“Liberia needs A President with the Father’s Heart”

The Resident Judge of the Debt Court at the Temple of Justice and Pastor of the Total Gospel Community Church located in Topoe Village Gardnersville on the outskirt of Monrovia, Rev. Cllr. James E. Jones says Liberia needs a President that has the father’s heart whose speech are reconciliatory, peaceful and with deep concern about prosperity of the nation.

He made the statment on 18 June in the Municipal Borough of New Kru Town where he served as Guest Preacher at the Trinity United Methodist Church Fathers’ Day Celebration which witnessed the Crowing and Sashing of his professional colleague, His Honor A. Blamo Dixon, Circuit Judge of Bomi County as Father of the Year 2017/2018.
Elaborating on the theme: “The Father’s Heart” with text taken from the Book of Luke 15:11-32, he gives an example of the practical son who wasted his shares of his father properties and after many years in exile returned home and reaccepted by his father.

The Liberian cleric said a leader must be one with a compassionate heart, have patience and be hopeful adding that his decisions could either take the nation forward or backward.

He adds that the father heart does not beat and rein insults on his wife in the presence of his children and others; leaves LRD 300 home for the families meal while he go to the restaurant and spend US$25.00 every day. That father, he continues, should not be wearing tailor made suit while his wife cannot afford used clothes; and does not have a second home with a second wife supporting her families thereby dividing with them what is intended for his home.

He continued that the father’s heart does not paid the tuition of a girlfriend, encourage his wife and children to live a loose lives as well as giving monies, gifts to another woman which sets bad examples and completely contradict the true meaning of a father.
He then warned that the father’s heart is not selfish and greedy.

ULSU seeks $US 26m

The University of Liberia Student Union or ULSU has written the House of Representatives to adequately fund the University for this fiscal year with the needed amount of $US 26 million through the regular budgetary process to enable the University meet up with its growth and development agenda.

ULSU said the growth and development of the University of Liberia had been all- time low and the quality of education the students of the University are receiving is jeering due to GoL’s inadequate support to the institution over the past four fiscal years, while the provision of quality education desired by student continues to remain ineffective and inefficient as a result of dilapidated academic infrastructure.

In a communication sent to the House of Representatives Tuesday, ULSU said the $US 1.6 million subsidy commitment made to the University of Liberia Student Union during the tuitions and fees increment is made available through the regular budgetary process to less fortunate students to continue their academic study at the University of Liberia.
ULSU said it is time that the Legislature considers the compulsory introduction of a National Internship Program for junior and senior University student to enhance students job level experience prior to graduation across the country.

According to the president of ULSU Jerome D. Barnard the academic status of the University remains heavily challenging, the lack of basic IT infrastructure facility to include computer labs, modern laboratories apparatus, equipped libraries, standard campus based medical response unit improved sanitary environment, major transportation constrains and unavailable student internship program intended to raise students job level experience speak volume of the level of extreme challenges student face in their academic sojourn at the UL. Meanwhile the House of Representative has forwarded the communication to the leadership of the House of Representative for action.

Taxicab burns in Redlight

A taxicab reportedly belonging to a Guinean national Sidiki Kromah was gutted by fire on Friday night, 16 June and burnt to ashes despite attempts by many helpers to extinguish the blazing flames.

Following the incident, Mr. Sidiki Kromah told this paper in tears that he was shocked and confused about what had happened to his vehicle. He says he has been driving the vehicle for over two years before the incident. There were passengers onboard the vehicle when the incident occurred, but the occupants safely disembarked the vehicle unharmed.

Mr. Kromah says the incident occurred close to the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) sub branch in Redlight while he trying to drop - off some passengers that he brought from Gardnerville to Paynesville. He attributed the cause of the fire to electrical fault which he  believes had developed in the engine of the vehicle. He says he could do nothing about the situation because he did not have a fire extinguishers in the car to fight the fire.

