LIFE: 2013 Was Expressive; Let 2014 Be Cohesive

first_imgThe Year 2013 in Liberia’s cultural and creative sector can be likened to a baby having sprouted a few teeth.  And though the teeth might not yet be strong enough to chew, you would definitely feel the pain of the baby’s bite if you put your finger in its mouth.  Ouch, sharp new teeth!  Indeed, it has been a year with displays of tremendous potential and audacious activities that have many anticipating what creative flair the year 2014 will have. We recall that the previous year 2012 ended with the passing of one of Liberia’s top cultural icons, Peter Y. Ballah, founder of the Flomo Theater Productions and former director of Liberia’s National Cultural Troupe for many, many years.  He was buried in the town of Dimeh, the hometown of his mentor, author Bai T. Moore.  On the heels of that and into the year 2013, the Liberia National Museum on Broad Street came to life with the first original art exhibition there in many years, featuring a collection of works from Omar El Shabu (aka Baba Shabu) entitled, “New Water From The Ancient Well”, fully embedded with Liberian cultural symbols that seemed to foreshadow the apparent renaissance on Liberia’s cultural and creative scene this year.Emerging Voice of CultureWhat seemed to be a not-so-active first half of the year turned out to be the struggle of Culture trying to find its voice in its native land, Liberia.  What a voice, and what a find!  May 2013 was a very eventful month, beginning with the near-tragic house fire that caused Liberia’s ‘melody-maker’ David Mell to sustain burns on his face, arms and other body parts.  The accident struck a chord with many in the industry about the need to fundraise for Mell’s medical treatment and establish a safety net for other artists who might be in dire need.  He has since recovered and is in South Africa preparing for a major concert to be held in Liberia 2014.  And while the Liberia Copyright Office with the help of Zimbabwe-based African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) built awareness among artists and content creators from around Liberia through a 3-day workshop, the Arts & Culture Council of Liberia was presenting its declaration to the Government of Liberia along with over 150 signatures, petitioning government to pay more attention to Liberia’s culture and creative sector, through many of its statutory outlets, especially the education sector, as well as policing against piracy.  Great synergy!The fire was lit and in July 2013, Liberian Gospel recording artist Kanvee Gaines Adams brought pride to Liberia when she won the Special International Award for the Promotion of African Gospel Music at the African Gospel Music Awards in London, UK.  That same month, the National Culture Union – an umbrella of over 30 local cultural organizations –inducted its new corps of officers, headed by Kekura M. Kamara (popularly known as ‘Balawala’).  By September, American-Liberian filmmaking couple Andrew and Aretha Campbell had captured 3 awards for their feature film, “Somewhere in Baltimore”.  The film took Best Movie of the Year (Liberia Entertainment Awards); Best African Movie (African Oscars); while Andrew Campbell was awarded Best Screen-writer at the African Oscars.  By November, Ernie Bruce, head of the Copyright Office, had announced that all sellers of pirated music and movies had until December 15 to close down their illegal business or face confiscation of their products by the Copyright Office. The last two months of the year however saw a slew of events that aptly crowned 2013 and sent the year out with a bang.  Top Liberian fashion designer Chris Collins represented his country at ECOWAS Fashion Week.  Late November was the Liberia Fashion Week which, in spite of low publicity did bring out some serious, untapped Liberian talent in the fashion arena.  