Grand Gedeans Join Election Reform Dialogue

first_imgGrand Gedeans representing numerous and diverse communities, organizations and political affiliations, gathered in Zwedru and Toe Town to take part in the Citizens in Liberia Engaged to Advance Electoral Reform (CLEAR) initiative that discusses the electoral reform.By Ben T.C. BrooksTwo recent community forums held in Grand Gedeh County brought a cross-section of citizens together to dialogue on the nation’s electoral process, such as the reforms.Grand Gedeans representing numerous and diverse communities, organizations and political affiliations, gathered in Zwedru and Toe Town to take part in the Citizens in Liberia Engaged to Advance Electoral Reform (CLEAR) initiative that discusses the electoral reform.The forums were moderated by Tonieh Gibson of Liberia Media for Democratic Initiatives (LMDI) and relayed on Flash, Top and Smile FMs community radio stations.Some of residents became so eager while interacting with one another, and were exceptionally pleased with the LMDI, a well known radio program since 2017, conducting the election debates, afford them a platform to join the national conversation on electoral reform.Each of the forums lasted approximately three hours; and began with the moderator first providing the ‘big picture’ of electoral reform as a civic engagement exercise intended to get the views and recommendations of Liberians.The dialogue took into consideration, the differences between constitutional, statutory and regulatory electoral reforms with two specific issues including election timeline and adjudication of complaints and grievances arising thereof.Liberia’s current version of the constitution requires that elections are held on the second Tuesday in October of any election year at the immediate end of the rainy season. This means that all electoral activities, including campaigning, the movement of election materials and personnel, and voting take place under abject seasonal conditions posing major difficulty to the conduct of elections across the country.“National infrastructure limitations and the fast encroaching effects of climate change further compound the logistical challenges of the season,” the participants recalled.At the Zwedru City Hall forum, Madam Betty Gaye, vice president of Grand Gedeh County Rural Women, strongly supported the idea of reconsidering the national elections timeframe with a possible change from the constitutionally mandated October day to an agreed date in the dry season (preferably between December and March) and an accompanying matched timeline for inauguration.“Look my fellow Grand Gedeans and Liberians, reflect and compare the numbers of registered voters and see the turn-out during election day. She stressed that while there may be several reasons for the significant difference between registration and voting numbers — citing for example death, illness and migration – the major reason was simple. “According to my study,” she stated, “the registered voters are more than the electorate, who show up on voting day, because rain and deplorable roads lead to them staying at home.”Madam Gaye added that this was particularly true for her constituents, rural women, which led to a situation ‘where citizens suffer’ because the majority’s choice may not be their choice.Logistics officer Alfred Dunner, confirmed that Liberia’s October timeline was “a huge challenge’ for the Grand Gedeh County NEC magistrate’s office as well. At the same time, Dunner stressed that it was not up to the body of the National Elections Commission (NEC) to carry out reform of any article within the Liberian Constitution. Rather, he said that reform needs to come from the people’s dialogues, which constitute the citizens’ decision.In this matter, whereas the NEC Code of Conduct states: “Challenges and complaints are assessed, investigated and determined, according to regulations and procedures,” forum participants strongly recommended the establishment of a separate court to handle electoral conflicts and related issues. Under the existing electoral legal and regulatory framework, NEC is both judge and jury in a time consuming process, including instances where their own procedures and activities are allegedly at fault or in questioned.At Toe Town Hall meeting, Chebo Toe, Supervising Principal of Grand Gedeh County School System Principal Association and Principal of Toe Memorial Institute, affirmed B’hai District’s support for establishing a separate, election-specific court.Albert Doe, a member of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia’s county chapter, re-emphasized that establishing a separate tribunal to look into election matters would help reduce NEC’s responsibilities and allow them to focus only on the conduct of elections.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Serious crime down by 42% in G Division – Commander

