Police Chief faces Senate

The Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP) Patrick Sudue is expected to face the Liberian Senate Thursday, 8 March to give clarity on the reemergence of commercial motorcyclists at certain routes that were earlier deemed “no - go zones.”

The decision to invite Col. Sudue comes following a communication by Lofa County Senator Stephen Zargo on 6 March which contains argument that police authorities banned motorcyclists from plying the principal streets of Monrovia after thorough consultations with national security institutions and international partners based on two prevailing factors at the time.

According to Sen. Zargo, the first factor was the rate at which road accidents involving motorcycles and motorcyclists were occurring and the second was the increased usage of motorcycles and motorcyclists in the commission of crimes, especially by armed robbers.

He emphasizes that these two factors taken together were sufficient reliance to impose the restrictions. He observes that within a very short period of time into the implementation of the restrictive measures, there was an appreciable decrease in the number of road traffic accidents, while on the other hand crimes like robbery and their likes which were usually perpetrated with the aid of motorcycles decreased as well.

Zargo also says a statement from the spokesman of the Liberia National Police on 5 March 2018 contained a different interpretation of the general pronouncement made by the Executive.

According to him, one version had it that the police chief was said to have instructed the motorcyclists to converge at SKD to enable him explain the Pro-Poor agenda on the one hand and on the other hand to lift part of the restrictions imposed by his predecessor.

Sen. Zargo concludes that the pronouncement seems to amount to a manifest ambiguity, thereby subjecting the ban on motorcyclists to multiple interpretations.

By Bridgett Milton--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Weah’s garbage campaign overwhelms communities

Several communities in Electoral District #16 in Montserrado County involved in the recently launched “Weah for Clean City” campaign are said to be overwhelmed with stockpile of garbage being placed at various locations on Bushrod Island.

Addressing reporters on 7 March in the Municipal Borough of New Kru Town, the Supervisor of the Bong Mines Bridge Community Mr. Theophilus J. Nimely, named Bong Mines Bridge, New Kru Town, Duala and St. Paul Bridge as areas without any designated point to dispose of the garbage.

Mr. Nimely disclosed that since the clean-up campaign started, these communities continue to witness the stockpiling of dirt in various parts including market places and roadsides without anything being done to remove them.

He also discloses that there is an urgent need for the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) to deploy garbage removing trucks and yellow machines to work along with the communities in removing the garbage to avoid health hazy to inhabitants.

He calls on the MCC to further provide garbage dump buckets to dump dirt to enhance the work of the campaign. He then expressed gratitude to President George M. Weah, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Monrovia City Corporation (MCC), Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), and Representative Dixon Seebo for the opportunity provided them to contribute to the cleanup the communities.

Meanwhile, the Governor of the Municipal Borough of New Kru Town Madam Alice Weah who conducted the recruitment of individuals involved in the project, said that during the planning meeting of the cleanup exercise held in Monrovia, representatives of the various communities were assured by the MCC representative that the Corporation would work along with the communities in removing dirt or garbage from their communities.

The statement of Governor Weah comes amidst confusion that erupted between some people involved with the ten-day cleanup campaign project and MCC staff on the placement of garbage in the streets and communities corners since the exercise started.

By Emmanuel Mondaye--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Scabies infect 200 in Bong

Health authorities in Bong County say 200 people are now infected with scabies, a skin disease locally called “be serious” that has sparked widespread health concern in the country.

County health officials made the disclosure Tuesday, 6 March in Bong County. Our correspondent says the county health team and the Ministry of Health had earlier expressed uncertainties over the identity of the skin infection, although they said most of the signs and symptoms patients were showing resemble scabies.

Recently the acting county health officer of Bong County Alpanso Kofa announced that about 200 cases were reported from six of the nine health districts in the county.

In an interview with this paper, Mr. Kofa said the national reference laboratory tested 42 cases out of which 17 were confirmed to be Scabies.

Kofa says the 17 cases that were previously reported in the County have been treated using Benyzl Benzoate lotion with support from World Health Organization (WHO) with a 100% cure rate.

He adds that “Scabies is preventable and treatable,” and that there was “no need to panic, but urged residents to take preventive measures”.

Kofa says the county health team has collaborated with other partners in the county to do surveillance in the entire county.

