Liberia has been de-listed from the United States Government’s Defense Department’s imminent danger area. This means that Liberia’s territorial limit no longer poses any threat or threat coming from Liberia toward any US military service personnel “has been significantly reduced.”In a release, the Defense Department said: “Today, the Defense Department announced the recertification of some locations as imminent danger pay areas while discontinuing that designation for others. A periodic review and recertification was conducted for Imminent Danger Pay (IDP) purposes and was made in coordination with the joint staff, combatant commands and military services. The combatant commands conducted in-depth threat assessments for countries within their areas of responsibility. Following the Defense Department’s review, it was determined that the imminent threat of physical harm to U.S. military personnel due to civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism, or wartime conditions has been significantly reduced in many countries. As a result, IDP will be discontinued in those areas. IDP is authorized in areas designated by the Defense Department. Periodic recertification of IDP ensures that imminent danger designations match the actual conditions of designated countries so that the department can provide fair entitlements and benefits. The last recertification was completed in 2007.The following locations will no longer be designated as imminent danger areas for IDP purposes, effective June 1, 2014:• The nine land areas of East Timor, Haiti, Liberia, Oman, Rwanda, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. • The six land areas and airspace above Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, and Montenegro. • The four water areas of the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, and the Red Sea.• The water area and air space above the Persian Gulf.IDP will remain in effect for Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, and Egypt within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The executive director of the Foundation for International Dignity, (FIND), Mr. Roosevelt Woods, has said that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s recent statement, that before any non-governmental organizations (NGOs) get access to donor funding that NGO should have an office space, be well established and must have a current bank account, is “unjustifiable and unrealistic.”According to Woods, no NGO would receive funding from the international community without it being nationally recognized, including have all of the above.He said the Liberian Government usually asks all of the above questions to an NGO, which is wanting to be registered and operate within the territorial confine of Liberia. So for the President to mention that in her Annual Message to the Legislature on January 27, was an “attack” against NGOs.Addressing a press conference recently in Monrovia, FIND’s executive director noted that it was preferable for President Sirleaf to talk about developmental issues than attack NGOs, who, according to him, are playing important role in the rebuilding process of the country.Mr. Woods said the Liberian leader’s comments, has the propensity to strain relations with the humanitarian community. He maintained that NGOs were operating in the confines of the Liberian laws.The human right advocates explain that NGOs are struggling for survival as they and the governments were competing for resources from partners.“NGOs are sleeping dogs in this country. We are starving and want to complement the works done by government, and they are not supporting our work, but rather undermining our efforts.”Woods stated that President Sirleaf ignored cardinal national topics\issues that are supposed to improve the living conditions of the Liberians when she last addressed the nation.Meanwhile, in her Annual Message to the 53rd National Legislature, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said that to ensure this partnership, the government will require national and international NGOs to submit a report of their annual activities, and registered with the relevant government agency every year; that NGOs disclose to the Government details of the funds pledged by donors for project implementation in the country.The Liberian leader added that every NGO should have an office space, audited bank account as well as current account.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
A Spelling Bee competition hosted by the Ministry of Education has ended with Bong County emerging as the 1st place winner of this year’s competition.Bong County’s David Howard, Jr. was followed by Vera Lah from Nimba & Courage G. Noring from River Gee in second and third places, respectively.Student Howard is an 8th grader from Bong Mines Central High School, while second place winner, Ms. Lah, is a 7th grader of ArcelorMittal High School in Nimba County. Third place winner Courage G. Noring is an 8th grader of Kaytoken Elementary & Junior High School in River Gee County.The Ministry of Education held the Spelling Bee competition in collaboration with partners, including the Lone Star Cell MTN.Forty-two students participated in this year’s Spelling Bee finals, held at the Monrovia City Hall.First-place winner David Howard Jr., walked away with US$1,500, while the second and third winners cashed in on US$1000 and US$500, respectively.In Education Minister Edmonia Tarpeh’s speech, she said the competition was intended to showcase the spectacular display of scholars and talented students and the best performing students in grades 4 to 8.According to Minister Tarpeh, reading and spelling have been a serious challenge in Liberian schools, and the Spelling Bee competition was one of the ways of motivating the young people to seek academic excellence and focus on preparing themselves for academic activities.