Kicking off December was the search for Liberia’s Next Top Model by Letia Assaf Bates, focusing not just on the designs but the models sporting them – a concept aimed at developing young Liberian ladies into not just fashion models, but role models.  Then there was the 2nd Annual Hip-Co Festival which showcased over 30 artists over its 2-day event, while the Monrovia Fashion Week, brought together local and international designers. In the Minds, not the MinesThe fashion fusion has never been this big in Liberia! In spite of the cat-fight between organizers of the Liberia Fashion Week and those at the Monrovia Fashion Week over who started theirs first, both events were hugely successful.  Let’s hope 2014 can see Liberian fashion conduct itself in a more cohesive, complementary fashion.  There was similar riff this between certain members of the music and film community and the organizers of the Arts and Culture Council of Liberia over the declaration presented to the Government of Liberia.  Some thought it was the personal gravy-seeking agenda of certain individuals.  If only our colleagues across the creative sector learned to probe issues well before getting feisty over them, we could all make tremendous progress and not waste so much time and emotional energy trying to do it.  The common goal is to elevate Liberia and no one can do it better than the other.  We must do it together. A prayer for next year, perhaps: may Unity (cohesiveness) be the most significant achievement of Liberia’s cultural and creative sector, stamping out envy, animosity, selfishness and greed.  Liberia’s got natural resources far greater than what is in the ground beneath.  Liberia’s greatest natural resources are not found in the mines, but in the minds of its highly resourceful, creative and expressive people.  But the tremendous creative reserves Liberia possesses will only be replenished when we develop the space and the willingness to share and express our talents generously. Lastly, the arts journalism niche is starting to widen in the Liberian media space.  With various media outlets making space on air and in print for the arts, culture and entertainment, few young journalists are starting to skip the hard-core political reporting for something more – shall we say – savvy.  The Daily Observer has been in the vanguard, consistently covering the cultural and creative sector since 1981 and is proud to observe one year since we decided to increase our arts coverage to 4 pages – with color – making LIB Life a bona fide section of the newspaper.  We appreciate all the creative professionals who took the time with us to get those interviews done; all of our readers who have been paying attention, and our reporters Makanfi Kamara and Yewa Sandy who keep this beast running full steam, every Friday, and to the editors and technical staff who make it shine.  We salute all other Liberian arts journalists out there who are passionate about elevating the cultural and creative sector of Liberia.  Special thoughts go out to the family and friends of the late Ralph Lincoln, a dedicated arts journalist who has been in the field for many years as an arts reporter for the erstwhile Tidings newspaper in 2005 and later for Uptown Reviews, a weekly arts journal published by Liberian poet and author Nvasekie N. Konneh.  Lincoln was also the lifestyle reporter for Frontpage Africa at the time of his demise on Christmas Eve, 2013.  May his soul rest in eternal peace. So there we have it.  Another year, another to bloom.  As we face the countdown, we’ll leave you with these parting words: God is love and life is one; fun is fun, but when you’re dead, you’re done.  Brace yourself.  Here comes 2014! Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Linden youth found guilty of 2 rape counts

