The Tourism and Public Communications Ministry on Friday received a cheque valued million from network giant, GTT, to facilitate the activities to mark the nation’s 50th independence anniversary.During the handing over ceremony at the headquarters for the Tourism Ministry, Minister Cathy Hughes accepted the cheque which was presented by Marketing Director of the company, Daniel Gilson.Making her remarks, Minister Hughes underlined the significant role the company has been playing even before the celebration of this year’s anniversary.Minister Cathy Hughes receives the cheque on behalf of the Tourism and Public Telecommunication MinistryShe said the company continues to be a key sponsor in the country’s activities and this year is no exception, considering its whopping contribution.Referencing the celebration of the anniversary as an explosion of music, art, dance and fashion, Hughes pointed out that this year will definitely be the most memorable.GTT’s role in this will be pulling off the fashion segment of the four nights of activities to be hosted from the May 19-22.The money received will go fully towards ensuring that the “Fashion Extravaganza” lives up to its name of being extravagant in every sense.The fashion shows are set to be hosted for four nights on the lawns of the Ministry and will feature 22 local designers meeting and their fashion pieces exhibited.Explaining the event, Minister Hughes said that this is anticipated to be largest fashion show hosted in Guyana where designers will meet on one stage to portray their originality and creativity.This, she said, will put Guyana’s designers on the international map since there is expected to be thousands of persons from the Diaspora visiting to witness the course of the anniversary celebration.Hughes pointed out that Guyana’s fashion industry has been thriving over the years and this event will create a platform to speak of how the country is developing.Designers from all genres and ages are expected to take the lawns on that night with each exhibiting 10 to15 of their pieces.A special feature that is also set for the stage is the launching of the Fashion Week, which is a Sonia Noel’s initiative.Meanwhile, Public Relations Officer of GTT, Allison Parker, cited that the company over its 25 years of existence has been a consistent supporter of these kinds of events.She pointed out that their role has been especially highlighted in celebrating the country’s anniversaries and this year, as Guyana marks 50, the company is grateful to be major sponsors.The company’s involvement in the activities will not only be limited to the fashion show but will expand to the GuyExpo and another show set to be hosted at the National Stadium.Parker pledged the company’s future attachment to this nature of activities and urged the public domain to be supportive of the country’s development and honouring it.The four nights of events will be hosted at the National Stadium with each night having a different focus; be it music, food, fashion, art and a wide range of other attractions.
Prototypes of modern vehicle registration plates with security features, which will aid in combating certain crimes, have been submitted to Government, which has since announced its intention to introduce aForbes Christian shows a list of some of his regular clients, including the Guyana Fire Servicecentralised and more secured system.The proposal was made by a Guyanese company based in Miami, Florida, USA, called EuroSign to Government Ministers, officials of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) Traffic Department on Wednesday at the Marriott Hotel.The recommended licence plates will be embedded with security features that stymie the use of falsely registered plates and enable easier tracking and identification.The new centralised system would see the issuance of standard licence plates for all categories of vehicles, including diplomat vehicles, State vehicles and Joint Services vehicles.In December last, a German company had submitted a proposal for special licence plates for vehicles to assist in tracking traffic offenders as well as vehicles used for criminal activities.The proposal was being reviewed by Government.Chairman of the Guyana National Road Safety Council (GNRSC) Dennis Pompey had explained that number plates of this nature will help crime fighting in a big way by making it difficult for persons to commit crimes since the number plates cannot be tampered with or changed.Traffic Chief Dion Moore had previously pointed out that this will be a useful tool for law enforcement since it will not only assist in reducing traffic offences but criminal activities as well.“Our current system is an open system that is uncontrolled and with the new proposal, we will see a more improved system where there are more security features on those identification marks and can be traced easily from varied areas. As soon as a vehicle passes an area, certain signals will be given and the respective devices will send out an alarm.”He explained that with such a system, law enforcement officers will be able to track tax evaders, persons with vehicular fines, and even those who are wanted since the vehicles are registered to a particular person.Moore had also taken into consideration that, once Government gives the green light for this new venture, the road corner vendors who sell registration plates will be out of business.Government spokesperson Raphael Trotman had assured however that even though the system will be centralised, there will be agencies across the country which will have vacancies which can be occupied by those entrepreneurs who were already involved in the trade.When the announcement was first made, Guyana Times spoke to several of those businessmen involved in the trade who were worried about the impacts of this new undertaking on their businesses’ sustainability.A representative from Jai Sign and Auto Designs had noted that the company will experience significant losses if this new system comes to fruition.