“This means reading and spelling should not just be an annual event, rather they must be an activities in the academic life of our students; and we want to encourage teachers, parents, education officers and all partners in the sector to be fully involved,” she said.This year’s competition, which was the 7th annual event of its kind to be organized and hosted by the Ministry of Education, was themed, “Promoting Reading and Spelling in Liberia.”The Minister further reassured participants of her Ministry’s commitment to promoting reading and spelling in Liberian schools in order to foster academic excellence. Tarpeh added that she was overwhelmed by the many parents and students, who showed interest in the competition, throughout the country.She disclosed that ‘avenues’ were being explored in order for future winner to be able to participate in future international Spelling Bee competitions in other countries.“Participating in international Spelling Bee competitions will not only heighten their profile and network, but primarily broaden their academic horizons,” the Education Minister explained.The Country Director of Right to Play, Madam Josephine Kora-Thama, another collaborating partner of the contest, gave each of the 42 participants footballs and said the three winners are Ambassadors of Sports in their respective counties.Madam Kora-Thama expressed appreciation to the MOE for motivating students in their academic activities. She used the occasion to call on parents and teachers to encourage and allow the children to have time to play.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Stakeholders in livestock production in Liberia have expressed need for a policy that will enhance livestock development in the country.The stakeholders raised the concern Thursday, May 15, at a one-day consultative meeting held at the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and was convened by the international non-governmental organization, BRAC-Liberia.Stakeholders attending the meeting included officials of the MoA and those from the private sector, who had gathered to review and and obtain inputs from the National Livestock Policy of Liberia.In his presentation, Prof. M. Golam Shahi Alam, international consultant at BRAC-Liberia, said the sector can contribute immensely to food security, economic growth and wealth creation in the country, provided there is a regulation to guide the sector.According to him, animal health and veterinary services play significant roles in the sector and, as such, there is a need to implement the policy in line with Office International des Epizooties (OIE) and World Trade Organization (WTO).The World Organization (formerly the Office International des Epizooties (OIE)) is the world organization for animal health.Alam, who is a professor at the Bangladesh University of Agriculture, said the Veterinary Public Health section (VPH) needs to ensure food safety, control of zoonotic disease, meat inspection and abattoir management, which he said is very poor in Liberia.He, however, indicated that the limited VPH division/section in the Bureau of National Livestock (BNL) lacks manpower as well as funding and laboratory facilities.“No legal framework to implement the mandate imposed,” he noted.The Bangladesh professor explained that VPH needs to participate in the process to regionalized disease control for increasing international market access and ensuring human health safety.He asserted that Liberia has laws and regulation to cover a few areas, but the regulatory framework and implementation is still weak.However, prof. Alam said the institutions (BNL/MOA) are responsible for drafting and implementing laws and regulations in the sector.At the same time, Prof. Alam said marketing of livestock products needs to be regulated, especially on the importations of the product, which according to him has bad impact on local producers as well as subsidy on animal feeds, vaccine, drugs and other things.For his part, Joseph Anderson, Director of Animal Health Services acknowledged BRAC-Liberia for briefing them on the issues and hoped that they will come up with a policy to regulate the sector.Director Anderson told participants that MOA has a Veterinary Department, but nobody is interested in the profession.He said regulating the sector will guide the protection of livestock, farmers and investors, and equally address food security.Mr. Anderson also urged participants to provide their inputs as they are establishing a national document for them.Participants at the one-day stakeholders meeting thanked MOA and BRAC for such an initiative.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
An American doctor treating Ebola-infected patients in Liberia has contracted the deadly virus, the organization for which he works said Saturday.Thirty-three year old Dr. Kent Brantly has a private practice in Fort Worth in Texas, and had been working as the medical director for the Ebola Consolidated Case Management Center of Samaritan’s Purse in the capital of Liberia, Monrovia, since October 2013.The Samaritan’s Purse said Brantly has been receiving treatment at the organization’s isolation center at the Eternal Love Winning Africa (ELWA) Hospital after he was diagnosed positive for the virus.Melissa Strickland, spokeswoman of Samaritan’s Purse, said Brantly’s wife and two children had been living with the doctor in Liberia, but currently they are in the U.S.Few days ago, a doctor in Sierra Leone, who is also leading the fight against Ebola, also catches the disease.The latest incidents of Ebola infection have increased fears that the virus might spread in other most densely populated cities in the region. Nigeria which is the largest city in Africa with 21 million residents, recorded its first case after a Liberian man died last week in Lagos, Nigeria.The Ebola outbreak has so far killed more than 600 patients in four West African countries this year.