Monrovia – Growing up in Liberia, whenever I call my name, I garner the stares and expressions of a name that sounds too strong or otherwise traditional. In fact, I get the feeling from facial expressions that the name belongs to another world, especially in my case, as both names are purely Liberian indigenous names. While in secondary school, it was worse. The calling of my name was greeted with instant laughter, jeers and intentional mispronunciations, intended to instill humiliation and fear. I remember many colleagues couldn’t bear the emotional bullying associated with bearing traditional African names and opted to have their names changed. This is typical of the average Liberian classroom where western names are pronounced with distinction and claimed with pride but traditional Liberian names are wrongly pronounced and treated with disdain. The name carrier bore the burnt of the struggle and left to face the accompanying degradations.The name scenario is a tip of the iceberg of the extent to how wide Liberians have negated their culture with western cultures, and in some cases other African cultures over their own cultures. A Liberian would prefer to be proudly called by another West African name and claim lineage to that country or ancestral history, but would refuse to proudly bear his name given under sacred conditions by his or her grandparents. Treasured and rich names with deep history are relegated to borrowed names. There are varying examples to the nature and breadth of how Liberians have abandoned their cultures over the years to diffusing and assimilating completely into others. This trend has affected generations to such a dangerous extent that there remains a major gap in the culture. Major tribes have histories of their founding fathers and how they came to being but have chosen to ignore those stories, completely forgotten to speak native dialects, hence a whole generation of young children grow up unable to speak their dialects. Ironically, the inability to speak one’s language comes with a false sense of sophistication. The ignorance of one’s history and cultural practices meant a man was too ‘civilized’ to conform. The reality is sad. A society without a clear definition of its history and culture has no foundation to build upon, and no purpose. We have a completely shattered appreciation of our culture from clothing, cuisine, language, history, etc. Every society has a signature delicacy that is known by foreigners upon entering that country. We have several dishes, from hot cooked palm butter and bitter roots to potato greens with red palm oil, bitter balls mixed with okra and fresh water palm oil to torborgee and rice, palava sauce and rice, domboy and pepper soup and GB with wollor soup. These are delicious delicacies that can be marketed and possibly exported to showcase the kinds of food we eat as Liberians. Culture is the melting pot of a group of people and the lining that binds us together. How many average Liberian kids understand the relevance and role of traditional chiefs, traditional dance ceremonies for birth, funerals, and other occasions?There is a surge in learning how to speak like other West Africans, copying their accents, but afraid to identify with our own accents. We have to develop ourselves and develop a spirit of cultural identity.Cultural identity is often defined as the identity of a group, culture or an individual, influenced by one’s belonging to a group or culture.A developmental psychologist, Jean S. Phinney, formulated a three stage model describing how this identity is acquired.The first stage, unexamined cultural identity, is characterized by a lack of exploration of culture and cultural differences – they are rather taken for granted without much critical thinking. This is usually the stage reserved for childhood when cultural ideas provided by parents, the community or the media are easily accepted. Children at this stage tend not to be interested in ethnicity and are generally ready to take on the opinions of others.The second stage of the model is referred to as the cultural identity search and is characterized by the exploration and questioning of your culture in order to learn more about it and to understand the implications of belonging to it. During this stage you begin to question where your beliefs come from and why you hold them. You are now ready to compare and analyze them across cultures. For some, this stage may arise from a turning point in their lives or from a growing awareness of other cultures, and it can also be a very emotional time. This is often the time when high school students decide to go on an intercultural exchange program.Finally, the third stage of the model is cultural identity achievement. Ideally, people at this stage have a clear sense of their cultural identity and are able to successfully navigate it in the contemporary world, which is undoubtedly very interconnected and intercultural. The acceptance of yourself and your cultural identity may play a significant role in your other important life decisions and choices, influencing your attitudes and behavior. This usually leads to an increase in self-confidence and positive psychological development.It seems we’re walloping in the first stage of cultural identity and are mimicking other cultures and taking the opinions of others about ourselves. Until we realize who we are, where we come from and what we want, the road to the future would be blurred, and we risk becoming cultural chameleons.Lekpele Nyamalon is a Liberian writer and poet, an OSIWA Poetry fellow and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Vice President Joseph Boakai has urged the graduating class of Nimba County Community College (NCCC) to devote their acquired education to community service as they walked out of the walls of the institution. VP Boakai’s admonition was contained in his commencement keynote address delivered at NCCC’s first convocation in Sanniqullie, Nimba County.Speaking on the topic “Devoting your Education to Community Service,” he called on the graduates to not treat his message as simple, trite or even mundane, but to accept it owing to the often mischaracterized weight assigned to virtues that undergird genuine service to community.