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first_imgArcelorMittal Liberia is now accepting applications for its Advanced Academic Studies Scholarship Program (AASSSP), which has this year been extended to include undergraduate studies in specific fields. Unlike previous years, when the scholarship program was restricted to students pursuing postgraduate degrees, this year the program has been expanded to include bachelor’s degrees in Mining, Geology and Mechanical Engineering.The AASSSP was launched in August 2012 as part of the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) the company signed with the Liberian government. Under the terms of this provision of the MDA, the company will annually provide scholarships worth a total of  US$ 200,000 to deserving Liberians wanting to pursue tertiary education in fields relating to the mining industry.The program specifically supports students pursuing postgraduate and now undergraduate degrees in Engineering, Geology, Natural Sciences, Procurement and Logistics and Vocational or Technical Education.  Applicants can choose a university from a wide range offered. Since its launch last year, 13 students have benefitted from the program and are currently enrolled at universities in Ghana, China, Australia, and Kenya.“The undergraduate component has become necessary to help encourage incoming university students to consider a major in the natural sciences, geology and  engineering while  addressing the shortage of qualified Liberian personnel to work in mining related areas,” said Marcus Wleh, ArcelorMittal Liberia’s head of external affairs and corporate responsibility.The requirements to qualify for a scholarship and related guidelines have been published in major dailies and are also available at any of the sites where the company maintains offices (Monrovia, Buchanan, Yekepa and Green Hill quarry.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgIn our selection of Central Bank Governor Dr. J. Mills Jones as PERSON OF THE  YEAR, we stressed the fact that the vast majority of Liberians live in abject poverty in their own country, while only a few Liberians and most foreigners, including Lebanese, Indians and Fulas, are very rich.  We also mentioned a handful of Liberians in business, but not in the mainstream or leaders in their particular lines of business.  Every aspect of business, with the probable exception of rubber, is dominated by foreigners.That brings us to this big one—RUBBER—which has over the years put a lot of money into the pockets of a few Liberians, making some very rich.  The exceptions, of course, are the big rubber concessions, Firestone, Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), Salala Rubber Corporation (SRC), Cavala Rubber Company (CRC) and the Guthrie Plantations.We fortunately have quite a few Liberians who are rubber planters and have over the decades done well for themselves and their families.The first Liberian to make serious money from rubber was James (Jimmy) Francis Cooper, the first Liberian to start planting the highly lucrative crop.  He was Secretary of the Interior under President C.D.B. King in 1926 when Harvey S. Firestone started his rubber plantation along the Farmington River in what is now Margibi County.Jimmy Cooper was the grandfather of many, many Coopers, including former Deputy Agriculture Secretary Sam Payne Cooper, geologist Bismark Cooper, Journalist Chauncey Cooper and former Chief Justice of Liberia Henry Reed Cooper.  Mrs. Mildred Cooper Reeves, former General Manager of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment, now a CBL   Governor, is Jimmy Cooper’s great granddaughter.  Young Carrine Richards Barnes, a leading Liberian architect, who currently supervises the renovation of the Executive Mansion, is also agranddaughter of Jimmy Cooper.As Secretary of the Interior, Jimmy Cooper was the man to whom Harvey Firestone turned to recruit workers to run his highly labor-intensive rubber plantation.  Most of these workers initially hailed from Montserrado, Bong, Lofa and later Nimba counties.In appreciation for the Interior Secretary’s invaluable help, Mr. Firestone encouraged Jimmy Cooper to plant rubber, too.  And Mr. Cooper was not selfish.  He got other Liberians involved in the rubber industry.  The Daily Observer  once found in the United States Archives a letter from Louis Arthur Grimes, Attorney General under President King, Secretary of State and later Chief Justice under President Edwin Barclay and President W.V.S. Tubman.  In that letter, Mr. Grimes thanked Jimmy Cooper for encouraging him (Grimes) to plant rubber.  