He says active case search has been initiated with Zonal Surveillance Officers and Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) especially in Bong.
Scabies is a parasitic infection transmitted by skin-to-skin contacts, contact of body part during sexual intercourse with affected person and contacts with affected linens, clothings, bath towels, beddings, and furnishings.
Commenting on challenges the sector faced in the county, Mr. Kofa said, of almost all of the ambulances used to transport patients, Mr. Kofa noted that four out of the five ambulances that the county has at its disposal are not functional anymore.

He says it is hampering the work of the county health team, thus leading to citizens of the county who are in need of the ambulance services being denied them. He complains that the some of the ambulances have been down for over six months.

He expresses fear that there is a likelihood that the county may lose ground in the fight against curable diseases in the county, which in recent time has drastically reduced.

Mr. Kofa: “We have a very serious situation in this county which has to do with the ambulances that are supposed to cater to our patients in emergency situations.
All of the ambulances that this county has are broken down with the exception of one. This is really hampering the work of the county health team.”

He calls on Bong County authorities and other stakeholders to come to aid of the health team as soon as possible.

He furthered that the lives of “our” mothers and children are the most in danger, and they are at risks because they cannot walk far distances while pregnant or carrying young children to seek medical attention.

Meanwhile, the acting health officer is calling on the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health to intervene in situation.

By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong --Edited by Winston W. Parley

China signs more bilateral agreement with Liberia

The Chinese Government has agreed to provide more bilateral aids to Liberia affecting the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex (SKD), the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) and National Clinical Reference Laboratory.

Chinese Ambassador to Liberia Fu Jijun said at the signing ceremony that his government is glad to be here to sign these agreements, which it hope will help in some ways towards President Weah's pro-poor agenda.

The agreement specifically targeting the SKD, is geared toward youth empowerment in the sports arena. “We know the empowerment of young people of Liberia is of major concern of President Weah,” Mr. jijun was quoted as saying in a Foreign Ministry release issued on Wednesday March 7. The said agreement was signed on Tuesday March 6.

He also spoke of China's relationships with Africa and how it is growing with the continent in general and particularly with individual nation on the continent.

Ambassador Jijun thanked the Liberian Government through the Foreign Ministry for the bilateral ties of friendship subsisting between both nations.

Continuing specifically on the aid toward SKD, the Chinese have agreed to send a six-man technical team to Liberia. The team is going to include one person for sports facilities, one for water supply and drainage facilities and air-conditioning, one of electronic display screen, one for electric appliances, one for electron appliances and one for interpretation.
The team is expected to be in Liberia for three years and will provide technical skills for the renovation of sound amplifier, electronic monitoring devices, fire protection systems, technical guidance and training regarding equipment usage and maintenance of the facilities as part of their operations.
For the National Clinical Reference Laboratory, the team among other things will provide the necessary laboratory testing instruments and equipment.
Speaking earlier, Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar Milton Findley on behalf of President George Manneh Weah, thanked the Government of the People’s Republic of China through their Ambassador Jijun, for the many assistances it continues to render Liberia.

Cllr. Gongloe elected as Chair of LCM

The Liberia Coordinating Mechanism (LCM) of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (TGF) on today, March 7, 2018 elected Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe and Mr. Johnson Hinneh of the Liberia Bar Association (LBA) and Ministry of Education respectively to serve as Chair and second Vice Chair of the multi-sectorial organization until July 2018, thus completing the tenure of the current leadership.

The two are to join hands with Sister Barbara Brillant of the Catholic who currently serves as first Vice Chair of the LCM. The by-elections were held in the conference room of the Corina Hotel in Monrovia, during the LCM first quarterly meeting for this year, 2018.

The elections which coincided with the LCM regular meeting, brought together 23 of the 27 members. The adhoc elections committee was chaired by Dr. Miriam Chipimo of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS).
Both Cllr. Gongloe and Hinneh who represent private/for profit sector and government constituencies were elected unopposed during the by-elections.

Marking a presentation on the procedures of the by-elections, Mrs. Paulina Doe Hilton, Head of Secretariat of the LCM noted that the two vacancies in the LCM leadership were created due to the replacement of Mr. Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. by his constituency, the Liberia Business Association (LIBA) and the transition in government, thus affecting Dr. Ivan Camanor of the National AIDS Commission (NAC) who were serving on the LCM as Chair and second Vice Chair, respectively.

