A day before Judge Chan-Chan Peagar of the Commercial Court is expected to make public the full text of his “pop drink” trademark infringement ruling, BAF Trading Corporation, which filed the lawsuit against H.K. Enterprise owned by Lebanese national Houssan Kafiel, has promised to use all of its resources to challenge the court’s decision, even up to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court.Last Monday, Judge Peagar, in his three-minute ruling, said, “The two parties, BAF and H.K. Enterprise, failed to register trademark in the country, according to the Intellectual Property Law.”He also ruled that the Lebanese-owned entity has the legal right to the disputed pop drink trademark, while in the same breath admitting that they obtained the trademark certificate in 2014, as opposed to BAF, which obtained it in 2010 for a ten-year period.In an interview with journalists yesterday at his Vai Town office in Monrovia, BAF’s Import Manager Boubacar S. Balde said they acquired the trademark legally from the Liberia Industrial Property Office (LIPO) responsible for the protection and promotion of intellectual property rights in the country, as well as the Ministry of Commence (MOC).“We are not going to allow both government institutions with support of the court to deny us of our right,” Balde said.According to him, they thought that they were doing the right thing when they took their case to the Commercial Court, where the case went the wrong way.“We will not allow the influence of money to make this foreigner to take away our legitimate business right,” he added.Even if the Supreme Court fails to give his company justice, the BAF import manger promised they would run to the ECOWAS Court for redress.“If it will cause us to close down our business for the case, we are prepared to do so,” Balde insisted. Tearfully recounting the effort and financial difficulty they incurred to promote pop drink in the market, Balde said when they got the permission from the manufacturer of the product in Indonesia to import pop drink, they traveled to every part of the country to introduce it.“We promoted the product to the extent that people were getting interested in it, before the Lebanese man with the help of LIPO and MOC got involved in 2014,” BAF Import manager emphasized.According to him, they were approached by LIPO in 2009 to register the trademark for their own protection.“We accepted their proposal and thought we were doing the right thing, but they duplicated our trademark certificate and issued it to H.K. Enterprise, which has caused us damages,” said a tearful Balde.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Back view of the building-Residents raise concernThe official residence of the Superintendent of Bong County lies in ruins as it seems that no attention is reportedly being given the building since a violent rainstorm devastated the structure early March of this year.The building which is the official home of the Superintendent of Bong County, was constructed during the administration of President William V. S. Tubman; it was, however, badly damaged during the long years of civil war in the country.Speaking to this paper via mobile former Bong County Legislative Caucus Chairman and former Representative, George Sylvester Mulbah, said the county expended a little over US$82,000 from the County Social Development Funds (CSDF) to renovate the building in 2009 in order to give the Superintendent of the county a befitting residence .“The building, lying in ruins at this time seems to be a glaring manifestation that the local county leadership is reneging to renovate the compound possibly for political reasons”, former Representative Mulbah intoned.Following the reconditioning, it played home to former superintendents Ranney B. Jackson, Lucia Herbert and Selena Polson Mappy.For his part, Bong County Assistant Superintendent for Development Anthony Sheriff informed this reporter that his office made assessment on the damage to the building in early March and it was estimated that the county leadership will need US$65,000 to recondition the entire building.He said the assessment report was forwarded to the Superintendent Madam Esther N. Walker for implementation.Mr. Sheriff said the county leadership has been making frantic efforts as well as SOS appeals to people of good will and companies including the MNG-Gold to help renovate the building.“Right now the county does not have money, to repair that building; it will take us some time,” Assistant Superintendent Sheriff admitted.The roof of the building was destroyed in early March of this year by a violent rainstorm and since then it has not been rehabilitated.Ceiling destroyed by rainwaterAccording to the Daily Observer the ceiling of the building is being forced down by rain water and the floor soaked with rainwater could damage the structure if the roof is not replaced ahead of the usually heavy August and September downpours.It was established by this paper that the entire compound is without watchman/security guard and some of the air conditioners as well as doors have been taken away reportedly by criminals.Jerry Flomo a resident of the Civil Compound community a community in which the Superintendent’s Residence is located said on Tuesday July 31, 2018 at about 9pm unknown persons attacked him and made away with his smartphone and ran in the building.Another person Esther Dunn who was victimized by the purported criminals said her computer and other valuables were taken away in the same place on her way home at about 8pm.