Safety was compromised

first_imgDear Editor,The allegation that at least one of the men recently electrocuted was not wearing protective safety gear (“Man electrocuted while installing cameras at stadium was not wearing safety gear, wife says” SN June 13, 2019), raises seriously the question of safety security for employees engaged by companies in the type of work these unfortunate persons were engaged in.From reports, it seems the persons were contracted by the company, which might feel it did not have an obligation or responsibility to ensure these persons were properly outfitted to undertake all aspects of the job.Reports that one of the deceased persons had wire wrapped around his neck is also of grave concern. The fact that a Government agency contracted the company gives rise as to whether due diligence of the company’s ability/suitability was done.It seems prudent to query whether the company had workers’ compensation/insurance and if not, why not? From reports, it does appear safety was not given the priority it ought to have been given and was compromised.My condolences to the grieving families.Sincerely,Shamshun Mohamedlast_img read more

What a country!

first_imgDear Editor,The man with the pushcart music soon changed the tune from one with lyrics supportive of APNU/AFC to one supportive of the PPP/C as that party’s Nominations Day entourage approached the Umana Yana.  A few hundred APNU/AFC supporters still “hung out” outside the Umana Yana, mostly behind the police barricades despite being encouraged by party officials to go back to Parade Ground. The majority had left the area by this time. APNU /AFC had earlier submitted its list of nominees.All this took place free of any incident. In fact, two men with APNU/AFC shirts and flags in hand actually helped clear the way to help to make room for the PPP/C supporters to assemble. Soon, PPP/C supporters were behind the barriers themselves, only to access the same vendors who were earlier doing bright business with APNU/AFC supporters.  I also saw some PPP/C and APNU/AFC supporters greet each other, in friendship.And then as I drove toward Carifesta Avenue, there were scores of APNU/AFC and PPP/C supporters, all decked out in their party colours, waiting to catch public transportation, minibuses of any colour, to return to their normal lives. All this with little or no attention being paid to the other parties, some 17 of them, I’m not sure.Oh beautiful Guyana. What a country!Sincerely,Brian Kirtonlast_img read more

Closure of LBI operations not a wise move

first_imgDear Editor,It was saddening to hear of GuySuCo’s decision to end the operations at LBI Estate. From what I understand a number of departments including the Field Workshop would be closed and its tasks discharged from the workshop at Enmore Estate.I do not think this is a wise move by GuySuCo. Given the distance between Enmore and LBI it would be both time-consuming and costly for mechanics to travel to repair machines and other equipment in the LBI cultivation.Time is important especially when tillage operations are being carried out. I recall when the Diamond cultivation was in existence, GuySuCo maintained a workshop at that location for such occasions.I also understand that the Enmore workshop is too small and cannot accommodate the total machine fleet from both LBI and Enmore. This will undoubtedly cause major problems.What is the real reason for GuySuCo’s hasty decision to close the LBI operations?Yours sincerely,Fredrick Yuvrajlast_img read more

Place Of Honesty

first_imgWe are yet to determine that placeA spot where we will state the truthWith open hearts to accept our faultsSeeing all of us as one people by GodWith human equality right and dignityJust because we are of the same stuffPlace Of Honesty……. We SeekWe simple as a group of easy goersVent our hates for the season propel usHungry souls are bent low in plain lackGather the lot of the inner clique to shareIn nasty water lodged corners families hidesThat they have nowhere to protect their kidsPlace Of Honesty……. We StriveWe deserve a land rich like our mountainsRivers filled with stones that the world craveForest God grown with massive costly treesPlain lands that yield yellow golden rocksValleys planted with ore needed everywhereRains so much we will feed every child a literPlace Of Honesty……. We SurviveShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

