first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has frankly declared that 2014 has so far been a very difficult year for the people and government of Liberia as a result of the numerous problems that the country continues to experience.The Liberian leader noted that since the turn of this year, Liberia has been going through difficult times. The country is facing a very serious budget shortfall, depreciation in the exchange rate, flooding as a result of climate change and manmade interventions. The sharp decline in the price of rubber has also taken a toll on the country’s economy by further upsetting the balance of trade.Worst of all the calamities that have befallen the nation, she declared, is the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, which has already claimed the lives of more than one hundred Liberians.Delivering her Independence Day Message at the 167th Independence ceremony at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion in Monrovia last Saturday, President Sirleaf said the Ebola virus had become a serious tragedy that continues to claim lives on a daily basis.The Daily Observer has reliably learned that latest victim one of Liberia’s most senior medical practitioners, Dr. Sam Brisbane, the chief internist at the John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) Memorial hospital.  The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, during its latest update on July 20, 2014,  indicated that it had recorded 224 clinical cases of EVD, including 77 laboratory confirmations and 127 fatal cases. All of these cases are from six counties —  Lofa, Montserrado, Margibi, Bomi, Bong, and Nimba Counties.The latest information also has it that the virus is now in Grand Gedeh.“Through the 167 years of our existence, we have come against many challenges and have overcome them,” said President Sirleaf. “This is the proud history of our country.   We lay claim to that legacy today. We will fight against this deadly Ebola virus, not by blaming each other, but by coming together to defeat it. It is real.  It kills, but it can be prevented if we move in unison to resist it,” the President confidently declared.Although the country has faced three years of successive budget shortfalls since Minister Amara Konneh took over the Finance Ministry, this year’s seems to be the worst, as it led, in part, led to the cancellation of the Independence celebrations scheduled to take place in Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties.Public Works Minister, Dr. Antoinette Weeks has, on several occasions, complained that the Finance Ministry was not willing to disburse funds for the construction of the Sinoe roads, which was the greatest impediment to the hosting of the celebration. The deplorable condition of the roads which government was unable to rehabilitate, Dr. Weeks said, was the reason for the cancellation.President Sirleaf in her Independence Day Message, said, “We should have been marking this Anniversary in the southeastern counties of Sinoe and Grand Kru. However, we decided on a postponement to ensure that we are better prepared to give the best to our compatriots in Greenville and Barclayville, and the several other cities and communities, which are to benefit from the multiplying effects of hosting these celebrations.”She further stated, “At the same time, we use this platform to remind ourselves that the celebrations are scheduled to take place in Maryland, River Gee and Grand Gedeh in 2015; and in Rivercess, in 2016.  Let us all begin the preparations for those counties right now.”Liberian President said: “Fellow citizens, the hallmark of success of any nation is not the improvement in social and economic infrastructures; it is not in sound policies and law; it is in the love of country. This love must make us brave in times of troubles as well as compel us to reach out to each others in times of distress.” “We must come together as never before inspite of our political, religious and social persuasions. We must show a deep sense of nationalism. We must reach across borders and join our brothers and sisters in the other neighboring countries that are also affected to show a continuing common response,” the Liberian leader pleaded.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgThe management of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry yesterday announced a sharp increase in the prices of gasoline and fuel.The new petroleum price ceiling which was jointly signed by the Managing Director of the LPRC, Prof. Sumo G. Kupee, and the Minister of Commerce and Industry , Axel Addy, took effect May 4, 2015.The new prices according to LPRC were circulated using the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) approved exchange rate of US$1 to L$85.According to a statement from LPRC, the retail pump price for a gallon of gasoline has been increased from US$3.01 to US$3.16 (L$270) — a US$0.15 increment — while the retail pump price for a gallon of fuel is also been increased from US$3.06 to US$3.21 (L$270).The decision to increase the prices of petroleum products is based on the upward change in the price of these products on the world market, which normally affects other pricing perimeters in Liberia. Henceforth, the circular has informed the public to cooperate with inspectors from the Ministry of Commerce who will closely monitor the approved ceiling to avoid arbitrary hikes.The inspection exercise is to ensure that importers do not undercut fellow competitors on the market.