By Robtel Neajai PaileyWhen President George Weah announced in his inaugural address to the legislature last month that he would actively advocate for the passage of a contested dual citizenship bill and the removal of a so-called “racist” Negro clause from Liberia’s Constitution, I was bombarded with calls and e-mails.At the time I was attending the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, so felt naturally distracted. Instead of reacting immediately, I read with interest the avalanche of responses either supporting or rejecting President Weah’s statements—from Liberians at home and those further afield in diasporic hotspots.Just as I’d expected, however, most of the retorts were based on sentiments, rather than evidence. They echoed the anxieties and aspirations of the 200+ Liberians I had interviewed from 2012 to 2013 in Monrovia, Accra, Freetown, DC, and London while collecting data for my PhD thesis—a transnational study of constructions and practices of Liberian citizenship across space and time and their myriad implications for development.Completed in 2014, my thesis is the first comprehensive scholarly investigation of the promise and peril of dual citizenship for Liberia, based on fieldwork conducted in five countries spanning three continents, during which I spoke to Liberian officials of government, homelanders, returnees, and diasporas as well as Sierra Leonean policy makers. I embarked on this study because I wanted to fill an important gap by elevating our public discourse and policy-making around citizenship. Since then, I have published two scholarly journal articles in *Citizenship Studies and *Migration Studies and a book manuscript is forthcoming.An extract Robtel Neajai Pailey’s article on citizenshipMy PhD thesis in general is less preoccupied with the legal parameters of Liberian citizenship and more concerned about how Liberians experience the institution differently based on social qualifiers such as gender, socio-economic status, ethnicity, etc. In the Citizenship Studies article, I argue that even Liberians with legitimate Liberian citizenship do not benefit equally from the privileges and protections therein, and this is a sociological reading of citizenship. In the Migration Studies article, I explore why Liberians I interviewed (and in public discourse in general) are so staunchly pro- or anti- dual citizenship and how their beliefs about the contested bill are tied to tactile experiences of migration, or lack thereof.An extract from Robtel Neajai Pailey’s article on migrationAs I discovered during my three-year PhD research, contemporary sensitivities around citizenship are deeply embedded in Liberia’s long history of political, economic and social exclusion, which have yet to be resolved 170 years on. I learned that the pessimism expressed by those who support the ‘Negro clause’ and reject dual citizenship is just as valid as the optimism of those who eschew the clause and champion dual citizenship.And so, the proof of President Weah’s clout will lie in his ability to reconcile these competing, yet equally legitimate perspectives. He must not succumb to the pressures of lobbyists who have their own agendas. As we continue to navigate our controversial, yet fascinating, legal provisions around citizenship, I urge President Weah and others to read my findings because they reveal important insights across the wide citizenship-dual citizenship continuum.Evidence is needed now more than ever before.Watch this space.Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author of the anti-corruption children’s book, Gbagba. E-mail the author at email@example.com for full copies of the journal articles on citizenship and dual citizenship.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) The author, Robtel Neajai Pailey, PhD – Advertisement –
At the beginning of October 2017, trailers loaded with scrap metals allegedly from the mining town of Yekepa began hauling scrap from Nimba to Monrovia on a daily basis.Over illicit 450K metric tons scrap metal dealA lawsuit seeking cancellation and revocation of two agreements for the sale and purchase of 450,000 metric tons of scrap in Nimba County has been filed by a consortium of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) against the leadership of Nimba County and Sethi Ferro Fabrick Incorporated, which is the company expected to take over the deal.The lawsuit also named the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), the General Services Agency (GSA) and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) as collaborators.The CSOs’ lawsuit includes Nimba Young Professionals, Liberia Scrap Dealers Association and Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, among others.In the lawsuit, the group alledges that contrary to the law, Superintendent Cooper initiated and encouraged Sethi Ferro Fabrick Inc., to enter and execute two separate agreements called Scrap Metal Sale and Purchase Agreement on July 24, 2017, and on August 23, 2017.