Chess wizard. Photo from Tani Adewumi’s Go Fund me page.NEW YORK — An 8-year-old boy’s victory as New York state chess champion will be his family’s ticket out of a homeless shelter.The New York Times reported that Tani Adewumi (TAH’-nee ah-deh-WOO’-mee) won the state chess title for his age group this month even though he learned to play only about a year ago.ADVERTISEMENT Phivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments 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 Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college MOST READ Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history NBTC: Ballungay, Artest carry FilAm Sports to another blowout win Rogue cops marked as Gamboa’s targets in his appointment as PNP chief LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Eugenie Bouchard’s bid for Australian Open spot ends in qualifying Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Tani and his family have lived in a New York City shelter since fleeing Nigeria in 2017. The family feared attacks by the militant group Boko Haram on Christians like themselves.Tani’s chess coach Russell Makofsky (muh-KAHF’-skee) set up a GoFundMe account for the family after Tani won the championship.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsMakofsky joined Tani on NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday and said that thanks to donations, the family is moving into an apartment.Tani says he “felt surprised” by his win.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has applauded Mr. George G. Wisner for his achievements so far, and commended him, most especially, for the publication of his first fiction novel.“Many of us who had the opportunity to work with George know what he brings to a task. We know what he brings to duty, to his responsibility and the kind of commitment that we all look forward to. We know how he applied his time when he went to study, going beyond what was required, going that extra mile not only to obtain two degrees but to write a book,” the Liberian leader indicated.According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the assertion at a program marking the formal launch of Mr. Wisner’s novel, When the Heart Decides, at the C. Cecil Dennis Jr. Auditorium last Saturday, December 28.The Liberian leader, who had earlier encouraged some of the students she’s personally sponsoring to attend the program, said it was intended to serve as a motivation and inspiration for them to follow in the footsteps of young people who have already grasped the commitment to serve their country and who have already established themselves in leadership roles. “I hope this will motivate and inspire them to be able to do well in school and go out there and claim it – your leadership role, responsibility and commitment to country,” she stressed.President Sirleaf applauded Wisner for the leadership role when he served as President of the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), and not only that, but his honesty in the various capacities he served. “Something is missing in too many of our institutions, which is honesty,” President Sirleaf stressed, adding, “George, I applaud you for your honesty, for the example you set, and for whatever you did; whether it was your role in FLY, whether for the campaign, or whether it was working in public service.”She continued, “I never heard anyone say he has been involved in this scandal or that fraudulent act. So let me just say we applaud you for that. This is exemplary, and I hope others will be able to copy your example.” She hoped for God’s continued blessing and that he would continue to motivate and inspire young people of this country to be like him.Earlier, the President of the Stella Maris Polytechnic, Sister Mary Laurene Brown (OSF), who formally launched the book, made the point that Liberians have not developed a reading culture, but hoped that Liberians would do so. She believed that Mr. Wisner has done Liberia proud, and she was impressed with his achievements. “Let us take cue that there are other Liberians who are capable of doing something good,” she stressed.Speaking earlier, the author, Mr. Wisner, recapped his humble beginnings – being raised by a single mother – and reminded the audience that all he does in life is not only to bless his country but to also ensure that the greatest tribute that he can pay is to be a good citizen and to serve, in anything he does, with honor and dignity.He recalled a comment made to him by the Vice President, Dr. Joseph N. Boakai, sometime back: “In life, you go to school, take the lessons, and then take the test; but in life you take the test and learn the lesson.”He said his attempt at capturing the experiences of the war is to ensure that his generation and those after him do not forget its lessons. “I lived all my years here during the war, experienced every faction, and saw the horrors of the war. Only in 12th grade then, I said that there’s something I can do to make a difference,” he said. Because Liberia depends on its young people to move forward, Mr. Wisner admonished them to develop their skills and potential for their future.Mr. Wisner, who served as a campaign coordinator for the Unity Party in the 2011 presidential and legislative elections, said that his reason for writing the novel was to ensure that as Liberia moves from war to peace and prosperity, the lessons of the war will not be lost.Why a romantic fiction? The former president of FLY asked, and answered that he wanted his message to have a universal appeal, especially amongst the youth and young adults. He said that the book is one of several ways he intends to contribute to the socio-economic development of his motherland. He observed that although all was not rosy, Liberia is on the right trajectory to full recovery and development. The former junior Liberian foreign minister extolled the country’s leadership for building a foundation on which further progress can be made.Also making remarks, a member of the Federation of the Liberian Community in Australia, Mr. Bobby Whitfield, praised Mr. Wisner for his exemplary skills. He said he first met Wisner in Queensland, where he had gone to speak to Liberians there on the progress the country is making. Following Mr. Wisner’s speech, he instantly became a fan, Mr. Whitfield said.He noted that when Wisner mentioned to him his desire to write a book, and complete his double Masters at one of the top 10 universities in Australia, he was convinced that Wisner could not have been serious. But, he concluded, “When the heart decides, you can do anything.” The book, which is published by Iuniverse in Indiana, in the USA, and marketed by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, is a romance fiction based on the Liberian civil war. It highlights some of the social and political undercurrents of the war, using universal themes such a love, loyalty, and faith.When the Heart Decides is a story of the triumph of love over adversity and of the strength of the heart that seeks love even in the midst of one of the world’s bloodiest civil wars.When Sarah Lawson’s father is rescued from the claws of death by David Saye, a notorious rebel commander, she believes it is simply a miraculous coincidence. It isn’t long, however, before Sarah realizes that behind this extraordinary intervention is David’s wish to lure her into his arms.He is handsome, educated, and generous – all qualities that ignite the fires of her heart. But they are from very different worlds: Sarah is the daughter of a respectable middle-class family, while David has been accused of gruesome atrocities. As the heat of the Liberian civil war casts waves over them all, Sarah faces a three-front battle of her own. Despite her feelings, she must contain David’s advances, preserve her family’s integrity, and prevent her heart from betraying her.