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgThe international resource organization, World Resource Institute (WRI) and the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) recently launched the first Forest Atlas for Liberia to promote sustainable forest management and land administration. The official launch, which was held at a resort in Monrovia, will serve as a conduit where conservationists and other civil society organizations will be able to receive updates regarding the forest and land sectors in the context of forest cover loss, forest cover gain and the number of concessions and their total land areas. During the launch, several facilitators from various conservation and environmental organizations were selected by WRI and the FDA to make presentations on the forest sector and the importance of an atlas to conservation in Liberia.Deputy Foreign Minister for International Corporation Deypue Zuo, on behalf of the government, welcomed the launch of the country’s first forest atlas, describing it as a very useful tool that can be used in determining from time to time, the status of the country’s forest sector.“We the policymakers can use this kind of atlas to make decisions that will improve not only the forest sector, but also enhance or promote development activities in Liberia,” Mr. Zuo said.“The issue of sustainable forest management cannot be divorced from Liberia’s development agenda,” he said.“We have enough forest in Liberia, but the utilization is almost very much limited so we need to build serious sensitization among the population to make them understand the importance of protecting the forest.” The Focal Person on Climate Change at Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Benjamin Karmorh, called on the WRI to commit funding toward improving the forest sector and to build awareness on its activities.“As we launch this Forest Atlas, let us now bring in some finances because the government now is talking about economic diversification. Let us look at forest resources in terms of tourism, because there are countries in Africa where people go just to watch the gorillas in the mountain, and we know how much economic benefits such things can bring to those countries,” Mr. Karmorh said.“It’s now time that we technicians invite the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Liberia Revenue Authority to do the economic value of our country that will appeal to the conscious of the decision makers to allay their fears of why we are always asking for preserving the forest without economic benefits.”He expressed the hope that the EPA will develop an action plan to ensure the proper implementation and promotion of WRI activities in Liberia.FDA Deputy Managing Director Darlington Tuagben said understanding the use of the forest atlas will ease and enhance the work of civil society actors, academia, government actors, students and other Liberians in knowing exactly the status of the country’s forest and land sectors.Mr. Tuagben said though the atlas is not 100 percent perfect, yet it is helpful to every conservationist, because it provides the opportunity to prepare in addressing threats to the country’s forest sector.WRI National Coordinator to Liberia Joel Gamys said the entity is responding to the urgent challenges of climate, energy, food, water, forest, city and transport worldwide.Mr. Gamys said in Africa, Liberia’s program is focusing on improving land and resources and allocation through transparent comprehensive participatory approach and monitoring natural use to ensure respect for legal publication as well as associated social and environmental best practices, with emphasis on timber, mining and oil palm.“Now talking about intervention we support, the first one has to do with building tool and application to ensure access to high quality information in user friendly and decision relevant format; the second one has to do with monitoring and analysis to determining natural resources policy effectiveness; the third one has to do with capacity building, analysis, and outreach to ensure ability of local decision makers and stakeholders to apply forest and natural resource information; and the forth area has to do with effective and inclusive governance,” Mr. Gamys told stakeholders in the forest sector.Gamys said the atlas is very simple, user friendly and can be used by every individual in Liberia expressing the need for Liberians to begin thinking about exploring its usefulness to the adaption of future planning in the land and forest sectors.Laura B. Vary, WRI Manager for West Africa and Madagascar, reminded Liberian forest stakeholders that similar user-friendly atlases were launched in Cameroun and DR Congo, and the data is free of charge. She said data in the atlas are accurate because they are carefully reviewed and processed.The forest atlas project for Liberia began in 2015 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between WRI-Global Forest Watch and the FDA to ensure sustainable forest governance in the country.Participants were drilled on how to sustainably and effectively use the atlas to access information regarding the forest and land sectors. More than 30 persons from various forest sectors attended the launch.