Category Archives: atrgn

Security Tension Eases at Ganta Border

first_imgSecurity aides operating at the Ganta Border, known as action aide or “AAs” have been expelled from the operation at the border in order to create free movement of business people and other travelers, Nimba County Attorney had said.The action came after several complaints from business people and other commuters about some sorts of security harassment and intimidation they experience at the hands of those claimed to be security agents at the border.The County Attorney of Nimba, Cllr. Hector Quaibiah, told this paper that because of harassment of business people by these men and women operating under the cloak of authority, the movement of businesses had stalled, leaving the government to lose lots of revenue in this recent time.“Besides the Bureau of Immigration and Neutralization (BIN), the Liberia National Police (LNP) and all other security officers at the border were having an action aide/AA,” he said.“We asked all the “AA” to leave the border immediately without any delay and they have left,” he added.Councilor Quiabiah reiterated that those action aides (who are known as “AAs”) were involved in harassing business people and ordinary travelers, diverting of vehicle or crossing with commercial vehicles without going through proper inspection among others.“Some of these AAs were also involved into fighting the bona fide employees at the border,” he noted.Ganta Border security corridor is, at present, home to all of the ministries and all of the security apparatuses raging from the National Security Agency, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Justice (which include LNP, BIN), Finance (Custom, Revenue), Ministry of Transport, MOH, the Ministry of Commerce, Agriculture and the offices of the ECOWAS Brown Card.Business people and travelers are compelled to pass through these offices while entering or leaving the country. In all of the offices, they (business people) have to pay some money thus posing hardship in terms of spending.In 2009, the Ganta port of entry was rated 4th in terms of revenue collection in Liberia according to the Finance Ministry.Unconfirmed report reaching this paper suggests that some of the expelled action aides or ‘AAs’ were in possession of ID cards from the agencies they represent. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Is the Liberia National Police Truly a Force for Good?

first_imgDuring the Liberian civil war, there was a complete breakdown in law and order as all courts of law in the country had ceased to function. In the aftermath of the civil war, the international community provided assistance through the United Nations Military Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) for the retraining and restructuring of the country’s security apparatus including the Liberia National Police (LNP).As the conduct of the nation’s security forces was considered key to post-war governance, the country’s international partners including the United States, Sweden, France, China, Nigeria, etc. ploughed in material, human and financial resources to help rebuild the Liberia National Police Force and restore its image as a “force for good”.And this was to be accomplished as part of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) efforts undertaken by the new government. But the task of rebuilding the country’s security forces was by no means an easy undertaking given the lack of resources required and given the level of polarization in the country which implied that many would be Police recruits had a history of involvement in the Liberian civil war as armed fighters.European countries including France, Sweden, Ireland and others were instrumental in supporting the LNP with logistics and training to enable it perform better. Officers of the LNP have since attended training programs in Nigeria, the United States and elsewhere aimed at enhancing better performance and improving ethical behavior.But despite the reforms and re-training exercises and programs, the tangible benefits that such training should have delivered appears negligible in view of persistent reports of Police misconduct including bribery and the illegal and excessive use of force. Resultantly, civilians have continued to remain victims of police actions contrary to its motto, “SERVE AND PROTECT.”According to research conducted by Search for Common Ground, the Liberia National Police (LNP) is on record in various human rights reports most notably US State Department Human Rights Reports for unethical practices including bribery and brutality. We acknowledge that the Police and allied units in the security sector receive low salaries, benefits and incentives.But in terms of logistical support, the LNP is said to be the largest recipient of vehicles among the various security units including the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) and the Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA). And the public finds it unnerving that, a lot of these vehicles have been damaged due to reckless driving as evidenced by scores of dysfunctional vehicles parked at the Police headquarters and other Police depots and garages across Liberia.But more than this, Police brutality has remained a recurring theme in public discourse especially since the return to constitutional governance in 1999 and thereafter including up to present. On Wednesday, June 27, for example, protest action in Kebbah, Barnesville, triggered by what residents claimed was reckless driving by vehicles and motorcycles plying the route connecting Dixville and Caldwell to Barnesville that resulted in the unfortunate accident in which two individuals lost their lives and several got wounded in a head-on collision between a truck and a motorcycle .Police called in to restore calm to an agitated crowd, which Police reports said was on the brink of mob action, opened fire on the crowd with live ammunition that wounded a female passer-by in the neck. The woman is reportedly undergoing treatment at a local clinic. The Police, through its spokesperson, H. Moses Carter, has however denied opening fire on the crowd despite numerous eyewitness accounts affirming that the Police did indeed open live fire on the restive crowd.And this has led many in the Public to believe that Police accounts of the incident are a mere cover-up intended to assuage public anger and counter an increasingly negative public perception of the Police. There are, however, a number of examples this newspaper can cite pointing to police brutality and the use of excessive lethal force:In May this year, Officer Roosevelt Demey shot to death a motorcyclist and also shot himself in the hand ostensibly as a cover-up attempt. In 2011, we recall officers of the Liberia National Police brutalizing students who were protesting the absence of their teachers in classes due to dissatisfaction over their lack of pay and incentives.An investigation conducted by a committee headed by Sister Mary Laurene Brown laid blame at the feet of the Police. Also in 2011 there was a clash between Police and protesting members of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) in which one person was reportedly killed but police denied responsibility for the death of the victim.Video recordings of that incident clearly showed Nigerian UNMIL officers struggling to restrain a trigger-happy Police officer from firing into the crowd. We acknowledge Martin K.N. Kollie for providing the public statistics of police brutality he recorded from 2006 to present. Here are a few he highlighted:On September 20, 2006, two lawmakers were assaulted by LNP officers in two separate incidents; one at a checkpoint and another in a courthouse. LNP Inspector General, Beatrice Munah Sieh apologized for this.In March 2006, four LNP officers were suspended for assaulting a journalist. On June 19, 2007, LNP officers beat four journalists covering a student demonstration in support of faculty demands for payment of salary arrears at the University of Liberia.On March 13, 2006, a deputy director of police was dismissed for stealing US$4,000 worth of gasoline coupons. In other instances commercial drivers have repeatedly complained of Police harassment along the highway at various checkpoints, especially during public holidays such as Christmas and Independence Day.These instances and many more have raised questions about the efficacy of the SSR process which was intended to produce an efficient, credible, trustworthy, disciplined and reliable Police Force. They have also raised questions about Police recruitment and vetting processes which has apparently allowed so many bad apples to seep through the cracks.Further, the Police should discourage the use of lethal ammunition to quell civil disturbances which is alarmingly disturbing and which must be nipped in the bud. Police authorities should always remain mindful of the fact that the use of such brutal tactics against civilians can only serve to undermine public trust and invite resistance whether random, spontaneous or organized. And that will spell doom for the peace and stability which eluded us for close to a generation.Although Presidential Press Secretary, Sam Mannah had said that the President does not need a strategy to lead the country, we are urging the government to design a strategy that will enhance the ability of the Police to effectively and efficiently perform and, above all, regain public trust.Without this, we fear that mob justice will become an appealing option citizens may resort to in order to satisfy their need for justice. And that is a potentially ominous development that may consequently lead to general insecurity and instability.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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First female elected GPA president