“If the county leadership does not renovate the building or assign security guards, nobody would dare pass that area at night hours” the victims maintained.Front view of the buildingShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The author, Rev. Dr. Samuel E. VansieaBy Rev. Dr. Samuel E. VansieaLiberia was founded as a Dual Citizenship nation. In the early 1800s almost all of Africa was colonized except the land now called Liberia. The natives traded with Europeans but did not allow them to own land. They however agreed to share land with Negro settlers from the United States of America in the spirit of Negro solidarity. It was through the political genius of the settlers that Liberia became a sovereign state in 1847.According to The American Journal of International Law (Vol. 4), former U.S. Secretary of State Williams Evarts affirmed in a February 2, 1880 communication that the settlers sent to Liberia were actual United States citizens.Several former presidents and government officials were foreign born. For example, President Joseph J. Roberts was born in the United States and President Arthur Barclay was of West Indian origin. Considering all that and, including the natives, it can be argued that Liberia was founded as a republic of Dual Citizenry. Therefore, the creation of the anti-dual citizenship law in 1956 (amended in 1973) raises some fundamental questions such as:What prompted the government of President William V. S. Tubman to make that law in 1956?Why would the Americo-Liberian ruling class for the first 133 (1847-1980) years reject Dual Citizenship when being called Americo-Liberians signifies dual nationality and their own children were going to school, getting married, and having children abroad?To understand that phenomenon, we need to look at events of the1900s.During the period between World War II and the Cold War, European powers were extremely protective of their interests in the countries they colonized. One way to protect that interest was to make the colonies adopt citizenship laws similar to laws of the colonizing country.The U.S. did likewise in Liberia. According to Harrison Akingbade, author of U.S. Liberian Relations During World War II, the U.S. exerted much influence on the Liberian government during that time to protect the Firestone Rubber Company and their military bases at Roberts International Airport and the Freeport of Monrovia. Though Liberia initially maintained a policy of neutrality in the war, the U.S. pressured her to declare war on The Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan on January 27, 1944.In early 1950, in what seemed like diplomatic pressure to prove further loyalty to the Liberia-America relationship, President Tubman had to ensure that no Liberian will bear arms for any other country except the U.S. and Liberia. In 1952 the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia Mr. Edward R. Dudley, acting on behalf of President Tubman, solicited the expertise of Cornell University professor Milton R. Konvitz to create a legal document for Liberia which included the Title 3 Citizenship and Naturalization Law of the Republic of Liberia of 1956 (amended in 1973) that is in question today.In 1943, Edward Richard Dudley (1911-2005) and Milton Ridbas Konvitz (1906-2003) both served as Assistant General Counsels for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, then headed by Thurgood Marshall. Konvitz later became professor of law at Cornell University, while Dudley went on to become the first African American to lead a U.S. Mission abroad, accredited to Monrovia with the rank of US Envoy and Minister (1948) and promoted to Ambassador (1949). Amb. Dudley then recruited his scholarly colleague, who for decades later worked with the Republic of Liberia as it established its laws. Konvitz also edited opinions of the Supreme Court of Liberia.Of cause they used American naturalization law as template and included what looked like an “anti-dual citizens” section. The original term used in the 1956 law was “Repatriation.” It stated that any Liberian who transfer residence to another country or join another army will be punished. Thus, it is fair to state that the citizenship law seems more like a cold war strategy to secure America’s interest more so than to deprive Liberians of citizenship. This is significant because there were no needs for such laws for the first 111 years (1847-1956) of Liberia’s existence and beyond.Citizenship Laws and African GovernmentsKenneth Kaunda, first president of the Republic of ZambiaAs mentioned earlier, colonial powers imposed their citizenship laws on their colonies of which the interpretation became problematic for the Africans. After independence, instead of fixing the laws for national unity, most African governments used the laws as a tool to silence and ostracize other citizens who they suspected