19 Liberians Repatriated From Libya

By Mafanta Kromah

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, B. Elias Shoniyln, in a conversation with Concerned Liberians for Justice  said 19 Liberians have been repatriated from Libya through Sierra Leone.

Shoniyln made the disclosure Monday, December 18, 2017 during the Concerned Liberians for Justice Protest at the Ministry to hand deliver a petition to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to organize a proactive repatriation program for many dying Liberians who continue to be subjected to modern-day slavery in Libya.

He said the ministry is working in its possible best way to get Liberians back from Libya through engagement and collaboration with the Libyan Embassy in Liberia, and with the Liberians Association in Libya.

Shoniyln maintained that the 19 Liberians came through Sierra Leone and through dialogue with the Sierra Leonean Government.

He explained that another Liberian woman has been identified among Nigerians who were repatriated through the Nigerian Government, noting  that the lady has two kids and is now under the care of the Liberian Embassy in Nigeria and that their ticket has been arranged to return to Liberia.

However, Shoniyln indicated that with engagement and collaboration between the ministry and the Liberians Association in Libya, they have been told that there are not many Liberians but will keep searching to identify and send Liberians back.

He requested the protesters to also help spread the information to Liberians that “anyone that has family member or friend in Libya to report the information to us at the ministry; that will help us in identifying our brothers and sisters out there.”

Few weeks ago, the Concerned Liberians for Justice on behalf of Liberians in Libya, hand delivered petitions and recommendations to Amb. Mohammed Omar Tabil Mohammed, Ambassador of Libya to Liberia and the Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs, Cllr. Deweh Gray of the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs on the issue of Liberians being humiliated in Libya.

The group recommended that joint effort be established between the Libyan Embassy  in Monrovia and the Government of Liberia should ensure that the lives of Liberians are protected and  they are given the opportunity to repatriate, as similar cases  seen in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon.

The group is  demanded the government  to institute a Libya-Liberia Repatriation Program, a program that will provide needs for Liberians suffering injustice to be repatriated through a joint negotiation with the Libyan Embassy  in Monrovia and other private investors.

Meanwhile, Shoniyln apologized on the ministry behalf for not providing update to the public on efforts being made to get Liberians repatriated and promised to provide a press release on what the ministry has done and what it is doing to get Liberians suffering in Libya home.

He, also on behalf of the government, applauded the Concerned Liberians for Justice for their efforts in ensuring that their brothers and sisters are safely repatriated home.

 

UL Honors, Retires Several Long-Service Staff

The University of Liberia (UL) has retired and honored several long-service staff for their dedication to duty over the years.

Ceremony marking the retirement and honoring of the long-service staff was held Friday, December 15, 2017 at the Fendall Campus of the UL, outside Monrovia.

According to a UL release, the retired and honored staff served at the state-run university from 12 to 53 years.

Speaking at the special honoring program, UL President Dr. Ophelia Innez Weeks, described the honoring of the staff as very important, because it was the celebration of the time and dedication of the retirees in their respective capacities while serving at the University.

Dr. Wes said it was their contributions together with others that have got the university where it is today, noting that a professor is not better than a janitor because they all have significant roles to play in the administration of the university.

She lauded the honorees and their families for their time rendered the University, while at the same time at the same time encouraged them to always stop by whenever there was a need to do so.

The honoring and retirement of long-service staff is an annual event that concludes commencement activities of the UL. This year’s honoring program was the first for Dr. Weeks since her inauguration as president of the university in September of this year.

Speaking earlier, the visiting Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor A. Idowu Olayinka, said whatever the UL must have achieved over the last 98 years of its existence can be attributed to the people who are serving the institution.

“Without human capital no institution can succeed,” noted Professor Olayinka as he thanked the retirees and administration for organizing the program.

He then promised to take the idea to his university upon his return.