first_imgTwenty-five-year-old Keon Lawson of Wismar, Linden was found guilty on two counts of rape by a 12-member jury before Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall at the Sexual Offences Court of the Demerara High Court.Convicted rapist Keon Lawson being escorted by PoliceAs such, he is expected to return to court on January 6, 2020, for sentencing.The first charge read that between November 1 and 30, 2014, in the county of Demerara, he engaged in sexual activity with a six-year-old girl.The second read that on October 6, 2017, in the county of Demerara, he engaged in sexual activity with the said victim, who was nine years old at the time.According to reports, on the first occasion, the now-convicted man went over to the child’s home. He then proceeded to hold the child, cover her mouth and committed the act.On the second occasion, the young girl visited Lawson’s home to uplift something for her mother; however, upon arrival at his premises, he prevented her from leaving and proceeded to rape her.The child later confided what happened to her teacher who later informed the parents and Police.Prosecutors Teriq Mohamed and Nafeeza Baig presented the State’s case, while Attorney-at-Law George Thomas represented Lawson.last_img read more

83 fired Enmore female workers receive food hampers

first_imgOver 170 female sugar workers, who were employed in the fields and factories of the now closed Wales, Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates, are to receive hampers from the Guyana Solidarity Movement–New York (GSM-NY).Some of the dismissed sugar workers of the closed Enmore Estate with their hampersThe first distribution exercise was conducted for the workers of East Demerara Estate at the Enmore Community Centre on Friday, where 83 fired female workers received hampers. The workers related that the hampers, which comprised basic food items, will ease the burdens they now have to carry.The initiative materialised after many workers, whose services were terminated, voiced the despairs which they are now faced with after losing their jobs. Many related that they were single parents, who were working for meager earnings in light of their situations.This latest support was made possible through the support of many Guyanese in the New York area who have been touched by the stories of sadness in the sugar belt.Some of the fired workers shared that though they have managed to secure jobs, their rates-of-pay and conditions of work are far less from what they enjoyed in the sugar industry. Others said that given their age, they have great difficulties in obtaining employment. They lamented that they gave their best years to the sugar industry and the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and now they have been shoved into the cold world of unemployment, seemingly without any consideration about their and their family’s well-being.In the coming days, similar activities will be held at Wales, Rose Hall and Skeldon Estates.last_img read more

Municipal election forums next week

first_imgIt’s shaping up to be a busy week for municipal elections candidates in the area. Next week will see four different all-candidates forums held in the Peace River area. Monday night, District of Taylor candidates will face off at the Taylor School at 7pm. Tuesday night, Fort St. John’s candidates will debate the issues at the Quality Inn at 6:30pm. Wednesday night, candidates in Hudson’s Hope will meet at Hudson’s Hope School at 7pm, and Thursday night, Peace River Regional District candidates will hold their forum at the Quality Inn in Fort St. John at 7pm. All forums are open to the public.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Civil society groups join calls for President, Cabinet to resign

first_img…illegal Govt needs to respect the supreme law of Guyana — protestorsA handful of persons representing two civil society groups picketed the Ministry of the Presidency on Thursday, calling for President David Granger to adhere to the constitutional provisions that mandate his Cabinet to resign and call elections in light of the passage of the No-Confidence Motion (NCM).A section of the groups outside of the Ministry of the Presidency on ThursdayThe picketing exercise was organised by the Mass Action Peoples Movement (MAPM) – the group which was formed to protest against the parking meters project – and the newly-formed Association for Democracy and Human Rights (ADHR).MAPM’s Don Singh contended that the Constitution of Guyana is being trampled upon by the coalition administration, which seems keen on not adhering to the law, and that the legal and right thing for the President and his Cabinet members to do now is resign.“Whether you like it or not, it happened, article 106(6) and the consequences that follow thereafter are important, so we are saying resign Cabinet now. You (Government) accepted that you are interim or a caretaker government, well behave like that. We cannot have new projects, I saw Minister David Patterson talking about a bridge to Suriname the other day that is ludicrous, and you cannot be planning to spend tax payers’ money when your cabinet is illegal”.Don SinghMeanwhile, another member of MAPM, Johnathan Yearwood, is of the belief that the APNU/AFC coalition has lost all respect for Guyana’s Constitution.“The Constitution clearly states in 106(6) that the Government, the President and the Cabinet shall resign. Not should, but shall resign. Then it goes on to say in 106(7) notwithstanding that resignation, they remain in government, but apparently the President and the Cabinet, all the learned members of the Cabinet, do not understand what the word notwithstanding means because they have already said publicly that they will not be resigning and that is against our Constitution”.Yearwood stated that instead of allowing due process in accordance with Guyana’s laws through provisions in the Constitution to have an early election within a stipulated timeframe of three months, the Government of the day has chosen to disregard the laws that govern the country.“The Constitution clearly states that they must resign, not if they want to, and they have said that they are not resigning. So, I am asking that our government show respect for the supreme law of our land which is the Constitution. If they don’t like the Constitution as it stands, well change it, but until it is changed, we must respect it, it makes no sense having a Constitution and then we don’t respect it”.Meanwhile, Representative of the ADHR, Tracy Shamsudeen, expressed similar sentiments.“They have been deemed to be illegal as of March 21, a No-Confidence Motion was passed on 21st of December, last year, and we are asking them (Government) to please respect our Constitution. We fight for the rights of the citizens of Guyana as you can see our name is Association for Democracy and Human Rights. So, we are fighting for the rights of citizens we are asking the Government to discontinue trampling on our rights and trying to disenfranchise persons from being able to vote in an election to elect a new government,” Shamsudeen added.The Constitution says that following the passage of the NCM, the President and Cabinet must resign and elections held within three months of the passage of the motion. That deadline elapsed since March 21, 2019, with Government having spent much of this time in court seeking to overturn the motion, rather than ensuring elections were held.However, the APNU/AFC Government has maintained that they are acting in accordance with the Constitution, despite the repeated public outcries for the administration to resign and call elections as early as possible.last_img read more