of threatening their political ambitions. Two classical examples are when the Zambia Movement for Multiparty Democracy Government construed their citizenship law in 1996 in what was openly known as a strategy to disqualify their own first and former president Kenneth Kaunda (president from 1964-1991) from contesting in the 1996 election because his parents were missionaries in Malawi. He was deemed no longer a citizen of Zambia until the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights intervened. His citizenship was restored, but elections were over. Likewise in 2001 and 2006 the Tanzanian government used nationality laws to terminate the citizenship of several journalists and the country’s own ambassador to Nigeria, Timothy Bandora all because the ruling party felt they were threats to their regime (Bronwen Manby, The Struggle for Citizenship in Africa).Toward Dual Citizenship Progressive countries in Africa, Europe, and Central and South America embraced the dual citizenship concept. According to the International Migration Review, more than half of all African countries have accepted and permitted their citizens to naturalize abroad without losing original citizenship. Those countries have the edge for economic prosperity and political stability compared to countries that do not. They also see dual citizenship as an extension of their influence beyond their borders. They use that influence as leverage in fostering tangible international relationship and partnership in a cost-effective manner. It also enhances the country’s presence on the modern globalization platform.Examples: Senegal’s first President, Léopold Sédar Senghor, was a French citizen.Senegal: Senegalese embraced dual citizenship from independence in 1960. Their first president Leopold Sedar Senghor was a French citizen. Senegalese don’t lose citizenship when they naturalize abroad. In 1995 the government created the High Commission for Senegalese Abroad to ensure the best interest of Senegalese diaspora. It is established that this approach to Dual Citizenship is contributive to the peace, stability, and economic prosperity of Senegal (The International Migration Review, Vol. 45).Israel: Martin Edelman, author of Who Is An Israeli said Israel automatically welcomes returning Jews, their children, grandchildren, spouses, etc. to full citizenship status.Middle East: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, all of which encourage Dual Citizenship, rely on economic support from their diaspora citizens to save the country in time of financial crisis. In 2008 when investment dropped by $22 billion, support from diaspora citizens went up $328 billion (Sameera Fazili, Middle East Report).Democracy: Dual Citizenship helps to strengthen democracy especially in developing countries. Acceptance of Dual Citizenship is viewed as a sign of mature democracy (Beth Elise Whitaker, The Politics of Home: Dual Citizenship and the African Diaspora).Historians have observed that Africans are strongly connected at the foot of the family tree than at the height of political affiliation. Most of the instability in Africa have been fueled by unequal privileges between citizen groups. The events of the last 40 years in Liberia attest to that. Historian Edmond J. Keller states that “Disputes over . . . differing conceptions of citizenship are at the heart of the most intractable conflicts in Africa. De-nationalizing Africans from their land of origin is a very slippery concept (Keller, Identity, Citizenship, and Political Conflict in Africa).International Concerns:Since 2013 the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has been working on a protocol whereby all African countries will move toward the international norm that citizens and their descendants should continue to have equal rights of nationality in their native land (Manby, Citizenship Law in Africa).Moral and Ethical Implications for LiberiaCommenting on the anti-dual citizenship law, Mr. Augustine Ngafuan argued that the law is the law and ignorance of the law is no excuse. But the Volume of Sacred Law, the Holy Bible warns that not everything that is lawful is expedient (1 Corinthians 10:23). This debate is one instance where “expediency” outweighs “legality.”Furthermore, this debate is a golden opportunity in the hand of the current government to champion unity, unless it chooses to go down in history for effectuating divisiveness.History will judge us that under Americo-Liberian rule for 133 years, (despite the 1973 law) no one dreamed about terminating another Liberian’s citizenship simply because he/she held another passport and neither did that happen under the military/civilian rule of the 1980s.I remember during the struggles for democracy in the 1970s, how G. Baccus Matthews, Togba Nah Tipoteh, Amos Sawyer, H. Boima Fahnbulleh, and others rallied Liberians against corruption and one-party system. In fact, the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) and the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) which was the precursor to multiparty democracy were based in America. At that time no one cared about which passport another Liberian had. We saw each other as one big family fighting for