“This is so because we have to realize the importance of commitment, diligence and patriotism as the ingredients needed for any society to develop and make progress,” he said.“You hold in your frame and fabric the capacity to make a difference in the mix of the turbulence that currently engulfs our political-economic landscape.”The VP reminded the graduates that their engagements only need to embody commitment, diligence and love for their country.“Our society is plagued by a long list of vices including greed, apathy, envy, theft, cheating, impatience, cynicism, ingratitude and worse, the resort to mob justice,” he said.In regards to these vices, Mr. Boakai cautioned the graduates to observe their roles as individuals belonging to a class, and be prepared to step forth and combat the contagious enticements of the aforementioned vices.“You stand today at a junction, projecting before you two paths from the forks of the road in your journey. The path you embark upon will be as critical to your very existence as it will be to the community in which you live and interact with your fellowmen.“Much like I have warned other peers of yours as they trooped out of the corridors of universities, let me similarly admonish you to not sit on your laurels, dose off in complacency or expect that now that you have earned a university degree, all things will come falling your way,” he told the graduates. He called on them to go forth with the right mental attitude, remaining true to the fine molding they have undergone in the classrooms and set fine examples as people who have acquired what was required of them.But should they do the contrary, Boakai warned: “Throughout all the years, all you have nursed is an aptitude for following the crowd and stooping for shortcuts and bypasses, settling for the ordinary; then of course your celebration amounts to naught, as far as the collective interest of society is concerned.” The NCCC’s first Commencement Convocation exercise, which started on December 8, was characterized by many activities beginning with the Faculty and Staff Night, the Students Class Night, the College President Tea Party and the Baccalaureate Service.The NCCC graduated 167 students who studied 14 disciplines including General Agriculture, Forestry, Natural Resource Management, Geology, Laboratory Technology, Nursing, Information Technology, Public Administration, Management, Accounting, Economic, Criminal Justice, Primary and Secondary Education as well as Gender Development Studies. 72 of the graduates come from the department of Science and Agriculture.The NCCC was established in 2010, but started full academic activities in 2011. It is run by the school’s president, Dr. Yar Gonway Donlah Gono.Dr. Gono said the school grew from 438 students to 1, 388, confirming the strong desire young Liberians have for education.The occasion was attended by high profile government officials and representatives from other colleges and universities around the country, including: Associate Justice Kabineh Ja’neh; Minister of National Defense, Brownie J. Samukai Jr.; the Director General of the National Commission on Higher Education, Dr. Michael Slawon; and the Minister of Post and Telecommunication, Dr. Federick Norkeh. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Who can ever forget Buutuo? It is the Nimba town on the border with the Ivory Coast which Charles Taylor and his National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) entered on December 24, 1989 to fire the first shots of their invasion that ignited the 14-year Liberian civil war.That invasion led to the overthrow and execution of President Samuel K. Doe and scores of his closest associates, mostly from his Krahn ethnic group. Buutuo is also remembered because in 2011 the brave and daring President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, against the advice of her own personal security, waded through water to enter with her official vehicle. It was in fulfillment of her promise to the people ofBuutuo that she would visit them before the end of her first term.The grateful Buutuo people did not forget that first visit by a sitting Liberian President to their town. They and the Nimba people, just as they had done in 2006, gave the first term candidate Sirleaf their resounding endorsement for a second term.But what did they get in return? Is there anything tangible in their town, one of Nimba’s most remote, that they can point to in terms of development—a tangible reward for their historic endorsement of her to win two presidential terms?Our former Nimba Correspondent, now Assistant Editor C.Y. Kwanue, himself a native of Buutuo, confessed