US Trains 5 DEA Officers

first_imgThe United States Government, through the international anti-drugs agency, has extended a training opportunity to at least five officers of the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).The training exercise, according to a dispatch from DEA, is expected to be held in Accra, Ghana shortly.Washington’s intervention comes in the wake of the passage and subsequent approval of the new anti-drug legislation by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and members of the 53rd National Legislature, respectively.The passage of the new anti-drug legislation is something that has made Liberia a compliant nation in line with the global fight against dangerous narcotics drugs and other harmful substances.DEA Director-general, Anthony K. Souh, is quoted in the dispatch as urging the five officers to pay keen attention to their courses, so as to acquire the needed knowledge that would make them efficient in the fight against drug peddlers across the country.Dr. Souh then praised Providence for His intervention, which he said, is steadily graduating the DEA from one level to the other, thereby shaping the dimension of the institution.“There was need to praise God for the passage of the drug law, and its subsequent approval by the President,” something he described “an absolute political will” that will go a long way in protecting the future of the nation from drug-driven evils.He said although the year 2014 was tedious and challenging, the DEA managed to achieve those fundamental things including anti-drug legislation and  deployment of officers at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) etc., without which the meaning of DEA could not be defined.He also called for uncompromising and  concerted efforts from the officers of the institution, because according to him, the eyes of the public and the watching world are set to see the agency overcoming the drug culture and reducing social evils in a decisive manner.He used the occasion to call for forgiveness, a firm team work and true spirit of loyalty to the state. “Forgive me if I ever offended you,” Director Souh appealed to his men.“Let us disarm our hearts and minds of envy, gossip and wishful thinking and forge ahead so that all of us can be proud of the DEA,” he noted in a conciliatory voice.Souh said the success of the DEA requires sharing opinions, creating the approximate dream and vision at all sectional levels.He promised that those who work harder stand to reap the resultant benefit.  He declared the year 2015 a “Year of Accountability.”He said performance and not connection and favoritism will be the yard stick by which his administration will measure its officers.“The goal of this institution is available for all of us to score. Therefore, I thank all of you who have the DEA at heart and are prepared to make the difference not in the interest of me as the Director, but in the supreme interest of the state and the international community, who expect more from us in the fight against drugs.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Elections for Judiciary & Defense C’ttees Today

first_imgSenators of the 4th Session of the 53rd Legislature will go to the polls today to elect chairpersons of the committees on Judiciary, Claims, Petitions, and Human Rights; and that of Defense, Intelligence, and Security & Veteran Affairs.Two new Senators, Cllr Varney Gboto Nabie Sherman (Grand Cape Mount) and Cllr. Steven H. Jorgbor Zargo (Lofa) are favored by bookmakers for the coveted posts.During the close of last Thursday’s sitting, the Pro Tempore announced that Senators interested in contesting for the two vacancies should apply in writing by the deadline yesterday February 23.The two positions became vacant following the resignation of Senator Joseph Nagbe from the committee on Judiciary to run for the post of President Pro Tempore. His decision was in line with guidelines for the Pro Tempore election which stated that candidates chairing statutory committees shall resign before contesting.The position for the Committee on Defense was last Thursday declared vacant after its Chair, Nimba County Senator Prince Yormie Johnson made a surprise announcement that he was resigning to vie for one of the two posts allotted for Senate representation at the ECOWAS Parliament.  The other post was won by Montserrado County Senator, former football legend George Manneh Weah.Last Thursday, the Senate elected chairpersons of four Statutory (Leadership) Committees of the Senate, and three representatives to international bodies.Montserrado Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif was voted in to replace ousted Margibi County Senator Clarice Alhpa Jah as Chair of the Committee on Executive. Prior to her election Thursday, Senator Doe-Sherif chaired the committee on Transport.  The much loaded Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget went to Grand Cape Mount Senator Edward Boakai Dagoseh, who defeated Grand Gedeh County Senator G. Alphonso Gaye. The two once worked at the Ministry of Finance.Prior to Thursday’s elections, Senator Dagoseh chaired the committee on Public Accounts and Audits while Senator Gaye chaired the Committee on Public Corporations.Another important position within the leadership hierarchy is that of Committee on Rules, Order and Administration which was once chaired by former Bomi County Senator Lahai G. Lansanah, but was last Thursday won by Lofa County Senator George Tamba Tengbeh, who had chaired the standing committee on Maritime.Interestingly, the Committee on Maritime now appears empty as the co-chair and other members were either defeated during the December 20, 2014 Special Senatorial Elections as the case with Senators Joyce Musu Freeman-Sumo, Clarice Jah and Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan, or John Whitfield, who passed away, and Senators Frederick Cherue and Cletus S. Wotorson who have retired.Nimba County Senator Thomas Grupee, former chair on Social Security, Pension and Insurance, has now been elected to chair the Committee on Internal Affairs, Governance and Reconciliation.Meanwhile, a staunch member of the ‘Majority Bloc’ in the Senate has declared that Cllr. Sherman is the candidate who his group will ensure wins the Committee on Judiciary.Bong County Senator Henry Willie Yallah allayed fears that his bloc’s overwhelming victories to chair all the important committees will cause a division in the Senate. On the contrary, Yallah said the heads of those committees will ensure that effective work is done to help bring integrity to the Senate.The next task of Pro Tempore Armah Jallah is the appointment of chairs of standing committees.  That process he said is already underway and will continue on Wednesday.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Young Liberian Evangelist Cautions Youths to Adopt Moral Values

