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Guyana Gaming Authority: Oh Vendetta, where is thy victory

first_imgDear Editor,On Saturday, February 3, 2018, Stabroek News’ top story was: “Surinamese investor pulls gaming machines from delayed Sleep-In casino – gives two-month deadline for positive word on licence”.The action by the Surinamese investor is a good lesson for us all: take no BS! Extracts from the poem by Martin Niemöller, commenting on the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis’ rise to power, are insightful:First, they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.Then they came for the sugar workers — and there is an oppressive political, economic and racial nexus between the loathsome treatment of Sleep-In International Hotel and Casino (Sleep-In) application and the sugar workers.The truth is: there was no earthly reason to deny, delay, or retard the casino application process; and, in addition, reportedly threaten and undermine the application process by requesting that Sleep-In revoke and replace the auditor. I am that auditor.Sleep-In seemingly acquiesced to the Gaming Authority. It was the passivity that the rubber-stamping Gaming Authority Board sought to continue their vendetta against Sleep-In and the group that Sleep-In is perceived to favour and support. Also, my role as Auditor became persona non-grata for the Gaming Authority after I expressed my concerns about the inexplicable behaviour of the Guyana Gaming Authority.Auditors more eminent then I have found no anomaly in the audited financial statements; and now we are in the dead zone, with the Gaming Authority stalling, stymying, or failing to make a decision after having been provided, in April 2017, with a new and all-inclusive casino licence application.Subsequently, individual tax returns of the directors and supporting documentation for source of funds were provided to the Gaming Authority upon their request. The tide has now receded, and to paraphrase Warren Buffet, we can see the nakedness of the Gaming Authority Board members and their handlers. I apologize to the readers for illustrating these likely unfit and improper images without warning.Maybe we should have asked for multiple years of individual tax returns of Darren Woods, CEO & Chairman of ExxonMobil, and the other ExxonMobil Directors. Can’t have that, these are foreigners from an extremely “reputable” company.The dissimulation of the Gaming Authority is evidenced in a most visual manner by the repossession of some of the gaming machines from Sleep-In by one of the investors. What a tragedy for local business entrepreneurs.Now what are the options for the self-described independent and objective Gaming Authority? After having received a comprehensive application that complied with the requirements of the Gambling Prevention Act and the other statutes the Gaming Authority claims relevancy under. Options: (1) Issue the licences; (2) adhere to the preceding option.However, we are not dealing with an independent or objective Gaming Authority, and thus there is only one directive they will execute: Do not issue the licence to an entity that is perceived to be controlled by the PPP.As Walter Rodney noted in his book, The Grounding with my Brothers: “Why not struggle for multi-racial and harmonious living, which nobody on a theoretical level would oppose. This is what we are struggling for.”Sincerely,Nigel Hindslast_img read more


