Following the increasing successful stories of zero Ebola infections in Liberia and further stories of drastic reductions of infections in neighboring Guinea and Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced at the United Nations headquarters in New York, that the end of infections could be reached at the end of 2015.In plain language, she said there could be no more Ebola and that Liberia, (already enjoying zero infections) could be joined by Guinea and Sierra Leone to be free, too.Speaking at the U.N. Security Council via video link from Hong Kong last Thursday, Dr. Margaret Chan, head of the WHO said that Ebola in West Africa could be “soundly defeated” by the end of this year.The report quoted Dr. Chan as telling the U.N. Security Council that current surveillance and response capacities have greatly improved and health workers have a better picture of how the disease spreads.She noted that the three most affected West African countries—Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, have made huge progress to the extent that new cases in Liberia have stopped, and in Guinea and Sierra Leone a total of only three cases have been reported during each of the past two weeks.“If the current intensity of case detection and contact tracing is sustained, the virus can be soundly defeated by the end of this year. That means getting to zero and staying at zero,” she said.Like the success story of Liberia, contact tracing is on high agenda and the last reported case saw the swift response of health officials to identify and trace all those that might come in contact with the last known victim.To date, health officials in Liberia are like hawks, said a health official who was contacted for this story, “to pounce on any rumor of an outbreak,” so that Liberia can continue to enjoy its Ebola-free status.However, Dr. Chan said the latest outbreak of Ebola in Guinea and Sierra Leone and even the most recent in Liberia will not be officially over until there are zero cases of the virus. Affected countries need to have no new reported cases for 42 days before they can be declared free of the virus.Thankfully, latest reports in Liberia suggest the country having achieved the required number of days (42) and is significantly virus free, though health officials are not prepared to pack up their PPEs any time soon.Dr. Chan mentioned the establishment of communicable disease control systems in West Africa by the African Union and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help African nations better prepare for future potential outbreaks.There have been nearly 28,000 cases of Ebola and more than 11,000 deaths.“When Ebola is defeated completely,” said a young man who lost three family members in Monrovia, “we will have the chance to rejoice.”While celebrating the defeat of Ebola would be high on any government’s agenda, stigma both at home and abroad remains and Liberians and their neighbors would have a herculean fight on their hands, many Liberians have observed.Reports from outside Liberia indicate that Liberians have experienced isolation, humiliation and even harassment because their country was invaded by the Ebola virus, in spite of the international travel precautions that were taken at all airports to monitor passengers from the infected region.Even Liberian nationals who were not in the country during the Ebola crisis, and known as Liberians have suffered such an international stigma of humiliation and isolation, said a Liberian who went through such humiliation in a recent travel abroad. “We need the WHO to get the world to understand that Liberians were also victims to the scourge and therefore like the international effort to defeat it, they need solidarity of the world and not isolation and humiliation,” the man quoted earlier stated.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Chairperson of the Special Presidential Task Force (SPTF) investigating the Global Witness (GW) alleged bribery report – The Deceiver – Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, Thursday, June 2, announced that the Force has handed the prosecutorial role over to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).Although the Force also has prosecutorial powers given to it by the President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Ministry of Justice, however, is the government’s statutory arm that prosecutes cases in courts. The SPTF is a tripartite entity which includes the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs (MOS), the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).Speaking yesterday at the regular press briefing of the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), Cllr. Koffa, who is also the Presidential Affairs Minister in the Office of President Sirleaf, disclosed that at least four persons (names not given) from one corporation have been indicted and that several indictments will be served to individuals, whose names, he also did not mention, by next week.He stated that even though being Chairman and still