A Call to Liberia’s In-coming Political Leaders: Heed Moroccan Agriculture Minister’s Advice: Invest in…
In his Address to a group of Broadcast Journalism graduates last weekend, this newspaper’s publisher observed that Liberia, despite our vast acreage of green, arable land, was seriously lagging behind, among other things, in food production. But that is not so in Morocco, a good portion of whose land is desert. Despite that unfortunate fact, that Sahelian nation is highly productive in food and other agricultural goods. That is why Moroccan Agriculture Minister M. Aziz Akhannoueh found himself in a position to extend to the rest of Africa an urgent advice to invest in agriculture as the redeeming factor in the continent’s growth, development and progress and in its fight against climate change. Addressing a group of African journalists invited to Morocco from across the continent, he observed that African nations were indeed contributing to the worsening effects of climate change because they are not investing seriously in agriculture. The less we grow, the more we boost the negative effects of climate change, the more danger to ourselves, he warned. Our Presidential Correspondent William Harmon was among the African journalists invited to Morocco and keenly focused on Minister Akhannoueh’s address. In his lengthy article, published in the Daily Observer’s Monday edition, Harmon took time to explain what the Agriculture Minister had to say about what Morocco was doing in agriculture and the great progress the country was reaping as a result.He quoted the Minister, who disclosed that the long-term Green Morocco Plan (GMP), initiated a few years ago had led, on average, to the agriculture sector contributing 19% of the GDP, with 15% from agriculture and 4% from agro-industry. Agriculture, including fisheries, is considered the main labor employer (38%) of the total national labor force and 75% of the rural workforce. The agriculture sector, said the Minister, also contributes to reducing the mass exodus from rural areas, while bolstering sociopolitical stability. The GMP, Minister Akhannoueh added, “is built on the principle of aggregation as a tool for development of the agricultural sector; its implementation requires the creation of win-win partnerships between the upstream of production and the downstream of the commercial and industrial phase.”This sector, according to the Minister, has created jobs for 4 million rural inhabitants—that is as big as Liberia’s population—and 100,000 jobs for the agroindustry sector.Contrast that with Liberia where we have, in the past 11 years, failed to focus on agriculture. As a result, we have also failed to reverse the rural-urban exodus created by the civil war. Why? Because we could have reversed the rural-urban migration by investing in rural agriculture and encouraging people to return home to undertake productive and profitable farming. Remember, too, Minister Akhannoueh’s emphasis on “the upstream of production and the downstream of commercial and/or industrial phase.”Contrast that with what happened recently to our Lofa and Nimba rice farmers. Alas! They grew and produced their rice—massive quantities of the national staple—but could find no buyers. The GOL failed to create the commercial response to this most admirable and critical effort by our farmers.We can see why the Daily Observer, following this sales fiasco, was so critical of the Food Enterprise Development (FED) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID/FED). The commercial component to Liberian farming initiative is what FED itself said they were keenly interested in—finding markets for farmers’ produce. And when at last the farmers produced the rice, they could find no buyers! What, we wondered and still do, was FED up to?And yet, FED was not the one to blame, but our own government, especially our Agriculture Ministry. The GOL and its Agriculture Ministry, and no one else, are the ones with the primary responsibility to push agriculture in the country. Institutions like FED are only here to help us—or so they say. GOL cannot and must not leave everything to the foreign partners who, we seem always to forget, come with their own agenda.But that is what governments are for, to FOCUS on the people’s business and maintain the focus until the national goals are accomplished. We submit that despite its 11th hour in office, it is not too late for this government to begin making a difference in agriculture. It can start by encouraging our rice farmers, including helping them to refine their rice, adding value to it and finding markets to sell it. The Agriculture Ministry should also flood the country with agricultural extension agents equipped and ready to help the farmers and also the town, city and neighborhood vegetable growers to produce more bitter ball, greens, pepper, banana, pawpaw and plantain to feed their families and supply local markets. And to in-coming political leaders, we say, come forward with concrete plans to change forever our agricultural landscape by making Liberia food-self-sufficient, most especially in rice. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Officials of USAID, MIA and the Governance Commissionafter the signing ceremony yesterday .By Alvin WorziThe United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Liberia, represented by the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the Governance Commission, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) for the implementation of the Local Empowerment for Government Inclusion and Transparency (LEGIT) project.The program was held at the Ministry of Internal Affairs with various institutions committing to support the project.LEGIT is a USAID funded project that is supporting the government to improve participatory governance and service delivery through decentralization. The project works closely with the MIA and GC at the national level to further strengthen the capacity of the government as it implements Liberia’s National Policy on decentralization and local governance.At the local sub-national level, LEGIT works with local administrations and civil society organizations to improve service delivery and citizen participation in three counties, Nimba, Bong and Grand Gedeh, and their cities of Ganta, Gbarnga, and Zwedru.The MOC lays out the nature of technical services that USAID through the project will provide to MIA and the Governance Commission, as these agencies take the lead in the implementation of the GOL’s decentralization agenda.According to the MOC, USAID will support MIA and GC to undertake policy and procedural reforms at the national and sub-national levels.“These reforms will jointly be determined and subsequently outlined in separate Performance Improvement Roadmaps (PIRs) for MIA and GC. The PIRs will identify key priority areas for capacity strengthening, and the technical assistance to be provided by the LEGIT project,” MOC stated.Dr. Anthony S. Chan, USAID Mission Director, expressed appreciation for MIA and GC initiatives aimed at decentralization.Dr. Chan also encouraged MIA and GC to continue their advocacy for the passage of the Local Government Act that will clearly establish the legal framework for decentralization in Liberia.Dr. Henrique F. Tokpa, Minister of Internal Affairs, lauded USAID for its support for decentralization in Liberia and promised to continue working with USAID in implementing the LEGIT project.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Fertilizing the gardenBy Bisi Klah (+231886587547/+231775874301)Reducing Water DemandsMulching is a cultural practice, which can significantly decrease the amount of water that must be added to the soil. Organic mulches themselves hold some water and increase the humidity level around the plant. Shading and the use of windbreaks are other moisture-conserving techniques. Small plants, in particular, should be protected. Air moving across a plant carries away the moisture on the leaf surface, causing the plant to need more water.In very windy areas, the roots often cannot keep up with leaf demands, and plants wilt. Temporary or permanent windbreaks can help tremendously. During those times when cultural practices simply are not enough, when rainfall is sparse and the weather is hot, watering can benefit the garden for higher yields, or may save the garden altogether in severe drought years.Irrigation, when properly used, can benefit the garden in many ways such as aiding in seed emergence, reducing soil crusting, improving germination and plant stand, as well as reducing wilting and checking of growth in transplants. Irrigation also increases fruit size of tomato, cucumber, and melon and prevents premature ripening of peas, beans, and sweet corn. It also maintains uniform growth and improves the quality and yields of most crops.Irrigation MethodsIn an integrated system, it is not only ordinary water that is used for irrigation. It is to be noted that in this system, there is usually no septic tanks constructed within the place. All the sewage systems are channeled into basins about four feet deep. Aquatic plants like water hyacinth, execrate are planted in the basins to purify the used water.These basins make sure that smells are perceived in the whole place. The basins are constructed in such a way that the recycled water can pour into another basin where they are collected for use in watering the farms. Water can also be collected straight from the fist basin for this purpose. The watering of the plants can be done manually, if there is enough labor depending on the area in question. Otherwise, the mechanized system of irrigation can be used if the machines and other implements needed for this are available.The things needed include: pumping machine, rubber water pipes, constructed for this purpose. They have iron joints, which make it possible to link them together, extend them as far as possible at the same time, and meander to all the corners. There are also irrigation taps that rotate at 360 degrees, watering the plants as they rotate. First of all, the rubber pipes are connected along the line of the plants to be watered. One of the ends is attached to the machine while the proper end is put into the tank where aquatic plants are used to recycle the water to be used. The machine is primed with water before it is started. Then, the motor is turned on and left at the slow turning point until it warms up. When it does, the speed of the machine is increased to the maximum. At this point, water comes out from the tap ends and waters the plants.The amount of fertilizer to apply to a garden depends on the natural fertility of the soil, the amount of organic matter present, the type of fertilizer used, and the crop being grown. The best way to determine fertilizer needs is to have the soil tested by testing laboratories through an agricultural research institute.Apart from the chemical fertilizer that is used to increase soil fertility, organic materials are the form of manure which are used in an integrated farm. The waste products from the animal farm, the poultry and some from abattoirs can be recycled into very effective manure for the vegetable gardens. One fact that is notable