Soniwein To Get New Drainage ….Humanitarian Embarks On Project

By: Roland Davis-0776107962

Residents of Soniwein Community in District #8,  Montserrado County, have begun the construction of  a new drainage in their community which is being funded by a humanitarian and a Liberia businessman Ishmael Sheriff alias ‘Tamba The Mayonnaise.’

Mr. Sheriff is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of “My Owned Incorporated,” a Liberian owned business entity.

Speaking to journalists at the project site on Monday, July 10, 2015, the Secretary General and Project Coordinator of Soniwein Community, Adolphus A. Kiazolu, said the construction of the new drainage in the community is intended to prevent water from entering their homes during heavy down pour of rain.

According to him, Soniwein Community already has drainage but it is in a serious bad condition that needs reconstruction.

Mr. Kiazolu indicated that the community is currently facing serious challenges when it comes to good sanitation and other basic health services, something he claimed residents of the community have suffered from for many years.

“I am glad to see Mr. Sheriff coming in our community to help us build a new drainage to help the community and its residents because we have suffered from this problem for long period of time now,” Mr. Kiazolu further noted.

He emphasized that the construction of the new drainage in the community is being funded by Mr. Sheriff because some residents of the community wrote a letter for assistance in order to help build a drainage that will help them during the Rainy Season.

Mr. Kiazolu commended Mr. Sheriff for his level of humanitarian services to the people of Soniwein.

He then called on other residents of the community to join those currently carrying on the construction of the exercise in making sure that the project is successfully completed.

“Gov’t Need To Invest In Agriculture”

By : Kelvin Teikah Kpakolo/kpakolok@gmail.com/0886190023/0770326443

The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bryant Agriculture Complex, Edwin Bryant, said it is about time the Government of Liberia invests more in the agriculture sector of the country, something he said will help build the economy of the country and provide more job opportunities for Liberians.

Bryant said  Liberia has one of the best soils in the world but the government is not making use  of the soil.

According to him, Liberia spends 200 million every budget year just on rice, something he also said is the cause of the backwardness of the country and hard rate of poverty in the country, indicating, “If this government can open every big rice farm to build the capacity of local farmers, educate them about international farming and other basic things they need to know, in the next three years to come, Liberians will start exporting rice and others produce around the world.”

Mr. Bryant also noted that he will be opening his Agriculture Complex soon in Grand Bassa County, adding, “In years to come, this complex will provide more job opportunities for Liberians around the country.”

 

In Matilda Parker 1.2M Bond

By: Jacqueline Lucia Dennis

After entertaining legal argument between the prosecution and the defense Monday, on the motion for justification and exception to bill bond  in favour of suspended NPA Managing Director Matilda Parker,  Criminal Court ”C” Judge Peter W. Gbeneweleh  is expected  to rule on the augment today at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia .

During the proceeding, witness George Gbormia testimony was postponed several days on direct and cross examination, likewise the arguments on the bond hearing.

Defense  lawyers  cited several  laws  and  augured  among other things noting that  they filed a 1.2 million  bond  with  the  Family  Dollars Universal  Insurance, where  witness  George   Gbormia, Underwriting Manager appeared and testified  that the  insurance company  met  all  of the requirements setup  by the government  agency and intuitions  that led the insurance  company  to operate as a solvent  entity.

They further argued that US$450,000.00 and US$300,000.00 and   a reinsurance treaty of US$ 750, 000. 00 were presented to these intuitions before they were qualified to operate.

However, the prosecution argued that the insurance company met with part of the requirements and therefore requested the court to dismiss the insurance US$1.2million bond, claiming that the company does not have the asset and legal requirement under the law to guarantee the bond.

The  bond  was intended to prevent  the court from ordering   the imprisonment  of two  of the defense clients,  suspended  NPA  Managing Director Parker   and  NPA Comptroller Christina   Kpabar Paeley, both of whom   are accused of stealing   US$837,950  from the  port according to  GAC audit report.

 

 

Walhalla -As Lawsuit Awaits Nimba Authorities, If…

Reports say demolition exercise being carried out in Bahn, Zoe-Geh District, Nimba County, is creating uneasiness between the county’s authorities and citizens, mainly those whose homes are being destroyed without any benefit.

As a result, the Association of Civil Society Organizations in Zoe-Geh District, Nimba County, says it is prepared to lead a legal battle with the count’s authorities if the situation is not addressed.

The organization has accused the county’s authorities of demolishing homes in the name of development without any benefit to the owners; something it terms as human rights abuse.

In a statement issued recently, the organization’s Chairman, L. Joseph M. Menlor, said while citizens are eager for development, it is important for those who own properties being demolished to be compensated because they legally owned the properties and paid taxes for them.

“Considering these circumstances, we think that the failure of government to protect legally owned and taxable properties of individuals in the country would mean meting untold suffering and oppression against the poor especially women, children, widows, lactating mothers and the elderly,” Menlor indicated.

