Boakai, Gov’t Officials Sign Mandela’s Book of Condolence

first_imgVice President Joseph N. Boakai is expected to lead an array of government officials to sign the Book of Condolence for former South African President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.Mr. Mandela, the founding President of South Africans’ inclusive democratic nation, departed the world at around 20:50 GMT on the 5th of December. He was 95.According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), the signing of the Book of Condolence will take place Tuesday, December 10, at the South African Embassy in Congo Town, commencing at 10 a. m. According to the protocol for the ceremony, by 10:45 a. m., the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Alex Tyler, and  Members of the Legislature are expected to be on hand to sign the Book; while  Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and Associate Justices of the Supreme  Court  Bench will sign the Book of Condolence at 11: 45 a.m.       Thereafter, a National Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion on Ashmum Street.The Government of Liberia,  in collaboration with the South  African Embassy near Monrovia, is hosting  the Memorial and Reflection Service  in honor of the late Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa and  Eminent Statesman;  an  Advocate for peace, social justice, and freedom for humanity.  Today’s memorial service is being held simultaneously with the South African Government, which is also having a memorial service for their fallen hero at the First National Bank (FNB) Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.At least over 60 world leaders, including President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, US President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, and France’s President Francois Hollande, have announced that they are going to attend Mr. Mandela’s state memorial service Tuesday, December 10, in Johannesburg. President George Walker Bush and Laura Bush, President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Prince Charles, British Prime Minister David Cameron and others are also among the 60 heads of state and government that so far have consented to be in attendance at the memorial service and state funeral, which is to be held in Qunu, Eastern Cape.In Mandela’s autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom,” Qunu, according to Mandela, is where he spent the happiest moments of his childhood. This small rural village in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province will be the final resting place for Mr. Mandela, whose indelible marks will be engraved on the pages of history ad infinitum (forevermore). He will be buried in Qunu on December 15, 2013.  Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Boxing: Clottey Wins WBA Title over Australian

first_imgAs Liberian boxers cry for support and promotion, their Ghanaian counterparts are moving ahead as Middleweight boxer Joshua Clottey recently vanquished his Australian opponent in a title fight in Australia.Though reports from Ghana indicate that since Clottey’s victory, he is yet to receive his title, he is set to return to Ghana without it.Clottey outpointed Australian Anthony Mundine in Newcastle, Australia in their World Boxing Association (WBA) International light-middleweight title.Reports further say it is a traditional practice for a boxer who wins a match to be presented with his title, the absence of the WBA International belt on the night of April 9, 2014 is very much troubling.”I raised questions but it seemed to me that they did not expect me to win the title,” Clottey told journalists after the bout.Reports also say he called his manager in the United States on the matter who also spoke to the authorities in Australia and was promised his title within days.Clottey’s next is opponent is American boxing legend, Floyd Mayweather Jr sometime this year based upon terms and conditions that defined his fight with Mundine.Clottey, 36, automatically becomes the number one contender to Mayweather Jr’s light-middleweight crown. Clottey, has recorded 38 wins, including 22 knockouts, and four losses.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Africans Deserting Africans in Distress: Whither African Solidarity?

