In the beginning, sports to a child consisted of running up and down, jumping, playing catch and having fun.Then adults step in. Rules are introduced and the game becomes structured, with ultimately winners and losers. Children then benefit from what sports offers – physical activity, the importance of rules, safety, the importance of teammates, respect for authority, etc.Soon, it becomes obvious which sport a child is best suited for, thus the process of becoming great at a particular sport begins.Training is introduced, skills are honed and developed with the first aim being to represent your community, school (or vice versa), club and, ultimately, country.At different points along this journey, monetary reward can be introduced, which may, or may not, reduce the ultimate goal, national representation.In the past, national representation trumped just playing for money but, as the rewards (cash and kind) increased to unprecedented levels, national representation slipped further down the totem pole of life’s goals.To old fogeys like me, that fact is very disturbing.I am one who does believe, however, that maximising one’s ability to be well rewarded for being good at sports can coexist with national representation.All that is needed for this to become reality is for the administrators of sport to be as broad-minded as possible, not let ‘bad mind’ and jealousy corrupt their thought processes as they draft rules, the sole aim of which is to punish the rich sportsman and sportswoman, who dare to think for themselves and eventually refuse to bow to some of their ridiculous demands.As it stands, national representation seems to be an important step on the journey to financial independence.Therefore, international competition should be ‘the best of ours against the best of yours’.Nations should be able to identify talent, develop this talent with facilities, resources and coaches.OVERSEAS HELPMost nations, eventually seek overseas help in developing the skills set and potential of their natives. This may include the hiring of overseas experts, or sending their talented nationals to an overseas destination with better facilities and higher-quality competition that should make that individual better at the particular sport.Eventually, in international competition, the best of ours goes up against the best of theirs. Not so in the 21st century.The rules now allow sportsmen and sportswomen to represent countries in sports, even though their knowledge of the country that they represent is gained from anecdotes and the Internet and, in some cases, they do not even speak the native language of the nation they represent.This ‘rule’ is supported by those who believe that winning is not only everything, it is the ONLY thing.I would like to see Jamaica resist this trend, insist that those who represent us are ‘us’, natives whose skills are identified and developed locally (and sometimes) overseas, returning to represent their country, assist in improving those who are HERE, by passing on what they have learnt, so that the country benefits.
January 20, 2020
LONG-TERM PLAN Reggae Boyz head coach, Theodore ‘Tappa’ Whitmore, said he has never been put under pressure from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) hierarchy to select or play any player against his will. Whitmore, who is returning for his third stint with the national side, revealed that he has never faced that problem with his superiors, but noted that they have abandoned the former process for selections, which involved the input of a group of individuals who helped to scout and add players to the pool. The coach is now working along with director of football Vin Blaine to chart a new process ahead of the team’s upcoming assignments. “I have never had that (interference) problem. There is always consultations, but at the end, I am the one who makes the decisions, regardless of what people say or think, I am the one who has the final call,” Whitmore told The Gleaner. Since his reappointment, Whitmore has touched all the right notes when talking on the subject of exposing locally bred talent and has consistently voiced his desire to help develop and expose locals. His effort, he underlines, will be aided by regular, quality international games, which he expects to accelerate the development of players plying their trade in the local leagues. “We are not really looking at US and Honduras … I want a long-term plan where we can develop players to represent the country. We have players who can contribute to the programme, so it’s something myself and Jerome will be looking at going forward,” he said in reference to assistant coach Jerome Waite. “We want to give them (local players) international practice games, and not only one and two games, because you won’t see their true potential in one or two games. We want to give them 13-15 games over a time to show what they are made of,” he said. “We have to find the right balance in these two games and be as competitive as possible. But we want the federation to get quality practice games at home, because when a player is making his debut at home, they are comfortable, more than carrying them in the deep sea and throwing them out and leaving them to swim,” Whitmore said. Before the first squad is announced for the two friendlies against USA and Honduras in February, Whitmore says all contractual arrangements need to be ironed out beforehand. “We have some things to iron out in terms of players and the federation, we don’t want the same mistakes reoccurring with players’ contracts. The federation has contracts for the players, so it’s just for us to really sign off now. We don’t want to start and still be dealing with those issues. We want no excuses, what we need is committed players and a good relationship between the federation, coaching staff and players,” said Whitmore.
