…at UG?With a new broom in the office of the Vice Chancellor of UG, there’s the usual flurry of activities and announcements that accompany these contingencies. There will be a re-looking at the entrance requirements for entering the tertiary institution – so as to re-instill “standards” in the graduates. The VC was most likely referring to the majority of graduates who can barely string together ten words to make a coherent sentence. Don’t ask about essays.So what are the present criteria? Basically five subjects at CSEC including Maths and English. But that’s only the top of the iceberg that had sunk all previous well-meaning efforts at raising “standards”. UG is really two universities being run concurrently with the same teachers and students. One of these universities would be called a “Community College” in the US and awards an “Associate Degree”.The latter institution is seen as substandard because it IS substandard. UG lowers its basic entrance criteria lower than the belly of a snake – you can gain your five subjects in five sittings, graduate from Critchlow that has no entrance requirements, Burrowes School of Art, registered nurses, etc – to enter this Diploma Programme. But you take the same classes with others fulfilling the requirements for the five-year Bachelors Degree – and even for the professional courses like Medicine and Law, which demand at least two CAPE passes!So how’d you expect a lecturer – most likely the possessor of a Bachelors – to deliver a quality lecture to this motley crew – numbering over a hundred bodies? Mightn’t it be better to break UG into two Colleges? Maybe the Speciality CAPE school the previous administration had floated might form the nucleus of this institution? Maybe also remedial classes?There’s also the perennial crisis for funds. Well, the new VC’s one of the new-wave breed spawned by the neo-liberal market fundamentalism mindset that is specialised to deal with that issue. It certainly was part of his job description at his last gig in the States. Didn’t do so well with the money-raising bit – but hey! – you never know, do you?But this Eyewitness thinks the “standards” question will have to be answered before the second challenge can be tackled. What’s the point of spending all this money, donors will ask, not only to produce mediocre graduates, but also specialists in subjects for which there’s hardly any interests. Just how many International Relations graduates can Guyana absorb? Or Sociology? Or Communications Studies?We just want to assure the VC the moment UG can fill the need for petroleum engineers his troubles – and ours – are over!…over in the City?Just when our Eyewitness thought better judgement might prevail on this Parking Meter monstrosity, up pops the report that the meters – well at least the first one – have landed! Since we don’t have the Star Trek “beam me up, Scottie” apparatus, the meter must’ve been shipped even before the City Hall Gang of Four went to Mexico. Playing fast and loose with the truth on the contract is obviously only the tip of an iceberg that’s still waiting to be plumbed!What the demonstration of the meter confirms is “boat gone a watah” on this issue. The review suggested by Central Government will get nowhere under the excuse that there shouldn’t be “interference” between the different layers of government. That 90% of the Councillors are APNU, and can be morally “suaded”, isn’t even going to be floated.So the only issue left is whether the $500/hour parking fee will stand. Of course not! The “concession” to bring it down to say, $400/hour.And we’ll be instructed to be appropriately grateful for being screwed!…in oilSo Guyana with a GDP of US$3B is gonna RENEGOTIATE its Profit Sharing Agreement with ExxonMobil with revenues of US$269B?They’ll take on Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Haynes and Boone? Who’ve tied a dozen US Attorney Generals into knots?
Patrice D. JuahPatrice Juah is a Mandela Washington Fellow of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Writer, Poet, Entrepreneur, Broadcaster, Communications Strategist, Girls’ Education Advocate, Global Speaker and former Miss Liberia, dedicated to changing Liberia’s image within the international community. She’s the founder and executive director of the Martha Juah Educational Foundation, Founder/Creative Director of Moie, and the founder/editor of Sexy Like A Book. Miss Juah is a member of UN Women’s Civil Society Advisory Group on Liberia, and sits on the boards of the Liberia Literary Society and Smart Liberia. Ms. Juah can be reached via email : Patjuah2001@yahoo.com or via her website at : www.patricejuah.com Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Sierra Leone is known for its hilly terrainBy Patrice D. JuahSierra Leone, affectionately called Salone, has always felt somewhat like home to me. I’ve had a strong connection to the country, although I only visited it briefly as a child refugee, when my family and I transited there, while fleeing from the 1996 civil war in Liberia. Rebels stormed Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, and our only means of escape was Victory Reefer, a cargo ship. We were aboard the ship for three long days. We hadn’t planned for this journey and took along none of our belongings. We had no idea what to expect.Business executives, expatriates and ordinary Liberians were all on board. My family was en route to Abidjan, but all flights were canceled, so this was a big opportunity for us. As luxurious as being on a ship sounds, those 3 days, came straight out of a horror movie. We took no showers, had no real meals and sleep was a complete stranger. The rain left no room for comfort, as the storms shook us in different directions. Comments like “Liberians, where are you running to again” became all too familiar. The days went by, not as quickly as we’d expected, but finally, we arrived at a port in Freetown called Government Wharf. Citizens of Sierra Leone and other nationalities were allowed to disembark, except Liberians.A bird’s eye view of Freetown, capital city of Sierra Leone, at