having “prosecutorial patent,” he was taking the backseat, allowing the MOJ to take the lead because active prosecution has begun of people linked to the GW Sable Mining report. Min. Koffa said that he and others will be in the background providing all the necessary pieces of evidence needed to successfully prosecute all persons who will be indicted.He added: “We went into this work and came out extremely impressed by the skills and competence of the investigators and members of the LACC and the lawyers at the MOJ. We are proud to be able to provide support.”Cllr. Koffa, who before accepting his ministerial post, was chairman of arguably the third largest opposition political party – Liberty Party – said that in the next few weeks, SPTF is going to assist the LACC and the MOJ in “compiling the mountain of evidence they have obtained in a fashion in which prosecutors will be able to present them to a jury” in court, in order to ensure a successful prosecution of all who will be indicted. During his response to questions from journalists, one of the concerns raised was the issue of whether he has the moral integrity to prosecute the case being a former convict in the United States. He has come under harsh criticism with people calling on him to step aside from theSPTF. However, others have urged him to not be distracted by those comments and that he should go ahead with his mandate.Responding to the issue of moral integrity, Cllr. Koffa said: “Everybody is entitled to their own opinions; I doubt if they are entitled to their own facts, so I suggest that people go and review the facts and then give their opinions and we will let the people judge.”Another concern he responded to was whether the British government will allow one of its corporations—Sable Mining— owned by its citizens, to be prosecuted by a Liberian court.Cllr. Koffa: “We are working with the British government to have an arrangement by which justice is served on those, including Sable Mining, who may have committed wrongful acts here in Liberia.” He clarified that their discussions with the British government were not yet concluded, and did not provide further details. Also speaking, Cllr. Frederick Cherue, two days into his ministerial role at the MOJ, thanked Cllr. Koffa “for the job done so far,” with the case. Although the Minister of Justice accepted the task of prosecuting, he, however, added: “We will rely on you and your people for the pieces of evidence you have, for all the materials that are available to you, both humans and materials.”The new Justice Minister said that while some people have commented that the process was a witch hunt, he strongly feels that a few in the society does not think so, and that the process is good for Liberia’s democracy. “Comments that are being made, negative or positive, are good for our democracy,” Cllr. Cherue, who was brief in his remarks, added. Responding to one question about him “being a very good friend” of one of the indictees – Cllr. Varney Sharman – who being Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in the Liberian Senate had to recuse himself of his role when his friend Cllr. Cherue had gone to the Senate for confirmation for his position as Justice Minister, stated: “I have integrity, which I have exhibited over the years in my career unless you have a reason to challenge that. In answering your question, I tell you when we get to that bridge, we will cross it.” BACKGROUNDThe Global Witness (GW) report alleged that over US$950,000 in bribes and other suspicious payments were made by UK mining firm Sable Mining through its Liberian lawyer Cllr Varney Sherman. The report, titled ‘The Deceiver,’ alleges that Cllr. Sherman, one of Liberia’s best-connected lawyers and current Chairman of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Unity Party, in an effort to secure the Wologizi iron ore concession in northern Liberia, paid bribes to senior officials to initially get Liberia’s concessions law changed. According to GW, Sherman then began distributing Sable’s money to some of Liberia’s most important government officials, some of whom have also been indicted. 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Authorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP) yesterday confirmed the continued detention of Archie Sarnor, a rights activist, and half a dozen others, who were arrested during the Monday, Feb. 29 riot on Capitol Hill, Monrovia on multiple charges ranging from “incitement leading to disturbing public peace.” While Vandalark Patricks, for whose cause the protest was held, was released on bail from further detention on Tuesday, March 1, some of his associates including Sarnor have remained in police custody.Police spokesman Sam Collins told the Daily Observer late yesterday via mobile phone that police will “properly process, charge and forward to court for prosecution Sarnor and all those arrested in connection to the riot,” adding that “this country is a country of laws, not men.” Today makes two nights since police