she added.“These excerpts speak a lot to the ordinary man. How can this Honourable Minister come before this House and tell us this. Wasn’t the Commission of Inquiry Report expected to address some of these very issues? It appears, Mr Speaker, that instead of dressing and treating our wound, every day this Administration adds a bit of salt,” the MP further stated.Selman said it was her firm view that there must be a teacher’s training college or centre in every region of Guyana. This will ensure equal access to training opportunities. This initiative, she said, will ensure that those in the hinterland will not be left out and there will be no need to travel to the coast.“The huge sums of monies spent on the Commission of Inquiry could have been used to lay the foundation for such an initiative. My Speaker, the Administration has to be smart about its approach to education, something it has failed miserably at since it took office in 2015 – one disaster after another.”She continued, “I dare say, Mr Speaker, if the Honourable Minister of Finance is serious about giving life to the budget theme, “the journey to the good life continues”, then establish a training facility for teachers in all ten administrative regions. This will be the start of a good life.”Selman said aside from training, focus should also be centred on improving salaries and enhancing teaching environments, especially those of teachers working and living in the hinterland. “Can a teacher taking home $80,000 a month enjoy the good life? Can a teacher in the hinterland who has to walk miles to get to the classroom be on the journey to the good life?” she questioned.The Opposition MP has advised Government to adopt the Caricom Human Resource Development Strategy which Caricom Heads of Government approved in July this year. This Strategy is intended to prioritise the construction by 2030 of a globally competitive, innovative and integrated education system to drive growth and development in all Caricom States.“Indeed, all Caricom Member States, including Guyana, were intimately involved in the preparation of the Strategy. I submit, Mr Speaker, that Guyana’s goals are not dissimilar to the goals of this Strategy, so let us stop wasting money on a Commission of Inquiry that may never deliver and use the funds to begin the rollout of the Caricom Strategy tailored to the needs of Guyana.”last_img read more

Hague family fearful after car set alight

first_imgPolice are investigating the circumstances which led to a Hague, West Coast Demerara (WCD) resident’s car being set on fire. Reports are the car belonging to Yoganand Persaud was partly burnt on Wednesday morning. Guyana Times was told that two persons entered Persaud’s yard by climbing over the fence about 12:20h on Wednesday and doused the vehicle with gasoline. According toA damaged section of the car’s bonnetPersaud, one of the persons then lit an umbrella and used it to set the car ablaze, which resulted in damage to the engine and the front section of the car. After the flames were seen, the family was alerted, and efforts were made to remove the burning car from the yard and save the house from going up in flames.Meanwhile, Kamlawattie Persaud, who was at home at the time of the incident, noted that this was not the first time attempts were made to burn the vehicle.She noted that on Monday morning, gasoline was thrown at the vehicle and in some sections of the yard. A bottle containing gasoline and a wick which was set ablaze was then launched in the direction of the car.However, the fire was doused in midair before making contact with the vehicle. Soon after an alarm was raised, and the men fled in a car. In both incidents, the Police were summoned, and statements were taken from the family. An investigation has since been launched into the matter.last_img read more