President King, too, planted rubber in Lower Careysburg (King Farm) and so did his successor, President Edwin Barclay, whose rubber farm was near the Firestone Hydro in the same Farmington community.An American researcher and author came to see the Daily Observer publisher little over  two years ago and told him what he thought of Mr. Firestone leading Liberian officials into planting rubber. “This,” said the author, who has probably now completed his book on the American rubber industrialist, “was the genius of Harvey Firestone.”    By encouraging most Liberian officials, past, present and future, to plant rubber and make money, Mr. Firestone got all of these officials on his side, convincing them that  they, too, and not Firestone only, could become rich from rubber.  That immediately brought all of these Liberian decision makers to his side.  Tubman, who succeeded E.J. Barclay as President in 1944, also became a big rubber planter—with farms both in Totota, Bong County, and in hisnative Maryland County (Bonike near Pleebo).We understand that Tubman’s farm was developed by his relative, Willie Tubman, a prominent Maryland business tycoon, commonly called “Bor Willie.”  According to his son, former presidential candidate Counselor Winston Tubman, Bor Willie was the one who planted Tubman’s rubber, since the President was too busy running the affairs of state in Monrovia.  But Tubman paid regular visits to his native Cape Palmas, especially at Easter, when he worshipped at Mount Scott United Methodist Church, the church into which he was born.Bor Willie also became a major rubber planter in Maryland.  He was also the father of Cllr. Robert Tubman, their older brother John and their eldest brother Conway Tubman.  All of the boys at one time attended the Booker Washington  Institute.  They have three sisters, Laurentine, Grace and Antoinette (Aunty).Other Marylanders who planted rubber included A. Dash Wilson, who became Chief Justice.The Speaker of the House in the 1930s, Benjamin Greene Freeman, became the leading rubber planter in Careysburg, followed by his brother, father of “Ben III,” former Liberian Ambassador to La Cote d’Ivoire, and also by J.D. Jackson, the Ureys and others.Ben Freeman, like Henry B. Duncan and R.S.S. Bright,  jumped out of the box and invested in real estate on Benson Street, Monrovia (old Defense Ministry) and Payne Avenue, Sinkor.  Freeman’s  successor as Speaker was  Richard A. Henries, who also planted rubber in Bong and Bomi Counties.  All of these lawyers (Freeman, Henries, etc.), became, of course, Firestone lawyers, too, further entrenching Firestone in Liberian political culture.R.S.S. Bright, a former Secretary to President Edwin  Barclay, was joined in the rubber business by the President’s Driver, a man name Mr. Walker of McDonald Street, father of Dwalu Dougbavan Walker, a popular Monrovia boy in the 1950s and 60s.  He had younger brother and both of them are now deceased.  But the rubber farm, which Mr. Richard Bright helped run following Mr. Walker senior’s death, made Dwalu a fairly well to do youngster among his colleagues in Monrovia, most of whom were of poor parentage.  Dwalu’s younger brother has a surviving daughter.Many members of President Tubman’s first Cabinet also planted rubber. These included Tubman’s first and second Vice Presidents, Clarence Lorenzo Simpson and William Richard Tolbert, Jr.; and first Treasury Secretary, William E. Dennis, Sr., who made money from rubber in Borlorla, near Kakata.Following his resignation from government in 1954, Mr. Dennis was four years later succeeded by the highly educated Charles D. Sherman. Mr. Sherman, too, became a major rubber planter.  He joined many other leading  families to plant rubber on the Bong Mines road, in the heart of the Liberian rubber belt.  These included his eldest brother Arthur, former Director of the Bureau of Mines and Geology, John Lewis Cooper, many other Coopers, Mrs. Thelma Reeves, ex-wife of former Secretary of State Gabriel Lafayette Dennis, and  Mrs. Sara Frances Maximore Beysolow, wife of Circuit Court Judge J. Daniel Beysolow. The Beysolows were parents of former Commerce Minister Miata Beysolow, her brother Kona and other siblings.Colonel Isaac Whisnant, a senior official in the Liberian Frontier Force (now Armed Forces of Liberia), was also a rubber planter; so was Tubman’s first Public Works Secretary Henry B. Duncan, and Interior Secretary J. Samuel Melton.  All three men—Whisnant, Duncan and Melton—built their farms on the road leading to Salala.Speaking of Firestone and the  future, something else happened.  In 1959 the University of Liberia graduated its first specialists from the College of Agriculture and Forestry.  In the class were two young men who emerged as rubber planters, Elfrick K. Porte, first son of Albert, and Charles Edward Cooper, grandson of Jimmy Cooper and son of Jimmy’s first son Jesse.Firestone wasted no time in approaching Charles Edward to offer him a job as one of the first Liberian Superintendents on the Firestone Plantation.  