arrested and detained Sarnor and colleagues on Monday. Patricks’ ReleaseMeanwhile, following a week of detention at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP), Vandalark Patricks was yesterday released after his legal team secured a US$3,000 criminal appearance bond to allow him wait his sedition and criminal libel charges levied against him by government. Though unconfirmed, the Daily Observer learned yesterday that businessman and opposition political figure, Benoni Urey, made the cash available to secure the bond for Patricks’ temporary release as he prepares for trial. Though Mr. Urey could not be reached to confirm his involvement, Cllr. Gongloe did say that the politician had contacted him concerning Patricks’ case. However, Gongloe told the Daily Observer via phone yesterday that Woods Nyanton of Voice FM brought the US$3,000 cash to him and that he (Gongloe) did not know whether the money originated from Mr. Urey. At the central prison yesterday Patricks’ supporters were jubilating when his lawyer, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe escorted him outside his cell.Immediately after release, Cllr. Gongloe drove Mr. Patricks to the Gongloe and Associates Law Firm on Ashmun Street, where a brief welcome ceremony was held for the defendant.Cllr. Gongloe used that occasion to inform the gathering that his client was wrongfully detained.“In the first place, he should not have been jailed for speeches he made under our law. Government action is an idea of repression,” Cllr. Gongloe added.“The President signed the Table Mountain Declaration regarding freedom of speech. Why will she now arrest people because of that?” Cllr. Gongloe wondered.After Cllr. Gongloe’s remarks, Mr. Patricks expressed gratitude to his supporters, but advised them to remain violence-free.While in my cell, Patricks claimed that the LNP physically and psychologically tortured him.“These are the scars on my body, but we need to be non-violent in our approach for peace sake,” Patricks said as his supporters greeted his statement with rounds of applause.“We are people of peace and yielding to see a free society, because yesterday those generation went into the bushes and brought untold suffering on our people,” he said, adding, “we should not allow ourselves to repeat those same mistakes; we should use the pen, our intellect and the microphones to champion the cause of justice, this is the message of freedom.”‘Misplaced aggression’Patricks was arrested after he read a communiqué on behalf of a consortium of political parties and civil society organizations on February 21 calling for a mass citizen action on March 11.He also accused the government of hiring assassins to murder the former managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC), Harry A. Greaves Jr., and eliminate other political opponents of the government. Mr. Greaves’ body was discovered January 31 on a beach near Monrovia. He went missing two days later.Mulbah Morlu, vice chairman for operations and mobilization for opposition Congress for Democratic Change party (CDC), told reporters at a press conference on Monday, following the riot, that Patricks must be released “immediately or else the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will have no peace.”“We believe Mr. Patricks’ arrest is a misplaced aggression of judicial authority, because he was a representative of the different political groupings and civil society actors that came together to issue that statement. So, we hold that his arrest is arbitrary; his arrest is unwarranted. And so, we will stage a very pro-protest on the premises of the Temple of Justice to insist that government has no business holding Mr. Patricks at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP),” Morlu said.He said the consortium of political parties and civil society groups issued their statement, because they had been concerned about the number of recent “politically motivated” mysterious deaths, which reminded the people of the dark days of the past.“You remember there was a murder on the Congo Town back road of standard bearer of the Free Democratic Party, Ciapha Gbolee. No arrest was made. There was the murder of human rights activist and anti-corruption whistleblower, Michael Allison. No arrest was made. And now the latest is the murder of Harry Greaves. Mr. Patricks was simply reading a document that was making a documentary that was authorized by different political institutions,” Ralph Brown, a representative of Media United to Enhance Democracy, interjected.What started as a peaceful sit-in protest advocating the release of jailed youth political activist Vandalark Patricks escalated into a violent confrontation between protesters and police at the Temple of Justice, involving hurling of stones and teargas, from respective sides. Monday’s altercation quickly worsened after some individuals in the vicinity of the University of Liberia violently engaged the Police by pelting them with more stones. Several vehicles were damaged from flying rocks, according to eyewitnesses on the scene. The demonstration was intended to force government to release detained rights Patricks, who was arrested by the government last Wednesday and charged with sedition and criminal libel. The demonstration turned violent when police denied the protesters from forcing their way onto the grounds of the Temple of Justice, where they had earlier prevented the convoy of Chief Justice Francis Saye Korpkor from accessing the premises.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