“A major portion of the scrap metal, which is the subject of the lawsuit, has been transferred to Monrovia by the company,” the lawsuit contends. “The two agreements are illegal, defective and are canceled and revoked; the quantity that has already been transferred to Monrovia must be returned or put under the jurisdiction of the court and re-sold in keeping with the proper legal proceedings involving the PPCC,” the group said in the lawsuit.The lawsuit also argued that the agreements did not follow proper legal steps; therefore, they violated various provisions of the Administrative Regulations and the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) law.Article VI (A) of the Administrative Regulation provides that “operators or dealers of scrap materials and scrap metal shall be limited to only Liberian of legal age, while Article VI (b) also provides that in the case of corporation or business venture, a majority of shares of the company shall be owned by Liberians.”Also, Article XI (13) of the regulation provides that “All assets of government declared as scrap metal shall be inspected by the Scrap technical Sub-committee and disposal of in keeping with the Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) Act.”However, the suit claims that Sethi Ferro Fabrick Inc., with which Cooper executed the agreement, has no majority share owned by Liberians; therefore, the deal was defective and must be canceled and revoked.The lawsuit contends that one of the two agreements authorized and empowered Sethi Ferro Fabrick Inc. the initial quantity of 250,000 metric tons of scrap metal for use exclusively in Liberia to be recycled for the production of steel rods and other steel-related production valued at US$60 per metric ton.“Sethi Ferro Fabrick Inc. has no recycling plant in Liberia; therefore, the purchase of the sale as stated in the agreement is false and misleading and for which the agreement must and should be canceled and revoked,” the lawsuit explained.They also argued that Supt. Cooper intentionally ignored the laws and regulations and subsequently entered into the agreement with Sethi Ferro Fabrick Inc., without the involvement of the PPCC.Besides, the lawsuit argues that the two agreements are in total violation of the law and a deviation from best practices by grossly understating the price of the scrap metals as US$60 per metric ton.According to the lawsuit, North Star is currently paying Nimba County US$72 per ton of scrap metal, while some unnamed bidders recently proposed to pay US$82 per metric ton.“The price of scrap metal in the sub-region ranges between US$75 and US$80 per ton; based on this, and in consideration of the PPCC, the US$60 per ton was not in the best interest of the County,” the suit indicated.“The defendants did not only violate the law but also intentionally cheated the beneficiaries of the scrap metal by understating the value of an average of US$20 per ton, for which the entire agreement must be canceled and revoked,” the suit stated.Nimba County Superintendent Dorr CooperThey argued that Supt. Cooper and other signatories to the agreement and the offices they represent were all situated in Montserrado County.It may be recalled that in 2006, the Government of Liberia (GoL) realized that big business entities and unscrupulous individuals in the country were notoriously looting scrap metals in Liberia and in such a rampant manner that even government institutions were looted with impunity.Based on that observation, the government set up a committee comprising various stakeholders, opinion leaders, and permanent government agencies called the ‘Intra-Agency Scrap Regulatory Committee,’ to take the necessary action that could avert the massive looting of its property.The Committee did extensive consultations with all stakeholders around the country and promulgated administrative regulations, to guide the improvement and management of the scrap industry in all the communities in Liberia.Intra-Agency Scrap Regulatory Committee and stakeholders entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and an agreement to work collectively, to implement and enforce the guidelines, regulations, and policies aimed at improving and managing the scrap industry, and proper regulations were reached.In the MOU, the parties are under duty to ensure that all purchases of scrap metal must be in compliance with the law and administrative regulations guiding the industry, the community, and the Liberian people.The court has given the defendants up to April 6 to file their answer to the lawsuit.