He adds that the fire was discovered by one of the passengers who first disembarked the vehicle after he parked on the sidewalk. Upon the alarm by the first passenger, he says other passengers began jumping quickly out of the taxicab and running in different directions for fear of their lives. Mr. Kromah says the fire left the entire vehicle to burnt to ashes, leaving its frames at the incident site.

According to him, he was intending to go and park the vehicle in front of the Hage Stores to travel to Kakata City in Margibi County when the incident happened. Meanwhile, several bystanders interviewed said that there was need for the Ministry of Transport (MoT) to ensure that the Compulsory Insurance Policy (CIP) is enforced on all vehicles operating in the country.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Edited by Winston W. Parley

House endorses Ombudsman

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, 13 June endorsed an Act to amend Part XII of the Code of Conduct for the creation of an operational framework for the Office of the Ombudsman, as established in the CoC for public officials and employees of government here.

The plenary of the House of Representatives last Thursday sent the act to committee room for review and subsequent report to the body.  According to the committee, as per plenary’s mandate and in keeping with the latter portion of Article 77(b) that authorizes and empowers the Legislature to make laws, indicating the category of Liberians who shall not form or become members of political parties, and Article 90 (c) that gives the Legislature the authority to prescribe code of conduct for public officials, the joint committee convened and scrutinized the act carefully and critically and recommends that plenary concurs with the Liberian Senate on the amendment of Part Xll of the Code of Conduct.

The Senate unanimously passed the act recently and sent it the House of Representative for concurrence. According to the act, members of the Ombudsman shall hold office for two (3-year) terms following confirmation by the Senate and appointment by the President, and shall be removed from office by the President for nonfeasance, malfeasance, misfeasance, and criminal acts as prescribed under existing laws and regulations.

In matters of law, the office of the Ombudsman shall have the power to conduct hearings in a quasi-judicial manner and make findings, gives reasons and conclusions in matters filed before it, while an appeal from its decision relative to violations of the Code of Conduct shall be immediately appealable to the relevant courts of Liberia.

The act also states that no person, who files a complaint or participates in any investigation or proceeding pursuant to Chapter 12.6, shall be subject to any penalties, sanctions or restrictions in connection with his or her employment or be denied any right, privilege or benefit because of such action.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf early April nominated officials to the Ombudsman headed by ex-police chief Cllr. Clarence Christian Massaquoi amid public outcry that Massaquoi is a confidante of the President’s, questioning his neutrality. The Office of the Ombudsman is an autonomous body in keeping with Section 12.1 of the Code of Conduct for public officials.

By Bridgett Milton -Editing by Jonathan Browne

I am the only one on the Bloc

Opposition Liberty Party or LP political leader Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine says he’s the only person on the bloc that has come with the relevant experience in politics for this year’s presidential and representative’s elections.

Cllr. Brumskine who has lost two presidential elections won by President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf, argues that in 2005, Mrs. Sirleaf won because she came on the scene as the best known person.

On that basis, Cllr. brumskine claims that it was easier for Mrs. Sirleaf to have drowned the messages of other candidates because of who she was when in terms of politics.
But he insists on being the only one who has that experience, now that Mrs. Sirleaf is not in the presidential race this October.

The LP political leader raises argument that he did not come from the US to be president, neither was he appointed by the President and want to succeed her.Instead, the counsel says he is someone who has been here with the Liberian people and understands the plight of the Liberian people.

When elected president, Cllr. Brumskine says he will embark on programs to help Liberians get into business and be able to sustain themselves within his first hundred days.
He adds that his government will remove all roadblocks that are claimed to be obstructing business in Liberia, not for only Liberians but for all.

Mr. Brumskine vows to ensure a level playing field here for all business people in Liberia, noting that for too long the economy, especially the commerce and trade sectors have been in the hands of foreigners.

The LP political leader promises that the rule of law will be applied to whether Liberians or a foreigner, with the understanding to create opportunities for Liberians to help them partake in competitive business.
By: Samuel P. Kamara-Edited by Winston W. Parley

Crowd politics

Liberty Party Standard Bearer, Cllr. Charles Walker appears to be making some gains in terms of winning eligible voters and supporters to his side ahead of the October polls. Thousands of citizens over the weekend 3 June converged at Gbarnga Stadium in Bong County, believed to be stronghold of the vice standard bearer of the Coalition for Democratic Change, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, and pledged support for the Presidential bid of Cllr. Brumskine.