But the young man told the  Firestone management he was not interested, because he already had plans to take over his grandfather Jimmy and Edward ‘s father Jesse’s farms.  But Firestone was undeterred.  They immediately approached President Tubman, seeking his intervention.  The President sent for Charles Edward and gave him an offer he could not refuse.  So Charles Edward joined Firestone and remained there until 1990 when the civil war broke out.Of course, Charles Edward worked his father and grandfather’s farms part time and even started his own. Then the war.  Today, Jimmy Cooper’s farm is no more.  Its unattended trees have been lost to the rapacious charcoal producers.It was this very serious love  affair between Firestone and Liberian officialdom that over many decades consistently kept Firestone workers’ wages low.  Many feared that if Firestone increased its wages, local rubber planters would lose their workers to Harbel, the Firestone capital named for Harvey and his wife Annabel.That kept Firestone workers partially impoverished for generations. And many of them are still poor, though unlike workers on many leading Liberian rubber plantations, Firestone workers do have reasonably good housing, educational and health facilities. “Rubber King of the World”In the early 1930s a Liberian teenager named Harry Lyons Morris returned home as the eldest of his siblings to be with their mother, Mrs. Maude Morris, at the funeral of his father, John Louis Morris. Mr. Morris, who served in many Cabinet positions dring the King administration, was also a small rubber planter.  Morris Farm opposite the Cocoa Cola Factory was his first farm.  He also had a small farm in Kakata, near the Du Bridge.Being the eldest, Harry, then a junior in high school in the USA, did not return to complete his studies.  Instead, he remained at home to help take care of his mother and siblings.  It was during that  period that he took over his  father’s rubber farms, then later planted his own.Harry worked very hard and grew the biggest rubber plantation of any single planter. By the mid-1950s Mr. Morris was acclaimed “the Rubber King of the World.”Mr. R.S.S. Bright, once  Secretary to President Edwin Barclay and later Liberian diplomat in the USA and at the United Nations, also planted rubber, on the Firestone Road in Kakata.  He, too became a major rubber planter who, unlike Mr. Morris and other planters, invested heavily in real estate in the prime diplomatic enclave of Mamba  Point.  In this initiative, Mr. Bright followed the example ofHenry  B. Duncan, who built the initial buildings that now house the Mamba Point and Cape Hotels, both owned by Lebanese.A few other rubber planters, including Arthur and Charles Sherman, also heavily invested in real estate, though not in the Mamba Point area. Harry Morris’ farm, now run by his son Bill, is still the largest in Liberia and probably the world owned by one family.  Bill has moved the farm one step further.  He now processes his own rubber, and no longer needs to sell rubber to Firestone.  Morris rubber is shipped directly to foreign  markets.This is a significant development that could, with the infusion of more capital,  pave the way for the manufacture of rubber products in Liberia.We end this piece on Liberian rubber on a painful note.  Liberia is no longer Africa’s leading producer of natural rubber.  We understand it is now La Cote d’Ivoire, which also holds first place in coffee, cocoa and oil palm production on the continent.It is not known when Liberia will start investing again in tree crops and help Liberian rubber, coffee and cocoa planters to reestablish their farms.  Rubber trees throughout the country were  destroyed during the 14-year civil war by illicit and rapacious tapping and cutting down of the trees for charcoal production.For special and strategic reasons, both the Firestone and Morris plantations were left intact during the war.In the case of Morris Farm, it is because son Bill remained on the plantation throughout the war.  Thank God for a son who looked after his father’s business.