first_imgA group of journalists and media practitioners from across Guyana met on Sunday at the National Racquet Centre for the much anticipated and long overdue Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Guyana Press Association (GPA), and elections of office bearers were held.Nazima Raghubir has been elected the first female president of this local press body. The lone contender for the position, Raghubir managed to get enough votes to secure that post.Zoisa Fraser of Stabroek News was elected Vice President, while Newsroom’sNazima Raghubir (centre) and the newly-elected GPA executiveFareeza Haniff was elected treasurer, and Royden James of HGP Nightly News was elected Assistant Secretary/Treasurer.Committee Members elected are: Ariana Gordon, Svetlana Marshall and Rawle Toney of the Guyana Chronicle; and veteran journalist and Demerara Waves Editor, Denis Chabrol.On Saturday, Raghubir, who works as an anchor and journalist for Prime News, said in an email that she decided to run for the leadership of the GPA after some deliberations.“I feel that with the collective support of GPA’s membership I can lead an association that represents all media workers over the next two years,” she said.She has been a member of the media and GPA for more than a decade, and a member of the executive committee of the Association of Caribbean MediaNewly elected GPA President, Nazima RaghubirWorkers (ACM) over the last two years.According to Raghubir, her approach to strengthening the GPA will be based on collective action. “The GPA is as strong as its members, and I would encourage members to support the Association, not only at the upcoming elections, but beyond,” she explained.She believes that the leadership of GPA must focus on building a strong and financially sustainable organization, with a broadened mandate to execute projects based on the skills of its membership and allies, and must be able to widen the membership base of the organisation while maintaining its integrity as an association of journalists and media workers operating on traditional and new media platforms.As president of the organization, she also plans to strengthen relations with regional and international organisations interested in media development in Guyana, and in press freedom issues.“Building capacity in our ability to respond to crises when they arise, and develop protocols to guide the leadership and members… Developing greater solidarity across the borders of commercial competition through joint projects and activities that promote greater cohesion,” she has committed to delivering.Raghubir also hopes that, with the help of her executive, she would be able to achieve a pathway for the communicating of concerns over the coverage of state institutions. Plans will also be made to review and revise the Constitution of the GPA, to take into account the changing realities of media in Guyana.And a public communication strategy and plan to promote informed opinion on the work and functions of the organisation would also be developed. In addition to that, the new GPA president said, she would work towards strengthening existing relations with the international diplomatic community resident in Guyana, with particular reference to their interest in media development.Raghubir was endorsed by outgoing President of the GPA, Neil Marks, who said in a social media post on Sunday that he enjoyed a very successful tenure as President, but would not be seeking re-election.“I wish to wholeheartedly support Nazima Raghubir’s candidacy for the Presidency. She is fiercely independent, incredibly efficient, and an absolutely tireless worker. The mandate of the GPA would be well served with her lead,” he stated.last_img read more

