Walter Roth Museum being moved without consultation – former Culture Ministers

first_imgFormer Cultural Minister Frank AnthonyTwo former Culture Ministers have come out with a petition to stop the eviction of the Walter Roth Museum from its home at Main Street, Georgetown, to the Guyana National Museum, criticising the government for not holding any consultations.The relocation of the museum – which is the oldest museum of anthropology in the English-speaking Caribbean, is ill conceived and wrong. This is according to former Culture Ministers Gail Teixeira and Dr Frank Anthony, who stated that the decision by Government was made without any consultation with the Amerindian peoples and anthropological and archaeological experts.“Removing the Walter Roth Museum of Anthropology to the crowded National Museum is a grievous act and the greatest insult in modern times to all Amerindian people. The reason for the removal to allow for its usage by the Ministry of the Presidency is even more appalling and outrageous,” the petition stated, while pleadingwith the public to sign against the relocation of the museum and its staffs.President David Granger on Monday justified the Government’s decision for the removal of the Walter Roth Museum. He insisted that the move was not “whimsical” but was made on the basis of organisational changes in the Administration.He assured that there will be no damage to the artefacts or documents that are housed in the building. “It is an administrative decision which was made because of organisational changes in Government,” he said, adding that the establishment of the Ministry of Presidency’s Department of Environment has brought on the need forFormer Minister Gail Teixeiramore space.He stated that there is no need for worry since the new housing arrangement will be up to international standards. “It is not tumbling out. It is an improvement… if it could have been avoided we would have avoided it but we need to deploy staff from the Ministry of the Presidency,” he noted, explaining that the merge of the two museums would improve access to the exhibits.Nevertheless, the petition argued that the removal is in violation of article 149 G under “The Protection of Fundamental Rights” in the Guyana Constitution which provides that “indigenous peoples shall have the right to the protection, preservation and promulgation of their languages, cultural heritage and way of life”.It noted that it is also a violation of the UNESCO Conventions on Cultural Diversity and Intangible Heritage which Guyana has signed on to, adding that it will disrupt the archaeological and anthropological research that the institution currently conducts, displace the Denis Williams Field School, disrupt the Junior Archaeology programme, disband the library and research facilities housed there and disrupt and dilute the current efforts to sustain indigenous languages.“Removing the Walter Roth Museum is an affront to the memory and the work of those dedicated to the maintenance and elevation of our cultural heritage and poses a great threat to the integrity and safety of priceless and delicate archaeological samples which are thousands of years old,” the petition stated.Meanwhile, Anthony argued that the relocation of the museum to a section of an already crowded National Museum will compromise the safe storage and access to the artefacts and dissipate the programmes offered to the public and researchers.He stated that it the dismantling of the museum is a clear example that it was not discussed properly. He stated that the correct step would have been to budget for the construction of a new building, erect it and then remove the artefacts. “This is backward,” he posited.However, President Granger assured that there will be no damage to the pieces in the museum but it will be moved to the other building which will meet international standards.The Walter Roth Museum was established in 1974 but did not open to the public until 1982. It is located on Main Street, Georgetown. It is famous for its journals in some of the leading universities of the world.It was founded with the collections of Guyanese Archaeologist, Dr Denis Williams and in 1980, the ethnographic collections of Dr Walter Roth, JJ Quelch and Sir Everard im Thurn were transferred to the museum from the National Museum. The museum’s collections also include subterranean artefacts from all 10 administrative regions.Calls for government to reconsider the move was also made by Jennifer Wishart, who was one of the co-founders of the museum along with Dr Williams.She noted that the collections stored and displayed apart from being very fragile would be destroyed if moved.Wishart in a letter said that “we do not as yet have the expertise required for the removal of such delicate and very ancient artifacts dating back to some 7,200 years ago…I therefore appeal to the authorities concerned to please reconsider this move. I have learnt over the years that in order to change something we need to build something. Let us preserve what we have and build on it.”last_img read more