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgIt used to take a resident of Vahun in Lofa County about seven hour from the morning hours to reach Monrovia and finish whatever he or she had come to do and get back on his or her way before the fall of night. But that was then—what many today term “normal times” when infrastructures, especially roads, were not as bad off as many are today.The road the citizens of Vahun traveled during “normal days,” came through the Bomi Hills concession area, operated by the Bong Mines Company. The journey took about four to five hours from Vahun to Bomi Hills and about an hour or two to Duala and then into Central Monrovia.This is no longer the case because the roads, as well as the one that linked Vahun to the county’s capital, Voinjama, were destroyed as a result of the years of civil war. This situation had Vahun cut-off from the rest of the country, until the recent intervention of the government with the rehabilitation of a road that now connects Vahun with Voinjama.Though the construction of the Voinjama-Vahun road may not have solved all the Vahun people’s problems, it has brought them a sense of belonging to the Liberian state—a feeling that they have yearned for, for years. Notwithstanding, the road through Voinjama takes a passenger about two days to get to Monrovia—not a very comforting prospect.And so, they have decided to appeal to the Central Government to rehabilitate the Bomi Hills-Vahun road, to make it easier for them to get to Monrovia.In a petition statement presented to the President in Vahun on Tuesday, February 18, through their representative Fofi Sahr Baimba, the citizens said that the rehabilitation of the road will greatly help farmers; business people will also benefit and will soon once more make the region a vibrant agricultural hub. “Madam President, the road we had here took us about five hours to get to Bomi Hills, in Bomi County; but, it was destroyed during the war.So, your people have come to ask that you please help us rehabilitate this road which we considered a short-cut to Monrovia,” Representative Fofi Sahr Baimba pleaded.The Lofa lawmaker said that when rehabilitated, the road will be of great help to the many farmers who have to take days to get their produce to Monrovia.There are also the exorbitant fares demanded by the transport ‘big shots,” who marketers have to depend on to get their goods to the markets; making things worse, some produce begin rotting long before they reach Monrovia.Needless to say, many middle-men and middle women and consumers are daily waiting in the capital to pick up these items to keep their distributors and consumers supplied.“Our district has been isolated from the rest of the country for too long, and most of us who only had the opportunity to be educated in Sierra Leone as a result of the long time neglect, have been considered by many as foreigners, because of our accent.We are so close to Monrovia, yet so far away; why? Because, instead of taking about seven to eight hours to get to Monrovia—through the Bomi Hills route—we have to travel through Voinjama. That takes about a day and a half or two,” Representative Bimba explained.He earlier lauded President for the Voinjama-Vahun road rehabilitation project, which he said has brought considerable relief to the people of VahunAnother resident who identified himself as John Binda had this to say: “We want to be grateful to this government for the rehabilitation of the road that now connects us with Voinjama. It used to take us many days to get to Voinjama. Thank God that President Sirleaf is now thinking about us after so many years of being neglected by past leaderships.”“The one thing we as a people desire most from Madam Sirleaf, is for her to please fix the road that links with Bomi Hills. Those days it used to take us about four to five hours in car to get to Bomi Hills. And lately before the civil war we used to paid US$4 to get to Monrovia through this route,” Mr. Binda said.In response, President Sirleaf said that she will work with the leadership of the county and other relevant stakeholders through a consultative process to see how best modalities can be worked out to address the citizens concern.She thanked the people of Vahun for the warm reception accorded she and her entourage. She, that day, had begun her 2014 nation-wide tour, kicking-off with Vahun, a district she termed a government strong-hold, due to the kind of supports received in the 2005 and the 2011 elections.Meanwhile, President Sirleaf became the second President ever to have visited Vahun; the first was William Richard Tolbert, who visited the area on several occasion. He paid his last visit in 1978.Prior to the reconnection, Vahun Citizens had almost conducted all of its activities, trade, and social transaction with Sierra Leone. The people are currently using triple currencies as mediums of exchange: the Liberian dollar, the US dollar, and Sierra Leone’s Leone, as a result of the newfound inter-connectedness (new connections) of the regions.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgThe Monrovia Consolidated School System Teachers Association, (MCSSTA) has respectfully called on the political leader of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), Mr. Simeon Freeman, to apologize to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for what they termed an “insult” to the Liberian leader.The group said the leader of MPC has failed to recognize Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the sitting President of Liberia by making derogatory remarks about the President.