first_imgA young Liberian evangelist and musician, Zinnah Dadzie,  says if young Liberians truly need societal change for the betterment of the country, they must begin now to adopt moral values that will affect the change.Evangelist Dadzie who is popularly known by his Gospel music “I jump over it,” made the assertion in an interview with the Daily Observer on April 18, 2015 in Monrovia.Making the statement in an exciting tone, Evangelist Dadzie said it is not enough to call for change, but if Liberian youths think corruption, discrimination, dishonesty and other sinful acts are bad for the country, they must avoid those things and live the way they think others should live.Dadzie who serves as president of the United Christian Youth Organization,  is of the conviction that Liberia can change and develop if young people set better moral examples by living righteously.The United Christian Youth Organization, according to the young evangelist, is a group from different churches of various denominations that bring together young people to propagate the Good News about Jesus Christ.In line with the objective and goal of the organization, Evangelist Dadzie said they are planning a conference for the 29th of April to bring together  Christian youths to teach the Judeo-Christian moral philosophies.Although could not give an exact position on where he stands on the suggestion of making Liberia a Christian state, Evangelist Dadzie asserted that if Liberians learn to live moral lives by observing the Christian values of  honesty, sincerity, and truthfulness, Liberia will not by constitution be called a Christian state.  But others who will see these Christian values.“The Finance Minister today will not be in that office forever, and ten years from now a youth of today will be in that office.  If we Liberians think things should go well, we should not be the ones to speak of emulating vices from current leaders, but we should learn to practice what we know is right,”  he said.Some Liberian youths, because of the rampant corruption and social discrimination in the country, often speak out boldly that they cannot change what has been put in place, but will also expand on it when they assume public offices.  This is wrong and those who think like that should stop doing so.Cheating in test is broadly done by students at the both secondary and university levels  today, and this had caused the West African Examination to once be cancelled.Commenting on the planned conference, he said new revelations come in every day, and he believes there will be new ideas to teach the youths for transformation in addition to what they learn in their respective churches. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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MOJ to Strengthen Local Policing in Bong

first_imgThe County Attorney of Bong, Cornelius Wennah, has disclosed that criminal activities are on the rise in the county and that the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is working to strengthen community policing to help local security combat the menace.Speaking at a stakeholders’ mass awareness meeting on US sponsored Mitigating Local Disputes in Liberia (MLDL), held in Gbarnga on May 12, he said the rise in crime is the result of unemployment, and it has furthermore developed into increasing drug abuse in the county.The program was implemented by Kaizen, a United States based NGO.Two districts that will benefit from the first phase of the program commencing in June this year are Suakoko and Panta Kpai.Attorney Wennah on behalf of the Ministry of Justice welcomed the MLDL program in the county, but warned stakeholders not to venture around any felony case.“The coming of this MLDL program,” he said, “will stop the over crowdedness of the court and our police will not be overwhelmed with petty cases. I think, with the coming of this program, most of the cases will be taken care of by the chiefs.”He however, appealed to the Liberian government to support the county with logistics including vehicles to effectively combat the growing crime rate.  Earlier the chairman of the Commissioners Council of Bong County, Mr. Claude Suah, complained about the inadequate number of police officers in the county which he says has affected every district. “Suakoko with a population of about 30, 000 has only five police officers and some of the districts do not even have any, so we hope that this MLDL program will impact Suakolo and the county at large,” he added. Bong County hosts the headquarters of the regional security hub where all logistical support is supposed to be available, but which is not, a member attending the meeting said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Angry Sand Miners Besiege Judges

