… viability of industry threatened by US trade measurePresident David Grangerhas declared his commitment to providing much needed support to the local rum industry to ensure its survival and sustainability in the face of the major threat to its competitiveness on account of trade-distorting measures taken by the United States federal government.He made this declaration Monday last while addressing a gathering of industry leaders, the business community and the diplomatic corps who were present during the launch of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) El Dorado Grand Special Reserve 50th Anniversary Special Rum at the El Dorado Rum Heritage Centre.Caribbean countries stand to lose approximately US$700 million per annum if the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are allowed to continue current arrangements in which the governments of those two United States possessions enjoy a tax rebate from the US Federal Government to provide huge benefits to companies to produce and market rum for the United States market.In 2012, Caricom countries had confronted the US on the unfair rum trade in the region and the worrying threat it poses on the competitiveness of Caribbean rum entering the US markets.Though the engagement proved to be futile, President Granger urged the Caricom nations to sustain its protests against the actions being taken by the US government.“The Caribbean Community’s Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) has protested against these discriminatory measures. They are seen as being inimical to the sale of Caribbean rums in the US market and threaten the “long-term viability of this very important industry on our region,” he expressed.He noted too that litigation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is likely to be an extremely expensive and exhausting process and therefore Caricom must use its diplomatic strength to help resolve this problem, which is affecting the health of economies and the wealth of countries.President Granger went on to underscore the importance of the rum industry to the local economy, acknowledging the country’s only two rum production companies (DDL and Banks DIH Limited) – which are also the two largest local corporations.He explained that because of the profitability of the rum enterprise, the two corporate giants earned the ability to diversify its operations into banking, fast food and shipping – ultimately creating thousands of jobs.In this regard, the President noted that Guyana’s rum industry is precious and it is therefore critical that it be protected and preserved in the face of the US government’s actions.“Workers jobs and the livelihood of those who indirectly depend on the industry are at stake. The loss of foreign exchange and excise earnings by the rum industry can result in severe problems in our economy.Guyana’s rums are an important economic sub-sector. It is in the national interest to ensure the survival and sustainability of this industry. The government of Guyana is committed to supporting the industry,” he stated.
A salesman was robbed of 0,000 and a quantity of phone cards when he was held at gunpoint by a lone bandit at Novar Village, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara (ECD).Reports are that Tahir Yusuph, who hails from Rosignol, Berbice, had just visited a location where he conducts business and was about to enter his vehicle when the gunman pounced.This newspaper was told that the gunman placed the gun Yusuph’s face and demanded the case and phone cards.He then escaped.However, police have apprehended a man said to fit the description of the bandit. He is presently in police custody as investigations continue into the matter.
Digicel is expected to forge ahead with the construction of a special needs school in Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) – a move which had been halted by officials in the community due to issues with its location two years ago.In 2014, the sod was turned by then Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon, former Interim Management Committee (IMC) Chairman Orrin Gordon and Digicel representatives for the construction of the special needs school which never came into fruition. However, representatives of the telecommunications giant recently revealed that the company is still interested in once again venturing into the initiative.Speaking during the launch of the annual Linden Town Week (LTW) event on Sunday, the company’s representative Sherwin Osborne said Digicel is still dedicated to making the idea of the special needs school in the community a reality. He said that though the project, which had been initiated two years ago, saw some hiccups in its initial stage; it may soon come be on stream once again. Additionally, he pointed out that the company has had talks with the Government with the hope of making the special needs school a realisation. This was also reassured by Digicel’s Public Relations Officer Vidya Sanchara on Wednesday, who noted that though it’s a “touchy” subject, the company will nevertheless like to pursue it.Since there were issues with constructing the school at a site, which had been selected at Mackenzie, the company had been forced to abandon the idea, and Sanchara said funding was therefore directed elsewhere. She said provided that all goes well this time around, including the siting of a suitable location, Linden may benefit from such an initiative.