first_imgSerious crime in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) and on the Essequibo islands of Wakenaam and Leguan have decreased by 42 per cent.This is according to Divisional Commander Khali Pareshram. According Pareshram, this is as a result of preventative policing and advanced training ranks received.Commander Khali PareshramDuring an interview with Guyana Times, the Divisional Commander said that Police presence in various communities has played an integral role in crime fighting. He said that ranks were tasked with visiting communities and interacting with the populace, and based on the walkabouts and the intelligent gathering then operations are planned and executed.He noted that in 2017 bicycle patrolling was introduced enabling law enforcement ranks to visit communities. This anti-crime strategy assisted in the process and fostered stronger relationships between the Force and residents.Pareshram said that within the Division there were two major ports of entry namely Supenaam and Charity and as such, high numbers of “stop and searches” were conducted on a regular basis. These operations, the Commander said, have unearthed narcotics and illegal weapons.According to the Commander, by March 2018, two Police Stations within the district will be equipped with modern ID parade rooms and also rooms for domestic violence cases. Children will also be accommodated in a different room when dealing with domestic violence cases.Speaking about the challenges in the Region, the commander said that one of the major concerns remained the fact that often times witnesses of crimes were reluctant to give statements to the Police.He added that another challenge was the lack of street lights especially in the housing schemes. This poses a huge difficulty for ranks to properly execute their work. The Commander is hoping that 2018 be a better year for the Region, and has called for the continued cooperation of residents in the fight against illegal activities. (Indrawattie Natram)last_img read more

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Ailing man begs for bail on gun charge

first_imgA father of two battling renal failure on Wednesday pleaded with the court to consider his health and grant him bail on an illegal possession of a semi-automatic weapon charge.The court heard that on February 20 at Lot 196, Block 3 Green Acres, Providence, East Bank Demerara (EBD), Rajendra Harrichand had in his possession a quantity of .9mm ammunition and a semi-automatic pistol. The 39-year-old man denied the charges when it was read to him by Magistrate Fabayo Azore.The prosecutor in objecting to bail told the court that Harrichand should not be placed on bail owing to the seriousness of the crime. He also stated Harrichand had confessed to Police that he used the item for protection and obtained it from a “Spanish man”.However, Harrichand’s attorney in a bail application told the court that if the confession were true, it could be that the man did not understand the line of questioning on account of him being illiterate. The court was also informed that Harrichand was suffering from renal failure and as such, had to report to hospital for dialysis every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The defence attorney presented Harrichand’s medical records to the court in support of his bail application. The Attorney-at-Law also informed the court that his client had a party at his house, just a few days prior to the Police’s discovery, hinting that one of the partygoers could be guilty of the offence.Harrichand was placed on $150,000 bail on the condition that he lodge his passport and report to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters every Friday. The case will continue on March 21.last_img read more

