Dear Editor,I wish to encourage the Chief Executive Officer of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, the Regional Democratic Council and the Neighbourhood Democratic Council to pay a visit and inspect the road that passes Kuru Kururu to Laluni.This road was done just before the 2015 elections but is now impassable. I dare say it is much worse now than it was before. Can someone please make a visit and do an inspection?The new road that was done did not go all the way to Laluni but it did covered a significant amount of area. Not it is all holes and craters.Sincerely,Ignatius Raphael
Dear Editor,The current state of affairs necessitates a restatement of certain facts pertaining to the current materialisation of job opportunities via several major investments and projects in Guyana.With over 30,000 jobs lost over almost four years under the APNU/AFC coalition Government, the question must be asked: What has the coalition done to stimulate job creation in Guyana? What investments produced job creation that Guyanese have benefited from recently?In dealing with the latter first, hundreds of Guyanese have benefited from job opportunities that have been created as a result of work done by the former People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Government.In the area of projects, work on the East Coast Demerara Road and the West Coast Demerara Road, are only two of the major projects that stimulated job creation.Incentivised multimillion-dollar investment deals negotiated by the PPP/C, which also stimulated job creation, include:*First BauxiteCorporation;* Reunion Manganese;* Guyana Goldfields;* Troy Resources;* Teleperformance;* Qualfon;* Santa Fe Farm;* Guyana Marriott HotelGeorgetown;* Texila AmericanUniversity;* Giftland Mall; and* MovieTowne.Editor, the opening of MovieTowne took place on Thursday, March 15, 2019, and to my surprise, four APNU/AFC coalition Government Ministers graced the event with their presence. Editor, this is the same project that was met with delays because of the APNU/AFC coalition. The headlines that made the news a few months ago were clear: “Foreign Investor blames Government for delay in MovieTowne opening” (June 12, 2018 – Newsroom); “MovieTowne owner decries red tape in US$40 million Turkeyen investment” (June 13, 2018 – Kaieteur News); and “Gov’t ordered to pay TPL $1.7 billion in damages over Turkeyen land” (April 21, 2019 – Stabroek News). Yet, Ministers Joseph Harmon, Winston Jordan, Carl Greenidge, and Dominic Gaskin all talked up the investment during Thursday’s opening. Is the coalition Government not shameless?I have to also point out that the land sale on which MovieTowne was built – an investment that is now being talked up by the coalition – is the same land deal that former Minister, Ashni Singh and former National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Head, Winston Brassington were charged for. Will the charges now be dropped since top coalition Government Ministers now tout the merits of the investment?Editor, I also must point out that in addition to the projects that were envisioned and started by the former PPP/C Government, as well as the investments that were successfully pursued, the coalition Government inherited over US$500 million in concessional resources secured to finance development initiatives, including:* US$130 million from China Exim Bank to construct a new international airport;* US$66.2 million from Inter-American Deve-lopment Bank to fund a road network upgrade and expansion project;* US$64.6 million from Inter-American Deve-lopment Bank and European Union to fund a power utility upgrade programme;* US$50 million from India Exim Bank to fund the East Coast to East Bank bypass road – a project that has not even stared as yet;* US$34.4 million from the Caribbean Development Bank to fund the West Coast Demerara highway upgrade project;* US$31.7 million from Inter-American Deve-lopment Bank and European Union to fund a water and sanitation infrastructure improvement project;* US$15 million from Inter-American Deve-lopment Bank for a new citizen security project;* US$12 million from the World Bank for a flood risk management project;* US$10 million from the World Bank for a new secondary education improvement project;* US$10 million from the World Bank for the UG science and technology support project; and* US$7.5 million from the Caribbean Development Bank to fund a sugar industry mechanisation project.All of these developments provide ample testimony to the stewardship of the Guyanese economy discharged by successive PPP/C Governments and the strong position of the economy, as the PPP/C demitted office.Even Guyana’s burgeoning oil and gas sector was the vision of the PPP/C. ExxonMobil came to Guyana under the PPP/C. Oil was found in Guyana under the PPP/C.Editor, returning to the first question I asked – What has the coalition done to stimulate job creation in Guyana? –The answer is clear. Nothing. There has been no major new project to stimulate job creation. There has been no major new foreign direct investment to stimulate job creation. Their policies have resulted in the loss of jobs. The David Granger-led coalition Government is bereft of ideas and have instead advanced initiatives that were envisioned and started by the former PPP/C coalition Government.The coalition Government, for almost four years, have busied themselves untying bows and cutting ribbons on PPP/C gifts.With the increasing likelihood of the APNU/AFC coalition Government being illegal after March 21, 2019, the resultant increase in loss of jobs is to be expected, as is the deleterious impact on the local economy.Sincerely,Dr Peter Ramsaroop
