Ellen seeks amendment for aliens’ law

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has submitted a bill to the 53rd Liberian Legislature, seeking amendment of Section 6.1(5) of the aliens and nationality law of Liberia, title 4, Liberian code of laws revised, on residence permits.

According to a communication sent to the House of Representatives on Tuesday by the President, Article 34 (h) of the Constitution of Liberia empowers the Legislature to establish laws for citizenship, naturalization and residence and section 6.1 of the aliens and nationality law of Liberia requires every alien presently in Liberia or hereafter admitted into Liberia as an immigrant or a resident, to obtain a permit of residence.

The letter also states that experience over the years shows that the requirement of annual renewal of a permit of residence imposes peculiar difficulties and disruptions on aliens, particularly aliens who are not eligible to acquire Liberian citizenship by naturalization.
Additionally, some aliens have legally resided and worked in Liberia for many years, and contributed and continue to contribute substantively to the country’s economy.
The draft bill seeks to address the need for security, stability, and predictability; provide comfort to aliens who have invested substantially in Liberia and accommodate aliens, who are married to Liberians.

The document will also facilitate residency in Liberia; minimize the many onerous challenges of annual renewals of residence permits and encourage investment of foreign individual entrepreneurs. The communication was read in session and turned over to the House committees on Labor, Foreign Affairs, National Security and Judiciary to report in two weeks.

By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Maryland holds educational meeting

A one-day education meeting to strategize and put in place mechanism to curtail mass failure among students in Maryland County has ended in Harper City with stakeholders vowing to do everything necessary to halt the menace.

The meeting brought together school principals across the county, District Education Officers (DEOs), Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs) chairpersons, and county officials.
It was organized by Superintendent Betsy Kuoh Toe as part of her intervention to strengthen the county’s educational system.

According to her, she has observed that much has not been heard from school authorities across the county. Superintendent Toe emphasizes that it is important that her office and educational stakeholders brain storm to finding a way forward to end students’ mass failure in exams.

Statistics from the 2015/2016 exams administered by the West African Examination Council or WAEC shows that 836 senior students wrote the test, but only 273 successfully passed, while 564 failed.

Meanwhile, the Principal of Cape Palmers High School, the county’s premier high school, Mr. Babay on Boatue, attributes the situation to having one teacher teaching more than one school, students’ weakness in studying their lessons, teachers not putting in enough time, lack of textbooks and libraries, among other lapses.

Harper District Education Officer James G. Gaye, said mass failure of students in the county is also as a result of teachers not consulting their lessons plan, lack evaluation skills, poor qualification, and early request for students’ grades by WEAC.

At the close of the meeting, the stakeholders resolved that the county educational system will liaise with the Dr. Elizabeth Davis Russell College of Education at the William V.S. Tubman University to provide training for teachers across the county to enable them improve their skills in the classroom.

The Maryland school system is expected to establish a committee to conduct research on student’s failure as well as a community school enhancement program in the county.
Superintendent Toe promised to work closely with the County Education Officers (CEO) and District Education Officers as well as principals and PTA chairpersons to improve the county’s educational system.

By George K. Momo in Maryland-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Plan International dedicates US$6,000 school building

A non-government organization, Plan International, has dedicated a modern primary school building to the Government of Liberia. The six classrooms structure includes dining hall, teacher’s quarter, playground, administrative building, and library.

Other facilities provided are textbooks and 50 scholarships for less fortunate girls.  Speaking to reporters at the dedicatory ceremony recently in Lontuo, Twah River district#4, Plan International project officer, Kelvin Leapoe, said the initiative was achieved by Plan International Liberia in collaboration with Plan International Norway with funding from Oslo Katedralskole, Norway; Fyrstikalleenskole, Norway; and Akademiet VGS, Norway, respectively.

Mr. Leapoe said this is his organization’s way of contributing to quality education in Liberia. The director for secondary education Reuben Duo and county education officer Moses Dologbay extended gratitude to Plan International Liberia for the project, which they note, will contribute to the education of Liberia’s future leaders.