He called on other civil society organizations and advocates to join victims of the demolition exercise to intervene since it has not gone offhand.

“We in this light plead to the National Civil Society Organization (s) and all right advocates and lawyers and the United Nations to join us in this cry to make Nimba and Liberia Government respond to this crisis in respect of law and order.  Otherwise, the dawn of impropriety hangs over the county as its leadership boasts of precedents of destroying private properties in the county without benefit.  Failure this might be the beginning of generational legal battle between the county/government and the victims,” Menlor threatened.

The activist also called on elders of the county to meet and address the situation if peace must be maintained. He added: “We ask if Nimba County Council has to meet, it must meet now as a matter of emergency in order to address the alarming humanitarian crisis created.”

Besides, Menlor claimed that owners are made to demolish their own homes. In the demolition process, children are allegedly used due to the urgency; something he said is child labor.

When contacted via mobile phone on Thursday, August 6, 2015, Bahn City Mayor, Madam Angie Dopoe, said: “I am demolishing my own building now.” Madam Dopoe promised to respond the following day (Friday, August 7, 2015).

The Bahn City Mayor failed to call as she had promised until she was again contacted on Monday and she said her office has not received any complaints of such.

She declined to make further comment on the matter, saying “I am very busy right now”.

Street Sweepers Appeal For Salary Increment

By:  Mafanta Kromah (Intern), mafanta.kromah@gmail.com

Street sweepers in Jacob Town, Paynesville are appealing to the government to increase their wages because what they earn can not meet their basic needs.

The sweeper told In Profile Daily on Monday that they receive US$90.00 (ninety United States dollars) each per month despite the harmful garbage they clean on a daily basis.

Declining to call their names for fear of reprisal, some of the sweepers said, though they are pleased with doing the work because it is contributing to the development of the nation, the government must see reason to increase their monthly take-home.

However, others expressed disappointment in government over the amount they take home as an earning because the work they do is hard for such an amount.

One of them, who only identified herself as Patience, said she lives in Soul Clinic and travels to Jacob Town every morning, thus spending part of what she earns on transportation.

Patience had this to explain: “We don’t have men to support us and our children, this is what we do to cater to our homes and yet still it can’t meet up with our responsibilities in the home and in the end we borrow money to cater to other necessities, which I think is more like setback.”

 

Judge Johnson Takes Lawyers To Task

By: Jacqueline Lucia Dennis

Criminal court ”E” Judge Ceaineh Clinton Johnson   has accused lawyers    of bravely telling their clients   that the Judiciary is corrupt, thereby creating and the perception that the judiciary is the one to take the blame.

She  made the statement  during  the opening  of the August Term  of  Circuit Courts  ”A”B”C”D”E,”  arguing that  the statement attributed to lawyers is unfounded as charges of corruption  against the place of the last hope  for man, “the court”  impugns on the dignity and majesty of the court.

Judge Johnson  further told  lawyers  that ” you  undermine  confidence in the Judiciary  and in the judicial  process, yet you come  to the court  in the preconceived state   of mind  negligently,  repenting  the causes  of your side  and when  you have failed, you dishonour yourselves by  making ugly statements, ”she blasted.

She continued: ” We  want you to know  that there are some of us  who  are working  assiduously  to ensure transparent justice  in our  land.  When you make a blanket statement like that you cast aspirations on all of our works.”

Judge  Johnson also  said  the lad man watches  and loses  confidence in the system  when  they( lawyers)  denigrate  the court, emphasizing that there  are times  when  the litigants  themselves  are aware  that they  are in the wrong, adding, “ but just to get money  lawyers  bring unjust  causes to court expecting  to manipulate the system.”

She warned lawyers to avoid bringing the lad man into the sacred place and before their (judges) eyes by doing things that make the public to lose confidence in the judicial process of the country.

Judge Johnson said the quality of the Judiciary determines the quality of justice, and the quality of justice determines the only place to create that quality of justice which she noted is in court, the place of last hope for man on earth.

“Lacklustre Agriculture” Program Experienced … As Chenoweth Highlights UP’s Failed Commitment

By T. Michael Johnny 0886571899/0775820581

The former Minister of Agriculture, Florence Chenoweth, has highlighted series of policy lapses, non-commitment, and alleged misplaced priorities practiced by the Unity Party- led government as cardinal factors that triggered her resignation from the post, having served in the late 1980s and her subsequent reappointment in 2009.

Chenoweth, also ex-minister of Agriculture during the administration of the late William R. Tolbert, endured sequence of turbulent times setting prices of the country’s staple food rice and kicking-off large scale agricultural program that would supplement the millions spent on the importation of the commodity, which evidently sparked off the rice riot in 1979.