NFL rookies act more like veterans

first_imgINDIANAPOLIS – Rich McKay likes what he sees among today’s NFL rookies. Sure, they’re bigger, faster, stronger, even brasher. But they’re also better prepared to make a quick impact. McKay is among the dozens of NFL front office officials, coaches and scouts who will spend the next five days in Indianapolis grading this year’s college prospects at the league’s annual scouting combine. Over the past five years, McKay acknowledges he’s consistently seen rookies arrive at training camp with more knowledge, in better shape and more prepared to make the transition to the NFL. The results have been just as dramatic. In 2004, Pittsburgh rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went from the Mid-American Conference to within one win of the Super Bowl. He eventually won it in 2005. The 2006 class even outdid Roethlisberger. Quarterbacks Vince Young of Tennessee and Jay Cutler of Denver almost led their teams to the playoffs. New Orleans’ dynamic duo of running back Reggie Bush and receiver Marques Colston helped the Saints reach their first NFC championship game. Chicago kick returner Devin Hester got the Bears all the way to their first Super Bowl in two decades, and Indianapolis running back Joseph Addai played a key role in the Colts’ championship. The NFL gradually has been transformed by increasingly talented rookie classes into a league more affected by today’s younger players. “For a scout, mini-camp used to be the worst three days of the year,” said McKay, the Atlanta Falcons’ general manager. “You’d show up after spending all this time working on the draft, and a guy would come in out of shape or struggle to pick up a scheme. But you don’t really see that any more.” center_img It may go down as one of the NFL’s best rookie classes ever. While matching that productivity will prove difficult in 2007, league insiders expect the trend to continue. “I know that the coaching at the college level is getting better every year,” Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “A lot of the guys that have coached at our level are going back to college, and I think that’s helping them.” With coaches such as USC’s Pete Carroll, Alabama’s (and formerly LSU’s) Nick Saban, Georgia Tech’s Chan Gailey, Nebraska’s Bill Callahan and Mississippi State’s Sylvester Croom going from the NFL to college football – and in no apparent hurry to return – college players are getting tested in different ways. Players, such as Young, who may have been asked to run an option offense in past years, are getting a chance to demonstrate their versatility by throwing more frequently. Receivers are catching more balls and running backs are picking up more blitzes. And the ramifications also are being felt on defense. McKay, who declined to compare this year’s draft to last year’s, expects it to continue and he hopes to find a few diamonds before departing early next week. “I didn’t get the impression that people were ranking last year’s group that high, but it was a very productive group,” he said. “You have to realize that at the end of the day, we’re still picking human beings and you never know how they’ll react to the two things they’ve usually never had – free time and money.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Best ever deal? ‘Wenger got rid of Anelka and bought Henry and a new training ground!’

first_imgRay Parlour has hailed the signing of Thierry Henry as Arsene Wenger’s greatest ever deal.The Frenchman was a struggling winger when he joined the Gunners from Juventus for £11million in August 1999 and he went on to become one of the best players in the club’s history.And former midfield favourite Parlour insists the move was a masterstroke by Wenger.He told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “It was definitely one of Wenger’s best ever deals. He got rid of [Nicolas] Anelka and brought in Henry and paid for a new training ground!”last_img read more

