Invest more in primary education

The Administrative Assistant to the President of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) Mr. Johnson F. Togba, is urging the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf-led government to invest more in the development of primary education in Liberia.

He made the call in a speech delivered during the 24th closing and thanksgiving program of the Liberia Marketing Association School System outside Monrovia. He says the education of young minds is an important step in preparing a child for future learning experiences, which have transformed how adults and parents view their importance.

Twenty-five (25) primary students received certificates from the institution during the program for their academic excellence. He notes that childhood education also offers learning experiences that benefit children throughout their educational career, which is very essential to historical synopsis of children education.

The LMA Administrative Assistant cautious parents not to downplay childhood education because it is in that stage a young mind is prepared to meet future challenges, adding that they must also put the children on the right trajectory and guide them in the process of acquiring education.

 He says while it is true that progress has been made, government still does not prioritize childhood education in the national plans, noting that when such policy is prioritized, it must be keenly monitored, evaluated and implemented.

For his part, the Chairman of the Liberia Marketing Association School System Mr. Boakai S. Balo, assures parents of the school that the President of the LMA is planning to tour and assess facilities of the School System to give a facelift of all schools under the LMA.

By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne

UNAIDS, partners conclude HIV social protection training

The United Nations Joint Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS ) in collaboration with the Government of Liberia and partners has concluded a two - day training workshop with focus on Liberia’s HIV and Social Protection Assessment Agenda.

The two - day training was held at the Corina Hotel in Monrovia, between 21st and 22nd June, 2017. The HIV sensitive social protection initiative brought together over 40 representatives of the UN system, government of Liberia, civil society, INGOs, NGOs including, policy makers, persons living with HIV and young people including in and out of school youth.

The training also included persons with disabilities, migrants, and caregivers of orphans to review the HIV and social protection situation of Liberia. Liberia has a generalized HIV epidemic with an HIV prevalence of 2.1% (2013 LDHS) with an estimated adult HIV population of over 30,000 (2015).

Speaking during the opening of the workshop, UNAIDS Country Director Dr. Miriam Chipimo said the integration of HIV and social protection interventions will help Liberia in achieving its targets toward global response to end AIDS by 2030.

According to her, the UNAIDS’ 35th Program Co-ordinating Board (PCB) urged UNAIDS and its partners to conduct HIV and social protection assessments in countries that wish to develop country consultations on HIV and social protection considering the integrated program
contributions to global AIDS response.

To this effect, Dr. Chipimo intoned that UNAIDS and partners have developed over the past months an HIV and social protection assessment tool.  The UNAIDS boss then called on stakeholders to critically review the HIV and social protection situation of Liberia because, according to her, the assessment is intended to support decision making in strengthening the HIV sensitivity of social protection programs and
the national AIDS response.

Also speaking, Dr. Ivan F. Camanor, Chairman of the National AIDS Commission (NAC) of Liberia said HIV and social protection integration cannot be ignored because it is the responsibility of the government to improve the condition of all persons regardless of their health

For his part, Mr. Gabriel Fernandez, Social Protection Coordinator at the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection said he strongly believe the HIV sensitive social protection tool will help Liberia to monitor advancements and challenges toward meeting the social protection targets of the country’s population holistically. --Press release

“Liberia needs A President with the Father’s Heart”

The Resident Judge of the Debt Court at the Temple of Justice and Pastor of the Total Gospel Community Church located in Topoe Village Gardnersville on the outskirt of Monrovia, Rev. Cllr. James E. Jones says Liberia needs a President that has the father’s heart whose speech are reconciliatory, peaceful and with deep concern about prosperity of the nation.

He made the statment on 18 June in the Municipal Borough of New Kru Town where he served as Guest Preacher at the Trinity United Methodist Church Fathers’ Day Celebration which witnessed the Crowing and Sashing of his professional colleague, His Honor A. Blamo Dixon, Circuit Judge of Bomi County as Father of the Year 2017/2018.
Elaborating on the theme: “The Father’s Heart” with text taken from the Book of Luke 15:11-32, he gives an example of the practical son who wasted his shares of his father properties and after many years in exile returned home and reaccepted by his father.