The two government officials then urged parents in Lontuo Town to seize the opportunity and send their kids to school
Meanwhile, the principal of the Lontuo public school, Charles Deward, said the construction of the school building will help to reduce teenage pregnancy in the town.
Mr. Deward disclosed that his school had an initial enrolment of 484, but it has reduced to 454.
Parents in the community welcomed the facility with jubilation and dancing.
Electoral district#4 Representative, Garrison Yealu, lauded Plan International-Liberia for the school project and pledged to pay five teachers at the institution, currently volunteering their services an amount of 7,000LRD monthly from April to September, 2017 until government could enlist their names on the payroll.
The Nimba Lawmaker also promised to construct a minute-clinic for the school so that students would have easy access to health facility.
He said Education and Health are his top priorities, further vowing to make sure citizens in his district have access to health facilities and schools.
Citizens of the town also commended Plan International-Liberia Education Advisor, Eugene Gray, Nimba County Education Officer, Moses S. Dologbay and Representative Yealu for their respective efforts towards the school project.
They said the construction of the school building in their area is a great relief, because in the past, their children were not in school, but rather involved with early marriage, farming activities and riding commercial motorbikes, among others.
Gbeh-lay-geh administrative district superintendent Daniel Bartoah-Bartuah also urged the citizens to utilize the facility by sending their kids to school.Editing by Jonathan Browne

SCV embarks on road rehabilitation project

A self-help community based organization in Fishtown, River Gee County has embarked on rehabilitation of a 1.5 mile community road in the county. Solar Community Volunteers (SCV) is engaged in the 21-day road rehabilitation project to ease constraints faced by villagers.

According to Officer-In-Charge, Jerry Hinneh, the road project is part of the organization's regular community services, which are implemented based on prevailing needs of various communities in the county.

The rehabilitation is intended to connect Fishtown with other parts of the county.  "We are focusing the road connecting Kanweaken and Fishtown cities which had been cut off following heavy downpour in February”, Mr. Hinneh explained.

Solar Community Volunteers is a non-for-profit group, which has implemented various community projects in the county in the areas of health, education, and infrastructure, among others.

Currently, it is partnering with the local government in River Gee County, including the office of county superintendent, city mayor, and local NGOs. River Gee is one of the fastest growing counties in southeast Liberia, but lack of paved road network has undermined its economic growth for many years.

By George K. Momo from River Gee County-Editing by Jonathan Browne

Urey mimics Donald Trump

Businessman turned politician Benoni Urey is mimicking US President Donald Trump here, telling supporters that he would earned a USD$1 per annual, a similar declaration made by then candidate Trump on his campaign trail.

Mr. Urey,who spoke over the weekend when he appeared on the Simple English program on a local Radio station in Careysburg, is among dozens of Presidential hopefuls contesting to succeed President Ellen Jonson –Sirleaf as she ends her second six years term of office.

The All Liberian Party or ALP political leader says he would take salary for just two years if elected President in October. Mr. Urey just concluded a coalition deal with former warlord also turned politician, Nimba County SenatorPrince Johnson’s Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction or MDR last week.

He says he will direct his monthly salary to the people of Bong County and Careysburg in Montserrado County to empower them. Urey who recently step aside as Board Chair of the Lonestar Cell MTN GSM Company to focus on his political career says for the past 30 years Liberians have not benefited anything from their governments.

He says it is time that “we” give Liberia back to Liberians, and emphasizes that: “I don’t want any pay for the next two years if I’m elected president of Liberia”. He insists that there must be something done to improve the living condition of Liberians, while admonishing citizens here that [he will]not give promises that he will fix Liberia if he is elected the next president. Rather, he says everyone will work together in the fixing of thecountry. He has argued that Liberia’s problem is the lack of the rightleader to govern the country.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Winston W. Parley, addition editing by Othello B. Garblah

Put us on the radar

The political leader of the opposition Liberty Party or LP, Cllr. Charles Brumskine has called on Liberians and the international community to put he and other presidential aspirants on the radar in order to establish who is better in terms of character and clean record.

