The Public Infrastructure Ministry recently held a blood drive and mini health fair, which saw the donationMinister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry Annette Ferguson interacts with a member of staff during the recent blood driveof approximately 30 units of blood.This exercise was a collaborative effort with the Public Health Ministry’s National Blood Transfusion Services (NTBS).At this time of the year, the Blood Bank is short of all blood types, particularly O-Negative and O-Positive, and with this in mind the Public Infrastructure Ministry thought it fit to play its part by encouraging staff members to donate blood.The health fair also saw services, such as glucose, eye, blood pressure, and HIV testing, as well as, mental health and dental screenings being offered.Minister within the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Annette Ferguson, was present during the activity and stressed the importance of maintaining one’s health and its link to productivity. She further urged those in attendance to conduct more regular health check-ups and emphasised that “prevention is always better than cure”.
BY SHEMUEL FANFAIRAn international audit on aviation is expected to be conducted into the operations of the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCCA). Soon to be appointed Director General, Egbert Field, made this revelation at the welcoming ceremony of the inaugural flight of Fly AllWays airline at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport on Tuesday.His comments came on the heels that most air carriers operating out of Guyana are unable to land at airports in North America due to the lack of international Category One aviation status. On this note, Field told reporters that immediately upon him taking office, one of the priorities will be to raise the country’s level of compliance in line with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).“No airline that is registered and based in Guyana has the ability to go to airports North America because we are in Category Two,” he noted.It was explained that ICAO representatives will soon be in Guyana to carry out an assessment after which it is hoped that the country can move from a Category Two status to Category One.“After the audit, depending on our level of compliance, we may have some corrective actions to do but I can see us moving toward Category One [which] we will gain from the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority)… gaining Category One will allow airlines starting up and basing themselves in Guyana will have the opportunity to fly to North America,” the new GCAA Director noted.With his 40 years of experience in the aviation sector, including some 30 years as a Guyana Airways pilot and later a stint in Jamaica’s Aviation Authority, Field posited that this has made him suitable to lead the country’s aviation sector.“I’m a retired Colonel, also a captain… with over 30 years experience flying – over 18,000 hours, I know what I can do for this industry and we may have a return to Guyana Airways in the future,” Field expressed.The retired military officer shared the view that Guyana achieving the improved aviation status is especially timely since he believes that air traffic will increase once the oil sector takes off.Established in March 2002, The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority is guided by Civil Aviation Act (2000) which governs navigation, licensing and security regulations for air transport services in Guyana.
Science students from the University of Guyana (UG) and Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, United States (US) were exposed to a unique opportunity to learn about enhancing capacities to support the oil and gas sector.The participating students outside of the University of Guyana’s compoundThis exercise was funded by a grant from the ExxonMobil through President Barrack Obama’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas Programme. In mid-July, UG students travelled to Lubbock to attend classes at the university and conduct experiments in state-of-the-art laboratories.The students gained a general understanding of the petroleum exploration process, introductory knowledge of the value chain associated with exploration and production of hydrocarbons. They also gained experience with Petrel software suite and utility in viewing seismic and petrophysical data.Outside of class, they visited the picturesque Caprock Canyons State Park to witness firsthand some of the sedimentary wonders that fascinate geologists today.Meanwhile, from July 24 to August 3, Texas Tech students travelled to Guyana where they were joined by their UG classmates to listen directly to the Natural Resources Minister on the steps Guyana is taking to ensure that the country is prepared for the production of petroleum that is set to begin in the next five years.ExxonMobil geologist, Richard McKenzie also spoke to the group and expressed the corporation’s delight in sponsoring such a worthwhile experience for the students. He encouraged students to continue their studies in the sciences and to be a part of making a positive difference in their countries – both in Guyana and the United States.Students travelled to Linden to see the bauxite mining areas and were briefed by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Chief Executive Officer on the history of bauxite in Guyana. Texas Tech students and faculty also went to Kaieteur Falls to experience the power and majesty of one of Guyana’s most impressive natural wonders.US Ambassador Perry Holloway expressed his strong support for the programme and confirmed to Texas Tech Professors Gad Perry and Dustin Sweet, as well as UG Professor Calvin Bernard, the willingness of the US Government to help Guyana transition into an oil-producing nation.The goal of 100,000 Strong in the Americas Programme – President Obama’s signature education initiative in the Western Hemisphere – is to increase the number of US students studying in the Western Hemisphere to 100,000 and the number of Western Hemisphere students studying in the United States to 100,000 by the year 2020. The initiative is aimed at enhancing hemispheric competitiveness, increasing prosperity, and preparing a more globally competent workforce.