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Barely a week following the designation of a new Minister of Education, some members of the public are of the view that the new administration will not be different to change the educational direction of the country.However, others believe that the Ministry under Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell’s leadership will make a tremendous improvement—just as she transformed the Tubman University (TU) in Maryland County, over the past years.Those views about the incoming administrative structure at the Ministry of Education (MOE) were made when this newspaper quizzed some members of the public, particularly those in Monrovia, following the pronouncement of Dr. Russell’s name by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the Minister-designate for MOE.Some of those interviewed told the Daily Observer that the administration of Dr. Russell will not succeed “unless she approaches the job in the same way she effected reformation of TU to its present status.”“Anything short of that, the education sector will continue to cry for improvement with regards to putting in place of quality education, mainly at the beginner’s level.“We expect that she will constitute a reform and amid her visionary temperament she will bring to bear the same kind of institutionalized tendencies that were manifested in the efficient, mature and responsible, manner in which she ran Tubman University. There, she involved the ‘best brains’ that made her administration purposefully workable for the past six years.Like the thinking of President Sirleaf, all other Liberians, including some of the educational partners, have perhaps placed their delicate confidence in Dr. Russell’s ability to lead the dawn of a new educational day in post-war Liberia.Before coming to the MOE, Dr. Russell served the TU for several years, transforming it to be rated as one of the best run institutions of higher learning in the country.Elizabeth Davis-Russell was born in Harper, Maryland County Liberia, to Former Supreme Court Associate Justice O. Natty B. Davis and Diana Dueh. She began her education at the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Day School in Harper, and then transferred to Cape Palmas High School where she completed the eighth grade. She attended Suehn Academy from where she graduated from high school. She continued her studies at London Tutorial College in the United Kingdom (UK), where she completed her ‘O’ Levels. She then went to the United States and attended Oakland University in Michigan where she completed a B.A. degree in Psychology in 1965. Dr. Russell was shortly thereafter accepted into New York University for graduate work. In 1966, she obtained an M.A. in Educational Psychology, following which she was accepted into Yeshiva University where in 1975, she obtained an EdD in Counseling Education.Desirous of fulfilling her dream to become a psychologist, she then matriculated at New York University and completed a PhD in Clinical Psychology in 1987. Upon graduation, she pursued Post Graduate Training and received certification in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at the Institute for the Study of Psychotherapy in New York, NY.Dr. Russell is a licensed psychologist in the State of California, where she had a private practice in addition to her passion for the teaching in the profession.In October 2007, Dr. Davis-Russell was appointed president for W.V.S. Tubman College of Technology in Harper, Liberia. She assumed leadership of the institution in July 2008. Prior to this position, she served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York College at Cortland. She has spent most of her career in higher education as a faculty member and then as an administrator.Prior to her appointment as the Minister of Education, she served in several other capacities both in government and private sector, the latest being president of TU where the institution now witnessed tremendous transformation.Dr. Davis-Russell is married to Thomas E. Russell. Their family includes daughter Dr. Allison Hader, son-in-law Dr. Daniel Hader, and son Scott Olie Russell.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Further up the highway, in Margibi, is a very small community school at Marshall Junction, which another polling center comprising five rooms. It was the same slow turnout, one of the polling officers who didn’t want to be named told the Observer. Few hours later, what appeared to be chartered vehicles, began bringing voters in. A driver from one of the buses told the Daily Observer that he had taken some of the voters from Soul Clinic Community in Paynesville City, Montserrado County. The driver’s admission validates complaints made earlier this year in some quarters that people were being trucked in from other parts of the country to register and increase the voting population of certain particular candidates. This was widespread in the 2011 General and Presidential Elections, which President Ellen Johnson won for her second and final term. Our reporter further observed that some of the voters, who were brought in to cast their ballots, were drinking a white creamy substance. One of them told the Daily Observer: “We have to get in zico (a Liberian slang among young people, meaning ‘high’ or ‘tipsy’) before we can go and cast our vote.” However, the election officers did not allow them in until they had left their bottles behind. At the Rock Church School, polling got off to a very slow start. Voters from the surrounding communities, including Dwazon, Gbengba town, and Camp Edward Beyan Kesselly Military Barracks, trickled in to cast their ballot. In lower Margibi County, at least 13 candidates, including incumbent Senator Clarice Jah, of the Unity Party; Saah Gbollie, former Margibi County representative and National Patriotic Party in the 52nd legislature; and UL Prof, Dean Ansu Sonii, are all vying for the single senatorial post. Prof. Sonii is running as an independent candidate, while Jah and Gbollie are seen as the front runners for the County senatorial seat. The election officers, even though had no police officers to help them properly order the process like as was the case at Rock, which had at least four police officers, still managed to keep the place orderly. Voters were seen observing the ‘2-3 feet apart’ preventive method put in place by the NEC against the further spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease, which has so far killed more than, 3000 persons in Liberia. Off the highway and deep into Lower Margibi County, in Folley Town, the issue of health measures was thrown out of the window. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dear Editor,Guyanese need to start ratcheting up the pressure on the David Granger APNU/AFC Government. It is dastardly and diabolical that David Granger refuses to call General Elections after the No-Confidence Motion was passed against the Government.It is not the case that the PPP/C makes a better alternative with Irfaan Ali as the presidential candidate with Bharrat Jagdeo pulling strings behind the scene.The case is that the APNU/AFC are wannabe dictators and must be resisted.The fact is that David Granger (as President) anointed retired Justice James Patterson as Chairman of GECOM who now votes with the APNU/AFC Government Commissioners on GECOM.Some of us PPP/C supporters gave the APNU/AFC the benefit of the doubt but enough is enough, time to rid ourselves of these wannabe dictators.Yours faithfully,Sean Ori
Though the political party to which he belongs wants the powers of State Minister Joseph Harmon to bePrime MinisterMoses Nagamootooreduced, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo says he has no indictment against him.Speaking to the media on Monday Nagamootoo explained that it is not a matter of personalities but rather an issue of government functions.“I am talking about responsibilities, how to defuse and share responsibilities so that it may not be too cumbersome on one person to handle and juggle many portfolios… and make for the work of Office [of the President] easier and one can concentrate on a specific limited area of functions,” he stated.Moreover, Nagamootoo declared that he believes Harmon is “honest” and that he has nothing against him.“This has nothing to do with an indictment of anyone, in particular Minister Harmon. I subscribe to the view also that he is an honest person. I have worked with him. I have nothing about his integrity,” he stated.Furthermore, Nagamootoo expressed that the role being performed by Harmon should in fact be taken up by a retired public servant.“The position of the Secretary to Cabinet have always been a position held by a public servant, at most a retired public servant because that is a highly specialised position with specialised duties,” he said, noting that such an individual would possess the desired traits of confidentiality.“Ideally if you want to think of someone who can hold that position, I would say that I would be a traditionalist, go back to what could happen before the “Luncheon transition” was made, to lump everything in one person,” he stated.On Sunday following a leadership retreat, the AFC issued a statement, noting that the party believes Minister of State Joseph Harmon has too much power.In a statement issued on behalf of the party by Press Secretary of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, Imran Khan, the AFC said the continuing revelations arising out of the appointment of the Advisor on Business Development, and the issues surrounding it, have their roots in the “concentration of the powers of the office of the Cabinet Secretary, the Minister of State in the Ministry of the Presidency and the effective Head of Presidential Secretariat in a single person”.“The responsibilities of each of the above portfolios are substantial and of critical importance to the smooth operations of the Government and would benefit from separate appointments,” the AFC said in the statement.The party said it has mandated its leadership in Cabinet to have these issues raised and addressed as a matter of national importance.
The Public Infrastructure Ministry has announced that Carifesta Avenue and the Railway Embankment, from Turkeyen to Ogle, East Coast Demerara, will be closed to vehicular traffic for three days.According to an advisory from the Ministry, the closure is effective from today.Cariesta Avenue is being closed to facilitate asphalt work along the roadway, which has been undergoing facelift works for the past few weeks. The works are being done under the ‘Urban renewal on Carifesta Avenue: Avenue of the Caribbean’ project and is divided into two parts. One aspect of the project will tackle lighting while the second will deal with civil works.The $138 million project will see the road widening to the north and the creation of sidewalks along the road. In addition, there will be a median installed in the middle of the road to separate the southern and northern carriageway.These works are among major plans put in place to welcome regional leaders for the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Heads of Government Summit, which Guyana is co-hosting next week.One such plan is the renaming of Carifesta Avenue, which runs from the head of Vlissengen Road at the Kitty Pump Station all the way to Camp Street. According to sources from the Public Infrastructure Ministry, the new name of the road will be ‘Avenue of the Caribbean’.Moreover, Guyana Times was told that to commemorate the upcoming Caricom summit, plans are afoot to install flags of all the Caricom Member States on the median that will be placed along the road.On the other hand, as it relates to the closure of the Railway Embankment, between the Eugene F Correia Airport Access Road and UG Access Road, this is to also facilitate face lift works along the road which the regional heads will be using upon their arrival in Guyana.The Public Infrastructure Ministry is urging road users to use alternative bypasses for this period. Persons are also asked to pay close attention to all caution and directional signs in the area.The 37th Regular Meeting of the Conference will be held from July 4-6, under the Chairmanship of the Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and will be co-hosted by the Caricom Secretariat and the Government of Guyana.Guyana agreed to co-host the meeting after Dominica pulled out. The Caribbean island suffered significant damage after Tropical Storm Erika battered it for five hours in August 2015.According to the Rotation Schedule for the Chairmanship of the Conference, Guyana will assume Chairmanship from January 1 to June 30, 2017.