“We are calling on the political leader of the (MPC), Simeon Freeman to kindly apologize to our President for using the media to call the Liberian leader the most irresponsible leader Liberia has ever produced and the most corrupt leader in the history of the presidency of Liberia.”Speaking to the Daily Observer on Monday, February 10, the general secretary of the MCSSTA, Samuel M. Nyanuh, said that Simeon Freeman’s words represented gross disrespect to the presidency and to the citizens of Liberia.Mr. Nyanuh wondered what precedent the MPC political leader was setting as a politician, describing Simeon Freeman’s statement as unfortunate and not to be taken into seriously.According to the MCSSTA head, this is not only an insult to the President, but the entire citizenry of Liberia because it takes irresponsible people to elect an irresponsible person as leader.Mr. Nyanuh said the political leader made an error and hopes that Simeon Freeman recognizes this and sincerely apologizes to President Sirleaf.It may be recalled that reacting to the President’s Annual Message the MPC’s political leader, on Monday, February 3, described the Liberian leader as the most irresponsible and corrupt leader Liberia had ever produced.Mr. Freeman said the Liberian leader made many promises to the citizens including the creation of 20,000 jobs, electricity, and other items, that he said had not materialized over the past eight years.He called on President Sirleaf to recommit herself to the Liberian people and live by the promises she had made.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgThe West African Journalists Association (WAJA) has welcomed the petition filed by the Press Union of Liberia to the Supreme Court of Liberia to reverse the arbitrary closure of the National Chronicle Newspaper.WAJA says it is disappointed that the Liberian Government has insisted on the illegal closure of the Chronicle Newspaper in an environment of heightened awareness for the rule of law.WAJA president Peter Quaqua said it is unfortunate that the Liberian government would choose the path of censoring the media while dealing with crippling Ebola crisis. The group calls on the Supreme Court to relieve the government of any additional embarrassment by ordering the reopening of the newspaper.The PUL last Thursday  petitioned the Supreme Court of Liberia for a writ of prohibition against the closure of the newspaper.On August 14, this year, heavily armed police officers invaded the premises of the National Chronicle Newspaper in Monrovia, shut it down and arrested two members of its staff who were later released.The newspaper has since been closed while its Publisher, Philipbert Brown, has been subjected to an endless police investigations.Government said it closed down the paper on national security concerns, in reaction to a series of stories linking the country’s Vice President Joseph Boakai to the alleged formation of an interim government to replace the administration of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.The Press Union wrote a protest letter to Liberia’s Justice Minister, Christiana  Tah on September 4, 2014, terming the attacks on the media as “bad omen for press freedom and government-media relations.”The Supreme Court Justice in Chambers, Kabineh M. Ja’neh, was scheduled on  Wednesday, September 24, to hold a mandatory conference with the parties at 2:30. But that conference has been postponed to today, Friday, September 26, 2014.According to a WAJA release, no level of emergency is a justification for governments to violate basic human rights.  The organization, therefore,  calls for the reopening of the newspaper.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgDear Editor,I participated in the just concluded Inaugural Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit and Exhibition, and must congratulate the organisers and participants for making the conference one of meaningful discussion and analysis; and moreover, a forum at which pertinent information was shared and burning questions posed.This should provide for a better understanding of the complexities, challenges and opportunities of Guyana’s emerging oil and gas industry. This should allow local businesses to begin their SWOT analyses (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) as it relates to their becoming players in the oil and gas industry.For me, one of the more enlightening panels was titled ‘Doing Business in Oil Field Services, Supply Chain and Facilities Management’. This panel had as its main speakers representatives of three major sub-contractors of ExxonMobil, who outlined some of the skills these companies are looking to source locally, the required qualifications of those who