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Earth Day, Everyday

first_img“End Plastic Pollution”As you take a walk down the streets, relax on the Georgetown seawall, travel in a mini bus or taxi, step into a store, or go shopping at our markets, just take some time to observe, and you would notice something common in all these places: Plastics. Plastic pollution is in fact one of the most complex environmental problems we face today; it impacts our health and wellbeing. This year, Earth Day celebrations will send a strong message to ‘End plastic pollution.’Earth Day, a grassroots movementYears ago, the world’s attention was on enjoying the benefits of industrialisation – large scale production of goods at cheaper prices; saving of time and labour; wider choices of goods; improved standard of living; and new modes of transport, rather than the harms that would later plague the environment. Around the world, and particularly in the US, evidence was growing for the declines in biodiversity and the gradual disappearance of many natural resources; pollution of air, water and land; and the increase of diseases. With this evidence, environmental awareness also grew, and on April 22, 1970, millions of Americans protested the negative impacts of industrial development.The US quickly responded by forming their Environmental Protection Agency, as well as laws for clean water and endangered species. The day has since been observed as ‘Earth Day’, and was also adopted by the UN in 2009 as International Mother Earth Day and celebrated by over 192 countries around the world. The Earth Day Network, the organisation which leads Earth Day worldwide, will be using the platform of Earth Day — as we approach the 50th anniversary — as a catalyst for global action against plastic pollution.What is the global campaign about?Leading a grassroots movement to support the adoption of a global framework to regulate plastic pollution;Educating, mobilizing and activating citizens across the globe to demand that governments and corporations control and clean up plastic pollution;Educating people worldwide to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse and recycle plastics; andPromoting local government regulatory and other efforts to tackle plastic pollution.Why is plastic pollution a problem?According to BBC, “Plastic, as we know it, has only really existed for the last 60-70 years, but in that time it has transformed everything: from clothing, cooking and catering, to product design, engineering and retailing.” We have all contributed to the problem of plastic pollution, though sometimes unknowingly. As of 2015, human beings have created 6.3bn tons of plastic, of which 79% accumulates in landfills or the environment. It is estimated that if the current production trends continue and waste management trends continue, we can expect about 12bn tons of plastic waste to be in the environment or landfills by 2050. Marine animals like sea birds and turtles face the danger of becoming entangled in plastic bags and other debris, or mistaking plastic for food. Ingested plastic bags can cause internal blockages, and can even result in death. Large pieces of plastic can also damage their digestive systems. As plastic waste breaks down, it becomes tiny micro-fragments and can build up in the bodies of organisms. Plastics in food can disrupt human hormones, cause major life-threatening diseases, and early puberty.How to join the global campaign against plastic pollutionTake your own reusable bags when you go shopping, or ask for cardboard boxes to pack your items.Stop using disposable plastics, especially single-use plastics like bottles, bags and straws.Use reusable bottles for water, and reusable mugs for coffee.Join a local park, river or beach clean-up.Form a “green team” at your office to find cost-effective ways to conserve resources and promote sustainability.Volunteer for a local environmental group and/or make a donation.Demand that leaders and corporations control and clean up plastic pollution.Local Upcoming EventsEarth Day radio quiz – April 19, 2018, 102.5 FMEarth Day Opening Ceremony – April 20, 2018, Baridi Benab, State HouseSingle-use Plastic Free Day – April 22, 2018Trash to Fashion Show & Exhibition – April 27, 2018, Main Street, between Middle & Quamina streets.See our Facebook page for more details.We must assess our consumption of plastics and determine how to lower our plastic pollution footprint. Guyana is moving towards a green state, and you are important in this process. Earth Day is April 22, but every day should be a step further to taking care of this lovely planet. Remember: the change starts with you!You can share your ideas and questions by sending letters to: “Our Earth, Our Environment”, C/O ECEA Programme, Environmental Protection Agency, Ganges Street, Sophia, GEORGETOWN, or email us at: eit.epaguyana@gmail.com or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.last_img read more

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MARAD staff benefit from Domestic Violence training

first_imgThe Maritime Administration Department (MARAD), in collaboration with Child Link Guyana, recently concluded a workshop on domestic violence for the Department’s staffers.According to a release issued by MARAD, the awareness forum was held between May 29 and June 7, 2018 at the Department’s head office and at the Ports and Harbours Office.Employees benefited from these sessions collectively, where theories, ideas and experiences were shared, which enabled a better understanding of domesticOne of the presenters during the workshopviolence.Convening the sessions were presenters from both of the partnering entities which include Kean Chase, Ashome Clarke, Stacy Parris, Katina Benn-George, and a former professional Counsellor of Child Link Guyana.During the workshop, participants were able to benefit from discussions on the forms of domestic violence, the cycle of domestic violence, and the triggers of domestic violence.It was revealed that violence against women occurs in all sectors of society in all countries of the world, regardless of race, religion, social status, educational or economical background.In Guyana, in the years 2013/2014, there were over 3,000 reported domestic violence cases. More than 80% of the victims were females.last_img read more