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No proper accountability for pension books – forensic audit finds

first_imgThe forensic audit into the Old Age Pension (OAP) has revealed that the Ministry of Social Protection (formerly Human Services and Social Security) has no proper accountability for the distribution process of pension books.This was the finding of auditor Leslie Veerasammy of Nizam Ali and Company. The audit covered the period January 1, 2015 to May 31, 2015.During the probe, Veeersammy said it was found that “There was no proper accountability for the 50,500 OAP books printed for 2015 as a reconciliation is not maintained between books printed versus books used.”It was noted that the total amount of eligible pensioners as recorded in the pension database was 45,262 at the beginning of 2015 during January 1, 2015 to May 31, 2015 and there were a 2301 additions and 587 removals. Therefore, the total amount of eligible pensioners as per the database at May 31, 2015 was 46,976.Additionally, it was stated that of the 50,500 OAP books printed for last year, only 500 were recorded on stock as undistributed. According to the auditor, the ministry could not provide a reconciliation of the actual books printed against those distributed for the years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015; nevertheless, the auditors carried out an independent reconciliation for 2015 based on available data and found overall that there is a variance in the numbers of books based on data when compared to figures based on the average number of pensioners.He disclosed that at the beginning of the audit, they were provided with two incorrect lists showing total eligible pensioners of 64,001 and 51,915 respectively; however, a revised list was provided to six weeks later with 46,976 pensioners.“We noted that the department is not capable of retrieving an accurate list of eligible pensioners on a real-time basis. Further, it was noted that the OAP database as at May 31, 2015 contained 46,976 pensioners, however, the average number of pensioners that have encashed their coupons amounts to approximately 42,744. Pursuant to the above, there is an urgent need to have the information on the database sanitised to accurately reflect the list of eligible pensioners,” the report detailed.Veerasammy further noted that the distribution of OAP books initially to the social workers is based on the distribution lists for the various districts and the distribution list is obtained from the pension database. To the extent that books are issued to social workers and not actually distributed to pensioners, these (unissued) books should be returned to the stores, he stated.Furthermore, the auditor pointed out that based on the number of vouchers enchased, it is likely that all pension books given to social workers for distribution were not actually distributed and there is no evidence that the unused books were returned.“In the absence of a system to ensure that all OAP books are properly accounted for, we are unable to assess the extent to which OAP books printed were legitimately distributed and whether unused books were returned to the stores,” he stated.In this regard, the auditor recommended that the ministry provide a detailed reconciliation of all OAP books for 2015 and the following details should be included: the number of books printed, number of books issued to social workers, number of books returned by social workers, damaged books, and number of books on hand.He also made a recommendation for a monthly reconciliation to be done. “As part of this reconciliation process, there should be monthly counts of the quantity of OAP books on hand done by the Internal Audit Department,” he added.Moreover, during the investigation, it was found that some 27 instances were found where persons collecting the pension books were not the eligible pensioners. The auditor stated that attempts were made to confirm the existence of these persons by contacting them but were unsuccessful.“No evidence exists to support the existence of these persons…The Ministry should desist from issuing OAP books to persons other than eligible pensioners,” the auditor recommended, while adding that the ministry should also provide evidence that these persons are legitimate pensioners.Furthermore, the probe highlighted instances where pension books are distributed in hinterland areas through the Tashaos or Village Councillors, hence there is no need for pensioners to sign the prescribed distribution sheet when uplifting their books. This, Veerasammy explained, opens room for misconduct.“The pension vouchers may be encashed by the Toshaos or Village Councilors… There is no system in place to ensure that pensioners in these areas are alive. This may result in the distribution of OAP books to non- existent persons,” he stated.The auditor noted that the ministry has indicated that due to the remoteness of the hinterland regions, accessibility to those beneficiaries is difficult and very costly. To facilitate the process of timely distribution, Village Councillors and Toshaos are solicited.“These persons, by virtue of their office and status, are legally and culturally responsible for the welfare and wellbeing of the people they serve. By this token therefore they are entrusted with the delivery of the pension booklets to intended beneficiaries. This system has proven to be very cost effective and efficient,” the ministry had justified.Nevertheless, Veerasammy made a recommendation for the ministry to develop a policy whereby a social worker accompanies the Toshaos for distribution of OAPs to pensioners in these communities.Additionally, he suggested that a detailed census be conducted in order to determine whether persons living in the hinterland area are alive and eligible for pension.last_img read more