that no, there is not much to show.Not even the road leading into the town, which is now riddled with even bigger puddles of water than Ellen braved to enter Buutuo on September 26, 2011.In his story on Tuesday, Editor Kwanue quoted many, including Old Lady Annie Quelleh, who said that GOL had “totally neglected Buutuo.” We all can imagine and know the great hardship any town, in this case Buutuo, suffers when deep puddles prohibit anything or anyone from entering or leaving there. No way to take pregnant women or other patients to the nearest clinic, which is so many miles away; no way for either trucks or pick-ups (taxis are completely out of the question) to take Buutuo’s farm produce to the market. The Buutuo people live on their cocoa production. Without roads, they sell nothing, compounding the hardship. There is also no way to bring in urgently needed food items, nor medicines to the lone clinic in the town of 40,000 people; no way for textbooks and other school materials from the Education Ministry to reach Buutuo’s schools; no way for businesspeople to travel to or from Buutuo to do business.We are not talking of people like C.Y. Kwanue, who lives and works in greater Monrovia and has to travel to Buutuo to see his aging relatives there. We are talking about issues that are much more serious than vacationing or visitations—although these, too, could be critical for aging or sick relations. What kind of life is that, to exist in a place that is impossible to reach? When we talk about abject poverty and deprivation, that is it right there.We know of five persons who can make an immediate difference in Buutuo right now to bring urgently needed relief to its people. The first is President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. She can order the second person, Public Works Minister Gyude Moore to deploy his engineers and yellow machines to go fix the road leading into Buutuo.The third person needed to rescue Buutuo is the politically powerful Nimba Senator Prince Y. Johnson. Everyone, including Ellen, knows that when Prince Johnson speaks, Nimba speaks! We know of no Liberian politician that can afford to ignore a call from Senator Prince Johnson.The fourth person relevant to this Buutuo conundrum (challenge, problem) is Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, himself with Nimba roots—his mom, Naankouh, is from Buutuo, and he speaks the languages, too, in addition to his paternal Kissi. Minister Samukai could easily engage his Engineering Battalion to go to Buutuo and help fix that road.The fifth person that can help toward making Buutuo accessible is Finance Minister Boima Kamara, who must come up with the money needed to empower Public Works and the Defense Engineering Battalion to come forward and fix the Buutuo road.Yes, Christmas and New Year are over, but the people of Buutuo remain critically trapped. All of us, but most especially the government, must come forward and DO something to bring speedy and urgent relief to Buutuo and our people who live there. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has praised citizens of Nimba County for “standing by her government over the years.”Speaking in Saclepea, Central Nimba, while touring the county on Monday, February 20, she also praised the citizens for the level of development they have undertaken across the county during her regime.The President said undertaking development projects is not only assigned to the Office of the President, but rather to every Liberian, including the legislature, the judiciary, the office of the superintendent, chiefs, citizens and legal foreign residents.What the county has done is worthy of commendation, because the residents saw that the government had created an enabling environment, she said.She also praised the private sector for the level of investment in the country, something she said gave a boost to her administration.President Sirleaf admonished the citizens to continue in their development path, “because everyone needs to build on your good example.”The President arrived in Ganta on February 19, and attended the closing ceremony of the United Methodist Church annual conference where she was honored for her achievements as the first female President of Liberia and Africa.She visited the abandoned Ganta – Sanniquellie road where she reaffirmed government’s commitment to reconstructing the road.On Monday, she interacted with petty traders on the sidewalk of Ganta’s main street, and also particpated in a conference held under the theme: “Partnership for Schools in Liberia.” The President applauded the Ministry of Education for the level of progress made so far in the Public Private Partnership initiative in Liberia that has seen a rise in student enrolment to over 1.5 million.Earlier in Seclepea, the President dedicated the newly constructed city hall that was funded with money from the ArcelorMittal Social Development Fund.As part of her visit, the President also extended her trip to Kparblee, where she dedicated the feeder road connecting Griae to Behwahlay.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
