Relatives of a man identified only as Karlue, who reportedly died at the corner of Gurley Street last Thursday have attributed his death to Tuberculosis (TB), and not Ebola, as claimed by some local dailies. The man’s relatives also said thatfor many years the deceased had suffered from TB.“He didn’t die from Ebola as some newspapers mentioned. The procedure says that when someone dies on the street, or their body is found and there is no one to identify it, the body should be sprayed and removed. And that’s what happened in my brother’s case,” said a woman claiming to be the sister of the deceased.The scene of the incident on Thursday was tragic. By the time the Ebola task force arrived, Karlue was lying dead in a pool of blood he had coughed up. The body was sprayed with disinfectant, an initial precaution taken against Ebola viral infection, covered with salt and taken to an undisclosed location.“I won’t lie, my brother was a drug user,” said Karlue’s sister, “and has been using drugs for many years. Somewhere along the line, he contracted TB and was placed in the TB annex on three occasions. Each stay was never completed because he always ran away from the place just to come back on the streets to smoke. His health was poor and for those who knew him, he spent most of his time coughing until his death.”One of the locals at the scene, who claimed to have known the deceased, said that he was a man who made a living from collected scrap-iron and empty soft drink cans, salvaged from dumpsites, adding that a few days before his death, he was admitted to a TB annex but ran away for a third time.“We stopped seeing him for a long time,” said the resident, who referred to himself only as Dennis. “But recently he broke away from the place and used to live in the graveyard on Center Street, though in the daytime he would be at a garage on Mechlin Street. That’s where he did everything. He didn’t die from Ebola. He has had TB for a very long time.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
– Public Security Minister dodges transparency questionMembers of the media were on Monday barred from hearing the testimonies of members of the Prison Service at the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the deadly Camp Street Prison fire. This decision followed aPublic Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan speaking with the media at the Guyana Fire Service on Mondaymeeting with Commissioners which delayed the start of Monday’s session.Sometime after 10:30h, Chairman of the CoI, retired Justice James Patterson advised that the testimonies would be done “in-camera”. Before the public was ushered out of the proceeding, Justice Patterson had stated that he would inform the media as to when they would be allowed to return.One of the key witnesses expected to testify at Monday’s session was Prison Officer Lyken (only name given). Lyken, who was reportedly ordered by his superiors to take video footage of the prison riots, was poised to give his version of the events which led to the deaths of 17 inmates. Notably, this publication witnessed equipment being set up to present the video footage taken as evidence.In the past weeks, controversy had ensued when the Attorney representing the Joint Services, Selwyn Pieters had made constant references to the footage in grilling his witnesses despite the said footage not being tendered as evidence. When upbraided by the CoI Chairman, Pieters threatened to resign from the CoI.Justice Patterson had raised concerns over the way in which the video footage was released to the public. In the footage, which was shown to the media operatives on April 4, prisoner Collis Collison and members of riot forces were shown to be engaged in an altercation.Attorneys representing the Guyana Bar Association had later raised concerns over the lack of transparency regarding the non-disclosure of the Standard Operating Procedures which govern the Joint Services operations at the Camp Street Prison.Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan was on Monday questioned by the media over the closed-door setting and concerns about lack of transparency with the process. Ramjattan whilst evading the question of transparency posited that it was within the authority of the Chairman to allow such a move.“The CoI is controlled by the CoI members…he has authority to do that I suppose under the Terms of Reference and if he thinks it is a matter for security reasons, why not?” the Minister posited.Notably, Station Officer at the Guyana Fire Service, Andrew Holder was last week allowed to disclose what inmates related to him when he carried out his investigation as to the cause of the deadly fire. Holder had concluded that the fire emanated from inside the Camp Street facilities and that inmates were indeed responsible.“It is my conclusion that this fire occurred as a result of a prisoner or more than one prisoner setting fire to mattress or mattresses within the prison walls,” Holder had noted.