The Liberian cleric said a leader must be one with a compassionate heart, have patience and be hopeful adding that his decisions could either take the nation forward or backward.

He adds that the father heart does not beat and rein insults on his wife in the presence of his children and others; leaves LRD 300 home for the families meal while he go to the restaurant and spend US$25.00 every day. That father, he continues, should not be wearing tailor made suit while his wife cannot afford used clothes; and does not have a second home with a second wife supporting her families thereby dividing with them what is intended for his home.

He continued that the father’s heart does not paid the tuition of a girlfriend, encourage his wife and children to live a loose lives as well as giving monies, gifts to another woman which sets bad examples and completely contradict the true meaning of a father.
He then warned that the father’s heart is not selfish and greedy.

ULSU seeks $US 26m

The University of Liberia Student Union or ULSU has written the House of Representatives to adequately fund the University for this fiscal year with the needed amount of $US 26 million through the regular budgetary process to enable the University meet up with its growth and development agenda.

ULSU said the growth and development of the University of Liberia had been all- time low and the quality of education the students of the University are receiving is jeering due to GoL’s inadequate support to the institution over the past four fiscal years, while the provision of quality education desired by student continues to remain ineffective and inefficient as a result of dilapidated academic infrastructure.

In a communication sent to the House of Representatives Tuesday, ULSU said the $US 1.6 million subsidy commitment made to the University of Liberia Student Union during the tuitions and fees increment is made available through the regular budgetary process to less fortunate students to continue their academic study at the University of Liberia.
ULSU said it is time that the Legislature considers the compulsory introduction of a National Internship Program for junior and senior University student to enhance students job level experience prior to graduation across the country.

According to the president of ULSU Jerome D. Barnard the academic status of the University remains heavily challenging, the lack of basic IT infrastructure facility to include computer labs, modern laboratories apparatus, equipped libraries, standard campus based medical response unit improved sanitary environment, major transportation constrains and unavailable student internship program intended to raise students job level experience speak volume of the level of extreme challenges student face in their academic sojourn at the UL. Meanwhile the House of Representative has forwarded the communication to the leadership of the House of Representative for action.

Taxicab burns in Redlight

A taxicab reportedly belonging to a Guinean national Sidiki Kromah was gutted by fire on Friday night, 16 June and burnt to ashes despite attempts by many helpers to extinguish the blazing flames.

Following the incident, Mr. Sidiki Kromah told this paper in tears that he was shocked and confused about what had happened to his vehicle. He says he has been driving the vehicle for over two years before the incident. There were passengers onboard the vehicle when the incident occurred, but the occupants safely disembarked the vehicle unharmed.

Mr. Kromah says the incident occurred close to the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) sub branch in Redlight while he trying to drop - off some passengers that he brought from Gardnerville to Paynesville. He attributed the cause of the fire to electrical fault which he  believes had developed in the engine of the vehicle. He says he could do nothing about the situation because he did not have a fire extinguishers in the car to fight the fire.

He adds that the fire was discovered by one of the passengers who first disembarked the vehicle after he parked on the sidewalk. Upon the alarm by the first passenger, he says other passengers began jumping quickly out of the taxicab and running in different directions for fear of their lives. Mr. Kromah says the fire left the entire vehicle to burnt to ashes, leaving its frames at the incident site.

According to him, he was intending to go and park the vehicle in front of the Hage Stores to travel to Kakata City in Margibi County when the incident happened. Meanwhile, several bystanders interviewed said that there was need for the Ministry of Transport (MoT) to ensure that the Compulsory Insurance Policy (CIP) is enforced on all vehicles operating in the country.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Edited by Winston W. Parley

House endorses Ombudsman

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, 13 June endorsed an Act to amend Part XII of the Code of Conduct for the creation of an operational framework for the Office of the Ombudsman, as established in the CoC for public officials and employees of government here.

