Dear Editor,I read with alarm the report published by the Guyana Chronicle on June 13, 2018, headlined ‘PPP frets after candidate loses out on GECOM post’.The report says: “Back in 2016, Persaud was accused of being corrupt. It was alleged that despite having a Public Relations Officer (PRO) at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) at the time, Persaud carried out some of that officer’s duties during the last elections. Sources within the Commission had told the Guyana Chronicle that Persaud took charge of all civic and voter education responsibilities despite their falling within the ambit of the PRO… in 2014, Persaud while appointed as DCEO, wrote and signed documents as the entity’s Public Relations Officer. In documents seen by this publication, Persaud had signed as PRO and DCEO.”Editor, the fact is Persaud was GECOM’s Public Relations Officer. He was appointed the Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DCEO) on August 12, 2014. A report in the very Guyana Chronicle, dated August 13, 2014, headlined ‘Vishnu Persaud GECOM’s new DCEO/ DCNR’, makes this fact clear.At the time of his appointment, the vacancy of Public Relations Officer had not been filled. He acted in the post until someone was appointed.So obviously, in 2014, there would have been documents released by Persaud where he either signed as PRO (ag) and DCEO.Is the Guyana Chronicle so desperate to defend the unilaterally appointed GECOM Chairman, Justice (retired) James Patterson, that it tells blatant lies?Lies will not distort the facts.The fact is Persaud was the number-one ranked candidate for the post of DCEO, after an evaluation by a four-person panel (two PNCR and two PPP/C nominated Commissioners). The fact is that the unilaterally appointed GECOM Chairman in using his casting vote to reject the number-one ranked candidate also rejected the principles of meritocracy and fairness, which should guide the hiring process of any institution, more so GECOM.Regards,Attiya Baksh
Dear Editor,Our Constitution, like that of any other country, is the supreme law and it not only provides the main governing laws in broad terms, which all other laws must be in consistency with, but it also provides vital checks and balances for those who are in authority to govern our country. In addition, the Constitution safeguards our principle and important rights and entitlements as citizens from each other and from our Government.Therefore, it is this Constitution which gives us the power through our elected representatives in the National Assembly to ‘divorce’ an elected Government and put in motion the electoral processes to elect a new Government. The coalition has committed numerous atrocities against the Guyanese public to warrant this ‘divorce’. This ‘divorce’ takes the form of a vote of confidence, commonly called a vote of no-confidence since it will be ridiculous to assume that the Opposition will vote in favour of the Government. This is exactly what took place on the night of December 21, 2018.The Revised Constitution of 2001 gave us this power through Article 106 of our Constitution and its intent or interpretation is quite clear and unambiguous. Article 106 (6) of our Constitution unambiguously states that “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence”. On December 21, 2018, all the elected members voted on the No-Confidence Motion and 33 of the elected members voted in favour of that motion. The Constitution makes it clear that 65 members constitute the National Assembly. That is crystal clear and conclusive. Therefore, when the foregoing Article speaks about a “majority”, it is in respect of these 65 members.The Caribbean Court of Justice’s President, Adrian Saunders, submitted that the main issue is to determine what constitutes an “absolute majority” albeit that the term is not used in our Constitution. If the CCJ wants to differentiate this “majority” with the other majority needed to pass bills in Parliament and use terms such as “absolute” and “simple” majority in the process, then it is also clear that the Constitution itself provides the acid test for this differentiation. The main ingredient for this differentiation is the “vote of all elected members”. In case of the vote of confidence on December 21, 2018, all the elected members were, in fact, present and voted. The result is a majority of 33 against 32 of the elected members in the 65-member National Assembly. Therefore, there is a declaration that 33 votes of the members of the National Assembly constitute a “majority” of all the members of the National Assembly within the meaning of Article 106 (6) of the Constitution of Guyana.Chief Justice George in her ruling on January 31 was absolutely correct when she ruled that, “In our 65-member National Assembly a majority of all elected members, in accordance with the principle of ‘one over all rivals combine’, is the thirty-three (33) members”. On December 21, 2018, turn and twist as it may, the “absolute” and the “simple” majority became indistinguishable since all the elected members were present and voted and in our odd number National Assembly no number of varied mathematical computations can negate this fact.I am confident that the CCJ will rule in favour of 33 and not the concocted 34 which can never be applicable to Guyana’s Constitution!Yours sincerely,Haseef Yusuf
The Guyana Power and Light Inc has blamed the prolonged power outage on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning in Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Four (Demerara-Mahaica) on a faulty connection.In a statement, the company said that at approximately 23:09h, the Demerara-Berbice Interconnected System encountered a power failure as a result of a faulty connection that connects the 69KV submarine cable to the overhead transmission lines at Kingston.The company said that while restoration efforts were impeded to a minimal extent due to the problems experienced while restarting some of the generating units at Kingston, power was restored to most consumers by 02:30h.However, some customers reported experiencing the power outage for a maximum of five hours but GPL is assuring that every effort is being made to restore the link to its Vreed-en-Hoop 26 MW Station.The company regrets any inconvenience caused.