first_imgAngry employees of Chinese sand mining company, LICHI Inc. last Thursday stormed the Commercial Court – leaving staff and judges to seek refuge in their offices – as security officers prevented them from entering the courtroom.However, no one was physically attacked and no property damaged during the hours-long protest, security officers said.Chief Judge Eva Mappy Morgan intervened and pleaded for a conference with the group on Tuesday, January 12.The uproar occurred after the court released a bulldozer and two vehicles belonging to LICHI Inc.The court seized the equipment after LICHI failed to honor its ruling of 2015 to the tune of US$76,892, including a 6% statutory interest, in favor of the employees.The items were confiscated after Associate Judge Richard S. Klah held the Chinese company liable after the company failed to settle with the employees.The employees had supplied 4,586 loads of river sand to the company on credit for the cost of US$100,892 – at the rate of US$22 per load – under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).The angry employees and their legal team were expected to receive the money from LICHI’s management last Thursday, but to their surprise when they appeared at the Temple of Justice the bulldozer and the two vehicles were nowhere to be found. They also did not get the expected money from the court.With this development, the employees and their lawyers proceeded to the office of Judge Klah to ascertain why the bulldozer and the vehicles were not at the Temple of Justice.They were informed by Judge Klah that the company’s management, through its legal team, had raised legal issues which needed to be discussed.As a result the employees decided to vent their anger against the judge’s decision. Some of them were heard saying: “they (the judges) have colluded with the company to deny us our money, but that will not happen, even if it were to cause our death.”Others were heard saying, “There is no justice in Liberia… we will ensure that we force our own justice,” while some threatened to go to the office of Chief Justice Francis Korkpor for redress.Though Judge Klah had decided the matter by ex-parte, following the company’s lawyers’ absence from the case despite repeated summons, he went ahead to accept the company’s request asking for proper accountability.An ex-parte decision is one decided by a judge without requiring all of the parties to the controversy to be present.The case started in 2012 when Atty. Massaquoi filed an Action of Debt by Attachment against Hua Lee and LICHI, contending that both companies were indebted to their employees to the tune of US$100, 892.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Bankers’ Assn. Honors Governor Jones

first_imgThe Liberian Bankers Association (LBA) has honored the outgoing Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, for his unprecedented support to the Liberian economy.The honoring ceremony, which took place last Friday at a local hotel in Monrovia, brought together top executives from nine commercial banks to bid farewell to Governor Jones for 10 years of valuable service to Liberians as well as the banking sector.President of the LBA, Mr. John B.S. Davies, III, who spoke at a farewell reception in honor of the outgoing CBL Governor, said Liberians will forever remain grateful for his many contributions.He said Dr. Jones deserved the honor, because he did extremely well by improving the lives of his people and the banking sector as well.In his reflections and statement of appreciation to Governor Jones, Mr. Davies, who is also president of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), described him as an “astute Leader and true son of Liberia.” “I am particularly overwhelmed by the enormous and unprecedented financial and technical support we received from the CBL under the governorship of Dr. Jones,” Mr. Davies noted. Speaking about some of Dr. Jones’ achievements during his tenure, LBA president highlighted that there were only nine commercial banks in Liberia before Dr. Jones, but today under the astute leadership of Dr Jones commercial banks can boast of 11 institutions with growing assets of L$78 billion.“When we look back at the years and the role card, we say thank you Governor Jones because you did well for the banking sector and the people of Liberia,” he said.He also pointed to Governor Jones’s assistance in providing US$5 million to the rubber sector of Liberia, especially when Ebola struck the country’s economy.The LBDI president also admonished the outgoing CBL Governor that in his life sojourn, he should remember them as bankers.Earlier in his welcome statement, Henry Saamoi, executive member of LBA and CEO of International Bank, told the gathering that the Governor will forever be remembered in the banking sector of Liberia.Mr. Saamoi said if the outgoing CBL Governor has more time, he believes the Liberian banking sector will be one of the best in Africa.He praised the outgoing CBL Governor for his many contributions to Liberia.In response, the outgoing CBL Governor said instead of people seeing him leaving the walls of the Central Bank of Liberia, he should be seen as entering the courtyard of Liberia. Dr. Jones said the hope that the Liberians express also reminds him of the hope that he has for Liberia.He also said he believes that Liberia, a country of hope, is on the verge of revival.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Violence against Women and Girls A Serious Obstacle to Sustainable Development