the central landmark of town, Cotton TreeWe were seeking refuge and they were unsure about taking us in, or sending us back to our country. We stayed on the ship for about 4 hours until a call came in from the UN, telling port authorities to allow us into the country. This was predicated upon the UN’s 1951 Refugee Convention, which “defines the term refugee and outlines the rights of the displaced, as well as the legal obligations of states to them.” The principle further states that “a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom.”We were given bread and sardines, and allowed to finally disembark. We weren’t in Freetown to stay; this was supposed to be a stop before the main journey. We were only there to catch a flight to our final destination, Abidjan. The port was crowded and everyone was heading somewhere. We told the authorities that we were in transit and had money to leave the country, but they insisted on taking us to Waterloo, in rural Freetown, where there was a refugee camp for Liberians. Our fate decided, we spent the night on the cold floors at the port, before boarding a big truck for the refugee camp the next day. The drive to Waterloo was a somber one; an uncertain future awaited us still. We arrived at the camp, got registered and were given spots on the floor to place our blankets. We again pleaded with the authorities there to let us go, but they told us that we’d have to stay until someone came to bail us out. So we stayed for about a week, uncertain and confused.One afternoon, a guy visited the camp to sign for his family. My older sister chatted with him and asked him to sign for us. He said that he’d return in a few days to help us out. He kept his promise and we happily left Waterloo for Freetown. Freetown was green and hilly; mountains overlooking the city and beautiful beaches everywhere. We weren’t on vacation, but it started to feel like a mini-vacation. We stayed at Cape Sierra Hotel, a beautiful hotel overlooking the beach, for a night, and moved to the National Stadium Hotel, where we stayed for about a week, before leaving for Abidjan.That’s the Sierra Leone I got to know. It’s always been that relative, a twin to Liberia that fascinates me. I may not know enough about it, but the culture, food, history, tribes, war and even Ebola, reflect the many similarities we share as countries. My Sierra Leonean friends and I talk about those similarities all the time. They too feel the same connection to Liberia. I’m particularly fascinated by their profound parables like “Get, get, no want, want, want, no get”, which means “Those who have, don’t want, and those who want, don’t have.” Only a Salone Titi or Freetown Borbor, can say that with matchless wit and distinction.I still have plans to visit the country again; to discover and explore it in depth.Salone, like Liberia, has known tremendous suffering and pain. But like Liberia, they have a fighting and resilient spirit. They bounce back after the hardest blows have hit them. The land of the Lion Mountain, the true meaning of Sierra Leone, perfectly describes the land and its people. A brave people; adorned with laughter, strength and a carefree spirit. Although we grieve and mourn, let us not doubt their ability to rise again.Salone, L.I.B feels your pain; our hearts bleed and reach out to you. Others may write you off, but we know your fortitude all too well. We won’t blink an eye, or sleep on you.Dear Salone, we see you!
Senior Elections Magistrate for Upper Bong County, Daniel G. NewlandThe National Elections Commission (NEC), through its local office in upper Bong County, will on Tuesday, Nov. 21 conduct a recount in electoral district # 4 in Bong County.According to the Senior Elections Magistrate for Upper Bong County, Daniel G. Newland, the recount will be conducted in nine (9) polling places in six (6) precincts in the District of the eighty-four (84) polling places.Mr. Newland named the precincts numbers: Shankpalai Public School with code #06102, with polling places 1, 2 and 3; Nyensue Palava Hut, code #06088 with polling places 1 and 2; Kollieta Public School, code #06092 with polling place 2; Foequelleh Public School, code #06018 with polling place 1; Payeta Public School, code #06064 with polling place 2; and Bellemu Public School code #06008 with polling place 3.The Upper Bong County Senior Elections Magistrate said immediately after the conduct of the October 10, elections, electoral district #4 incumbent representative Lester M. Paye and three-time defeated candidate Susannah Lorpu Mator filed separate complaints of elections irregularities to the NEC and hearings were conducted by the NEC hearing officer in NEC office in Gbarnga. Mator was defeated in the representative election of October 10, 2017, for which her complaint is registered. She also lost her representative bid in 2011 and 2005.Mr. Newland said the two complainants, through their lawyers, prayed to the NEC for a rerun in the district due to the alleged irregularities but following legal arguments between the complainants and the NEC, it was concluded by the NEC hearing officer a rerun was not possible.He explained that following the hearings, the two complainants appealed to the National Elections Commission Board of Commissioners (BoC) and the Board of Commissioners in its ruling called for a recount in nine polling places.“Based on the BoC ruling and mandate, we will conduct a recount of nine polling places in electoral district #4 but the recount will be conducted at the NEC’s local office in Gbarnga beginning 9 in the morning,” Mr. Newland said.He was swift to say that parties involved have been notified since the ruling was handed down by the BOC and local as well as international observers will be in attendance to witness the process.Electoral District #4 has a total of 23,166 registered voters and recorded a total of 21,582 valid votes and 1,584 invalid votes among 14 representative candidates contesting, including the incumbent.The Unity Party representative candidate Robert Flomo Womba was declared winner of the October 10 election in the district, after obtaining 4,232 votes accumulating 19.6%, while incumbent Representative Lester M. Paye of the Alternative National Congress (ANC) who took second place received 3, 471 votes (16.1%) and three-time defeated candidate of the United People’s Party (UPP), Susannah Lorpu Mator, received 3,179 (14.7%).Representative-elect Robert Flomo Womba lauded the NEC for the decision for a recount, adding “let the NEC go ahead with the recount and the results will not change because my people voted me overwhelmingly for the kind of work I did for them when I was not eyeing this position.”Electoral District #4 comprises Zota District, Panta District and Mehnquelleh Clan of Sanoyea District.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