Poultry meat and egg production is expected to increase in Regions Seven (Cuyni-Mazaruni) and Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) through the Guyana Livestock Development Authority’s (GLDA) “Black Giant Poultry” initiative.According to the Government Information News Agency (GINA) on Saturday, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the GLDA, Dr Dwight Walrond explained that the purpose of the Black Giant Poultry is to foster growth in egg and poultry meat production in the hinterland communities “as a means of mitigating the difficulties associated with access to poultry as a source of protein” by utilising a resilient species of poultry known as the “Black Giant” in the outlying areas.“Because of the logistics in moving feedstuff into the hinterland areas, we thought it best to have a breed that is adaptable to thosePoultryconditions. The Black Giant can scavenge well in the yard system so we don’t need these commercial feeds for those birds and when we look at the amount of eggs they produce per year and the amount of meat from each bird, we think that that is the ideal bird to assist our hinterland communities,” Dr Walrond related to GINA.Dr Walrond also stated that this strategy will be implemented in other hinterland and coastland regions, utilising the authority’s resources in the future.“We would have to work with Deep South, South Rupununi and if you know how these communities operate, we have a lot of village flocks, school flocks, women’s group and working with each one of them and supplying breeding stock to each one would be key,” Dr Walrond explained.It was also highlighted that facilitation is being made to guarantee that an adequate number of birds will be available for distribution to the communities.A major role will also be played by GLDA’s hatchery in Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, in allowing the availability of hatchlings for the initiative.The GLDA official sees this project as a fruitful one in the future, “and I know, not only the hinterland communities will grab hold of that, but also some of the coastal communities because if you look at the cost of Creole eggs that’s a thriving business. On the coast now we have some farmers doing Creole eggs only,” Dr Walrond added.In accordance with the Ministry of Finance’s mid-year economic report, the country’s livestock industry grew by 0.8 per cent for the first half of 2016 compared to the corresponding period in 2015.The Black Giant Poultry initiative is expected to lead to greater productivity of chickens among livestock farmers, improve biosafety in the industry, as well as reduce the cost of protein sources for consumers in the hinterland.
Central Demerara Lions Club in collaboration with Central Georgetown Rotary Club and Humanitarian Assistance Programme (HAP) jointly donated over million in medical supplies, footwear and clothing to residents of Kuru Kururu, on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.Over 250 residents benefited from this medical outreach and warmly welcomed the initiative.The recipient of the wheelchair along with members of the medical outreachGuyana Times was told that eye screening was conducted on 110 persons that enabled 80 residents to be in receipt of eye glasses. A large quantity of clothing and over 250 pairs of footwear were donated to the people of Kuru Kururu.In addition, medical check-ups were done on the residents and medical care was given to over 200 residents.Over 250 residents received dental services, which included extraction and filling. Upon the group’s learning of a resident’s medical condition that required a wheel chair, such was donated to the elderly man.A medical bus was used to facilitate the dental services that featured a long line of persons waiting to access the service.The medical outreach featured a number of members from each of the charity groups. President Dwarka Singh from the Central Demerara Lions Club expressed gratitude of being able to undergo such a massive project and pledges to continue the work of charity. President Rajesh Seebaran of Central Georgetown Rotary Club and Mr Stephen of HAP, Director from the USA echoed similar sentiments.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) says it will be deploying a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to West Africa to coordinate the U.S. Government’s response to the Ebola outbreak.The outbreak has so far sickened more than 1,600 people, and nearly 900 have died from the disease.The team, according to a U.S Embassy statement issued yesterday in Monrovia, will comprise staff from Agency’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, who will be overseeing critical areas of the response.The response will include planning, operations, logistics in coordination with other federal agencies, among them the U.S. Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services.Members of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will also serve on the DART to lead on public health and medical response activities, the statement has confirmed.USAID has also announced an additional US$5 million in assistance to help ramp up the international community’s Ebola response efforts.Specifically, the statement said, the funding will go toward the expansion of Ebola outbreak programs, which the Agency is already supporting in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.Accordingly, these programs help trace people who may be infected with the disease, as well as provide health clinics and households with hygiene kits, soap, bleach, gloves, masks, and other supplies to help prevent the spread of disease.USAID is also supporting outreach campaigns to provide information on Ebola and its symptoms to the general public and health workers in affected countries that may not be familiar with the disease.The statement said that these messages are being conveyed through radio, text messages, and through local media.In addition to the new funding, USAID has provided US$2.1 million to the United Nations (UN), World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF) for the deployment of more than 30 technical experts, and other Ebola response efforts.The USAID is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid in response to President Obama’s pledge in his last year’s State of the Union Address to “join with our allies to eradicate extreme poverty, and other diseases in the next two decades.”It has adopted as its mission statement “to partner to end extreme poverty and to promote resilient, democratic societies, while advancing the security and prosperity of the United States.President John F. Kennedy, in whose memory Liberia’s major referral hospital, the JFK Medical Center, is named, created USAID in 1961 by executive order to implement development assistance programs in the areas authorized by the Congress in the Foreign Assistance Act. America’s development assistance before 1961 was channeled through the International Cooperation Administration (ICA).Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
In support of the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in the Mano River Union basin, the Government of the People’s Republic of China Monday, August 11, donated US$1.7 million worth of assorted anti-Ebola materials to help support the efforts of the Government and people of Liberia.Speaking Monday at the handing over ceremony held at the Roberts International Airport in Margibi County, the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Yue Zhang, said Liberia and China are one community and the government of China will continue to be a partner to Liberia.“The government of China is donating drugs, personal protective equipment, thermometer guns and sanitizers among others, to help support the Government of Liberia efforts in combating the deadly Ebola virus from Liberia.”According to the Ambassador, the Chinese government is providing US$5 million worth of assorted materials to the Mano River Union MRU nations of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, to help contain the epidemic.He further disclosed that, in addition to supporting the fight against the deadly Ebola virus, the Government of China is sending three health experts to help provide the basic expertise and the training of local health workers on the uses of the donated assorted materials.“They are coming to help the health workers in Liberia, because some of the products are made in China and so, they need to advise the health practitioners on how to use those things as well as other necessary support that will kick the epidemic from Liberia,” Mr. Zhang said. The Chinese Ambassador said, the drugs provided to the Government of Liberia to combat the deadly Ebola virus will help to suppress the epidemic and those affected by the virus. “The equipment donated to Liberia is valued US$1.7 million in addition to donation we provided to the fight against the deadly Ebola virus,” the Ambassador disclosed. “The Government of China also provided a special cargo jet to deliver these assorted materials to the three countries and on time.”Asked whether the Chinese government had plans to evacuate its citizens from Liberia due to the epidemic, Amb. Zhang said his government is not advising its citizens to leave Liberia, rather he urged them to follow the advice given by Liberian health authorities, including hand-washing, avoidance of bodily contact and reporting of suspected cases, among others, for the safety of those in Liberia.According to the ambassador, China and Liberia, as well as the rest of Africa are one common community with the mind of holding each other, especially during such an emergency, adding that in 2010, the African countries were equally there for China.Receiving the assorted materials among others on behalf of the Government of Liberia, acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sylvester Grigsby, expressed thanks and appreciation to the Government of the People’s Republic of China, describing it as timely in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus.Mr. Grigsby said the assorted materials donated will help the government contain the epidemic in Liberia and ensure that more lives can be saved in the process.“This will enhance the government’s efforts in supporting the fight against the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia. We are very happy as it will help us reach the various counties and fight the virus.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
To ensure organizational efficiency and effectiveness, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has endorsed the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) Board’s approved Sustainability Action Plan (SAP) aimed at ensuring the viability of the entity so that it continues to pursue its mission to develop Liberia’s hydrocarbon resources.She said the board’s action plan calls for drastic steps to control costs and put NOCAL on a more viable financial footing, adding that these would include significant staff cuts, a reconstitution of the board and retirement and replacement of the senior executive leadership.Madam Sirleaf made this announcement during a press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held in Monrovia Tuesday.