LCUNA Appeals for Inclusion on CBL’s Weekly Forex Sale

first_imgMembers of the Liberian Credit Union Association (LCUNA) are appealing to the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, Dr. Joseph Mills Jones to include them on the CBL weekly sale of foreign exchange auction in the country.The leadership of the Union made the statement Saturday, May 24, at its Annual General Assembly in the port city of Buchanan where they bestowed honor upon Governor Jones for his numerous economy contributions towards the empowerment of Liberians.Making remarks on behalf of the organization, the chairman of the Board of Director of LCUNA, J. Saye Biyie noted that the CBL’s weekly foreign exchange auction remains the principal policy instrument for affecting domestic markets in Liberia.Mr. Biyie suggested that in order to improve the credit union sector,it was important to include credit union members on the foreign exchange lists, especiallyfor those that are doing international trade.According to him,the credit union’s role is pivotal to the ongoing recovery of the Liberian economy.The credit union, Mr. Biyie said,is also helping to buttress government’s efforts by providing economic opportunity to Liberians in the business sectors.Also speaking, Baboukar Jeng, Manager of the Gambia Credit Union Movement (GAMCUM), expressed delight over the level of development that the organization has carried out in meeting the needs of Liberians after the civil conflict.Mr. Jeng noted that improving of the business Sector and infrastructural development are key to the country’s needs.“The business sector remains one of the cardinal areas for the development of any nation, and as such, Liberians should begin venturing in the sector,” he urged.According to him, when this is done, the citizens will be in a better position to contribute to the national government as it strives to rebuild the lives of its people.Mr. Jeng, however, called on the leadership of the Union to show good leadership to its members for the betterment of the association.At the same time, the Gambia Credit Union Movement manager said that he is optimistic that the country will once more get on par with other countries due to the level of transformation taking place in every sector.Receiving the honor on behalf of the CBL Governor, EL-Tumu Trueh, Director for Microfinance at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), lauded LCUNA for the honor and said that the Bank will continue to empower ordinary Liberians.On the inclusion of LCUNA on the CBL weekly sale of foreign exchange auction, Director Trueh promised to convey their request to the Executive Governor.According to Mr. Trueh, for the past years the CBL has been engaging the movement of the credit union activities to ensure that there is efficiency within the association.He assured LCUNA members that the Bank would continue to provide better economic opportunity by lifting Liberians out of poverty.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Absence of Text Books, Qualified Teachers Hamper Education Sector’

first_imgThe Superintendent of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), Mr. Benjamin Jacob, has disclosed that lack of textbooks and qualified teachers were serious challenges of the educational sector in the country.Speaking at the regular press briefing of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism on Thursday June 5, 2014 on Capitol Hill, Superintendent Jacob said Liberia cannot achieve quality education in the absence of text books and well trained teachers.Mr. Jacob said as part of his program as superintendent of MCSS, he will ensure that almost all of the MCSSS schools in the country will have counselors that will help students and teachers achieve their goals.According to the superintendent, teachers and principals of MCSS have not been able to obtain training since the civil war.He assured the public of creating the necessary avenues to ensure that training is conducted as part of this year’s plan.According to Mr. Jacob, the issues of retroactive payments was already into the budget and will take effect at the end of June and payment will be made into accounts of teachers.According to the superintendent, education can only be achieved through the involvement of teachers, parents as well as the students.He said that they are working to ensure that parents be able to visit their children’s school in order to know their teachers.Mr. Jacob said, “We will ensure that education is attained in our schools, this is something that we have been working on for several months and trying to set the record straight.”The superintendent further explained that, they have been able to get a little quantity of textbooks and other school materials that are currently serving students at different grade levels in the country.The MCSS boss said, a vibrant Policy about Parents Teachers Association (PTA) is being put in place to allow parents be a part of the school, visit the classroom and also know how the teachers teach their children.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Sentenced for Life to a ‘Common Cell’