Man City to face Man Utd in League Cup semis

first_img0Shares0000Raheem Sterling scored twice as Manchester City beat Oxford 3-1 to reach the League Cup semi-finals © AFP / OLLY GREENWOODLONDON, United Kingdom, Dec 19 – Holders Manchester City will face Manchester United in the semi-finals of the League Cup after both sides saw off lower league opposition to make the last four on Wednesday.Raheem Sterling’s second half double ensured City warded off a shock to win 3-1 at League One Oxford, while United ended fourth-tier Colchester United’s fairytale run with a 3-0 win at Old Trafford. Leicester set up a semi-final meeting with Aston Villa after the Foxes survived a second half fightback from Everton to secure their place in the last four 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.City have won this competition for the past two seasons with Pep Guardiola’s only defeat in the League Cup coming to United three years ago.Guardiola’s men will have a chance to avenge their 2-1 Premier League defeat to the Red Devils earlier this month when the sides clash over two legs in January.“You always want to win trophies. We’ve got a nice little draw coming up, it’ll be exciting times,” said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “We’ve shown before we can do well against City.”City made eight changes for the trip to Oxford, but still named a strong side and went ahead through Joao Cancelo’s first goal for the English champions midway through the first half.However, Oxford went toe-to-toe with their illustrous visitors all night and levelled through Matty Taylor a minute into the second half.Oxford even had more attempts on target than City, but did not have the predatory instincts of Sterling on their side as the England international twice tapped home from close range to spare City’s blushes.“It was a tight game with the wind making things difficult but we did well,” said Guardiola, who was accompanied by assistant Mikel Arteta despite speculation suggesting he is set to be announced as Arsenal’s new manager.“We suffered a lot in the second half. At 2-1 they play long balls with throw-ins, corners and we struggled but it’s okay.”– United patience pays off –Main man: Marcus Rashford scored his 14th goal of the season for Manchester United against Colchester © AFP / Lindsey ParnabyManchester United had to be patient before seeing off Colchester, who had beaten Tottenham and Crystal Palace to make the last eight.Marcus Rashford was guilty of missing a host of chances in a goalless first half.However, the England forward made amends six minutes into the second period with a calm finish to register a career-best 14th goal of the season.Rashford was also the creator of United’s other two goals as Ryan Jackson turned a cross into his own net before Anthony Martial stretched to convert at the back post.Leicester’s brilliant season continued as they held their nerve from the spot after blowing a comfortable lead at Everton.The Foxes travel to City in the Premier League on Saturday, but Brendan Rodgers still named a near full-strength side and was rewarded when James Maddison and Jonny Evans struck in five first half minutes to give the visitors a 2-0 half-time lead.But Everton are made of sterner stuff under caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson.Ben Davies gave the Toffees hope 20 minutes from time and a sensational long-range strike from Leighton Baines sent the game to penalties.Maddison then saw his spot-kick saved to start the shootout, but Kasper Schmeichel was Leicester’s hero with saves from Cenk Tosun and Baines before Jamie Vardy scored the decisive penalty.0Shares0000(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Revealed! Liverpool’s top transfer target is…

first_imgChristian Benteke is Liverpool’s number one transfer target this summer.That’s the view of former Anfield midfielder Ray Houghton, who understands the Aston Villa striker is being lined up for a move to Merseyside this summer.The Belgian’s release clause is £32.5m and ex-Reds star Houghton believes Brendan Rodgers is set to go all out for the 24-year-old.“I’ve heard Benteke is one of their major priorities in the summer, he is the one they are looking to sign,” he told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show.“Benteke would fit into Liverpool’s style. He’s big and physical and he’s something Liverpool haven’t got at the moment. He can upset defenders, he’s got genuine pace and, when you get him in the right frame of mine, he can score goals.“That’s something Liverpool have been missing.”last_img read more

REVEALED! This is the man to replace John Terry, according to former Chelsea star Ray Wilkins

first_imgRay Wilkins claims Chelsea already have the perfect replacement for John Terry at the club in Branislav Ivanovic.The former England skipper played every game of last season but, at 34 years of age, cannot be expected to repeat that feat for a number of campaigns.Ivanovic has spent most of his Stamford Bridge career as a right-back but ex-Blues midfielder Wilkins insists the Serbian can step into the central void.“Don’t forget guys, Branislav Ivanovic is a centre-half,” he told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show. “I know we haven’t seen him play there much but he could be the perfect replacement for John Terry.“He is up and at ‘em, strong as an ox, and a great centre-half.”last_img read more