Stop selling poison in schools

first_imgDear Editor,I strongly condemn vendors for selling poison to Guyanese schoolchildren in the form of soft drinks and energy drinks. These should be banned immediately.With this in mind, I commend Government Member of Parliament (MP) John Adams for presenting a motion, on behalf of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Social Services, that schools should be “discouraged” from selling soft drinks in their canteens. I am going further to say it should be prohibited.But that motion is too soft, because it is not enough to discourage this practice. It must be outlawed completely.In his presentation to the National Assembly as Chairperson of the committee, Adams disclosed that the ministries of Education and Public Health were selling aerated drinks in schools. He said it was his committee’s hope that the Education Ministry would be able to do something to “restrict” canteens from selling such beverages.While I support the committee’s position on this issue, I respectfully disagree with Adams’s choice of the words “hope” and “restrict” while making his presentation in Parliament. I believe the slow poisoning of our children in schools is far too important to be dealt with by merely hoping for a restriction. It is time to get out of dreamland. The Ministry of Education has to ban this evil now.Adams’s committee also recommended to Parliament that schools promote the sale of “healthy, wholesome and nutritious foods” to encourage healthy eating habits, and also that physical education be mandatory in schools. That is good, but our children’s good health depends on how quickly the nation can move on from making recommendations to actually implementing them.In this age of information technology, people literally have at their hand’s reach countless sources of information about the poisonous effects of soft drinks and energy drinks on consumers’ waistlines and teeth. These beverages are packed with sugar and harmful chemicals, and regular consumption causes multiple health problems, like diabetes, heart disease, asthma and obesity, including flare-ups in temper due to the excess in sugar content and other poisons.Many are sold in cans that are coated with the chemical endocrine disruptor Bisphenol A (BPA), which is linked to heart disease, obesity, and reproductive problems. The artificial brown colouring in soft drinks is made using chemicals which, in US Government-conducted studies, caused lung, liver, or thyroid cancers, or leukemia in laboratory mice and rats.The average can of these poisonous beverages has 17 teaspoons of sugar and a huge number of useless calories. Drinking them greatly increases the obesity risk in children, and constantly erodes their dental enamel. Those with artificial sweeteners are worse; artificial sugars are linked to numerous illnesses and diseases, including cancer.Consuming these poisons can cause an addictive adrenaline rush, followed by a sharp downward mood swing, because the intake of harmful chemicals saps the human body of energy. The addictive highs followed by energy-depleting lows caused can take consumers of these beverages on a roller-coaster ride that eats away their mental well-being, especially children. They also reinforce bad eating habits.These beverages are poison, pure and simple. With all the information available today from credible sources about the serious harm these drinks can do to a human body, especially the body and brains of a growing child, it is obvious that Guyana has to ban the sale of these drinks to children in the schools. What more do we need? What is the problem?In my opinion, no one should be permitted to drink these beverages, but just as in the case with alcohol and cigarettes, a multitude of foolish people will insist that they have a right to consume them, although these persons know beyond a shadow of doubt that by doing so they are poisoning themselves. Let the adults poison themselves with them if they want to, but leave our children alone.The House of Assembly should ratify the motion raised by MP Adams and his committee and move to implement the recommendations without undue delay. I commend PPP/C MPs Dr. Vishwa Mahadeo and Alistair Charlie who made contributions on the motion.I urge both sides of the House to ensure that the recommendations of Adams’s committee are implemented swiftly. I also call on them to move on to even stronger action by implementing an outright ban on these poisonous beverages in schools and hospitals.Once again, compliments to MP Adams’s committee for being behind the presentation of this motion in Parliament.Sincerely,Roshan Khan Srlast_img read more


LGE in Linden will be very interesting

first_imgDear Editor,As an avid reader of the daily newspapers, I come across many interesting, intriguing, and sometimes shocking stories that cause one to pause and ask the question: Is this for real?One such story was captured in the Chronicle newspaper under the caption “APNU runs off successful primaries for Linden LGE candidates”, September 11, 2018.When? Where? What time? Those are some of the questions I, as a resident of this community, would like to ask. The fact that this was done and the majority of our residents, including me, were unaware, gives an indication of several things. One, Guyana Elections Commission has done a very poor job of sensitising the people about local government elections; and, more importantly, the parties of APNU who held these primaries also failed to inform the people of the different constituencies of these so-called “successful primaries”, and the dismal turn-out is the evidence of this truth.This community, Mr Editor, has a voting population of over 20,000 registered voters, and this article has made several interesting discoveries and revelations that cannot go unnoticed.Firstly, Minister Valerie Patterson Yearwood is the campaign manager for the APNU in Linden. How many people before now knew of this decision? What happened to Minister Broomes, who was in charge? If there was need for a change, why were we in this community not informed? And moreover, why Minister Valerie Patterson Yearwood? Why her? Is this for a blood lineage, her sister, now her?I ask those questions not because I have anything personal against her, but because that is a question many others, like myself, have asked. Minister Valerie is seldom in Linden due to her work commitments. Her very visible physical challenges will pose some difficulties, and quite frankly, Mr. Editor, this community needs to see new, emerging leadership. This community is tired of the same old faces, and we know them because we’ve seen them time and again. One was most recently reinstated as chairman of the Linden Hospital Board, why? Why do we keep recycling these some old people for leadership positions in Linden when we have many others?It’s time for a change; we need new and fresh faces; we need some young and intelligent people with refreshing ideas.Secondly, the statements the minister made when she said, “The process gave the voter population within the communities the opportunity to select who they want to represent their constituencies at the upcoming LGE”, and “she described the process as an orderly one and was most impressed with the “high voter turnout” is most astonishing. Really, minister?I am convinced, Mr Editor, that the APNU campaign manager for Linden has been out of Linden for far too long, and is out of touch with the happenings and, moreover, the realities in this community/town.A town with a registered voting population of over 20,000 people and the campaign manager is happy with the combined votes of the eight constituencies within the township of a mere 400 voters who participated, less than three percent (3%) of the voting population? This leaves me in a place of shock and awe.The APNU campaign manager, the one who is in charge of a team for these important elections in her party’s strongest support base, should not be happy with such a significantly low turnout at the primaries held. She should be embarrassed, to say the least.With less than three percent turnout rate, did the people really have an opportunity to choose their representatives?These indicators have shown, in a major way, the quality of leadership of the APNU in Linden; the disinterest of our people/supporters, and the level of work that has to be done with the party and, most importantly, the dire need for newness of ideas and leadership in Linden and Region Ten. Leadership with the ability to enthuse and organise the people for and increased voter turnout on Election Day; and, most importantly, for a convincing victory at the polls.At the LGE to take place weeks ahead, I will be voting, but not for the candidates who were selected and put to a three percent of the voting population to represent my interest, my constituency, and by extension my town.Better is needed, and certainly a change must come; and these political parties contesting these polls, including the AFC and the PPP, need to come with something new, because I have heard it all before, and all of them were given a chance; and guess what, you didn’t deliver.Is it not time for something new, something fresh? We deserve better, God knows. Linden, it’s time; be local, be vocal.Yours faithfully,Justice Welcomelast_img read more