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) in collaboration with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has conducted a two day training workshop on the Climate Change Adaptation Agriculture Project (CCAAP) for 15 County Agricultural Coordinators (CAC’s) and extension workers in the country.The two days workshop took place from January 30 to the February 1. It was held at the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) in Gbarnga, Bong County.Giving an overview of the workshop, the national program coordinator of the CCAAP at the Program Management Unit (PMU) of the MoA, Atty. Roland J. Lepol said the National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) is one of three pilot projects designed by the Government of Liberia and its implementing partners. He said the workshop was aimed at prioritizing and identifying key areas in the agriculture sector of the country.Mr. Lepol disclosed that Climate Change has been a threat to development efforts, especially in food security where farmers are facing serious problems with flooding of their crops.According to him, farmers never used to experience climate change, but today it is causing serious problems for them.“This workshop aims to train CAC workers to provide awareness for farmers in the country.” Atty. Lepol stated.Also speaking at the program was Mr. Harrison Luo, Assistant Minister for Planning and Economic Affairs, who said that climate change leaves farmers and their crops vulnerable.According to him climate change is harming agriculture in many countries, especially those that are already suffering from poor soil types and harsh climate conditions because there is less time for optimum natural selection and adaption.For his part, Mr. Edward Perry, director of extension at the Ministry of Agriculture stressed the overall effect of climate change on agriculture would depend on the balance of these effects.He said assessment of the effects of global climate change on agriculture might help to properly anticipate and adapt farming to maximize agricultural production.He indicated, “Climate change increases the urgency of reforming trade policies to ensure that global food security needs are met.”The MoA extension director added that in order to further study effects of global warming on agriculture, other types of models, such as crop development models, yield prediction, quantities of water or fertilizer consumed, must be used.According to him, such models condense the knowledge accumulated of the climate, soil, and effects observed of the results of various agricultural practices.Meanwhile, several CAC’s who participated in the workshop shared their experiences on the effects of climate change. Some said that during, the months of July and August they experienced low production in their crops due to heavy rains.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The management of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) in collaboration with the Community Forestry Working Group (CFWG) launched the 2nd Annual Outreach Campaign on Community Forestry in Monrovia over the weekend. The campaign with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its implementing partner, the Liberia People, Rules and Organizations Supporting the Protection of Ecosystem Resources (PROSPER) project, was launched under the theme, “Make Community Forestry Rights Real.” Earlier during the launch, FDA managing director, Harrison Sam Karnwea, Sr., said, the initiative is being undertaken by the government through the FDA in collaboration with CFWG and supported by the USAID funded PROSPER. The campaign, he said, is part of the government’s policy to give back to its citizens. According to Mr. Karnwea, it is aimed at empowering forest dependent communities to do more than participate in decision-making, but to actively engage in the sustainable management of forest resources in a manner that would allow them to accrue direct benefits for present and future generations. He said through the launch of the campaign, forest dependent communities, policy makers and other stakeholders would be made aware of the provisions of the CRL and regulations that grant ownership to communities and empowers them to get directly involved in forest management. “The implementation of this campaign includes the second launch and a community-based rollout that would see teams visiting and carrying out sensitization and education in several forest communities on the CRL and regulations.” According the FDA MD, the campaign has already begun paying off following the subsequent launch of the first National Outreach Campaign and Community Rollout.“This,” he said, “is evidenced by the number of applications arriving at the FDA offices requesting Authorized Forest Community Status.” Mr. Karnwea said that while it is evidently clear that much progress has been made, there is much more work to be done to ensure that communities have adequate knowledge and can access and effectively use the law to their benefit. For his part, USAID Mission Director to Liberia, John Mark Winfield, said USAID is proud of its support to the campaign through PROSPER. According to him, the U.S. Government began supporting the Liberian forestry sector in 2004 to reform the legal and regulatory framework and develop the chain of custody system.“Since 2007, USAID has focused support on community forestry management through several projects, the most recent being the USAID PROSPER project.” In addition, Mr. Winfield disclosed among that USAID is providing capacity building support to the FDA through the U.S. Governance and Economic Management Support (GEMS) project.He reiterated USAID’s support to the rollout of the outreach campaign in the PROSPER project sites in Nimba, Grand Bassa and other counties where communities have already applied to the FDA to create community forests. The daylong exercise brought together several high profile individuals including the chair of the FDA Board of Directors, Sis. Mary Laurene Brown, the European Union head of delegation to Liberia, Attilio Pacifici, as well as members of the National Legislature.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
My message to you will have some pieces of my personal experiences in order to provide a context for parts of my message. Those will provide the backdrop particularly when I talk about values and service; essential elements for “One People, One Nation, United for Peace and Sustainable Development.” Three entities working in concert with one another are proposed as suitable for bringing about this kind of transformation; the family, education, and society generally. In the words of the national anthem we sing the words of valor unpretending. If we search our Thesaurus, we know that other words for valor are courage, bravery, spirit, nerve, heroism, fearlessness, boldness, gallantry. Liberians must use courage, bravery, spirit, nerve, heroism, fearlessness, boldness, gallantry to change their perceptions of themselves, and their attitudes about what we can do for ourselves. We must battle mediocrity and set excellence as the standard in our schools, workplace and in society generally. Greenleaf, 1970 “The Servant as Leader” The Honorable Vice President of the Republic of Liberia Joseph N. Boakai and Mrs. Katumu Boakai Foresight: Foresight enables the servant leader to “understand the lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequences of a decision for the future.” How do we bring about this transformation? These ten characteristics are by no means exhaustive. I see them as compatible with the goals of a rebuilt Liberia. As a psychologist these are the essence of what we see as healthy growth and leadership. As Liberia rebuilds itself after several years of civil war, it is faced with many competing priorities. Infrastructure development, roads and bridges that were torn apart need to be rebuilt. Education needs attention, as does providing healthcare. The list goes on. However, little or no attention is paid to the transformation of minds, attitudes and behaviors.This presentation raises