January 18, 2020
Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs LATEST STORIES View comments DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ TV only thing missing in Asiad Athletes Village Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netFar Eastern University is slowly moving on into a new era without the talismanic Bernadeth Pons and the Lady Tamaraws have found their platform in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference.The offseason tournament has become some sort of testing ground for the teams before the start of the UAAP season and the Lady Tamaraws have used that opportunity to work on their system.ADVERTISEMENT Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Peza offers relief to ecozone firms Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins “If I want to motivate them, I will first start with myself.”Guino-o stepped up big time after only averaging just 6.4 points in the first five games of the conference.The outside hitter said the team is still adjusting to a life without Pons, but all they can do in the moment is to develop their identity as a team.“We still lack the communication needed and of course we still don’t have that leader figure inside the court,” said Guino-o as her team improved to a 5-1 record and locked up a slot in the semifinals.ADVERTISEMENT Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ No one player has stood out as its undisputed leader for FEU, just what Pons has done in the past, but the team saw several players don the leader’s cap almost every game.Celine Domingo had that distinction in FEU’s previous five-set win when she had 18 points over University of Perpetual Help and this time, it was Heather Guino-o’s turn to become the team’s motivator.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Guino-o put up 13 points in the Lady Tamaraws’ win over fellow UAAP team University of the Philippines, 15-25, 25-23, 15-25, 25-23, 15-7, Saturday at Filoil Flying V Centre.“I want to help my teammates display their true worth because I know that they’re capable of playing better than what they are doing now,” said Guino-o in Filipino. “They can perform better if they wanted to but if I want to see better performances from them, I should play better myself.”
January 18, 2020
In 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)
January 17, 2020
Winner of the inaugural Education Ministry, Rap Fest Trishatha Semple who represented GeorgetownThe National Literacy Unit of the Education Ministry is using students’ love of rap music to sensitise teachers on the possibilities that exist if they use this medium as a teaching tool.A ‘Rap Fest’ competition held at the North Ruimveldt Multilateral on Tuesday saw nine secondary students drawn from Regions Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) singing rap songs that their peers would understand. The lyrics had to include words provided by the coordinators, a Government Information Agency (GINA) release stated. The event also saw special performances by Marcel Hudson, Chief Education Officer (ag) and officers within the National Literacy Unit.Collette Corlette-Horatio, Regional Literacy Coordinator, said the event was undertaken to “promote the message of learning styles and multiple intelligences… it aims to support the understanding that learners have different forms of intelligence and that teachers need to become aware of, and to cater to these intelligence within the classroom.” In an invited comment, Hudson told GINA that the whole concept of literacy has to do with phonetic awareness of letters and sounds. Hudson explained that the event is part of pushing the Five-Cs – communication, cultures, connections, comparisons and communities. For the communication goal area, teachers see how students use language in culturally appropriate ways and talk about, read about, write about and learn about topics of interest or importance to them, more so, critical and creative thinking. “What some people do not understand is that to write a song, there must be some literacy component. A song does not just happen. You have to think… there must be some emotion, some imagination,” Hudson said.The competition comprised of three stages. The first round saw the participants singing a prepared rap song. The song was compiled using 10 words that would have been selected from a list of words supplied by the National Literacy Unit.The nine contestants were pared down to six for the second round. In this round, these six contestants sang a song ending with a word that they would have pulled from a bag just minutes before taking the stage.In the final round, three finalists battled, singing 10-second rap songs. Trishatha Semple, representing Georgetown emerged the winner.The participants were judged on language and the dialect used in the songs. These could not mock nor ridicule anyone. The judges’ score was worth 80 per cent, with the other 20 per cent given based on the response from the crowd.The secondary school rap fest was part of the activities for Education Month which is being observed under the theme, “Each Child Matters: Stakeholders Unite for the Enhancement of Education.”
