Beneficiaries of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (formerly Young African Leaders Initiative — YALI) have established a Liberia chapter in to help keep them together and forge ahead.Since 2010, the Mandela Washington Fellowship has taken a hundred or more selected young Africans between the ages of 25 to 35 to the United States every year to help enhance their respective initiatives in entrepreneurship, public service and social causes. Lately, the Fellowship has grown from over 100 participants annually to to nearly 1000 from across the continent, with enhanced enrichment experiences including weeks high-level networking and training in various disciplines including business entrepreneurship, governance, private sector investment, agriculture, civil leadership, public service, amongst others.Beneficiaries are expected to return to their respective countries to provide services in line with their careers in order to meet the needed change they want to see in their communities and countries.The newly established local chapter is chaired Mr. Benjamin M. Freeman, Jr.; J. Alben Greaves, vice chairman; Abel W. Cheayan, secretary general; Yassah N. Lavelah, event planner and Patricia Juah, communications officer.Speaking to the leadership and fellows, US Ambassador Deborah Malac reiterated the program’s objective which is directed at sharpening skills of young Africans to improve in networking, and to strengthen partnerships between the United States and Africa by investing in the next generation of African leaders.She showered praises on the fellows for being truthful and patriotic to return to their country to provide basic social services in their communities and country at large.Making a specific reference, Ambassador Malac said, “The 2014 Mandela Washington Fellows returned home last fall to a set of unique circumstances, and they have utilized their skills and leadership training to face those challenges head on.”According to her, the Fellows immediately got involved in the fight against Ebola in Liberia, and have been working 24/7 raising public awareness about Ebola and how to be protected.She expressed the hope that Fellows establishing the association as a formal NGO will offer them a platform to expand their activities into a wider national network, pledging the Embassy’s continual support.In his induction speech, Chairman Freeman said as they have received training from the fellowship to perform leadership roles, he and his team were happy to assume their leadership positions, and promised to serve with distinction to reflect the true image of the Mandela Washington Fellowship.Having gained a legal status as a non-governmental organization in Liberia, Mr. Freeman said it puts them in the position to carry on activities as manifestations of what they learnt during their fellowship.“We take this leadership as a challenge to strive for excellence to impact our nation and Africa at large,” he stressed.He intoned that while all cannot be considered Mandela Washington fellows, young people of Liberia are under obligation to adopt a moral attitude that will impact the country, and as such, everyone needs to collectively work to make the needed impact.The Mandela Washington Fellowship began as Young African Leaders Initiative in 2010 with a two Liberians, Bai Best and Amos Teah Koffa, attending the first edition.Giving remarks at the occasion, Mr. Best said that leaders are not only those at the top, but leadership can be found at every level of the ladder; and it is the responsibility of leaders at every level to nurture and grow the leadership potentials of those below them, in order to ensure sustainability of any vision or entity. In this vein, he said a good leader must know when — and be prepared — to step aside to allow others to lead when the time comes.He also stressed that leadership should not only be exercised when one is in a position, but one should take initiative to do something before taking on the responsibility of leadership.He added that becoming a leader is not to always be there for people to follow you, but to set a good example that others can follow. In remarks, Deputy Justice Minister Wheatona Dickson-Barnes lauded the leadership and roles of Mandela Washington Fellows in government, emphasizing that James Alben Greaves, who benefited from this program last year has exemplified true leadership and patriotism to his country in his capacity at the Justice Ministry.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