GPSU stands in solidarity with employees

first_imgDear Editor,The Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) stands firmly in solidarity with employees of the Russian Aluminium company (RUSAL), and their Union, the Guyana Bauxite & General Workers Union (GBGWU) in their struggle for fair and decent pay, and the employer’s disrespect for the laws of Guyana.The Collective Labour Agreement between the GBGWU and RUSAL allows for discussions on any policy which will alter the conditions of service for employees. It also enjoins the employer to discuss with the Labour Department of the Social Protection Ministry, any changes in workers’ conditions of service.The Collective Labour Agreement is enshrined in Article 147 (3) of the Constitution of Guyana. Guyana has also ratified ILO Convention 98 which deals with Collective Bargaining. Furthermore, the Trade Union Recognition Act of 1997, Section 23-1 stated pellucidly that where an employee’s organisation is recognised, management must meet with the employees’ representative in good faith to discuss conditions of service of the employee.Section 23-3 of the said Act states that where the employer fails to meet with the employee’s representative, this constitutes an offence and that for every additional day that they fail to meet, a fine is imposed. RUSAL, in arbitrarily imposing a one per cent increase, changed the conditions of service of the employees and this is a blatant disrespect to the employees’ representative and total disregard for the laws of Guyana.This flagrant disregard and infringement on workers’ rights led to their protesting, and RUSAL responded by adding ‘salt to the wounds’ with the dismissal of 61 workers, ejection of employees and their families from their living quarters, and refusing to prepare meals, in an effort to break the workers’ spirit. This is a method used by combatant forces and violates a fundamental international principle of humanitarianism which prohibits the starvation of civilians. The move by RUSAL can be viewed as contempt and disdain towards the workers in their fight for a living wage. This reprehensive and illegal conduct is in violation of Article 147-2 of Guyana’s Constitution which gives the employees the right to strike. The right to strike is also mentioned in ILO Convention 87, a fundamental right of workers and of their organisations and must be protected and respected at all cost!This action by RUSAL flies in the face of all decency and shows blatant disrespect for the people and laws of Guyana more so at a time when the country is celebrating its 49th Republic Anniversary.The Guyana Public Service Union strongly condemns this action by RUSAL and its labour advisor for disrespecting and violating the workers’ rights and breaching the laws of Guyana. The GPSU calls on the Social Protection Ministry to enforce the laws immediately by taking the necessary legal action against the employer.Sincerely,GuyanaPublic Service Unionlast_img read more


Is GECOM above the Constitution?