BOXING: A Neglected Sport

first_imgOne of Liberia’s minor sports, boxing, is suffering from what a boxing fan told me, an Ebola virus.He said for boxing to survive, it might need a concerted effort to set things straight.“When was the last time you heard of a boxing bout in this country?” he said. “I bet you cannot find the date, eh?”A visit at the headquarters of the Liberia Boxing Association, right by the Sports Commission, on Broad Street yesterday afternoon did not reveal much for aspiring boxers to hope for.Two young kids were warming up in front of a mirror; a boxer was relaxing on a chair and a young woman was jumping rope, perhaps to put control her weight.“We don’t even have a ring to engage in boxing,” the boxer, said. “Boxing is just suffering if not already dead in Liberia.”Perhaps so, but what he did not know is that boxing is among the minor sports that has suffered from government and corporate support.“Over a year ago,” the boxer said, “we had a ring that we mounted at the Sports Commission for our activities.”That was in fact more than two years ago. Now there is no ring and despite the interest of few young people for the sport, there is nothing suggesting a future for the boxing.And yet, “We want to participate in the African Youth Championship in Botswana,” he said.He admitted to the Daily Observer that without intensive local training and bouts to test a boxer’s readiness for competition, it does not make much sense to send a team of Liberian ‘boxers’ to represent the country abroad.“It is not done that way,” he said, “but we don’t have a way out of it.” That hopeless admission was the struggle the late boxing legend, Baby Joe Boker, carried many years without success.“The best support for boxing has always come from the Liberia National Olympic Committee,” said a knowledgeable boxing fan. “Which were periodic seminars that were never complemented by the Liberia Boxing Association due to poor management.”The Daily Observer learned yesterday that interested boxers, ages from 15-18 are being trained at its gym, near the Sports Commission; it does not suggest that the sport will receive any revival in the near future.“Without a ring and other materials that make the sport attractive,” the boxer said, “let’s consider boxing is dead for now.”It is also sad that Liberian boxing does not have any heroes, and there is no record about those who succeeded in life through boxing.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Promote Liberian-owned Business’

first_imgThe chief executive officer (CEO) of Rise Incorporated has called on Liberians to take advantage of their own businesses instead of promoting foreign-owned investments in Liberia.Mr. Richmond Yarkpah, trades in computer accessories and stationary materials on Benson Street in Monrovia. He told our business desk recently that every Liberian needs to promote their brothers and sisters in the business arena.According to him, if Liberians can take the lead in promoting businesses in the country, it will create the opportunities for the establishment and expansion of more businesses in the country which will also enhance job creation for everybody.Mr. Yarkpah: “If they should take over the economy and move forward with their businesses, then, the government should also be able to build the capacities of its entrepreneurs.”He noted that at times when bid being advertised in the newspapers for business purposes, Liberian businesses will bid and people will check their business records and everything will be correct, but at the end they will end up  giving it to foreigners for little amount.”“With these kinds of perceptions in our country, we need to redirect ourselves and promote Liberian-owned businesses,” he emphasized.The CEO of Rise Incorporated also explained to our business desk that the economy of this country is in the hands of foreigners, and as such, he feels it is wise to join his colleagues to take over the economy of the country.“I see it good because it is necessary for Liberians to be part of the business activities of this country,” CEO Yarkpah emphasized.Business making in Liberia is highly competitive with foreigners struggling to maintain their inherited status above Liberians.The Liberianization policy which gives exclusive right to Liberians to own certain businesses is not effective despite promise by Commerce Minister, Axel Addy two years ago to enforce it.Mr. Yarkpah said thought his business is profitable, he is facing challenges in terms of customers because Liberians are rushing to foreign businesses.“We have varieties of prices for desktop computers set and laptops ranging from US$200 to $350 based on your choice,” he disclosed.At the same time, the CEO of Rise Incorporated told our Business desk they cannot stand alone and called on banking institutions to empower them through loan that they will invest in their businesses to improve.The CEO of Rise Incorporated holds Bachelor Degree in Computer Science and is practically inclined in solving technical problems on computer.Materials besides computers that are sold include printer, industrial printer, and ink and memory cards.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Over US$104.8M Needed for UNMIL Drawdown