… as Public Infrastructure Ministry focuses on Durban Park projectAs Guyana approaches its Golden Jubilee anniversary, focus has been shifted to the celebrations, and as such, the Public Infrastructure Ministry (MPI) has downscaled its rehabilitation works of East Coast Demerara bridges in order to give the Durban Park project full manpower.During a telephone interview with Guyana Times, Infrastructure Ministry Coordinator of the Works Services, Geoffrey Vaughn, said the main focus is currently the construction of the Durban Park Stadium. However, he indicated that there is still some works being done on the bridge projects along the East Coast of Demerara, but it is being conducted “in a phased manner.”“This is a phased intervention, one bridge has already been constructed, another is due for completion shortly, which is the one in Ogle, along the railway embankment, and we are moving in a phased manner.’’Vaughn highlighted that the Ministry is planning to replace the steel structure on the bridges. He added that there were many reasons for the decision to substitute the steel structures but one specifically would be because of the traffic increase on the East Coast of Demerara. Vaughn added that workers would be designated to work 24-hour shifts to hasten the project’s completion.The Ministry’s Works Services Coordinator was however not able to give an exact cost for the rehabilitation, noting that he “did not have the paper works and wants to give an exact amount and not an estimate.’’Only last week, the Government announced that some $150 million was reserved for the completion of the Durban Park project. The Ministry will also be taking over the project, as this was confirmed by Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, who said that since Cabinet approved the finances, the Ministry was now taking full control of the project.
In the wake of a massive oil find in Guyana, the University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, will soon be offering a Petroleum Engineering course in colloboration with the University of Guyana, Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine has disclosed.Speaking with Guyana Times on Tuesday, Dr Roopnaraine stated that he is currently in engagement with the UWI’s principal and they have agreed to move forward with the programme. He indicated that arrangements would be in place as early as the start of the semester in September.Recently, in the National Assembly, the Education Minister had revealed his intentions for the programme. He stated that he had held a meeting with the Principal of UWI, St Augustine campus, Dr Clement Sankat, to discuss developing a petroleum engineering education programme that would prepare Guyana for the human resource challenge of running its impending oil industry in the near future.Petroleum engineering is the study of the cost-effective extraction of oil, gas and other natural resources from the earth. It is expert through the design, drilling and operation of wells and the incorporated administration of subversive reservoirs.Roopnaraine was at the time speaking about Guyana’s human resource problem and its brain drain. He had stated that one of the major challenges of the Education Ministry is the development of human resources to facilitate Guyana’s growth.He posited that it is crucial that the government be inventive and develop a strategy for human resource expansion.
The People’s National Congress Reform extends heartfelt Eid-ul-Adha greetings to all Guyanese, but more especially to the Muslim Community.All Guyanese should use the day, which commemorates the supreme sacrifice of the Prophet, to reflect on their personal commitments to the ideals of peace, justice, kindness and fairness. Based on these personal commitments, only then can our country develop into a nation characterised by unity, harmony and a sense of decency.The PNCR has always been and will always remain respectful of Guyana’s cultural and religious diversity and believes that our diversity has worked and can continue to work to the country’s advantage. In this latter regard, it should be remembered that it was the PNC Government, under its Founder Leader, Forbes Burnham, which paved the way for each of the country’s major religious groups to observe their holy days as National Holidays.Our Party will always remain committed to ensuring that Guyanese grow from strength to strength as a unified people, whilst allowing each and every citizen the right to follow his or her religious conscience.Eid Mubarak!People’s National Congress ReformCongress Place, Sophia,Georgetown, GuyanaSaturday 10th September 2016
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has committed an additional US$65M to the ongoing fight against the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia.The virus continues to ravage the Mano River Union (MRU) basin; it has claimed thousands of lives, with Liberia being the worst hit.The USAID money is part of a total US$142M additional assistance made available to the worst affected three MRU countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, to boost the fight against the killer disease.USAID Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah, made the disclosure on Tuesday, October 14, when he addressed a joint press conference along with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Borge Brende, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia. This amount, the USAID Administrator said, is to be committed through technical assistances such as expanding critical training of local health workers, building of more Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs), provision of more logistics and all that will help in containing the virus in the affected countries.He indicated that the US government has now put into place the most significant disease control effort it has ever carried out outside of the US in order to ensure that the virus is contained.