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Now is time for draft legislation, not green paper – Jagdeo

first_imgGreen paperThe Opposition has said Government’s Green Paper proves nothing unless they take the necessary steps to introduce draft legislation on the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) which will guide how money from oil resources will be utilised for the country’s development.General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said on Thursday that this is one of the reasons for the Opposition’s objection to the Green Paper, because the Opposition was expectingOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeodraft legislation instead.He said the time has passed for discussions on the model for the SWF, as the Government had adequate time to prepare for this sector for more than three years now.“Now to be confronted with a discussion paper takes us right back to 2015. And so they have failed to fulfil all of their promises of creating a framework for the SWF. So we are back to square one now… Now the Government wants to solicit views,” he stated.Another issues raised by Jagdeo is the model used in the Green Paper which ignores best practices around the world and dictates that there is minimal political involvement. Although Government has catered for an Opposition representative on the Fund, Jagdeo has already objected to this.He said, “If this continues and that will dictate what is in the legislation, we will oppose it because it will lead to numerous problems down the road and too many political involvement.”Jagdeo also added that the SWF would contain revenue from the forestry sector and the mining sector. “We thought this was independently transferred to the Budget…now they have a special legislation governing their holding of these funds outside of the Consolidated Fund”He was referring to monies drawn from two other sectors. “They don’t need separate legislation. This is minimal resources… We wondered why they wanted to include those resources too from forestry and mining combining them with the monies from the petroleum sector.”Jagdeo has also raised concerns over the total control of the Fund by the Finance Ministry. The Green Paper sets out preliminary plans on how the Government hopes to manage the revenue from oil and other natural resources, with clear objectives of the Natural Resources Fund.Jagdeo reminded that he had initial objections to Government’s plans for the Fund but now that the Green Paper has been made public, he finds the plans to be even more worrying.The document states that the Finance Ministry will be responsible for the overall management of the Fund, including requested withdrawals in the annual budget proposal.“…calculating the Fiscally Sustainable Amount; drafting the Investment Mandate; entering into the Operational Agreement with the Bank of Guyana and drafting the annual report and reporting on the Fund through the annual budget,” the document said.As such, Jagdeo said he disagrees with the Minister’s total control for various reasons, but zeroed in on Jordan’s silence on the signing bonus from ExxonMobil. “This is the same Minister who lied to the country about the US$18 million signing bonus, saying that Guyana never received it and never asked for it. He lied to Guyanese for over a year. And it is the same Minister who will now have full control.”Meanwhile, in the document, it sets out specific rules, including the Fiscal Rule, which caters for the development gaps, both in terms of human capital and physical infrastructure, that exist and the need to accommodate development spending via the National Budget.To oversee these decisions, the Government has recommended the establishment of a macroeconomic committee which would consist of five members, including a representative of the Finance Minister.In terms of the management of the fund, a sovereign investment committee would be responsible for advising the Minister on the investment mandate but would also include a representative.Further, the Green Paper states that the Bank of Guyana (BoG) will be the operational manager of the Fund. The Opposition Leader has already expressed deep concern about this proposal.Although the Government has catered for a representative from the Opposition to sit on the Fund, Jagdeo has already objected to this proposal, stating that politicians should not be included.Now that the Green Paper has been laid, it paves the way for the proposed legislation on the Sovereign Wealth Fund to be laid in the National Assembly which looks at addressing two main issues: stability of the economy and saving for future generations.last_img read more

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Logger granted bail for ammo possession

first_imgA 45-year-old logger of Alliance Road, Timehri, East Bank Demerara (EBD) on Wednesday found himself before the court, slapped with a charge of possession of unlicensed ammunition after reportedly being busted during a Police roadblock.Sunil Roopnarine appeared before Principal Magistrate Judy Latchman and denied the charge which stated that on November 10, 2018 at Bamia, Linden-Soesdyke Highway, he had in his possession 10 live 12-gauge cartridges without being a licensed firearm holder.The prosecution contended that on November 10, the defendant was a passenger in a bus destined for Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) which was searched, and the ammunition was found.Magistrate Latchman released the defendant on $60,000 bail. Roopnarine is expected to make his next court appearance at the Linden Magistrate’s Court on November 21, 2018.last_img read more

