Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The 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)
As they used to say at Cuttington, when Walter Traub (now Dr. Gwenigale) was there, this is nothing short of “metaphysical” or “far-fetched.” But we at the Daily Observer strongly believe it is NOT: that it is decidedly DOABLE: Liberia should begin NOW the research toward finding a vaccine for Ebola.We admittedly do not have all the scientists in the world, but for starts, we have Dr. Gwenigale himself, Dr. Vuyu Golakai, a surgeon, Dr. Emmett Dennis, a microbiologist, Dr. Billy Johnson, a gynecologist and obstetrician with a PhD in Medicine, Dr. Wilhemina Jallah, Dr. Sam Brisbane, Dr. Abraham Borbor and Dr. Roseda Marshall, Dr. Lily Sanvee; Dr. Bankole Jarrett, Dr. Kate Bryant and her scientific sister Tidi Bryant, all three of whom, though now retired, still can help with their contacts in the United States; Dr. Varney Freeman, a surgeon; Dr. Jerome Washington, a heart specialist, Dr. Juliette Phelps Maxwell, a surgeon, Dr. James Elliott, Dr. T.K. Slewion, Dr. Adama Sirleaf and Dr. Estrada Bernard II, all practicing in the USA; and all the other Liberian scientists and medical doctors practicing around the world, especially in the USA and Europe.These, we think, are a good start. Dr. Gwenigale and Dr. Bernice Dahn, Liberia’s Health and Social Welfare Minister and Chief Medical Officer, respectively, and Dr. Johnson, Chief Medical Officer at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center, should lead the charge. They should consult with all our scientists on the ground, convene a retreat and put on paper a basic research design and circulate it to their colleagues around the world. All Liberian scientists, wherever they are, would be interested and could grab the idea and go running with it, making contacts with their fellow scientists wherever they are, to help research this deadly disease toward developing a vaccine against it.The scientists at the Liberia Institute for Tropical Medicine (LITM) in Charlesville, near Roberts International Airport, would be a good place to start. As we have always said, MONEY is NOT the problem. Long before one cent is raised, people want to see a concrete and challenging IDEA whose time has come. If they are convinced that it is a worthy cause, they will find the money. We are positive that the few Liberians with money, such as Bill Morris, Benoni Urey and Emmanuel Shaw; and George Soros (Open Society), Bill Clinton and Tony Blair–friends of Ellen, all–and philanthropists Bill and Malinda Gates, the Amazon and Google people and so many other wealthy and good-hearted ones, would heartily embrace this idea and help support it.The three monied Liberians mentioned–Morris, Urey and Shaw—could begin by financing and hosting the first retreat–probably at Cuttington, Du Side Hospital or some other appropriate venue, and contribute the seed money to start this important project. The Daily Observer would be happy to provide all the necessary publicity and promotion for the project idea.Others, seeing that we have cast our buckets where we are, would join in and help carry the idea forward.We pray that Drs. Gwenigale, Johnson, Dahn and all our other scientists on the ground would put aside whatever doubts and fears that may arise, embrace this idea and start the ball rolling. As mentioned earlier, this idea is NOT far-fetched; it is decidedly DOABLE.Once we start, scientists in Guinea, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where Ebola started, will join in.Let us seize the initiative NOW, rather than wait for others to do what at least we can START doing for ourselves!Here, meanwhile, is an opportunity to develop a data base of ALL Liberian scientists in the USA, Europe and elsewhere who we are sure would welcome the idea to come forward and do something good for Africa. We call upon Drs. Bryant, Jarrett, Washington and Phelps-Maxwell, Elliott, Slewion, Bernard II and Adama Sirleaf, all of whom are in the USA, to begin now putting together the Liberian scientists’ data base.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Health workers of the Ganta United Methodist Hospital in Nimba County have begun mounting tension on the Hospital administration for salary arrears.On Thursday, May 15, the health workers assembled at the administrative building, carrying placards and demanding their salaries for the month of April.The health workers, including nurses, cleaners, securities and those representing other departments were seen very disappointed over the failure of the administration to pay them for the month of April.Inscriptions on some of the placards read, “No pay on Friday, no job on Monday; the dry leave is falling, warning to green leaves; April is crying warning to May.”“We are tired waiting for a long time because we received patients every day. The administration cannot tell us that there is no money,” Alphonso Genseh, vice president of the worker’s union said.“This is only awareness. The real action begins on Monday if they don’t pay us tomorrow, May 16,” he added.The demonstrators appeared distressed and disappointed.Ma Manee Moore, a cleaner said, some of them are earning “very little” and that little was not forth coming from the hospital’s administrators. She wondered how their employers expected them to support their families.The Associate Administrator of the Hospital Mr. Patrick Martor told the aggrieved workers to bear patience as the administration was doing everything to settle their arrears.“As we speak, the hospital is faced with financial constraint and what we have cannot take care of what we owed you,” he said.