first_imgThirteen persons convicted of mercenarism were on Tuesday, June 17 sentenced to life imprisonment, after their plea for new trial was denied by Criminal Court ‘D’ at the Temple of Justice.The defense lawyers filed a motion seeking the approval of Judge Emery Paye to ignore the jury’s guilty verdict, contending it was contrary to the weight of the evidence stated in prosecution indictment.However, Judge Paye denied that request on Tuesday, and confirmed the jurors’ unanimous guilty verdict brought down against the defendants on June 10. They were found guilty of launching a cross border attack in neighboring La Côte d’Ivoire, where seven United Nations peacekeepers and several civilians were allegedly killed in 2010, following that country’s post-election violence.Denying the request, Judge Paye declared that the “unanimous guilty verdict of the jury is hereby confirmed and affirmed by the court, and the defendants are hereby sentenced to a common cell, at the Monrovia Central Prison for the rest of their lives.”Tuesday’s sentenced followed four months of trial at Criminal Court ‘D.’ at the Temple of Justice.The Criminal Court Judge also clarified that four of prosecution’s key witnesses, Pascal Kollie, Moses Barway, Baryee Gaye, and Thomas Gladier in their testimonies linked all of the defendants to the commission of the crime of mercenarism.Gaye, Kollie, and Barway were among the 13 men charged with mercenarism, but the charges against them were dropped by prosecution to allow them to testify on their behalf.Judge Paye said witness Kollie testified that they crossed the Cavalla River into neighboring La Côte d’Ivoire with the aid of one of the defendants—Nyeeze Barway.Kollie, the Criminal Court Judge said, testified that he was present when Nyewee blasted the vehicle that was carrying the UN peacekeepers and killed all seven of them.“The four witnesses during the trial testified and identified to some of the weapons that were used by the defendants to stage their mission in that country.They even named some of their financiers as Solo, Didier, Philip Parley, Junior Tanneh, and Emmanuel as the custodian of the weapons. All of whom were associates of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbargbo.Minutes following their sentenced on Tuesday, one of the men’s lawyers was heard saying, “As far as we were concerned, we are not surprised about the sentence because it was politically motivated,” he added “We will be appealing both conviction and sentence after careful consideration.”“They would maintain their innocence, and that they are interested in appealing their conviction,” the lawyer publicly stated.The government in 2011-2012 indicted 18 defendants of mercenarism alleging that they launched crossed border raid in neighboring La Côte d’Ivoire.They further alleged that the defendants were trained and recruited in the Thai forest in Grand Gedeh County, where they attacked from into La Côte d’Ivoire.That allegation was denied by the defendants, shifting the burden of proof on the state.Interestingly, at the trial the Court dropped the charges against five of the 18, after their lawyers filed a motion of acquittal, contending that none of the prosecution’s witnesses linked them to the commission of the crime.The case was first heard in 2013, but was suspended by then Judge Yussif Kaba on ground of jury’s tempering allegation brought by the State.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Liberia Still in 18th Century Health System’