In our Liberia, when a man or woman dies, it is usual to make speeches, to emphasize their virtues, but rarely can we say of a person, with greater justice, with greater accuracy, what we say of our late brother and friend, Harry Greaves: That he was a shining example of a Liberian patriot dedicated to the unfinished struggle for economic development and political freedom, for rice and rights in our Liberia.I first got to know Harry back in 2005 when we worked together on President Sirleaf’s initial campaign for the presidency. Before then, I had only known of Harry as a brilliant Liberian who had been sent to England where he qualified as a Certified Public Accountant. During the campaign, Harry brought his prodigious energies and strategic thinking to the table culminating in our raising a large part of the funding necessary for the successful prosecution of the campaign and the eventual victory of Mrs. Sirleaf at the presidential polls. The friendship which we forged during the campaign continued to grow and blossom, nourished by our common vision of a Liberia that should stand shoulder to shoulder with the best. Needless to say, the constant blows to the ideal of bringing to birth that Liberia pained us both grievously, so grievously.Following the elections, Harry went on to become Managing Director of the LPRC where he introduced innovative policies of governance. He was unceremoniously relieved of this post after a few years of meritorious service.Harry was no saint. How many of us are? But he was not a certificated illiterate, career sycophant or political parasite. He certainly was not a member of that ludicrous and somewhat puerile gang of high society urchins who have become professional praise singers of earned and unearned accolades.Harry was a certified public accountant, a man of no mean intellect, and a passionate patriot who dared to raise his voice against the moral sclerosis, gross inadequacies, and downright shenanigans which characterize so much of our public life. Yes, Harry was a critic. But he was always judicious, always did his homework, always remained open minded. He was never equivocal, never less than sharply, superbly judgmental.And if you were to ask Harry, as people asked another Harry, Harry Truman of the US, why he was so critical, why he gave the government so much hell, you would get the same answer given by Harry Truman: “I never give the government hell. I only tell the truth and the government THINKS it’s hell.”Did Harry have anything against the person of the people in government? Not at all! He always spoke so fondly of his long standing relationship with the highest officials in the land. But did Harry have issues with some government policies and praxis? Yes, he did. And let us admit it: Who doesn’t? In a democracy, even the most incurable and unabashed praise singers in government itself have issues.Alas! Harry’s voice has been hushed in death. And we are aggrieved: aggrieved at having lost a good friend, an intellectual powerhouse, a fearless patriot. We are aggrieved when we think that Harry was only 66 years old. We are aggrieved when we consider how much we need people of Harry’s stature and commitment during this period in our history when our country is racked by all the ills of underdevelopment—no rice and threatened, very threatened rights. Indeed, we are saddened at missing the additional fruits that we would have received from Harry’s intelligence and his even richer experience.But Harry has left us a heritage, a fine heritage, and we his relatives and friends are duty bound to promote this heritage.And what is this heritage? It is to be found in Harry’s progressive thinking, his tenacity, his capacity for hard work. It is to be found in his fearless ability to raise his voice against the many ills which pervade our society. Harry thus joins the ranks of Edward Wilmot Blyden, Didwho Tweh, Albert Porte, G. Baccus Mathews—and many others– who have gone ahead marked with the gratitude of the people in whose behalf they fought so courageously. If Harry were concerned with national issues, he never forgot his local government, Kokoyah Statutory District in Bong County, where he was deeply involved in efforts to solve the burning problems confronting people in that rural area of our Liberia.What were the circumstances of Harry’s death? Who killed Harry? The pathologists with their tainted record of medical practice are saying that Harry was killed by drowning. The report from our JFK Hospital is saying something