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Days after prosecutors complained about the manner in which their first witness, Blamo Koffa, was cross examined by jurors who would decide the fate of former National Port Authority (NPA) Managing Director Matilda Parker and her comptroller Christiana Kpabar Paelay, Judge Blamo Dixon of Criminal Court ‘C’ on Wednesday advised members of the panel not to allow themselves to be corrupted.Judge Dixon’s admonition comes immediately after both prosecutors and defense agreed to allow some members of the jury to seek medical attention at a hospital he did not name.He also did not name anyone suspected of attempting to influence the panel.The jurors, through the Jury Management Team, wrote the court on January 7, for permission to allow members of the panel to seek medical attention, said Judge Dixon after returning from a private meeting with both lawyers.This would be the first time members of the jury have been allowed to leave their underground temporary residence at the Temple of Justice following their selection in November 2015.Judge Dixon told them that they have worked for 52 days and since the case is ongoing, other working days would be added.Judge Dixon instructed them not to make phone calls. “Compose yourself because if we receive reports that you made phone calls, your days of work will go free,” he warned.“Don’t do anything to spoil this case because you and I would stay here until the case is decided. If you get yourselves involved into anything, (it would cause you to be) sent home and subsequently lose your benefits,” he cautioned.A judicial expert told the Daily Observer that Judge Dixon’s warning was in the right direction because jury tampering is one of the major challenges facing the judiciary.“Several jurors have been sent to jail for juror tampering, which made it difficult for the parties to allow jury trial during their cases,” the expert added.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Reverend Olu Menjay, Principal and Chief Administrative Officer of Ricks Institute, recently led a group of 29 students and personnel of the institute on a six-day educational and cultural excursion to Freetown, Sierra Leone.Those who made the trip, according to a dispatch from Dr. Menjay in Freetown, consisted of 20 students and nine staff. Ricks Institute, Dr. Menjay said, believes that learning is easier when a child sees, touches and feels, thus making the excursion essential.He said, when the group arrived in Sierra Leone on Thursday, March 24, they met with the Vice President, Dr. Victor Foh at his residence in Freetown.Dr. Foh told the Ricks visitors that the strength in Sierra Leone’s growth is religious tolerance, adding that Liberia and Sierra Leone have a lot in common. “Our two countries share similar stories,” he told the visitors outlining several historical factors. In response, Dr. Menjay reminded Dr. Foh that education at Ricks Institute goes beyond the traditional “brick and wall” classroom, adding, “We believe that the lives of our students who are participating in this excursion will never remain the same.”Also present at that meeting was former Sierra Leonean head of state, Captain Valentine Strasser, the former Minister of Works, the son of the late Chief Samuel Hinga Norman, and other dignitaries of the Sierra Leonean society. Chief Norman was a Sierra Leonean politician from the Mende tribe, who founded and led the country’s Civil Defense Forces, commonly known as the Kamajors during that country’s brutal civil war. The Kamajors supported the government of Ahmed Tejan Kabbah against the Revolutionary United Front led by Foday Sankoh. On March 7, 2003, Chief Norman was indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He died on February 22, 2007 in Dakar, Senegal, while undergoing medical treatment. On the second day of the excursion, the team met with the Chief Administrator of the St. John Maroon Church, a historical religious establishment associated with the slave trade. The team later visited and observed worship at the central Mosque of Sierra Leone where the Chief Imam commented that that there is no senseless peace, but senseless war. “It helps a lot for faith groups to coexist peacefully as no society can progress in the midst of confusion,” the Imam told the student visitors. The team then visited Forah Bay College and later paid homage at the grave of Edward Wilmot Blyden, a self-taught genius, born in the West Indies, who lived in Liberia and taught at the then Liberia College. Blyden contributed land to Ricks Institute in Virginia, outside Monrovia. On Saturday, March 26, the team took a two hour boat ride to the Bunce Island, an infamous slave fortress built to process and market slaves for shipment to America and other parts of the world. The team later met at the residence of the president of the Sierra Leone Baptist Convention where they fellowshipped with their Baptist counterparts. On Sunday, the team worshiped with the Regent Road Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist Church in West Africa, established by early Baptist settlers in Freetown.Rev. Menjay preached the Easter sermon.The team afterwards visited the Sierra Leone Peace and Cultural Museum, described as an outstanding and amiable treasure that gives a chronological account of Sierra Leone’s history before and after Independence on April 27, 1961. The Ricks visitors then passed by the famous Special UN Court that tried Charles Taylor. The day was punctuated with a grand dinner at the residence of Vice President Foh. At dinner, the team met the Liberian Ambassador to Sierra Leone and the former Sierra Leone Ambassador to Liberia.Ricks Institute, established 1887 by the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, is a learning and faith community high school located in Virginia, Liberia. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Who can ever forget the notorious Belle Yella maximum security prison where for generations political prisoners and hardened criminals languished under inescapable isolation, hard labor and even torture, especially during the Tubman, Tolbert, Doe and Taylor administrations?That was until for the first time in history President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2010 built the road through the dense forest to Belle Yella in her extraordinary determination to spend Christmas there. Yes, she was the first President ever to reach Belle Yella by automobile convoy over a torturous terrain—a plethora of creeks, hills, swamps and rivers. That road is still a bit shaky, but perhaps Public Works Minister Gyude Moore will find the civil and structural engineers who will make the road sturdier and the trip to Belle Yella easier.The prison syndrome affected not only the people in Belle Yella, however. Last Friday the people of Bokomu District in Gbarpolu County told the President as much when she went there to break ground for the construction of a 48-kilometer road connecting Morlakwelleh in Gbarpolu’s Belle District toPallakwelleh in Bokomu District. Our Presidential Correspondent William Harmon quoted the Bokomu people revealing to the President they have to walk six hours, at times hauling loads, before gaining access to vehicles to Bopolu City, the county capital. “We have been for too long in a virtual prison,” Chief Flomo Nyangomo told President Sirleaf. “We would consider it a great achievement if you could liberate us as you did the people of Belle Yella,” he pleaded.Speaking through an interpreter, he told Ellen that she continued to exemplify her distinctiveness as a true leader of the people by doing things that bring relief to ordinary people. “We are in jail and this is the time for you to save us and we know you can do it,” he said, urging the President “to complete the road before you leave office because we do not know whether it would ever be done after your term expires.” The President assured the people that her government will complete the road. It would be indeed a great relief, for when completed, it will connect Morlakwelleh to Pallakwelleh in Bokomu District, a short distance. But without the road, people have to walk four and a half hours, without load, through the forests of Lofa-Belleh. With loads on their heads or backs the journey would take them a whole day or more. Should Ellen make good her promise to the people in Bokomu and Belle Districts, and if her engineers can make the road to Belle Yella sturdier, the Gbarpolu road developments would definitely be one of her distinctive legacies that Gbarpoluans and Lofans would never forget.The roads would enhance agricultural and trade developments and open the way for a tourism boom in the county, connecting the Gbarpolu and Lofa forests. We hope that Public Works Minister Moore and his team, encouraged by funding from the Ministry of Finance, would complete the road in the shortest possible time, and also make sturdier the road leading to Belle Yella. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Albino Society of Liberia (LAS), through its “Free Medical Outreach Program,” has treated about 100 residents in Bentol City, Montserrado County, free of charge. Mrs. Patricia Logan, LAS President, told reporters recently that the program that facilitated the free medical outreach was organized by the association in collaboration with other health-related partners to help Liberians in remote or hard-to-reach communities to access free treatment. The outreach, Mrs. Logan said, targets people with minor diseases such as itchy, red eyes, women with complicated birth defects, blood pressure, and or experiencing difficulty breathing.The program was sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO), Ministry of Health, and Christian Health Association of Liberia.“We supply medications taking into consideration people with heart and stomach problems as well as other ailments such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” Mrs. Logan said.She has meanwhile called on residents of the targeted communities to take advantage of the LAS run clinic by attending the outpatient department on time to enable other persons with medical conditions to get treated.Residents greeted LAS’ kind gesture with commendations. One such person is Miatta Kekula, who was earlier treated at the clinic. She lauded Mrs. Logan and the LAS team for the initiative. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