The plenary of the House of Representatives last Thursday sent the act to committee room for review and subsequent report to the body.  According to the committee, as per plenary’s mandate and in keeping with the latter portion of Article 77(b) that authorizes and empowers the Legislature to make laws, indicating the category of Liberians who shall not form or become members of political parties, and Article 90 (c) that gives the Legislature the authority to prescribe code of conduct for public officials, the joint committee convened and scrutinized the act carefully and critically and recommends that plenary concurs with the Liberian Senate on the amendment of Part Xll of the Code of Conduct.

The Senate unanimously passed the act recently and sent it the House of Representative for concurrence. According to the act, members of the Ombudsman shall hold office for two (3-year) terms following confirmation by the Senate and appointment by the President, and shall be removed from office by the President for nonfeasance, malfeasance, misfeasance, and criminal acts as prescribed under existing laws and regulations.

In matters of law, the office of the Ombudsman shall have the power to conduct hearings in a quasi-judicial manner and make findings, gives reasons and conclusions in matters filed before it, while an appeal from its decision relative to violations of the Code of Conduct shall be immediately appealable to the relevant courts of Liberia.

The act also states that no person, who files a complaint or participates in any investigation or proceeding pursuant to Chapter 12.6, shall be subject to any penalties, sanctions or restrictions in connection with his or her employment or be denied any right, privilege or benefit because of such action.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf early April nominated officials to the Ombudsman headed by ex-police chief Cllr. Clarence Christian Massaquoi amid public outcry that Massaquoi is a confidante of the President’s, questioning his neutrality. The Office of the Ombudsman is an autonomous body in keeping with Section 12.1 of the Code of Conduct for public officials.

By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne

I am the only one on the Bloc

Opposition Liberty Party or LP political leader Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine says he’s the only person on the bloc that has come with the relevant experience in politics for this year’s presidential and representative’s elections.

Cllr. Brumskine who has lost two presidential elections won by President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf, argues that in 2005, Mrs. Sirleaf won because she came on the scene as the best known person.

On that basis, Cllr. brumskine claims that it was easier for Mrs. Sirleaf to have drowned the messages of other candidates because of who she was when in terms of politics.
But he insists on being the only one who has that experience, now that Mrs. Sirleaf is not in the presidential race this October.

The LP political leader raises argument that he did not come from the US to be president, neither was he appointed by the President and want to succeed her.Instead, the counsel says he is someone who has been here with the Liberian people and understands the plight of the Liberian people.

When elected president, Cllr. Brumskine says he will embark on programs to help Liberians get into business and be able to sustain themselves within his first hundred days.
He adds that his government will remove all roadblocks that are claimed to be obstructing business in Liberia, not for only Liberians but for all.

Mr. Brumskine vows to ensure a level playing field here for all business people in Liberia, noting that for too long the economy, especially the commerce and trade sectors have been in the hands of foreigners.

The LP political leader promises that the rule of law will be applied to whether Liberians or a foreigner, with the understanding to create opportunities for Liberians to help them partake in competitive business.
By: Samuel P. Kamara-Edited by Winston W. Parley

Crowd politics

Liberty Party Standard Bearer, Cllr. Charles Walker appears to be making some gains in terms of winning eligible voters and supporters to his side ahead of the October polls. Thousands of citizens over the weekend 3 June converged at Gbarnga Stadium in Bong County, believed to be stronghold of the vice standard bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, and pledged support for the Presidential bid of Cllr. Brumskine.

“Bongese”, as they are affectionately called, dressed up in a white T-shirt with Liberty Party’s official logo also in green and white, taking the streets of Gbarnga in total jubilation, as they danced and sang, pledging support to the LP.

They could not hold back their feelings about the political leader, who is in his third bid for the presidency, describing Brumskine as the only beacon of hope and the only man in contemporary time that can change the governing politics for developmental progress.

Speaking further about their desire for the Liberty Party, Mr. Edward Emmanuel Gboe, a representative aspirant for Bong County Electoral District#3 notes that the party over the years has demonstrated to be a responsible and respected political organization thru its constructive engagement with the current administration.

Mr. Gboe continues that the people of Bong County believe that the platform of Liberty Party is collective with the single agenda of reconciliation, reform, recovery and development.