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Madam Siaway: “We hope to raise money through the farmers to build this office as it is in their best interest to have a place of their own instead of renting.” Gets full membership at International Rubber Research and Development BoardOfficials of the Rubber Planters Association of Liberia (RPAL) on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, announced immediate plans to construct the future home of the association in the country.The cost of the building is estimated at US$70,000, and will be erected near Kakata, Margibi County where the leadership acquired three plots of land.RPAL’s President Wilhelmina G. Mulbah-Siaway, informed journalists at a press conference in Monrovia that when constructed, the home will train farmers the requisite skills in their line of work.She said the essence of constructing the RPAL’s headquarters is to also serve as a resource hub for members and provide relevant information on the (rubber) commodities.The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction is slated for April 15, 2019.“We hope to raise the money through the farmers to build this office as it is in their best interest to have a place of their own instead of renting.”Majority (two-thirds) of the Executive Committee approved of the headquarter’s construction.An elevation design of the RPAL’s proposed headquarters.Madam Siaway used the occasion to inform rubber farmers that the RPAL is now admitted into the International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRDB).The IRRDB is a research and development network, which brings together natural rubber research institutes in virtually all the natural rubber producing countries, covering 95 per cent of world natural rubber production.She said membership to the IRRDB will enable RPAL to join forces with other countries on a flexible and deliberate on an informal basis.Madam Siaway said the membership also affords Liberia the opportunity to share their experiences and problems and to avoid wasteful duplication of work.According to her, this will help the RPAL to pool their financial resources, where appropriate to perform activities, which are too large or expensive for a single institute.“IRRDB’s scientists have developed, and are developing very high yielding, medium gestation period and stress resistant clones that are making lots differences in the cultivation and production of the commodity crop in IRRDB member countries. Since we have now become member, we stand to tremendously benefit from these scientific breakthroughs in terms of having access to the best performing clones as well as a state of the art pest management in natural rubber production,” Madam Siaway said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Pres. Weah (left) “We met the Senate and talked about the economy, the protest and other issues of importance to the State.” – Advertisement – “It is important we dialogue, because we know what happened… in 1979.” -Pres. WeahPresident George Weah on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 held a five-hour-long meeting with Senators on Capitol Hill in an apparent bid to abort the planned June 7 “peaceful protest.” The meeting also considered issues of interest and concerns arising from the Council of Patriots, organizers of the June 7 protest.Two of advisors to the Council of Patriots, Bomi County Senator Sando D. Johnson and Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel F. Naatehn, were among senators who met President Weah yesterday in the Senate new chambers, and discussed germane issues of interest, which they claimed are driving the planned June 7 protest.Following the meeting, the President informed scores of journalists that he will not stop anyone from protesting or demonstrating, but that it is important to dialogue, because protest breeds unexpected fallouts, making reference to the April 14, 1979, “Rice Riot.”President Weah, while en route to greet the leadership of the House of Representatives after a long meeting with the Senate, said: “We met the Senate and talked about the economy, the protest and other issues of importance to the State.”He added, “It is important we dialogue, because we know what happened, for example, during the April 14, 1979 protest.”In a related development, the Daily Observer has reliably learned that the President is expected to also hold another round of dialogue with the House of Representatives on Thursday, May 9, 2019.It may be recalled that on April 14, 1979, the “Rice Riot” was the proverbial straw that unleashed 25 years of violence, mayhem, anarchy, death and destruction in Liberia. The riot was organized by the Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL), headed by then political activist, Gabriel Baccus Matthews (deceased), against the backdrop of a proposed increase in the price of a 100-pound bag of rice from US$22 to US$26.A year later, 17 non-commissioned officers of the disbanded Armed Forces of Liberia staged a bloody coup that violently witnessed the overthrow of the Grand Old True Whig Party (TWP) of the then Liberian government, for which President William Richard Tolbert Jr., was killed on April 12, 1980.Senate concerns and InterestsAlso, the Senate President Pro Tempore, Albert T. Chie, told journalists that the Senate meeting with the President was in the spirit of the Liberian Constitution, which calls for coordination among the three branches of government.