As Guyana and the rest of the world observed International Youth Day on Friday, youths and children from Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) were graciously provided with a new environment to learn critical skills that will serve them well as they mature into adulthood.A group of overseas-based Guyanese, including the USA Guyana Humanitarian Inc and the Ramrattan Family of the United States have opened a library and Information Technology (IT) laboratory at the Ramrattan Social Service Centre for Excellence at Woodley Park, in Region Five.These facilities are now part of the Centre that was commissioned sometime back by the Ramrattan family to host the annual Academic and Skills Training Workshop for children and youths of the village.Social Protection Minister Volda Lawrence speaking at the graduation ceremonyIn addition to opening the library and IT laboratory, the philanthropic group on Thursday hosted a graduation ceremony for the third batch of students who completed the annual workshop.Social Protection Minister Volda Lawrence, was present at the ceremony and commended the youths and children for participating. She noted that she was happy to see the large numbers, including parents, “because we can have villages filled with children, but if we do not have families, parents, guardians and concerned citizens who recognise the value of having an education, then ventures such as these would not be successful.”Minister Lawrence also commended the Ramrattan family, their partners and supporters for the works they have done to ensure their facility remains open for the benefit of the youths and children.“I don’t think we can measure the value of what the Ramratan family has done in this community,” she said.The group hopes to further expand their services offered at the Centre by partnering with the Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Social Cohesion and Social Protection.Lawrence noted that her Ministry could not pass up the opportunity to partner with the supporters of these initiatives. She outlined that her Ministry through the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) will begin a partnership to ensure that the Ramrattan Social Service Centre for Excellence is utilised throughout the year by hosting skills training in various fields for young people.The Social Protection Minister told the children that having academic certification is essential but acquiring a skill is an invaluable experience, as it teaches discipline.“You can pass on that skill to your family, even your children,” Lawrence said. At the moment, the facility is only opened when the Academic and Skills Training Workshop is held in August.Treasurer of the Group, Angeli Maystry, a professional teacher in the United States, said that the workshop is usually conducted in collaboration with several local volunteers and the group is working on arrangements to have the library and computer facilities open to the children all year long with the support of those volunteers.Pandit Prabudyal Ramrattan, on whose premise the Centre was erected, said he undertook the initiative in response to a need he saw locally during one of his visits home. A former teacher at the Rosignol Primary School left Guyana for England in 1966 and eventually settled in the United States.President of the USA Guyana Humanitarian Inc, Mohan Singh, said he has been friends with Pandit Ramrattan for more than 25 years and did not hesitate to partner on this venture, having seen the need in many local communities. Singh explained that annually, they use the workshops to teach skills in Information Technology, photography, entrepreneurship, agriculture, leadership, and reading.Participants are also coursed in topical and social issues, and life skills to empower themselves, their families and community. He explained that the group is also spreading their wings in other areas, including Jamaica and New York.
An unlicensed single-barrel shotgun and four cartridges were on Sunday unearthed at a mining camp at 13 Miles, Arakaka, North West District (NWD). Based on reports, the Police received information and went to the area where a search was conducted, thus leading to the discovery of the gun and ammunition.The gun and matching ammunition found at Arakaka, NWDNo arrests have been made as Police continue investigations. Recently, the Guyana Police Force reported that some 67 illegal firearms were seized between January and September. These include 29 pistols, 21 revolvers and 17 shotguns.Only on Saturday, a Providence, East Bank Demerara man was arrested with an illegal .9mm pistol and 12 matching rounds of ammunition at “WarLock”, East Ruimveldt, Georgetown. The miner reportedly went to visit his girlfriend when the Police carried out a raid and the illegal gun and ammunition were retrieved after he was seen disposing of same.