first_imgIn the face of the devastating Ebola crisis that has hit the Mano River basin, particularly Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, many nations around the world, especially in Europe, Asia and the United States, have rallied to the rescue.  These nations have contributed lots of  money, shiploads of health and medical supplies and food, as well as health and medical personnel to help these affected countries defeat the deadly virus.But the response of the sisterly African nations to the distress of the three Ebola affected countries—Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone—has been alarmingly negative and patently un-sisterly.The first negative response came from the fourth MRU nation, Cote d’Ivoire, which suspended flights of Air Ivoire to the affected countries and even closed its seaport to ships hailing there from.  It is the height of irony that when the Cote d’Ivoire itself was hit by a deadly civil war in 2008, hundreds of thousands of Ivorian refugees fled across the border into Liberia, where they were wholeheartedly welcomed by their  Liberian brothers and sisters and their government.  Liberia helped broker the peace between the refugees and their government in Abidjan, paving the way for thousands to return to their homeland.  There are yet many thousands of Ivorian refugees in Liberia, who have not yet felt it safe enough to return home, and their Liberian hosts and the international community, especially the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), are caring for them.Yet Ivorian President Alhassan Ouattara did not hesitate to close Cote d’Ivoire’s air, land and sea ports to his three sisterly states in distress.There is also Senegal, which has also closed its border with Guinea and gone on to restrict landing of any airplane traveling from the three affected countries.Yet both Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire are members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and of the African Union (AU).We come now to another prominent AU member, South Africa, one of whose citizens happens to be President of the leading, oldest and most prominent organization uniting African nations.But this fact had no bearing on the South African government, when it decided to close its borders to all traffic emanating from the three affected nations. The South Africans have conveniently forgotten the colossal solidarity the whole of Africa, especially Liberia, the oldest independent African state, gave to her Black and Colored brothers and sisters suffering all those decades under the inhumane and often deadly yoke of apartheid.   It is well known the role Liberia played in that struggle and how she reached out to its Liberation Movements, including the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) and their leaders.  Some of this is recorded in President Nelson Mandela’s  autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom.The South African government has also forgotten the HIV/AIDs epidemic that hit that country some years ago.  We know of NO African nation, most certainly not Liberia,  that restricted South Africans from entry  into their borders for fear of the highly contagious, even deadly disease.The same swiftness with which Pretoria, one of the better endowed African nations, slammed its sanctions against the three affected nations, could have been tempered with a corresponding gesture of compassion, by making a modest  contribution to their brothers and sisters in distress in the three  affected countries, to help them in their fight against  Ebola.  Alas, none was forthcoming.All of this leads us to ask, whither, African solidarity? A senior European diplomat in Monrovia earlier this week called the Daily Observer to explain how the Europeans and Americans had decided to join forces with the three affected MRU nations constructively in the fight against Ebola and to avoid travel and other  restrictions against them.  He ended his call by exclaiming, “Sorry, my dear friend, for African solidarity.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Piah Replies Urey