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School buses cancelled in Dawson for Jan 28

first_imgSchool buses in Dawson Creek have been cancelled for Friday Jan 28.Buses have been cancelled this morning due to visibility issues. The Parkhill/Tremblay shuttle will run.Chetwynd and Fort St. Jonn buses are running on schedule this morning.- Advertisement –last_img

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Rice tells Iraqi leaders of American doubts over war

first_imgBAGHDAD, Iraq – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Iraqi government leaders Saturday that the contentious debate in Washington over President George W. Bush’s war strategy reflects U.S. doubts that democracy will prevail over violence. “Some of the debate in Washington is in fact indicative of the concerns that some of the American people have … if the Iraqi government doesn’t do what it has said it will do,” Rice said she told leaders from all of Iraq’s factions. Rice made an unannounced visit to Baghdad as the U.S. Senate deadlocked on whether to repeat a symbolic rebuke that the U.S. House handed Bush on Friday when it opposed the administration’s deployment of additional combat troops to Iraq. Although Rice used her visit to publicly praise the Iraqi government’s role in a new security crackdown in Baghdad, an Iraqi official said she was more critical in private. Rice told Iraqi leaders that the Baghdad security operation needs to “rise above sectarianism” and noted that no U.S. or Iraqi forces have yet moved into the capital’s major Shiite militia stronghold, the Iraqi official said. The official said Rice told Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that the initial stage of the crackdown, which began Wednesday, appeared to focus on Sunni areas and had left Sadr City, stronghold of the Mahdi Army militia, nearly untouched. The official spoke on condition of anonymity. He said Rice stopped short of accusing the Iraqis of displaying pro-Shiite bias in the operation and said it appeared that the crackdown was going well. Stakes are high for the plan to bring down violence in Baghdad, both to encourage Iraqis to trust their government and police and to demonstrate progress to an American public increasingly fed up with the war. Bush’s approval rating stands at 32 percent, tied for his lowest standing in Associated Press- Ipsos polling, and most people in the United States find fault with his handling of the nearly four-year-old Iraq war. “The United States is investing a great deal, most especially the lives of our men and women in uniform, and the American people want to see results and aren’t prepared to wait forever to see those results,” Rice told reporters. Although reports from the first day or two of the operation placed Iraqi force participation at 45 percent to 55 percent of full strength, Rice said commanders have told her that Iraqi participation is now as high as 85 percent to 90 percent. She said the Iraqi government is meeting a test she had set for its commitment to the plan by ensuring that the rules of engagement for the joint forces are equitable and nonsectarian.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Anyone for Buffon? Juventus legend reveals Premier League dream

first_img1 Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon has revealed he would love to play in the Premier League one day.The goalkeeper has spent his whole career in Italy, amassing 559 appearances in Serie A to date and winning six league titles.The 37-year-old has been the undisputed No.1 at Juventus since joining them from Parma in 2001 for over £30m.He is still going strong in Turin but has hinted that he would be keen on a spell in England before hanging up his gloves.“I would have loved to have played in the Premier League,” Buffon told Marca.“I have spent 10 years at Parma, 15 at Juventus and I think I still have around two and a half years left at the top. There still may be an opportunity.” Gianluigi Buffon last_img

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Bay Area protest decries Roe v. Wade ruling