“The cardinal purpose of the meeting was to exchange ideas on governance where the Senators presented to the President issues of national concern and interest, including justice and security; the economy, issues of the planned June 7 protest, status of the investigation report on the L$16 billion, and the US$25 million intended to mop up excess Liberian dollars from the market.Sen. Chie said the discussion also captured the withdrawal of the Tenure Bill, Assessment of the performance of current government officials, including government of inclusion.Additionally, he said the issues surrounding the United Nations letter regarding the management of funds, proposal for a national reconciliation conference and information dissemination from the government to its citizenry were also highlighted during the meeting.“The President thanked the Senators for the meeting, which was held under the atmosphere of cordiality and mutual respect and he committed himself to the resolution of the issues raised in the interest of the Liberian people of which he is the head,” Pro Tempore Chie said. He added; “We believe the Executive Mansion will provide more details on the Tuesday’s meeting with the President.”Senate’s Secret DialogueChie made a startling disclosure to journalists that the Senate also had a discussion with two of three advisors of the Council of Patriots, which include Senators Sando Johnson, Daniel Naatehn and Oscar Cooper. According to the Senate President Pro Tempore, the two senators (unspecifed) stated reasons that have prompted the planned June 7 protest and that those issues which were raised were also discussed with the President.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Lock-ups breakout Some five days after three inmates broke out of the Golden Grove, East Bank Demerara (EBD) lock ups, Police are yet to locate the two missing suspects.A Division (Georgetown-East Bank Demerara) Commander, Marlon Chapman, told Guyana Times on Saturday the Police had received information, however they came up empty-handed after following those leads.He added that they have visited the homes of the suspects and relatives, along with other places the two escapees are known to frequent, but have not gotten any information about the whereabouts of either Ivre Hooper or Derrol James. The two along with Wayne Gilbert had escaped from the lock-ups of the Golden Grove Police Station on Tuesday afternoon.It was reported that ranks at the Golden Grove Police Station, located on the East Bank of Demerara, had taken a group of 13 inmates out from the lock-ups to the holding area for them to freshen up.It was during this exercise that the three suspects made good their escape via an opening in the western wall of the lock-ups. A piece of metal, believed to have been broken off from the lock-ups door and used to break the wall, was subsequently found by the Police.However, just before midnight on Tuesday, Gilbert, a 25-year-old murder accused of Lot 30 West La Penitence, Georgetown, was handed over to the Police at the Brickdam Station by his father.He was scheduled to be arraigned before a city Magistrate on Wednesday last for the murder of Rawle Rodrigues, which occurred on January 20 at the Stabroek Square.Meanwhile, 25-year-old Ivre Hooper is an armed robbery suspect of James Street, Albouystown, Georgetown. The other escapee on the run is 22-year-old Derrol James of Lot 131 Middle Walk, Buxton, East Coast Demerara, who was arrested on a simple larceny charge.Last Wednesday, the acting Crime Chief had told reporters that the breakout happened because of poor supervision on the part of the Police at the station. He believes there should be more ranks present at the station when such exercises are being carried out.As a result of the breakout, the supervisor, who was in charge of the shift, has been placed under close arrest as investigations are ongoing.The Police Force is asking anyone with information that would lead to the rearrests of Gilbert and James to make contact with the nearest Police Station or any of the Force’s emergency/hotline numbers.