is that these materials are not just used as they are. This is because they are usually hot because of their acidic and carbon content. These are removed through the means of organic transformation. That is to say that there is a process whereby the ordinary wastes are transformed into viable manure. This process has to do with organized deposition of these wastes in an area mapped out for this purpose, which has to be under some kind of shade.Pest control through natural/biological productionsThe insecticide produced naturally and even chemically is used to chase insects so they don’t destroy the plants. That is to say that the solution does not attack the plants not make them harmful to the body, but attacks the insects that harm the plants and hamper their growth. It is advised that the spraying be done frequently; up to two to three times a week. It can even be more depending on the resistant capacity of the insects.Biological solutions are used in a small area. If the farm is very big, it is better to sue a mixture of both biological and chemical solutions for optimum effectiveness. If the prescription for the chemical solution is one liter, half of each can be used. The solution realized from mixture is usually very strong. Through this, too, the quantity of the chemical solution of what can be called imported product is limited.The first formula for natural solution is ½ kilogram of neem plus 10 liters of water. This solution is left for twenty-four hours. It is then filtered so that the grains of neem used can be removed. The water collected is then used to spray on the plants. The second formula solution is 11/2 kg of neem leaves plus 10 liters of water. The leaves and water is boiled for ten minutes. This solution must stay for 24 hours then it is filtered and used. The third formula solution is 1kg of dry tobacco leaves plus ½ liter of kerosene and add 200g of soap without perfume. This has to be dissolved in 10 liters of water.To have concentrated solution, put the tobacco in 10 liters of water and boil for ten minutes. This is left for 24 hours and then you filter. After this, the kerosene is added together with the soap, which has to be cut into small pieces. Lastly, a medium size peak milk cup full of grounded pepper is added. It is worth noting at this juncture that the solution is very delicate. Before usage, it has to be sampled on few leaves so that its strength or concentration can be ascertained. If it is too strong, detectable from the condition of the leaves on which the sampling is done, some more water is added and the trial spray is repeated. When it is okay, it is then used. The spray must be discontinued two weeks before the leaves are harvested for eating. Some chemical solutions that can be used include: Konkani, Dursban 4EC and Malathion.The precaution for the usage of the solution is that hand-gloves must be used and you have to close your nose to avoid inhaling the odor. You must wear boots at all time. Use some glasses to cover your eyes. When you are spraying the insecticide, you must go against the wind. That means that you try as much as possible not to inhale the odor.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dr. Ophelia Weeks (left), who was installed as president the 14th of UL, was reminded by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that the institution is meant to exhibit high academic standardsFendall to be named the ‘Mary Antoinette Brown Sherman Campus’By Hannah N. GeterminahPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reminded University of Liberia’s incoming president, Ophelia Inez Weeks, Ph.D., not to forget that, among other goals, the UL was established to become a “center of learning with high academic standards in the pursuit, promotion and dissemination of knowledge.”Speaking after the inauguration of the second female president at the university’s Fendell campus yesterday, she said the UL was meant to provide practical knowledge that can be immediately useful to the economic, social and cultural development needs of the country.She said from the time the Liberia College was chartered by the National Legislature just four years after the founding “of our country as the first independent Republic of Africa, and from the time in 1862 when Liberia College opened as the oldest institution of higher learning in West Africa, there have been several leaders whose legacies must inspire you.”Those leaders, President Sirleaf said, included President Joseph Jenkins Roberts and Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden. “Dr. Weeks, you readily have on hand those of your father, Dr. Rochefort L. Weeks, Dr. Mary Antoinette Brown Sherman, and Dr. Emmet A. Dennis,” she noted.She challenged Dr. Weeks to be bold in measures that will aim at academic excellence. “Dr. Weeks, you have dreamed big and those dreams have come through,” she said.Recounting the difficult road the UL has traveled so far, President Sirleaf said she was exceedingly glad to be at another very important convocation, reflecting that nine years ago she inaugurated Dr. Emmet Dennis as president of the university.“At that time in 2008, the university was not so famous and for all the wrong reasons in the aftermath of more than 14 years of war,” she added.