Dear Editor,A few weeks ago, a city magistrate fined and deported a Cuban national who had overstayed his time in Guyana. This ruling came after the foreign national was incarcerated in a common jail, tried, then fined and sent away. Other nationalities right next door to us here in the Caribbean have met similar fates, but I have singled out the Cubans for a special mention.My reason for choosing the Cubans, is that Cuba is supposed to be a friend of Guyana. That friendship goes way back, starting with The PPP-led Dr Jagan, when Cheddi got stern condemnations from Burnham, followed by The British and Americans, for his association with that country.The condemnation coming from Burnham’s PNC, was a political ploy to get power, because as soon as the opportunistic Burnham got into office, he saw the very same maligned Cuba as his most valuable friend and neighbour. He sent our sons and daughters to Cuba for training in all fields of endeavor, as is still being done to date. Cuba has been a bedrock for most overseas-trained Guyanese professionals.Right now, Our President is a guest at Cuba’s medical facility; The Centro de Investigaciones Medico Quirugicas in Havana, the best Cuba has to offer. It Seems like when all else has failed, the Guyanese Leader has gone to the Cubans. Using a Guyanese term, our president is at the present moment being “patched up” by the Cubans.Now, picture the foregoing good graces given to us by the Cubans, and compare that to the treatment we are giving the Cubans in return. Is this the “best” treatment we can give to an overstaying Cuban? Is this the best treatment we can give to a “friend”? I would respond to that by saying it is disgraceful and despicable to say the least!So, my question, is why humiliate the Cubans? Why belittle the Cubans like that? Why! Is it because we are now on the brink of a legal renaissance and on the strict interpretation of the law as it relates to aliens and foreigners, or is it because of the soon to come oil dollar? Which is it? I think it is the latter, the “bamboozle” of oil wealth has suddenly caused an air of arrogance in this administration, which gives them the license to treat others disdainfully.Evident in that court ruling, is arrogance never before seen in this country. There is a newly found “false arrogance” sweeping the nation since this government took office and it is appalling, and shameful. Oil hasn’t begun to flow yet, and this is the way Guyana’s legal system is going to treat a friend and ally? I shudder to think of their response when the real oil dollars actually flows in. Our image right here in the Caribbean, – and the wider world, paints a sorry picture.Respectfully,Neil Adams
Dear Editor,The commencement of a House-to-House Registration exercise by GECOM is a contemptuous matter. It was clearly done on the political directives and based on the advice of an illegally appointed Chairman of the Elections Commission. In that regard, this latest action is null and void and is of no effect. It must be stopped now.It further notes that this is a blatant violation of the laws of the State called Guyana and a total disregard for the CCJ’s ruling on the matter. The Opposition Leader is now duty-bound to file contempt of court proceedings against the Chief Elections Officer, Lowenfield, effected by his instant incarceration and removal. This is the way forward.We cannot continue on a path of top officials paying scant regard for law and order in this country. Persons in high office must respect the Constitution. The Elections Commission rightly stands as the custodian of the democratic process in Guyana, so positioned to hold and conduct elections in a free and fair manner, therefore, for an official, especially in the position of the Chief Elections Officer to act in such a bias and partisan manner, it means that our democracy is under siege. It goes even further that the rigging of elections, which is such a curse brought on this nation by the PNC, is real and ever before us.Guyana has to return to the fold of democratic nations and the time is now.Respectfully,Neil Adams
A West Berbice man was on Friday jailed for four months by city Magistrate Fabayo Azore for breaking and entering a church.The accused, Raul Ramsaywack, told the court he is 25 years old and originally from Rosignol Village, West Bank Berbice.He pleaded guilty to the charge which stated that on April 21, at Norton Street, Lodge, Georgetown, he broke and entered the Bethel Full Gospel Church with intent to commit a felony.Police Prosecutor Simone Payne told the court that on the day in question, the defendant was seen hiding behind a piano in the church when he was caught.The Police were summoned to the scene and the man was told of the allegation. According to Prosecutor Payne, he remained silent during questioning and was taken to the Police station.When given a chance to speak, the defendant told the court that someone took him to the church but ran away and left him when he was caught.As such he was sentenced to four months in prison.