Speaking at his party headquarters on Monday, 24 April in Congo Town,Cllr. Brumskine argued that the best option to discovering the best choice for the Liberian presidency is to evaluate every presidential aspirant ahead of the October polls.

“Put us on the radar. Let the Liberian people and the international community knows the best choice for the presidency by putting us on theradar. There’s a little boy [who’s] running around here with stolenmoney. I too had the opportunity, but my father taught me not to stealor take what is not mine. There are some people who wanting to bepresident but with bad record and the public needs to know that”,Cllr. Brumskine says.

The LP political leader warns that the presidency will not be awarded to people with bad records, adding that the presidency deserves clean and better people. Cllr. Brumskine who worked here as Senate Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate during the rule of convicted former president Charles Ghankay Taylor says the Liberian presidency is not for play. He has rather suggested that the presidency is for men and women who have prepared themselves over the years.

According to him, if he’s given the opportunity to serve, he will leadLiberia as though the country had never been led before. Cllr.Brumskine vows to create an enabling environment where every Liberianwill feel part of the transformation.

He notes that Liberia as a nation is preparing to take off for ahigher height under his administration as president, claiming that theimpartation will be felt by all Liberians under his administration.

He promises that his regime will not look at tribe, religion and region, noting that it will ensure that all Liberians will benefit from the common good of the country. Meanwhile, Cllr. Brumskine has named Sekou Kannah of Lofa County as Liberty Party’s candidate for electoral district #2. He says any onevying for the LP slot for representative post without any contender becomes the party’s candidate automatically.
By E.J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Winston W. Parley

Businessman wanted in woman’s death

Authorities at the Liberia National Police or LNP say they are seeking information that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of a Fula businessman only identified as Bah in whose alleged abandoned well the lifeless body of 30 - year - old market woman Kebbeh Johnson was discovered last Thursday, 20 April.

Police Spokesman Sam Collins told the NewDawn during a chat on Monday, 24 April at the LNP Headquarters on Capitol Hill that information obtained by the police revealed that the well was dug by suspect Bah for the sole purpose of providing water for the construction of several stores.

Collins says the police want to establish from Mr. Bah why he declined to close the abandoned well following the completion of his construction project, thus resulting to the loss of life. Mr. Collins says police have obtained information suggesting that the late Kebbeh reportedly dropped into the well while attempting to siton its opened top.

He further says police are also seeking information about a man whowitnesses claimed had raised alarm that Kebbeh was in the abandonedwell to assist the investigation.

The LNP spokesman points out that after a careful examination of thedeceased remains, there was no foul play observed and as such thepolice have turned over the remains to the bereaved family.

He says the family has subsequently transferred the remains to the Alfred Butler Funeral Home in Bernard Farm Community outside Paynesville. Prior to her death, witnesses say Kebbeh had her traditional diary ceremony at her residence where she was later found dead in an abandoned well.

Meanwhile, the uncle of the late Kebbeh Johnson Mr. William Barco isappealing to government to assist the two children that the deceasedleft behind to further their education. The children include a male and a female, respectively.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Winston W. Parley

Ellen declares Tuesday working holiday

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has by proclamation declared Tuesday,25 April as “World Malaria Day” to be observed here as a “Working Holiday”.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says in a release that this year’ celebration, which is the observance of the 10th World Malaria Day,will be celebrated under the theme: “End Malaria for Good” with the national slogan: “Pregnant Women Go to the Clinic for Your Malaria Medicine”.

Mrs. Sirleaf has requested the Ministry of Health and other government agencies, as well as international organizations and partners concerned to initiate and execute appropriate activities and programs befitting the occasion.

The Proclamation indicates that in Africa, malaria deaths have been reduced by one third within the last decade and overall child mortality rates have fallen by approximately 20 percent in countries where access to malaria control interventions have improved most significantly.

The Government of Liberia, realizing the significance of protecting the well being of its citizens and foreign residents alike, has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child to good health and nutrition. As a Member State of the World Health Organization or WHO,Liberia has joined other global health partners in supporting all health programs.

The Proclamation notes that continued investment in malaria control will propel malaria-endemic countries along the path in achieving the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, especially those relating to improving child survival and maternal health, eradicating extreme poverty and expanding access to education.