the need to focus on the human factor. How do we shift from a warring mentality to one that fosters peace? What are the values upon which this new Liberia needs to be built? It looks to the Constitution for some of the values that are embedded within it, and proposes a restoration of some of those that can point the direction for the nation. It challenges the common practice of leadership often build upon self-aggrandizement and proposes a model of servant leadership. But in the past three hundred years the idea of nationhood took root in most of the world. Members of tribes started to become citizens, viewing themselves as a single people with patriotic sentiments and duties toward their homeland. .. Spears, in Greenleaf, 1970, “ The Servant Leader” Stewardship: As leaders demonstrating stewardship, we hold our institutions/agencies/ministries, etc. in trust for the greater good of society. The Dean and members of the Cabinet and other Government Officials Constitution of the Republic of Liberia Liberia can boast of some strong women. I am grateful to those strong women in my family who set for me such wonderful examples of service to humankind. It is my strongly held belief that words of praise to the Almighty without deeds to our fellow humans are nothing but hollow words. Two women who not only consistently praised God, but followed up with deeds of human kindness were my paternal grandmother and great-grandmother whose commitment to education and service took them to the remotest corners of Liberia. Let me share a story of a visitor from the United States, a Mr. William Kamma Reeves, a man in his seventies, who visited me in Harper and told me stories about my great-grandmother. He pointed out that my danneh, as we called my great-grandmother, and her daughter, Ma Caddy, my grandmother lived in their village of Gedebo and taught him his ABC’s, and that my grandmother and he grew up as siblings. He went on to say how harsh living conditions were in the village but that were it not for their presence among the villagers, he and others would not have begun their education. This encounter brought back some very fond memories. I remember as a young child as I traveled with them on their missions from one remote area of southeastern Liberia to another. The condition of the roads in the fifties was challenging as it is today. These are the women who shaped my early development and that of several other Liberians. From their lives we glean the importance of education as the great equalizer even then. We also see the value placed on service to others. Why else would they leave the comfort of their homes to travel and live under very harsh conditions? It certainly was not for the salary. Education: Each school must strive to become a center for quality and excellence. No more should we hear that our students cannot read or write. We must not just have students who take classes, but we must provide them with quality educational experiences so that when they leave us they are transformed for worthy service. That means that each student at every level should be able to demonstrate new knowledge, skills and attitudes in readiness to serve humankind. They must demonstrate proficiency in oral and written communication. In this day and age, rote memorization is no longer the most desirable tool for teaching. Our students must be taught critical thinking, reasoning, the ability to critically search for and use information. They must demonstrate skills in quantitative reasoning and given today’s world they must have the ability to use technology as an effective tool. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) My life’s story began on Green Street in Harper City, Maryland County where three generations of Davis’s before me lived and worked to make their contributions to Maryland County and to Liberia. So, I am a fourth generation Marylander, and I would like at this time to thank my brother Natty B who seven years ago encouraged me to return home. I am grateful to Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for giving me the opportunity to serve Maryland County and Liberia as President of William V.S. Tubman University, Liberia’s second public university. My personal past is one of the many stories of Maryland County’s past. Please indulge me as I pay tribute to some of Maryland’s sons and daughters who are responsible for my being here today. My paternal grandfather, Alfred Pryde Davis was an outspoken private entrepreneur who was not involved in politics, but became a political prisoner for being critical of the government of his time. In his day, Liberians did not enjoy the freedom of expression that we so freely exercise today without fear of being relegated to a lifetime of imprisonment. As we enjoy these freedoms, we need to also demonstrate a sense of responsibility and not engage in malicious rumors that cause dissension or bring injury to individuals, families and institutions. The promulgation of half-truths, misinformation, and disinformation that cast aspersions on people and divides our communities is not demonstrating personal or social responsibility. If Liberia is to move forward in unity, these actions must stop. Let me begin then with a few of what I consider in need of change; deep structural change. Our sense of identity and our values: those principles, standards, morals, ethics and ideals that should form the bedrock of our society. Among others are excellence, integrity, civility, ethics, civic virtue, dependability and trustworthiness. There are three levels at which this transformation of attitudes and behaviours must occur. It is imperative that each level reinforces the other. Our interactions with one another should be characterized by civility. We may disagree, but we do not have to be disagreeable. Ethical behavior should be the norm rather than the exception. Robert Reich, an American economist, professor, author and political commentator wrote in his March 24, 2014 Blog a piece entitled The New Tribalism. In that piece he writes, and I quote him, “Before the rise of the nation-state, between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries, the world was mostly tribal. Tribes were united by language, religion, blood, and belief. They feared other tribes and often warred against them. Kings and emperors imposed temporary truces, at most. Building Community: Given the rise of urbanization, technology, and all of the other factors that tend to isolate us contributing to our tendency to focus only on ourselves, the servant leader strives to build a sense of community within the institution, fostering caring communities that replace the bureaucracies and silos which we have erected in this society. Members of the Consular Corps The President Pro-Tempore Findley and Mrs. Findley, and members of the Honorable House of Senate His Excellency the Doyen and members of the Diplomatic Corps Today, as he sees it, “The connections that matter most are again becoming more personal. Religious beliefs and affiliations, the nuances of one’s own language and culture, the daily realities of class, and the extensions of one’s family and its values – all are providing people with ever greater senses of identity.” While being bound by religious beliefs and affiliations, the nuances of one’s own language and culture can be positive, we can also use those to divide ourselves and foster insiders and outsiders. The not so distant past of Liberia attests to this. As we rebuild Liberia what takes precedent in our perception of ourselves? I contend that as Liberians we must think of ourselves as citizens, viewing ourselves as a single people with patriotic sentiments and duties toward their homeland, Liberia. The Preamble of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia states, “..that all of our people, irrespective of history, tradition, creed, or ethnic background are of one common body politic.” Section b continues with defining these rights. “All persons, irrespective