first_imgWelcome ladies and gentlemen of the press. We have followed a lot of loose comments made by Mr. Benoni Urey, specifically targeted at the presidency.Our initial thoughts, I must say in all honesty, is that Mr. Urey’s comments reflect serious lack of governance, political ineptitude and naivety on the part of a “political nobody” who has allowed his quest for the presidency to render him mischievous and disingenuous.Mr. Urey argues that President Sirleaf has no interest in Liberia and its people simply because she departed the country to participate in the 4th EU-Africa Summit at the time an outbreak of Ebola was reported in the country.If this statement came from just anybody, we would not have been surprise at all; but coming from a man who says he has the desire for the Presidency, we are not only surprised but ashamed of him.As a person who currently works at the presidency and is intone with presidential activities, duties and functions, let me use this time to provide a little education to Mr. Urey about the presidency.The presidency, not just of Liberia but all other countries, is an office of government that is not and cannot function as a one-stop-shop. In fact, a President must deal with multiple issues at the same time and does not shut down all other activities of government due to one. When one is President, he or she remains President no matter where he or she is – whether in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Brussels or in any other part of the country.It cannot be considered that a President has abandoned a country simply due to her absence from the country. Mr. Urey needs to know that when the President of a country is out of the country on official business, he or she mobilizes and directs the government to perform. In fact, on such occasions, Presidents are always engaged bilaterally, most times to the benefit of the country.Let me quickly state to Mr. Urey that many of the bilateral engagements that President Sirleaf has had on her current visit abroad has been dominated by issues surrounding the outbreak of Ebola in Liberia.The simple reason is this: A disease like Ebola not only requires the intervention of the Government of Liberia, but international partners as well to ensure that it is contained. This is exactly part of her agenda during her bilateral discussion while away.At every opportunity, President Sirleaf has informed her colleagues, partners and friends who are now on the alert to assist Liberia, should we find it difficult to control the current outbreak.Another issue here is that if a person who desires the President of Liberia does not understand these simple elementary principles of the presidency, such person, we advice should remain selling scratch cards and making their farms rather having a naked desire for a presidency that he or she does not understand. Mr. Urey has reflected clearly from his outburst that he has gross limitations in understanding the intricacies of the presidency – a fault he has exposed as a result of his loose comments.An interest to us is a suggestion also made by Mr. Urey that other well meaning citizens who are providing services to the government are “Americans” that should be, according to him, voted out of office so that they pack their belongings and  return to America – what an agent of divisiveness. Is this the Urey who craves for the Presidency?What kind of President will he be when he has started, on his own accord, to draw dichotomies between and among our people? He knocked his chest and brag to be president for murderers and criminals.Let me quickly remind him that Liberia does not need a murderer-in-chief nor a criminal-in-chief but a Commander-in-Chief who will transform even the murderers and criminals to productive citizens.If there are people who by the deeds and actions have made others murderers and criminals and therefore already see themselves as president for those people, then that is a zone of comfort that they could remain rather than seeking the  presidency which they have demonstrated that they have no understanding about.Let me also say to Mr. Urey that before the President departed the country, she was engaged with the Ebola outbreak. Three separate meetings were held with the President by the technical committee who provided adequate briefing to the President which enabled her to direct the course of affairs as was required in handling the Ebola situation.He needs to also know that more than three times a day the President receives briefing from the acting Chair of the Cabinet, Honorable Morris Dukuly, which is also enabling her to perform adequately her supervisory responsibility.Mr. Urey ought to know that in six weeks, nearly 70 persons died in Guinea from the outbreak. In the past three weeks, you can see for yourselves the mortality rate in Liberia. This should be a clear demonstration to him that those who are in charge of this process are performing with efficiency and proficiency purely based on an account of the kind of supervision that is being provided by the President.Finally, the Executive Mansion will like to strongly advice all Liberians and politicians in particular to refrain from using this serious health issue for politics as the spread of the disease knows no bounds. This is a situation, in our view, that requires all hands on deck as this is not the time for politics.Thank you.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Statement ByMr. Jerolinmek PiahPresidential Press SecretaryOnComments Made By Mr. Benoni UreyThursday, April 3, 2014 Press secretary to Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Jerolinmek M. PiahPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Press Secretary, Jerolinmek Piah, has responded to presidential hopeful Benoni Urey’s claims that President Sirleaf is disinterested in Liberia for being out of the country during an Ebola crisis:last_img read more