“On the campuses were visible signs of the destruction of physical plants and academic support units. The human capital of the University had depleted to the extent that the academic profile dropped to a very low ebb,” she said.President Sirleaf said “As we struggled with corruption in public service, the University displayed shameless descent in human values of civility and integrity. Stories were prevalent of unqualified young people being admitted as students and unscrupulous individuals wearing academic regalia and awarding undeserving grades to students through fraudulent means.”She noted that student riots and faculty protests were frequent and unpredictable. She acknowledged that “there was also very low budgetary support. Yet, Dr. Dennis accepted to take on the unenviable task of uncertainty and multiple challenges, leaving his life of comfortable retirement from a successful and proud career at Rutgers University in the United States to serve his nation, particularly to help mend the war-broken youth of our country and give them hope in the rebirth of our nation,” she said.President Sirleaf noted that Dr. Dennis set off with a clear vision focusing on four pillars: restoring integrity and civility, faculty and staff development, curricular transformation and restoration of libraries and laboratories and developing an IT infrastructure, including digitization of student records.In doing so, she said the University established external institutional collaborations as a means of complementing the government’s support for the development of academic programs and infrastructure.President Sirleaf added that as a sign of the government’s commitment to making good on its responsibility to the national flagship university, “we gradually increased budgetary support from US$1m in 2006 to a peak of US$14m by FY2013, or 1400 per cent. We are proud that FY 17/18 budget is over US$16m, despite the other crushing demands, particularly to improve the quality of education at the lower levels.”She said the serious economic downturn and other challenges of the past few years did not spare the University, but “We marvel at the progress that has been made as manifested more vividly by the calm, regularity and predictability of campus life among students and among faculty members, and above all, the progress in integrity, civility and academic capacity and growth.President Sirleaf recalled that Dr. Weeks grew up on the Capitol Hill Campus–in the famous Richardson Cottage–where her father, Dr. Rocheforte L. Weeks lived and worked from 1959 to 1971 as the 3rd president and first Liberian president of the University.She also recalled that Dr. Weeks is taking this mantle as the second woman to rise to this position. “In 1978, Dr. Mary Antoinette Hope Grimes Brown Sherman made history when she was the first woman to be inaugurated as President of the University of Liberia and the first woman to be President/Vice Chancellor/Head of a major institution of higher learning in Africa.“Mary Antoinette was a trail blazer, a great woman of courage, knowledge and purpose. Her origins were of humble Vai motherhood and a father from a background privilege. Yet she chose academia beginning in 1950 as a teaching staff in the Teachers College, rising to the Presidency that ended in 1984 when she refused to accept the interference of the then military government in the academic life and running of the University.”President Sirleaf as a result reiterated that Fendell Campus of the University of Liberia be named the Mary Antoinette Brown Sherman Campus, a decision that “I ask you, President Weeks, to formalize at the earliest.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Facilitators and participants at the ECREEE workshopThe Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) on Tuesday, concluded a two-day workshop intended to familiarize environmental stakeholders in Liberia, especially the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on the understandings of the Grid Emission Factor (GEF) and Standard Baseline (SB) Calculation.Having the grid emission factor is a prior requirement to determine the emission reductions achieved by a proposed low emissions project connected to the national grid system, while the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) introduced the SB’s concept in 2010/2011, with the aim to reduce transaction costs for project developers. But Liberia is yet to achieve any of these concepts so far.This is why the workshop, held in collaboration with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Regional Collaboration Center (RCC), was convened in the country.GEF is the measure of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions intensity per unit of electricity generation in a given grid system.UNFCCC Focal Person, Benjamin S. Karmorh, informed participants that the training is designed to assist local stakeholders in the calculation of the Grid Emission Factor of the national electricity grid, using real data provided by official sources.Karmorh urged them to provide data from their respective institutions so that Liberia can be elevated from the bottom to a middle income country.He at the same time lauded ECREEE and UNFCCC Regional Collaboration Center for building the capacities of representatives of relevant ministries and organizations that have potential roles to play in the development of the grid emission factor and the SB in the country.Mr. Karmorh (immediate right) and other facilitators at the eventECREEE Program Officer, Adeola Adebiyi, said the main objective of the workshop was to familiarize key stakeholders on the process of calculating the grid emission factor and a standardized baseline for the energy sector.Madam Adebiyi said that the two concepts help countries to determine the emission reductions achieved by new low emissions projects connected to the grid.She said both concepts are also crucial for the overall implementation of National Determined Contributions (NDC) that have been submitted by Liberia to the UNFCCC.According to her, while most ECOWAS countries have gone through the process of developing the GEF and SB, Liberia is still to fully complete the process since it was introduced in 2014.