From left: Boakai (UP), Brumskine (LP), Jones (MOVEE), Cummings (ANC) and Urey (ALP)There remains 160 days from today to the much talked about historical presidential and legislative elections that many Liberians believe would change the destiny of the country.The day, October 10, will determine eventual changes in the body politic of the country. Though there is much talk about the reality of the ‘controversial’ Code of Conduct, many Liberians interviewed are hopeful that there will be a way out for the country to move in unity.“The current progress is irreversible,” stated Ms. Saviour Tweh, a student of a university in Monrovia, “we cannot afford to let things divide us.” Hence many Liberians recognize the fact that whatever is done in the process to ensure transparency to the next government must be done with consistency of purpose, geared at greater unity for Liberia.Though some of the people interviewed said much has not been done in the last 12 years of President Sirleaf’s Administration, pointing the slow level of development and the increasing cost of living and the inability to control the rise of the United States’ dollar to the Liberian, such claims have been compared to former President Charles Taylor’s administration where he decided and the business community complied with his decisions as they affected the economic lives of the people. It is the political leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MOVEE), Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, who said last week during a tour of Bong County, “It is not that nothing was done, but much was not done.” He was making reference to the poor state of development in both the people and the country and even stated that when the Republic of Ghana was gaining independence in 1957, Liberia was 110 years old. “Ghana has left us behind in development and why?” he said, insisting it was because of poor leadership.Many Liberians, like Dr. Jones, believe that poor administrative strategies have failed the country since independence in 1847, and therefore, “we must stop doing business and begin to put people who have shown by their record that they have the people’s interest at heart.” He said last week in Salala that whenever Liberia is mentioned, people don’t mean trees and rocks but the people, hence Liberians must seek for leaders who have made impacts on their lives.And though Dr. Jones appears to have a clear-cut agenda or platform for the future, which reflects on his background as an economist, and the financial inclusion policy, which he explored at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), many of the political parties have not revealed what they would do differently.Many have also re-echoed the need to improve on education, infrastructure and ensure in vague terms that County Development and Social Development Funds allotted to counties annually would be used to benefit all. The Alternative National Congress (ANC) of Alexander Cummings has promised good leadership because it has the political will to ‘send corrupt officials to jail’ to defeat corruption. But his offer, among suggestions, is yet to be applauded evidence by statements that seem to indicate he might be affected by the controversial Code of Conduct (CoC), for his role as a member of the BWI Board of Directors of which he did not resign, two years before declaring his intent to run for office.On the other hand, All Liberia Party’s Benoni Urey, from recent statements is comfortable with the presence of the Code of Conduct and has indicated his unwillingness for any individual or group to recommend any suggestion to minimize the power of the Code of Conduct. Urey, an astute farmer, is reported to have gained popularity in the leeward counties and believes to be among unidentified frontrunners. Urey did not take it lightly with Governance Commission chairman, Dr. Amos Sawyer, for his recent suggestion for the government to ignore the Code of Conduct.Both the Liberty Party’s Charles Walker Brumskine and the Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) see a new day to make a difference. The CDC has recently intensified membership campaigns after a number of defections and the LP has also benefitted from new members, including Musa Bility and vice standard bearer Harrison Kanwea of Nimba County. Criticized for his recent outburst against Vice President Boakai, Brumskine is working slowly but surely toward the objective he sought two elections ago.In all this, the objective is how to maintain peace and for this there are Liberians who have said that for the country to move forward there must be some justice against certain individuals who contributed to the country’s dark past, and have suggested that unless some of the people are sent to jail, the attainment of peace would be elusive.But as far as ensuring that some Liberians are held liable for the war, many others seem not to agree that anyone should be tried for the crimes committed during the war, because of arrangements made with the warlords, which ensured the restoration of peace to the country. Howeverk the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up after the war, made some recommendations that are yet to be implemented, and others ignored for the sake of peace.Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, as a sitting second in command, is held with respect, and many are of the opinion that he could easily assume the mantle of leadership from President Sirleaf, though he may be tainted by the “faults” of the current administration. Therefore, to allow him to continue would be to allow the same party to be in power for a third term, reminiscent of the years when Liberia was governed as a one-party state, from 1847-1980.Though many of the political parties are set for the contest on October 10, there is still the issue of the Code of Conduct (CoC) that was upheld as law by the Supreme Court that seems to indict several politicians, who did not actually resign from their posts, but were later petitioned to join the contest.The CoC makes references to “anyone with the desire to run for office” and many of those who did not resign and were later petitioned to run have said they did not have the desire to join the race till they were retired from their positions and were petitioned.The Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) of Senator George Weah and the All Liberian Party (ALP) of Benoni Urey has called for the CoC to be upheld and have vowed to ensure that the country’s law is rigid and respected.Already many politicians have made huge investments in the country after National Elections Commission (NEC) qualified their respective parties, and have acquired large followings. Therefore, for any law to make any attempt to deny them the right to contest as mandated by the Constitution of Liberia could be a cause for discord.Many of those interviewed did not show any sign that they worried about the CoC being the cause for potential instability, but the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and their international counterparts recently issued a statement indicating how worried they are about the eventual withdrawal of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) forces from Liberia.With just 160 days to elections, what seems to be a key distraction is the claim that NEC chairman Cllr. Jerome Korkoya holds United States citizenship for which the National Democratic Coalition (NDC) recently threatened to go to court to remove him from the position.In any event, the government, the Supreme Court and the people of Liberia would have to determine what laws to uphold to sustain peace in a country that for 14 years saw many deaths and an insidious disease (Ebola) that killed over 4,000 others.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Minister Kamara and others inspect the RIA expansion workThe Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Boima S. Kamara, along with other senior government officials of the ministry, on Wednesday, July 12 toured the ongoing major renovation of the Roberts International Airport (RIA).The renovation and expansion include extensive works on the runway and the erection of a new, modern terminal along with road stations, parking lots, sewage treatment system, electricity systems and other major key components at the airport.Minister Kamara, who spoke yesterday at the RIA after the tour, praised the courageous leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who he said braved the storm to ensure that the rebuilding of the airport becomes a reality.During the tour, the MFDP boss lauded the head of the China Harbor Company, the Sinohydro Construction Company, as well as the management of the Roberts International Airport headed by Mr. Wil Bako Freeman and staff, for the tremendous efforts and level of work done since the commencement of the project.Commending the “one team approach” being used, the Finance Minister said, “we want to say the horizon is bright and we now see a beam of hope. We shall all be well, God shall keep us to see this dream come true. We shall live it, experience it and be a part of it when the final completion work is done and be dedicated.”The project when completed will indeed be a major boost to Liberia’s economic development.A representative of the China Harbor Contractors indicated that more than 125 Liberians (four of them engineers trained at the Tubman University in Maryland County) were hired to join other contractors from China to work as a team in order to deliver the task given them by the Government of Liberia.The managing director of the Liberia Airport Authority (LAA), Wil Bako Freeman, also said that there are too many things that need to be done to improve the airport facilities, “but right now, we are trying to focus on two—the runway and the terminal.”He said, “The reason we are trying to undertake these projects at the airport is to ensure that under my administration, RIA becomes one of the best and most modernized airports. Many of us travel every day and see other airports in different countries, we get quite embarrassed, especially when we think of our own back home—the RIA, that needs to be improved and standardized.”Meanwhile, the runway project is being financed by several international banks to the tune of US$60 million. They include the European Investment Bank, US$27 million; the Saudi Fund, US$20 million; the Arab Bank for Development in Africa, US$10 million; and the government of Liberia, US$3 million. The runway project will take four years to complete.