Responding on behalf of the honorees, a former maintenance officer of the Plant Operation Department of the UL, Mr. Peter Tomah, thanked the university’s administration for the honor bestowed on them.

Mr. Tomah stated that though he has been retired, he will always be around to help in whatever way he can.

Former Maintenance Officer Tomah, who served the university for 53 years, said he did so because of his passion to serve his people and country.

He among other things used the occasion to urge the university to review some of the courses that are being taught as electives to be offered as major courses, noting that some of them could be the areas from which graduates could make their living.

Meanwhile, 18 professors and staff, which included three females, were retired and honored during the retirement and honoring program.

The program brought together the honorees and their families, friends and loved ones as well as administrators of the University of Liberia.

 

USAID Gives over 3M To Liberia’s Forest Sector

The United States Agency for International development (USAID) through the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate change program (WA BiCC) has awarded two separate conservation grants to enhance conservation activities in the Country.

The grants which worth 1.8 and 2.7 million United States dollars each will facilitate the implementation of a three year project in the Gola transboundary forest landscape between Liberia and Sierra Leone and the Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo Transboundary Forest Landscape between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.

The two projects will be carried out by the Society for the Conservation of Nature (SCNL) Royal Society to protect Bird, Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, Fauna and Flora International respectively.

SCNL and Royal Society to Protect Bird will work in the Gola Transboundary forest landscape between Liberia Sierra Leone while Wild Chimpanzee Foundation and FFI will both operate in the Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo Transboundary connecting Liberia and Cote d’ Ivoire

Launching the project in Liberia, Forestry Development Authority Managing Director, Darlington Tuagben, said SCNL along with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds will support the Livelihood of communities and the inclusive and sustainable management of the Gola transboundary forest landscape.

Mr. Tuagben noted that the project will not only focus on livelihood activities but on the socio-economic and biodiversity surveys including community ecoguard program and capacity building of local communities and FDA field staff.

“The project will support conservation working groups and also provide training to local judiciary staff in Counties were the project will be executed to tackle illegal wild trafficking and strengthen regional collaboration”

“Cross-border traffic is currently uncontrolled and many illegally leaving Liberia, not bring and benefit to us as a Country. I am confident that the two projects will help us to deal better with these problems for a more sustainable way forward, keeping our treasures alive for future generation” the FDA boss emphasized.

“The Forestry Development Authority wishes to thank USIAD and the WA BiCC program for this opportunity given to her conservation partners. We looking forward to the implementation of the projects and are committed to continue working in close collaboration with our partners, for a more sustainable management of our forests and increase conservation successes for Liberia, its neighboring countries and the world as a whole”.

“The two forest Landscapes host a unique treasure of endemic and threatened species such as the critically endangered western chimpanzee, the endangered pygmy hippo, vulnerable forest elephant and many more species.at same time both landscapes are facing significant threats, such as illegal mining hunting chewing stick extraction and encroachment for farming”. Mr. Tuagben

“The aim of these grants is to conserve biodiversity, create livelihood and find way to use the forest. More the three thousand people will be impacted around the Gola transboundary forest, as a result of agriculture interventions and support rising of awareness and cost benefit sharing”. USAID Nature Resources Management Team Leader Lisa Korte said.

“USAID is providing 1.8 million United States dollars to Royal Society to protect Bird and Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia and 2.7 million to support the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation to carry on conservation activities” Madam Korte said.

“The Gola and the Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo landscapes are historical owing to their unique biodiversity. In both Sierra Leone and Liberia at two thousand two hundred people will benefit from the farmer field school, the organizations members as well as government agencies will also benefit from the grant”.

The grant for the Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo forest will support the livelihood of surrounding communities and contribute to improve management of the landscape”. Madam Korte added

The Head of the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) Program Dr.Nouhou Ndam urged the beneficiary organizations to make use of the dry season by speedily going back to the various landscapes.