“So the workshop aims to fast-track the process so that you are not left behind,” Adebiyi told participants.She then lauded UNFCCC/ RCC in Lomé, Togo, for its technical contributions, and thanked the EPA for co-organizing the workshop.EPA Executive Director, Nathaniel T. Blama, Sr. said that representatives from the various ministries and agencies and those from some private institutions will be provided with requisite skills and techniques on how to calculate emission.Blama challenged participants to take the training seriously, because information that would be generated would fit in the country’s data base, and would inform the country’s reporting process.He said that it took his administration two months to ratify the Paris Agreement after it had gathered dust at the Legislature for two years.Liberia joined the UNFCCC in 2002, and has since been an active member.Participants lauded facilitators and ECREEE for the opportunity and promised that they will make use of the training.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Seed germination testing helps seed dealers and farmers to have a glimpse of how the seed will perform in a field when favorable growing conditions are available.Moreover, farmers know that they make a good investment when seeds tested germination rate or percentage is high.Despite, the other laboratory methods used to know seeds’ germination potential, the “Ragdoll Method,” is one common and even cheaper means that Liberian food crop farmers can benefit from.Materials needed to employ this method are; seeds, thread, the towel of handkerchief size and tight tube, stick or pencil.Seed Germination Test Process• Sample selection at random• Composite (mix the samples selected for composite sample)• Select 100 full seeds at random to test for germination but also for big seeds (peanut, soybean, corn) count 50 to test for germination.• Arrange seeds in rows of 10• Wet the towel and allow free water to drip off, afterward lay the wet towel flat and add seeds.• Carefully wrap the cloth around a stick, tight tube or pencil. Also, use the thread to tighten the towel/cloth by wrapping the thread from one end to another.• Submerge ragdoll in water for few seconds• Place the ragdoll in a safe place to avoid rats and birds damage.• In every 24 hours, repeat the submerging activity for three to five days• After 3-5 days check the number of seeds sprouted• Calculate germination percentage by calculating seeds sprouted by dividing it by total seeds used and multiply the dividend by 100. Germination percentage from 80% upward is considered good for planting.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The dialogue on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) attracted government representatives, partners and foreign experts that are in the NDC implementation.…UNDP tells dialogue on nationally determined contributionsThe program manager of the National Adaptation Plan (NAPs) project, E. Abraham T. Tumbey, has told a two-day National Dialogue on Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, that addressing climate change requires decisive leadership and coordinated stakeholders input, an EPA release has said.According to the release, the two-day event, which started on Wednesday, November 11, 2019, in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, was organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Conservation International (CI) and REDD+ Implementation Unit at the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).The dialogue attracted government representatives, partners and foreign experts that are in the NDC implementation.Mr. Tumbey said that the project has been four years since Liberia submitted its NDC as a demonstration of the country’s commitment to contribute to the global effort on combating climate change.Tumbey said that a core pillar of the Paris Agreement is that countries, including Liberia, will scale up their national climate effort every five years.“Liberia took the first step in 2015 by submitting its INDC; and in 2020, it is expected to take the next. By making these commitments, the country has signaled that a climate-resilient future is underway,” Tumbey said.“As we prepare for the implementation of the Paris Agreement in 2020, convening of this dialogue is indeed a landmark effort that allows us, as partners, to reflect and outline a clear pathway and approach for a collaborative effort in supporting Liberia in a coherent and effective manner,” Mr. Tumbey told the gathering in a statement delivered on behalf of UNDP.The meeting, he said, also provided a unique opportunity to engage a broader group of stakeholders in the NDC process and increase ownership of national and sector climate commitments.“Such a broader engagement can also help increase national ownership of NDCs among diverse stakeholder groups,” Tumbey added.