SEARCH, SIDA and CSOs officialsSearch for Common Ground Liberia/Talking Drum Studio (SEARCH) has ended a five-year project entitled “Strengthening the Capacity of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to Promote Sustainable Governance in Liberia.”Funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the project was designed to encourage CSOs to promote a sustained democratic culture, the protection of human rights and the inclusion of citizens in decision-making. The original project was initially scheduled for November 1, 2012, to October 31, 2015, but ultimately occurred from November 1, 2012, to July 31, 2017.With a funding of US$4,526,009, the project was conducted in four thematic areas: decentralization, security sector reform, natural resource management and electoral reform, with four mutually supportive objectives.The reforms were to increase the programmatic capacity of partner-CSOs and community-based organizations (CBOs) to engage the state on targeted reform areas; to increase the institutional and financial capacity of CSOs and CBOs for sustained engagement with state institutions. They were also intended to strengthen networking and collaboration among CSOs and CBOs at national and county levels; and to increase information-sharing and dialogue between citizens and state institutions and CSOs/CBOs at national and county levels.Search Liberia Country Director Aaron Weah admitted that there were multiple expected results from the project. “How did we go about with this capacity building program? We went about it, first, by doing a self-assessment of each of these organizations to identify, institutionally, the priority areas and how we can work together to strengthen these areas of capacity.“So after doing a self-assessment and drawing-out the key areas of priorities, we were able to jointly work with these partners to set out what we referred to as benchmarks. So we set a benchmark for six months. After 11 months, we brought somebody from our West Africa region to conduct a mid-term evaluation to see the initial results,” Weah explained in an overview of the project.Sweden’s Ambassador to Liberia Ingrid Wetterqvist said Sweden has a keen interest in the promotion of civil society, especially Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – with targets to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.She said Liberia needs a strong civil society to strengthen the rule of law and work on its development challenges. “Why does Sweden support civil society? Civil societies built Sweden. You might not believe it today, but some 150 years ago, a quarter of our population actually immigrated to the United States. People came together in churches and various associations to work against alcohol [consumption] and sobriety.“Alcohol was a huge developmental problem in Sweden at the time. These movements, also in the churches, turned into political movements. And there was a mobilization of trade unions and workers and there was a deal done between the few big companies and the mining workers, who were working in these companies.“And the deal was to formulate the labor market and contribution to taxes. And the outcome was the building of a society for the well-being of the core of the masses. So schooling is very important; healthcare is very important,” she stressed.The national chairperson of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, Frances R. Deigh Greaves, commended Sweden for having partnered with SEARCH.The project took place in Montserrado, Nimba, Bong, Grand Bassa and Grand Gedeh counties among 10 partners, including National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (Naymote) and Security Sector Reform Working Group (SSRWG) from 2012-2017, and Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) from 2012-2014.The county partners were Bassa Women Development Association (BAWODA) from 2012-2017; Bong’s Center for Justice and Peace Studies (CJPS) from 2012-2014; and Nimba-based Special Emergency Activity to Restore Hope (Search) from 2012-2014.Others were Grand Bassa Youth Caucus (BYC); Community Development and Research Agency (CODRA) of Bong; Effective Activity to Restore Stability for the Masses (EARS) of Nimba; and Gender Peace Network (GPN) of Grand Gedeh, who benefited from 2016-2017 respectively.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Fort St. John Crime Reduction Unit is search for the owners of some stolen property.The Crime Reduction Unit has been investigating a series of residential break and enters from the middle of June through to the end of July. These break and enters happened both inside the city of Fort St. John and in the surrounding areas. Police believe that a vehicle was involved in these break and enters.On July 26, the RCMP arrested a 26 year-old female from Fort St. John for possession of stolen property and from one of the break and enters. The female was found in possession of a number of items believed to be stolen including an X-box 360.- Advertisement -The RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating the rightful owners of the seized property. You can contact the RCMP at 250-787-8100 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 if you have any information about these break and enters or if you believe you know who the stolen property belongs to.