else, almost the contrary. Is there a deliberate attempt to conflate and obfuscate what should be a clear-cut case? The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) which has been assisting in securing peace and security in our country is about to leave. Whilst still in our midst, however, we are experiencing a string of unexplained deaths and mayhem. As Christ warned the women of Jerusalem on the road to Calvary: “If they do this while the wood is green, what will be done when the wood is dry?” (Luke 23:31). That is why as UNMIL prepares to exit, we may need to establish a MAMIL—Movement Against Murder In Liberia. And this Movement will not only concern itself with the deaths, the armed robberies, the rapes, that are becoming commonplace in our Liberia. This Movement must also address the fact that the Liberian masses are today the victims of an undeclared war, a sort of silent genocide—for what other meaning can we attach to the high infant mortality rate, the high death rate, the pre-mature old age, etc.? If the Liberian society is not changed fundamentally, the number of children dying will more than double in the coming years.I am about to conclude. And the question remains hanging: Who killed Harry? As a Catholic, I believe that the circumstances of Harry’s death will, in time, be fully revealed. Our people in Sinoe say that “when the tide goes out, we will see who is swimming naked.” Buddha reminds us that there are “three things which cannot long be hidden: the sun, the moon and the TRUTH.” We shall know the truth.As we bid Harry farewell, let us pledge to ensure that one, two three, many more Harry Greaves will arise, to “lecture,” to continue the struggle for good governance in our beloved native land.Therefore, Precious (Presh, as Harry called you), Harry’s children, relatives and friends, let us face the future with optimism confident that today or tomorrow we shall have the victory.And for Harry, friend and compatriot, our prayer is the familiar: Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may light perpetual shine on him. Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum – the peace of God remain with you always.Ambassador (Prof) Dew Tuan-Wleh Mayson, businessman and aggrieved Liberian.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Authorities of the Ministry of Health were the proud recipients from the World Health Organization (WHO), of three brand new ambulances which are among contributions of international health stakeholders to strengthen Liberia’s health sector.The Land Cruiser jeeps, built for Liberia’s rough terrain, are expected to be used by three counties in the southeastern region, where the dirt roads are virtually impassable by ordinary vehicles during the rainy season and early dry season.Speaking to journalists following the presentation, Mrs. Bentoe Zoeglay Tehaingue, WHO’s H6 Office Coordinator, said the ambulances cost at least US$160,000.Mrs. Tehaingue said the vehicles were part of a package which included x-ray, ventilators, ultra sound and other equipment. Excluding the vehicles, the medical equipments are valued at over US$1 million, she intimated. “These ambulances are aimed at improving the referral system. We have formally given three ambulances to River Gee, Grand Kru and Maryland Counties,” she said, adding that the present donation was another set of three that are to be used by Gbarpolu, River Cess and Grand Cape Mount counties.Speaking earlier, Dr. Peter Clement, Acting WHO Representative to Liberia, said that the ambulances have been donated to help save the lives of women, adding that no woman should die giving life.Dr. Clement, who is the Emergency Humanitarian Assistant at WHO Office in Liberia, further stated that the ambulances were donated in order to minimize one of the challenges, lack of vehicles, facing the health system.“The ambulances will help in making sure that women receive the necessary assistance in those remote counties just in case there is an emergency,” he added. Responding, Dr. Francis Nah Kateh, Chief Medical Officer of Liberia, said one of the saddest things for him is seeing a mother losing her life while trying to give birth.Dr. Kateh, who is the Deputy Minister for Health Services, promised that the vehicles will be used for their intended purpose and that they would be properly maintained.