January 14, 2020
As concerns over the spread of the Ebola virus continue to grow to the peak in Liberia, President Goodluck Jonathan of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has provide US$500,000 to aid the fight against the deadly virus that has claimed over 40 lives.President Goodluck Jonathan’s donation on July 10 in the Ghanaian capital, Accra at the 45th Ordinary Session of ECOWAS is in response to the launch of fund drive against Ebola announced by the Chairperson of ECOWAS, Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama.Ebola broke out in Guinea a few months ago and subsequently spread to Liberia and then Sierra Leone. The disease has claimed 518 lives in the three countries with more suspected cases standing.President Jonathan then made separate donations to Guinea and Sierra Leone, West African Health Organization (WHAO) and the ECOWAS Pool Fund Against Ebola, bringing to the total of US$3.5 million.Heads of State of ECOWAS made the decision to launch the pool fund against Ebola following a report to the Summit by the Director General of the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) Dr. Xavier Crespin.In his report, the WAHO Director General informed the leaders about the threat the Ebola epidemic is posing to the sub-region especially the three affected countries including Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.He informed the Summit that 844 cases linked to Ebola have been reported in the three countries out of which 518 deaths have occurred so far. He disclosed about 15 million United States Dollars will be needed to fight Ebola given the scale of the crisis in the three countries and to prevent the virus from spreading to other West African nations.Giving an update on the scale of the Ebola situation in Liberia during the summit, Vice President Joseph Boakai disclosed that 87 deaths have been reported while there are 131 suspected and confirmed cases of the virus in Liberia.Vice President Boakai spoke of efforts by the Liberian Government to step up the fight and awareness against the disease. While calling for more support, the Liberian Vice President commended the West African Health Organization for an earlier donation of 250 thousand United States Dollars to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone as part of efforts to combat Ebola. Sixty-six thousand (Sixty-Six thousand Dollars) of the amount went to the Government of Liberia through its Ministry of Health.He also extended gratitude to WAHO and other members of the international donor community for their assistance so far to Liberia and then lifted praises to Nigerian President Jonathan for what he described as a truly brotherly donation. Meanwhile, Ghanaian President Mahama has called on other member states of ECOWAS to join the fight against Ebola by following the footsteps of Nigeria contributed to the ECOWAS Fund to Combat Ebola. Vice President Boakai led the Liberian Government delegation to the ECOWAS Summit in Accra, Ghana, which include Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan along with a host of other Liberian Government Officials.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
January 14, 2020
Pres. Weah says meeting with the oppositions will strengthen peace and unity.President George Manneh Weah has committed his government to instituting a few stop-gap measures aimed at addressing the deteriorating state of the Liberian economy. Prime among these few is the infusion of US$25 million into the economy to help mop up excess liquidity of the Liberian dollar on the market.While addressing the nation on the state of the economy yesterday, President Weah informed the nation that his government, through its Economic Management Team, is endeavoring to put together a team of “Liberia’s brightest” economic experts, both at home and abroad as well as international partners, and in close consultation with the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) to work on series of monetary and fiscal measures that would help reverse the decline in the value of the Liberian dollar.The Liberian economy is experiencing its worst decline, since the war years, and many are feeling the pinch as prices of basic commodities continue to escalate accompanied by a rapidly declining Liberian dollar against the US dollar. “I am fully aware of the negative impact of the declining exchange rate on the economic well-being of the Liberian people, and the serious hardship that this is beginning to cause,” Weah said.“To lessen the immediate negative impact on our people, it will be an urgent imperative to devise and implement short-term fixes to the current problem — an immediate infusion by the CBL of US$25 million into the economy to mop up the excess liquidity of Liberian dollars,” he said.In economic parlance, liquidity refers to how easily assets can be converted into cash. Assets like stocks and bonds are very liquid since they can be easily converted to cash. As part of an immediate term strategy to resuscitate the economy, Pres. Weah said there would be an aggressive enforcement of existing monetary policy.“It is clear that our monetary policy regime over the past several years has been too lax,” he said, adding: “In fact, it could well be said that we do not have the capability to exert effective control over our monetary policy, since more than 90 percent of the money supply is held out of the banking system.” Towards this end, the President promised to mandate authorities of the CBL to provide more effective supervision and regulation of money-changers or foreign exchange bureaus.The President blamed the deteriorating state of the economy on the slump in prices of traditional export commodities and the drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), which he said contributed significantly to the economic decline.