“We do other things but we basically started on number plates and we eventually ventured out into signs and thing, so that is a big part of our operations… we would lose out a lot because every day is a constant thing, people come in all the time so at the end of the month, is a lot of money we make from this,” he said.The representative was hopeful that his business will win some of the bids to continue to operate, but he noted that the smaller entities will most likely be put out of operation.A small dealer, Forbes Christian, whose establishment is located on Croal Street in Georgetown, posited that the new system will only cause chaos.He explained that a centralisation process will put a toll on the Government and will only make the process tedious for customers as they will have to wait longer before they get their plates completed.Another small establishment, operated by Chris (only name given), noted that it is the smaller business owners who will feel the brunt of this decision because the larger companies can earn income from doing other things, like graphic designing or tinting.“So what’s going to happen with all the licence plates that issued before? This won’t stop the criminals them, they will still be thieving and doing them things. I think even if they want to install a security strip in the plates, then they should let us do it because nuff of we gonna be out of work,” he said.However, other sections of society are highly in favour of this decision, noting that it is time law and order prevailed.
A number of senior officers from the Special Operations Crime Unit (SOCU); Customs Anti-Narcotic UnitParticipants of the training course with Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and US Ambassador to Guyana Perry Holloway(CANU); the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) last Friday participated in a one-day Financial Intelligence Training course, facilitated by the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Public Security Ministry said on Monday.In a statement, the Ministry said that the training, held at the Police Training Academy, forms part of the ongoing exercises by the Guyana Police Force to enhance the capacity and skills of its members.Apart from the Guyanese, officers from Trinidad and Tobago attended and, through tele-conferencing facilities, officers from St Kitts and Jamaica.“Four senior officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the USA tutored the participants on a number of topics, including money laundering schemes, terror financing, illicit trade-based transfer systems, charting financial data and financial profiles investigation methods,” the Public Security Ministry said of the course, which was fully sponsored by the US Government.Speaking to the participants, US Ambassador Perry Holloway emphasised the need for capacity building in these areas in Guyana and Caricom, and restated the United States’ continued support in these efforts.Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan spoke of the timeliness of the training, stating that there was an emergence of a variety of financial crimes in Guyana to which attention must be paid.“Crimes of all types do damage to the society at large. Crimes against the person and property instil fear. We are doing the best we possibly can to reduce those. But financial and economic crimes too can damage our economy and even our democracy. These, too, we must do all in our power to halt. This training programme is an ongoing process in that regard,” Ramjattan stated.He expressed gratitude to the US Government for its support.
In her Annual Message to the Legislature on Monday, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced that she was sending for enactment several bills, including some for the repeal of all laws found in the statutes and in decrees of the defunct People’s Redemption Council (PRC) that militated against free expression and press freedom.She reminded the Legislature that Liberia had been among the first African nations to ratify the Table Mountain Declaration calling for the repeal of repressive anti-press freedom laws.She signed this Declaration in Monrovia on Saturday, July 21 2012, becoming the second sitting African Head of State to do so, after Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou.The Declaration seeks to abolish insult and criminal defamation laws in Africa and set a free press higher on the agenda.As she signed the Declaration, President Sirleaf cautioned then Press Union of Liberia president Peter Quaqua to “act now to establish self-regulating measures, as many other countries have done, to ensurethat the media acts responsibly by the granting of these freedoms. Both of us have that responsibility, if this Declaration will be more than the piece of paper that I sign, or we can make it a live instrument to protect the rights of all– journalists as well as any other citizen.”During the regime of President Charles Taylor, the Legislature repealed one of Liberia’s worst anti-press laws, Decree 88A. It was passed in the mid-1980s by the PRC regime of Head of State Samuel K. Doe. The law was so terrible that it stipulated that no one could say, write or publish anything offensive against any head of state, Liberian or foreign, or against any diplomatic representative, or any government official, even if what was being published were true. That gave Samuel Doe and cohorts the freedom to commit any crime against the state or the people, and go scot free, without even a mention in the press.A similar law which we hope has been sent forward for repeal is the Criminal Malevolence Act of 1978. The legendary pamphleteer Albert