A newly emerged drivers union, the National Drivers Union of Liberia (NADUL), is contemplating a regulatory system to restrict and carefully monitor the movements of commercial vehicles for accountability purposes.The organization’s president, Charles S. Garyu, in an interview with the Daily Observer earlier this week noted that driving is randomly done in the country without regulations and accountability, and as such drivers need to come together under this umbrella to develop a system that will protect them and passengers they carry in their vehicles.He expressed disappointment that there are transport unions in Liberia that collect fees from drivers for their so-called services, but the very drivers from who the money is collected remain vulnerable.Moreover, the NADUL president said since these unions came in existence with the Federation of Road Transport Union of Liberia (FRTUL) being the oldest, vehicles continue to be parked in a disorganized way in front of stores and street places without a terminal being built.Mr. Garyu also attributed the vulnerability of drivers to the fact that they have not had an organized body to uphold them, noting that such is responsible for extortion of money from them by transport union operators.He further indicated that with the collaboration of the Ministry of Transport and the Liberian National Police (LNP), NADUL will begin giving stickers to commercials driver to direct them where to run daily.According to him, a sticker will bear the location of where the driver would head at a time in the day. This will help even the passenger to be notified of where the vehicle is going. Furthermore, the NADUL president told the Daily Observer that with the cooperation of commercial drivers, there will be control of passengers and drivers will not be rushing for passengers since a driver knows where he/she will be plying.With the sticker system, Garyu explained, criminals at Red-Light and other places claiming to be car loaders will have no grounds to extort money from passengers and drivers, and at the same time steal from them under the guise of loading.In this effort, the Ministry of Transport and LNP have reached a consensus with the organization to put the sticker regulation in place to help control the traffic.“As we introduce this system, vehicle that will have a sticker for Red-Light and heads to another direction not in line with instruction given the driver will be stopped, seized and turned over to the LNP for investigation, and the required penalty will levied against that driver,” Garyu said.According to the NADUL president, transport unions have a social responsibility to the drivers to train them (drivers), but over the time the unions have failed to meet their obligations.As the new drivers union comes into force, he said, it is going to work in line with the LNP to train commerce drivers and advocate on their behalf as most decisions in the country affect them.The transport sector of Liberia is one disorganized sector where restriction is rarely seen, he observed.Vehicles randomly park and receive passengers sometimes in accordance with the passenger’s discretion or the driver’s.However, different men are regularly seen in the streets collecting parking fees from drivers under the umbrella of the Federation of Road Transport Union.Mr. Garyu further disclosed plans to trained vehicle owners and drivers. The training is intended to buttress the effort of government, thereby improving the transportation sector of the country, particularly drivers and vehicle owners.Quoting the vehicle and traffic law of Liberia, Mr. Garyu said before any drivers obtained a license from government, that person should be tested and evaluated by the Ministry of Transport before being issued a driver’s license. He noted that the portion of that traffic law is no longer effective and as such, the training is designed to help vehicle owners to protect their vehicles.“We will train them on Standard control and prevention of accident, mechanical default and maintenance of vehicle.”“We conducted our research on Liberia and discovered that what we found out was frightening. We have about five groups of transport unions in Liberia that have been existing for many years and we have not been able to detect any positive impact in the lives of drivers,” he declared.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
– cites fraudulent saleThe Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Friday dismissed a Guyana land appeal in the matter of Chee Yiu Kwang and another vs Tsui Yokkei on the basis of a fraudulent sale and transfer of a Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) property.In dismissing the appeal, the CCJ agreed with, and upheld the decision of the High Court and Court of Appeal of Guyana in the matter.The dispute arose out of successive sales of a property at Bartica, which had been originally owned by Chee Yui Kwang (Kwang) and occupied by Tsui Yokkei (Cheekee).Kwang orally agreed to sell the property to Cheekee, who began making payments in this regard. Kwang subsequently sold and transferred ownership of the Bartica property to Millicent Murray. Cheekee commenced an action in the High Court of Guyana on the basis that the transaction between Kwang and Millicent was fraudulent.Acting Chief Justice Ian Chang ruled in favour of Cheekee, holding that the actions of Kwang and Murray amounted to fraud under section 22(1) of the Deeds Registry Act (the Act)1. Kwang was ordered to transfer ownership of the property to Cheekee upon receipt of the full balance due on the property.Both Kwang and Millicent appealed the decision at the Court of Appeal, which affirmed the ruling of Justice Chang.In bringing the matter to the CCJ, Kwang sought to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal of Guyana.The CCJ held that the circumstances of the subsequent sale of the Bartica property to Murray clearly fell within section 22(1).The fact that Kwang sold the property to Murray and transferred ownership to her when she was fully aware of Kwang’s agreement of sale with Cheekee made Murray a participant in the breach of the agreement and privy to the fraud committed by Kwang.The CCJ therefore dismissed the appeal and ordered that the transport (transfer of ownership) of the disputed property be passed to Cheekee. The court was presided over by Justice Nelson along with Justices Saunders,Hayton and Rajnauth-Lee. Rajendra N Poonai, Devindra Kissoon and Naresh Poonai appeared on behalf of the Appellants and Mohabir Anil Nandlall and Manoj Narayan appeared on behalf of the respondent.