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Markerters shout “we want justice and we are going to demand it the next time we come back here,” while leaving the Civil Law Court.jpgTension erupted yesterday on the grounds of the Temple of Justice following the Civil Law Court ‘A’ decision to postpone a ruling that was expected to see the newly inducted officials of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) commence full operations on Monday, May 1.The court had placed a stay order on the induction ceremony, but the injunction was challenged and the LMA went ahead to hold the occasion on April 7 despite an attempt by a bailiff to stop the program.The LMA claimed that they also received a communication from the same court authorizing them to proceed with the induction in spite of the election results being challenged and the defeated party demanding that they be nullified.Outside the courtroom yesterday some of the marketers, who were dissatisfied with Judge Yussif Kaba’s action, grouped themselves and used threatening remarks that they would demand justice if the court fails to deliver the judgment next Monday.Yesterday’s action was the second time Judge Kaba suspended the court’s ruling in the matter, although he had earlier assured the marketers that he was going to conclude by Tuesday (yesterday).Defending his action, Kaba said the suspension was to give him the opportunity to look not just into the election rigging allegation, but to also investigate whether or not the court’s staff was prevented from performing his duty.The decision to suspend yesterday’s ruling, the aggrieved marketers claimed, was influenced by Cllr. Cooper Kruah, who is a lawyer for the opposing party.Although, Cllr. Kruah was not available for comment, Madam Antoinette Nah Mulbah, one of the elected officials, alleged that she saw Kruah holding discussions with Kaba before the decision was taken.“I am disappointed about what I saw taking place between Kruah and Kaba, and we are not going to sit there for people to waste our time from taking authority over the association,” Mulbah explained.“We are not going to allow this to happen anymore, this is the last time we are accepting Kaba’s postponement, and we are going to make sure that we mobilize our members to come to this court by Monday,” the Ma Juah Market secretary vowed.Madam Mulbah, who is the elected National Chaplain General of the association said, “If Judge Kaba does not rule as he promised, we are going to make this place uncomfortable for the court, whereby we are going to demand justice, because this matter has been impeding our businesses.”Madam Antoinette Nah Mulbah threatens to make the court uncomfortable for Judge KabaMulbah, who is also the secretary general of the Ma-Juah Market in Vai Town, Monrovia, explained, “We are not politicians, we are business people and we are not going to leave our businesses anymore just to come to this court for the judge to tell us that the judgment is being postponed.”The confusion between the marketers came about following their February 18 election results in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, where 556 delegates from all 15 counties voted to elect Madam Alice Yeegahn, as president, securing 70 percent of the votes among 10 presidential candidates.The court issued a “Stay Order” on the induction of Madam Yeegahn and other elected officials.The action was due to a statement by the petitioner’s (complainant) legal team, accusing the outgoing president, Madam Lusu Sloan, of being behind the rigging of the elections in favor of Madam Yeegahn.Judge Yusif Kaba, hearing the case, decided to reserve his ruling on whether or not the court should nullify the result of the February 2017 election, as it was requested by the defeated candidates, including Madam Elizabeth Sambullah. After hearing arguments from both parties, Judge Kaba postponed his ruling to yesterday.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Liberian-born American basketball star, Matee Ajavon (Photo Credit: AP file photo/Fred Beckham) Having immigrated to the United States at a young age and become a female basketball star, Liberian-born American women’s basketball star Matee Ajavon has revealed plans to return to home and give back through female basketball.The 31-year-old, who currently plays for Atlanta Dream in the Women’s National Basketball Association in the US, told this newspaper that her goal is to return home and motivate young female basketball players.“My goal is to come back home and motivate more girls to play basketball giving them lessons,” Ajavon said.I just want to be able to give back to the game that has given me so much. The only way the WNBA is going to grow is if we start with the youth.” (Photo Credit: Getty Images)The four-time all-big east guard, who immigrated to the US at age 6, recently launched a company, Ajavon Elite that seeks to create exposure for aspiring players who want to further their career internationally. The Ajavon Elite Company also provides training for young and aspiring female basketball athletes.Earlier in 2017 following the launched of her company, Ajavon told NJ Advance Media “I just want to be able to give back to the game that has given me so much. The only way the WNBA is going to grow is if we start with the youth.”While in high school, the Liberian-born basketball star led the Shabazz girls’ basketball team to victory in the State of New Jersey’s “Tournament of Champions” in both 2003 and 2004, the first time a school had repeated as champion. She graduated from Rutgers University in 2008 where she majored in Africana Studies.Ajavon started her professional career in 2008 with Houston Comets before moving on to Fenerbahce Istanbul where she played from 2008-2010. The Point Guard also played for the USA team in the 2007 Pan American games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil after the team won all five games to clinch the gold medal for the event.Professional Career2008 HOUSTON COMETS2008–2010 FENERBAHÇE ISTANBUL2009–2014 WASHINGTON MYSTICS2010–2011 ISTANBUL UNIVERSITY2011–2012 OPTIMUM TED KOLEJLILER2013- CSM TÂRGOVIŞTE2013–MERSIN BÜYÜKŞEHIR BELEDIYESI2014- MARANHAO, BRAZIL2015- TORUN, POLAND2016- BOTASCURRENT ATLANTA DREAM Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