Porte wrote a pamphlet about Criminal Malevolence, in which he called it “a Nightmare with Foreboding.” It was intended by the Tolbert administration to tighten “internal security.”In his book on Albert Porte, Kenneth Y. Best records the full text of the law as contained in Mr. Porte’s pamphlet. The law stated that “A person has committed a first degree misdemeanor if he accuses anyexecutive authority, judicial authority, member of the Legislature or any public authority either by word or mouth, writing or by public broadcast or conduct which constitutes the commission of a crime, provided that at the time of such accusation:- a) the conduct charged is untrue; b) the purpose of the actor is to thereby injure the official in his reputation and undermine his official status . . .””Criminal Malevolence,” Mr. Porte said in his pamphlet, “is the latest large and heavy bundle of straw tied tightly on the back of the poor, weak, ailing, amenic, emaciated democratic camel.”Albert Porte declared that the new law signaled an intensification of Liberia’s democratic decline; and instead of blaming one another, we should take action now! “We cannot stand idle while this democraticship of state catches fire,” Mr. Porte wrote. That is exactly what would happen should the law remain on the books, he warned.As Mr. Best mentioned in his book, Albert Porte himself probably did not realize that the “fire” he predicted “had literal potency and would, in a short while, actually burst into uncontrollable flamesthat would engulf the whole nation and beyond.”A year later April 14, the Rice Riots, occurred; and the following year the coup, killing President Tolbert and his topmost officials and leading to the civil war that would spread far beyond Liberia.Criminal Malevolence, though still on the books, lay largely quiescent (inactive, dormant). But it is still there and the sooner it is removed the better. Its removal and that of others like it would go a long way to make this first independent African republic more democratic, more peaceful, more stable, yea, more prosperous.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Liberian nation is at war again. The situation is so grave that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last night declared a 90-day state of emergency. She said this may require the suspension of certain constitutional liberties. The Liberian people are bracing themselves to see what direction this might take. The war this time, fortunately, it is not so much us versus us, even though there is some evidence of that; but particularly us versus the deadly Ebola virus, which has inflicted a terrible calamity upon the nation and the Mano River basin, resulting in hundreds of deaths and uncontrollably increasing new infections.Just yesterday news broke about a new area under attack, Kakata, one of our most central cities, through which thousands of people pass daily traveling to the central, western and southeastern parts of the country. Kakata is also one of our educational centers, home to the nation’s oldest and leading vocational and technical institution, Booker Washington Institute. Kakata is also the epicenter of one of the nation’s most important economic activities, the rubber industry, in which tens of thousands of Liberians are employed. In the past two days four health workers have died and 11 others infected at Kakata’s C.H. Rennie Hospital. The Health Ministry is relocating the infected to quarantine facilities in Monrovia. We said earlier that there is self-inflicted harm also, evidenced by marauding criminals poisoning wells in various communities, with dangerous chemicals. The police in Monrovia are in denial of this dangerous new menace, but just as they were issuing a new statement of denial Thursday, reports came in from our Nimba correspondent, Ishmael Menkor, that at two a.m. that same morning a well in a family compound had been burst open by unknown persons and allegedly poisoned.This is a matter that requires the engagement of the entire Joint Security; for there are many places in Margibi County and Monrovia, the nation’s capital, where poisoning activities have been reported. And now Ganta.Our most serious challenge at this time, however, is the combat against the deadly Ebola virus, which has already claimed over 200 lives and hundreds of new infections in country, and over 1000 deaths among Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Now Nigeria, where a Liberian official collapsed and died at the Lagos airport, is at risk of the Ebola spread. The official had been in contact with his Ebola-sick sister before he, ignoring the advice of many, boarded a plane to Nigeria for a meeting.He ended up carrying this deadly disease to Africa’s most populous country. The Lagos nurse who treated him has also reportedly died.President Sirleaf now has to develop and announce to Liberians the new strategies she and her officials are putting into place for the intensified anti-Ebola battle. She also now has to explain what she means by the suspension of certain constitutional rights and privileges, for which she must seek legislative approval. She has to make a strong and carefully crafted case, for this is not the same nation before 1980, when the True Whig Party’s rubber stamp Legislature handed President W.V.S. Tubman each year, as long as he wanted it, Emergency Powers that allowed him to jail anybody at will or take any administrative action he wished. Liberians have since 2006 enjoyed and become accustomed to a new dispensation, made possible by the active reengagement of the 1986 Constitution which President Sirleaf, in keeping with the oaths she took in January 2006 and 2012, respectively, has striven to uphold. Ours is once again a multiparty democracy. But given the exigencies of the moment, and Ebola uncontrollably spreading, the Legislature may accede to the President’s request for a state of emergency to deal with this extraordinary situation. But what measures are to be put into place, whether they will be able to arrest the deadly viral spread, and how will the emergency affect the daily lives of citizens and residents, remain to be seen.Health workers are most likely to be among the groups expected to be affected by the emergency. Since so many of them have stayed away from work for fear of infection, the emergency may force them to report back to duty. The least GOL can do to ensure their return to duty, is to provide each with full protective gear, food, fluids and everything else that their safety and wellbeing demand. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The president of the National Bar Association (NBA) has described as “ridicules” the manner in which Judges approached lawyers in open courtroom.Cllr. Theophilus Gould claimed that it has become habitual on the part of judges to intimidate or demean lawyers in the presence of their clients and the other parties.“They sometimes respond harshly, if they wanted clarity about an issue raised by lawyers,” the Bar Association president furiously claimed on Monday, August 11.He made the allegation when he responded to Judge Johannes Zogbay Zlahn’s address at the opening of Criminal Courts; A, B, C, D and E of Montserrado County at the Temple of Justice. Cllr. Zlahn is the Judge of Criminal Court ‘A.”He spoke on the topic; “The Court as Administrators and Dispensers of Transparent Justice in the System of Government.”However, Cllr. Gould maintained that the Judges’ actions were contrary to administrating and dispensing justice in the system of government. “[The practice of ridiculing lawyers] is not in the interest of justice and fair play,” Cllr. Gould declared.“The party litigant will see it as an expression of interest for the opposite side, which demonstrates that the court is not transparent in the discharging of justice. We must stop it now, if we want to administrate justice and fair play in our court system,” the NBA boss warned.“It is also wrong and unethical because the court is charged with the responsibility of administering and dispensing justice throughout the country,” he further warned.Chapter 3, Article (20) of the Liberia Constitution provides that “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, security of the person property, privilege or any other rights except as the outcome of a hearing judgment consistent with the provision laid down in the Constitution and in accordance with due process of law.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Executive Director of the Balawa International Foundation, Kekura Kamara has disclosed that his organization will on Unification Day unveil a modern arts studio in order to preserve Liberian heritage.Mr. Kamara said that the studio will undertake a series of projects, so as to enable the public to know that they have a unique culture and that it is their responsibility to uphold it.“We believe that culture is our identity and every work that will come out of the studio will be up to international standards.” “The studio production will reflect Liberian traditions which, along with the creativity of our team, will show the importance of culture to our people,” he assured.He added that they have chosen Unification Day to open the studio because it will remind the audience that we are a united people with a single culture and identity. The foundation is making all efforts to come out with a documentary on Liberian history, and will partner with one of Liberia’s famous historians immediately after the opening of the studio.According to him, documenting some historical facts through visual audio will give the public the opportunity to properly understand facts about their country, and that the studio remains committed in doing just that.He disclosed that some of the major challenges the studio will face early in its scope of operation is getting sponsors and donors to support the studio program, as well as to help strengthen the implementation of the Liberian copyright law. But he said that his organization is fully prepared to cope with these challenges, and a huge amount of investment has already been made available for the purchase of equipment that will meet international standards.“There will be a week’s long workshop to train our staff and artists about quality production and the use of high- powered digital technology equipment,” Kamara said. “We are not going to produce anything that is not up to accepted standards because there are significant gains we have made in investing into this studio.”He added that the program marking the official launch of the studio will take place on Old Road, May 14 and that the public is welcome.“I’m asking the public to exercise patience as Balawa will soon be back on their television screens and radio, and with even more interesting culture programs,” he said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The suspension of basketball in the country since the outbreak of the Ebola has caused drought to passionate basketball fans for about year, but probably in the eve of Liberia’s 168th independence celebrations 20 players are poised to battle in the first ‘Inter High School Dunking and Three points Competition.’The evening of Saturday – July 25, beginning at 2:00pm at the Monrovia YMCA, will see 10 students each would be marked and identified – perhaps at least five feet in height – to participate in the Dunking or 3 Points Competition– to express either their moderate jumping abilities or sharpness in shooting.Though it would be the maiden edition of the competition, spectators will be eager to witness the power, enthusiasm, discipline and coordination of the kids to promote themselves and their schools.The highest dunker would walk away with a gigantic golden trophy and US$100 same as in the 3 points competition.Mr. Calvin Diggs named some of the participating schools as Lenn Miller, Haywood, BW Harris, St. Peter’s Lutheran, CWA, St. Matthew’s and St. Edward’s of central Monrovia, Paynesville and Bushrod Island.