first_imgDear Editor,The GECOM enigma continues to baffle, bewilder, mystify, confound and confuse everyone as Guyanese are taken for a seemingly futile journey from the High Court and Appeal Court of Guyana to the Caribbean Court of Justice – the highest Appellate Court of the region. Until now, since June 18 this year, the matters which were brought before the CCJ and decisively concluded are yet to be given legal effect and enforcement.We have seen that even though the CCJ has ruled that the NCM was validly passed since December 21, 2018, and that legal effect and enforcement must be given to Article 106 (6) and (7) which inter alia states that: Cabinet must resign, the coalition Government is in caretaker mode and General and Regional Elections must be held within three months or 90 days, we are no closer to any of these. The Government has refused to dissolve Cabinet, refused to act like a caretaker Government and has been using spurious legal meanderings to avoid the CCJ’s rulings initiated by the new ‘Hughes Mathematical Formula’.The recent ruling on August 14 by the High Court has skilfully avoided the petition brought by chartered accountant and Attorney-at-Law Christopher Ram, who had sought to stop the House-to-House Registration process, arguing that it is not in keeping with the recent rulings of the CCJ and the Constitution of Guyana. He had also sought an order for GECOM to take all steps and actions necessary to hold elections by September 18, 2019, in compliance with Articles 106 (6) and (7). The Chief Justice ruled that the House-to-House Registration process to compile an Official List of Electors (OLE) is legal but no one can be removed from the NRR once they are not deceased or is not a citizen, which should be applauded. However, even though the CCJ did not and cannot set a date for elections, it did specify a timeline in accordance with the relevant Article. Furthermore, on June 18, when the CCJ confirmed the validity of the NCM, the election clock began ticking from that date since it is legally acceptable that a judgment takes legal effect from the date it was made, therefore, it will be logical to conclude that the short pause of the NCM was lifted on June 18.The Chief Justice should have ruled in relation to that new time period, it is not about setting a date for elections but to recognise the new timeline which had restarted from June 18 and will end on September 18 and that GECOM must consider that timeframe and set a date for elections. This means that GECOM will set the date, not the Court, the latter must stipulate that GECOM act with that three-month timeline. How else can the legal effect be given to Article 106 (7) which states that elections must be held within three months unless extended by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly? So essentially what the Court is saying is that although we recognised the validity of this Article we cannot enforce it but leave GECOM to execute it. So what is the purpose of the Court?When we look at this from GECOM’s perspective we find that the current House-to-House Registration will take approximately 290 days to conclude according to GECOM’s work programme. This means that it will end around April/May 2020. This was pointed out by the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo, who had indicated that it is a programme shared by Chief Elections Officer, Mr Keith Lowenfield. To accept that it will conclude on October 20, 2019, is living in fool’s paradise, this is virtually impossible and I am sure the new Chairperson for GECOM will find this out presently.President Granger had in a letter dated March 13 this year asked for the GECOM’s work programme from the then Chairman Patterson to set date for ‘credible’ elections with the shortest possible time, therefore, I am sure that he is fully cognisant and acquiesced to this unconstitutional bid to extend elections way beyond the stipulated 90 days by an additional 200 days!It has been regurgitated and reiterated ad nauseam that GECOM is an independent body and is the creature of the Constitution.My final questions are: Is GECOM above the Constitution? Should GECOM be allowed to violate the Constitution which has created it? Should GECOM not now act decisively to give legal effect to Article 106 (7)? Should it not be that any act or law which violates the Constitution should be declared null and void and without legal effect?I am sure that the Chairperson of GECOM, Justice Claudette Singh, will not allow the violation and utter disregard which has been meted out thus far to our Constitution to continue!Yours sincerely,Haseef Yusuflast_img read more