“The Mano River basin has been identified as the area that has the largest forest landscape and for that reason the WA BiCC project was directed to the basin after vetting of proposals” he said

The launching program was attended by local chiefs and local government officials from Gbarpolu, River-Gee, Grand Gedeh and Sinoe Counties where the two landscapes are located. Their presence is part of efforts to make them feel part of the project and take ownership.

Teahjay in Dragnet

The Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) has commenced the prosecution of former superintendent Milton Teahjay now Senator of Sinoe County at the 14th Judicial Circuit Court in Rivercess County.

The prosecution, according to LACC release, commenced on December 12, 2017

The prosecution is in relations to allegation that the former superintendent misappropriated proceeds from the sale of illegally tapped rubber and funds from the rental of county land to a logging company and also violated established government regulations in keeping with the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) Acts in awarding several contracts.

The charges of economic sabotage, misappropriation of entrusted properties and criminal conspiracy will also be brought against  Senator Teahjay

The Commission sought a change of venue from Sinoe County where the crime was committed to Rivercess County and a team of lawyers and investigators of the LACC are said to currently be assisting with the prosecution.

Civil Law Court Certificates PATEL Chairman

Judge Scheaplor Dubar  issued a Clerk Certificate to PATEL Head Tenwah on Wednesday December 13, 2017, indicating that due diligent inspections of the case filed in the recent action for Declaratory Judgment, reveals that since the ruling on the motion for Declaratory Judgment was filed on November 23, 2017, his contenders have failed to file their Bill of Exception up to present, including the date of the issuance of this Clerk Certificate.

Predicated upon that, the Judge is left with no option since they have decided not to perfect their appeal as announced in November.

Before the ruling for Declaratory Judgment, Mr. Presley S. Tenwah filed a six- count Petition for Declaratory Judgment against some of his colleagues who contested his leadership to include Kebbeh Collins, Patience F. Dean, Alexander C. Wento and George W. Mumakeh incorporators of the Patriotic Entrepreneurs of Liberia Incorporated (PATEL).

The legal battle ended with the Judge ruling in Tenwah’s favor, indicating that he  has not violated any provision of the corporation as claimed by  those who claimed to be  executive members of the organization.

The Judge proved  Tenwah’s legitimacy by citing Article V (b) of the Union’s Article of Incorporation, stating that: “The board shall not make policy (ies) to remove the incorporators, the registered agent or the present chairman from the management of the union for any reason. The union shall always be headed by the incorporator. The board of directors shall not take any action that will take away any of the powers/authorities granted the incorporator or his designated representative(s) of these articles of incorporation.”

In respect to the second issue, the Judge said Article V (b) clearly prohibits the board from making any policy to remove the incorporators, registered agent or the present chairman from the management of the union for any reason. “It also states that the union shall always be headed by the incorporator, and that the board of directors shall not take any action that will take away any of the powers and or authorities granted the incorporated,” the Judge noted.

KRTTI Graduates Over 90 in B-Certificate 90 in B-Certificate

By: Yawah Jaivey in Kakata, Margibi County.

The Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI) in Kakata, Margibi County, has graduated about 91 teachers from its first postwar B-Certificate Pilot Program.

Mr. Nuwoe Kellen, Coordinator of the B-Certificate Program at KRTTI, giving overview of the program at the graduation ceremony on Saturday, December 16, 2017, recounted that the program was basically established to professionally train Junior Secondary School teachers for the duration of two academic years and subsequently place them in schools across the country.

“The B-Certificate Program existed before; but was shut down due to the civil unrest in Liberia. Later, it was reactivated after a partnership agreement between the Government of Liberia (GOL) and the European Union (EU),” Kellen informed the audience.

The European Union, he said, provided technical assistance by hiring subject consultants and a curriculum was designed by the consultants and the local team. Kellen further noted that the validation of the curriculum was done by various stakeholders in November of 2005 and a team was then setup to manage the program at KRTTI.