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_img-House Reviews InvestmentPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf last Tuesday wrote the House of Representatives to approve a ‘special tax cut agreement’ in favor of a group of Liberian professionals and investors – the Musons Group, Inc. (MGI), which will last for 15 years.Mr. Joe Gene Mulbah is the President and CEO of Musons Group, Incorporated.The President’s letter to Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay said the law, titled, “The Investment Incentive Agreement between the Government of Liberia and Musons Group, Inc,” has an investment of over US$70 million.The President said the purpose of the Investment Incentive Agreement (IIA) is to actualize government’s initiative of attracting and encouraging investors to invest in the country.The agreement was signed by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the National Investment Commission, and attested by the Ministry of Justice on behalf of the Executive Branch of Government.The investment contract is intended for the construction, development and maintenance of a 210-room state-of-the-art hotel and resort in Marshall, Margibi County and other recreational facilities.“These recreational facilities when completed will develop the tourism sector, will provide jobs, generate revenues, provide opportunities for Liberians to showcase their talents and improve the livelihood of the citizens,” the President wrote.“The aim and objective of this Investment Incentive Agreement is to develop and put Liberia’s hotel and tourism sectors on par with other developed nations, encourage the construction of facilities that will attract world leaders and other world dignitaries to consider hosting major conferences and other global activities in Liberia.“Mr. Speaker, this Investment Incentive Agreement that is in line with Liberia’s relevant laws and public policy appertaining thereto, compliments the development plan of the hotel and resort sector of Liberia thereby attracting tourists.“As government commits to creating jobs and a sustainable economic environment, the passage into Law of this Investment Incentive Agreement will demonstrate Liberia’s commitment and implementation in that endeavor.”Following the reading and acceptance of the instrument, plenary agreed to a motion proffered by Hon. Clearance Massaquoi to forward it to the Committees on Investment and Concession, Judiciary, Broadcasting and Tourism, and Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning to review and advise the body within two weeks.The MGI is comprised of Liberian professionals with a common objective of developing an organized, committed and focused institution, MUSONS GROUP, Incorporated, which was established on August 5, 1996. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgHooray! The Americans are coming and if the driver knows what’s good for himself he should beat it, meaning run for his life. Yes, the Americans are coming, according to media reports, to investigate the case of the missing billions. The Tuesday, October 16, 2018 edition of the Hot Pepper newspaper carried a front-page story claiming that the Americans have already concluded their work and departed the country.In other accounts, the FrontPage Africa newspaper in its October 15, 2018 edition reports that investigators have found only small amounts of local currency in the CBL’s vault instead of the 15.5 billion Liberian dollars which the CBL maintained was in its vault. Whatever the case may be, the public desires and deserves to know the truth. In the interest of fairness and transparency, it is only proper that the Americans release preliminary findings on what has been unearthed so far.But it should not be surprising if the Americans do not make public their findings. There are speculations from some diplomatic sources that Liberians may be in for a rude awakening when findings are disclosed to the public absolving the government of blame. Further, according to diplomatic sources, fears are that revelations of the true findings linking past and current government officials to the disappearance of the money may serve to incite and provoke mass public protest with unforeseen consequences for a government said to be strongly within the orbit of US policy influence. In effect, according to diplomatic sources, it means or suggests that the Americans will act, if needs be, to save the hide of a government which they believe would lend itself to easy manipulation.But such premonitions, as farfetched as they may seem, cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. The Americans came not once but several times before. In 1990, they raised the hope of starving, desperate and besieged