… water distribution exercise to commenceAs the water woes in Little Diamond Squatting Area, East Bank Demerara (EBD) continue, the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) has indicated that its team would be working to have the water flow regularised by this weekend.In the meantime, the utility company will commence a water distribution exercise via tankers throughout the course of this week in the affected areas.This was according to the acting Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the company, Kirk Clarke, who informed <<
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on Monday said Government continued to fail the people of Guyana, as cries continued to be heard about the prevailing economic conditions under the coalition Administration.PPP General Secretary Clement RoheeThe Party’s General Secretary, Clement Rohee said he has been visiting various parts of the country and has been listening to the concerns of residents.He said many were speaking out, saying if this was the change they voted for, they did not want it.“Hundreds of thousands are anxious to see the PPP/C back in Government knowing that with such an eventuality the economy will recover and there will be a resurgence of economic and financial activities in the country from which all Guyanese will benefit,” Rohee said.He said those who voted for change have lost the little hope they had that that change would have brought them the much touted ‘good life’, rather he said what they were seeing was Government Ministers enjoying the ‘good life,’ which the common people should be enjoying.Rohee said in this situation, the youths are the hardest hit, with unemployment spiralling upwards, reaching about 40 per cent according to the Caribbean Development Bank.He said the coalition’s promises have all gone up in smoke and have left young people not only at risk but as ready and available prey for the criminal underworld.“We are having some bad economic times and generally in times like these, there would be increased unemployment especially at the youth level.”He said the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Manifesto had promised that the National Youth Policy would focus on reducing risk factors such as crime, drug abuse, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, suicide, violence and illiteracy.The current Administration, Rohee said, had also promised that its programmes would generate support and allocated resources to make recreation, the arts and sports hallmarks of excellence, while restoring the bond between young people and the communities.“Study issues which lead to alienation of boys and young men from our education system, including: dropping out from schools, engaging in crime and violence, marginalisation, accessing the labour market, and poverty alleviation have become meaningless to many young people who see no future for themselves under the Granger coalition Administration.”He said the PPP for its part in its 2015 manifesto expressed its commitment to: implementing national apprenticeship and special youth employment programmes; providing incentives and opportunities for employers to employ youths, and develop entrepreneurship and apprenticeship programmes.
The ex-bodyguard of a popular convicted drug lord and a female remain in custody as Police continue investigations into the fatal shooting of Ryan Sergeant, 19, at the Rio Nightclub on Monday last.Dead: Ryan SergeantA source close to the investigations revealed that the woman in custody was seen leaving the nightclub with two men – one turned himself in while the other remains on the run. It is believed that on the night of the fatal shooting, the argument started over the young lady.However, both persons in custody remain tight-lipped and have not been cooperating with Police. The Police are nevertheless hunting for the third suspect.The former ‘phantom’ group member turned himself in on Friday in company of his lawyer, while the woman was arrested at a house on Hadfield Street, Georgetown, during a Police operation, that led to the discovery of two illegal firearms and several rounds of ammunition.The others who were arrested were released.Ryan “Harry” Sergeant of Lot 2530 Layon Street, North Ruimveldt, Georgetown, was shot and killed, while another teenager remains in a critical state at the Georgetown Public Hospital after he too was shot. The injured teen is Jeffrey Ferrel also of North Ruimveldt Housing Scheme.Sergeant was shot once to the jaw during an exchange of gunfire that started in the night club and ended on the outside.After the shooting, the now dead man was picked up by his ‘gang members’ and dropped off at the Woodlands Hospital. It was reported that Ferrel, who is now hospitalised, was involved in an altercation with one of the suspects who in turn left the club with another friend and a female.Further reports stated that after the trio left, they were followed by Ferrel and the now dead man and the argument resumed.During the argument, the suspect whipped out a gun and discharge several rounds, hitting Ferrel to the neck and shoulder. Attempting to rescue his shot friend, Sergeant was shot to the jaw. The suspects then fled the scene.It was during the review of the surveillance footage that the three suspects were positively identified.