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GPL has full power for Christmas – Govt assures

first_imgPublic Infrastructure Minister David Patterson has assured the nation that there would be full generation capacity during the Christmas season and that only transmission issues would affect service.He was at the time speaking on a “Budget in Focus” programme on the National Telecommunications Network (NCN), stating that the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Inc has a full supply of 134 megawatts of power.“Any problem we have will be with our distribution and not generation. We have $3.9 billion in our 2019 Budget to address our distribution network. The weak link in our system is our transmission and distribution line. We have repaired it and put it together over the years without thinking about redundancy. So, we will be working on that in 2019,” Minister Patterson explained.Work has already begun on fixing deficiencies before the peak period. Meanwhile, construction of Anna Regina’s new power station in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), which will be equipped with three containerised units, designed for baseload, is almost complete. Minister Patterson indicated that the sets would be on line next week and be commissioned by December 14. He added that the Bartica sets would also be up and running shortly, while Wakenaam and Leguan have adequate supply for the season.He also repeated a call for motorists to avoid drinking and driving which usually resulted in costly damage and blackouts.“When they [motorists] crash into poles, it takes off the system and destroys the transformers and getting a new one is time-consuming and tedious. So, please don’t drink and drive or drive carefully at all times,” Minister Patterson related.As it relates to the gas-generated project, Patterson said, it was on stream and would be a public/private partnership between the Government and an operator.“The funding the Government has is for land preparation, right now we’re doing survey and land acquisition. When Exxon’s Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel gets here, we come back to the supplementary committee for the balance of money to put the pipelines on.”last_img read more

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2 nabbed with cannabis in Police operations

first_imgTwo men were nabbed with a quantity of cannabis during separate Police operations on Monday and Tuesday in Berbice and at Itaballi Police Checkpoint.Police stated that about 14:15h on Tuesday, they arrested a male who wasThe cannabis confiscated in Berbiceattempting to traffic 1882 grams of marijuana.Based on reports received, the man was first spotted by an undercover rank with the illegal plant opposite the B Division Headquarters waiting to be collected.He was promptly arrested and was currently in custody assisting with investigations. In addition, a female cook of Moblissa, Linden- Soesdyke Highway, was arrested after she was found to be in possession of 144 grams of cannabis at the Itaballi Police Checkpoint.Charges are expected to be instituted shortly.last_img

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184th anniversary of Portuguese arrival commemorated

first_imgA section of the gathering at the commemoration ceremony on FridayAs Guyana observed the 184th Anniversary of the arrival of Portuguese in Guyana, President David Granger noted that such a day was created for mutual respect to be given to the Portuguese who have left a legacy on economic development in Guyana.Held at the Sacred Heart Church Compound, Main Street, Georgetown, which has been dubbed an edifice which stands as a monument of the presence of the Portuguese people in Guyana, the event saw a large turnout of Portuguese officials and Government Ministers.In his brief remarks, the Head of State reflected on the contribution of the Portuguese ancestors whom, according to him, through their industriousness and thrift made significant investments in Guyana.According to him, African emancipation created conditions for Portuguese enterprise, the village movement, the enlarged liberated population, the introduction of wage labour, the introduction of coinage, the opening of banks and the diversification of the economy expanded opportunities for the supply of goods and household services and for personal use.He noted that the Portuguese made the most of their shared employment on the plantation and they themselves had been the leading sugar producer. Eight in every ten shops in Georgetown were eventually owned by the Portuguese as such Granger noted that they left a useful lesson for all Guyanese.Meanwhile, Honourary Consul for Portugal to Guyana, Michael Correia expressed his thanks to Bishop Richard Francis for the use of the Sacred Heart Church.However, Correia called for mutual trust between Portuguese and other races living in Guyana.According to Correia, Guyanese heritage is now being seen as Portuguese heritage and as such, he condemned the state of Guyana’s wooden heritage buildings which are currently not being up kept.As such, he called for betterment in the area as Portuguese Arrival Day continues to be observed. May 3 was proclaimed Portuguese Arrival Day by Granger on February 27, 2017.last_img read more

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