Liberians when the US Government dispatched a flotilla of ships, planes and troops to the shores of Liberia, raising the hopes of Liberians that their ordeal at the hands of bloodthirsty warlords was over as the Americans had now arrived to intervene. But to their greatest dismay, this was never to be.The Americans instead idled and fiddled while the country went up in flames. But it took the courage and bold ingenuity of West African leaders to intervene and put an end to the madness which had engulfed the country. Again, the nation bore witness to similar circumstances in 2003 when the nation found itself torn apart once again by bloody fratricidal conflict. At the height of the fighting in the besieged city of Monrovia, thousands took to the streets to celebrate what had then been announced as a cease-fire and the arrival of American troops.Again, the joy of the people was short-lived, for within a matter of minutes, euphoria had instantly turned into apprehension, fear and grief as mortar rounds fired by LURD forces began falling on hapless, unarmed civilians. Once more, the West African Community was called into action after the US government had insisted on the presence of “African Boots” on the ground as a precursor to their intervention.Further, in 2016, the nation was shocked by news of the brutal killing of Harry Greaves, a former confidant of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Greaves had allegedly fallen out with the former President and was said to have become a virtual mockingbird singing tales of sleaze allegedly involving former President Sirleaf. Harry, according to accounts, went to the RLJ Kendeja Hotel and was never seen again until his dead body was washed ashore a local beach in Monrovia near the Executive Mansion.With a cloud of suspicion hanging over the Government of Liberia, and in response to public pressure, President Sirleaf invited a team of US forensic experts to Liberia to investigate. The team released its final report, concurring that Harry had indeed drowned. But the key question which remained unanswered to date was, if Harry had indeed drowned, how come his arms were contracted but not instead flexed as would normally be the case when a drowning person lapses into a state of unconsciousness?  Further, had rigor mortis set in before he drowned or after? What accounted therefore for the presence of a stick in his anus can still not be reasonably explained?But the Americans had said it — Harry died by drowning and that was it, although strong suspicions about complicity were never quite laid to rest. In the case of the missing money, this newspaper wonders why ECOWAS was not invited into the fray. The regional body has already established an institution to handle such matters involving money laundering and the like.This institution is styled the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering (GIABA). It is a specialized institution of ECOWAS and a FATF Style Regional Body that promotes policies to protect the financial systems of member States against money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations are recognized as the global anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing (CTF) standard.In the face of this, there are questions whether the outcomes of this investigation will be akin to that of the Harry Greaves investigation. There is, however, another twist to this with suggestions from certain diplomatic quarters that the Americans are alarmed by inroads the Chinese are making in Liberia with the construction or planned construction of large infrastructural projects which are without doubt leaving visible imprints that the Americans have been unable to match.They, according to sources, strongly desire to see a “Maada Bio” in George Weah who will cancel at a stroke of a pen, planned Chinese infrastructural projects such as the proposed flyover at the Boulevard junction and the ministerial complex overpass. President Weah needs to awaken to these challenges no matter how outlandish they may appear.For now let us all shout: Hooray, the Americans are coming; so Driver, beat it! Throw your anti-corruption “axe” Mr. President, and let it fall where it may. Who die, da their worry!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgVP Jewel Howard Taylor The Office of Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor has reiterated that she does not only remain committed and loyal to the Presidency of President George Weah, but to the advancement and implementation of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).The office of the VP said in a statement issued yesterday, November 13, that she is fully cognizant of her role, which is meant to serve as a critical support arm to the President. “The role of a VP is in strict consonance with clearly stated constitutional roles and responsibilities of the office, and Madam Howard-Taylor is fully mindful of her sphere of duties.”This clarity comes amid rumors that the Vice President, who is the political leader (standard bearer) of the National Patriotic Party (NPP)—one of the three political parties that made up the victorious CDC — is harboring an unquenchable