of ethnic background, race, sex, creed, place of origin or political opinion, are entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, subject to such qualifications as provided for in this Constitution.” Nowhere does it state that males have rights that females do not have. Therefore we need to alter our thinking and behaviors about men and women. Females are equal to males and should not be treated as lesser creatures or as property to be used and abused. The law must enforce this in every aspect of life; in the home, classroom, work-place and in social settings. Conceptualization: As a leader one must think beyond the day-to-day occurrences, “putting out fires”, and dream big dreams. This ability for Conceptualization enables the servant leader to be a visionary. I also have fond memories of my father, Olie Davis, as many Marylanders called him, standing and addressing Marylanders at the 26th Independence Day celebration, or other occasions. Dad was also known as the poor man’s advocate because, as a lawyer, he often took cases not because of people’s ability to pay, but in his search for justice for people who could not access justice for themselves. And so we often got cassava, bananas, and other fruit and vegetables from grateful people for whom he had fought in the courtroom. But we also got something even more powerful. When people found out who our father was, we were offered kindness and care. Today, too many Liberians seemed to have lost that sense of caring for one another and kindness to one another. We seem too busy getting what we can get for ourselves, sometimes even stealing, to be attentive to the plight of the less fortunate. We need to change our attitudes and behaviors and become more caring of fellow humans, especially those who are the most vulnerable among us. If you have ever ridden with Her Excellency, you know how long it takes to arrive at the designated destination because she makes numerous stops to inquire about the people, demonstrating how genuinely she cares about the citizens, especially the children. Reviewing a course proposed by faculty at TU in entrepreneur education, I was pleased to see emphasis on topics such as “the meaning of the dignity of labor”; “benefits and value of doing work”; and “ethics in life and business”. Those should be standard in any curriculum in Liberia As we read this quote from Greenleaf and think about Liberia, the question is, as leaders, do we place our constituents’ highest priority needs at the forefront of how we structure their educational or work experiences, or do we do what is convenient for us? Do we structure their experiences to ensure that they grow as persons? As a result of our leadership and the manner in which we structure their experiences, do our students/constituents become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous? Are they more likely to become servant leaders given their experiences with us? At TU we have articulated a mission that states that we provide quality educational experiences that transform lives for worthy service. We expect our students when they leave us to go out and serve in whatever their disciplines are. What are the changes that we must make in order to become servant leaders? There are 10 characteristics of the servant leader as described by Greenleaf and others. The first is listening. Spears in Greenleaf’s The Servant Leader, points out that as a servant-leader, the focus is on listening intently to others, trying to identify what the will of the group is and trying to clarify that will. During her recent visit to Harper Her Excellency said to the audience “I am here to listen to you”. As a psychologist, I closely observed her (she didn’t know that she was being scrutinized by a psychologist), and can say that she engaged in what we call “mindful listening.” She stayed in the moment with the speaker even though some of it was critical, and did not respond defensively. In my profession of psychology we talk about the importance of also listening to what is not being said. So does the servant-leader. As Spears indicates, s/he “also keenly listens to her/his own voice and engages in reflection”. This third characteristic of healing refers to the “potential one has for healing one’s self and one’s relationship to others”; the desire to make whole. Greenleaf in “The Servant as Leader” states “There is something subtle communicated to one who is being served and led if, implicit in the compact between servant-leader and led, is the understanding that the search for wholeness is something they share.” Liberia needs leaders who can change their attitudes and behaviors to promote healing rather sowing dissension and discontent. I would like to express my profound thanks and appreciation to Her Excellency, President Ellen Johnson and the 167th Independence Anniversary Celebration Committee for selecting me to bring a message to the nation. I consider my father the late O. Natty B. Davis the orator within the family so I do hope that I do justice to his memory. I am sure that he would be delighted to see one of his children addressing the nation on this important occasion. Your Excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia References The Preamble goes on to state, “Exercising our natural, inherent and inalienable rights to establish a framework of government for the purpose of promoting unity (not disunity), liberty (not bondage), peace (not war), stability (not instability), equality (not inequality), justice (not injustice), and human rights (not abuse) under the rule of law (not mob rule) with opportunities for political, social, moral, spiritual and cultural advancement of our society, for ourselves and for our posterity.” In that same Preamble, there is a resolve to “live in harmony, to practice fraternal love, tolerance and understanding as a people” as well as setting forth the obligation “to promote African unity and international peace and cooperation.” Evident in these words is the need to shift from a warring mentality to a peaceful one where our behaviors are consistent with harmony, fraternal love, tolerance and understanding, promoting unity on our continent, and engaging in international peace and cooperation. Well, you might say that was meant for the government. I contend that as citizens each one has a responsibility to live those words; not just mouth them but to live them daily. The Honorable Speaker Alex Tyler, Mrs. Tyler, and the Honorable House of Representatives Students Commitment to the growth of people: Spears tells us that servant leaders “believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers.” Therefore servant leaders are “deeply committed to the growth of each and everyone in his or her institution/agency/ministry/office. This means that if we are servant leaders we have a “tremendous responsibility to do everything within our power to nurture the personal, professional, and spiritual growth of” the employees of the institutions, etc.. Ladies and gentlemen: “We are witnessing a reversion to tribalism around the world, away from nation states.” He goes on to give a brief history of the world as it was then. Again I quote him. Family: The family is the unit that gives us our very early sense of who we are. It provides us with the foundation of values that prepares us for the broader society. It provides us comfort, security and a sense of worth. It is also the holder and transmitter of society’s norms. Yet for two generations of many of our young people there was no family. They raised themselves and for many their moral compasses are non-existent. And so they mistake brute force for acceptable means of achieving what they want. It is not too late for many of these young people. The schools, colleges and universities must become in loco parentis. That is, they must become surrogate parents on site. They must engage in values clarification, provide structure, and correct misbehaviors by serving as models of what is appropriate. As