The programme to reduce teen pregnancy will be implemented in specific communities in the 10 Administrative Regions by the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) together with Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA) and Youth Choice, among other Non-Governmental Organisations.Child Care and Protection Agency Director Ann GreeneThese communities have been pin-pointed by the Ministry of Social Protection.Adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 are targeted to be informed of the drawbacks of teenage pregnancy and early engagement of sexual activities. They will also be educated on sexual and reproductive health since every teenager that becomes pregnant is at risk for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) through unprotected sex.According to director of CPA Ann Greene, there has been a drastic increase of teen mothers in Guyana and so there is an intention of curbing the issue through the Teen Prevention Pregnancy and Empowerment initiative:“There is a high pregnancy rate with early teen and it’s one of concern for us because these are very young girls that should still be in school and they are not even of the age of sexual consent according to the law, but yet they are pregnant so there is motherhood in childhood and it’s a serious concern.”Greene highlighted that CPA will have a final results review after one year of the programme being active to decide on its efficiency: “We want to follow to see the outcome. In fact, we want to see if they will put off early sexual activities, or, if in fact you must have sex, use a condom.”In a survey conducted in 2013, it was established by the UN Population Fund that 97 out of every 1000 females in the teenage years, give birth and Guyana holds the place for the second highest teen pregnancy cases in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Three decades and three years ago, Liberians demonstrated an intolerable behavior against the tampering with our stable food rice. It was an act which served as a caveat that Liberians, at any moment, are willing and ready to stand on their feet against whatever forces that tend to reduce the size of their stomach.Today, there is a mental shift from what pleases and satisfies our bellies to what benefits our economy and improves our lives. Interestingly, that is non-edible oil, crude oil. Our crude oil discovery has sparked hot debates among Liberians both in and out of Liberia. Liberians from all walks of life have been seen on street corners, in attayah shops, on university campuses and even in churches expressing their views on how the oil revenues should be managed and/or allocated to benefit the general populace. The question that has been frequently asked is, “Is our oil discovery a blessing or a curse?” This question arises from ugly situations that have been witnessed in other African countries including Nigeria, North and South Sudan, D.R. Congo, among others, in which there were bloodshed, and destruction of infrastructures and institutions after oil wasdiscovered in those countries.In an attempt to take a cue from those countries’ experiences, Liberians tend to be vigilant and proactive so that our fragile and enjoyable peace will not degenerate into decadence simply because of misappropriation and mismanagement of oil revenues. Sometime in October and November 2013, the Liberian Legislature led a nationwide consultative and awareness campaign in all counties to solicit the candid views of ordinary Liberians with regards to the new petroleum laws; a process which was greeted with mixed reactions.While some Liberians welcomed and commended the process; others rejected and scorned the process as ridiculous, based on the contention that they weren’t given copies of the new petroleum law to read and digest. Many opined that the process was a waste of tax payers’ money. It was unofficially reported on local media that US$1.2 million was given to the Legislature for the process. This amount most Liberians considered as too much for a consultation process when in fact many Liberians are wallowing far below the economic ladder in destitution.However, our law makers returned from their trip around the country announcing success in their excursion. While it is necessary to consider seriously the proper management of our oil revenues, it is also very germane to invest more in the success of the discovery process. I mean investment in the human resource capacity; the training and placement of brilliant, talented and young Liberians.The recent discovery of crude oil by African Petroleum in our off-shore basin is a laudable achevement. As reported to the general public, the discovery was within the Albian and Turonian strata. Our basin, which is located within the Gulf of Guinea, provides a reasonable consideration for possible commercial volume of oil reserves. After a thorough research study in the area, it is now believed that the Gulf of Guinea contains about three to four billion barrels of crude oil.However, the onus is upon our stake holders to put into place a proper modus operandi or mechanism that will ensure that our oil discovery is a success.According to resource classification, our resources are at present considered prospective resources. Prospective resources are those quantities of petroleum which are estimated as of a given date to be potentially recoverable from undiscovered accumulations. The progression is from prospective resources to contingent resources to Reserves. Each stage requires the expertise of qualified petroleum engineers (reservoir and drilling engineers), petro-physicists, geologists and petroleum geochemists, among others. Additionally, the utilization of modern sophisticated technologies and software are required. The process might take five to ten years to develop a production well if our oil is of commercial quantity, and there is political stability.Even though the resources within the earth subsurface are yet to be quantified, Liberians have started to raise eyebrows with regards to the exorbitant expenditure of our oil revenue on nationwide consultation. The Liberians’ hope is that the revenues generated from our crude oil will be used to better the lives of ordinary Liberians and improve the economy.This shared hope has been reflected in our struggle for balanced participation, justice, and equal opportunities, among others. This struggle, which has been described in our history as the ugly past, saw hideous crimes being perpetrated by Liberians on their fellow countrymen. This led to the massive destruction of lives, properties and institutions. A bitter resentment and lack of trust have developed in the hearts of many Liberians simply because of the cruel and uncivilized behavior demonstrated toward one another.However, after ten years of relative peace, Liberians have seen a prospect for better living and the hope to enjoy their family union and community cooperation. National leaders are now obliged to provide the enabling environment where all Liberians can realize their potential and contribute to rebuilding of Mama Liberia.ABOUT THE AUTHOR:M. Dokie Mulbah is a summa cum laude Natural Science and Mathematicsgraduate of Cuttington University, who recently returned from the People’s Republic of China with the Master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering. He is currently in conversation with the National Oil Company, including its President, Dr. Randolph McClain, toward engagement to contribute Dokie’s quota to the just and efficient development and exploitation of Liberia’s petroleum resource.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was warmly received at the White House and on Capitol Hill last Friday. President Barrack Obama and the United States Congress applauded her for her heroic leadership in the fight against Ebola, which brought the viral transmission from the highest in the Mano River basin to the lowest. This was indeed a great accomplishment, and she, the Health Ministry, the Incident Management System (IMS), the international partners, many local corporate and NGO organizations and the Liberian people as a whole deserve commendation.President Sirleaf thanked President Obama and the Congress for the American government and people’s great contributions that seriously helped reverse the terrible onslaught of Ebola in Liberia, most especially the deployment of over 3000 troops to build Ebola treatment units throughout the country. These ETUs helped to scare the devil out of the virus, and soon, most of them went largely empty. What did Ellen want from the world’s most powerful leader? Apparently not what he had offered her months earlier that would empower Liberia to respond robustly to any future epidemic. No. Her requests were not as specific, but more general. Helene Cooper, an eminent Liberian journalist, who is the New York Times’ White House Correspondent, reported that Ellen asked Obama for assistance with power projects, clean water and sanitation, better roads.All of these are important and critical to national development, for without power, our economic development will remain stalled; without roads, our farmers will continue to be cut off from the markets and our business and other people from various parts of the country. Without safe water childhood diseases will remain rampant, eluding prevention and continuing to kill our children.But—and this is a BIG BUT—what about the specific offer that President Obama himself made to Liberia, to help rebuild our healthcare delivery system, the absence of which, he said, was the primary reason the Ebola virus swept so quickly and so devastatingly through the three affected countries, making Liberia the Ebola epicenter?We are not sure what President Obama’s decisive response to Ellen’s shopping list will be. But one thing we know from experience: donors love specifics, because specifics make it easier and quicker for them to decide and commit. Generalities, on the other hand, make response more difficult, for first, they would have to decide what their own priorities would be, and second, how much of that list to bite. On the other hand, specifics would mean the nation is decisive in its asking—THIS IS WHAT WE WANT, NOW! And the donor’s response would be equally DECISIVE, especially when the donor has already hinted its willingness to help in this particular area.The Americans’ offer to help improve Liberia’s healthcare delivery system immediately followed the identical one by Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yue to President Sirleaf on October 28, 2014. The Chinese, who have always come forward with generous offers, such as the US$60 million “ministerial complex,” said they would help Liberia rebuild its healthcare delivery system as a post-Ebola project.This newspaper has frequently urged the government to respond rapidly to these offers because that would be the ONE decisive post-Ebola development that Liberia could immediately benefit from. Why? Because we urgently need it!All our existing hospitals and health centers, including the John F. Kennedy Medical Center and existing ones in the counties, need not only refurbishing but also re-equipping and re-staffing. There are also those counties, especially in the southeast and some parts of the west, where hospitals and health centers are needed. Then we have never failed to emphasize the whole issue of training—of nurses, paramedics, doctors and medical specialists of every kind. Even our only Medical School, the University of Liberia’s A.M. Dogliotti, is seriously underfunded. It seems to us that not only the USA and China but all our African, European, Asian and Australian partners would positively respond to our request for medical training. Should this government bring itself to emphasize healthcare delivery rebuilding as one of the centerpieces of its development agenda, by the time Ellen leaves power it would be well on its way.Heaven knows what she is waiting for to begin. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)