Twenty-three-year-old Leon Clarke, widely known as “Tear Drop”, was on Tuesday cleared of a $1.1 million robbery charge brought against him on September 13, 2018.He was told he was “free to go” by Magistrate Faith McGusty before whom he hadLeon Clarkebeen on trial previously.The decision came after his Attorney, Keoma Griffith, filed a no-case submission claiming that the prosecution in the matter had insufficient evidence. The self-proclaimed up-and-coming singer previously denied the charge against him which stated that he broke into the home of East La Penitence resident Vincent Howard and robbed him of approximately $1.1 million in cash, GTT and Digicel phone cards and Scratch tickets.He was later positively identified by Howard as the young man whose music videos took Facebook by storm for a short period back in 2016. Before his short-lived fame, Clarke worked as a hospital attendant at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
Omar and Mark Ramjit of Better Hope, East Coast Demerara have become frustrated in their efforts to uplift more than $100,000 owed their mother Doorpatie Ramjit as refund from a Dynamic Airways flight cancellation.There are claims that operatives attached to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (PIM) are giving them a runaround in relation to uplifting this refund.Mark, a seafood supplier from Better Hope North, in venting his concerns to Guyana Times on Saturday, said he is the one who, several months ago, had booked the ticket for his mother, Doorpatie, an old-age pensioner, to travel to the United States in December 2017. The flight was, however, cancelled in December, and no member of the family has received any positive word on when the refund would be payable.“This thing frustrating, cause up to now we can’t get back we money,” Mark Ramjit explained.His brother Omar recalled that the names of affected passengers were to be placed on a list for a refund. “I remember is fifteen of us went to the ministry… They just pushing you around, and nobody telling you anything,” he noted.The family is calling on the PIM to immediately look into the matter. Guyana Times attempted to contact subject ministers David Patterson and Annette Ferguson via telephone on Saturday, but these efforts were unsuccessful.The Ministry of Public Infrastructure had, in January, said it initiated the process to access a bond for the sum of two hundred thousand (US$200,000) United States dollars which was lodged by Dynamic International Airways, LLC, in collaboration with its local handling agent, Roraima Airways Inc.“The funds will be used to refund passengers in Guyana who purchased tickets to travel on the now defunct Dynamic Airways, provided that they have not been able to use the whole or part of same to travel,” the PIM had committed.It was reported at that time that Roraima Airways Inc had submitted to the PIM a list of 609 passengers who were eligible for the refund. The PIM had further assured the affected passengers that it was “assiduously” working to have the process expedited.Dynamic Airways suspended its operations on October 3, 2017 to facilitate reorganisation of its Chapter 11 case under which the airline had filed for bankruptcy. The airline has said that it remains committed to honouring all outstanding financial obligations, whether to passengers, airport authorities, or the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).The voluntary Chapter 11 petition was filed by Dynamic Airways with the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Middle District of North Carolina.This chapter of the Bankruptcy Code generally provides for reorganisation. Moreover, Chapter 11 allows a debtor to propose a plan of reorganisation to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time.Just a month after filing for bankruptcy, one of the airline’s creditors, owed some US$1.19 million, had moved to the courts to force the airline to liquidate its assists.
Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Captain Orwain Sandy, who killed his reputed wife on Saturday in Alexander Village, Georgetown is expected to be arraigned with the capital offence of murder today.Reona Payne and Captain Orwain Sandy in happier timesDetectives confirmed that the file was completed and sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice but according to a well-placed source, the Captain had already given a confession statement when he walked into the Ruimveldt Police Station after shooting the woman 14 times.He will make his first court appearance at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.On the day in question, the Army Captain and the now dead woman were in a motor car proceeding along First Street, Alexander Village when an argument ensued after he reportedly accused her of being unfaithful.It was reported that he stopped the car and as the woman exited, he opened fire thus riddling her body with bullets from his service revolver.He left her lifeless body on the roadway and drove to the Police station where he surrendered after telling Police ranks what he had done.Ever since the shooting, there have been speculations that Payne was seeing two other men while living together with the GDF Captain. Guyana Times was told that after the suspect found out that she was seeing a colleague of his, it angered him, and the shooting seemed nothing but premediated.To date, the woman’s immediate family members have not broken their silence on the matter, but other relatives have told media operatives that the woman was involved in an abusive relationship with the Captain.It was also reported that the mother of two encouraged the Captain to reconcile with his legally married wife.The suspect has since been dismissed from the Guyana Defence Force.In a release issued by the Force a few hours after the shooting, the Defence Force stated that the suspect’s action does not reflect that of the men in the Army and that an independent probe will be launched by the Force to determine what really took place on the day in question.