When parents have a child in Finland, they don’t have to worry about a huge medical bill. In Liberia, the story is quite different.Can resource rich Liberia ever emulate the example of Finland a country not as richly endowed as Liberia?If the Finns can do it we also can. Zero tolerance to corruption not in words but in deeds can constitute the first steps. Liberia is the 90 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Corruption Rank in Liberia averaged 102.27 from 2005 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 150 in 2007 and a record low of 75 in 2012Finland is the 3 least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. Corruption Rank in Finland averaged 2.36 from 1995 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 6 in 2009 and a record low of 1 in 2000.The Finnish state strives to provide both mothers and fathers with meaningful social support before their child is even born – and perhaps not coincidentally, the parents the Guardian spoke with in Finland seemed significantly less stressed than their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic.When parents have a child in Finland, they don’t have to worry about a huge medical bill. A pregnant woman with no complications can expect to be seen between 11 to 15 times before giving birth for free, and the cost of having a baby is nominal.Meanwhile, in the US, a delivery alone costs an average $10,000, while a caesarean delivery costs over $15,000, according to the International Federation of Health Plans (IFHP). On top of that, for the past 80 years, the Finnish state has also gifted parents with a “baby box”, filled with newborn essentials including a sleeping bag, mattress, outdoor gear, toiletries and playsuits – all in gender neutral colors, of course.While families can opt to receive €140 instead, 95% of first-timers take the goodies, as they are worth much more. The baby box has been credited with helping Finland achieve one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world – it saw only 1.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015, compared with the states’ strikingly high rate of 5.82 – not because of the bed itself, but because pregnant women must have a checkup before the end of their fourth month of pregnancy to receive it.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
She thanked eminent Liberian women and others from across Africa for joining Liberia to ‘maintain peace and say no violence’ during the electoral process. They included Madam Elizabeth Lwanga of Uganda, Madam Turrie Akepole of Nigeria, Ma Korpo Howard of the rural women of Liberia, Madam Hellen G. Nah of the Women Voices Newspaper and Mayor Cyvette M. Gibson, among others.Edina Dema Wilson, who was once a Zogo, said Liberians living on the streets need rehabilitation and they are tired being called “gang boys and girls, or Zogos.”Madam Wilson said the youth are tired of violence, and are voting for the betterment of their lives and a better future for Liberia.She said securing the future of street boys and girls is important because they are involved in things that they do not have control over.Madam Wilson said the children need counseling and medical attention to regain what they have lost.“I went to big schools in Liberia but unfortunately for me, I found myself in life that I did not have control over but by the grace of God I was able to change,” she indicated.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Liberian gang members marching against elections violence The head of the Women’s Situation Room, Cllr. Yvette Chesson-Wureh, says no politician’s blood is more important than those of children who are in the street.Cllr. Chesson-Wureh made the statement yesterday at the Gang Youth Summit 2017 when dozens of street boys and girls commonly called “Zogos” gathered at the Paynesville Town Hall.They sang and danced to promote peace before, during and after the elections in the country.Liberians Gangs sang and danced peace song to promote peace during, before and after electionsShe said she was very glad to see street boys and girls in their huge numbers and in a joyous mood saying ‘no to violence and yes to peace’ after the incoming results of the 2017 legislative and presidential elections.Cllr. Chesson-Wureh told the gathering of youth not to waste their blood because someone wants to become a president, a representative or a senator.“All I ask is where are the children of those people that are asking you to cause violence in Liberia? Are they better than you?”She said while it is the right of citizens to support political parties, they must, however, not shed their blood for them, suggesting that the children of politicians who preach violence should be the ones to shed their blood for their parents.The peace the country enjoys is in the hands of the youth, “and so if Liberia goes down, Africa will suffer because Liberians will have to flee to the various African countries,” she warned.Peace is the only answer to the problems faced by Liberians; and as such, maintaining the peace is very vital to the country, Cllr. Chesson-Wureh stressed.“Don’t waste your blood because someone wants to become a president, a representative or a senator”