“I have mandated these steps because they are necessary to ensure that NOCAL can perform its duty to manage and develop Liberia’s oil resources, and to rectify recent mistakes in its performance,” she said.She recalled that the caliber of companies that were attracted to Liberia’s acreage to pursue exploration activities was also high, with major exploration deals struck between NOCAL and the world’s top oil companies, Chevron and Exxon Mobil, as well as the largest signature bonus of US$50 million ever for a “Frontier” country such as Liberia.President Sirleaf underscored that the execution of the production sharing contracts (PSCs) with these super major and other reputable international oil companies also resulted in significant interest in Liberia’s hydrocarbon sector with record licensing of seismic data and related revenue. She also noted that during this period, average revenue generated was US$30.5 million, compared to average annual revenue of US$4.5 million in prior years.This, according to her, translated into US$10.6 million annual payments to the Government’s Consolidated Fund.The average annual revenue for the sale of seismic data/component for the period 2010–2013, was US$15.6 million; a 300 % increase when compared to annual seismic revenue generated for earlier periods, she indicated.Madam Sirleaf also said that it was regrettable, commencing in the fourth quarter of 2013, NOCAL’s revenue for seismic data sale began a precipitous decline, during which total seismic revenue fell by 29 percent from the prior fiscal year and was compounded by the Ebola virus disease of 2014 that led to a reduction in investor interest across all economic sectors for the impacted West African region.“There is no doubt that the current oil price collapse and other external factors, including our recent Ebola challenge contributed to the current financial crisis that the company is facing,” She noted.She further intimated that despite the obvious decline in revenue that began in late 2013, NOCAL continued hiring staff at an alarming rate with exorbitant benefits resulting in the current wage bill of over US$7 million per annum.”She however emphasized that the alarming situation at NOCAL prompted her action to instruct NOCAL’s Board of Directors to take immediate action to ensure that the institution is restructured as well as to ensure most prudent handling of the country’s financial resources taking into account the Board’s Sustainability Action Plan.Meanwhile, President Sirleaf said the administrative actions became prudently compelling and a few members of the board will continue until an interim board is reconstituted.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Counselor Charles Walker Brumskine became politically prominent when he contested the first post-war elections in 2005 but lost to Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.Posing himself at the time as a “Man of God” to get Christians and their sympathizers on his side, Cllr. Brumskine, however, dropped by the wayside not even in the second, but the third place. Still hoping to ascend to the country’s highest seat, the Liberian lawyer and politician decided to contest the 2011 elections despite the overwhelming weight of President Sirleaf, George Weah of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) and Prince Y. Johnson of the party in disarray – National Union for Democratic Progress (NUDP) dominated by Gio and Mano people.Interestingly that year (2011), Cllr. Brumskine had an interview with the Daily Observer in which he promised, “If Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wins this election, I will surely resign from politics.” With God on his side, Cllr. Brumskine fell from third place in 2005 to fourth in 2011, and he publicly resigned in accordance with his promise after that election in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf won.Describing himself earlier as a “Man of God,” many Liberians held him to his word, believing that he would uphold the Judeo-Christian ethics of honesty and consistency. To my dismay and that of many others, the “Man of God,” lawyer and politician has overturned his decision again and is gearing up for 2017.When I heard about his ambition for the presidency a few months ago, I thought that Liberty Party was not capable of putting forward any political leader besides Cllr. Brumskine. When I inquired from some partisans, they told me, “A wise man changes and Brumskine’s word is not the Bible.”If this is the philosophy that the “Man of God” and his partisans are holding on to, then, what belief can we have in them? To look at the issue, the Bible that Cllr. Brumskine and most of his political followers believe says in the book of James 1:8, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”Liberians, like people of feeble nations, are tired of hearing political rhetoric but are seeking for a leader who will inspire a spirit of patriotism in them. The Liberian lawyer, “Man of God” and politician, knowing that he had been in the game and would still surface in the field where the incumbent’s manipulation would be less, should have withheld his emotion and refrained from making such a public statement that he would withdraw from politics.Proverbs 13:3 says, “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life, but he that openeth his lips shall have destruction.” Liberians have known their politicians to be deceptive people with sweet words, but at the end when they obtain power, they become the bitterest fountain. They grab the country’s resources for their families, and leave the people deprived of their needs.With such inconsistency, there is no doubt that Cllr. Brumskine would be the same as other politicians, who promise constituents and the entire country, but fail to deliver the goods and become a thorn in their flesh.To remind the “Man of God” and politician about another danger, let us see other verses in the Bible. Proverbs 12:22 says “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.”Furthermore, Proverbs 13:5 says, “A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.” I know the conjunction ending this verse makes no impact on the “Man of God” having diverted from consistency to inconsistency; however, he should be aware that by his confession and decision, Liberians hold him now as a deceptive politician.In addition to his inconsistency, you will also recall that in 2011 during the day of the launch of voter’s registration in Liberia, Cllr. Brumskine went to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County to register.There he told the people of the county, “Bassa people, if you want development, elect a Bassa man and vote the Liberty Party. This is the only way you will get development in this county.”I do not know how fluent Cllr. Brumskine is in the Bassa language or how accustomed he is to its culture, but from time to