we work to rebuild Liberia and achieve one people, one nation, united for peace and sustainable development, what kind of leadership is needed at all levels and in all spheres? We currently see too much emphasis on self-aggrandizement. There is what I call the beating of the chest followed by the question, “Do you know who I am?” with the expectation that we should pay homage. Instead the approach should be I am your public servant here to serve you. What can I do for you? What I am proposing a change in the attitudes and behaviors of all of us who serve the public. We are elected, appointed, to serve and we should do so willingly; we should be servant leaders. Greenleaf (1970) in responding to who is the servant-leader, wrote “It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant – first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test is: Do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?” (Greenleaf, 1970 “The Servant as Leader”.) Members of the Clergy and Religious Community General and self-awareness means one is sharply attuned to self, others and the environment. Oftentimes this means that one is jarred by that awareness. However, that awareness is used in the service of others and to correct one’s behavior. Robert Reich, The New Tribalism, March 24, 2014 Society: This third level must support the family and education by setting and adhering to norms that are based on excellence, integrity, civility, ethics, civic virtue, dependability and trustworthiness among others. Society must also reinforce the fact that there are consequences through rewards and punishment. Every member of this society, small or big has to know that s/he must have personal responsibility for her/his actions. As we strive to become one people, one nation there are some beliefs and practices that we must change. Among these is what I have heard referred to as MALE RIGHTS. In a recent discussion I had with a group of men and women, one of the male discussants stated that women coming to Liberia should adapt to the way things are. He went on to say they should know how to address men showing proper respect because of male rights. I responded by asking him what about female rights and children rights, or human rights. I was disturbed by this line of conversation because it suggests that because of the difference of one chromosome which results in a different anatomical difference that males are entitled to rights denied to women. It signified that women are still regarded as less than men and should be treated not only as lesser creatures but as property to be used and abused. So I went in search of the evidence that gives males rights that are not accorded to women. I went back to the Constitution of Liberia, Chapter III, Fundamental Rights. And this is what I found in Article 11, (a) I quote. “All persons are born equally free and independent and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights, among which are the right of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of pursuing and maintaining security of the person, and of acquiring, possessing and protecting property, subject to such qualifications as provided for in this Constitution.” His Honor the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Liberia Identity: who we are As we look at the second characteristic, empathy, we know that Carl Rogers, a psychologist made a tremendous impact to not only psychology, but to several other fields when he emphasized this concept and that of unconditional positive regard. The servant-leader is one committed to understanding and accepting others even when he or she does not accept their behaviors or performance. We have leaders who state that they will not sit down in the same room as others with whom they disagree. That is the opposite of servant leadership. The distinction between the behaviors/performance and the individual as someone with intrinsic worth is essential to being a servant-leader. As one people, one nation, we must learn to accept one another even if we disagree with their politics and behaviors. Thank you. God Bless Liberia! Traditional Chiefs and Elders Love of nation should supersede ethnicity and other affiliations that are used to divide; each child must learn what it means to be a citizen; with all of the rights, privileges, obligations, and responsibilities. They should not mouth the national anthem and other national symbols without fully understanding what they mean. We must all truly understand that in order for Liberia to succeed each one must do his/her duty regardless of what it is, because others depend upon us. We cannot afford to have bench warmers, that is people who sit in offices or under trees and do nothing but collect a paycheck. We also cannot afford to have minimalists, those who perform the least of what is expected and nothing more. We must examine our labor laws that permit those minimalists to work the system by working only 15 days a month knowing that they will get a paycheck for the whole month. We need workers who demonstrate the value and passion for work. Therefore dependability and trustworthiness must be the new order of the day and every day. We must practice personal responsibility instead of trying to pass blame for not doing what we were supposed to do. Change will not come easy, but we must remain steadfast and hold ourselves and others accountable. If we do not change, Liberia will become obsolete as the dinosaurs while others speed by. Let us remember the words of the national songs which proclaim a new day. We can truly become “one people, one nation, united for peace and sustainable development” The Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations and Heads of International Organizations In order to fully achieve the theme of this year’s anniversary, we must bring about transformation. What does transformation mean? Alteration, change, conversion, renovation, revolution, makeover. I am not here to talk about renovation of our infrastructure or other physical manifestations. I come as an educator and a psychologist to talk about an alteration of our minds, our cognitions, our perceptions, and our behaviors. We may have new roads, electricity, new buildings, etc. but if our attitudes and behaviors remain unchanged, we approach these with the same disregard as we did the old and soon they appear as the old. Persuasion, As Spears and others who speak of servant leader describe persuasion, it is the ability to convince others rather than to rely on positional authority to coerce compliance that separates the servant leader from others who use power to dominate others. Too often I see examples of leaders who rely on positional authority to coerce compliance. If we want our people to follow our vision, persuasion is what we need to use. We must eschew dishonesty and corruption and imbed integrity in all of our actions, no matter how small. Public servants/ civil servants should not ask for money or favors under the table to do the people’s work.