Shining Among Multitudes

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has lauded Montserrado County Representative Saah Joseph for his level of dedication and love exhibited for Liberia and Liberians especially during the peak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) crisis when he, though being a legislator, took upon himself to make sacrifices in an effort to save the lives of his compatriots.President Sirleaf, in a retrospective tone, reflected on the Montserrado County lawmaker as one of the first responders on the Ebola frontline. “You were one of the first on the Ebola frontline and faced the virus when a lot of people did not know the disease well and were afraid and confused.“You and your team braved the storm when doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers as well as our citizens were dying in their numbers; you are a true servant and hero of our country,” President Sirleaf informed Representative Joseph.President Sirleaf made the statement when she received a 20-member team of the First Responders Emergency Medical Services Incorporated (FREMSI) of Representative Joseph at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia.FREMSI is a medical services provider established and operated by the Montserrado District #13 Representative. It was established during the heat of the Ebola crisis in Liberia and is now being considered as one of the heroes of the fight against the scourge as a result of the cardinal role it played in the fight.Representative Joseph ran an emergency ambulance service during the Ebola crisis-being one of the first, when the international community was still asleep and not even thinking about how to intervene in the crisis to beef-up efforts to contain the virus.The FREMSI team was led to the President’s office by the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) lawmaker himself. He had gone to inform President Sirleaf that his organization had concluded all arrangements for the deployment of a 20-member response team with three ambulances to aid the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone.His effort is in support of the Liberian Government’s pledge to assist the people of Sierra Leone in their fight against the further spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease.President Sirleaf lauded Representative Joseph for his commitment to help eradicate the deadly Ebola virus disease not just from Liberia, but the entire sub-region and expressed government’s admiration and appreciation for the work of FREMSI.With a huge success in Liberia’s battle against Ebola, President Sirleaf weeks ago announced plans to assist the Sierra Leonean Government in its effort to eradicate the Ebola virus.She described the news of Liberia’s deployment in Sierra Leone by FREMSI as wonderful news that must be celebrated. She promised government’s support to the team and indicated that Liberia has already deployed a mobile testing lab to Sierra Leone and will send additional healthcare workers from the African Union team currently in Liberia.President Sirleaf recognized Liberia’s success in the Ebola fight but warned that the country should not be complacent. “We must all continue to follow the preventative measures and other rules that have impacted our success against the deadly Ebola virus disease,” she urged.Representative Joseph informed President Sirleaf that his team will basically facilitate the timely transport of sick persons to testing and treatment facilities in Sierra Leone and will not be involved with work activities in Ebola Treatment Units.He pointed out that though his effort was a private and personal initiative, the team will be representing Liberia. “This is why we thought it very important to meet with you and seek your blessings before departure for Sierra Leone. FREMSI is very happy and proud to be able to help our brothers and sisters on the other side on behalf of our country and people,” Representative Joseph informed President Sirleaf. He used the occasion to appreciate members of his team for their sacrifice and commitment to serving humanity even with risk to their personal safety and wellbeing. “You have served Liberia well and now prepared to do the same for your brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone in a show of great solidarity and I remain very proud of you all,” he declared.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