ambition for the nation’s highest seat and has, therefore, planned to contest the 2023 presidential election.The NPP has been rocked by controversies in recent times, thus bringing its leadership to public disrepute.Expelled party chairman, James Biney, accused VP Taylor of harboring an ambition to become the country’s next President.The former Maryland County Representative told reporter in an exclusive interview that the NPP is engulfed in crisis, because VP Taylor wants to remove it from the Coalition so that she can contest for the office of the presidency in 2023.Biney was reportedly expelled from the party for violating its key provisions, including by-laws and constitution.In a reaction, the office of the VP said: “By her grateful acceptance of her nomination from Dr. Weah, and the blessed election of the ticket to national leadership, she undertook an irreversible commitment to always work with and remain supportive of the President. To this, she remains unwavering.”“The VP wishes to reiterate her awareness that the prime focus of her energy and intention has always been to lend full support to the agenda and purposes of the President, not to pursue a separate end of her own,” a statement for the VP’s office said.NPP Acting leadership also dispelled allegations that VP Taylor intends to contest the 2023 presidency as alleged by the former chairman.Acting party Chairman John Gray said at a press conference on Monday, November 12, that such a rumor should have been in the public long ago if the expelled chairman is sincere in his claim.“It is therefore ludicrous, diversionary and a bold-faced lie to have heard Mr. Biney telling the public that the VP met with him and expressed the desire to contest for the presidency in 2023,” Madam Taylor’s office said.She also acknowledged creeping political uneasiness within the Party at the moment as unfortunate, adding that this is “unwelcome development,” and that such scenario is not uncommon in political institutions, especially in an illiterate setting.“Such should not mislead any partisan to assume that he or she can maliciously distract the Party by resorting to acts bordering on self-aggrandizement and manifested by the spewing of lies and libelous statements about her person and the NPP,” the statement said.“NPP remains a reliable and unshakable pillar under the indomitable Coalition for Democratic Change, the institution that is destined to change the sad story of this country remains unfazed by the ill-advised bidding of mischievous elements.She refuses to be swayed away from her preoccupation with the championing of the strengthening and forward march of the Coalition, an alliance in which her Party is a willing and proud constituent member.The Vice President remains firm in her commitment to upholding and defending all party laws as well as ensuring that the NPP keeps glued within the Coalition, staying the course of loyalty and faithfulness to President Weah as he steers our national developmental agenda.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgMonrovia City Mayor Jefferson Koijee (right) with the Director for City Beautification, Edwin TisdellWith plans to also wash the streetsUnder the watchful eyes of the Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Koijee, the Director for City Beautification, Edwin Tisdell told journalists over the weekend that plans are underway for the construction thousands of public latrines in the City.Mr. Tisdell said the initiative is to ensure that Monrovia becomes one of the cleanest cities in Africa and the world. He said  that as part of efforts to make Monrovia a clean and green for healthy inhabitants, the City Corporation has embarked on the washing of streets in the City.He emphasized that although the exercise might be new to Liberia, it is done in other parts of the world for a healthy environment.“Washing of the roads is another means of putting out germs because we ride cars that in most cases come from strange environment, we have to wash the roads to safeguard our people” he added.Mr. Tisdell stressed that the reasons why other Countries are very clean and have good air quality is due to the washing of their roads.“People don’t understand and think that we are spoiling resources” he told journalists in Monrovia.According to him the road washing exercise is not just limited to the festive seasons, as the MCC has written several partners for the initiative to become a sustainable one.He expressed the hope the washing of the roads will curtail germs and waterborne diseases in the City.When quizzed about how far the MCC intends to go with the exercise, Tisdell intoned that it started on the 13th of December with painting and decorating the principal streets of Monrovia.