democracy.Finally, we’ve got the democracy and we can go to the polls to vote for the leaders we want. Then now, we want to tear each other apart for political gains, forgetting that those who we want to reject equally fought for this same democracy. They, too, lost families, friends and loved ones just the same. Whether at home or abroad, no Liberian is more Liberian than another Liberian.It is argued that diaspora Liberians are corrupt. That argument, like all other arguments against diaspora Liberians, is just another façade. In the1970s and 1980s when students of the University of Liberia protested even to death against corruption, they were not protesting against diaspora Liberians.This issue of Dual Citizenship has put us at the crossroads of a moral and ethical dilemma: to choose national unity by approving Dual Citizenship or choose divisiveness by rejecting Dual Citizenship.Conclusion Let me conclude with my fictional story of “Jay-beah-muo” Island (Jay-beah-muo is a Bassa expression meaning, “Your lets go!”).Jay-beah-muo was a beautiful island off the coast of West Africa. The inhabitants of hundreds of years accomplished nothing but mud houses and dirt roads. Eventually they got an innovative leadership that wanted to transform the island into a modern attraction. So they held meetings, made plans, and raised funds successfully. It seems they would soon begin their project.But the demons of the sea did not want development on the island. So the chief demon called a conference of devils to discuss how to destroy the dream of the remote island people. Some said to destroy their farms and flood their island, etc. But all was quiet when one little devil said, “Give them what they want, and they will have no need for each other.” “What do you mean?” asked the chief devil. The little devil went on,Give them Development and they will Devalue each other,Give them Power and they will Paralyze each other,Give them Fortunes and they will Forsake each other,Give them Democracy and they will Demonize each other.“How did you know all that?” the chief demon asked. “I have been working among them a long time” said the little devil.I hope this is not where Liberia is headed.God bless the Republic of Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Although the Bassa language is not widely taught in Liberia, it is, however, taught at Spiritan Academy, one of Monrovia’s elite schools, which sent student and faculty representatives to the official launch of Jaadeh! at the University of Liberia on 10 May. (Photo courtesy: Front Row Media Liberia)Renowned Liberian academician and author Robtel Neajai Pailey has done it again. This time around with the translation of the Pan-African anti-corruption children’s book Jaadeh! into one of Liberia’s most spoken local languages, Bassa.Released in January 2019, Jaadeh! is a dual language sequel to the critically acclaimed anti-corruption children’s book Gbagba. Both books were illustrated by Liberian visual artist Chase Walker and published by One Moore Book. While gbagba loosely translates as trickery or corruption in Bassa, jaadeh is its opposite. And so, the eight-year-old twin main characters Sundaymah and Sundaygar encounter examples of the opposite of corruption in the second book. In a telephone interview with the Daily Observer, Dr. Pailey explained that she commissioned Bassa prelate and linguist, Bishop Amos W. Gbaa, Sr., to translate Jaadeh! into Bassa to honor the language and to have it taught in schools in Liberia and elsewhere.“It is sad that many Liberians do not value their local languages and the situation is getting worse with many young people unable to speak any of the country’s 16 languages—myself included”, said Dr. Pailey.She continued: “In response to this situation, I decided to collaborate with Bishop Gbaa to have Jaadeh! translated into Bassa to encourage its use in schools, homes, churches, mosques, etc.” Released in January 2019, Jaadeh! is a dual language sequel to the critically acclaimed anti-corruption children’s book Gbagba.Although the Bassa language is not widely taught in Liberia, it is, however, taught at Spiritan Academy, one of Monrovia’s elite schools, which sent student and faculty representatives to the official launch of Jaadeh! at the University of Liberia on 10 May.According to Dr. Pailey, the translation of Jaadeh! into Bassa is the start of her quest to have both anti-corruption children’s books translated into the most widely spoken local languages in Liberia and Africa, including Kpelle and Hausa in West Africa, Swahili in East Africa, Zulu in Southern Africa, and Berber in Northern Africa.She said: “I look forward to piloting Gbagba and Jaadeh! throughout Africa, collaborating with linguists for translations into other languages, and co-producing more multi-media tools, including TV animations.”According to Dr. Pailey, the inspiration for writing Gbagba and Jaadeh! came from working in Liberia’s highest political office and experiencing corruption first-hand in every sector of society.Since its publication in 2013, Gbagba has been adopted as a supplemental reader for 3rd through 5th grades in Liberia and for Primary 3 in Ghana. Through a grant from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), the book has also been adapted into a radio drama and full-length stage play by the legendary Flomo Theater as well as a song and music video by prominent Liberian rapper Takun J. Jaadeh! has similarly been adapted into a song and music video featuring Takun J and US-based vocalist Ella Mankon Pailey, Dr. Pailey’s younger sister. There are plans to produce other multi-media adaptations of Jaadeh!, including a Youtube video of the book being read in English and Bassa by Dr. Pailey and Bishop Gbaa.Visit www.gbagba-jaadeh.com for more information about both books. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