“While the fall in the prices of our traditional exports and the UNMIL drawdown have contributed significantly to this situation, we believe a stronger and more aggressive enforcement of monetary policy, along with the relevant fiscal instruments, should go a long way to partly address the problem,” he said.The President also blamed trade wars between the major manufacturing countries as exerting more pressure on the prices of Liberia’s major exports.He spoke of the need to ensure domestic competitiveness and the existence of a strong private sector that would be oriented towards domestic consumption, import substitution and export.“This is a goal we seek to achieve in the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development,” he told an expectant nation hoping for a reduction in the exchange rate. Stressing that many of the current problems his government faces were inherited, including a weak underperforming economy facing solvency and liquidity challenges, President Weah said, “Our currency was experiencing rapid and unprecedented depreciation, contributing to rising inflation. Unemployment was very high, and our foreign reserves were at an all-time low.”The President however said that this is not time to complain or to cast blame upon previous administrations, “rather, ours is a duty and responsibility to find new and sustainable solutions to these age-old problems that have stubbornly defied solutions in the past. We were very aware of these systemic problems when we decided to run for the Presidency, and so we are not surprised.”As a first step in resuscitating the economy, the Weah-led government has placed emphasis and urgency on the formulation of a comprehensive development strategy, Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, which will be supported by a strategic implementation plan.The strategy, he said, is nearing completion, and will very shortly be presented to all stakeholders, including the country’s foreign development partners, the private sector, and the general public, for consultation, input, and buy-in, before being finalized into a strategic implementation plan.“This development strategy and implementation plan will serve as a road-map for the urgent and important next-steps to be taken in giving direction to our economic recovery, and will consist of short-term interventions, medium-term reforms, and long-term restructuring of the Liberian economy,” he noted.The President however admonished Liberians to be patient as finding lasting solutions to the present macroeconomic challenges will take some time, because nothing less than the structural transformation of the Liberian economy will produce sustainable recovery and growth.“The key to success in this endeavor is for Liberians to produce more goods and services locally, so that we reduce our importation of goods and services from abroad, whilst at the same time increasing our exports and adding value to the raw materials that we ship to the world,” he said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
January 12, 2020
President David Granger on Thursday said Homestretch Development Incorporated (HDI) was established solely to facilitate completion of the D’Urban Park Development Project in time for Guyana’s 50th Independence anniversary celebration in the absence of budgetary allocations, following the May 2015 elections.The Head of State admitted that while this may have been an unusual course of action, it was expedient at the time and Guyanese now have a valuable asset, which is a source of national pride, and added that the company is no secret and the National Assembly had been notified.President David GrangerThe President iterated during the recording of The Public Interest that there was nothing secretive nor criminal about the D’Urban Park Development Project, when asked to respond to the Opposition’s claim that the Government had not been forthcoming with information regarding the D’Urban Park Development Project, the creation and registration of HDI, which collected funds for the Project, or Minister of Education, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine’s role as a director of the company.“When we went into office, budgetary provisions were not made for the construction of that stadium in time for Independence celebrations in May 2016 and it was felt prudent to establish a special purpose company… when we realised that we had to engage in contracts and agreements with construction firms to build the stands and everything else that was involved in the stadium and as soon as we could, we terminated the work of that company and [transferred the project to] the Ministry of Public Infrastructure with the sole responsibility to compete the Project,” President Granger said.He added that when his administration acceded to office in May 2015 some ad hoc measures had been put in place for the rehabilitation of the Independence Monument, which had been neglected for several decades, and to host the Inauguration Parade at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara. However, since no budgetary allocations had been made for the construction of a stadium, it soon became clear that it was necessary to establish a short-term company to complete the project on schedule.Necessity“It was decided that a special purpose company called