“We are also painting all the bridges constructed by Government in Monrovia to include the Gabriel Tucker Bridge, the Zolu Duma Bridge, the Jamaica Road Bridge, and the Double Bridge at Stephen Tolbert Estate, amongst others.”In order to enhance its work, MCC has also begun to shut down makeshift auto garages and has removed faulty vehicles from the streets. “Our City planning team is also involved in ensuring that all private homes and businesses are painted,” he said.He further said that those whose homes have broken septic tanks will be fined as this poses serious health and environmental risks.Mr. Tisdell also revealed that the MCC has secured about 400 trash cans which will be mounted in the streets of Monrovia to avoid people from throwing dirt in the streets.The Monrovia City Corporation Director for Beautification said when the city is clean and healthy; it will also attract investors who will create jobs for Liberians.“Mayor Jefferson Koijee is very passionate of keeping the City of Monrovia clean, green and safe.” He has mandated me and my team to regularly ensure that our capital city is attractive for investment and our people live in a healthy environment”.Tisdell said beginning next 2019, the City will experience some drastic changes in its outlook, noting that they will modernize Monrovia and make it more attractive for job creation for many young people.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgGospel Faith Ministries International eviction and demolition underwayThe Sixth Judicial Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia, has evicted the oldest branch of the Faith Mission International, called the Gospel Faith Mission International (GOFAMINT), aka the House of Grace, located opposite LPRC Road Junction on Somalia Drive.The court did not only shut down the church, its members were evicted following quarrel over a plot of land which a family had claimed.Reverend Barclay Walker, the National Overseer of the Faith Mission International, said the Church has been attacked, because its members have deeds to prove that they bought the land 1996 from one Sampson S. Boah, and the copy of the mother deed that the lands were obtained in the 1950s.The Church, established 1994, has a membership of over 300, while the newly established school in the church’s edifice, kindergarten to 6th grade, has over 90 students.”Reverend Roger Gaye, the head Pastor, reported that the church had baptized over 500 members about 24 years ago and, because of its relocation, most of the members had relinquished their membership to other denominations.The Church has 11 branches with the National Headquarters in Caldwell, outside Monrovia. The Caldwell Headquarters is also the sub-headquarters of District #1 comprising five churches, while the Gospel Faith Mission International was the sub-headquarters of District #2, comprising six different churches.But the eviction of the church’s longest serving branch has reduced the branches to 10.Eight bailiffs from the Civil Law Court B, including more than a dozen armed police officers from the Police Support Unit (Riot Police) carried out the eviction on the controversial premises on Saturday morning, December 7.The eviction followed the demolition of the church edifice and the caretakers’ apartment.The court officials hauled all the church’s belongings and spread them on the ground.One of the court’s constables said the coming of the armed men was a regard to the flogging of four of their officers last Saturday, when they were under the leadership of instruction, came to serve the eviction notice.The court officials hauled all the Gospel Faith Ministries International church’s belongings and spread them on the ground.“Four of our officers were beaten and sustained injuries last Sunday, December 1. They just came to issue the eviction order, but encountered a worst of their nightmare,” said our source, who asked not to be named because he did not have authority to speak to the press.He added that details of the court’s eviction (writ), and history of the case can be obtained from the court.A female court official said: “A lady, called Diamond was the main perpetrator of Saturday’s mayhem, and there is also a writ for her arrest.”The speechless armed men in their blue uniforms, including helmets and pepper spray where spread as a line was drawn as demarcation for intruders.Two standby witnesses, a couple, said the eviction of the church mean that the church of Jesus Christ is under attack and indicates the ‘end time.’“The court is used to evict churches from vacant and wasted lands, which the church built on, as well as from school and abandoned  buildings,” the female pastor said.Meanwhile, Rev. Barclay said even though the church was wrongly evicted after being on the land for 25 years, and have 23 years old deed, including the mother’s deed from Sampson Boah, who accused the Civil Court ‘B’ and Surveyor Lawrence Henries of the conspiracy.Also, the Chief of Protocol of the Church, Brother Tamba Boukarie denied flogging any court officers, but admitted to their neighbor, another tenant, popularly known as Papay Saah, throwing stones over the church’s zincs, while they were in service.“We only went outside and cautioned them to stop. A number of men from the church came out to warn them, made them to stop the throwing of stones,” Boukarie said.Another member said Rev. Gaye and the Church Bishop are expected to challenge the eviction in court.“We are asking the church community to join us in prayer as we seek redress,” she 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