Brumskine, in return, stresses that it’s time for regime change here, noting that change is achievable under a Liberty Party-led administration. He continues that the only local government hospital is allocated US$300,000 while lawmakers from the county earn hundreds of thousands in salary and benefits under the guise of being senior officials of government.

He vows to make drastic cuts in “unnecessary” budgetary allocations for lawmakers and policymakers if elected, to divert same to Education and Health that will have direct impact on the lives of Liberians.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

ECOWAS Commission president promises Ellen standing ovation

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Marcel Alain de Souza has promised to ask the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and others to do a “standing ovation” for the Chair of ECOWAS Authority and president of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her government.

A Foreign Ministry release issued in Monrovia this week says Mr. Souza announced the standing ovation is in recognition of the splendid job Mrs. Sirleaf has done for the sub-region and her country.

It says Mr. de Souza made the assertion during his remarks at the opening of the 38th Ordinary Ministerial Meeting of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council taking place at the Farmington Hotel in lower Margibi County.

Providing updates on the sub-region, specifically on the democratic front, the ECOWAS Commission President says Liberia is the only country that is set to go to presidential and legislative elections in October this year.

He has praised the Liberian Government for its handling of the electoral process so far. While formally opening the meeting, the Chairperson of the Ministerial Council, Liberia’s Foreign Minister Madam Marjon V. Kamara welcomed her colleagues and guests, telling them how honored the Government and people of Liberia are by their presence.

“Our President, the Government and people of Liberia are greatly honored by your presence, she said, adding, that the decision to convene these mid-year statutory meetings in Liberia is a very reassuring statement of confidence in the progress which Liberia has made in consolidating peace over the past 13 years”.
Madam Kamara adds that it bears testimony to the strong and visionary leadership of President Sirleaf, who, with support of partners has kept the Liberian nation on a peaceful course.

“ECOWAS, the United Nations and many friendly governments have been indispensable partners in this respect,” Madam Kamara has emphasized.  She paid tribute to the president and staff of the ECOWAS Commission for the positive results of their hard work which continues to bring credit to the regional body.

She expressed her expectation that the 38th MSC Meeting will further enhance their collective initiatives to strengthen the peace and security architecture of the sub-region.
Meanwhile, the two-day Meeting of the 78th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers takes place on Thursday, June 1st and Friday, June 2nd, at the Farmington Hotel in lower Margibi County. --Press release

Embattled lawmaker asks for two weeks

Grand Gedeh County district#2 Representative Morais Waylee, who is facing rape allegation here, has written the House of Representatives, requesting for two weeks to attend the burial of his late brother.

In his communication to Plenary on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 Rep. Waylee asked his colleagues to excuse him from regular session for the two weeks so that he can attend the burial of his late brother Philip Tarlue Benson, who died on Thursday, May 25, in Paynesville City outside Monrovia.

On May 3, 2017 a local daily linked Representative Waylee to allegedly abusing a 13-year-old girl sexually, said to be his foster-daughter, but the lawmaker reportedly denied.

However, the Speaker of the Liberia Children Forum, Miss Satta F. Sheriff, is calling on the Grand Gedeh lawmaker to recuse himself from legislative business in order to exonerate himself from the allegation.

Presenting the petition statement to the Legislature Speaker Sheriff emphasizes that Rep. Waylee must recuse himself, as he’s not above the law.  She continues that for too long the rights of Liberian children’s have been violated therefore, enough is enough, sating “We say gone are those days when children rights were abused, downplayed or disrespected. We have come to demand justice for our precious 13 years old, who was allegedly raped and impregnated by Representative Waylee. What a shame, when lawmakers should be protecting children and the laws, some have decided to become the lawbreakers.’’

The Liberian Children Forum is seriously concerned about mass atrocities committed against children here, and is calling on the government and its partners to act now by ensuring speedy justice for all victims and survivors of rape.

Speaker Sheriff says their attention has been drawn to delay in investigation by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to officially invite FrontPage Africa Newspaper, which broke the story, to provide details.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Col. Gregory Coleman, is calling on the general public to help the police with any information on the alleged rape case to speed up ongoing investigation. The House of Representatives has granted Rep. Morais Waylee two weeks excuse for the burial of his brother.

By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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