first_imgThe Senate Committee on Defense, Security, Intelligence & Veterans Affairs, has reported to Senate plenary that the proposed UNMIL drawdown plan developed by the Government of Liberia and UNMIL covering the three fiscal periods of 2015-2018 will cost US$104,848,878.45, an amount which it concedes the government cannot handle alone. The report recognizes the need to lobby with immediate effect the country’s international partners for assistance. In its recommendation contained in the report read yesterday, the 15-member committee, headed by Lofa County Senator Stephen J.H. Zargo, noted that the 2015/2016 budget period is crucial as it is the period prior to UNMIL June 2016 drawdown, and that “the aggregate cost for this period is US$76,188.89.” “We therefore instruct that the Minister of Justice and chairman of the joint security report to Defense Committee in two weeks, as of today’s date with a realistic and achievable budget for consideration for this budget period, taking into consideration what the Justice Minister considered County/Regional Hot/Trouble spot or high threat zone approach,” the committee said.The committee further reported that during its engagement with national security institutions, it was discovered that some of them contribute considerably to the national budget while others whose budgetary allotments are far more than others, do not contribute.A case in point, according to the committee, is the Bureau of Immigration & Naturalization which in 2013-2014 contributed over US$3M to the national budget while the Liberia National Police could not produce any record to suggest that it contributed to the budget under the same period. “Therefore, we recommend that we allot based in part on institution’s contribution to the budget and in part on its strategic contribution.”During discussions leading to the recommendation, Justice Minister Cllr. Benedict Sannoh, in his capacity as chairman of the joint security, informed the meeting that he had convinced President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to include the UNMIL drawdown plan in the Post Ebola Recovery Plan and called for political will on the part of government for the UNMIL drawdown plan to succeed.Justice Minister Sannoh during the discussion reportedly clarified that the Government of Liberia’s plan for UNMIL drawdown would remain public.For his part, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Cllr. H. Varney Sherman, whose committee formed part of the meeting, encouraged the national security authorities to sufficiently publicize their activities, while Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipay, advised that documents relating to the drawdown be provided to the Defense Committee, totally or in segments, considering their relevance and significance.In the same vein, Bomi County Senator Morris Saytumah encouraged the security authorities and the Executive Branch of Government to submit their budget in a timely manner in order to give the Legislature ample time to review them for consideration, a view shared by Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel F. Naatehn; while the security advisor to President Sirleaf encouraged continuous engagement with the people and economic empowerment of the youth and former combatants.Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh underscored the need to allay the fears and negative perceptions of the Liberian people in the face of the UNMIL drawdown saying there was no looming anarchy nor was the Liberian state on the brink of failure resulting from the departure of UNMIL.  The committee’s report is the aftermath of its meeting with Liberia national security actors held April 7, in the Conference Room of the Senate Pro Tempore. In attendance were heads of all national security institutions, including the Liberia National Police, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, Drugs Enforcement Agency, National Fire Service, Bureau of Correction and Rehabilitation, Armed Forces of Liberia, Ministers of Defense and Justice, and Security Advisor to the President of Liberia, among others.It may be recalled that last March, Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence informed her colleagues that unless some serious efforts were made to beef up the country’s national security prior to the conclusion of the UNMIL drawdown, the security of the country could be at risk, and therefore,  requested an urgent hearing in Executive session.The Grand Bassa lawmaker said such a meeting would require the participation of the heads of all security agencies, including the Defense Minister, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia, the Police Director and the Chief of Immigration. It was based on Senator Lawrence’s concern that her communication was sent to the Committees on Defense, Intelligence and Veterans’ Affairs, and Judiciary, with the option to do further consultations and report to plenary within two weeks.Meanwhile, the plenary yesterday thanked the committee for its timely intervention and meeting with national security actors, and unanimously voted to adopt the recommendations contained in the report.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Ebola Aftermath in Liberia