“The US government is now coordinating strong response strategies that will ensure that Ebola is contained. We have a commitment of more than US$400M already for the fight and over 600 trained medical and military personnel in the affected region. “This is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s largest effort ever in fighting an epidemic outside of the US. The US government is pleased to announce an additional US$142M to the Ebola fight in West Africa. US$65M of this amount will focus on Liberia,” Dr. Shah said.The US government, through the USAID boss, also announced an additional US$5M as an assistance directly to the Liberian government that will help in handling health workers’ issues in the country.This donation, and many others that have come in recent times, are ensuring that the battle against the deadly virus continues to gain momentum, especially from the global front; a move that was initially anticipated when the threat of the virus was gradually mounting at its onset.Donations began to pull in when eminent Africans including Ghanaian President and Chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), John D. Mahama, was critical of the international community and world powers for being slow in their response to the outbreak.Meanwhile, Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende, who also addressed the joint press conference, said that he had come to show solidarity and sympathy on behalf of his government and the people of Norway.Minister Brende indicated that health matters are crucial to any country and as such his government has been strongly involved in the ongoing global effort to contain a disease that continues to claim many lives on a daily basis in the region.He disclosed that the Kingdom of Norway will soon send health experts, who have signed up as volunteers to the three affected countries to help bring the disease under control. He noted that since the outbreak his government has committed more than US60M to the fight in the MRU region.The Norwegian Foreign Minister also disclosed that his government is committing an additional US$15M to the affected nations through the World Health Organization (WHO).Speaking earlier, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf praised the two countries for the level of support that they have demonstrated since the outbreak. “They have been steadfast partners and friends. Through their governments we were able to achieve many things, some of which have been threatened by the Ebola outbreak,” the Liberian leader said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Little did the staff of the Land Commission Tribal Certificate (TC) recording team know that they could be overwhelmed with huge turnout in Bong County when the TC recording process started on February 18, 2015 in Wainsue Town, the Headquarters of Jorquelleh District-2. The Tribal Certificate recording and vetting process, which is now running into a month, is characterized by unprecedented momentum and willingness among the citizens of Bong who acquired land under tribal certificate.As a result of the eagerness of many people to have their tribal certificate recorded, the TC recording team has already recorded more than five hundred (500) Tribal Certificates just in the two districts of Jorquelleh with eleven districts in the county yet to be covered.The anxiety shown by the people in Jorquelleh District to bring their Tribal Certificates forward for recording, if replicated in other districts of the county, will certainly drive the Land Commission of Liberia to realize success in its quest of having comprehensive data on Tribal Certificates issued over the years but yet to be transformed into deeds.Local Chiefs Embrace the Process The success being realized in the ongoing Tribal Certificate recording process by the Land Commission in Bong County can be largely attributed to the committed involvement of local leaders in aiding the TC recording team carryout its work.“We really welcome the initiative by the Land Commission of the Liberia to have all Tribal Certificates recorded in the county so that our people can have deeds at the end of the process” Chief Flomo Barwlor the Dankpanah of Liberia intoned during the commencement of the Tribal Certificate recording process in Wainsue.Chief Barwlor described the Land Commission of Liberia Tribal Certificate recording and vetting process in Bong County as a distinctive opportunity that will ensure people acquire the requisite legal title to their land.The aging Paramount Chief of Jorquelleh Chiefdom voluntarily offered to assist the Land Commission Tribal Certificate inventory team mobilize his people in all of the clans to participate in the ongoing recording process to avoid being excluded from the exercise.Chief Barwlor further urged his kinsmen not to be apprehensive about the Tribal Certificate recording process as it was rumored in some quarters that the exercise was designed by government to take away people’s land.Prior to the commencement of the Tribal Certificate recording exercise in February, the Tribal Certificate team, with support from the Land Coordination Center (LCC), vigorously carried out awareness raising exercises and consultations in Gbarnga and its environs providing insight about the objective of the program.Launched in 2014, by the Land Commission of Liberia, with support from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and technical assistance from UN-HABITAT, the objective of the national tribal certificate inventory exercise is to collect information on the total number of tribal certificates issued over the years and