could fill these positions, and the processes which potential applicants would have to use to apply for available positions. In one case, one of the companies disclosed that it had already hired ten (10) University of Guyana graduates who are currently undergoing specialized training in Brazil, and the company will soon be recruiting another 20.During the discussions, skills such as welding were identified as among those required, and this led me to pose the following question to the panel: Is there scope for Guyanese tradespeople such as welders, electricians, plumbers and carpenters who are competent at what they do, have years of experience but lack certification? I was happy to hear that all three companies had already taken this issue into consideration and have in place a process for identifying such persons with a view to undertaking what they describe as “a gap analysis” to determine what training, if any, would be necessary to make these persons certifiable so as to be engaged in the oil and gas industry.This should be one avenue of local content which should be of benefit to Guyanese men and women who have acquired on-the-job skills and experience over the years but have not been formally trained. It is my hope that the information and methodology for identifying and accessing these uncertified artisans are widely publicized throughout Guyana, so as to provide an opportunity for all that are interested.It seems to me that this is one area where there will be jobs for a significant number of Guyanese.It is clear that the oil and gas industry is one where skills certification in order to be engaged is an absolute must. There can be no issue with this. It brings to mind an experience I had decades ago while I served as the public relations officer of the then Guyana Liquor Corporation (GLC). As part of an interviewing panel for promoting a distillery supervisor to manager, I asked why the alcohol had to be heated to a specific degree. The man knew that the alcohol had to be heated to a specific level, but did not know why. He had been working for over 25 years in the distillery. Yesu Persaud, then chairman of GLC, said to me after the interview, “That man does not have 25 years’ experience, he has had one experience for 25 years.”Regards,Wesley Kirtonlast_img read more


first_imgDear Editor,The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has made its ruling that the term limit for presidency in Guyana stays in force. It is the law, as the court asserts; no one can run for the office of President exceeding two times. It was a long anticipated outcome to a very simple case: whether we should set this matter to a referendum and let the people decide, or go the “political route” that this Government took upon itself and won.The PNC/APNU Government, fearing the worst case scenario if they went to the people of this country, played their race trump card well and decided to go to their friends at The CCJ to let them legitimise their pathetic position; and the court graciously obliged.Now, it is a hollow decision by this Byron fellow, and an even hollower victory for the regime, because the PNC/APNU have to return to the same people of this country for a decision as to which person or party they would like to govern them.Come 2020, this would be the next real case scenario that would confront them. They cannot push that aside and pretend it does not exist. Yes, elections are just around the corner, and that great decision would have to be addressed all over again.A word to the PNC: Having been denied the ability to choose right now, we, the people, anxiously await that time when we would unequivocally cast our vote on the side of sound, educated reasoning as to who we want as our leader, party and Government.That right none of these present voodoo doctors can deny us. So, my advice to the Byron guy is: go into retirement with that seared conscience of yours.Now, here is where the rubber hits the road: the PNC believe this ruling in effect cripples the PPP, because their “strongman”, Dr Jagdeo, cannot run for president; so it means that it automatically brings an end to the PPP’s fortunes.Wrong! As the master statesman rightly said, this ruling does not in any way hinder him. Rather, it strengthens him as he works assiduously for, and with, the new PPP Presidential Candidate to win the next election.  This is a bold and assertive statement coming from a man who knows what lies ahead. Statements like these unnerve the Government’s side, as all attempts to stymie Jagdeo’s movements are met with even firmer resolve. The question right now is: How to stop an unstoppable PPP Train.The situation gets even worse when you talk to Government’s very own supporters, who would use terms like these: “Things were better under The PPP,” or “You coulda see you way under the PPP, we can’t do that now.”Those words are like pincers in their flesh, because those are the sentiments coming from within their ranks. How to deal with that groundswell of discontent against them, while at the same time  the masses looking towards the Opposition for help is anybody’s guess what would be their fate come next election.Respectfully,Neil Adamslast_img read more