-As 3,500 youth to beneficiaries for special agricultural activities By George Harris and David A. YatesAs part of efforts to improve the economic status to contribute to food security in the rural parts of Liberia, the Youth Opportunities Project (YOP) recently made additional recruitment of 3,500 youths that are living at a very low-income level.The initiative is a continuation of YOP’s Productive Public Works (PPW) program.According to a release, YOP’s PPW phase-two recruitment exercise was executed for a period of one month across the fifteen counties of Liberia. A total of 129 communities from the fifteen counties were selected during the recruitment process.Recruited youth who are between the ages 18 to 35 will be incorporated into a special agricultural initiative of YOP, the release said.In a follow-up interview, YOP National Coordinator, Jesse Bengu, said that YOP agricultural initiative is designed to increase youth earnings but also enhance their entrepreneurial potentials.“The venture would positively shift and engage their [youth] minds, and promote their ambitions to abandon acts that are counter-productive for society,” Bengu said. “Therefore, in-demand agricultural produce like rice, cassava, eddoes, maize, and vegetables worth paying attention to as it is necessary and would profit those in our program and the nation at large.”Bengu added that his organization is preparing to drill youth through two operational plans that will help them overcome their economic challenges. First, YOP is offering basic planting tools, and cash as labor subsidies to recruited youth that are from rural communities. Secondly, it is building the capacity of recruited youth through basic financial and small-skills business management training.The YOP is implemented by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) and the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE). It is supported by the World Bank with a 10 million dollar loan to the Government of Liberia.The project focuses on Pre-Employment Social Support for urban youth between the ages of 15-17 years, and Household Enterprises for Urban Youth as well between the ages of 18-35.For the Productive Public Works component, the project supports rural youth between the ages of 18-35 years. A total of 15,000 beneficiaries are targeted by December 2020 the end of the project’s five-years term.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The late Francis Burns Dunbar. – Advertisement – The funeral service of Mr. Francis Burns Dunbar, Sr. will take place on Friday, April 5, 2019 at the S.T. Nagbe United Methodist Church at 13th and 14th Streets, Tubman Boulevard, Monrovia, beginning at 10 o’clock a.m.The body will be removed from the Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Home on Tubman Boulevard at 09:00 o’clock the same Friday morning and taken to the S.T. Nagbe Church.On Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 10 o’clock a.m., the cortege will depart the S.T. Nagbe Church for the Dunbar farm in Palala, Bong County, where interment will take place.Francis Burns Dunbar, Sr., a prominent son of the legendary agriculturist, builder and father, George Augustus Dunbar III, died on Monday, March 18, 2019 at the SOS Clinic on Tubman Boulevard in Sinkor following a period of illness. He was in his 71st year.Mr. Dunbar served the Liberian government in several capacities, including former deputy minister at Finance and former managing director, respectively of the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC) and National Port Authority (NPA).Francis Burns Dunbar was born in Monrovia on December 26, 1948 to the union of Mr. George A. Dunbar III and Madam Kau Quelu Boayue Dunbar of Ganta, Nimba County.He was a graduate of the College of West Africa (CWA). He spent a year at Cuttington College and Divinity School (now Cuttington University), before traveling to the United States. There he obtained the Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Queens College, and the Master’s in Economics from the New School for Social Research in New York (NSSRNY). He later commenced the doctoral program at the NSSRNY, completing all his course work, but for the dissertation.Family sources said he was employed at several companies, including an import/export company in New York.In 1978, he married Ms. Rita Davis and the union was blessed with two sons, Francis Davis Dunbar, and Jason Burns Dunbar. The marriage was dissolved in 1988.He returned to Liberia in the Summer of 1981, and joined the government. During the Liberian