“We also have the occasion to identify opportunities for enhancing Liberia’s NDC, including mechanisms for governance, coordination and effective implementation. For us as UNDP, the dialogue affords us the opportunity to grasp a deeper understanding of the various roles and inputs of existing partners supporting Liberia’s NDC and National Communications and thus enabling us to identify our niche within this important landscape,” he said.Mr. Tumbey told the gathering that addressing climate change requires decisive leadership and coordinated stakeholders input, adding that the UNDP is happy to be a part of this process.Benjamin Karmorh, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Focal Person, said that Liberia is a party to the Paris Climate Agreement, which he said was ratified in 2018.Karmorh said that the ratification of the instrument demonstrates the political will on the part of the government in fulfilling its own international obligations.He said that the NDC is a major activity that all parties to the Paris Climate Agreement should undertake, and this dialogue is just a jumpstart in terms of Liberia revising it.He said that there will be a lot of activities after the dialogue, which seeks to drill down on gaps in NDC implementation; identify opportunities for internal and external partnerships; and explore how to strengthen governance and coordination mechanisms for effective NDC implementation.Mr. Karmorh said that Liberia submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) in 2015, outlining the country’s intended actions to contribute to the global effort to combat climate change.“INDC was a major requirement for all countries that were taking part in the Paris Climate Change talk, so Liberia submitted her plan of action in terms of how she would address climate change,” he said.According to Mr. Karmorh, Liberia told the international community that it was going to address climate change from an adaptation and mitigation standpoint.He assured that all relevant stakeholders in the business of climate change will be invited so that every view can be reflective in the revised NDC when it is submitted to the international community.EPA Deputy Executive Director, Randall M. Dobayou, lauded the participants for turning out en masse for the event.Dobayou, who declared the dialogue opened, recounted EPA’s achievements, including the interventions at New Kru Town and in Buchanan City aimed at mitigating the negative impacts of climate change in Liberia.Conservation International (CI) Deputy Director, Peter Mulbah, three years ago, identified gaps in Liberia’s NDC, and said he is happy that the country has taken a bold step in implementing some of the gaps CI identified.Mulbah recalled that since 2000, CI has been a very strong partner supporting the Liberian government’s initiative, for which they were glad to be part of the dialogue.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…ahead of International Day of Men and BoysAs the Social Cohesion Ministry kick-started the celebrations of International Day of Men and Boys in Guyana, Minister George Norton highlighted that men are now harmfully stereotyped which increases their vulnerability and promotes gender inequality.Social Cohesion Minister, Dr George Norton joined by a group of school boys at the launch of International Day of Men and Boys in GuyanaThis was as he relayed to a gathering at the Umana Yana on Thursday that, “There is no doubt about the fact that harmful stereotyping of men is an issue we face but we must work to eliminate this issue.”Norton was at the time speaking at the local launch ahead of Sunday’s observation of the international day set aside for the honouring of men and their contributions to society.In his address, the Minister suggested that feminist efforts to promote women and gender equality can often open the doors for men to suffer at the hands of a number of social injustices.In doing so, he relayed, “Sometimes, men and boys are reluctant to speak out on certain issues affecting them, but I must encourage you to let your voices be heard.”Continuing on that note, Minister Norton indicated that the idea of women being the only victims of domestic violence and abuse are among the misconceptions which tend to silence male victims.With that in mind, he encouraged the male gathering to embrace their responsibility as men in society despite the stereotypes which seek to threaten their masculinity.“Men and boys I appeal to you do not be discouraged because of these stereotyping. We must abandon those stereotypes and embrace positive attributes,” Norton stated in his encouragement to men and went on to highlight that that would mean, “Be good role models, build healthy relationships and always be respectful.”The Social Cohesion Minister went on to point out the important role men continue to play in the development of their families and by extension the country.“The role of men and boys should never be underestimated. Men and boys must see themselves as responsible, caring and non-violent individuals, who contribute meaningfully to society,” he expressed.Sharing the similar concerns as it relates to the marginalisation of men in societies, not only in Guyana but across the world, Dr Williams Adu-Krow, who is the country representative attached to the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO).Dr Adu-Krow in his remarks at the event noted that the idea of masculinity often results in men being sceptical as it relates to seeking assistance in fear of falling below society’s expectation of their inherent bravery.This, he noted, often leads to men neglecting basic necessities, such as health care. As such, he is calling for a change in the way males are socialised, with less emphasis being placed on society’s expectations of masculinity, so as to truly level the playing field between men and women, particularly in the Caribbean.International Day of Men and Boys is celebrated on November 19 in about 70 countries across the globe.This occasion was earmarked to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of men and boys and more so to focus on their health, promoting gender equality and improving gender relations.To further commemorate this event in Guyana, the Social Protection Ministry will be hosting a public forum in Georgetown on Sunday.