In a remark, Cllr. Gongloe thanked the members of the LCM for electing him as Chair, and Mr. Hinneh as second Vice Chair. He assured that august body of his fullest commitment to work with all in the best interest of the country. Cllr. Gongloe had previously severed the LCM from 2013 to 2015 as second Vice Chair.

The LCM is known globally as Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM). It is a national body that submits funding applications to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria on behalf of the country. Members of the LCM include representatives of all sectors involved in the response to the diseases: multilateral and bilateral agencies, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, faith-based organization, the private sector and – especially – people living with the diseases.

Established in 2006, the LCM is also responsible to select organizations to serve as Principal Recipients (PRs) for the implementation of the Global Fund grant. The Ministry of Health (MOH) currently serves as the sole PR for the Tuberculosis grant; while it manages the malaria grant with Plan International and the HIV grant with Population Services International (PSI).


CARI Director General - designate gets rousing welcome

The Director General - designate of the Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI) in Bong County Dr. Marcus Jones has received a rousing welcome from cross session of workers of the institution after his appointment by President George Manneh Weah.

According to our Bong County correspondent, the parade publicly demonstrated the willingness of workers of the institution to work with their Director General if confirmed by the Liberian Senate.

Making remarks at the brief occasion, Dr. James S. Dolo, a research Scientist hailed President George Weah, Vice President Jewel Howard - Taylor and Electoral District #3 Rep. Josiah Marvin Cole for the efforts in restoring the dignity of the institution by appointing an innovative young man to steer the affairs of the institution.

According to him, he sees Dr. Jones as a unifier and one who is best suited to repair the broken pieces left by his predecessors.
Dr. Dolo believes that the approach to revitalization of agriculture research in Liberia as envisioned in the FAPS depends on the involvement of workers of the Institution.

He added that considerable change has occurred in the conceptual frameworks underlying agricultural research systems since CARI was first established in 1980.

Dr. Dolo says in order to achieve the framework of the research institute in the country, the need for staffer’s participatory inclusion cannot be overemphasized.

He wants workers not to see the institute as a political ground, but an institution that is meant to improve the agricultural sector of Liberia.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the head of the field workers at the institution congratulated the Director General - designate for his preferment and called on him to increase their salaries if confirmed by the Liberian Senate.

According to him, the field does the difficult work and take low salary while others only sit in offices and make salaries above them.

He is requesting the CARI boss - designate to pay serious attention to field workers if CARI must succeed in its quest.
The field workers have also applauded outgoing Director General Dr. Walter Wiles for the little increment made in their salaries and called on the Director General - designate to follow the good example of Dr. Wiles.

For his part, Dr. Marcus Jones says there will be serious focus on intensive research activities for an improved agriculture sector.
According to him, the institute, purposely for research would ensure prospects for the sector during the tenure of his administration as a way of improving the country’s food security.

Dr. Jones names effective extension, education and communication services as some key strategies he will deploy under his administration to ensure a sustainable agricultural growth, strengthening food security and combating hunger and malnutrition in the country.

He believes that agricultural extension is the vehicle or system for delivering useful information to farmers and assisting those farmers to develop requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes to make use of the information or technology effectively.

Counting on the history of agriculture extension in Liberia, Dr. Jones told this paper in an interview that the process has often failed due to the lack of communicating technical information to farmers in a way that will enable them to accept, understand and use the information effectively.

He says an effective balance between indigenous and scientific approaches will help fast-track the sector, and vows to initiate this under his watch as Director General, if confirmed.

Dr. Jones says he wants extension workers and research technicians like CARI to use the media for disseminating information on new method and techniques, giving timely information about the control of crop pest and disease, weather, and market news if the agricultural system in the country must meet the standard as compared to other countries in the world.

By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong County--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Liberia’s Protocol undergoes training

The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is conducting a two - week training exercise for in - service protocol officers in Monrovia to improve their interactions with citizens, international guests and others.

Opening the exercise Wednesday, 7 March, Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs Cllr. Deweh Gray said protocol officers are gathered at the training for the next few days to listen to some of the rules of engagement in performing their various duties in their offices.