civil war, Francis returned to the USA in 1990, and was employed as general manager of New Jersey Transit, a position he held for many years.Francis also married Ms. Shadrene Howard in 1989, and this union was blessed with a son, Stephan Burns Dunbar. This marriage was dissolved in 1993.Mr. Francis Dunbar fathered four other children—Sei Newon, mother Ms. Betty Dokie; Dekonti Putu S., mother Dr. Antoinette Sayeh, former Minister of Finance; Francine, mother, Ms. Frances Mitchel; and Francia Dunbar, mother, Ms. Edwina G. Allison.Survivors include his former wives, Rita Davis and Shadrene Howard; his children, Francis Davis, Jason Burns, Dekonti Putu, Sei Newon, Fancine, Francia and Stephen Burns Dunbar; his grandchildren, Noah and Sara; the Dunbar family; numerous siblings; nieces; nephews; cousins; the Boayue family; other relatives; friends; and business associates.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
P&P Insurance Brokers on Friday donated $1 million to 10 non-governmental organisations that house the less fortunate.This activity has become an annual tradition for P&P Insurance for the past six years and the company sees it as a way of demonstrating the true spirit of giving during the Christmas season.Each of the charitable homes received a $100,000 cheque from Varsha Panday,Varsha Panday (far left) flanked by representatives from all 10 organisations after receiving their chequedaughter of the CEO, Bish Panday, at a presentation held at the P&P Insurance Brokers and Consultants office, King Street, Georgetown.According to the Director of P&P Insurance Brokers and Consultants Limited, Vikash Panday, this has impacted the lives of the less fortunate and they are happy to contribute to the cause and hope that their modest contribution will assist, especially at this time of the year when they would like to give a little more.“…We know a lot of these organisations do a lot of good and we are happy to associate with them… It is not easy to get finances now and we feel this contribution will go a far way towards helping the organisations.”The recipients were Bless the Children Home, Uncle Eddie’s Home, David Rose School for the Handicapped, Bright Horizon Family, the Dharm Shala, the Ptolemy Reid Rehabilitation Centre, Canaan Children’s Home, Friends of the Archer’s Home, Cheshire Homes Guyana and Hauraruni Girls Home.A representative of the Canaan Children’s Home welcomed the donation while stating that it will go a long way towards helping the organisation. “On behalf of the Canaan Children’s Home, we would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the Panday’s, we know that you have been doing this over the years and I pray that God continues to bless your business so that you can continue to give to these children.”
Satiricus was smiling all the way to the Back Street Bar. He and the fellas had looked at the Mash Float Parade on TV this year at their individual homes, and he knew they would be comparing notes. In previous years, they’d all taken their families to look at the jump up and wining, but this year the wives had drawn a line: There were too many robberies taking place, and they weren’t going to take any chances in the hyena’s den!“Budday, wha’ yuh tink?” called out Cappo to Satiricus as he spied him coming. “Abee prappa gat nuff big skin ‘oman, na?”“Me hope yuh notice none a dem na cane-cutta wife,” butted in Bungi. “Dem tu’n prappa maaga since dem husban’ get knack aff.”“Bungi, why you have to look at the glass half-empty again?” complained Satiricus. “We are just celebrating the birth of our Republic, man! Loosen up, nuh!”“But Bungi has a point, Sato,” said Hari as he sipped his beer slowly. “What do we really have to celebrate this year?”“Budday, we became a Republic!” said Satiricus exasperatedly. “What else do you want?”“Yes Hari,” smirked Cappo. “Abee gat plenty big skin ‘oman apart fram cane cutta wife! Wha’ mo yuh want de Republic gat?”“Me want de Republic get jab fuh all dem cane-cuttah de guvment fyaah,” said Bungi doggedly as he disagreed with his friend for once.“Bungi, jobs will come,” said Satiricus with certainty. “We found oil, you know!”“Oil? Oil?” interjected Cappo who stopped skinning his teeth. “Venezuela gat mo ile dan anybaddy in de worl’, an’ all dem big skin ‘oman get fine, fine!!”“That’s what I’m trying to say, fellas,” said Hari patiently. “Venezuela was the first Republic in South America! What has it done for them?”“Dem a come heah in Guyana fuh look fuh jab!” said Bungi triumphantly. “Yuh t’ink dem a flounce about like dem head na good?”“Dem na flounce about beca’se dem na gat any mo big skin ‘oman!” said Cappo triumphantly. “Dem tu’n maaga like abee cane cuttah wife!”Satiricus gave up and started to sip his beer.