CDC Youth Wing Chair Jailed

first_imgAfter failing to secure a US$2,500 bond, the Monrovia City Court on Wednesday forwarded a political party youth leader, Jefferson T. Korjee, to the Monrovia Central Prison to await trial on charges of aggravated assault and kidnapping.Korjee is the National Youth Chairman of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), whose political leader is Amb. George M. Weah.Party members created a spectacle trying to raise the bond in time to prevent Korjee from going to jail. A dramatic effort by Korjee’s lawyers and other executive members of the party including Representatives Acarous Gray and Thomas Fallah of Montserrado County Districts 8 and 5 respectively could not muster the bond fee of US$2,500.They were expected to file the bond before 3 p.m. because under the State of Emergency, every court throughout the country is ordered to be closed by that time instead of the normal 6 p.m. closing time.Because party members delayed in obtaining the bond fee, Magistrate James Dudu ordered Korjee’s detention at the Monrovia Central Prison.Previously Korjee had spent two nights at the headquarters of the Liberia National Police (LNP) before he was charged with aggravated assault and kidnapping. His charge is based on a complaint from one Gbeh Salinto Montgomery said to be the deputy national secretary for youth affairs of the CDC.Montgomery accused Korjee and another CDC executive, Mulbah Morlu of stripping and flogging him. He alleged that the beating caused him several bodily wounds.Morlu did not appear before the court on Wednesday and the reason for his absence was not disclosed.Interestingly, at Wednesday’s hearing, a group of young people believed to be followers of Korjee and the party was seen holding placards in their hands, protesting against his imprisonment and describing it as “politically motivated.”They were, however, prevented from entering the courtroom by officers of the Police Support Unit (PSU) of the LNP. The PSU officers managed to restore calm at the Temple of Justice before they drove Korjee away to his prison cell. Montgomery recounted that the alleged flogging happened on October 21 at the CDC party headquarters during one of their meetings.Montgomery alleged that Korjee and Morlu harmed him because of his support for the party’s former chairman, Mr. George Solo. “On the morning of October 21 at about 3 am, I received a call from Korjee and he said that he was disappointed in me because my car was parked in the fence of Solo,” Montgomery explained in his allegation to police.Montgomery said his response to Korjee was that they as youth leaders needed to do something to maintain peace in the party.Montgomery further recounted that after the conversation he called one Habakkuk Wommie who is the vice chairman for International Affairs of the party’s Youth League.     It was Wommie who suggested for them to meet at the party headquarters to discuss the matter, Montgomery claims.“While we were in the discussion a young man threatened me not to leave the area,” the CDC’s deputy youth secretary said.“While I was arguing with the young man, a group of other young men, including Korjee, Morlu and Habakkuk grabbed me and took me to the back of the headquarters.  They put me into a small room where I met another man identified as Tetoe, whose two legs were tied,” Montgomery further recounted.Montgomery said it was in the room that Morlu, Korjee and Habakkuk stripped and flogged him.“They claimed that they were acting upon the instructions of Amb. George Weah,” Montgomery alleged.“After beating me,” Montgomery added, “they started questioning me about several issues relating to my alliance with George Solo.”“Who’s supporting George Solo in the government?” he quoted one of the questions his tormentors asked him.“They threatened that if I didn’t tell them what they wanted to know, they would kill me because Amb. Weah had asked them to kill me for going against his interest,” Montgomery claimed regarding Amb. Weah’s alleged involvement in the plot.Montgomery further claimed that Morlu and Korjee promised to release him only if he agreed to lie on himself in a video recording.“They intimidated me into declaring on the recording that I sexually harassed a little girl, which was the reason why the angry mob attacked me,” Montgomery said in his testimony to police.He further alleged that Korjee and Morlu also threatened to release the video if he tried to disclose anything to the media about his mistreatment.Police said during the investigation that the accused, Korjee, Morlu and Habakkuk denied the allegations.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Guyana must move to a marijuana industry

first_imgDear Editor,It was announced on February 28 that the world’s largest marijuana company has signalled its intention to be listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Also, more than 33 states in the USA have legalised marijuana, for medical and/or recreational use. Uruguay, North Korea and other countries have fully legalised marijuana.What these states and countries have in common are strong and growing economies, because of the revenue being collected from taxes and trade. It is also important to note that the Netherlands, which was one of the first to legalize Marijuana, has a crime rate that is less than most countries in the world, to the point where that country is actually closing some of its prisons.If Guyana wants to find a viable alternative to the sugar industry, which is now in crisis, why not invest in marijuana as an agricultural, research and product manufacturing economy. We have the land and the agricultural know-how to transition to this crop very easily, and its return on investment would be much higher than rice and sugar combined.The marijuana industry generated US$ 6.7 billion in revenue in North America in 2016, and is projected to grow to US$20 billion by 2021. In Colorado alone, the industry generated US$1 billion in sales in 2015, and that state collected US$150 million in taxes and fees. All this in just a few years, while countries like Guyana are doing the opposite by spending tax payers’ money to send people to prison, while other countries are using those people to grow their economies.Any Government that does not reform its marijuana laws is doing an injustice to its citizens, and I am surprised that we have not yet tabled a bill to reform our laws to pave the way for a marijuana industry.We should be thinking of ways to replace the sugar cane fields with marijuana plants and setting up research facilities and factories to produce all the countless products that come from marijuana, which include medicines, clothes, cosmetics and other industrial products. We should be setting up marijuana resorts for tourism like the Netherlands, and differentiate ourselves as an organic producer of quality weed.Once again, we are not taking the opportunity to seize a moment to diversify our income streams for the country; instead, we are all focused on Exxon and the 1% oil contract. We must open our eyes and see that most, if not all, countries of coloured people, with the exception of some Middle Eastern states, have not seen much prosperity from oil. The list is long, and ranges from Nigeria to Equatorial Guinea to Angola and others.Let’s not depend solely on our politicians to bring us economic liberation, because we will be waiting for a very, very long time. We must start thinking of our country as our own, and demand a better future.Sincerely,Malcolm Watkinslast_img read more