Homestretch Development Incorporated would be used to continue the preparations, which had been started, until the Government had passed the Budget and put other infrastructural institutions in place and when that came to an end the responsibility for HDI, that is, particularly with regard to D’Urban Park, transferred to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure so there is nothing secret, or there is nothing criminal about HDI,” the Head of State informed.The President said that the company has only existed for six months and he regards it as a transitional company that enabled the administration to complete the Project. He said that he is grateful to the company and the contributions made by citizens, who helped the Government to reach its deadline and Guyanese are now proud owners of a valuable asset: “I think a lot of Guyanese are proud of the asset which we now possess. It belongs to the Guyanese people.”With regards to Dr Roopnaraine’s role as a member of the board, the President explained that it was only to represent the Government’s interest, “because the celebrations, which we had aimed at, at the time of the establishment of the company, concerned largely the 50th anniversary celebrations.”Similar questions were posed to Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, during his post-Cabinet Press Briefing on Thursday. He noted that while several of those questions had already been posed and answered by Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson in a debate in the National Assembly at its last sitting on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, it is important to note that the D’Urban Park project has its genesis in the efforts of private citizens, who took a decision to support efforts aimed at converting an area that was essentially ‘a jungle’ into a public space.A source of fundingMinister Harmon said that the company was established long after works started by public-spirited citizens for the public good and it became necessary to establish it to source funding after their efforts had been exhausted.In giving a brief history of the events that led up to the establishment of the company, he noted that after 50 years of Independence the Government was still hard-pressed to find accommodations for 50,000 people. The extraordinary turnout of persons for President Granger’s inauguration ceremony at the Guyana National Stadium in Providence, which accommodates about 17,000 and left several hundred assembling along the roadways, brought that into stark focus.As such he said when Government took the decision to transform D’Urban Park into a public space it accommodated the public’s spirit of nationalism, which had been birthed on President Granger’s accession to office, which saw persons contributing to national life.“The time when the company was established did not coincide with the time the work started because it started as private citizens coming forward and giving of their time and of their resources… It really was about private citizens coming forward to clean-up a public place for a public good. I want to make this distinction between what happened there at D’Urban Park and what happened in the previous administration. The previous administration, they were using public assets for the benefit of a private few. I need to make that very clear… that this was private citizens contributing to a public good as opposed to taking public asset and converting it to private… benefit,” he said.Amidst heated debates in the National Assembly, Minister Patterson has repeatedly made disclosures about the company, previous managers of the Project, contractors and payments and has made it clear that, “there is nothing to hide in the books of the Ministry” with regard to the company and the execution of the project.Since its completion D’Urban Park has hosted a number of national, cultural and religious events and is often used as a recreational, sport and exercise venue by residents of South Georgetown and others, who visit the area.
January 11, 2020
GENEVA – The United States filed two new complaints against China at the World Trade Organization on Tuesday over copyright policy and restrictions on the sale of American movies, music and books, trade officials said. The filing comes a day after U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said American companies were losing billions of dollars annually from piracy levels in China that “remain unacceptably high.” The Chinese Commerce Ministry on Tuesday expressed “strong dissatisfaction” at the U.S. action. “The two cases have been formally submitted,” said Magda Siekert, a spokeswoman for the U.S. mission to international organizations in Geneva. The formal requests for consultations were not immediately made available. The U.S. submissions Tuesday trigger a 60-day consultation period during which trade negotiators from both countries will try to resolve the two disputes. If that fails, the U.S. can ask for the WTO to establish investigative panels. It would likely take years for any retaliatory sanctions to be authorized. One case contends that Beijing’s lax enforcement of copyright and trademark protections violates WTO rules, Schwab told reporters in Washington on Monday. The other argues that Beijing has erected illegal barriers to the sale of U.S.