We (Guyanese) and GECOM must move forward from the base of the valid NCM

first_imgDear Editor,Since the successful passage of the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) of December 21, 2018, there should have been early elections in our country, 15-18 months earlier than otherwise.Following the no-confidence vote, I and all of us Guyanese would have been relieved and heartened by the press conference quickly called in Parliament by our Prime Minister, Hon Moses Nagamootoo, accepting the validity of the NCM and the requirement to hold elections within 90 days as laid out in our Constitution. He likened that surprising, historical event in our political development to the varying fortunes of teams in the game of cricket. The next morning a statement came out from our President, His Excellency, David A Granger endorsing the position of his Prime Minister.It has not been cricket since then; our President, our Prime Minister and our coalition Government have been backtracking since then. Today, nearly 8 months later, we still have no definite date for the early elections. Indeed, some seem to be smirking that elections may be even later than they would have otherwise been. Our President, our Prime Minister and our coalition Government may pride themselves in having so far thwarted the NCM. Have they not given any thought to the cost to our society of their erosion of trust and social cohesion?Yes, we PPP and PPP/C have been put to the test, once again, of keeping the faith in Guyana – enduring and paying the price to keep Guyana whole. We recognise some reward – we see that more and more of our fellow citizens have been reconsidering the stories that they have imbibed about us, the PPP and the PPP/C, in the face of the great and obvious tomfoolery by many members of our coalition Government and their supporters in their interpretations of our Constitution and the various rulings of our courts. Also, there have been major, if plodding, successes in the rulings of our courts. In particular, our final court, the CCJ, in its rulings on June 18, 2019, and its consequential orders on July 12, 2019, held that 1) the NCM was validly passed and the relevant Articles in our Constitution should be complied with and 2) the procedure by which our President first appointed the GECOM Chairman was flawed. That Chairman, after some hesitation, has since resigned. Our President has subsequently, recently, appointed a new Chairman of GECOM in a process satisfying the letter and spirit of the relevant Articles in our Constitution. A reasonable interpretation of the hearings at the CCJ is that GECOM should always hold itself ready to hold an election within 90 days. Our President is still to demand this of GECOM and put us on the road to early elections.We recall that along the way, the pleadings made by our Attorney General against Mr Charrandas Persaud’s presence and vote in the Parliament because of his dual citizenship turned around and bit them. After some delay, following our Chief Justice’s ruling in January 2019 we saw the coalition Government appearing to accede to, then backtrack, and eventually, their four dual citizen Ministers resigned. I will not dwell here on whether those Ministers may not now be even more entrenched in certain ways than before – we citizens should observe and our coalition Government should know that they cannot evade their due deserts for too long.Our anxious focus now is understandably on GECOM, including a number of decisions taken (or purported to have been taken) by the earlier, improperly appointed Chairman. We regret the pressure placed on the new Chairman from our anxiety and expectations of her being guided by the CCJ rulings of June 18, 2019, and the recent Acting Chief Justice’s rulings on August 14, 2019.The Acting Chief Justice, Justice Roxane George’s August 14, 2019, ruling was very clear. Among other comments that formed part of her ruling, she said:“The NCM (No-Confidence Motion) is an extraordinary circumstance that GECOM must bear in mind in its decision-making as it conducts the House-to-House Registration and for that matter any verification process that has as the objective, the compilation or revision of the list of electors for the required upcoming elections.“…as such, since GECOM is seeking to register electors, GECOM may have to consider other options including what other methods of verification of the list may have to be utilised whether in conjunction with or separately with the House-to-House exercise.“…GECOM is an independent body, that is not subject to the control or direction of any person or authority and while it is incumbent on GECOM to produce a credible list and a credible election, it is subject to the Constitution and the laws and cannot act as though it is a normal registration or election cycle.”Justice Roxane George’s ruling validated our PPP position that the House-to-House Registration, hurriedly and questionably embarked upon, could not be used to deregister persons and should, therefore, be judged as a waste of time and money. Our fears are that the H2H Registration as represented by GECOM was intended to create opportunities for manipulating our NRR, deregistering eligible voters, introducing “phantom” voters and ultimately, for delaying the elections.Editor, all eyes are now on the new Chairperson of GECOM, Justice Claudette Singh, and what will be the Commission’s decision on the way forward – a decision that will hopefully come after the next meeting of the full Commission.The position of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) has been publicly expounded on repeatedly. There should be a move towards a Claims and Objections exercise as a means of updating and refreshing the last valid List of Voters to facilitate the holding of elections in the shortest possible time – bearing in mind that General and Regional Elections ought to have been held since March 21, 2019.I wish to reiterate that all eyes are on GECOM. As an independent, constitutional agency, much is expected from the Commission.We of the PPP and PPP/C will persevere in keeping our faith that the overwhelming majority of us Guyanese want to be fair, want to put Guyana first, and want to see Guyana being put first. We will persevere and we believe we will be rewarded in more and more of our fellow citizens accepting that we have been good and will be good for all Guyanese and Guyana.Yours sincerely,Samuel A A HindsFormer Prime Minister and former Presidentlast_img read more