Is there a move to sabotage Government and Opposition talks?

first_imgDear Editor,Pradoville is back in the news, and the contentious nature of the issue aside, what I found interesting is the timing of the latest update from a unit that falls under the Ministry of the Presidency, which houses the President and the Prime Minister. I say interesting because of the visible pattern in the last 12 months.President Granger and Opposition Leader Jagdeo met on July 19th, 2018, and on July 22nd, 2018 we had the Pradoville issue resurfacing in sections of the media under the caption ‘SOCU completes Pradoville 2 file, charges ready to be laid’.Backtrack to January 3rd, 2018, when the two men met. Again, two days later, on January 5th, 2018, you had SOCU and Pradoville back in the news, this time under an article captioned ‘Sittlington to return as Mentor/Advisor to SOCU’, which talked about a foreigner continuing his work to ensure that there are convictions in the cases being addressed by SOCU.Even more interesting was that the news of Sittlington’s return not only came two days after the Granger-Jagdeo meeting, but it came EIGHT MONTHS after Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan asked for him to return to SOCU.  Was it planned timing?A third case is seen after the Granger-Jagdeo meeting on October 19th, 2017.  After that meeting, on November 28th, 2017, there was an article under the caption ‘Pradoville Two probe…Assessor moves in to value properties’.Again we saw this pattern with the June 12th, 2017 meeting, and the article that same month under the caption ‘Suspected Pradoville ‘schemers’ closer to climbing court step’.Editor, I have spent some time to detail these four examples to demonstrate that what we are seeing is a pattern.That said, the question that must be asked, given the major focus of the July 19th, 2018 meeting between Granger and Jagdeo (the likelihood of Government and Opposition talks) is: Is there a move to sabotage Government and Opposition talks?Secondly, is it the President’s office behind this move? Or is it the Prime Minister’s office?In my view, it seems more likely that it may be the Prime Minister’s office.  You only have to look at the big picture to see why.If the Opposition, the PPP, and APNU engage, the AFC becomes more irrelevant. Their relevance is diminished because they are not among the political players dealing with moving political dialogue forward; the AFC has no seat at the table.   If the PPP and APNU engage and reach agreement on issues, what use is the AFC serving? They have no constituency. Isn’t this reason enough to want to sabotage the Government and Opposition talks to make sure that the AFC remains somewhat relevant?Editor, with all that said, I want to say that the question “Is there a move to sabotage Government and Opposition talks?” is an important one, particularly given the gravity of having Government and Opposition engage.Regards,Attiya Bakshlast_img read more