Honorable Commissioner General:I write to congratulate you for your tireless efforts in making sure to complete the setting up of the now “Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA)” with the objective intention to identify and raise more revenues that have either ended up in private pockets over the years or have been ignored by few people that had the responsibility and authority to deposit those revenues into Government accounts.These kinds of efforts can only be applied by true patriots like you and those that work behind the scenes to see or insure a successful work.Your confirmation as “Commissioner General” of the Liberia Revenue Authority marks a very important milestone in the fight against corruption in Liberia. As you are aware, in the wake of continuous extortion of Liberia’s resources, decentralization of state management is highly recommended. Giving more power to the regions is highly recommended to determine local policies and development priorities. These include such areas as education, social infrastructure and human development, as well as the power to implement these policies such as forming their own budgets, financing developmental policies and collecting certain types of taxes, etc.Likewise local authorities should be held accountable for what happens in their regions and they should be made less reliant on central authorities. Local authorities should have a share in managing state assets on their territories and gaining incomes from them, as well for financing projects.Corruption has over the centuries have left a negative impact on Liberia and has increased the marginalization of minority groups, including women. It has also in the past led to radicalizing opposition to the State and most times contributed to conflict.Corruption, as overt in the Liberian society, poses a serious threat to the efforts such as the system you have worked tirelessly over the years to establish; hence the need to deal with corruption rigidly is highly recommended.In recent years, there has been increasing attention paid to the effects of corruption in post conflict and recovery environments. Various studies (by UNDP, World Bank & Transparency International) confirm that about half of post-war countries revert to war within one decade and corruption can be considered as one of the major factors that contribute to fuelling a conflict and the return to violence. Therefore, overcoming corruption in post-war Liberia is essential to restoring the confidence of Liberians at home and abroad.Post conflict reconstruction is normally characterized by large scale injection of resources in an environment where the legal and institutional frameworks are weak, fragile or inexistent and where expertise is scarce. Detection of crime is very low and enforcement difficult or ignored. The surviving governing structures are weak in financial, fiscal, administrative and regulatory capacities and limited oversight is informal and sometimes criminalized. These institutions are often transitional in nature, carrying very little or no legitimacy, and are therefore prone to be captured by the privileged elite with access to power and resources. The lack of popular participation in reconstruction is vulnerable to hijacking by local elites, which leads to corruption, waste of available and scarce resources, lack of maintenance and monitoring by beneficiaries and eventual rejection in the long run.The main purpose of zero tolerance on corruption in Liberia should be to assist post-conflict Liberia in developing anti-corruption strategies and strategies to identify and raise more revenue to undertake development projects in cities in the 15 counties. These strategies will be used to develop programs on anti-corruption in post-war Liberia and recovery process, which will be a tool that will assist local Governments throughout Liberia.Since Liberia’s independent in the 1800s, there have been fluctuating economic stages which in most cases have led to the under development of Liberia compared to other countries in the sub-region. In my opinion, the newly created Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) stands a better chance to bring about accountability, credibility, though enforcement and other aspects that have either been ignored as a result of incompetence or corruption.As I drive around Monrovia, I witness huge traffic violations by Government, commercial & private vehicles on the daily basis. I think your Commission can liaise with the Justice Ministry, the Liberia National Police (LNP), Transport Ministry and Ministry of Finance, Development and Planning to set up a very good enforcement structure to make millions in revenues from reckless drivers in Liberia.How the above Government institutions can contribute:Transport Ministry: This Ministry will regularize the registration of all vehicles in the Republic of Liberia. Once this is done, a national database can be created to enable enforcing Ministries or agencies to have easy access to needed information both at the traffic call center and at various traffic courts in the 15 counties.The Transport Ministry can also secure 15 to 25 acres of land to be used for the construction of multipurpose complex to include road or safety emission inspection machines for all vehicles. The purpose of the safety emission inspection will be to ensure that cars plying the streets of Monrovia and other major cities meet all safety requirements before plying the streets. The same area will be used to park towed vehicles. Towed vehicles will be charged towing fees and daily parking fees. If a vehicle’s towing and daily parking fees exceed certain amount, Government should auction the vehicle and deposit the proceeds into a government revenue account.Justice Ministry: In the effort to properly and legally enforce the rules, the Ministry of Justice will either capacitate the traffic courts or create new ones in every city throughout the republic of Liberia, with representation of LRA at each Court to monitor and ensure that intended Government revenues are not redirected in the pockets of individuals.Liberia National Police (LNP): Although the LNP does not have the confidence of the public, it is the legal law enforcement Agency of the Republic of Liberia. In this case, the LNP traffic department will select a good number of traffic officers and enhance their training for the purpose of patrolling assigned areas and issuing violation tickets. Since the LNP has some credibility problems, a crime or traffic call center will be created at the LNP headquarters or in a neutral building. At that call center, LNP officers along with LRA and Transport Ministry officers will be assigned there to monitor calls to ensure that violators are issued tickets appropriately. In this case, once an LNP officer pulls over a violator, the call center will immediately be alerted. The vehicle license plate number will be given to the call center. The LNP officer will name the violation (all violations will be properly coded with the appropriate charges). Once the violation ticket is issued, it is immediately reported in the system.Also under the LNP, tow trucks can be assigned to various busy traffic routes to tow broken down or impounded vehicles. Towing will be done at the vehicle owner’s expense.Ministry of Finance, Development & Planning: This Ministry will set up the central account number and the 15 local account numbers for each county. Under the county account numbers will also be the sub account numbers for each city in that county. For example, if a violation ticket for the amount of LRD500.00 is issued in the City of Paynesville, 35% (or to be determined by either law or LRA) of the LRD 500.00 will go to the city of Paynesville while the remaining 65% will go to central Government. The total amount will be deposited in the central account for audit and accountability purposes.The 35% that goes to the city in which the violation took place can be used to employ or capacitate city employees to enforce city maintenance. For example: The City of Paynesville can pass a City law (if it is not already there) mandating all land owners in the City of Paynesville to keep their land(s) clean. In the event a land owner failed to clean his/her land every two or three weeks, the City will clean the land and impose a fine on the land owner. The money raised from the fine will be used to undertake development projects in the city, including but not limited to building or maintaining Public Schools in the city, reducing school fees for residents of the city, employing residents of the city, thus creating more jobs in the city. Those city employees will pay taxes to the government of Liberia, thus increasing the country’s revenue capacity.These punishments, I believe, will have important consequences on the defendants and will bring economic gain which will enforce the purpose of LRA. Over the years we have experienced different stages in our law enforcement that seem not to be working for the Government but instead for the individuals enforcing the laws. In my view, the primary goal of punishment should be to assist violators to turn their lives around and to safeguard society. On the other hand, violators should also be used to raise revenue to undertake development projects and to compensate victims by benefiting from some of the development projects in the city (ies) they (victims) live. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The District Youth Council of Montserrado County’s District # 11 (DYC – 11) is buttressing government’s efforts to console families of those who were claimed by the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and to ensure the goal of “Zero New Cases” before 1st of January 2015 is reached.The membership of DYC-11 comprises youths from 35 communities within the electoral district.Over the weekend, the leadership of DYC-11 identified with two families in the Frog Island Community, on the outskirts of Barnersville Housing Estate, near Monrovia, in addition to earlier assistance to families in the 1407, JE Marshall, 1403 and other communities.The amount of L$4,000 and three bags of rice were given to the two families as an initial assistance. At the same time the families and community residents were urged to ‘live safe’ by always washing their hands and avoid touching sick persons.The chairman of DYC-11, McCauley Jedeo, Jr., presenting the cash and food to Frog Island Community chairman and senior elder Randall Banks and Patrick G. Smith, said the donation was part of the council’s Ebola Emergency Program (EEP) which began last October with the distribution of buckets, chloride and other anti-Ebola materials to the people of District # 11.Mr. Jedeo said the value of their donations over a two month period was estimated at about L$395,000, courtesy of some cash bequest from several well-known dwellers in the vicinity.“This is our way of saying we are sorry for the deaths of our relatives and loved ones. We pray for their peaceful repose,” the DYC-11 chairman told the bereaved families. The Howard family lost their wage earner and father, the late John Howard, a prominent citizen of Frog Island. He died after he contracted the virus from his daughter Sarah and grandchildren, Favor and John, who came to seek refuge at his house. They also died.Fortunately, his widow Mary and daughter Princess Howard, survived.As for the Soigbeh family, besides Miss Carotine Wreh, none of the relatives died. Many believed though the Ebola Team carried her body away, Carotine might have died from ordinary sickness.Meanwhile, the treasurer of DYC-11, Madam Comfort S. Wallie, is calling on local and international non-governmental organizations to help them continue extending their support to other affected families and also to sustain the donations.“We want to send this passionate appeal also to any philanthropist to help identify with these traumatized families,” Madam Wallie said. “The DYC II also wishes to carry the fight further by identifying with Ebola orphans. Food items, clothing and detergents are needed. And now that schools are about to open, the survivors will need ongoing assistance,” she pleaded.Madam Gertrude Dorbor, on behalf of the Ebola victims’ families, expressed thanks to the youth group and said they can only be restored when Liberians, especially their people and the national leadership, identify with them.Elder Smith, senior advisor of the community, described DYC 11’s gesture as the first and called other groups to emulate their example.The community’s chairman, Mr. Banks, termed the donations as timely amidst the festive season and prayed that their works will go a long way.The leadership of the youth group include: chairman McCauley Jedeo, Jr., of Lulu Pelham community; the co-chairman for administration, Cyphus Philips of Kpain Town Community; the co-chairman of operations, Lusanyni Sheriff of Diggsville and secretary general Dassy M. Conway of PUC Community-Kebah.Others are the assistant secretary general Toe T.W. Carlor of Palm Hill Community; financial Secretary Abass S. Gbollie of Gaye Dukpaye Community; treasurer Comfort S. Wallie of Kpain Town and the head of the religious council, Jackson Julufoe of Diggsville.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dear Editor,In an earlier letter, I highlighted the fact that the charges brought by SOCU/SARA against Dr Ashni Singh and Mr Brassington are “frivolous and vexatious” in the law and should be withdrawn. My reasons are: you cannot charge ministers of Government for carrying out their duties expeditiously and successfully; it defies intelligence.Where in that charge was the state of Guyana negatively impacted by those ministers’ decisions? The answer is nowhere. For the very same reason, I think the DPP has dismissed charges against the five ministers of this present Government. She would have contended that for sitting ministers to be charged in dispensing their duties in office, it would be improper, seeing they are in the process of doing “their work.” It would also cause a logistical nightmare having to summon ministers from their “busy” schedule to attend court, and having to sift through volumes of paperwork. This should not happen. Not a legal answer, because no one should be immune from prosecution, Government nor Opposition, but plausible enough for the common man to go with. So, these charges brought against Dr Singh and Mr Brassington would not stand the test in a court of law,but would only amount to another “witch hunt,” another futile attempt to besmirch the good name of these noble gentlemen. But, let me get back to my main discourse. Governments are given the mandate to manage the ship of state in a developmental way, and this is done by careful planning and meticulous execution of same. Experts Singh and Brassington are living testimony to those principles, the indelible evidence is shown in decades of sustainable growth for our country. To do otherwise runs against the grain of economic strategy and economic principles; that is: Governments must provide the framework for development to take place. That framework was exemplified in Dr Singh’s policy of “getting the best deals in the market,” as well as by “attracting” the Internationals to invest. This principle is the root cause for Sir Arthur Lewis earning The Nobel Prize for Economics. You must lay the groundwork or provide the climate for investment. Poor, oftentimes underdeveloped countries like Guyana have grave difficulty attracting foreign investment. It is a huge problem. No one would want to come to a country where the infrastructure is archaic and rundown, in certain cases non-existent; and where telecommunications, cable and Internet are still in the Stone Age. To attract these investors, there must be some incentive to attract them, affordable land is one of those incentives. Those of our tourist neighbours who are already entrenched in the multi-million tourist industry utilise that principle by granting tax holidays. It is normal, routine procedure for Governments to grant five, most often 10 years of tax holidays to large foreign companies to invest in the Caribbean. It marks progressive thinking and forward planning. Well, judging the book from the PNC’s SOCU’s and SARA’s Standards, this would be gross misconduct and fraud of state funds. The progressive Caribbean neighbours, on the other hand, would be laughing themselves to sleep to ascertain where the Guyanese are going with such retrograde thinking. Following the PNC’s line of reasoning, then we must investigate the establishment of all those housing schemes that were established under the PPP/C regime, examples are Sophia, La Parfaite Harmonie, Little Diamond, Cummings Lodge. All of these mega housing areas which provide housing for poor Guyanese were created from scratch, with lands which were acquired as a result of purchasing at undervalued market prices. Should we haul those poor land owners before the court to have their lands revalued and make them pay the state the true price? You see where I am going and how ridiculous these charges are? And to think of it, we are only talking about the purchase price for the landed property, what if we compute the price paid for the modernization of those areas, bringing them into habitable housing; the roads, water, electrification, drainage, telecommunication and the like? Here you get the real picture of how backward their misconduct charge is. There is a whole gamut of information, processes, facts and figures you would have to go through in order to ascertain misconduct, and I don’t think this Government, far less its Attorney General, who is extremely limited (and that is putting it mildly) can sensibly defend. Thus far, what the PNC have succeeded in doing is to bare their witch hunting abilities before a hapless, hopeless nation that they themselves have pauperized. This is done by a bunch of geriatrics who lack the brain as well as manpower to govern in a civilized manner. Their unintelligent and base posturing is becoming more and more intolerable, as their time to demit office draws near.Sincerely,Neil Adams