“Bongese”, as they are affectionately called, dressed up in a white T-shirt with Liberty Party’s official logo also in green and white, taking the streets of Gbarnga in total jubilation, as they danced and sang, pledging support to the LP.

They could not hold back their feelings about the political leader, who is in his third bid for the presidency, describing Brumskine as the only beacon of hope and the only man in contemporary time that can change the governing politics for developmental progress.

Speaking further about their desire for the Liberty Party, Mr. Edward Emmanuel Gboe, a representative aspirant for Bong County Electoral District#3 notes that the party over the years has demonstrated to be a responsible and respected political organization thru its constructive engagement with the current administration.

Mr. Gboe continues that the people of Bong County believe that the platform of Liberty Party is collective with the single agenda of reconciliation, reform, recovery and development.

Brumskine, in return, stresses that it’s time for regime change here, noting that change is achievable under a Liberty Party-led administration. He continues that the only local government hospital is allocated US$300,000 while lawmakers from the county earn hundreds of thousands in salary and benefits under the guise of being senior officials of government.

He vows to make drastic cuts in “unnecessary” budgetary allocations for lawmakers and policymakers if elected, to divert same to Education and Health that will have direct impact on the lives of Liberians.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne

ECOWAS Commission president promises Ellen standing ovation

The President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Marcel Alain de Souza has promised to ask the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government and others to do a “standing ovation” for the Chair of ECOWAS Authority and president of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her government.

A Foreign Ministry release issued in Monrovia this week says Mr. Souza announced the standing ovation is in recognition of the splendid job Mrs. Sirleaf has done for the sub-region and her country.

It says Mr. de Souza made the assertion during his remarks at the opening of the 38th Ordinary Ministerial Meeting of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council taking place at the Farmington Hotel in lower Margibi County.

Providing updates on the sub-region, specifically on the democratic front, the ECOWAS Commission President says Liberia is the only country that is set to go to presidential and legislative elections in October this year.

He has praised the Liberian Government for its handling of the electoral process so far. While formally opening the meeting, the Chairperson of the Ministerial Council, Liberia’s Foreign Minister Madam Marjon V. Kamara welcomed her colleagues and guests, telling them how honored the Government and people of Liberia are by their presence.

“Our President, the Government and people of Liberia are greatly honored by your presence, she said, adding, that the decision to convene these mid-year statutory meetings in Liberia is a very reassuring statement of confidence in the progress which Liberia has made in consolidating peace over the past 13 years”.
Madam Kamara adds that it bears testimony to the strong and visionary leadership of President Sirleaf, who, with support of partners has kept the Liberian nation on a peaceful course.

“ECOWAS, the United Nations and many friendly governments have been indispensable partners in this respect,” Madam Kamara has emphasized.  She paid tribute to the president and staff of the ECOWAS Commission for the positive results of their hard work which continues to bring credit to the regional body.

She expressed her expectation that the 38th MSC Meeting will further enhance their collective initiatives to strengthen the peace and security architecture of the sub-region.
Meanwhile, the two-day Meeting of the 78th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers takes place on Thursday, June 1st and Friday, June 2nd, at the Farmington Hotel in lower Margibi County. --Press release

Embattled lawmaker asks for two weeks

Grand Gedeh County district#2 Representative Morais Waylee, who is facing rape allegation here, has written the House of Representatives, requesting for two weeks to attend the burial of his late brother.

In his communication to Plenary on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 Rep. Waylee asked his colleagues to excuse him from regular session for the two weeks so that he can attend the burial of his late brother Philip Tarlue Benson, who died on Thursday, May 25, in Paynesville City outside Monrovia.

On May 3, 2017 a local daily linked Representative Waylee to allegedly abusing a 13-year-old girl sexually, said to be his foster-daughter, but the lawmaker reportedly denied.