“Most of the institutions that owe us money are not paying, and we ourselves owed many entities. We cannot pay them because there is no money,” he added.According to Mr. Martor, he convened a meeting with the aggrieved workers and displayed all documents including financial record about income and expenditure.Since the beginning of this year, Ganta Hospital has been facing serious financial crisis.People have over the time been complaining of poor financial management at the hospital; allegation the associate administrator denied during the time he was appealing to the aggrieved workers.He told this paper that one of their partners abroad (Global Ministry) had cut down its support to the hospital and asking the hospital to close down some departments.He didn’t name those departments that should be shut down, but added, “How can we cut down departments when we do not have the first cent to pay our staff.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Health workers in the country got something to smile about over the weekend when the Liberian leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, announced the payment of their two months’ salary arrears and other benefits owed them by the government. The meeting, held with a cross-section of the country’s health workers at the Monrovia City Hall last Saturday, took into consideration issues relative to the healthcare delivery system of the country as well as the sacrifices they are making in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus. The President urged the health workers to do more to kick the disease out of Liberia.She paid tribute to all those health workers who have lost their lives as the result of the virus, and promised that her government would not forget them in their search for sustainability. In March this year, the Liberian leader reminded the health workers about the danger of the Ebola virus whenever it came into any country, particularly a poverty-stricken country, such as Liberia.“It is you who fight the disease, administer the necessary drugs to all those who are victimized by the it; and we are grateful that your efforts have enabled the government to begin kicking the virus out of Liberia.”She stressed that the virus is posing a serious threat to national security and the welfare of the nation. “Because the people did not take the necessary precautions, they never believed or trusted the government and even health workers, because all kinds of stories were told to them. As the result, the disease has spread all over the place.” To the health workers, the Liberian leader emphasized: “I don’t have to tell you because you know it better than I do, that you are on the front line and facing the worst part of it. You also are aware that we were not prepared to fight this Ebola battle—the materials, training the people, the expertise. And, so, our ability to do what we were able to do, we did it in March, because the way it was going we now find ourselves handicapped.”Over the past few weeks, she, too, has being doing what the health care workers have been doing, examining what when wrong; how both the government and health workers can fix it; where they fell short and what they can do. President Sirleaf said she had called meeting, to say all of the things that the health workers were already aware of, but she felt it was important for her to address them directly.“I want to assure you that we are not ignoring your plights; we know them and we need to deal with them if you will continue to serve your country in rendering health services to our people.”She continued: “We don’t have to make noise to do those things, because our concerns are the same, our responses have to be on the basis of agreement and consensus, and that is why this meeting became all the more necessary.”She pledged that more personnel, more protective equipment (PPEs), among them, ambulances will arrive in the country on Monday from China. This will enable the GOL to increase the number of treatment centers around the country.Earlier, on behalf of the health workers, the embattled secretary general of the National Health Workers Association of Liberia (NAWAHL), George Poe Williams, informed President Sirleaf that among the ‘minimum demands,’ were the reinstatement of the two officials, who had been summarily dismissed by Health Minister Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale.Other issues Mr. Williams raised included of salaries and benefits, wherein he indicated that health workers were earning ‘peanuts,’ whereas their lives are at risk. “So, Madam President, we would like for you to address these issues.” The two officials that were sacked by the Minister Gwenigale earlier this year are Joseph Tamba, president of the National Health Workers Association of Liberia, and the secretary-general, George Poe Williams. Mr. Williams denied that patients had been abandoned by the health workers, but he emphasized the need for them to be adequately protected to combat the virus.“We are not afraid to fight Ebola. We are obliged by our oath to serve our nation and our people. But we must save ourselves first before saving the lives of others,” he declared. The meeting was characterized by interactions between the President and the health workers, who happily embraced her efforts to address them at such a mass gathering.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