first_img Archpriest Michael Regan of St. Michael’s Orthodox Church in Concord, Calif., who attended the main march, said it is important to show that public opinion on abortion is mixed even in the liberal San Francisco Bay area. “You do get the impression that there isn’t anyone here for the right to life, but look around,” he said, pointing to a large crowd gathered to hear speeches by abortion opponents. Elsewhere in California on Saturday, Cardinal Roger Mahony was set to preside at an annual “Respect Life” Mass in Los Angeles, while Planned Parenthood was set to hold a candlelight vigil in Dolores Park in San Francisco. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SAN FRANCISCO – Thousands of abortion opponents carrying rosaries, baby pictures and artwork of the Virgin Mary marched Saturday to protest the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Shouldering signs with slogans such as “Peace Begins in the Womb” and “Women Deserve Better Than Abortion,” the marchers were met on their downtown route by abortion-rights supporters holding clothes hangers and shouting “Bigots, go home.” Police lined the streets to keep the competing protesters away from each other. “We’re here to stand up for the babies that don’t have a voice,” said college student Laura Arnold, 20, of Pleasanton, who marched with her mother. “I know so many girls who did it (abortion) and they are hurting every day of their life.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card The Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe vs. Wade on Jan. 22, 1973, and abortion has been legal in the United States ever since. But efforts to restrict or outlaw the procedure have been just as enduring; 34 states have passed laws requiring parents either to be notified or to give consent when their underage daughters seek abortions. “Abortion rights have been slowly whittled away while we haven’t even been looking,” said Kitty Striker, 22, who decorated her hair with small coat hanger replicas for Saturday’s counter-protest. “That’s what’s so shocking and so scary to me.” Many abortion opponents said they were heartened by the nomination of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Alito was picked by President Bush as the replacement for retiring moderate Sandra Day O’Connor, who usually cast the swing vote on abortion during her career. At his recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Alito refused to agree with assertions by Democrats that Roe v. Wade is “settled law,” angering many abortion-rights activists. “It’s a crucial time,” abortion-rights supporter Carol Norris, 43, said during Saturday’s counter-protest in San Francisco. “We have Alito poised to be on the Supreme Court, and he’s clearly an anti-choice person.” last_img read more

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Red Wings draft pick gets second chance with Sharks

first_imgSAN JOSE — Zach Gallant may have entered the Sharks’ development camp last week on a tryout basis. But he definitely made his presence felt, particularly in the waning moments of the prospects’ scrimmage at SAP Center.Right at the end of the game, before a few thousand fans in attendance, Gallant, 20, got into a brief, but spirited fight — a rare event in those type of exhibitions — with fellow forward Lean Bergmann. Gallant wound up on top of Bergmann, 20, of Germany, and connected with a …last_img

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How to Survive This Election Season Online

first_imgThis year’s election, like all those that have come before, is going to be contentious. Many of the people you know and care about are going to get caught up in the fervor. Many overzealous folks are going to do battle online, sharing content and arguing in the comments sections of what is shared.Most political posts you see will not be in support of a candidate. Instead, they will generally be an attack on the candidate the person posting opposes. The posts will be entertaining, they will be angry, and some of them will even be true.You, however, do not have to allow yourself to get caught up in all of this. You can do better. Here are 6 reasons not to get political on social media during this election cycle, and 3 occasions when you should.There is no way that you are changing anyone’s mind with a post. Just like no one else’s social media posts have ever changed your mind. You have the right to express yourself however you choose, but you have better and more valuable contributions to make.You are suggesting that more than half of the people you know are unintelligent or bad people for holding political beliefs that are different from yours. Many of these same people feel the same way about you because of your politics. Neither of you are correct. It’s never healthy to assume bad intentions.Much of what you share is divisive, and it alienates your friends, family, and community members. Politicians have long known how to intentionally divide people in order to shore up their own support and win elections. They don’t need your help dividing us from one another; they’re already doing enough damage without your help.The social channels can help you get a job. Or they can prevent you from getting one. Maybe you would never want to work for a “Republican,” “Democrat,” or “Libertarian,” anyway. But there is no way that your political posts are going to make a good impression. You have much more to offer.You are leaving the largest wake of negativity and angry screeds behind you so that when anyone should happen upon your social media presence you may look small, petty, angry, and immature. For what value do you really want to be known? Snark isn’t a value; it’s just attention.Most politicians would have you believe that they are working hard for things that you believe your government should do, and I am sure there are many who are trying. But there are just as many people outside of government who are doing even more to improve lives, including religious organizations, community organizations, all sorts of charities, and entrepreneurs (read: small businesspersons) who could use your attention and support.The best way to survive this political season online is to avoid engaging in the negative back and forth on the social channels. There are, however, a few good reasons to publish political posts.You are a political candidate running for office with a positive message.You work for a political candidate or someone who is running for office, and you want to share their positive message.You have something to say in support of a candidate you are supporting for political office during in election cycle.The best way for you to have an impact on any election is to vote. That is the only thing you can do that will be counted. You gain nothing by being negative. Get the Free eBook! Learn how to sell without a sales manager. Download my free eBook! You need to make sales. You need help now. We’ve got you covered. This eBook will help you Seize Your Sales Destiny, with or without a manager. Download Nowlast_img read more

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