The training exercise at the Foreign Ministry brings together protocol officers from the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs, the Offices of the Vice President, Speaker, President Pro Tempore, Chief Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Defense.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gray observes that many times people think protocol is just about the Foreign Ministry, noting that this aspect of the work cuts across all government agencies.

She adds that the training is intended to strengthen officers to know how to interact with people, know how to plan events and get to know the whole courtesy of protocol and etiquette as they function daily.

On behalf of Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar Findley, Cllr. Gray assures participants that the training will be a very useful and resourceful undertaking by them.

She says with the caliber of persons available to instruct the participating protocol officers, they wouldn’t regret the occasion. She also says the exercise is about officers interacting among themselves to avoid some of the conflicts and misunderstandings that people have when it comes to protocol and etiquette.

She cautions that mistakes will be made, but they are opportunities for people to learn why certain things are done the way they are done.

Cllr. Gray notes that after it all, they will put themselves in a situation where they will be able to properly portray the image of Liberia to international guests, international partners and the citizenry.

Giving a background of the program, Amb. George W. Wallace, Jr., said the exercise is meant to add on what officers have learnt.

He says the Minister [Gbehzohngar Findley] insisted on protocol training because it is very essential in any government. He says people observed “little mistakes” during the inauguration of President George Manneh Weah, but he argues that the mistakes were due to the crowd and not so much the protocol officers.

Amb. Wallace however cautions that protocol service is about calmness in everything done, and adds that a protocol person is a soft - spoken person.

He recalls that the Foreign Service Institute was established to train Liberians to represent Liberia abroad during former President William V.S. Tubman’s regime, turning away from the past of using foreigners as Liberia’s representatives.
Earlier, the program coordinator Mr. John S.M. Yormie, Jr., said the training is called “in response to a Legislative mandate to respond to some of the major protocol gaps within the Republic of Liberia.”

Due to the Legislative mandate, Mr. Yormie says the major training arm of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to make a robust and proactive response to the national call.

He says as trainers, it is their responsibility to give a caution regarding the diplomatic space of Liberia.

He urges protocol officers to “put on the coats of diplomacy” and [observe] every requirement of protocol officer, citing timeliness, dress code, and their interaction with one another.

By Winston W. Parley

Clar Weah named Ambassador, Champion of African Women Football

Liberia’s First Lady Mrs. Clar Weah has been named Ambassador and Champion of African Women Football.The Liberian First Lady was bestowed the honor Tuesday, 6 March in the Moroccan City of Marrakech where she has been representing Liberia along with key actors of Liberia Football Association (LFA) at the Confederation of African Football (CAF’s) first ever Women Football Symposium.

According to a dispatch from Marrakech, the prestigious honor followed her brilliant presentation, making the case for support to initiating grassroots sports development programs in Liberia.

FIFA Secretary General Fatima Samora said the Liberian First Lady's presentation uncovered key areas that should be prioritized on the continent.

She also described the symposium as an eye opener for the game. First Lady Clar Weah, on behalf of the Liberia delegation, pleaded with FIFA, CAF and partners to support the creation of grassroot sports development programs in Liberia.

Madam Weah said such programs would teach children, both boys and girls, beginning at ages of six and seven the importance of the game and prepare them well for Liberia’s national teams.

“We can also start promoting football through high school with our boys and girls, especially our girls,” Madam Weah told a gathering of female football enthusiasts at the symposium.

She says through the high schools, “we can” then select them to form league clubs and then on to the national program.

Her advocacy appears to be prompted not only by her passion for the Liberian children but also the struggle Liberia is going through in building and maintaining dependable national male and female football teams.

According to Madam Weah, she is determined to helping the country overcome the challenge so that Liberia can once again be a force to reckon with in the sports arena.

“It just saddens me that Liberia has not had a national team since 1998,” she lamented, adding: “… and I just want to find a way where we can formulate something with FIFA to create sports from the grassroot for women so that we won’t have to struggle any longer.”

The two-day Women Football Symposium held under the theme: Raising Our Game is aimed at developing women's football on the continent.

It brought together a host of former and current players, referees, coaches, members of the media along with CAF President Ahmad and FiFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura.

The assembly was split into seven working groups to discuss issues including sponsorship in women's football, competitions, governance, the media and the expansion of the women's game.