President Ellen Johnson Seirleaf seems to be in desperation at this time. This first elected woman President of an African country, whom the world embraced as non other since Nelson Mandela, is asking the Liberian Legislature to give her more emergency powers than even President W.V.S. Tubman, the benevolent dictator, did not have.The President wrote a letter dated October 2, 2014 to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alex Tyler, calling on the National Legislature to grant her extraordinarily sweeping powers including, can you believe it? the suspension of Article 1 of the Liberian Constitution. Article 1 is the very heart and soul of the Constitution. Without it, there is no constitution. Without it, Liberia would descend into a dictatorship or one-person rule.We are positive that this is not what the President wants.It is Article 1 that states: “All power is inherent in the people.” The word “inherent” means that this power is not given. It comes naturally, is innate or inborn. No one can take it away or attempt to take it away. The people are the source of all power in the land.So the President has asked the Legislature to do something that is beyond its authority; and something they are totally incapable of doing.In her letter, dated October 1, 2014, President Sirleaf asked the Legislature to “restrict/suspend certain fundamental rights of the Liberian citizens. These fundamental rights include the suspension of several key and basic portions of the Constitution, including Article 1, Article 12 concerning labor services; Article 13, guaranteeing the free movement of what she called “certain individuals;” Article 14 which guarantees religious freedom; Article 15, which guarantees Freedom of speech and of the press; Article 17, which guarantees freedom of assembly; and Article 24, which guarantees every Liberian citizen the right to property.The Daily Observer immediately contacted the renowned constitutional and human rights lawyer, Counselor Tiawon Gongloe, and asked him to give his reflection on the President’s request to the Legislature.The first point he made was that the request is “belated.” He cited Article 88 of the Constitution which states: “The President shall, immediately upon the declaration of a state of emergency, but not later than seven days thereafter, lay before the Legislature at its regular session or at a specially convened session, the facts and circumstances leading to such declaration. The Legislature shall within seventy-two hours, by joint resolution voted by two-thirds of the membership of each house, decide whether the proclamation of a state of emergency is justified or whether the measures taken thereunder are appropriate. . .”Said Cllr. Gongloe, the President’s current request is belated, because she should have returned to the Legislature no later than seven days after August 7, 2014 when its granting of a state of emergency was announced (Daily Observer, August 7, 2014).The President having failed to abide by this constitutional provision, said Cllr. Gongloe, “cannot now come and ask the Legislature for new powers under this current state of emergency.”The second problem with the President’s October 1 request to the Legislature is that it is patently unconstitutional, said Cllr. Gongloe. He quoted Article 87 of the Constitution which clearly states, “Emergency powers do not include the power to suspend or abrogate the Constitution, dissolve the Legislature or suspend or dismiss the Judiciary; and no constitutional amendment shall be promulgated during a state of emergency.”Several months ago this newspaper, the Daily Observer, asked editorially, who are the President’s advisors? And we can most certainly ask now, in the wake of this current constitutional fiasco, who are her legal advisors.Given the glaring conflict between her request and what the Constitution says, it is clear that the President’s legal advisors did not do their homework—or did she consult with them or ask them their opinion at all? We recall that the ruling True Whig Party’s rubber stamp Legislature, gave President Tubman perennial emergency powers. That is how he became a “benevolent dictator.” Liberia cannot and will not descend to the Tubman years. The Liberian people have come too far to return to that.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The World Bank Group has released a second report in less than a week forecasting a devastating economic impact of the Ebola virus in West Africa if the international community fails to move quickly to contain the disease in the sub-region.With the latest death toll from Ebola now put at about 3,439 in the three worst-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the Bank’s new economic impact assessment warned that if the epidemic was to significantly infect people in neighboring countries, some of which have much larger economies, the two-year regional financial impact could reach US$32.6 billion by the end of 2015.The report notes,” as it is far from certain that the epidemic will be fully contained by December 2014, and in light of the considerable uncertainty about its future trajectory, two alternative scenarios are used to estimate the medium-term (2015) impact of the epidemic, extending to the end of calendar year 2015.” A “Low Ebola” scenario corresponds to rapid containment within the three most severely affected countries, while “High Ebola” corresponds to slower containment in the three countries, with broader regional contagion.According to the Bank’s new analysis, the economic impacts of Ebola are already very serious in the core three countries, particularly Liberia and Sierra Leone, and could become catastrophic under a slow-containment, High Ebola scenario.Our business desk says the Ebola virus has hit the Liberian economy to the extent that all major sectors of the economy, including agriculture, mining and the service sector have slowed or shut down completely. The hospitality sector is also down amidst less demand. The government says it would need about US$375 million to fight the virus.Atop of the slowdown in major sectors of the economy is huge public spending to contain the virus in the