The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) has extolled the Liberia Wrestling Federation (LWF) for the success of its inaugural free-style wrestling seminar in the country.Mr. Charles Dumont, the head of its International Wrestling Development hailed local wrestling governing body on behalf of FILA.“We are happy to find that the course went very well,” Mr. Dumont wrote to the Liberia Wrestling Federation.The president of LWF, Mr. George B. Gould in an interview said the letter came as a surprise and challenge to the federation to develop and practice what was learnt.He expressed his thanks and appreciation to the FILA for the ‘pat on the back’ and promised to develop and promote wrestling in the country.He said the first-time ever 6-day training, which brought together coaches, referees and wrestlers from schools and universities, is another way to promote the game.The wrestling boss thanked the International Olympic Committee for the sponsorship, which was done in consultation with FILA through the Liberia National Olympic Committee (LNOC).Gould said the facilitator, former Nigerian wrestling champion Victor Kodei, was up to the task to impart the necessary but basic free-style wrestling techniques to the participants.The 6-day training ran from the 13th to the 18th of January, 2014 at the Sports Commission and was climaxed with an exhibition and certification program at the SKD gymnasium.Assistant Sports Minister Murvee Gray and Sylvester Williams, Special Assistant to Youth and Sports Minister Eugene Lenn Nagbe were amongst officials who graced the occasion.Schools that participated in the seminar were Tubman High, G. W. Gibson, J.J. Roberts, D. Twe, E.J. Goodridge, Haywood Mission, Matilda Newport, Paynesville Community School, A. Glenn Tubman Junior High School and the University of Liberia (UL).Expert Kodei is a 14-time Africa champion (undisputed), 5-time Commonwealth champion and 4-time Olympics champion. He was also a champion in Free-Style wrestling.Meanwhile, wrestling has been readmitted in the 2020 Olympic Games.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai has said that the provision of sound and quality education to students in the education sector is the only way Liberians can be taken from their present economic, social and other conditions and provides for themselves better living conditions as well as contributes to the development processes of their country.VP Boakai said quality education is always needed, especially in country like Liberia that has come from civil crisis and is in rebuilding process. He stated the country will always be in need of young qualified Liberians who can help in its rebuilding process.The Liberian Vice President spoke when he officially dedicated the newly constructed campus of the Leigh-Sherman Community College and the Leigh-Sherman Executive Secretarial School in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.The new building of the school, which has its motto as, “There is no Excellence without Labor” was officially opened by VP Boakai Friday, April 25. The school had initially been located in the Fiamah Community in Sinkor, Monrovia. The college now has its own campus after over 38 years of existence.VP Boakai said the Leigh-Sherman College since its establishment in the late 1970s, has been very instrumental in developing the capacities of young Liberians some of whom have gone out to become exceptional professionals in their areas of disciplines throughout the world.He challenged the authorities of the school to continue their high level of academic and ethical training to their new location, indicating “Let your work over these years speak for itself as you come into this new community.”VP Boakai lauded the founder and proprietor of the college, Madam Theresa Leigh-Sherman, who he said have for many years shown how dedicated and committed she is to the molding of the minds of the young people of her country.“After all we have gone though individually and as a nation, she is still passionate and committed to this cause. Relocating the school to this location is another level of commitment. You have brought light to this community and its surrounding areas. Thank you for being such a good Liberian,” he said.“Most of the people I have worked with over the years have been graduates of the Leigh-Sherman College. These have been very professional people not just in terms of qualifications competency, but also discipline. The kinds of training that she instilled in her students always go with them,”“She always produces the best of students and I’m very proud of her. I want to thank you Theresa for helping the children of this country who we are dependent upon for the rebuilding of our nation. The provision of quality education is the only way for us to get out of our present conditions as Liberians. We hope that your hands’ works prosper,” VP Boakai added.The proprietor of the college, Madam Theresa Leigh-Sherman, said the decision to relocate the school is as a result of the outcome of a survey that was conducted. She said survey shows that 80 percent of the students are from the out sketch of the city, particularly Paynesville and as such it is ideals for their campus to be brought close to them.She said this will help curtail a lot of expenses that students undergo daily to get on campus. Some of the challenges have to do with the difficulties of getting a vehicle to and fro school and amount spent on transportation weekly will be reduced drastically.Madam Leigh-Sherman noted that since its inception about 38 years ago, the college has been grounded in a vision of excellence and the new move will not be an exception.She said, “A pioneering institution in the field of Secretarial Science, we have successfully trained and placed over five thousand administrative professionals in positions with government, public and private corporations, international organizations and the Liberia Diplomatic Corps.”She indicated that in the years since the civil conflict, the college has emerged with a renewed sense of purpose and responsibility. “Our country has entered a period of tremendous revitalization and progress in which education and profession training is imperative.”She lauded all those who contributed to the construction process of the new building. She indicated: “After 38 years of existence, Leigh-Sherman school finally has its own campus and permanent home. We are proud today that we on our own campus and our dream has come true.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