He revealed that on 15April 2016, the B-Certificate program at the pilot stage was officially launched with the recruitment of one hundred (100) C-Certificate in-service teachers from all fifteen counties for their participation into the project and since then, the Government of Liberia remains the sole sponsor of the program.

“Trainees including 25 females and 75males were trained in four subject areas: Mathematics, Natural Science, Social Science and Language Arts. Twenty-five (25) trainees were initially placed in each of the four core subject areas and they were offered pedagogy and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) courses to enhance their teaching skills,” Kellen disclosed.

The KRTTI’s   B-Certificate Program Coordinator at the same time praised staffers of the program for their cooperation and dedicatedservices to the successful completion of the program.

He used the occasion to honor some staffers for their exceptional performance during the implementation of the project.

For his part, KRTTI’s Director, Mr. Shadrach Y. Kerl, praised the Ministry of Education (MOE) and partners for their supports towards the successful implementation of the B-Certificate pilot project.

Kerl underscoredthe need for stakeholders in the educational sector to validate the curriculum to determine the continuation of the program and subsequent implementation at other teacher training institutes.

“As we speak, this class is called special class because it is a class of the pilot phase of this whole program; this is a proud symbol of the Liberian people today that we’re closing the gap between primary and secondary schools that has been open all this time and we want to officially declare this program open for continuation,” Kerl noted.

At the same time, Dr. Romelle A. Horton, Deputy Minister for Instructions at the Ministry of Education (MOE), expressed confidence that, with the graduation of the ninety-one teachers,  government achieved in its effort to having more professionally trained teachers in Liberian school system.

Minister Horton disclosed that the Government of Liberia, in partnership with the European Union Mission to Liberia, has secured the needed funding towards the continuation and sustainability of the B-Certificate program at the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI).

 

ECOWAS Pays Final Tribute To President Sirleaf At Her Last Summit

Amidst a sustained applaud and standing ovation, leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) paid homage to Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the Liberian Leader attended her last summit of the regional body as President of Liberia.

A release from the Liberian Embassy in Abuja says the Liberian Leader’s special recognition took place during the 52nd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS held on Saturday, December 16, 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Chairperson of ECOWAS and President of the Republic of Togo, His Excellency Faure Essonzimna Gnassingbe, devoted a significant portion of his opening remarksto the honor of President Sirleaf.

“I would like to take the opportunity, ladies and gentlemen, to seize this exceptional opportunity to pay a final tribute to the one we all know as the ‘Iron Lady’,Madam EllenJohnsonSirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia”, the release quotes the Chairperson of ECOWAS as saying.

President Gnassingbe, in his opening remarks, continued,“Your Excellency Madam President, at the moment when you are about to pass the witness in your capacity as President of the Republic of Liberia, allow me to address you our warm felicitations and to pay you a deserving homage for your determination to the cause of the economic integration and peace, and for the leadership you have shown during your tenure as the first woman president of Africa, the first female Chair of ECOWAS and the Nobel Peace Prize winner.Youhave worthily represented West Africa and displayed exceptional strength and courage to lead the Liberian people in peace and cohesion throughout your tenure.You have represented West Africa with dignity and exceptional strength and courage to keep the Liberian people in peace and harmony throughout your tenure.”

According to the release, the Togolese Leader said his Liberian counterpart has guided the West African Region and that her influence has spread across their space, through social, political and economic challenges, including the end of the Ebola virus epidemic, recognized as a world threat.

“To render this homage to her, I would like, very respectfully, to proffer if you agree, Your Excellencies, the Heads of State of Government, that we should rise to offer you an ovation which she deserves in more than one way for her greatnessand recognize all her achievements, sources of our pride”, he added, as the rest of the West African leaders and the entire audience rose in applause.

Meanwhile, regional leaders and guests have congratulated President Sirleaf and the Liberian people for respecting the rule of law throughout the country’s electoral process.