first_imgDear Editor,The activities of the Region 6 Tender Board are kept under such strict ‘confidentiality’ that even the Regional Chairman and his Deputy — and by extension, the entire Regional Democratic Council — are at a loss for information relating to tenders.At the statutory meeting held on 5th July, the Regional Chairman, Mr David Armogan, revealed to the RDC that the minutes of the Tender Board meetings are not given to him at all, and he questioned the rationale for this, since he is the administrative officer in charge of the Region.It would seem that the Tender Board operates as an autonomous body, with no responsibility to report to the RDC.The Regional Chairman is the head of the RDC, and is mandated to exercise general direction and control over the affairs of the RDC, carefully monitoring its capital and current work programmes as well as economic ventures funded from its economic projects fund.On the other hand, the Regional Executive Officer, as the head of the Regional Tender Board, must supervise the implementation of the RDC’s work programmes, subject to the general direction of the Regional Chairman, acting with the approval of the RDC.In other words, the responsibility of the RDC is collective, and a Regional Chairman must not act on his/her own; neither should the REO. When the REO sits as the head of the Tender Board, he/she must report to the Regional Chairman, and that is done by submission of the minutes to him, so that he is kept informed. How else can the Regional Chairman monitor the capital expenditure programmes of the region?Therefore, it follows that since the Regional Chairman is unaware of what is happening at the Tender Board, the RDC Councillors will also not be aware of what contracts are awarded, to whom they are awarded, and at what cost, since the RDC councillors on the Tender Board are tight-lipped about this.It must be noted that RDC Councillors would have voted for the approval of the Annual Budget Estimates, but this, sadly, is all the contributions they are entitled to make, apart from some budgetary items’ proposals.It is submitted that RDC councillors should play an integral part in the oversight of these contracts, but when they are not informed, how will they do such monitoring?At the statutory meeting, the RDC was informed that many inexperienced contractors, especially from the Alliance for Change, are awarded contracts, while experienced contractors with the capacity in terms of machinery and equipment are guilefully cast aside. Moreover, there is, from outside of the Region, an influx of contractors who are given preference above those in the Region, even though our contractors are the lowest evaluated bidders.No wonder Region 6 is falling apart socially and economically. We are suffering from the fallout of the closing of the two estates, yet our contracts are now being given out to persons from outside of the Region.It was also disclosed that a water ambulance for Orealla was budgeted for in the 2017 Regional Budget, and $10 million had been allocated for its purchase; but, until now, that capital item has not been received. The question is: Was the contract awarded? And if so, was the money paid to the contractor?In that same year, this happened to a harrowing plough that was to be purchased to rehabilitate the playgrounds in the Region. In addition, a Health Centre built at Plegtanker, East Bank Berbice in 2017 is still inoperable!Now there is another twist to the bulldozer fiasco. The contractor having claimed to have repaid the $14.8 million, the Region is still trying to trace where the money went. If it was paid to the Region or into the Treasury, in which case the Region would have lost the money. In the meantime, it will cost the Region over $200 million to rehabilitate the dams in the farming areas which have been getting progressively worse since the bulldozer’s service was lost a year ago.Recently, a contract for $100 million dollars was awarded by the MoPI to 6 ‘fly by night’ contractors who are all AFC-affiliated hacks. This contract was never advertised. These contracts are for the weeding and cleaning of the sides of the Corentyne Highway. At an Alternative Livelihood Development outreach programme, workers were told that they would be made contractors.Why is it that this contract was not broken down into small parts and awarded to some of the sugar workers? The only tool needed is a brush-cutter!Three years after ascending to office, this Coalition Government is still perennially busy awarding its families, friends and party hacks!The above constitutes evidence that Region 6 is the focus of many corrupt practices at both the Regional and Government levels. There must be a thorough investigation into what is happening at the National and Regional Tender Boards. Procurement corruption is now syndicated.Yours sincerely,Haseef Yusuf,RDC Councillor,Region Sixlast_img read more