“We would reveal the names players and the trophies this Friday in the Media Launch and tickets would go on sale next Monday,” Mr. Diggs. “The judges of the competition would comprise of old-timers and veteran basketball players.”An All Star basketball game and special performance by ERICGESO and Angels (All girls dancing crew) will perform to crown the all-day tournament.“Almost all the schools in Monrovia and its environs have the application forms and they need to fill them up and drop them at the Flames basketball office, on Lynch Street, Harmon Building – behind the Sports Commission,” Mr. Diggs indicated. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Senator Jewel Howard Taylor has submitted to Senate plenary a letter asking for their attention, review and subsequent endorsement of a draft Legislative Bill entitled: “An Act to amend Title 17 of the Penal Code Laws of Liberia, known as the Judiciary Law of 1972; to provide for the establishment of the Corruption Court of Liberia.”She said the draft Act is being submitted in response to the high level of alleged corruption cases and the public perception that the endemic and systematic corruption has engulfed “our governance structure; and that we the lawmakers have not shown enough political will to put in place the requisite structure, which will enable the Judiciary deal with corruption in a holistic way.”The Bong County lawmaker told her colleagues that it is her ardent desire that “in consideration of the urgency of the passage of this bill that we will do all within our power to expedite and have this critical draft bill into law.”Immediately upon passage of the Act, Corruption Courts will be created as specialized courts and established in each of the counties, initially commencing with Montserrado County. The procedure and enforcement of the mandate and judgments of the Corruption Court shall be the same as that of the Circuit Courts in criminal cases, except as modified in this act or the Rules of the Corruption Court as may be promulgated afterwards. The court will be composed of a panel of three judges, one of whom shall be called the Chief Judge and the administrative head of the court. Decisions of the court shall be by majority. The judges of the court shall have the power and authority to issue orders in the nature of writs of prohibition, to inferior courts and their officers; will aid the exercise of the appellate jurisdiction over said inferior courts. “In terms of appointment and tenure, the President “shall nominate, and with the consent of the Senate, appoint and commission three judges of the circuit court stature, who shall preside over the Corruption Court.”The Bill is now with the Senate Committee on Judiciary, chaired by Senator Varney G. Sherman. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Family members of the late Nakita Forh, daughter of Representative Edward Forh, yesterday wept bitterly in the Civil Law Court in Monrovia after a six member jury announced that the John F. Kennedy Medical Center (JFKMC) was not responsible for her death.Rep. Forh sought US$25 million as damages for the death of his daughter, which he claimed was the result of negligence on the part of medical doctors assigned at the hospital.Nakita, who suffered from asthma, died on September 27, 2014, on the grounds of the hospital while gasping for air because she was denied the use of the hospital’s nebulizer during the height of the Ebola crisis in the country. For their failure to provide his daughter medical care when she sought treatment at the JFK hospital, Rep. Forh was claiming US$25 million in damages for her death.After several hours of closed door deliberations in the Chamber of Judge Yussif Kaba, the jury came down with a unanimous non-liable (not guilty) verdict in favor of 11 health practitioners who Rep. Forh accused of being responsible for his daughter’s death.After the jury’s decision, lawyers representing the lawmaker announced an appeal against the verdict to the Supreme Court.The Forh family declined to speak with journalists who for the past months had converged at the court to follow the trial that is considered the first of its kind in the country. The case was interesting because it was the first time in this country for a sitting lawmaker to file a lawsuit against a hospital claiming damages for the death of his daughter, one of those in the queue remarked.Rep. Forth accused Dr. Wvannie-Mae Scott-McDonald, JFK General Administrator; Munah Tarpeh, Deputy for Administration; Tannie Sneh, Nursing Supervisor; Mary Howard Nyaquie, Administrator; Dr. Korto Dorbor; Dr. Billy C. Johnson, Chief Medical Officer; Dr. David Okiror, Staff Physician; Professor Joseph Njoh, Department Chairman on Internal Medicine and the Administrator of the Ministry of Health, of his daughter’s death.The lawsuit against the healthcare givers, according to Counselor Arthur Johnson, lead lawyer for the Forh family, was based on what he described as a “very devastating and frustrating experience,” which he claims, caused the family significant damages and an unforgettable state of trauma for their daughter’s death.Cllr. Johnson argued that Nakita died in the arms of her father on the grounds of the hospital while struggling and crying for help.For that reason, Rep. Forh was seeking not less than US$10 million in general damages; US$5 million in punitive damages; another US$5 million in compensatory damages; and US$5 million in substantial damages.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)