record the information in a data base.The Land Commission has indicated that the inventory process is also intended to end the usage of tribal certificates as means of acquiring land. The ongoing TC exercise involves several steps, including the recording, scanning and vetting of tribal certificates, which will ultimately convert tribal certificates into deeds, where applicable.During the start of the exercise, the Land Commission called on those in possession of tribal certificates in the four counties earmarked for the project – Bong, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Montserrado to take advantage of the opportunity by bringing forth their certificates to be recorded during the inventory process.The Tribal Certificate recording and vetting exercise in Bong County is expected to run up to August this year with Fuahma District the last to conclude the exercise in Bong County. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
At least 14 health workers from nine hospitals in the country were the lucky winners of raffle draws that awarded each a US$5,000 deposit to be used as down payment in the National Housing Authority’s ‘Home Ownership Campaign.’At the launching program held at a local resort yesterday, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was originally set to pick the lone winner, said it was necessary for government ministries to each commit at least US$5,000 from their budgets to support twenty health workers in the program.She meanwhile decided that the number should be increased and working with the current arrangement, it added from the original one to fourteen winners.President Sirleaf thanked healthcare workers for their support during the Ebola fight and commended the management of the National Housing Authority for the home ownership initiative.Earlier, Mr. Prince A. Wreh, Deputy Managing Director for Administration, in an overview, told the more than 50 healthcare workers and others present that the initiative was intended to demonstrate NHA’s appreciation to healthcare workers for their sacrifices to Liberia during the Ebola crisis and beyond.“When our people were dying,” Wreh said, “you were on the frontlines saving our people.” He read a letter from the Seventh Day Adventist Cooper Hospital which highly commended the NHA for the initiative.Dr. Philip Ireland, a medical practitioner and Ebola survivor, also expressed gratitude to Liberian healthcare workers and noted that more support is needed in the fight against other health challenges.“Liberia suffers from high maternal mortality and there is the urgent need to raise money to reduce it,” he said.He was overwhelmed with the NHA’s initiative and commended the management for its support to assist healthcare workers in owning their own homes.Mr. Dewitt von Ballmoos, Director General of the National Social Security Corporation (NASSCORP), assured NHA of NASSCORP’s support for the program.The winners were: Evan-Lin Wonlue, Mamah Wilmot and Nyanpu Oppong (SOS Children’s Village); Cynthia Gardner, Edward Mulbah (SDA Cooper Hospital); Joyce B. Teage (ArcelorMittal Hospital, Buchanan, Grand Bassa County); Marie Vesselee (Redemption Hospital) and Garmai Q. Johnson (Hope for Women International).The rest were Ciatta Kassellie (James Davies Memorial Hospital); Mayoe Kellen, Etta M. Flomo, Patty McClain (St. Timothy Hospital) and Louise D. Gaye (ELWA Hospital).NHA said the total amount for each of the estates is U$11,000 and so with the initial down payment, which must be processed through the NHA and with the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), the balance US$6,000 each will be paid through a mortgage program in a period of ten years.LBDI representatives on hand to take winners’ questions said the mortgage payment may be less than US$100 a month for the entire ten-year period. The housing units are located in Brewerville, Montserrado County.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf respectively chose Boima Kamara and Milton Weeks from the same institution, the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL). Mr. Kamara was Deputy Governor of the CBL and Mr. Weeks was a CBL Governor.Observers see three significant indications in these two appointments: first, that the President has chosen exceptionally well in filling them, which means that she is very serious about finishing well. She has two years to the end of her second term as President of Liberia. Her 12-year tenure ends in January 2018. Second, she recognizes the importance of the two institutions having an excellent relationship in order to maintain the country’s economic stability has enjoyed in spite of Ebola. Since Amara Konneh’s appointment as Finance Minister in early 2012, there has been a decisive disconnect between him and former CBL Governor, J. Mills Jones—the two just never got along.Thirdly, choosing the new Finance Minister and the CBL Governor from the same institution, CBL, is a positive reflection on former CBL Governor J. Mills Jones. This may not have happened had he not run a highly productive and successful CBL during his 10-year tenure. Accordingly, the President has also appointed two new members of the CBL Board: Kollie Tamba, a CBL retiree and husband of the Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Elfrieda Tamba, and Mrs. Elsie Dossen Badio. In choosing Boima Kamara to head the Finance Ministry, President Sirleaf has brought to her administration another young Liberian brain trust. Born on May 9, 1974 in Monrovia to Mr. John Kamara David and Ms. Yatta Moore, Boima hails from Gballasuah, a Gola village in the Suehn District of Bomi County. He is a product of St. Patrick’s High School, Monrovia, where he graduated first in his class, the valedictorian. He then entered the University of Liberia where