Dear Editor,I write in response to a letter to the Editor from the Chairman of the Gold Board, Gabriel (GHK) Lall (Kaieteur news – January 28, 2019). This remigrant with intellectual leanings is usually worth a read for style if not content. Unfortunately, now that his brown bag appointment and the accompanying perks are under threat, an unvarnished Lall emerges to bark for his political masters. Mindful of “Dem boys” advice of the same day, I am nevertheless risking ‘jail for a year’ in refuting Lall’s roll in the mud pit.GHK begins with suggestions that an Irfaan Ali Presidency would lead to a systematic reversal of the limited ethical and reputational gains. One would hope that there would be reversal of the reputation the Granger Administration has gained for Guyana for being “limited” as exposed in its negotiations with ExxonMobil; the inability of the Granger Cabinet to recognise that the “private approach” brought to them by David Patterson was illegal and very obviously unethical; that spending $327 million of taxpayers’ money to rent a house that cost $25 million (paid for with the rental deposit) was an exercise in barefaced corruption and cronyism.The list of mismanaged projects and corrupt transactions that have involved Granger and his Administration in three short years outstrips any other two-decade period in our nation’s history; in this alone APNU+AFC have excelled. Ironically in the same edition that contains Lall’s misgivings, there is a stern warning from Jan Mangal (former presidential advisor on oil and gas) that the Energy Department should not engage in one-on-one negotiations as “the data exists to prove that these negotiations are highly prone to corruption”.Editor, GHK Lall’s attempt to place the blame for sloth in Guyana’s passage and implementation of the Anti-Money Laundering legislation on the previous PPP/C Administration in an exercise to rewrite history; an Orwellian exercise better suited to the talents of our current Attorney General whom is versed in this practice and whom is already seated upon Rocinante and cloaked in an armor of imbecility. GHK Lall should note that Williams has no need for a Sancho Panza thus far, handling punishment meted out by his bête noir with equal measures of calm and delusion.Lall foolishly posits the argument that a “rotten bureaucracy” will return in defence of the super-sized hog feeding at the public trough, this sounder of swine created by tripling the number of Ministries and departments by David Granger and his team. The cost of Government is now in excess of $70 billion dollars a year.GHK Lall has the temerity to look up from the trough long enough to write about Irfaan Ali, who increased housing stock by 28,456 units, while managing the installation of 25 wells and 7 water treatment plants, increased access to treated water from 20 per cent of the population to over 50 per cent, in addition to his work to nurture the fledgling tourism sector.Irfaan Ali managed three Ministries; one Minister; one salary; measurable progress over a six-year period. Compare to Granger’s passel of incompetents who promise much, are paid higher salaries and delivered less than 1000 house lots in three and a half years.Editor, I will not dignify GHK Lall’s idiocy that hints of a communist hegemony as those cold war ideological arguments are as fossilised as the author. I would suggest David Granger that in future he not send a hog with his nose buried too deep in the trough to offer arguments on his behalf, for this one seems to be offended by his own stench, unbalanced mentally by his diet on rotting cabbage and is way out of depth rolling in the mud. Like the tiger in the aforementioned “Dem boys seh” I am now willing to serve my year in jail for debating with a jackass.Respectfully,Robin Singh
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), in collaboration with the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG), will host a three-day workshop to enhance decision-making skills among organisations.THAG Executive Director Treina Butts, former GCCI President Lance Hinds and new GCCI President Vishnu Doerga at the opening ceremony of the MfDR workshopThe workshop is being held at Cara Lodge, Georgetown, under the theme “Managing for Development Results (MfDR) for Business Support Organisations in Guyana”.MfDR is a management strategy that focuses on using performance information to improve decision-making. The MfDR strategy involves using practical tools for strategic planning, risk management, process monitoring, and outcome evaluation.Representatives from various local businesses and Business Support Organisations (BSOs) who are involved in coordinating and facilitating technical assistance to Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) are participating in the intensive three-day workshop.The sessions will see participants being trained in MfDR strategy that will empower local BSOs to improve their chances of garnering funding from international donors for developmental projects because MfDR tools are internationally recognised as the standard.In addition, the workshop will enable the participants to design quality proposals which will display a response to the needs and priorities of the community and key stakeholders. BSOs are being held accountable by international donors to demonstrate results, and they must prove that they are providing value for money.One of the facilitators will be Executive Director of THAG, Treina Butts, who had participated in a Training/Facilitator support workshop in Barbados last year.Speaking at the opening ceremony on Thursday, Butts said during the three-day session she will enlighten the participants on MfDR. She noted that MfDR goals were clear and measurable, limited in number and concrete with time-bound targets.“MfDR is more than a methodology, it is a way of thinking and acting built on practical toolbox for improved public management,” she stated.According to Butts, the MfDR cycle involves five core stages: setting goals and agreeing on targets and strategies, allocating the available resources to activities that will contribute to achievement of the desired results, monitoring and evaluating whether resources allocated are making the intended difference, reporting on performance to the public and feeding that information back into the decision-making process.Meanwhile, GCCI President Vishnu Doerga encouraged the participants to share the knowledge they gained from the workshop with their respective colleagues to spread MfDR practices.“The only way to know if you really understand something is to teach it. So I’d urge you to get back into your organisations and teach your colleagues the things you have learnt… It’s very frustrating to push organisations forward when nobody understands what you are talking about,” he stated.