The Chairperson of ECOWAS, Togolese President Gnassingbe, in his opening remarks at the Summit, added, “Allow me to address here my congratulations to Her Excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and to all the political actors for the salutary decision of the Supreme Court of December 7, 2017 to proceed to the second round of the presidential elections, after having managed to smooth out the protest of the first round”.

For his part, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, in his welcome remarks, said, “I salute the people of Liberia for the manner in which they conducted themselves during and in the aftermath of the just concluded general elections.”

The release further quotes the Nigerian Leader who was the host of the Summit, as adding that it is his fervent hope that the same attitude prevails in the coming run-off election scheduled to hold on 26December.

President Buhari hopes that a new president is inaugurated in January, 2018, as per the provision of the country’s Constitution, according to the release:“My dear sister, Your Excellency Sirleaf-Johnson, we appreciate the leadership you demonstrated in this electoral process.”

According to the Nigerian Leader, Liberia’s peaceful conduct of the elections was in accordance with the “ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance”, adopted in 2001 by the Authority of the Heads of State and Government.

The release also quotes the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Marcel de Souza, as saying in his opening remarks: “In Liberia, following attempts to contest the validity of the results of the first round of the presidential election of 10, October 2017, the decision of the Supreme Court delivered on 7 December 2017, to proceed with the second round of the presidential election was commended by all key persons involved, as well as the general populace. After consultations with all political parties, 26 December 2017 has been decided as the date for the second round of the presidential election in Liberia”.

President Sirleaf who headed a high-power Liberian delegation returned home on Sunday, December 17, 2017, the release continues. Members of the President’s delegation included the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Marjon V. Kamara, Finance and Development Planning, Mr. Boima S. Kamara, Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Lenn Eugene Nagbe and Transport, Mr. Samuel A. Wlue respectively.

Others were the Liberian Ambassador to Nigeria, Professor Al-Hassan Conteh and Montserrado County Representative Honorable Josephine Francis, the release concludes.

 

 

Sime Darby Rationalizes Workforce

The Sime Darby Plantation of Liberia said it  would like to confirm that it is currently rationalising its workforce and undergoing a redundancy exercise due to various economic challenges  to ensure the continuity of its business in Liberia.

A release from the SDPL said the exercise is currently being implemented in stages in full consultation with the affected workers, the workers union and the Ministry of Labour.

The SDPL’s statement has come in the wake of a  press release from the Liberian Ministry of Labour asking Sime Darby Plantation Liberia (SDPL) regarding its planned redundancy exercise pending.

“The Management of SDPL is in talks with the Ministry of Labour, community representatives and the affected employees. Every effort has been made to ensure that the process follows the laws and regulations of Liberia and this includes the Liberia Decent Work Act 2015 and Collective Bargaining Agreement,” the release noted.

According to the release, in recent years, SDPL’s business has faced several constraints that have prevented the business from growing as planned, adding, “The main factors have been land issues and also the Ebola outbreak. However, regardless of these issues, SDPL has continued to employ workers greatly beyond its requirement for current operations. In order for the company to move forward, it needs to rationalise the current workforce.  At the same time a new state of the art mill has recently been constructed in Bomi with new jobs and opportunities created as a result of this and other new developments.”

The company said it is in Liberia for the long run and will work within the confines of best business practices to ensure its sustainable presence in the country. “To-date, SDPL has planted over 10,000 hectares of oil palm and more than 100 hectares of rubber. It provides the highest-paid jobs in the agricultural sector to around 2,800 Liberians. As part of its commitment to improving living conditions of the surrounding communities, SDPL has been providing free access to education, health services, water and sanitation and other community services to over 30,000 local residents,” the release indicated

Commerce To Launch MSME Annual Conference

By: MafantaKromah

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with it partners will launch the 2017 Micro Small and Medium Enterprise also called MSME during the Small Business Administration week with US$ 20,000 in prizes for Information Communication and Technology (ICT), E+ Business Plan Competition with US$ 100,000 in grants and the Liberian Marketplace Trade Fair.