However, the Speaker of the Liberia Children Forum, Miss Satta F. Sheriff, is calling on the Grand Gedeh lawmaker to recuse himself from legislative business in order to exonerate himself from the allegation.

Presenting the petition statement to the Legislature Speaker Sheriff emphasizes that Rep. Waylee must recuse himself, as he’s not above the law.  She continues that for too long the rights of Liberian children’s have been violated therefore, enough is enough, sating “We say gone are those days when children rights were abused, downplayed or disrespected. We have come to demand justice for our precious 13 years old, who was allegedly raped and impregnated by Representative Waylee. What a shame, when lawmakers should be protecting children and the laws, some have decided to become the lawbreakers.’’

The Liberian Children Forum is seriously concerned about mass atrocities committed against children here, and is calling on the government and its partners to act now by ensuring speedy justice for all victims and survivors of rape.

Speaker Sheriff says their attention has been drawn to delay in investigation by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to officially invite FrontPage Africa Newspaper, which broke the story, to provide details.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Col. Gregory Coleman, is calling on the general public to help the police with any information on the alleged rape case to speed up ongoing investigation. The House of Representatives has granted Rep. Morais Waylee two weeks excuse for the burial of his brother.

By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne

CBL Seeks New Partnership

On the sidelines of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Mr. Milton A. Weeks has held meetings with officials of Citi Bank, aimed at exploring areas of cooperation between the two institutions, particularly the establishment of corresponding relationships for the CBL and commercial banks in Liberia.

The Governor informed Citi Bank representatives that CBL needed the corresponding relationship to handle its transactions and manage its reserves. Citi’s representatives welcomed the meeting and informed the Executive Governor that such collaboration is worth pursuing.

The Citi Bank officials offered to provide guidance that would help to attract corresponding relationship from international banks. They said Citi Bank technicians would be willing to work along with their Liberian counterparts to explore other possible areas of collaboration. Governor Weeks also held discussions with the senior management of the African Export – Import Bank (Afrexim). The discussions focused mainly on access to finance, especially creating line of credit to guarantee trade finance activities emanating from Liberia. Officials of the Bank have agreed to visit Liberia to follow-up on discussions between the two institutions.

The CBL Governor has also held discussions with Executives of the West Africa Monetary Institute (WAMI) on arrangements as Liberia prepares to host the upcoming meeting of Ministers and Governors of the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ). Governor Weeks has also held meetings with the Director General for West Africa of the AfDB Group, Janvier K. Litse; and the new Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia, BakaryJammeh, accompanied by his deputy. The meetings focused on possible areas of collaboration between the Central Bank of Liberia and the respective institutions.

The CBL Governor is among several Governors of African Central Banks, Finance Ministers and other representatives of other leading financial institutions attending the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the 43rd Meetings of the Board of Governors of the African Development Fund (ADF).

Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister, BoimaKamara, is heading the Liberian delegation to the Meetings in his capacity as Governor of the AfDB for Liberia. Minister Kamara has also held various bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings which opened in Ahmedabad, India, on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, with calls for greater cooperation between the Bank and India to help drive Africa’s transformation.

Opening the Meetings at the Mahatma Mandir Conference and Exhibition Center, Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi, reiterated India’s strong ties with Africa and promised that Africa would continue to be a top priority for India’s foreign economic policy. Being held under the theme, “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa,” Prime Modi said his country and the bank can fruitfully join hands for greater partnership. “I have launched an initiative to double farmer’s incomes by 2022,” Prime Minister Modi disclosed, “It will require concerted steps, ranging from improved seeds and optimum inputs, to reduce crop losses and better marketing infrastructure.” India, he said, is keen to learn from Africa’s experience as the bank and his country proceed on the initiative. Africa, Mr. Modi said can also benefit from the Indian experience in the development of the agriculture sector.