The decisions of the various working groups will be presented to CAF's Executive Committee for review and implementation.--Press release

MRUYP endorses candidates ahead of election

The majority bloc in the third Mano River Union (MRU) Youth Parliament, Liberian Chapter, has endorsed its First Deputy Speaker Mr. J. Fahn Dehgar as Acting Speaker ahead of Regular Session to hold election for a new Speaker.

In a press release issued Wednesday, 7 March, the Secretary General of the majority block and Parliamentarian of Grand Kru County Mr. Tobee Wreh Sudieh said the third MRU Youth Parliament Liberia-Chapter’s regular session is scheduled for this weekend in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.

He says election will be held for a new Speaker as a result of Speaker James Kolleh’s alleged unseriousness to handle the affairs of the parliament. Ahead of the elections, the MRUYP Liberia Chapter is making claims that the current Speaker Mr. James Kolleh is unfit to continue his regular parliamentary duties and responsibilities.

The majority bloc claims gross administrative ineptitude, and the lack of clear vision to lead serious-minded national youth leaders, among other things. The majority bloc claims that the inability of the current leadership of Speaker Kolleh to maintain friendly network (partnership agreements) left behind by past leadership, has isolated the institution from all of its national and international donors and partners.

It says the action of Speaker Kolleh has moved the majority bloc it to apologize to the young people of Liberia and sub-region at-large for gambling their future with electing Mr. Kolleh as their Speaker.

“We say that our decision, though regrettable, was as a result of stress from prolong leadership conflict which gave rise to him as a golden opportunist who accidentally landed in the Parliament’s Speakership yet, have been finding it difficult to settle comfortably,” the majority bloc says.

Meanwhile the bloc calls on the Acting Speaker J. Fahn Dehgar to carry on smooth transition in a timely manner by leading the Parliament to its Regular Session to elect a new Speaker comes this weekend (March 9-10, 2018).

The bloc assures all young people and Liberians in general that it remains committed to the true nature and values of the MRU Youth Parliament and will exert all effort to adhere to its guiding principles.

By Lewis S. Teh--Edited by Winston W. Parley

Rep. Cole identifies with storm victims in Bong

Jorquelleh District #3 Rep. Josiah Marvin Cole has donated 100 bundles of zinc to Gbarnga City Corporation for onward distribution to victims of recent violent storm disaster in the County.

Recently, a storm disaster destroyed several houses and left several others homeless in Gbarnga and its surroundings. The storm also removed the roof of the government - run John Flomo Bakalu Elementary and Junior High School, Dolokelen Gboveh High School, St Peter High School, and Nathaniel Varney Massaquoi High School, among others.

The storm also damaged some Churches in the county and some advertising sign boards planted by businesses for commercial purposes.

The donation from the office of the Lawmaker also included a drum of fuel a cash of US$500.00 to the Gbarnga City Cooperation.

Speaking in an interview with this paper after the donation, Rep. Cole stated that his work at the Legislature is to ensure that citizens of his district and the County are satisfied.

He adds that once he is a representative at the Liberian Legislature, developments will continue to intensify in Bong County.

According to him, 75 percent of those that were victimized in the process do not have the means of renovating their houses, stating that he decided to help them in the process as a lawmaker.

He said the donation is just an initial contribution, promising that he is lobbying with Vice President Jewel Howard - Taylor, Deputy Speaker Prince K. Moye and the Liberia National Disaster Management Team to ensure that those that were victimized by the storm can be given compensation from government.

In response, the beneficiaries of the donation extended commendations to the Rep. Cole and promised to use the materials for their intended purpose.

“We will never forget about what Hon. Cole has done for us. Even if I get ten sheets of the zinc, I will put it over the room that is in use then I’ll be looking for money to work [on the] other rooms,” Kwata Gbarmee, a widow who has three children joyfully told our Bong County correspondent.

She said her only concentration is to go in the bush to live and make farm, adding: “I had no hope to live in the city because I had nowhere to get money for inc.”

“For me I am very happy and I don’t know what to do. Seeing our lawmaker donating such number of zinc, I don’t just know what to say but only thank you,” Alexander Vakpalee, one of the beneficiaries told this paper.

By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong County--Edited by Winston W. Parley

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