The ex-agriculture minister was once at the epicentre of the bloody 1979 rice riot when the ministry proposed an increment in the price of rice from US$22 to US$26 for a bag of parboiled rice, however, Chenoweth’s reappearance at the ministry has evidently been marked by frustrations and regrets.

Speaking to journalists in Monrovia, the ex-agricultural expert indicated that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), headed by Minister Amara Konneh, reneged to allot US$35 million in the budget to support the government’s dormant agriculture sector as publicly pronounced, noting that not a dime has been received to the effect.

“Chenoweth continued: “Members of the press, I tendered in my resignation because the government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has reneged to allocate US$35 million in the annual budget to support agriculture programs and production; the government is not adequately supporting the sector.”

Before parting company with the Minister of Agriculture, the rather frustrated Chenoweth regretted that the ministry had to rent trucks to enable it provide farming tools and seeds to farmers in leeward counties, which she reckoned speaks volumes of unmatched commitment by the UP- led government.

“Liberia’s agriculture sector, like others has been devastated by years of mismanagement and war, and as such, there is an urgent need for the sector to be financially supported by the government to attain its desired results and reduce importation,” decried the outgoing minister.

Minister Chenoweth’s abrupt resignation marked another downward trend in the country’s quest to attain viable agriculture programs as US$30 million intended to commence large scale production in commercial rice farming entrusted with the foundation of the African Development Aid (ADA) has been allegedly squandering by the operatives.

The US$30 million, a grant from slain Libyan leader Col. Mammaur Ghaddafi, was meant to ignite large scale commercial rice farming in Foya, Lofa County, but the Chief Executive Officer of ADA, Wendell McIntosh, accused members of the National Legislature and Executive of “collective chopping” that stalled the project.

Recently, the former Chairman of the National Investment Commission, Dr. Richard Tolbert, disclosed that Liberia spends over US$200 million on the importation of the nation’s stable food, rice annually, noting that such expenditure is a total waste and huge financial blow to an already struggling country.

He expressed fears that the price of the nation’s staple food will increase on the world market in the future, given the agricultural difficulties posed by global climate change, limited land space, population growth and other factors affecting the production of rice and other imported food commodities.

The ex-chairman of NIC stressed that rise in food prices is going to affect Liberia because the country imports most of its foods and as such, it has  limitation in controlling the price of food on the world market.

He warned that Liberia has a rapid population growth and demanded a need to increase local production of the country’s staple diet and other commodities to reduce the high trends of the importation of food products.

An In Profile Daily research revealed that the strategy of liberalizing rice imports to Liberia is underpinned by both domestic and international imperatives as the country’s long history of poor economic development policies (especially misplaced agricultural priorities) have over the years resulted in periodic shortages in the supply of rice, the country’s staple food crop.

Liberia could afford the importation of rice from the United States since the price of rice imports remained low relative to those of the country’s main exports (rubber and iron ore). However, the eruption of global economic crisis in the 1970s reduced Liberia’s export revenues and weakened the state’s ability to import rice.

In an attempt to deal with such revenue crises in the mid-1970s, the Tolbert government introduced a strategy of capitalized domestic production of rice geared towards promoting self-sufficiency in rice for domestic consumption.

This strategy succeeded for a while in raising rice production in Liberia, but then it unraveled in the late 1970s as American higher interest rate policy prompted outflow of US dollars from Liberia and tightened credit to the mechanized rice sector that had relied heavily on international borrowing.

The government decided to reverse the consequent decline in rice production through increased producer price incentives, but was massively opposed; as such, incentives were seen as an attempt to raise the profits of the farming political elite.

During much of the 1980s, at least 25-35 percent of Liberia’s total annual rice consumption came from food aid and commercial rice imports as government’s strategy for rice self-sufficiency became impossible in the midst of fiscal neglect of agriculture and rampant corruption.

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Quarantined Community

Residents of Neidonwen Town, a community highly hit by Ebola-hit in Margibi County, where 17 year- old Abraham Memeigar was diagnosed with the disease have expressed frustration over the manner in which they were being treated by the Ministry of Health and its partners when they were quarantined.

The Neidonwen residents expressed frustration Wednesday, August 5, 2015, when the Liberian Media for Democratic Initiative (LMDI) held a public dialogue forum with them to understand the plight of the people, the recent Ebola outbreak, funds given and materials used to combat the disease.

Speaking during the dialogue, Neidonwen Youth Chairman, Abraham Garway, said during the outbreak and quarantine period, they were asked to remain at their various homes with an assurance of providing basic food items and other needs during the 21 days period, but unfortunately, he said the promise was reportedly unfulfilled by relevant authorities.

Residents explained that on several occasions, their names were written and tallied for food rations and preventive materials by the Health Ministry and other international organizations, but indicated that food and supplies were never given as promised.