first_imgNecessity, says an adage, is always the good mother of invention. This aged-old proverb seems to be holding true in the wake of the continuing fight to find a cure for, and to eradicate the Ebola virus.For months now, the troubled West African region and the world, witnessed the rude awakening of the international medical community to what was by all accounts, another unfolding regional and possibly global catastrophe. The outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) did not only threaten millions of lives, it proved to be untreatable and was spreading hysterically.Hundreds of infected persons died within days of contracting the killer virus. Impoverished hamlets, poverty stricken villages, as well as unhygienic municipalities and overcrowded cities in the West African region had their thumbs tight on the panic button.Thanks to the over-worked and unsung heroes in the international bio-medical and pharmaceutical communities, we are now seeing a much needed light at the end of the dark Ebola tunnel.Already an American Doctor, Kent Brantley, who was stricken with the Ebola virus while working in Liberia, where the virus has been raging, responded positively to a new anti-Ebola drug called ZMapp, which is still in its trial stages. Dr. Brantley and an American missionary were airlifted to the United States of America for treatment. Another beloved American doctor, Rick Sacra, who contracted the disease while working in Liberia, has since recovered. In the wake of this welcome news about the Americans that were treated for the virus, comes positive news of anti-Ebola vaccines that are currently going through the tryout stages.Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the United States Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told a gathering of experts that clinical trials of the new Ebola vaccine could be started as early as next year. Thanks to the efforts of the United States, the affected countries, the United Nations and other institutions of goodwill. True to his word, a  clinical  trial  for  a  possible  treatment  of  Ebola  began  on  the 1st  of  January, 2015,  at the  Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA)-3  Medcins San Frontier’s (MSF) Ebola   Management   Center   in   Paynesville,  Liberia.   Led   by   Oxford   University from the United  Kingdom,  and  funded  by  the  Wellcome  Trust,  the  experiment  aims  to  determine  if  the  anti-viral  drug,  brincidofovir,  is  an  effective  treatment  for  Ebola. Given that barely few months ago, there was no known cure for this scourge called Ebola; it is remarkable that a cure backed by a proven Ebola vaccine may well be a medical reality.However, these two positive developments should not give any room for complacency. Already, lessons have been learned, some of which are: the long-term health, psychological and environmental afflictions for those whose families were either crushed by the disease or communities and lands that were used for cremation or unsafe burials. That is precisely the story of the residents of Boys Town community in Marshall, a suburb that is only few miles from Monrovia, the capitol of Liberia. The government and its partners used an open-air Indian crematorium to primitively burn victims of the Ebola virus without basic awareness or consultation with those who live in the area.Needless to say that those responsible for public health administration, should now see the urgent need to reach out to the affected community and provide psycho-social counseling for residents, relocate the Indians and disallow the use of the crematorium which should be transformed into a memorial. Provision of basic health services, which are woefully lacking, is the just thing to do. An action in that direction would mitigate or curtail likely future environmental and related hazards.For starters, public hygiene regimens throughout the country remain shamelessly deplorable. Residents of various communities, including Boys Town are frequently victims of environmental diseases. In other words, diseases that are caused by unpleasant surroundings like malaria, typhoid, dysentery, etc, and now Ebola, are the ones that affect these communities. That is why it is mind boggling to even reveal that safety and health protocols were ignored in disposing the remains and used personal protective equipment (PPE) of nothing else but Ebola victims.A senior government official was sincere to admit that “they (officials) looked the other way and endangered the lives of those who live in the vicinity of the crematorium which should never have been used for any reason”. While the residents surely would appreciate a rare admission from a public official for not defending the indefensible as it is habitually the case, it brings no relief for what they suffered.   As a result of such open and primitive burning, it is unclear what the future holds for residents of that community as it relates to their health, psychological and environmental wellbeing.Successive governments of Liberia have failed to prioritize and regulate the public health system until the Ebola virus stimulated the sleeping collective conscience of the country. Thus, the importance of a credible and assessable public health delivery system will continue to gain prominence long after Ebola is gone. With the aforementioned, it is expected that the recent appeal or suggestions proffered by residents of that community be given timely support as an appropriate first step to set in motion a healing process by all concerned. It can be recalled, that the residents of that community in a strong-worded statement, asked the government and its international partners to encourage the Indians to relocate and disallow them to use the crematorium for the same reasons the government was pressured to cease its cremating activities.Residents of that community having suffered months of trauma due to the burning, smear and loud bursting sounds of Ebola victims for months, also requested that government and its partners  provide counseling services to members of the community, including a select few that were hired without proper guidance to perform such an abnormal task.On August 2, 2014, residents of the affected community awoke to an unusual movement of fleet of trucks belonging to the Firestone Company, reinforced by the nation’s military, transported loads of wood to the old Indian Crematorium on Marshall Road in Margibi County.When the Indians established the crematorium in the 1980s; it was deemed a logical site because the area was then uninhabited. It is now situated in the middle of a thriving neighborhood which makes occasional cremation even by the Indians an immoral act due to its closeness to occupied residential buildings.Members of the community indicated that while they are united against the heartless treatment meted out against them; they, however, are supportive of efforts to eradicating the deadly Ebola virus. The residents also noted that their hearts are loaded with profound grief for the victims of the horrible disease.The question now for any well-meaning individual, government, local or international institution, is how can anyone who lives in that area ever forget the daily sight of mass parade of their fellow citizens being incompetently dumped and burned so close to them with smoke deriving from their burned remains, saturating the air and their homes?Therefore, the health, psychological and environmental impact and its associated pain cannot be overemphasized; so the government should take hasty concrete steps to lessen the situation which could rightly be termed as an “immeasurable trauma.”With the above mentioned recommendations, it is expected that the government, as custodian of rights and safety, act quickly to redeem its missteps not only to reassure the injured and peaceful community of Boys Town, but other communities that are anxious about what transpired in their sister community. The ancient cremation carried out in that neighborhood, which was identical to watching a horror movie, has disturbed the air, stigmatized and contaminated the environment, caused trauma as a direct result of heavy explosions during cremation, and polluted open wells and water table of the people of Boys Town.About the Author:Mr. Tibelrosa Summoh Tarponweh is a resident and spokesperson for the Boys Town, Marshall Community, whose advocacy is intended to draw attention to the gross violation of the community’s right to live in a safe and healthy environment. Email: tibelrosa@gmail.comShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Pregnant Woman’s ‘Murder’ Sparks Riot, Arson in Lofa