MFDP meeting with UN and Development Partners at the Pan African PlazaFinance and Development Planning Minister, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., has disclosed that youth development, education, health, roads, and private sector development are key priorities of the new government and will be part of its short-term delivery plan.He said it will be accomplished through domestic resource mobilization and a coordinated effort led by the Government of Liberia and its development partners.Speaking during a meeting with the United Nations and other development partners on Tuesday, Minister Tweah assured that the government is committed to working with all partners in implementing its pro-poor governance agenda.Minister Tweah said the Government of Liberia is committed to mobilizing domestic resources through transparent budget execution and reduction of wasteful spending and called on development partners to align their interventions to that of the government’s to speed up pro-poor transformation in Liberia.He said the alignment of the interventions will improve the partnership and promote coordination, adding that the impact of all the interventions will be felt in all the counties.“There is a need for GoL and UN development partners to work together on a framework matrix modalities,” he noted.Tweah pledged government’s support to continue fiscal decentralization and thanked development partners for the tremendous support over the years. He also called on the partners to help transform Liberia for the ordinary people to be happy.For his part, the DSRSG/Resident Coordinator, Yacoub EL Hillo, said they are committed to working with the Liberian government to promote its pro-poor agenda. “We need to determine and suggest action, decision or intervention…over the next few months,” the DSRSG said.According to DSRSG, the overall goal of development partners and UN agencies is to promote the pro-poor development agenda that will impact the lives of the Liberian people.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Bagotville accidentA former Policeman who was identified as Lloyd Thomas is now under Police guard at a private medical institution in the city after he fled the scene of an accident at Bagotville, West Bank Demerara, which left two persons injured over the weekend.The chaotic accident scene on SaturdayAccording to information reaching Guyana Times, the injured persons who were taken to West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH) were treated and released on Sunday for the injuries they sustained when the ex-Policeman’s HC 6031 Toyota Spacio collided with a HC 7086 taxi that was transporting an elderly couple.This publication was told that the former Policeman after escaping from the area, checked himself into the medical facility after which Police were informed of his whereabouts. As such, he was arrested and placed under guard before charges are laid against him which could include failure to render assistance.This newspaper understands that the accident occurred just after 17:00h on Saturday and the ex-Policeman was reportedly showing signs of being intoxicated. Reports are that the Spacio hit the taxi, a Toyota Carina 212, after hitting a parked truck. Both cars appeared to have been written off with car oil leaking from both and their airbags being dislodged. It was reported that the taxi driver, Sewkumar Mohabir, received some injuries and his occupants received lacerations to the head. It was also noted that the driver of the taxi was released on bail after he had reported the matter to the La Grange Police Station.
…Health Ministry launches probeAs a result of issues surrounding the shortage of critical drugs and medical and non-medical supplies within the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC), nurses attached to the medical institution on Thursday morning downed tools and staged a three-hour sit- in.During this time, approximately 50 protesting nurses sat in the Outpatient Department of the Hospital, while there was reportedly no replacement staff in place. The management of the LHC, which was reportedly unaware of plans toThe Linden Hospital Complexconduct the sit-in, later met with the staff in the Outpatient Department to address their concerns.According to LHC Public Relations Officer Toshanna Alicock, the Hospital’s CEO, Dr Farouk Riyasat reassured the staff that their issues were being addressed at the bimonthly Section Heads Meeting and management was pursuing all possible avenues to have the issues rectified.She said since management was unaware of plans to conduct the sit-in, it did not have the opportunity to put a skeleton staff in place at the time, which, she noted, was worrisome.Temporary fixOn Thursday afternoon, Alicock noted that a decision was made to temporarily acquire critical drug supplies. “At 2:30 pm, Management teleconferenced with the Honourable Minister of Public Health, Dr Volda Lawrence and Director of Regional Health Services, Dr Kay Shako to address the issue, and it was decided that the LHC will be acquiring supplies through Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) temporarily.