The approval for the construction of a gas station has landed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in trouble with Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, the political leader of the opposition Liberty Party (LP).Cllr. Brumskine took the agency to the Civil Law Court at the Temple of Justice after the EPA granted a businessman identified as Lee Samuel the authority to construct a gas station within the vicinity of Cllr. Brumskine’s property.The LP political leader resides on the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Boulevard, in Paynesville outside of Monrovia.Testifying in court last Friday, Cllr. Brumskine said that prior to his action, he wrote the Agency about the danger the gas station’s underground fuel storage tank could pose to the health of the community, especially because the area is a swamp.Cllr. Brumskine said that before the construction of the gas station began, he also sought advice from several environmental experts in the United States of America, who told him that construction of the underground fuel storage tank would have a serious impact on the wells built in the area and the community as a whole.He named the Attorney General of New York and the USA Environmental Protection Agency as some of the experts he consulted.He said he then wrote to inform the EPA about his findings. The agency replied that it would do everything possible to address his concerns.“They told me that they were going to send their monitoring team to assess the area. EPA later informed me that there was no threat of contamination because all the appropriate safeguards were in place,” the LP leader added. “Firstly, they acknowledged our concern about the danger the storage tank would pose on me and the community,” he said.“It was based on their assertion that I asked them to show me a copy of the environmental impact assessment they did on the consequence of placing a fuel storage tank underground in a swamp area. I promised to under write the cost of the assessment,” stated Cllr. Brumskine.“Up to the present, EPA has refused and failed to let us have copies of any documents regarding their findings and the environmental law,” Cllr Brumskine said, adding, “This is why I filed this suit for the court to give us justice.”The case continues.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
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The Ministry of Labor has imposed fines on several institutions for employing non-Liberians without valid work permits and their failure to submit statistical reports to the Ministry in keeping with Regulation No. 17, Section 3(a) and Section 4(b) of the Labor Practices Laws of Liberia.Those fined include: Arcelor Mittal, China Union, Western Cluster and PIOM.Others are: Cavalla Rubber Corporation, Maryland Oil Palm Plantation, Nimba Rubber Inc., Morris American Farm, Firestone Liberia, Sime Darby, Lee Groups of Companies, APM Terminal, Fuzion Inc; LIB_24 Radio and TV, among others.The Labour ministry mandates all employing entities to adhere to the Labour Practices Laws of Liberia and cautions them that it will not relent in ensuring compliance.The fine is to ensure that Liberian employment interest at work places is prioritized. The Ministry further announced that it will continue to adopt and implement measures to enforce compliance with its mandate to ensure that Liberians are given the required employment preferences.In another development, the ministry has denied several applications for the issuance of alien work permits from employers seeking employment for non-Liberians for various positions in their institutions.The ministry wants the public and employing entities to be aware of a vigorous enforcement of its renewed commitment to grant preferential treatment to Liberians for certain positions at work places in line with the Labour Practices Laws of the country.It can be recalled that during several consultative meetings held in the last quarter of 2014 with stakeholders in the agricultural, forestry, telecommunications and mining sectors, as well as with the leaderships of the Indian and Lebanese Communities and other major stakeholders in the labor sector, these matters were flagged and the Ministry’s action is in keeping with previous commitments.Labour Minister Neto Zarzar Lighe, informed employers that his ministry will not be issuing work permits for non-Liberians seeking employment for positions such as Accountants, Human Resource Managers and Administrative Managers.The MoL, at the same time called on all employers to advertise vacancies for those positions in the local media and on their respective websites to allow qualified Liberians at home and abroad to compete for those positions. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Ministry of Youth and Sports Lenn Eugene Nagbe has added its voice to local football experts and fans, expressing optimism over the weekend that the national team has a great chance to advance over the 2018 World Cup playoff-off, although it’s a fact that the tougher game lies ahead against Cote d’Ivoire.Minister Nagbe said the nightmare of the country in 2002 has ended, and he is positive with the caliber of players under Coach James Debbah.He said the 1-0 win over Tunisia is the caveat and that the game has restored confidence and passion like the days of George Weah X1.The Alpha Oldtimers’ striker stated in an interview that Lone Star’s win over Tunisia has brought the country back to win and predicted that Liberia would definitely defeat Guinea Bissau at home and away to meet Ivory Coast, that he said Lone Star would also crush.Technically, according to the FIFA/Coca-Cola Men’s ranking, Guinea Bissau is 142, but its position in FIFA World Rankings is 165, while Liberia is at 160 and its position is 114, meaning Liberia has an edge.In the FIFA fixtures for the two-leg tie, the games are scheduled between between 5 – 13 October. The Secretary General of the Liberia Football Association, Alphonso Armah said Liberia would host Guinea Bissau on Thursday, 8 October at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium and the return leg on Tuesday, October 13.So given the current position of Cote D’Ivoire, 21st position and 34 points, Minister Nagbe and other Liberians are still confident that Lone Star can whip the Elephants to form part of the 20 winners from the second round to qualify for the third round – comprising five groups of four. The winners of each group qualify for the World Cup.The need for “wins” to replenish the belief of “ending the qualifying drought” is something many Liberians are hopeful, considering Tunisia (33rd position and 36 points) that was outclassed with a country of 160th position with154 points, can be possible for other countries in spite of any ranks.In order to make certain of the prediction, Minister Nagbe has disclosed that a “fruitful meeting” was held with the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Amara Konneh, about taking care of Liberia’s remaining international games.“We are 100% positive that we will win the remaining four games in this year, including Guinea Bissau and Ivory Coast – and by that we would qualify for the World Cup group stage,” Minister. Nagbe said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Liberian government has said that there are now ongoing efforts to restore the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center (JFKMC) to its “original status” before the civil war, which began on December 24, 1989 and ended in August 2003, when former President Charles Taylor went into exile.The JFK hospital, once Liberia’s major referral health center for nearly three decades, is now more of a primary healthcare provider. It lost its tertiary status due to the years of civil war and neglect by various regimes.At the height of its full capacity in the 1980s, patients flew in from most parts of West Africa to seek medical attention in Liberia.However, all is not lost. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced recently in her State of the Nation Address that efforts are now ongoing to restore the hospital to its original status. If the President’s words are anything to go by, then it would mean restoring all of the medical center’s facilities, including the Catherine Mills Rehabilitation Center, which now lies dormant, a wasteland encroached on by land-grabbers. The President didn’t explain in detail what efforts are ongoing in the restoration drive. However, on Monday, October 13, 2015, the JFK administration, along with authorities of the Ministry of Health, called a gathering to hold discussions on a five-year strategic plan, which is aimed at restoring the hospital to its prewar status. In that meeting, which was held at a local hotel, Health Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn announced that the hospital would need more than US$180 million to regain that status.Dr. Dahn said they had met in order to “move JFK forward.” For those wondering why now since the nation has been at peace for more than a decade, this was her response: “Over the past 10 years, the Ministry of Health has been working on restoring and strengthening the primary health care services and that is because most of the people will seek health care first at the primary level before they utilize the tertiary level.”The Health Minister stated that in order to make an impact in combating common illnesses, which can most times be easily prevented, they focused their attention on strengthening the primary healthcare level.“Because of that today, Liberia has made some achievements. Liberia was among the first eight countries in sub-Sahara Africa that achieved MDG 4 three years before it ended [in 2015],” she stated. Despite stating that her country has made some improvements in primary health care, she, however, said that the tertiary level now needs attention, adding: “It’s only on our continent Africa that our leaders go to another continent to seek healthcare [when they fall sick].” According to the Minister, this is because some African countries, such as Liberia, can’t afford the kind of health services and investment in the sector.When one considers the paltry US$60 million allocated to the health sector in the National Budget, the Minister is right saying there is less investment in the sector.She indicated that if Liberians want to see JFK where it ought to be, especially those who share the national ‘cake,’ they need to think “differently.”Min. Dahn added that Liberians are not happy with the present look of JFK and so everyone needs to now think differently toward improving the hospital.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)