first_imgReports from Zorzor, Lofa County say the city was on Wednesday a scene of intense unrest when angry youths took to the streets, burning down five houses and several shops.The destroyed shops and homes are believed to be owned by residents of the Mandingo ethnic group.The angry mob, according to our sources, was rioting in retaliation for the alleged murder of a pregnant woman who had come on a visit from Fissibu, a nearby town.Officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) in Zorzor were no match for the rioters, compelling them to call for reinforcements from Gbarnga and Voinjama.Gbarnga is 94km from Zorzor, while Voinjama is 104 kilometers away.Officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU), another component of the LNP, were brought in and after few hours of struggle, were able to restore order in the town.Fissibu is situated between Zorzor and Voinjama City, the county capital. The woman, it is alleged, was killed by a Mandingo man only identified as AB, who happened to be the father of one of her children.The alleged murderer is said to be a soccer player for one of the local teams in the area.The victim, whose identity is yet to be disclosed, was said to have arrived in Zorzor in the morning and was discovered dead late in the evening.The angry crowd also erected roadblocks along the main street to prevent the alleged criminal from leaving town.The move also affected the local radio station, Radio Life, with its staff feeling threatened and constrained to shut down the station.The radio station is located on the road to Fissibu, and its management chose to close because a roadblock erected along that road was manned by angry youth.The victim is reported to have been riding with the alleged culprit on a motorcycle purportedly owned by him (AB) when she arrived in the town on Wednesday morning.She was said to have come to Zorzor to receive her “child support” from the accused.Meanwhile the alleged murder, AB, has not been seen since the tragic incident and may have likely escaped from Zorzor. The victim was reported to have been six months pregnant prior to her demise.The victim’s body is reported to have been deposited in a morgue at Zorzor’s Curran Lutheran Hospital.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more