first_imgAn eminent and specialized Liberian medical doctor and surgeon has described the Liberian healthcare delivery system as an “18th century health system” with Liberians only surviving through goodwill gesture of foreign partners.Dr. Vuyu Golakai, who is also the Dean of the A.M. Dogliotti College of Medicine at the University of Liberia, stressed in a power point presentation during Liberia’s observation of the 21st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that, for people to feel the impact of good a  healthcare system, government needs to generate a condition that will bring to realization such impact.He noted that availability of healthcare, accessibility, acceptability and quality make the impact of healthcare felt.The fearless and outspoken Liberian medical doctor emphasized that the health system of Liberia has remained vulnerable as a result of failure and unfairness on the part of government to invest therein.Additionally, Dr. Golakai said taxpayers’ money has been used to sponsor more doctors in foreign countries to return and provide services to the government for a few years, but those very Liberians after completing their studies fail to fulfill their vows.He recalled that more than 100 Liberian doctors have been trained in foreign countries, but only 25 are in the country while the rest are abroad.Were those doctors fair enough to return home, Liberia would be one of the best in Africa; but after being sponsored by taxpayers’ money, they have changed their nationality.He further emphasized that healthcare as a right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not accessible and available to the ordinary Liberian people because the entire system is broken down.“Do you know why Ebola continues to be present in Monrovia?  It is because Monrovia is very dirty with garbage and human waste spread all over.  You do not expect the “City” to be free of disease when dirt is all over,” Dr. Golakai stressed.He also indicated that transparency is completely absent in the health sector, with health workers engaged in taking bribes from patients before attending to them.He again blamed it on government and the system that has been created, noting that because people are not punished for their wrong doing, they take advantage of it to continuously exhibit unethical behavior.“We health workers have not failed you, but your government has failed you.  If I do wrong and I’m made to bear punishment for my wrong doing, I will not repeat it.  But your government does not have such as system in place, so they have failed you and not we,” he added.Regarding the Ebola outbreak, Dr. Golakai squarely blamed World Health Organization’s Director, Margaret Chan for showing insensitivity to the disaster at the early stage.“This woman knew that Ebola is a deadly disease that broke out in neighboring Guinea, but she kept quiet for some months until it began spreading in Liberia and Sierra Leone before she could call for emergency.  It is not that they like us, but there was an agenda, and the agenda has manifested itself.  The call is meant to bring in money to the World Health Organization through Liberia and other affected countries,” Dr. Golakai noted.He attributed the decline of Ebola in Liberia to interventions by the United States and other partners but again stressed that U.S. especially was playing its role amidst shame and interest.“They colonized us and have been doing little to impact their former colony.  Moreover, they are interested in our oil, and so they have to play the role they play now,” he said amidst huge applause.Meanwhile, Dr. Golakai stressed that because of the Liberian government’s insensitivity to the health sector, the 20% budgetary allotment pronounced to be sent there has not come.  He further noted, “Because the system is vulnerable, your leaders use taxpayers’ money to travel abroad for medication while your clinics and hospitals are without essential drugs and other supplies.”Dr. Golakai also lashed out at President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for appointing people in government on the basis of friendship which, according to him, has caused under performance in her administration and yielding nothing for the Liberian people.Dr. Golakai who declared that he has never voted in Liberia and will not vote because Liberian politicians are not trustworthy, urged the audience to talk to the President to listen to pieces of expert advice from people and stop running the government on the basis of friendship.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Customs Brokers Get New Headquarter

first_imgSince the establishment of the National Customs Brokers Association of Liberia (NCBAL) in the late 70s, this is the first time it has owned a headquarter at the Freeport of Monrovia.Ivan Tumbey, president of the NCBAL, who spoke at the dedicatory ceremony, challenged employees of the union to take their jobs serious especially as they have gotten their own place.Mr. Tumbey said that the new headquarters also put the business community in a good standing with Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and other investors to do business with them in a decent atmosphere.“This building,” he said, “will be used to collect lawful taxes that belong to the Liberian people as well as building a vibrant economy.”He further warned Liberian business entrepreneurs to officially declare their business transactions with the authority of the union to build the economy.The NCBAL president said that he is doing all he can to decentralize its activities throughout Liberia, beginning with the Buchanan port and the Roberts International Airport which is being revamped.“We want to assure the business community that the NCBAL is now ready to do the Liberian people’s work,” he said.For his part, Haji Sheriff, Deputy Senior Collectorate of the Bureau of Customs and Excise, called on the Liberian business community and foreign investors to pay their lawful taxes through the NCBAL.Mr. Sheriff said no country can progress without the collection of taxes, and as such Liberian and other business people should pay their taxes to government.“It’s through these taxes that the government pays its workers and also develops the country,” he urged.The NCBAL is a non–profit organization which is exempted from payment of taxes, but its account, showing receipts and expenditures must always be open to inspection by any official designated by the Ministry of Finance.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Erratum

first_imgIt has been brought to the attention of the Daily Observer’s sports desk that the article carried in yesterday’s edition of the newspaper under the headline: Duannah Wants ‘Amputee Lone Star’ to Return Home’ quoting a letter to Youth & Sports Minister Eugene Nagbe was actually written by the president of the World Amputee Federation, Mr. Richard Hoffman of which he (Duannah Siryon) forwarded a copy to the Daily Observer.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Liberia Celebrates International Drug Day