Speaking during a press conference Thursday at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism in Monrovia, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Axel Addy noted the SBA week will commence with several activities, adding that with the annual tradition of the conference, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will do the opening of the program on November 25, 2017 at the top of the Nancy Doe Trade Fair Marketplace on 8th Street, Sinkor..

He said this year’s conference will be held under the theme: “From Vision to Implementation, buying Liberian, and Building Liberia” with special focus on “Promoting Information and Communication Technology in Liberia”.

Addy indicated that every year the conference has had a specific focus, stressing that last year conference was centered around women entrepreneurship, while  2015 focused on Youth Innovation for Economic Empowerment.

He said this year’s conference also seek to provide opportunities for capacity building, providing exhibition, networking with investors, partners and clients and business linkage events with the business competition.

“The conference also provides chance for innovates Liberian ICT professionals and aspires entrepreneurs to win US$ 20,000 prizes through a business competition in which applicants showcase their solution that helps solve community and business problems, four pries of US$ 5,000 each will be awarded in the agriculture, E-commerce, Education and e-Government,” he indicated.

He said the annual MSME conference is the flagship of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Small Business Administration that takes place every year, noting that this year’s conference takes place in collaboration with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. He said hosting partners includes Orange Liberia, Mercy Crop, Embassy of Sweden, and United States Agent for International Development and Government of Japan.

The Commerce Minister encouraged entrepreneurs to participate in the MSME conference as an ICT innovator for those in the information, communication, technology sector and also those out of ICT can also apply as non-ICT exhibitor by visiting the website www.sbaliberia.org.

Addy extended thanks and appreciation to SMART Liberia, Blue Crest University, CEMENCO, the National Port Authority, among others for their sponsorship for this year’s conference.

Liberia Stalemate Continues

As Liberia’s democratic process faces hiccup characterized by election disputes, politicians who are pressing forward to see the end of their legal battle continue to come under sharp criticisms that they are holding the country hostage, but those accused say they are seeking legal redress for the good of the country.

Liberians who want to see an immediate end to the stalemate say those pursuing the alleged election frauds and irregularities are doing so due to greed but others who support the legal battle say the rule of law needs to be respected to right the wrought.

“ We know the law, we know our right. Our area is law and we will use it to the best of our ability until we have exhausted every aspect of it,” a partisan of the Liberty Party told those who were in a heated argument at an entertainment center in Paynesville recently said.

Cllr. Charles Brumskine, the Standard Bearer of the LP, who is the lead plaintiff in the election fraud and irregularity case filed by the party at the National Elections Commission, is on record when he said at a press conference following the Supreme Court’s ruling  which granted a prohibition  in favor of the LP recently, that they had just begun the legal battle with the NEC.

The Liberty Party, Unity Party and other aggrieved political parties and their supporters are being suspected of applying delay tactics to drag the case at NEC until the tenure of the ruling Unity Party expires in January 2018 so that some sort of arrangement can be reached to replace the current government, but the accused have constantly refuted the suspicion, clarifying that they want to set a precedent through the rule of law.

At the same time, attempts have been made by Liberians to persuade Cllr. Brumskine to disengage the legal battle over the 2017 election dispute, but he has reportedly insisted that the law needs to take its course.

“ We only came here to ask him in the name of peace to forget about this court issue so that the country can get back on its feet because right now we are suffering. Things are getting more expensive on the market every day, and the US rate can’t stop going up. We are not politicians, we are mothers who are worried about our children’ future,” a group of women who reportedly went to meet Cllr. Brumskine in Monrovia were quoted as saying.

Like many Liberians, the EU, ECOWAS, US Embassy and the United Nations have expressed concerns over the stalemate, encouraging Liberian stakeholders, politicians and political parties to ensure that Liberia does not plunge into constitutional crisis.