Gas station robbery…Police recovers $370,000 of $5M booty from suspect’s momThe suspect who was arrested in connection with a robbery carried out on a Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara businesswoman on Monday last has reportedly confessed to the crime, and has also implicated two other men who are now being hunted by police.The robbery suspect who was nabbedAccording to information received, the perpetrator in custody has been identified as Agustus Primo, 33, a taxi driver of Lot 2-4 Supply, East Bank Demerara.The Guyana Times was told that following his interrogation, named his accomplices as Mark Anthony George and Shane Morgan who are currently on the run.Primo further said that he received only a portion of the money, and has already managed to spend some. As such, he only turned over the remainder, which is said to be in excess of $289,000.The captured bandit told Police that he took some of the money –which was given to him by Mark Anthony George- to Shane Morgan’s mother who resides in Morcut Square, East La Penitence, Georgetown.As such, the 56-year-old woman was also contacted by police and interrogated.She has since admitted that she did receive a sum of money, and handed over some $370,000 to investigators.On Monday, the businesswoman was on her way to the bank when she was relieved of $5M on the East Bank of Demerara. The woman co-owns a gas station located at the Soesdyke Junction, East Bank Demerara, left her home with the cash, in the company of a staff.She reportedly made a stop on the Land of Canaan public road to deliver an invoice to another business, and it was while she was about to enter her motor car to continue her journey that she was pounced on by one of two armed men.The bandit allegedly held her at gunpoint before grabbing the bag of money from inside her car. He then ran over to a waiting CG series motorcycle, and handed the bag of money to his pillion rider before they both fled the scene.The businesswoman, being affiliated with ranks of the Guyana Police Force, immediately reported the matter. This resulted in the apprehension of the man who held her at gunpoint, shortly after.However, the pillion rider-who had the cash in his possession- managed to escape into the bushes along the public road.
Footballer’s murderTwo weeks after a 12-member jury unanimously found him guilty, Delon Henry, called “Nasty Man”, was on Thursday sentenced to 51 years imprisonment by High Court Judge Sandil Kissoon for murdering East Ruimveldt, Georgetown footballer Dexter Griffith. Griffith was murdered on September 29, 2015, near his mother’s home. He was shot six times in the East Ruimveldt warlock area.Henry smiled after he heard the court’s verdict and was even heard threatening persons as he exited court amid heavy security. Nevertheless, Griffith’s mother shouted that she forgave him as Police escorted her son’s killer out of the courtroom. Earlier in the day, the courtroom was packed to capacity with relatives and friends of the Griffiths’ who were all on the edge of their seats as the sentenceDelon Henry, known as “Nasty Man”was handed down.During Henry’s trial, he always professed his innocence and when it was time for him to have his say, he told the court that he was in jail from 2006 to 2014 as a teenager and that he had no knowledge of the Warlock area where Griffith was gunned down. He was represented by Adrian Thompson while Lisa Cave and Orinthia Schmidt prosecuted the case.When he was found guilty last month, the jury required nearly six hours to come to a unanimous verdict. On that day, the 12-member jury emerged at about 15:30h, after being sequestered for deliberations before midday and were deadlocked at a proportion of 6-6. They were sent again and emerged later with the unified decision.During the trial, jurors had been told that five spent shells had been recovered from the scene. However, former Inspector Jackson, who had then been a Sergeant of Police and had tendered the exhibits at the Magistrates’ Courts, had admitted that he could not find the exhibits, after making several checks at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters, Eve Leary. The murderedMurdered footballer Dexter Griffithfootballer’s brother, Keshawn Griffith, had testified that while in hiding, he had seen the defendant, Henry, firing a gun moments after his brother was shot. The deceased man’s mother, Lavern Griffith, had recalled running to the Warlock area from her home where she and other relatives saw the footballer lying in a drain.It was reported in September 2015 that after being shot, Griffith had managed to stand and walk a short distance in an attempt to escape from Henry, but he eventually fell unconscious to the ground while his assailant escaped. He was taken to a city hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.