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has by proclamation declared today, Friday, June 26, as “International Drug Day,” to be observed throughout the Republic as a working holiday.According to the proclamation, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will join the International Community in the celebration of this Year’s International Day against Drug Abuse and its Illicit Trafficking under the theme, “Lets Develop our Lives, Communities and Identities without Drugs”. The proclamation further called on citizens, all government ministries, agencies and international organizations concerned to join the DEA in executing appropriate programs befitting the occasion.The government, by an Act of the National Legislature in 1999, created the DEA with the authority to combat the importation, illicit trafficking and use of dangerous drugs.The proclamation asserts that the intent of the observance of the day is to sensitize the public about drugs and its devastating effects on individuals, families and communities, and to mobilize communities and other stakeholders against the use of such substances.Drug abuse and its illicit trafficking have posed major problems to the human race and millions of people worldwide continue to be affected directly or indirectly, the Proclamation noted.On December 7, 1987, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted Resolution 42/112, which set aside the 26th day of June each year as International Day against Illicit Trafficking of Drugs and other Substances of Abuse, to be celebrated worldwide.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Liberia’s Future on the Ropes

first_imgOur choice today as a country must never be gambling, but quality education. Our preference must be youth development and empowerment. It is too sad that gambling has become a way of life, and a major source of income for thousands of young Liberians living in a small nation endowed with abundant natural wealth. It beats my imagination to see Liberians standing in long lines everyday fighting for betting tickets. Gambling can never be an option to reduce massive poverty and youth unemployment. It only increases the number of unproductive citizens and less-busy minds.If genuine and sustainable steps are not taken to enhance youth development through education, empowerment and employment in Liberia, I foresee a country of professional gamblers, beggars and drug addicts 10 years from now. We must understand that 65% of our country’s population comprises youngsters. We can only protect the future of this nation if we begin to massively invest in young people proactively and not retrogressively. Anything less than this leaves Liberia’s future on the ropes. Liberia stands a serious risk of embracing a dead future if nothing is done now to reclaim the attention of most Liberians, especially young people, from a social syndrome that is increasingly swallowing our country. The addiction of this generation to gambling is alarming, and I foresee an unfulfilled destiny if urgent measures are not taken to arrest the situation. The demerits of this antisocial act are costly and any attempt to ignore this fact will lead us as a nation to an undesirable end.Gambling is not a friend to any innovative generation whose primary goal is to take exclusive charge of a prosperous tomorrow. It poses a threat to our existence as a people and encourages an ill-focused and visionless generation that eventually becomes a liability on the society. If Liberia must make significant progress in this 21st Century by becoming a trendsetter of economic expansion, then our government must take the lead by persistently prioritizing youth empowerment and employment! Gambling is not an option for Liberian youths. It is unarguably evident that the newest and most popular means of survival nowadays under the leadership of Africa’s first female President is gambling. This act has taken center stage within our bleeding economy. The economy of Liberia will continue to experience sharp declines until local dominance can overshadow foreign control. The need to develop young minds is paramount to national growth and genuine development. An attempt to abandon Liberia’s only hope will only add insult to injury.As the poverty gap widens, access to equal opportunities remains visibly unseen. Our country is on a pathway to economic and political uproar if we continue to intentionally ignore and abandon the preference of this generation. Empowerment opportunities such as education and employment remain key to protecting our fragile peace. The skyscraping increment of gamblers, prostitutes, and drug addicts in our society, especially in slum communities needs immediate remedy.As the number of betting booths, entertainment centers, and drugs hideouts around the country increases, there is less appetite to promote the culture of reading, quizzing, debate, academic excellence and quality education. As a result of this, the pillars of our educational system are crumbling. Students are no longer willing to spend hours reading and researching in order to ensure personal development. Other countries like Rwanda, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda are far ahead of us simply because we have an ill-prepared population that lacks necessary skills to respond to existing global demands.It has been proven that gambling contributes to a high rate of drugs abuse, prostitution, robbery, etc. Gambling harms everyone and destroys potential fulfillments of its victims. There is nothing good that comes out of this less-busy practice. We see how it affects families every day and hampers societal growth. Liberia has a youthful population that needs serious human development. More than 65% of our population consists of young people who are yet to find a marketable career. What is this government doing to ensure sustainable empowerment program for over 102,193 ex-combatants who hastily underwent the DDRR process? The best solution to reduce post-conflict trauma is to build their capacity vocationally. Liberia needs technicians and technocrats who can easily use their minds and tools to enhance reconstruction. As a young Liberian patriot, I have a solemn duty to always speak truth to the powers that be. However, it is also my responsibility to provide the way forward to bring an end to our people’s suffering. In order to help address some of our burning concerns, it is important that this government under the stewardship of President Sirleaf engenders the following:1. Ban gambling activities across the country;2. Construct at least two modern Polytechnics in each of our 15 counties;3. Build modern youth centers and libraries in each of our 73 districts;4. Establish a functional community college in every county and increase budgetary support in order to enhance quality education. Existing colleges lack adequate support!5. Increase budgetary support to primary and secondary education and enforce effective school monitoring;6. Expand local markets and hugely invest in the agriculture, energy, and industries; and7. Create genuine public frameworks/structures to promote youth development, empowerment and employment opportunities.It would be in our best interest if we prohibit gambling like Gambia, Algeria, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Vatican City, Cayman Island, etc. About The Author: Martin K. N. Kollie is a Liberian youth activist, student leader, an emerging economist and a young writer. He is a student at the University of Liberia reading economics and a member of the Student Unification Party (SUP). He can be reached at: martinkerkula1989@yahoo.comShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Expired Bail Sends Defendant to Jail