face of dwindling revenue generation. In broader regional terms, the economic impact could be limited if immediate national and international action stop the epidemic and alleviate the “aversion behavior” or fear factor that is causing neighboring countries to close their borders, and airlines and other regional and international companies to suspend their commercial activities in the three worst-affected countries.The successful containment of Ebola in Nigeria and Senegal so far is evidence that this is possible, given some existing health system capacity and a resolute policy response, the Bank said.”With Ebola’s potential to inflict massive economic costs on Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and the rest of their neighbors in West Africa, the international community must find ways to get past logistical roadblocks and bring in more doctors and trained medical staff, more hospital beds, and more health and development support to help stop Ebola in its tracks,” says Jim Yong Kim, the President of the World Bank Group.””The international community now must act on the knowledge that weak public health infrastructure, institutions, and systems in many fragile countries are a threat not only to their own citizens but also to their trading partners and the world at large,” says WBG President Kim.”The enormous economic cost of the current outbreak to the affected countries and the world could have been avoided by prudent ongoing investment in health systems-strengthening,” he added.The World Bank Group is supporting country responses in line with the WHO Roadmap, and is coordinating assistance closely with the United Nations and other international and country partners.As the new report notes, “effort and memory will be required to sustain and continue strengthening this early warning network and the complementary investments in effective and resilient African health systems after the Ebola outbreak has been contained. Taken together, the containment effort, the fiscal support, the restoration of investor confidence, and the expanded disease surveillance, diagnostic and treatment capacity promise to first stem the Ebola epidemic, and then help to reverse as quickly as possible the aversion behavior that is causing so much economic damage. “A key issue looking forward will be to re-establish investor trust so that as the epidemic is contained, domestic and international investment can return. The World Bank Group says urgent policies will be needed to jumpstart the renewed flow of relief and commercial activity (for health, business, and tourism purposes) with the affected countries while also safeguarding other countries from epidemiological contagion. To this end, options should be explored for financing improvements to health security infrastructure and protocols of the seaports and airports of the three core countries and their neighbors.To this end, the World Bank Group is mobilizing $400 million in emergency financing for the three countries hardest-hit by the crisis.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
More than 300 employees of both the former Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs have applied for the ‘voluntary dismissal cash envelopes’, for fear of not being hired in the ongoing recruitment exercise of the newly merged “Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP).”According to reports, the annoyed and anxious employees were seen queueing for the application forms for what is termed as the Voluntary Separation Package (VSP), which were being issued from the 1st to the 12th December.Two male employees, who requested not to be named, said a majority of effected staff was interested in the VSP offer because that severance package was more than the CSA Severance Package for those who applied for positions and do not get selected, they claimed.They said the amount of US$7,500 is allocated for all staff that have earned a minimum of a college degree, and US$5,000 for all staff who do not have a college degree. According to the two men, these amounts are higher than the CSA Severance Package, details of which they did not disclose.Unconfirmed reports say the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Liberia has urged the MFDP to “reasonably increase the dismissal package” to be commensurate with the years of service of the employees, and also to consider the state of the country’s economy.It may be recalled that the MFDP Minister, Mr. Amara Konneh, as of Monday, December 1, launched the VSP for all employees who are not interested or are afraid to reapply for positions in the ongoing recruitment exercises for the newly merged Ministry.Accordingly, the VSP was set up to ensure the fulfillment of the goal of the “Organogram” of the Ministry which stipulates the employment of a total of 675 personnel at the end of the recruitment process in February 2015.The Organogram is part of the plan of the MFDP to recruit civil servants for the newly merged Ministry.A memorandum from Minister Konneh, dated November 18, 2014, with the objective of Transitional Updates, says the VSP being offered was still in the making. “As was indicated then and now reiterated, the VSP is simply an offer of first choice to all staff and no staff is compelled to take up this offer. All staff still interested can contact the Transition Information Center on the ground floor of MFDP,” the memo said.It added: “All staffs are encouraged to participate in the internal recruitment process for the various positions as they are advertised. Staff that apply for positions and do not get selected will only benefit from the CSA Severance Package.”When contacted, the Media Services Officer at the MFDP, Patience Senbeni, declined to comment but referred our reporter to the Human Resource Manager, Madam Comfort E. Elliot.