“Representatives are currently on their way to Georgetown to uplift the first set of these supplies from GPHC,” Alicock noted, stressing that this was only a “temporary fix” until the previous system of acquiring drugs was straightened outNurses during the sit-in on Thursdaywith the Materials Management Unit (MMU) bond. She added that the drugs which were being acquired under the temporary arrangement fall under the critical drugs, pharmaceuticals, and medical and surgical supplies heading.The PRO further stressed that necessary drugs were unavailable from time to time at the bond and also unavailable for private purchase. “One of the issues that we’re having is the timely release of funds from the Ministry of Finance to purchase the critical drugs that we need. Though we do get drugs from the MMU, we are allotted a certain amount of money to purchase critical drugs. So, we’re having that hiccup.”The process of acquiring the funds for purchase, she said, is a lengthy one owing to the amount of information which is now required. Alicock related that LHC management would be meeting with the staff today to provide feedback on the decisions made so far. By then, she noted, the first set of supplies would have been received.Meanwhile, Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) Regional Representative Maurice Butters, who met with the protesting staff, said they related frustration over the lack of work materials and facilities and, therefore, decided to conduct the sit-in. Butters pointed out that it was a “sad” situation. He said the staff, in speaking to the Hospital’s CEO on Thursday, would have raised concerns over these issues which they explained have been affecting them for months, adding that staff have cast blame on the Public Health Ministry.“They were very firm…that they made requisitions for these things, but they don’t get it…they voiced their disapproval of the way things are going and the amount of supplies which are available at the Hospital.”He said the Hospital’s CEO would have also related difficulties which management faced. “But their contention is, while the grass is growing, the cow is starving. Because they have to provide medical service to the people of this community, and if the supplies are not there, it means they cannot do their jobs properly. These people have been working under these conditions for quite a long time and they’ve been doing their best…but it would’ve meet a stage where they cannot go further,” Butters noted.The GPSU Representative added that staff were also aggravated over the failure of the Public Health Minister to meet with them to address their concerns, although a promise was made over a year ago. “The staff is saying they noticed she’s going to other hospitals and not visiting Linden.”He also noted that he would have received information that the Minister would meet with staff today following an additional request, adding that he was hoping for a positive response from the Ministry. However, the Hospital’s PRO indicated later on Thursday that she was unaware of the Minister’s plan to meet with staff today, but noted that management promised to contact her to have a meeting with staff some time in the future.She said management had initially planned to travel to Georgetown on Thursday, but teleconferenced the Minister instead, in an effort to find a temporary solution to the issues.But the Public Health Ministry said it was currently investigating the circumstances and addressing the issues which resulted in the LHC recording a shortage of medical supplies.According to a statement issued by the Public Health Ministry, during the period March 6 to March 21, medical supplies were ordered by the Linden Hospital from the MMU. On March 6, 16 of the 24 items requested were delivered, and on March 18, 91 of the 171 items ordered were received.While it is normal procedure for the Linden Hospital to purchase drugs and other medical supplies whenever there was a shortage, the Public Health Ministry notes, as a result of poor forecasting, all the money the Hospital possessed had already been spent during the first quarter of the year.As such, the Ministry has commenced the implementation of necessary measures to correct this situation. Presently, a number of containers which contain some key medical supplies are being cleared.