For his part, AfDB President AkinwumiAdesina spoke of the Bank’s new transformation agenda which he said is encapsulated in the High 5s and underscored the need to support the Bank with the resources required to enable it accomplish its ambition programs for the good of the African continent. He praised the partnership between the AfDB and India over the years and expressed hope that the bank would benefit greatly from India’s success in agriculture. “From being dependent on imports for food security, India has achieved self-sufficiency in the last three years” said AfDB Mr. Adesina. “When we follow India’s model of agriculture, Agriculture can help eradicate poverty in a big way,” he added. According to reports, Africa produces only 10% of the global food output despite having 60% of the arable land in the world. On the contrary, India has to support its population (17% of the world population) with 2% of world land mass.
Tuesday’s opening ceremony was attended by the presidents of Benin and Senegal, the Vice President of Cote D’Ivoire and other partner countries including Japan and China.

Governor Weeks is accompanied to the Meetings by Mr. Michael B. Ogun, Senior Advisor on Multilateral Relations; Mr. FonsiaDonzo, Deputy Director, Regulation & Supervision Department; Mr. Jackson Wolobah, Deputy Director, Research Policy & Planning Department, Ms. Lilian Best, Corporate Policy Coordinator and Mr. Cyrus W. Badio, Head of Communications.

A Strengthened Civil Service Reduces Poverty

Ms. Elizabeth Harleman, head of development cooperation at the Swedish embassy here says a strengthened civil service has an important role in Liberia’s effort to reduce poverty; and allows for the smooth operations of the private sector.

The private sector, she added, is important for job creation, and consequently in the peace and state building of the country. According to Ms. Harleman her country is pleased that Liberia has developed a pay reform strategy through the civil service agency, and urges the Liberian government to continue its efforts directed at implementing the strategy.

The strategy has a vision to attract, retain and motivate competent employees to work to deliver high quality services to the public, in accordance with the principles of equity, transparency and competiveness.

For her part, Mrs. Patience Coleman-Beyan, director of the Civil Service Reform Directorate says, so far, seven ministries, agencies and commissions of the Liberia government were selected to form part of the pay reform strategies, which according to her, was based on their readiness for reform.

Moreover, the seven MACs makeup 75 percent of Liberia’s civil service. “You can see that if we succeed, it’s a big jump for majority of the civil servants. The lesson for all of us is that, let us try to embrace these reforms; they are designed to help us do our job better and to nurture an effective and efficient government that produces results for the betterment of society, madam Coleman-Beyan added.

“I want to congratulate the Civil Service Agency, Liberia Institute for Public Administration and Governance Commission for the commitment in implementing an important area of reform and to encourage you to continue with the next steps. We are looking forward to follow the continued important implementation of the program, madam Coleman-Beyan noted.

They spoke over the weekend at the ministry of foreign affairs in Monrovia at the launch of the Disbursement Link Indicators (DLIs), a system set up by the World Bank to track the performance and rate government development program.

There are nine DLIs in the whole project. Each year, DLIs are achieved, the performing ministries get paid 40,000USD each and the government of Liberia through the ministry of finance and development planning gets 400,000.00 when 90 percent of the participating ministry performs.
The launch was attended by an array of government officials including vice president Joseph NyumahBoakai, governance commission chairman, Dr. Amos Sawyer and director general of the civil service agency, Dr. Puchu Bernard.

The Swedish embassy head of development cooperation spoke on behalf of partners. According to her, Sweden is pleased to be a contributor along with other donors to the project which aim is important for a functioning and transparent government that improves pay management, performance and enhances merit based recruitment in the civil service. “The main challenge being addressed by this project relates to the problem of poor alignment between skills and functions, and weak payroll control within the civil service of Liberia.

Liberia has recognized these challenges and have committed towards civil service reform. Efforts by Liberia have directed to processes such as pay and grading, cleaning the payroll, mandates and function review and decentralization, Ms. Harleman pointed out.

Liberia has committed to improve opportunities for participation of female civil servants in decision making positions. “Experience show that a country will not reach sustainable development if women are excluded, therefore, Sweden applauds Liberia for its commitment to strengthen gender equality in the civil Service and urges Liberia to increase actions directed as fulfilling the goal of greater proportion of female in senior positions in the civil service,” she added.


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