It notes that being cognizant to the harmful effect of malaria and the burden which it poses on the human race, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, a resolution declaring April 25 of each year as Africa Malaria Day, amended as World Malaria Day, was adopted by the Summit of African Heads of State and Government held in Harare, Zimbabwe, in 1997.

The resolution called on Member States of the African Union or AU to initiate and implement Plan of Actions that would curtail malaria and malaria-related mortality rates in Africa. - Press release


Bong legislative aspirant dies

Bong County representative aspirant Mr. Hezekiah Siakor is dead. Thedeceased was also the Manager of the Gbarnga Regional Justice andSecurity Hub. Information reaching this paper says Mr. Siakor died onSunday, 23 April at the SOS Hospital here in Monrovia.

The NewDawn’s Bong County correspondent says the late Mr. Siakor wasconsidered a major contender to incumbent Rep. Prince Moye. Ourcorrespondent adds that the deceased suffered from protracted illnessbefore declaring his intention to contest in the October elections.

This paper has not established the cause of his death. Mr. Siakor wasan IT specialist from the Republic of Ghana, and he served as anemployee of the Cuttington University in Suakoko, and lastly held the
job of Manager of the Gbarnga Justice and Regional Hub.

He alsoestablished the free Hezekiah Professional Driving and ComputerSchools in SamayJorquelleh #2.The late Mr. Siakor was a relative to former Bong County SenatorFranklin Siakor. He appeared to have gained the support of the formerSenator. His death has saddened many, with some describing his deathas a major blow to the entire Bong County.
By Papa Morris/ Bong County-Editing by Winston W. Parley


Armed robbers sentenced for murder

Four armed robbers have been sentenced to various prison terms of 15years and 24 years respectively for murdering victim Musa Kamara during an armed robbery operation executed in Clara Town on 26 March2013 on Bushrod Island.

Assigned Criminal Court “B” Judge S. Geevon Smith on Monday, 24 April ruled at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia that the act of defendants Alfred Sayplay, Anthony Sopah, Jerry Pauh and Tommy Nimely “is a gross in difference to the life of Musa Kamara …”

But prosecutors appear to be unhappy with the 24 years and 15 years sentences given the convicts by Judge Smith, announcing an appeal against the sentence. Government lawyers appear to be seeking life time imprisonment for the convicts.

Judge Smith says defendant Say play is sentenced to 24 years “high imprisonment” at the National Palace of Corrections in Grand Gedeh County, southeast Liberia, while the rest of the convicts get 15 years imprisonment each.

“This sentence is retroactive as of the date of the arrest of these defendants”, Judge Smith says and then instructs the Clerk to make an entry of the final judgment and sentence and communicate it with the Executive Branch.

The judge’s ruling on Monday confirmed an earlier jury verdict that found the defendants guilty of the crime of murder. Judge Smith says defendants Saplay, Nimely, Pauh and Sopah pleaded guilty to the crimes charged and confessed judgment when the case was called on 14 March at the Criminal Court “A” this year.
While admitting to the commission of the crimes, the convicts exonerated three other suspects including Robert Nagbe, Emmanuel Davis and Christopher Tugbeh. A jury panel in the case subsequently handed a unanimous verdict that acquitted the three suspects while the actual doers remained on trial.

Judge Smith says the evidence is clear that defendants Robert Nagbe, Emmanuel Davis and Christopher Tugbeh never participated in the March26, 2013 armed robbery operation in which victim “Musa Kamara was shot by Alfred Say pay”.

Prosecutors produced three witnesses in the trial of the case, after the Court set aside the guilty plea of the four defendants that remained on trial and ordered a joint trial for all the accused including the three that were later acquitted.

Two police officers and a neighbor of victim Kamara were prosecution’s witnesses. Though the convicts had admitted to the crimes, they however chose to testify in the case after prosecution rested with the production of witnesses.

The convicts gave account on how they assembled and planned to go to Clara Town for the armed robbery mission. They say their armed robbery mission was not successful due to a watch team operation in the community at the time.

By Winston W. Parley

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