Mr. Editor:It is disheartening to know that the Liberian society still highly tribalistic as it was a hundred years ago. Everywhere you go, people are desirous of knowing which tribe you hail from as though it is more important than the fact that you are a Liberian.I am taken aback and disappointed when police stations and other law enforcement agencies ask the question, “What is your tribe?” when investigating cases brought before them.The other day, I proceeded to a local police station to report an incident which occurred at my residence.The officer on duty asked a lot of questions to ascertain my place of residence, name, occupation, etc. Further, she asked me about my county of origin. My heart leaped with joy when I told her my county of origin is Cape Mount County. I then concluded quickly that there would be no need to ask about my tribe since she already knew my county of origin.My joy was short-lived. This question was immediately succeeded by the question: “What is your tribe?”. My face turned blue as I reluctantly said “Vai”.Now, do not get me wrong, I am proud to be who I am – a Vai – but the question is how does knowing a person’s tribe help the police to expeditiously adjudicate cases. I think it rather creates partiality amongst law enforcement officers in the execution of the duties.Let me close by strongly admonishing the Minister of Justice to remove the question “What is your tribe?” from the questionnaire sheets at all police stations and other law enforcement agencies within the length and breadth of Liberia.Remember, knowing person’s tribe during investigation does more harm than good in the adjudication of the case.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
President William V.S. Tubman, once passing by a group of well armed soldiers in the Executive Mansion in the 1960s, told a young reporter covering him, “You have to be careful with those ones. They are mean men.”The President’s kind and frank advice was keenly noted. True to that warning, something terrible once happened to a young reporter, employed in the late 1960s as one of the four new recruits in the Press Bureau at the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs (now Ministry). This reporter on one fateful day was assigned to cover a political rally at Tubman Farm in Totota. While trying to make his way through the crowd to get his story, he was brutalized by soldiers and had to be immediately hospitalized. After three weeks in the hospital, this reporter NEVER returned to the Press Bureau, nor to Journalism. The three remaining new recruits also eloped the Press Bureau—and the profession. But Tubman’s brutal soldiers, “mean men” most, did not know that there are always limits to power. Many of those same soldiers probably never knew, though few may have heard, what really happened to the great President Tubman in London on that grim late morning of July 23, 1971. None of these soldiers was around to protect their leader, the most powerful person that ever entered the Executive Mansion.One date which Police Director Chris Massaquoi—indeed ALL police directors, all policemen and all Attorney Generals—should never forget is April 14, 1979. That was the day Baccus Matthews and his Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) staged their march, which they faithfully promised would be “peaceful.”Then Attorney General Oliver Bright, President William R. Tolbert, Jr.’s chief Legal Advisor, misadvised his boss. Mr. Bright was a lawyer and should have known that it was the young people’s constitutional right to march. But Bright, like so many Attorney Generals before and after him, assumed a jingoistic (intolerant) posture. He went on air on Friday, April 13 and threatened to shoot, if the march went ahead. That emboldened the young people. Bright and his Police Director, Varney Dempster, started the violent reaction long before the march began. They sent police to the PAL office on Gurley Street, just behind the building now occupied by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and broke up the furniture, confiscated all of PAL’s documents and took them away. Despite all that, the march got underway peacefully, from Broad Street. But by the time the marchers reached the Information Ministry, approaching the Mansion, the police, true to the Attorney General’s threat, opened fire, killing three youth on the spot. It was at that point that all hell broke loose. People, many of whom had nothing to do with the march, started burning vehicles, breaking into offices and stores and looting everything in sight! Chris Massaquoi was a very young man then; but just in case he has forgotten, it is important to remind him of the aftermath. In the end, over a hundred people had been killed and over US$100 million had been lost in the looting and destruction of property!Remember Director Massaquoi’s warning last Tuesday, that the police would be “harsh” in enforcing the State of Emergency? We all should beware being “harsh!”Mr. Massaquoi most certainly remembers from history what happened to Attorney General Oliver Bright. By the time the April 12, 1980 coup d’etat occurred, overthrowing President Tolbert and murdering, by firing squad, his topmost officials, Oliver Bright had left the country for England, where he died in exile. Among those on the firing pole was Oliver Bright’s successor, Cllr. Joseph J. Chesson.And what happened to Police Director Varney Dempster, whose men harshly opened fire on the PAL marchers? He was arrested and slammed into the Post Stockade where, at 2 o’clock a.m. one fateful 1980 morning, he and A.B. Tolbert, President Tolbert’s son, were taken away, given shovels to dig their own graves on a beach, and buried alive!The purpose of this editorial is not simply to recount this horrific moment in Liberia’s history, but to offer Police Director Massaquoi a gentle reminder of the history of police force in Liberia and of a phenomenon only few powerful people ever remember: the limits of power. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States, Canada and Mexico, Jeremiah C. Sulunteh, has donated 300 bags of 25kg rice to be distributed among Ebola-affected families and quarantined households in Bong County.Taylor-Town in Yellequlleh District and Barleketela in Salala District which were obstructed by the leadership of Bong County almost two weeks ago to control the spread of the deadly virus, received the bulk of the donation with one hundred bags of rice going to each of the affected districts.The Friends of Sulunteh leader in Bong County, John O. Flomo, asked representatives of the towns to convey Ambassador Sulunteh’s heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost loved ones to the disease.He said, though Amb. Sulunteh was far away and could not meet with the people on the ground, he however could hear their loud cry for support during this very difficult time.“Ambassador Sulunteh would have loved to be in Taylor-Town and speak directly to his people, but it is not possible now,”Mr. Flomo said.He disclosed that since the outbreak of the virus in Liberia, Amb. Sulunteh has been looking critically at areas where he could intervene adding that the plight of Ebola affected families is one of those situations which almost moved him to tears.He said that recent media reports which brought to light the sufferings of Ebola suspects in some parts of the county who went without food supplies for days and who are rationed four-cups of rice to each household a day when it is available regardless of their number, was key to his decision to get involved and assist.Mr. Flomo expressed the hope that the Ambassador’s intervention will draw the attention of the international community to the plight of those Ebola affected families and quarantined households in the county. He noted that people in quarantined homes left to starve will have serious implications for the Ebola fight. Flomo called on the international community, particularly WFP to focus on the feeding of Ebola affected persons and quarantined households.He pleaded with chiefs in the district and the county task force to urge the people of Taylor-Town and Barleketela to not only take maximum care to prevent infection, but to move vigorously to eradicate the Ebola virus entirely from their various communities.The disease, he lamented, has disrupted normal economic and social activities throughout the country and called on all Liberians to adhere to the Ebola key prevention messages to save lives and maintain the dignity of our country.Flomo, on behalf of the Liberian Ambassador, expressed the hope that the remaining one hundred bags of rice will go to Ebola affected families and quarantined households in other affected districts like Jorquelleh, Sanoyea, Salala and Fuamah maintaining that Sulunteh was also considering support to other vulnerable groups in the near future.Responding, the Town Chief of Taylor-Town, Peter Flomo, registered on behalf of the people of the area his profound thanks and appreciation for the timely intervention of Ambassador Sulunteh which he said would go a long way in alleviating the suffering of the people.He said the people of the area are not surprised at such intervention, noting that Sulunteh has always come to the rescue of the suffering people not only in Bong but Liberians generally.He assured Sulunteh that the people of Taylor-Town deeply appreciate the gesture which he said is coming at a time when it is needed the most and assured him that the donation will be used for the intended purpose.Yellequlleh District Commissioner Annie Reeves also expressed thanks and appreciation, saying that the people of the district consider Ambassador Sulunteh as one of their sons. Similar sentiments were expressed by Salala District Commissioner Karmon Kanneh.The donation is Amb. Sulunteh’s second intervention since the Ebola outbreak in March.It can be recalled that in September Amb. Sulunteh provided over three hundred bags of rice, an undisclosed amount of United States Dollars worth of disinfectants and cash donation to community residents and various taskforces in Bong, Margibi and Monsterrado Counties.
A team of criminal investigators and prosecutors from the Liberian government has returned home after a week-long specialized investigative techniques training workshop on Transnational Organized Crimes Investigations in West Africa. The workshop took place in Accra, Ghana at the West Africa Regional Training Center.A Ministry of Justice press release says the workshop was aimed at training criminal investigators and prosecutors in the use of specialized investigative techniques needed to effectively probe trans-national organized criminal activities.Trans-national organized crimes, include drug trafficking, human trafficking, diamond smuggling, forgery, cigarette smuggling, money laundering, arms trafficking, oil bunkering (theft and illegal export) and internet fraud.Investigators were trained in the specific skills needed to successfully conduct controlled deliveries and undercover meetings, including eliciting cooperation from a violator, preparing for and conducting a controlled delivery, preparing for an undercover meeting, use and handling of informants, establishing an undercover identity, surveillance and other techniques.The Liberian delegation led by Assistant Justice Minister for Taxation, Cllr. Aaron B. Kparkillen, included Cllr. Daku Mulbah, County Attorney, Montserrado County and Cllr. Serena F. Galawulo, Senior Legal Counsel. Other members were Officer Siafa Sheriff, Officer Richard Karyea, Bureau of Customs & Excise, Liberia Revenue Authority, Officer Lawrence Saydee, Transnational Crime Unit, Bureau of Immigration & Naturalization, Officer Jerry Kaine, Transnational Crime Unit, Liberia National Police, and Officer Momoh K. Ndorbor, Transnational Crimes Unit, Drug Enforcement Agency.Cllr. Kparkillen has expressed profound gratitude to the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. State Department, Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Affairs for the training opportunity. He gave the assurance that the training will be utilized appropriately in the best interest of the Government of Liberia.The training was sponsored and conducted by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Embassy in Monrovia and the Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Affairs who selected participants from the West African states of Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria with approval from their respective heads of institutions.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)