“The best place to get information on the Voluntary Separation Package is the Human Resource Department,” Ms. Senbeni said.Madam Elliot, on being contacted, also declined to comment, and referred our reporter to the Coordinator of the Transitional Information Center, Mrs. Findley.But Madam Elliot confirmed receiving the last package of the applicants over the weekend.“I am not clothed with the authority to give you the exact number of persons who applied, but I can say we received the last package of our applicants on Friday,” Director Elliot said. “You can direct that question to the Transitional Information Center on the ground (floor),” Madam Elliot told our reporter.Interestingly, when our reporter went to Mrs. Findley, she, too, directed our reporter back to Madam Elliot or the Deputy Minister for Administration, Mr. Edward Eesiah.However, re-contacting Madam Elliot as well as Deputy Minister Esiah proved futile over the weekend on the excuse that they were in “meetings.”Meanwhile, 25 new directors have already been recruited by the MFDP as part of its hiring process. The directors recently underwent training at the Liberia Institution of Professional Administration (LIPA).One of the recruits for Media Services, Zoegar Q. Jaynes, a former journalist, died a few weeks ago.The hiring of Assistant Directors and Supervisors are expected to be released soon, followed by senior officers, economists, analysts and other staff at various levels.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
… to focus on regaining officeThe People’s Progressive Party (PPP) will be holding its Congress in the last quarter of this year, according to its General Secretary, Clement Rohee, ending weeks of speculation over when the highest decision-makingPPP General Secretary Clement Roheecaucus of the main Opposition political party will meet for the first time since it lost political power in May 2015.Rohee told his Party’s weekly news conference on Monday that the Congress would focus primarily on regaining office.The Party’s Central Committee met last weekend and made the decision, which according to Rohee now paved the way for the establishment of the Congress Committee.“The Central Committee resolved unanimously to hold its 31st Congress in the last quarter of 2016 in keeping with the Party’s constitution. Now that Central Committee has agreed that we will proceed with the Congress in the last quarter of this year, the Executive now has to meet and agree on the establishment of the Congress Committee, and the Congress Committee will then begin its work in terms of the venue, the date and the theme for the Congress,” the General Secretary explained.He reflected on past Congresses where the political atmosphere and progression were the focal point, noting that now that the PPP/C was in Opposition, its perspective would be on regaining political power.“At this Congress, now that we are in the Opposition, a new perspective will obviously be formulated and we have to take into consideration that our Executive Committee has been meeting every week to assess the situation, so has our Central Committee which has been meeting quarterly to assess the political situation in the country. This is what you call a political work-in-progress. The perspective now that we are in Opposition is the regaining of political power…that is the fundamental task ahead of us,” he stated.Rohee added that the urgency of the Party to retake political power within the shortest possible time was emphasised “in order to arrest the downward trajectory in which the country is now heading”.Other areas that the Party would be focusing on are seeking electoral reforms, including lobbying for e-registration, a new voters’ list, electronic voting and e-tabulation of results.Rohee also noted that the Executive Committee was currently “discussing strengthening the Party both organisationally and ideologically in order to deliver on its mandate to ensure a peaceful, progressive and prosperous Guyana with the PPP/C back in office”.He explained that in accordance with this, the PPP/C was working on broadening the appeal and reach of the Party with respect to stakeholders and the society at large.The General Secretary also condemned attempts by external elements at “sowing the seeds of discord within the leadership of the Party”, saying “the Party reiterated its resolve to counter any such attempts to divide the Party”.The Congress will also elect a new Central Committee.The PPP’s 30th Congress was held August 2-4, 2013, at JC Chandisingh Secondary School at Port Mourant, Corentyne, Berbice under the theme – “Strengthen the Party, Build Unity and Advance Democracy”.
To add to the recent spate of crime along the East Bank Demerara (EBD), a white Toyota Spacio, bearing registration HC 4174, was on Monday stolen from the driver’s residence in Old Road, Providence, EBD, between the hours of midnight and 07:00h.Kubair Balram owner of the missing vehicle, explained that the driver, Zaman Ali, who is attached to Flamboyant Taxi Service, in Eccles, EBD, called him at approximately 07:00h on Monday to inform him that the vehicle had “disappeared”.Ali reported to Balram that he arrived home at 17:00h on Sunday afternoon and parked the car outside of the yard. He said that he did not return outside until 07:00h on Monday, when he made the discovery.Several residents of the home in which Ali resides reported seeing the vehicle outside the premises at midnight on Sunday.A report was lodged at the Providence Police Station.Anyone with information regarding the Toyota Spacio holding chassis number, NZE121-3070535, is asked to contact 592-671-3200 or the nearest Police station.