Help us: Ministers of Finance and Infrastructure

first_imgDear Editor,Permit me the space Editor, to seek the intervention of the Government to investigate the unashamed position of the Management of GPL. I dare say that I will seek spaces weekly to inform the readers and authorities of the issues that affect the staffers of GPL.This time of the year is known to be the festive season; the time of giving. However, this is not so with the company I speak about. The Management seems to forget that the Guyana Power and Light is an important pillar to the development of the nation and more specifically, the catalyst for the many Christmas trees that will need electricity, and I reiterate, that will need electricity to be lit-up.Further, Editor, the staffers who are overworked, and underpaid, who face brutal disrespect from customers daily, those who are spin doctors of the ‘White House’ – who tell spin-truth to the press about the current shortage in generation of electricity, the linemen who work handicap, and the list can go on and on. The point is, the staffers do this not just because they care about our job security, but because they care about the longevity of GPL, while management spends good money on retreats.I must say the time is now for your intervention Mr Patterson. To see how the top-heavy management can get up off their rear and work. They are sitting on the lower concerned staff who are interested in the progress of GPL. They are blocking the development and happiness of the staff.Mr Jordon, I am aware that you are certainly the expert in the business of finance, on to a date like this, the GPL Management (negotiation) team, who were pushing the Unions around and were subsequently fired and reinstated cannot come up with a proposal to meet the expectations of its employees. Please speak to His Excellency, President Granger for the same ratio of increases to be applied to GPL’s less than 2500 permanent and temporary staff.Staffers are concerned whether they will be meted with the vendetta of those reinstated or told no increases. The staffers deserve it (9 per cent increase).Yours in truth,Concerned consumerlast_img read more


Region 10 gets Passport Office

first_imgRegion 10 (Upper Demerara/Berbice) will be the first to have fully operationalised passport application services as the government moves to decentralise such services.This announcement had first been made on July 15 by Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix, at the occasion of the ‘Meet the Public’Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix along with Assistant National Director, Community Development Councils, Sandra Adams of Linden, examine the office within the National Insurance Scheme building where the passport services will be conductedInitiative in Linden.On Thursday last the Minister visited Linden to participate in sensitisation activities in preparation for the Tuesday, August 16 launch on those services in Linden at the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) building. He also met with staff at the NIS when he visited the intended location.“This initiative has its genesis in His Excellency’s [President David Granger] concept of providing government services in the towns. It is his view that government services should be delivered in the townships created, thereby avoiding unnecessary travel to Georgetown to conduct simple business with a government agency. It is in this regard that the Department of Citizenship has taken the initiative a stage further,” Felix said.He explained that persons applying for the renewal of passports or the replacement of lost, damaged or filled passports will be able to make their applications weekly; on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and will be able to uplift their passports the following Thursday. Persons applying for passports for the first time, however, will still be required to visit the Immigration Office in Georgetown due to the machinery required to generate first time machine-readable passports.The minister said that since the current location in Linden is a temporary one, the move to have first time passport applicants acquire this service would not be possible until the ministry can acquire permanent premises. He added that efforts are being made to acquire a permanent location.Minister Felix said that as the roll out of these services continues across the country, the ministry is also working with the E-Government Agency to provide other services such as the online passport applications and online visa applications. This, however, will take some time due to the need for capacity development with regard to connectivity in far outlying areas.Following the implementation in Region 10, the decentralising of passport application services will expanded to other areas including: Mabaruma in the Waini, Region One (Barima-Waini); Anna Regina, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam); New Amsterdam and Corriverton, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne); Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni); Mahdia Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo).last_img read more


Guinean Gov’t Provides Ebola Updates:

first_imgThe Guinean government through its Embassy near Monrovia has provided what it translated as the latest information on the rising death toll from the Ebola virus that recently broke out in that West African state.Guinea Ambassador to Liberia, Elhaji Abdoulaye Doré, made the disclosure at a press conference on Friday when he spoke on “matters relating to the Ebola epidemic fever currently being battled by the regional health authorities.”According to Ambassador Doré, since the outbreak of the deadly disease a few weeks ago, with the virus having subsequently spread to Liberia, the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, (MOH/SW) in collaboration with its international partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Médecins Sans Frontieres in the two countries have taken the contagion seriously.As to the number of deaths, the Guinean diplomat disclosed that up to Friday, April 4, 134 cases were reported in Guinea, and of those cases, 84 deaths were related to the Ebola fever. Four new suspected cases were notified in the forest region, three in Macenta against two  reported in the  Guéckédou near the Liberian border, close to Lofa County and to Conakry.He said four other cases were completely treated and the patients discharged on Thursday, April 3 from two hospitals in Conakry (Ratoma and Donka Hospitals.)Reading from statistics collected from Guinea, Ambassador Doré said that out of the 80 cases in Guéckédou, 58 deaths were recorded; in Macenta 26 cases, 14 deaths; in Kissidougou nine cases, five deaths; Conakry 15 cases, four deaths; Dabola three new cases, two deaths; and one case in Dinguiraye, from which one person died.For their combined efforts, the Guinean diplomat expressed gratitude to the respective leadership of those organizations, on behalf of his government.“In the interest of our people and countries, the best thing to do for now is to educate the general public about the danger of the disease. Having acknowledged that this is the most important aspect, we believe that prevention is the best approach to dealing with the epidemic,” the Guinean envoy opined.He said, since the outbreak of the disease, the Guinean government, through its Embassy near Monrovia, has been in regular consultations with her counterpart in Liberia, to acquire the most reliable updates on the situation.“We do not only call the Minister of Health in Liberia for updates on the situation in our country, but we also transmit to him documents received from Conakry as it relates to measures and evaluations on the current situations since the disease outbreak…where the situation has spread to, since its outbreak to date.”Ambassador Doré has meanwhile, disclosed that one special health center with a laboratory facility is being currently installed in Guéckédou where Liberians, Sierra Leoneans as well as Guineans are examined and treated for the “Ebola virus.”     To further augment the strength of medical practitioners in Guinea to contain the spread of the virus, 27 medic specialists from across the world are being assigned to various regions in Guinea.The Ambassador expressed gratitude to the Liberian authorities for the “enthusiastic solidarity being put in place during the outbreak of the disease.”According to him, efforts by the Liberian authorities were clear evidence that Guinea and Liberia constitute one unified people, “because we share the same history, the same geography, and therefore, our people live together under the banners of the Mano River Union. We are therefore not surprised at the solidarity by Liberians because it is in times of trouble that one comes to know true friends. As such, prevention just might be the first major step to curing this pandemic.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


ACOMA Targets at Risk Communities with Awareness, Sensitization

first_imgIt is a common saying that knowledge is power and with knowledge a society  can prevent itself from harm and danger.This is the kind of method or strategy that a not for profit organization, Action for Community Matters (ACOMA), is taking to vulnerable communities in Monrovia and its immediate environs as the Ebola virus rages on.ACOMA last week trained dozens of adolescents and women as well as religious leaders from five communities including ELWA, West Point, Red-Light, Jacob Town and New Kru Town, in how to prevent the Ebola virus.They were being trained about prevention at the home level.  This has to do with what a mother can do when a member of the family falls sick. The trainees were also taught the measurement of disinfectants such as chlorine and chloride and how to dilute the substances.At the launch of a 2-day awareness and sensitization campaign organized by people who benefitted from ACOMA’s intensive training in West Point last weekend, the chief executive officer of ACOMA, Emily Gugbeh-Peal, said since the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the organization continues to buttress government’s efforts through its interventions with the passion for saving lives and promoting happy family life.Madam Peal noted that the aim of these awareness and sensitization exercises is not only to empower community leaders with the requisite knowledge to enhance Ebola awareness; but also to ensure that the training have a trigger-down effect on the overall life of the communities.“This is why after the intensive training we as an organization are following up with communities leaders as they engage their people using the basic skills taught them. By  the same token, ACOMA will also distribute buckets and other sanitary materials to the various communities,” she said. The ACOMA boss, who is also a micro finance expert and passionate leader, believes that when people are adequately informed and educated about the virus and how it can be prevented, they will stay safe and the virus will be contained. Therefore ACOMA’s interventions have been focused on awareness and distribution of anti-Ebola materials.“This Ebola thing is a very serious threat to our country. Let us try to convince our people to live in line with recommendations by health authorities,” Madam Pearl said in an encouragement to community leaders.From the onset of the outbreak, she noted that the organization’s initial strategy was using the telephone to advise all of its members and other women to observe the preventive measures, including  constant and proper hand washing, avoiding bush meat and stopping traditional burial practices as well as getting in direct contact with the sick or dead people and animals.Madam Peal further told the gathering that her organization was not only concerned with micro-financing businesswomen but also focusing on the holistic development and empowerment of women and families.ACOMA is resolved to continue its interventions until the Ebola pandemic is contained  and the country returns to normalcy, she said.Madam Pearl noted that her organization was very grateful to Pierre and Abbey in New York, USA and the Mutual Benefits Insurance (MBI) Company in Monrovia for their contributions that helped make the training a successful one.ACOMA  is a not-for-profit organization established a year ago to empower women with basic business and managerial skills.  It also offers financial loans to enable businesspeople, especially women, to sustain their families.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more