first_imgAt long last, there is growing global recognition that violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, public health pandemic and serious obstacle to sustainable development. Yet there is still much more we can and must do to turn this awareness into meaningful prevention and response.Violence against women and girls imposes large-scale costs on families, communities and economies. When women cannot work as a result of violence, their employment may be put at risk, jeopardizing much-needed income, autonomy and their ability to leave abusive relationships. Violence against women also results in lost productivity for businesses, and drains resources from social services, the justice system and health-care agencies. Domestic and intimate partner violence remains widespread, compounded by impunity for those crimes. The net result is enormous suffering as well as the exclusion of women from playing their full and rightful roles in society.The world cannot afford to pay this price. Women and girls cannot afford it – and should not have to. Yet such violence persists every day, around the world. And efforts to address this challenge, although rich in political commitment, are chronically under-funded.Since 2008, I have led the UNiTE campaign to End Violence against Women, which calls for global action to increase resources and promote solutions. I call on governments to show their commitment by dramatically increasing national spending in all relevant areas, including in support of women’s movements and civil society organizations. I also encourage world leaders to contribute to UN Women and to the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. We look as well to the private sector, philanthropies and concerned citizens to do their part. Today, we are seeing the world lit up in orange, symbolizing a bright future for women and girls. With dedicated investment, we can keep these lights shining, uphold human rights and eliminate violence against women and girls for good.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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‘Do Not Settle for Mediocrity’

first_img“In your performance do not settle for mediocrity, for this world is increasingly becoming competitive. What is modern today may so quickly become obsolete by daybreak tomorrow,” Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai cautioned 518 individuals who graduated from the Economic Empowerment of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (EPAG) Round 4 over the weekend in Monrovia.VP Boakai told the graduates to consider their learning as a privilege, which they should cherish rather than letting it become out of date by failing to apply the best or average of what they learned over the years.Boakai wants the young graduates to understand that learning has no limitation and therefore, they should not be complacent with what they had acquired to qualify them to graduate.“I know that this step comes from the hard reality that both males and females share similar needs when it comes to preparing themselves to serve their country. This is a positive and welcoming shift in the direction of gender balance that will never remain the same,” Boakai said.He commended the Gender Ministry for what he called its collaboration with service providers such as the National Adult Education of Liberia (NAEAL) and EDUcare-Liberia to implement the project, which has so far witnessed the successful graduation of 970 adolescent girls and 200 adolescent boys from the EPAG program.Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell said she was pleased that young girls and boys willingly showed up to learn something for their own benefit.The program was introduced in 2009 by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to empower young girls and boys to be able to rely on themselves after receiving skills training that will enable them to successfully contribute to the rebuilding of the country.Of the 518 graduates, 100 were from the Pipeline Community in Paynesville, while the rest of the girls came from Grand Bassa, Margibi, and Montserrado counties.The graduates were awarded certificates in their various disciplines.The EPAG is the Ministry of Gender’s pilot skills training program geared towards enabling girls and young women in particular, as well as a small portion of the male population, to gain access to self-empowerment after acquiring skills training.It is part of the World Bank Global Girls Initiative, which is implemented in Haiti, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Jordan, Laos, Rwanda, Nepal and Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Draft Whistleblower, Witness Protection Bills Validated