Sugar: The rise and fall of a Government

first_imgDear Editor,There is much debate, analysis and conclusions on what caused Mr Charrandas Persaud to vote against his Government on December 21, 2018 in the National Assembly. Mr Persaud in his media interactions and on social media cited many reasons for his action. One of the reasons identified, is the manner in which his Government handled the sugar industry.In his exact words, he stated that “…. you destroy(ed) the lives of sugar workers in a village, district that I live in, I cannot live with that”.Editor, this statement from Mr Persaud is instructive and requires further examination. From all indications, Mr Persaud was instrumental in luring many sugar workers and their families from his village/district to support the APNU/AFC coalition in the May 2015 elections.The promise of 20 per cent increase in wages for sugar workers and a better life attracted attention and eventual support. This new electoral support from the sugar belt was enough to thrust the APNU/AFC coalition in Government. Upon assumption to office, the coalition shamelessly abandoned its campaign promises for the sugar sector and adopted the Errol Hanoman/Clive Thomas destructive and devious plan of systematic estate closure and sell-out. By December 2017, that promise of 20 per cent increase in wages and a good life for the people in Mr Persaud’s village/district changed to a life of zero wage and misery with the closure of Rose Hall Sugar Estate.This draconian action by the Government on the very people that contributed to its rise to power must have rattled the soul of Mr Persaud and etched at his conscience. He witnessed first-hand; the daily struggles of the thousands of newly unemployed and had no answers for their questions on the promises which he led them to believe.The destroyed livelihoods of ordinary citizens (voters) and the Cadillac livelihood of decision makers (politicians) was convincing enough for Mr Persaud to have no confidence in his own Government. This was expressed in his supporting vote in the National Assembly for which he must be commended.If the APNU/AFC coalition decides to step out of its arrogant and denial modes, it will recognise, the importance of sugar in Guyana’s society. Sugar was instrumental in APNU/AFC’s rise to and fall from power in 3 ½ short years.The subject of sugar will continue to be a major part of the Guyanese conversation. While the APNU/AFC coalition Government was deliberate in diminishing the sector, all other entities and organisations must be commended for the focus and prominence they gave sugar.The electronic and print mediums, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and especially the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) deserve special commendation for its individual focus on the subject of sugar. GAWU has been focused, responsible and relentless in its efforts in highlighting the developments in the industry.Despite its challenges, sugar remains a formidable force, capable of making or breaking a Government. Let’s light a candle for the 7000 sugar workers that were terminated by APNU/ AFC Government.Sincerely,Sookram Persaudlast_img read more

Are the GRA boss and Police Commissioner asleep?

first_imgDear Editor,There is a crisis in this country, and it is being ignored by the Guyana Revenue Authority and the Guyana Police Force. Due to the neglect by these two Government entities, unscrupulous persons are blatantly violating our laws with impunity, and contributing to the social decay of our country.A causal walk around Georgetown and the country would reveal numerous illegal rum shops and beer gardens at every corner, sometimes many such outfits are in one corner, in full view of everyone.Illegal rum shops exist with mobile freezers, the owners of which outwardly claim to sell just snacks and soft drinks, but they carry a full line of beers, and in many cases a variety of liquors. I saw illegal rum shops also in markets and at major street corners.We know of the social ills related to alcohol use, and the destruction of homes and lives, with the attendant crimes also. Our young people are become drunkards at a very early age due to the failure of Guyana Revenue Authority and the Guyana Police Force to regulate the sale of liquor and prosecute the law breakers. It is clear that the GRA and the Guyana Police Force are turning a blind eye on this scourge affecting our nation.What is really happening to our country? Are we promoting a nation of drunkards? Why are the Guyana Revenue Authority and the Guyana Police Force promoting these illegal beer gardens and rum shops? It has to be that they are promoting them, since they have allowed them to operate all over the place and at all hours.There is blatant disregard for our laws, and the promotion of lawlessness and drunkenness among our youths and older people. These mobile freezers and makeshift rum shops have no standards, and are not accountable to anyone. Some of them also play loud music, which disturbs neighbours, and some also sell food in unsanitary conditions.I have had the unfortunate experience of witnessing my underage grandson become a drunkard at these corner freezer rum shops, and his underage friends are the same way. Are there not laws governing who can sell liquor, and where it can be sold? Do these makeshift illegal shops pay taxes, or obtain all the approvals or licences to sell liquor and beer?Of least concern to me is the competition that they give to approved rum shops and beer gardens, but isn’t that unfair competition to those registered and licensed rum shops and beer gardens?Is this what we are promoting to foreign visitors and our young people?It is time for GRA Commissioner Godfrey Statia and Police Commissioner Leslie James to wake up from their slumber and enforce the laws, and close down these freezer rum shops and other illegal shops selling liquor and beer.Sincerely,Clayton R Harrislast_img read more