he graduated summa cum laude (highest honors) in 2001.He was then recruited to join the staff of the CBL, where he served first as an Analyst in the Research Department, later as Assistant Director, then as Director of Research and Policy. New CBL Governor Milton Weeks The new Central Bank Governor is Milton Alvin Weeks, 54, who brings to the table a wealth of experience in the field of banking. Born in Monrovia on March 8, 1964 to University of Liberia President Rocheforte L. Weeks and his wife, Euphemia Weeks, Milton is a product of Monrovia‘s College of West Africa (CWA) (1978). Milton matriculated to George Mason University in Virginia, USA, and later transferred to Syracuse University in New York State, where he took a degree in Finance. In naming Milton Weeks, who had served for about two years as a Governor on the CBL Board, President Sirleaf has appointed a brilliant and seasoned international banker to head the Central Bank. There are not many who know that at 25, Milton Weeks served as Treasurer of City Bank of Monrovia, Liberia, then Liberia’s oldest and leading bank.Between 1984 and 87 he was Assistant Manager of Citibank Liberia. From 1987 to 1990 he was Assistant Manager of Citibank of Zambia; and from 1992-94 General Manager of Meridian Bank Liberia, following which he joined the FCIB as Vice President and CEO. He later served as Senior Executive Manager of Meridien Bank, Zambia. From 1996 to 97, he was Project Consultant of CIBank (in Information) in Malawi and from 1997-1998 as Director, also in Malawi. He rose to the rank of Managing Director at the same Malawian bank (LCIP). Mr. Weeks was later appointed Managing Director of Stanbic Bank in Nigeria. He was responsible for the overall management and operations of the bank, including corporate and investment banking, SME Banking, private banking, treasury; equities trading and banking operations. Mr. Weeks managed the bank from a small corporate banking operation into what became the largest single investment in Africa of the Standard Bank Group of South Africa.Following his retirement from Standard Bank, Milton Weeks returned home to open his own management consulting firm, DEVIN Corporation, a Liberian-based strategic consulting and investment advisory services company, which he served as Managing Director. As Head of Devin, Milton Weeks served from 2008 to 2014 as Principal Consultant and Advisor to the Liberia Bankers Association (LBA). He also oversaw the functions of the LBA. Mr. Weeks is Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Fellow of the Institute of Credit and Risk Management of Nigeria and Fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria.Fraternally, Milton Weeks is former President of the Rotary Club of Monrovia and Assistant District Governor, Rotary International, District 9101.Mr. Weeks hails from the eminent Weeks family of Crozierville, Montserrado County, and is a member of the Township’s Reeves Memorial United Methodist Church. Acting Finance Minister James Kollie,/strong> Announcing these new appointments in government, the Executive Mansion also indicated that James Kollie, who recently served as Acting Minister of Finance, is slated for another position. The Daily Observer has reliably learnt that James Kollie is slated to become the new Maritime Commissioner, succeeding Binyah Kesselly, who recently resigned after eight years of service. Other AppointmentsOther appointments by the President over the weekend include Attorney Oretha Snyder Davis and Independent National Commission on Human Rights Attorney Oretha Snyder Davis and Attorney James Torh as Commissioners of the Independent National Human Rights Commission. Mr. Torh is reappointed. The President also made two new appointments at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They are the Rev. Jervis Witherspoon, Chief of Protocol, replacing Mr. Charles Allen, who goes into Diplomatic Service, and Mr. Emmanuel Munyeneh , Assistant Minister for International Cooperation.At the General Auditing Commission, President Sirleaf has appointed Adam Sheriff as Deputy Auditor General for Quality Assurance.Madam Sara K. Kullie has also been appointed Mayor of Voinjama, capital of Lofa County.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The National Traditional Council of Liberia (NTCL) is exploring a popular adage that “when efforts to solve problems at a surface level do not materialize, you have to find their root causes.” By that, the NTCL has summoned all 73 members in the House of Representatives to meet with the Council to overcome the internal wrangling in the Lower House.Nimba County District #5 Representative Samuel G. Kogar, co-Chairman of the committee calling for the recusal of Speaker Tyler, said the entire membership of the House of Representatives is expected to appear at the Council’s 24th Street Sinkor headquarters today (Tuesday) at about 1:00 p.m.The Nimba lawmaker spoke to journalists yesterday at the NTCL headquarters at the end of the meeting, which was cut short due to the absence of Deputy Speaker Hans M. Barchue and other lawmakers who had to honor a scheduled conference at the Supreme Court with Justice-in-Chambers, Jamesetta H. Wolokollie and the pro-Tyler bloc, over the same matter. Grand Bassa County District #4 Representative J. Byron Browne also told journalists that their meeting at the NTCL is proof that they desire peace. Rep. Browne, also a member of the renegade bloc, said though they are yearning for a peaceful Legislature, peace is costly and priceless. “We will respect the chiefs, and will be here immediately after our session at the Joint Chambers,” Rep. Brown assured. Over 11 lawmakers, from both the renegade and pro-Tyler camps, were at yesterday’s meeting.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)