-produced movies, music and books in China. “Excessively high legal thresholds for launching criminal prosecutions offer a safe harbor for pirates and counterfeiters,” the office of the USTR said on its Web site. “Pirates and counterfeiters who structure their operations to fit below those thresholds face no possibility of criminal sanction.” China is one of the world’s biggest sources of illegally copied goods ranging from movies, music and designer clothes to sporting goods and medications. But the WTO’s scope would focus on whether Beijing has taken sufficient action to fight intellectual property theft. “The Chinese government has always been firm in protecting intellectual property rights and attained significant achievements in this respect,” Commerce Ministry spokesman Wang Xinpei said in a statement. Wang criticized the U.S. action and said it “will seriously undermine” economic and trade relations between the two countries. The U.S. complaints were filed shortly after reports that China plans to buy in excess of $16.2 billion in U.S. goods when a major delegation visits Washington in May for talks on trade tensions. The new cases, however, threaten to add tension ahead of that trip – the latest round of a “strategic economic dialogue” led by U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi. The dialogue is meant to address issues ranging from market access to complaints about Chinese currency controls. The new cases are the latest move against China by the Bush administration, which is trying to deal with rising political anger over America’s soaring trade deficit, which set a record for the fifth consecutive year in 2006 at $765.3 billion. The U.S. imbalance with China grew to $232.5 billion, the highest ever with a single country. On Tuesday China reported a sharp monthly drop in its ballooning trade surplus with the whole world, saying it fell in March to $6.9 billion, down from $23.7 billion in February, but economists said the decline was probably only temporary. The second case – focusing on China’s obligations under the General Agreement on Trade in Services and the terms which it entered the global commerce body in 2001 – alleges that Beijing has failed to remove import and distribution restrictions on copyrighted U.S. goods including newspapers, magazines, CDs, DVDs and video games. For some products, distribution is limited to Chinese state-owned companies, the U.S. contends. For others, foreign companies face restrictive requirements that do not extend to Chinese competitors. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
January 6, 2020
It was the perfect way for Liverpool to kick off their bid to dethrone champions Manchester City following Klopp’s £160 million close-season spending spree.But Liverpool, who last won the English title in 1990, will have to surmount a wide variety of obstacles before they can finally get their hands on the trophy.And Reds boss Klopp believes an unheralded but potentially dangerous opponent lies in wait at Selhurst Park.Palace have a habit of unsettling supposed superior teams who visit south London and the muscular presence of Belgian striker Benteke is part of that threat.Klopp inherited Benteke when he arrived at Anfield in 2015 but struggled to find a place for the big striker and allowed him to join Palace after just a year on Merseyside.The 27-year-old led the Palace attack in their 2-0 win at Fulham on the opening day of the season, sparking memories for Klopp of the day his brace beat Liverpool at Anfield in April 2017.“Everybody who thinks about writing Benteke off makes a big mistake, because his obvious skills are always there,” Klopp said.“Even if he didn’t score too often last season, he always has opportunities.“It’s a big challenge to defend set-pieces when Christian is around. He will score goals this season, there’s no doubt about that.”— ‘Talismanic quality’ —Benteke isn’t the only danger in the Palace forward line and Eagles manager Roy Hodgson believes he can build the team’s future around the “talismanic” Wilfried Zaha.Ivory Coast international Zaha signed a new five-year contract with Palace this week after speculation he might join Chelsea or Tottenham.Zaha scored as Palace beat Fulham at Craven Cottage and Hodgson has challenged his 25-year-old star to become of the best in world.“We think very highly of him both as a person and a player, and he’s got even a talismanic quality, being from this part of the world and starting his career at Crystal Palace,” Hodgson said.Admitting his coaching team had fretted around Zaha signing new terms in the off-season, Hodgson said he has challenged the former Manchester United flop to step up another level this year.Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke has “obvious skills” said his former manager Jurgen Klopp. © AFP / Glyn KIRK“He’s very, very good; all players have got qualities of course, and there aren’t many players who can literally do every single thing,” Hodgson said.“But he scores top marks in so many aspects of the game, and when it comes to dribbling and manipulating the ball and going past opponents, I put him up there with the very best.“He did a lot for us last season with his goals and his assists and the way he played and we’ve tried to make it clear to him we need a lot more of that going forward.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has told his players to shut out Christian Benteke © AFP / Oli SCARFFLONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 19 – Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool to beware of the threat posed by Christian Benteke when the title challengers face their former striker at Crystal Palace on Monday.Klopp’s side underlined their credentials as serious contenders for the Premier League crown with an eye-catching 4-0 demolition of West Ham last weekend.