Residents of West Coast Demerara (WCD) who experienced flooding after a spring tide pummelled the sea defence structures and caused some breaches are still awaiting the compensation which was promised by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.The Tuschen/Uitvlugt Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) Chairman Vishal Ambedkar, during an interview with Guyana Times, revealed that a list was created to assess the damages of the flood victims. Losses of the residents tallied to approximately $100 million, and the list was submitted by the Geographical Representative and Member of Parliament (MP), Mohammed Irfaan Ali. However, Minister Harmon had told the residents that compensation would be given when the list was checked to ensure that the assessments were accurate.“We are hoping that the compensation promised from the Minister of State, that these people will be able to return to a life that was as normal or as close to normal that they would’ve had before,” the NDC Chairman noted.Presently, Chairman Ambedkar stated that there has been no feedback from the authorities with regard to the compensation and the list that was submitted by MP Ali.He also noted that if another high tide struck, the villages will be under water again. As such, the NDC will also need financial assistance to cater for unexpected disasters. He stated, “We also recommended that the Government give us additional funding for incidental expenses such as these.” Moreover, persons who were affected by the flood were still waiting on the Government to approve the list so as to replace some of the items they lost during the flood. Others who farm and rear livestock explained that their livelihoods were destroyed and they are in great need of the money. The flood victims related that they were in need of some financial assistance, so as to restore some degree of normalcy to their lives at the earliest.
…says too many complaints piling upWith an increased number of complaints being lodged against staff attached to the Works Department within the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), Regional Chairman Renis Morian has threatened to have them removed. While complaints against the department – which is responsible for the overseeing of the region’s infrastructural projects – is nothing new, it came in for more harsh criticism during the hosting of the Council’s statutory meeting last week when staff were accused of corruptive practices and under-productivity.Regional Chairman Renis Morian among Councillors during last week’s statutory meetingThis, according to officials, continues to affect the flow of the system of works in the region. In threatening to remove all of the staff in the department, the Regional Chairman said the Council has been trying to sort out the same issues since 2015, but has seen no change.He said if there is no change by December 31, 2018, the Council will move a motion for the removal of all of the staff within the department. According to Morian, the Council will cite “corruption, friendism” and “nepotism” as grounds for their removal, as he alleged that “kleptocracy” continues.Morian said there are no set systems or structures for dates when projects are checked and staff seem to be acting outside of the interest of getting the work of the Council done. “People going and check their friend work and ain’t checking other people’s work because is not their friend… I’m aware of it because I’m on the ground…We’re moving to a place where I’m going to write the Minister, write the President and say we can’t work with the present staff… they don’t even send the contracts to the Works Committee… that is a prerequisite of this RDC here, before the people (contractors) get paid, works got to sign off. When I go to works (department), people liming, coming in very, very, late. There’s no structure in the Works Department…This RDC here is going to move to a place where we’re going to ask for the whole Works Department to move,” the Chairman told the meeting.Regional Executive Officer (REO) Orrin Gordon also pointed out that he continues to have issues with Bill of Quantities submitted for projects and would have raised these concerns with engineers on the ground. “So that would have obviously slowed down the process… On Monday we would have had a meeting and at the meeting made it clear that we need to move some people out of the line and try and train some other people in line. Because we are not getting the productivity from those individuals,” he said. Additionally, Gordon said there are issues with status reports, which he noted contain a lot of gaps with missing information.“We have to do better than this. There was an instance where a particular line item was overspent, and I said, ‘I can’t remember us doing that amount of work’. And they went back and said there was an error. When we check through the thing, we saw that one project was stated three times,” Gordon continued. However, he also admitted that presently, there are insufficient technical staff to carry out checks to projects with Councillors noting that the issues with the system continues to affect the timely payment of contractors. Back in June, the Council made a unanimous decision to restructure its Works Department. Over the years, the department has come in for high condemnation from Morian and Councillors alike, with some of its members even being accused of fraud. Gordon had also pointed out that the department is a very troubling area and had made calls for the administration to have it reorganised. Several Councillors have also over the years registered their frustration in dealing with issues related to the department.