However, in reaction, the Community Health Officer of Neidonwen, Miatta Massaquoi, said several food and materials were distributed to the affected persons and family of deceased 17-year old Abraham Memeigar because they were directly quarantined.

According to her, the entire village was never quarantined, noting that they should not have provided food rations to everyone because the entire town was not quarantined and besides, the rations were distributed by international non- governmental organizations and not the Ministry of Health.

It can be recalled that health authorities announced a new confirmed Ebola case in Margibi County in June this year. The head of Liberia’s Incident Management System Tolbert Nyenswah said Abraham Memeigar, a 17-year-old boy who died on Sunday, June 28 at his father’s residence in Unification City was Ebola- related.

Nyenswah said specimens extracted from the victim were confirmed Ebola positive following meticulous medical tests. He said about 28 persons were quarantined for being in direct contact with Memeigar before his death.

Schools Closed . . . Back To School

Though the Liberian Government has declared schools closed as of July 31, 2015 to re-open in September 2015 to restore the nation’s academic calendar, some schools are said to be running classes up to present.

Under the guise of vacation school, tutorial, or extra classes, many of those schools reportedly in session allegedly charge fees as all students, including 9th and 12th graders wear color clothes to classes.

This paper has gathered that the schools involved have planned for their 9th and 12th graders to attend classes to get prepared and join re-sitters for pending WAEC exams.

The reported development has rattled many parents who are striving to register their children in August as mandated by the government to ensure the re-opening of schools in September this year.

“We don’t even know what control the Ministry of Education has over private schools in this country because most of the schools that are allowing their students to attend classes are privately owned,” a disgusted parent in Paynesville  noted Thursday.

At a closing program of one private school on Bushrod Island recently, a school authority disclosed that 9th graders there would be given special lessons every day after the closure in order to prepare them to sit for the WAEC exams.

A roaming reporter of the In Profile also observed on Bushrod Island yesterday that scores of students were in uniforms, adding, “Most students are said to be attending what they called summer school because they could not pass due to deficiencies.”

A school administrator also told the roaming reporter last week in Monrovia that most students declined in their academic performance due to the decision taken by the Ministry of Education from the onset to close schools without promotion.

The government’s decision to close schools across the country on July 31, 2015 to be re-opened in September overruled recommendations from the 53rd National Legislature, among which the august body recommended that the academic year should continue until September and that 9th and 12th graders be mandated to attend Saturday classes to prepare them sit for the WAEC exams in September this year.

The recommendations also indicated that Education Minister George Werner should withdraw his letter written WAEC authorities seeking cancellation of the exams this year but these recommendations are said to be side brushed.

To this, a Lawmaker who doesn’t wish to be named sarcastically wondered “what a mess of a situation; we have an educational system we consider ‘messy’, we added more mess by promoting many students who did not need to be promoted in one semester and now we have school administrators trying to correct the ‘mess’ by requiring students they have promoted to go back to school for refresher, so why did we really close schools?  What a mess!”

 

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Action Aid Ends Validation W/shop

By: Precious Gaye/0886539331/pgaye2042@gmail.com

Empowering through awareness to influence policies, Action Aid has concluded a two- day workshop in Monrovia.

Following a month- long assessment done in ten communities in Monsterrado, Gbarpolu, Margibi and Grand Cape Mount Counties on the effects of (EVD), over forty participants gathered at Sharks’ Entertainment Center in Sinkor on August 7-8 to submit a valid Post-Ebola recovery plan.

Speaking at the program, Action Aid Country Director, Korto Williams said: “We have members of communities, representations of the government, Media, women group, civil societies; when we share our ideas, [whenever] there is a conflict that affects our country. We will be in a position to respond and not have a high death toll.”

With an aim to advocate for policies, Madam Williams added: “We are trying to reach a citizen chart.”

Day two was marked by presentations done by four groups on policies reviewed such as the National Disaster Management Policy, National Health and Social Welfare Policy, the Agenda for Transformation (AfT) 2012-2017 and the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan.

Subsequently, participants concluded on the need for better analysis of policy documents, with the involvement of experts, getting the media to disseminate and simplify in other forms of communication, and create a platform to engage stakeholders.

In appreciation of the program,   Head of the National Rural Women Group in Margibi County, Esther Clarke, acknowledged: “Action Aid has been to our county to carry out [awareness]; they empower us by training us, though we were not part of the Ebola response.”

Madam Clarke also stressed: “This exercise should be implemented, we should not only [attend] workshops to add our voices after we [leave] everything [ends], we expect it to work.”

At the close of the program, assuring Action Aid’s commitment, Head of Programme and Policy, Laskshmi Moore, remarked: “We are building capacity of community around understanding policies. We know communities were not [informed] about existing policies and technical gaps around that.”

Founded in 1972, Action Aid works with local partners in over 45 countries, helping more than 15 million impoverished and disadvantaged people. Its head office is located in South Africa.