A Liberian-based infrastructural company, Gateway Development Liberia (GDL), has begun the reconstruction of two community roads in Virginia. Gateway Development says their focus on innovation and the use of new technology will help to ensure the roads are functioning at optimal levels for ten years.In a 30-minute tour of the two roads outside Monrovia this past Wednesday April, 23, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Adam P. Saffer, said the roads are being constructed through an experimental approach.According to Mr. Saffer, the initial road project was granted by the office of the Liberian leader for ‘Special Presidential Projects’ on community empowerment and sustainable development.During a tour of the roads, our reporter observed that the materials used appeared solid.It was observed that the engineering process was fully computerized and used modern software like Auto-CAD. While the lay out and actual construction was done by the latest machinery operated by fully trained professionals.Mr. Saffer told the Daily Observer that his company aims to help Liberians build a sustainable infrastructure.He expressed the belief that new technology is the best way to assist Liberians in achieving their development goals while cutting down on the considerable costs associated with the various construction projects in the country.He explained that GDL has worked in many countries and has a track record of professional, sustained and durable work that would help minimize the difficulties experienced by Liberians during and after the country’s Rainy Season.Mr. Saffer concluded by urging Liberians and their partners to initiate projects that would have a long life span in order to maximize socio-economic growth.Residents and business owners from the two out-of-Monrovia communities expressed their delight over the construction work. “We are finally saying goodbye to bad roads and dangerous accidents in our two communities,” Francis K. Beyan, a businessman, declared.Mr. Beyan stressed the need for the Liberian Government to consider giving additional community road contracts to the GDI engineering team in the country.Restaurant owner, Mae Dennis Sackie, told the Daily Observer, “I’m grateful to God and the managers of GDL for fixing our roads.” Thomas K. Jonson, a motorcyclist, expressed his satisfaction with the construction work and said he would like more road contracts to be awarded to GDL since the company has introduced innovative methods that would ensure the durability of the country’s roads.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Finance Minister Amara Konneh has observed that the economic transformation pillar of the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) remains the lynchpin for the country’s drive toward transformation and inclusive growth. According to Minister Konneh, government’s interventions in economic transformation, a pillar in the AfT, have focused on formulating policies and programs that create an enabling environment for private sector participation and expansion in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.Mr. Konneh made these assertions over the weekend at the Steering Committee Meeting of the Liberia Development Alliance (LDA) in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa Copunty. It was during the LDA’s Steering Committee Meeting that the government of Liberia presented a progress report on the first year performance of the AfT.The ceremony was a self-assessment program by the government to grade its performance on projects it pledged to implement in the first year of the AfT. The AfT itself is the government’s five-year development strategy which follows the Lift Liberia Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) and is the first step in achieving the goals set out in Liberia’s long-term vision of socio-economic transformation and development. About 100 heads of ministries, agencies and commissions along with development partners, private sector actors and civil society stakeholders attended the meeting which discussed the one year implementation progress report that was presented for the Committee’s review and acceptance.The AfT is structured along five pillars (Peace, Security & Rule of Law, Economic Transformation, Governance & Public Institutions, Human Development and Cross-cutting Issues).In his opening remarks, Minister Konneh noted that the government is providing an appropriate legal and regulatory framework appropriating tax and royalty revenues from concessions to finance electric power and transport infrastructure, education and training, and other inputs needed to bolster the private sector. He indicated that the government has also taken a bold initiative to engage major stakeholders to identify and remove bottlenecks in the economy.Mr. Konneh, who also chairs the LDA, explained that the government through the Liberia Business Registry (LBR),has driven the process of enterprise formalization by streamlining the business registration process and reducing the number of days taken to register a business. “As a result of the automation of the business registration processes in Liberia,“ he declared “a total of 7,459 new businesses were registered in the period, 94% of them Liberian-owned.“ Over the period, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), in collaboration with the International Standards Organization (ISO), successfully tested theNational Satndard Laboratory‘s (NSL) instrument calibrations to ensure that the degree of accuracy of its precision instruments, gauges and scientific apparatus are consistent with international standards, Konneh declared. According to him, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were drafted for four commodities on the market, names not given, and that the National Investment Commission (NIC) is finalizing the Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS).“A gap analysis was completed along with relevant stakeholders and a review of the entire value chain has been completed. The preparation of the report for the finalization of the strategy is currently ongoing.