first_imgParticipants at the end of the draft validation yesterdayIntegrity institutions, government agencies and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) yesterday validated the draft Whistleblower and Witness Protection Bills. The bills are expected to be submitted to the National Legislature for enactment into law.The two bills were certified at the end of a one-day validation workshop held at a venue in Sinkor. The bills were drafted by participants at a three-day workshop which took place last month.The validation workshop brought together key state actors drawn from the Ministry of Justice, Governance Commission, Liberia National Bar Association, Law Reform Commission, UNMIL, Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, CENTAL, as well as the National Integrity Forum. It was sponsored by UNMIL.The workshop was also attended by LACC’s Executive Chairperson, James N. Verdier; Deputy Justice Minister for Codification, Charles Karmo; UNMIL’s Chief of Human Rights and Protection Section, Marcel Akpovo; the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Autonomous Agencies, Senator Jonathan Kaipay; and Rep. Larry Younquoi, Chairman of the House Standing Committee on Governance, who all admonished participants to work with diligence and commitment in the validation exercise.The LACC said in a release that the workshop grew out of the regional workshop on whistleblower and witness protection in the fight against corruption, which was held in Monrovia last September.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Liberia Wetlands Under Grave Threat

first_imgOne of several wetlands on the Robertsport Highway in Grand Cape Mount County.Often ignored by policymakers and wittingly or unwittingly subjected to abuse by the public at large, wetlands are under grave threat of degradation by Liberians and foreign residents alike.The threat to wetlands is posed mainly by discarded waste, over hunting and fishing as well as the harvesting of wood fuel particularly in coastal mangroves. Such waste, including but not limited to plastic bags, medical waste, human feces and dirty or used fuel, threatens marine species in the various wetlands.Environmentalists and other concerned stakeholders have consistently called for urgent and practical action aimed at protecting wetlands from abuse. But such concerns have often gone unheeded by authorities responsible for environmental conservation and protection.Reports from urban areas with coastal mangroves such as Robertsport, Monrovia, Buchanan, Marshall, say wood harvested from mangroves are highly prized by local people for drying fish.There are also reports of the use of dynamite to kill fish. Even marine turtles and crocodiles are said to be under threat from poaching activities.Several officials of the Liberia Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the past 12 years have  conducted several professional and technical workshops geared towards enhancing the protection of wetlands in Liberia.  In spite of support from partners and stakeholders, wetlands including mangrove swamps continue to come under pressure from uncontrolled human activity.Some  examples of wetlands and mangrove swamps that are under threat of abuse in the Monrovia area include Peace Island, SKD Boulevard, King Grey and New Hope communities in Monrovia and Paynesville.Legal experts point out that environmental laws and regulations are weak and enforcement mechanisms are not robust to safeguard and protect the Liberian environment especially wetlands, which include the mangrove swamps.Comments and views from Liberians in the affected areas strongly underscore the urgent need for some robust and practical actions on the part of environmental authorities in order to protect the wetlands of Liberia.57-year old former EPA staff Steven B. Sanford called on the EPA senior staff to design new programs and strategies that will enhance the full protection of all the wetlands and mangrove swamps in Liberia.“I would greatly appreciate were the EPA and our support partners to focus on the practical application of environmental laws, regulations and policies that will serve to protect our wetlands and mangrove swamps,” Sanford stressed.Elizabeth Gerald Williams, 48, noted that priority should be placed on the full protection of wetlands and mangrove swamps in LiberiaThe former Monrovia sanitary health inspector described the protection of wetlands and mangrove swamps as critical to the development of Liberia’s ecosystem and its vital biodiversity.She added that there are too many vital and endangered species in the wetlands and mangroves that need all practical protection from the current threat of abuse.“I really want the EPA and our support partners to wake up and work without fear and favor and fully protect our wetlands and mangrove swamps in our country,” she pleaded.55-year old environmental advocate Sam K. Collins of Monrovia called on all support partners connected to the environment of Liberia especially the World Bank and United Nations Environmental Program to double up their engagements with the EPA and other relevant stakeholders.He, however, urged the new Liberian Government to review and formulate concrete short, medium and long range plans that are practical and achievable in the years to come in Liberia.Collins also underscored the urgent need for substantial funding to the EPA, Ministry of Health, research institutions and other relevant agencies that are connected with the vital protection of wetlands and mangrove swamps in Liberia. The Convention on Wetlands, called the RAMSAR Convention, is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. Liberia is a signatory to the RAMSAR Convention.According to the RAMSAR Convention, “Wetlands are vital for human survival. They are among the world’s most productive environments; cradles of biological diversity that provide the water and productivity upon which countless species of plants and animals depend for survival.“Wetlands are indispensable for the countless benefits or ‘ecosystem services’ that they provide humanity, ranging from freshwater supply, food and building materials, and biodiversity, to flood control, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation.” The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands. This includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and swampscenter_img Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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