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Our President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in her brief Tuesday evening broadcast to the nation, claimed that Liberia’s democracy and reputation are “under assault.”She also called on Liberians to “continue to respect each other, the rule of law, human kindness and decency.”The one thing we pray for is that she is not accusing Liberty Party standard bearer Counselor Charles Brumskine and other political parties and many citizens supporting them—that she is not accusing them of placing Liberia’s democracy under assault. That would be a travesty (mockery, pretense).Let us quickly recall what has led Counselor Brumskine and his supporters to court. It had nothing to do with Brumskine coming third in the October 10 presidential race. Remember, he came third in the 2005 election, and did not go to court. His case has everything to do with the alleged massive irregularities that took place in the recent October 10 election.First, the ballot stuffing in several places around the country, including District 4 in Nimba County, which led to a rerun of the Representative election. In Nimba’s District 8, there was a recount, and the incumbent Representative who lost in the first counting, won in the second. This was a glaring case of fraud on the part of the NEC staffers who conducted the election.Second, the delay in the starting of the poll on Election Day which, according to Liberty Party, led to the denial of over a half million eligible voters to participate in the election. This was clearly a contravention of the Liberian Constitution, and the denial of those citizens’ constitutional rights.Third, a man named Amos Siebo, who works in President Sirleaf’s office, was caught carrying out voters registration in his private home, a most serious contravention of the country’s Election Laws. Siebo was never prosecuted, and is back on the job in the President’s office. Where, we ask, is the “decency” in that? Did the President know about this outrageous and criminal incident? Just in case she did, what did she do about it in the interest of “decency” and “law-abiding”?That is why we have chosen for the theme of this Editorial, “The Singer, not the Song.”Fourth, all centers at the polling precincts were each supposed to have had 550 voters. But instead, there were in at least one center in Grand Gedeh County 1,500 voters in favor of the presidential candidate George Weah’s Coalition (CDC) for Democratic Change.Remember the overwhelming number excess ballots brought in by NEC Chairman Korkoyah—a development that was seriously questioned by many, including this newspaper, Daily Observer.Fifth, where was the decency, or more fundamentally, the ethics in the President’s holding a private meeting in her private home with NEC Magistrates and Commissioners? Or do we have a President who thinks she can do whatever she pleases, regardless of public opinion or the consideration of decency and propriety (modesty, respectability)?Where was the decency or propriety in appointing a non-Liberian citizen to head the National Elections Commission?Remember, what is most important in human affairs, whether political or otherwise, is “the singer, not the song.”We come now to one of the most touching parts of the President’s Tuesday broadcast, “…We must continue to respect each other, the rule of law, human kindness and decency.”Here, two poignant questions arise. First, did her private meeting with Election Magistrates and Commissioners not look like an “abuse of power”? Otherwise, why was the press not invited?Finally, President Sirleaf’s call in her Tuesday broadcast for “human kindness and decency.” We quickly recall her treatment—or mistreatment—of not only her two-term humble, patient and loyally supportive Vice President Joseph N. Boakai; but also of the Unity Party (UP) that not only rescued her in 1997 when her own party, Liberia Action Party (LAP) rejected her presidential bid. Now what did UP do for Ellen? It fulfilled her presidential dream and carried her twice successfully to the presidency!So how does she now, in the 2017 election, forget all that and ABANDON UP and its presidential candidate and her own Vice President, Joseph N. Boakai? Where, in this heartrending act of crass ingratitude, is “human kindness and decency”?All of this points to the fact that President Sirleaf has more a part to play than anyone else in the “assault” on Liberia’s democracy.The singer, not the song.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
With the aim to reintroduce a pastime that has become obsolete with the advent of technology, the Education Ministry, in collaboration with the Communities Ministry, introduced a National Crossword and Word Search Competition (NCC), targeting more than 100 Grades Three and Four students.The crossword challenge seeks to harness the brainpower of students in a meaningful way that encourages word recognition, increases vocabulary, improves spelling, stimulates an interest in reading, and generally expands the knowledge of words.The competition also serves to reach those students with a borderline or introverted personality who may not be mindful of participating in a debating or spelling bee competition, but can master the art of word searches.Chief Education Officer (CEO) Marcel Huston at a simple launching ceremony said that development of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and motivation to work individually and collectively towards solutions for existing environmental problems must be fostered, adding that what was required was reorientation through the environment.Hutson said the competition could be considered as an alternative method of increasing academic performance at examinations and spoke to the development of certain values and attitudes that can protect the country.Speaking on behalf of the Communities Ministry was Public Affairs Officer Danielle Campbell-Lowe who said it was excitement worth sharing with every child and she believed that children could find joy in putting aside their tablets and computer for one game of crossword/word-search, as it would make a big difference.The NCC will form part of a broader menu of measures being undertaken through the Ministry’s “Green Generation Guyana Sanitation Programme” whereby students are encouraged to adopt safer waste management practices, including reducing, reusing and recycling.The competition saw more than 10 schools participating.The first student to finish the word puzzle wins the competition and will be representing their region at the national championships. (Yanalla Dalrymple)