“The LDA boss noted a local content policy to facilitate the creation of new linkages, deepen and expand existing programs between foreign companies and SMEs is also being developed and that research into local procurement, local content, business linkage has been conducted and a technical working group has also been established. Toward this end, he said the working group established to develop the local content policy identified four priority sectors for the local content policy: Agriculture, Mining, Oil & Gas, and Infrastructure.The performance of the each of the five pillars of the AfT: peace, security and rule of law (PSRL), economic transformation (ET), human development (HD), governance and public institutions (GPI) and cross cutting issues (CCI) were graded . Under the PSRL, the total of 169 interventions were earmarked, but only 76 interventions were made in year one with 52 completed totalling 68%. This sector had a total strategic objectives of 17 and is considerd the best performer. The ET sector recorded total interventions of 323 with 47 interventions in year one, 26 completed and scored 55%. This sector’s total strategic obsjectives are 32. The HD sector’s total strategic objectives are 17, total interventions 191 required, year one interventions 29 and total completed is 16, which amounts to 55%. The GPI sector’s strategic objectives were 27; total interventions 204; total interventions in year one 58; with 21 completed and score 36%. In the CCI sector, a total of 85 strategic objectives were set, 394 total interventions identified, with 67 interventions made in year one and 32 completed at the rate of 48%; thus making the total completion rate of the AfT in year one to 53%.Finance Minister Konneh noted that the 53% completion rate of the AfT clearly indicates the need for sector heads to coordinate their activities.President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf thanked Minister Konneh for the presentation. The Liberian leader also sthanked pillar chairs for the gains being recorded as she acknowledged the support of development partners for their continuing supports to the country‘s ambitious development agenda encapsulated in the AfT.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Chief Justice’s address to the opening of the Supreme Court’s October Term on Monday dwelt not on an erudite legal argument, but on a subject that he and his colleagues considered the matter of the moment: fighting and finishing the Ebola crisis in Liberia.His Honor Francis Korkpor led his colleagues in reaching out in an extraordinary way to their suffering and dying compatriots and the whole nation, who have become afflicted with the deadly Ebola virus.The center piece of his address was his announcement that he and his colleagues had decided to surrender one month of their salaries to the Ebola fight. They went so far as even to reveal to the nation their monthly wages—his US$12,000 and his colleagues’ each US$9,000. We do not think that the CJ went that far in order to inform the nation about how low the top people in the third branch of government are paid. He rather wanted to let each of us calculate how much they were giving to the fight against the disease.Chief Justice Korkpor described the gesture as “a concrete demonstration of our commitment to fight the Ebola virus. My colleagues and I,” he said, “have resolved . . . to give one month of our salaries and allowances over a period of four months deducted from our income at a rate of 25% per month.”Judges and senior support staff of the lower courts have also agreed to contribute one fourth percent of their monthly salaries and allowances, he added.He intends to urge the other Judicial employees to make similar commitments the national cause.Chief Justice Korkpor suggested that the Liberian Legislature and all Liberian citizens, those in the public and private sectors, be encouraged “to consider making similar contributions to save our people and nation.”We commend the Chief Justice and his colleagues for their magnanimous and sacrificial gesture. His suggestion that other branches of government and the public in general should follow is welcome. Many local individuals and organizations have joined the anti-Ebola fight. But more needs to be done in our common resolve to eradicate the virus.The CJ stressed that these contributions should be fully accounted for; and we hope that will be the case.We are also concerned about funds coming from abroad and the increasing cry of our health workers for back pay and personal protective equipment (PPE). Both are crucial to encouraging our health workers to return to work.We are told that GOL owes them a huge amount in back pay. It is hard to understand why GOL has failed to pay on time people in this most vital sector. That was part of the problem that caused the National Health Workers Association of Liberia (NHAL) to go on strike in the first place. They have now returned to work, thanks to the intervention of GOL and international partners. But the workers say they won’t accept any new patients; only those who are already in hospitals. This is partly because they are unhappy with the hard line which Health Minister Walter Gwenigale has taken on their leaders. He told a press briefing Monday that the two leaders, NHWL president Joseph Tamba and secretary general George Poe Williams, “will never come back.”They say “never” belongs to God.A reconsideration of that statement may require the intervention of President Sirleaf and the international community. But amidst this deadly crisis, in which our people are dropping dead everywhere—a crisis that has affected EVERY aspect of our lives—our economy, our politics and our very existence as a nation—there is no room for a hard line from any quarter. Everything and everybody must give to save Liberia. We must remember that the Liberian Council of Churches, all churches and all people throughout Liberia, Christians and Muslins alike, are praying for God’s deliverance. How can God hear our prayers when we assume an unforgiving and vengeful attitude? Last week the World Bank announced a grant of U$52 million to fight Ebola. This is part of many financial and other resources coming from various quarters. Our question is, Can some of these funds be used to address all the issues of the health workers, including their salary arrears and PPE? We believe these are critical to our success in the fight against this deadly enemy.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)