…on parking meter by-lawsBy Lakhram BhagiratThe Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown has indicated its intention to challenge the recent High Court ruling quashing the by-laws of the controversial parking meter project with Smart City Solutions.Mayor Patricia Chase Green said the city’s legal team was in the process of giving notice of appeal to formally commence the proceedings.Chase Green, in an interview with Guyana Times, said all the processes in legalising the by-laws of the parking meter contract with Smart City Solutions, were adhered to and she was confused by Justice Nareshwar Harnanan’s December 17 ruling.Justice Harnanan ruled that the procedure used to bring into effect the by-laws was breached, resulting in them being invalid.“What part of the process we failed in I am not quite certain, because we would have had extensive notices done at City Hall, at the National Library, at all of the Post Offices and at all of our markets .… I don’t know, but we are challenging it because as a Council, we have a right,” the Mayor said.On January 23, 2017, Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan signed the by-laws that were approved at the December 13, 2016 Statutory Meeting of the Council.The M&CC had entered into a contract with Smart City Solutions Inc on May 13, 2016, for parking meters to be implemented in Georgetown.Chase Green alluded to Article 28:01 of the District Councils and Municipalities Act, which she said makes provision for the municipality to formulate by-laws and for the Minister to sign off on them. Additionally, the Mayor stated that the work of the municipality would not be stalled by the ruling, adding that it was in the process of drafting new by-laws for littering.The case was filed in February by the New Building Society and sought to challenge the legality of the city’s metered parking by-laws. NBS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Anil Kishun, in an affidavit, noted that the approval granted was unlawful “in that it was done in breach of the Municipal and District Councils Act” and was, therefore, “null and void and of no legal effect”.He outlined that the notice of intention to apply for the approval of the Minister of any by-law must be published in the Official Gazette not less than 14 days before the application is made. Kishun, in his affidavit, stated that this was not done and that the provisions of Section 305 of the Act were not followed and the Minister’s approval was granted unlawfully, unreasonably, without or in excess of jurisdiction and in breach of the statute.The ruling comes after a new committee was formed to renegotiate the contract with SCS and was at a point of inking a new agreement. Under the proposal, persons would be entitled to pay $100 per hour and could park in any space as opposed to the initial system where they paid for space and time.However, the Mayor informed that the work of the renegotiating committee would not be affected by the ruling and that she was anticipating the report following the consultation.The new committee is being chaired by Councillor Akeem Peter and consists of Councillors Noelle Chow-Chee (Vice Chairperson); Oscar Clarke; Jameel Rasul; James Samuels; Heston Bostwick and Ivor Henry. The Mayor mandated that two members of the public also sit on the committee and Civil Engineer Owen Godfrey Edwards and Accountant Robin Hunte were selected.
…to file defence in extradition matterAttorney General Basil Williams was on Friday granted leave by the High Court in order to file a defence in the extradition matter for Troy Anthony Thomas, also known as Mervin Williams.This came one week after Thomas’s defence lawyers filed a fixed date application in the High Court to prevent the extradition proceedings at the Magistrates’ Courts.Recently when the matter was called before Principal Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus at the Providence Magistrate’s Court, the lawyers told the Magistrate about the application they filed on behalf of their client in the High Court.Attorney-at-Law Stacy Goodings, who is representing the Government of the United States, told the court that the Magistrates’ Courts has the jurisdiction to continue the extradition proceedings, and that the State was ready to proceed with the matter.After hearing both parties, the Magistrate gave the High Court an opportunity to rule on the matter. The case was adjourned and would come up in the High Court on May 10 for reports before Justice Jo-Ann Barlow.According to one of the defence lawyers, Nigel Hughes, the United States of America (extradition) order in council 1935 does not form part of the domestic laws of Guyana, hence the declaration that the provisions of the United States of America (extradition) order in council 1935 No 574 cannot be enforced by a Magistrate.The lawyers are contending that Magistrate Isaacs-Marcus possesses no authority at law or otherwise to enforce the provisions of the treaty between the United Kingdom and the United States of America for the mutual extradition of fugitive criminals signed on December 22, 1931.They added that the provisions were unconstitutional, null and void or have no legal effect.Furthermore, the Attorneys submitted that their client is a citizen of Guyana and he is entitled to the protection of the provision of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.