Judicial posts– dangerous to perception of due process, administration of justiceAmid moves to make substantive appointments to the most important positions in the Judiciary, the Guyana Bar Association is calling for a timely end to protracted acting positions. This comes after President David Granger’s announcement that a nominee has been found to take over one of these posts.Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonnet Cummings Edwards, with acting Chief Justice, Roxane GeorgeAccording to Vice President of the Bar Association, Teni Housty, acting appointments can affect the perception of the Judiciary’s fairness when making decisions. And while Housty noted that good decisions have so far been made by the appointees, such appointments are generally discouraged.“In the context of the Judiciary, acting appointments are always discouraged. (Only) recently Sir Dennis Byron spoke out against (it). Certainly in judicial appointments, it (would) be the better option to the administration of justice, particularly to the perception.”“It is about time and it should be resolved. For too long, they called it the academy awards for the media profession. I think it’s about time the acting stops, not only for Guyana but the whole perception of the Judiciary. The administration of justice would be improved.”Granger, who had made the announcement of the nominee during a press conference, had revealed the jurist to be resident in the Caribbean. On the matter of an overseas jurist being chosen as opposed to a local one, Housty referenced the fact that Guyanese have flitted in between countries and have distinguished themselves overseas in the field of law.“The beauty about the practise of law in a commonwealth legislature is that officers can come from any part of the world and we have Guyanese jurists who have distinguished themselves regionally and internationally.”At his press conference, Granger had revealed that the person chosen for either of the top judicial posts is currently in Guyana. According to the Constitution, however, the President must hold consultations with Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo.It remains to be seen whether approval will be given, with Granger stating that he was prepared to meet with Jagdeo. But while there have been criticisms that the President is too close to the process when the Judicial Service Commission ought to take the lead, Housty noted that the nominee was derived out of a process.“The Constitution makes provisions for the manner in which the decision was made. There was also a recommendation from a committee that had been convened. For some time now, they’ve had many acting Chancellors. The only Chancellor who was confirmed was Chancellor Bernard.”“So whatever modality is adopted, it’s the Leader of the Opposition who (must approve). Applications were invited. So it’s the result of a process.”Just recently, President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron zeroed in on the trend of persons being appointed to top positions in Guyana’s Judiciary but being forced to act for years while their confirmation remains in limbo.In a recent address to the Guyana Bar Association, he condemned the fact that since former Chancellor Desiree Bernard demitted office; an agreement has not been reached for the substantive appointment of a Chancellor.“This has brought us to the situation today where the number one and number two officials of the Guyana Judiciary have not been substantively appointed. This is a most unfortunate state of affairs,” the legal luminaire stated.“This situation has moved well beyond what ought to be acceptable in a modern democracy where respect for the rule of law is maintained. The Constitution envisages the Judiciary of Guyana to be headed by officials who are substantively appointed and enjoy all the legal and institutional mechanisms to secure their tenure,” he continued.Byron bluntly stated that the delay is a breach of the spirit and intent of the Constitution.Acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Yonnet Cummings Edwards, was appointed by President David Granger in May of this year. Prior to that, she acted as the Chief Justice from December 2015. She was never confirmed to the substantive position.Edwards replaced Justice Carl Singh, who retired after acting as Chancellor since 2005. On the other hand, the current Acting Chief Justice, Roxane George, was also appointed to her position on the same day as Edwards.
A 26-year-old mother of four was slapped with a larceny charge and appeared before Magistrate Fabayo Azore at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.It is alleged that Sandra Griffith between the period November 15, 2017 to December 12, 2017, she stole one gold chain valued $500,000, a pair of gold earrings valued $40,000 and one yellow and white gold ring valued $250,000, all property of Keon Howard.The unemployed mother of four young children pleaded not guilty to the charge read to her. She was released on $75,000 bail.