time, he has been tribally sentimental and divisive in his politics.He was again recently heard urging the Bassa and a portion of the Kpelle people in Margibi to join Grand Bassa to produce the next President of Liberia. How sure can the Bassa people be that Cllr. Brumskine would deliver to them, considering his first confession to Christians of being a man of God and by making a u-turn?His statement simply indicates that getting power through the Liberian people’s votes would only yield into tribal divide and the long existing sectionalism that has torn this country apart.Cllr. Brumskine should know by now that Liberians are gradually becoming mature in the political game, unlike the past when many of them were swayed by a few bags of rice and dollars.He should know that even those who have failed to deliver at the level of the Legislature will all be retired in 2017 and 2020. To publicly say something and then later change your mind demonstrates a sort of inconsistency that goes to prove, as you may have realized, the reason for your declining popularity among Liberians.Until you set your record straight, Cllr. Brumskine, Liberians still hold you by your word and decision, and you must respect consistency in your word to them.About the authorJoaquin Sendolo is a senior student studying Mass Communication at the University of Liberia. He earned his first Bachelor’s degree in Management and attended several workshops and seminars both in Liberia and abroad. He has also covered key international events including the 49th annual meetings of the African Development Bank in Kigali, Rwanda and the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. He participated in reporting tours both in the United States and China (PRC). He now serves as a diplomatic and business correspondent for the Daily Observer and can be reached at 0886838535/0777463853. Email: email@example.com. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Three major committees of the Senate have made several recommendations to plenary on the state of affairs at the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), among them, appropriate action against all employees, senior management and Board members who have betrayed the public trust.The recommendations were contained in a report dated August 17, and was submitted to plenary yesterday by the Committees on Lands, Mines, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment; Committee on Public Corporations, and the Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget.In their 12-page report, the committees, among other things, recommended that appropriate action be taken against all employees, senior management and Board members who have betrayed the public trust; but however, recommended that all those who have been severed receive their just benefits in accordance with the Law of Liberia.The report comes in the wake of mounting concerns that the company is facing financial difficulties, and that some of the major oil companies were pulling out of petroleum acreages.At the same time, the committees are recommending that the General Auditing Commission (GAC) conduct a forensic auditing of NOCAL for unaudited periods.Considering that Liberia is still a frontier area in terms of oil exploration, the committees recommended the development of an aggressive program, both to retain companies in the program and to attract others in the face of competition from other countries some of whom have found or are producing oil.In view of this, the committees are suggesting that the current management structure of NOCAL be reviewed, eliminating the many vice presidents and other senior management position. They further recommend that the total employment level of NOCAL be reduced significantly to the bare bone minimum, and that priority for retained employees should be given to technical fields such as geology and engineering, since they are the most needed at this stage of the oil program.The committees outlined several cardinal factors they believe are responsible for NOCAL’s current predicament, among them a huge payroll to accommodate an-over-bloated staff and a plethora of vice presidents and other senior management positions, coupled with an unrealistic corporate social responsibility program.Other areas reported on in the committees’ document showed that NOCAL was carrying on “an overly ambitious local and foreign scholarship program without due attention to priorities as a frontier country; very expensive, very frequent and often very unnecessary foreign travels, donations in millions of US Dollars to government agencies for extra-budgetary expenditure, and general spending spree as if Liberia were an oil-producing country.”The report revealed that the companies which pulled out of their petroleum acreages generally completed their work programs without finding oil, and said the drop in the price of oil also served as a disincentive for the companies to remain in Liberia due to competing demands on their global operational and exploration budgets. “An aggressive and innovative strategy is required to keep the Liberian oil program active,” the committees concluded.In the debate that followed after the presentation, several Senators agreed that NOCAL be audited, especially from the stage when oil blocks were awarded to companies.However, a greater number of Senators refused to buy the recommendations that severance payments be made to individuals considered for such, and that the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning assists NOCAL financially when such demand is made.Others argued that some of those receiving severance benefits were the same ones who led the company to its downfall, and that it would make no sense paying for their administrative ineptitude.Several recommendations were then made and plenary voted to send the report back to the committees for a final report, and that the report be submitted to the leadership of the senate for onward submission to the Executive for action. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)