first_imgKanuku Tours on Friday launched a Sport Fishing vessel where Minister of Telecommunications and Tourism Catherine Hughes indicated her excitement and appreciation, having been included in the inauguration.Representative of Kanuku Tours Danny Kruger identified himself as “a South African bush pilot” who fell in love with Guyana. At the launch he said the entity is committed to unlocking more of Guyana’s exquisite sceneries and pristine rainforests to foreign and local tourists.Kruger highlighted that this vessel would serve as an opportunity for tourists to see more of what Guyana has to offer and also allow affordable methods of relaxation. He said the 32ft modernised vessel ‘Tri Deve’, was the first deep-sea fishing charter of its kind that would sail in the coastlines of Guyana.It was explained that the average trip for the ‘Tri Deve’ would take 6-10 hours traveling up and down the coast of Guyana from the mouth of the majestic Essequibo River to the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.Kruger indicated that species that would be targeted during any fishing venture on this vessel would be snooks, tarpon, bull sharks, and others. He also highlighted that clients would be expected to follow the rules of ‘catch and release’ strictly “in order to preserve the species for future generations.”Additionally it was highlighted that during the Jubilee celebrations, Kanuku Tours will be offering two 3-day safaris called ‘Challenge Guyana’ which would allow persons to tour the jungle through the Kanuku Mountain Range.Meanwhile, Telecommunications and Tourism Minister Catherine Hughes offered congratulations to Kanukup Tours for following through on the promise they made in relation to this launch.“It is accredit to you that you were not put off by the several hurdles I know you may have encountered along the way.’’She highlighted that government is in the process of examining all of the procedures to ensure they are making things easier for new businesses, especially those locally, to be able to invest in Guyana.The minister described this event as ‘unique’ and ‘interesting’ saying “as you know, Guyana has committed to pushing Tourism as a new area of investment and a new key industry that we want to build our economy on.’’Minister Hughes indicated that through talk of promoting Tourism, they are constantly looking for new products, such as Kanuku Tours is offering to several tour operators.She highlighted that sport fishing was recognised as an ideal product to offer, due to the high demand for it in the Tourism market and was glad to hear that the ‘catch and release’ rules will be adhered to. She added that Government is working closely with NGOs to ensure that the required legislation is present to allow responsible use of Guyana’s fishes.last_img read more


first_imgAs part of ongoing efforts to strengthen relations with the public, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) last week‘D’ Division Commander Stephen Mansell handing over the PA system to L’Aventure Secondary School’s Head Teacher Althea Stewarthanded over a Public Address (PA) system to the L’Aventure Secondary School on the West Bank of Demerara.According to D (West Demerara) Division Commander, Senior Superintendent of Police Stephen Mansell, this donation was as a result of a request made by the school’s Head Teacher, Althea Stewart.He explained that Stewart had written to Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud, asking for the Force to donate a PA system to the school that will be used for events such as debate competitions, public speaking enhancement and to address the general assembly, among others.Mansell went on to say that he was mandated by the Top Cop to execute the request and acquire the equipment at the cost of $80,000.During the simple handing over ceremony, the Divisional Commander urged the Head Teacher to care the equipment as it would go a long way in benefiting the school, especially in developing students’ public speaking ability.He added that the donation was yet another measure that the Division had embarked on to improve Police-public relations.Commander Mansell further noted that his Division had commenced a number of social crime prevention and partnership programmes targeting early school leavers and unemployed youth on West Demerara.last_img read more