first_imgDrama occurred yesterday afternoon in the Criminal Court ‘C’ when defendant James Togba, who had been earlier released on bail, learned that he would be spending the night behind bars at the Monrovia Central Prison upon the instruction of Judge Blamo Dixon.Judge Dixon’s action came immediately after state lawyers brought to the attention of the court that defendant Togba’s previous bail keeping him from going to jail had expired.Togba is charged with misapplication of entrusted property in connection to the disappearance of US$54,570 from Korea Trading Corporation where he had worked.The company which sells vehicles and spare parts is owned by a Korean businessman, Choi Hungchi. It all started yesterday after Togba sat quietly in the docket behind his legal team, purposely to answer to his indictment for the first time since he was charged.Before Judge Dixon could instruct his clerk to read the charge to him, the prosecution raised an objection and said the exercise should not go no because the criminal appearance bond, on which the court temporarily released defendant Togba from jail, had expired.The defense team did not notice that the bond had expired and argued that the state was given a statutory period to challenge it, but failed to do when they asked the court to dismiss the case.It was after the argument that Judge Dixon declared defendant Togba to file a valid bond either in cash, property valuation or insurance; or upon his failure to do so before the close of the day, he should be detained at the Monrovia Central Prison. The Judge said that on August 20, this year, Togba’s legal team posted a bail, along with a tax clearance from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning with a 90-day expiration period.“The 90 days commenced from August 20 up to November 20 which marked the expiration of the 90-day period for the validity of said bond,” Judge Dixon said.“This means that defendant Togba does not have a bond before the court. The tax clearance at the ministry has a provision for a bond period of 90 to 360 days, which the defendant chose and paid for 90 days, and the case has not started yet, but the 90 days has expired so he has no bond before the court,” Judge Dixon clarified. In his complaint, the Korean businessman alleged that Togba, while in the employ of his company, was responsible to manage car sales, spare parts, tires among others. Togba, Mr. Hungchi further alleged, was also one of the signatories to his company’s account. The Korean businessman further said that as a result of the Ebola Virus outbreak he left the country and unfortunately, upon his return to Liberia, he allegedly discovered that Togba had sold most of the vehicles and subsequently pocketed the proceeds.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more