Rep. Ceebee C. D. Barshell operates an academic institution which is being described as ‘illegal.’ Says Nursing and Midwifery BoardThe Liberian Board of Nursing and Midwifery (BNM) has described as “illegal” the Barshell University College (BUC) in Paynesville, because its establishment violates the law of Liberia to operate a nursing and midwifery school in the absence of accreditation from the state board.The university is owned and operated by Montserrado County District #3 lawmaker Ceebee C. D. Barshell. The letter from the BNM, dated February 11, 2017, a copy of which is in possession of the Daily Observer, mandated the university’s administration to immediately put a stop to the illegal operation, including the recruitment of students for the nursing program, until the right things are done in keeping with their guidelines.Also, in March, 2018, authorities of the National Commission on Higher Education (NCHE) conducted a series of assessment on the BUC and released the report to the university on October 11, 2018.Following the assessment, the NCHE recommended to the institution to do all that is required to operate a university and that the administration must obtain accreditation in order to exert more effort to address cardinal issues raised during the evaluation.The NCHE, in their counts, instructed the BUC administration to set up an equipped library with relevant instructional materials, in order to enhance research by students and lecturers, to ensure that the institution is totally separated from the high school, and obtain accreditation from the Liberia Board of Nursing and Midwifery so as to qualify its nursing program.Among other counts submitted by NCHE is the recruitment of a vice president for academic affairs, with the minimum qualification of a terminal degree, most preferably in education, and recruit a vice for administration, with the minimum qualification of masters’ degree in education, administration or related discipline.But when the Daily Observer contacted Rep. Barshell via mobile phone yesterday evening, he responded, promising to call back in 30 minutes to address the situation. At the end of the 30 minutes, the Daily Observer placed another call to him but found that his phone had been switched off.Dr. Israel C. Obiasogu denies allegation against himIn a related development, the former President of the university, Dr. Israel C. Obiasogu has described the allegation of financial mismanagement leveled against him as false and misleading.Of recent, there has been a series of publications in the local dallies that Dr. Obiasogu and a man identified as Humphrey Jacobs were arrested by police and placed behind bars for allegedly mismanaging the school’s resources.But Dr. Obiasogu said the allegation is a smear campaign against him.According to him, following his appointment, he realized that the institution was not accredited by NCHE to run as a full-fledged university, because the school had failed to meet up with all the requirements.He said further that he was appointed on May 19, 2018, two years after the institution was established, and after careful investigation, he found out that the NCHE had denied BUC’s accreditation, and ordered it shut down until it can meet up with the conditions set for accreditation.“I did everything so that Rep. Barshell could meet officials of the Commission on Higher Education, which did not work,” Obiasogu said.He said after failing to convince the lawmaker on the importance of getting accreditation from NCHE, he resigned and was not fired, as it was reported in some of the local dailies.Dr. Obiasogu said he is willing to appear before the law to clear his name as he firmly believes that he is innocent of financial malpractices.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…released on $200,000 bailWhen he made his first appearance on Thursday, in Court One before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, Andre Gravesande stood charged with trafficking in narcotics.The charge stated that on December 25, 2017, at the Kingston Seawall in Georgetown, the accused had in his possession some 89.4 grams of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.The accused vehemently denied the allegation, and following a successful bail application by defence Attorney Keisha Persaud, was released on $200,000 bail. According to the defence lawyer, Gravesande is a 24-year-old businessman and owner of a dredge which operates in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni District (Region Seven). The father of two is reported to be the sole breadwinner for his family, and is expecting a third child. He lives with his family in North Ruimveldt, Georgetown.Meanwhile, Police Prosecutor Arvin Moore told the court that on the day in question, Police spotted the defendant with a plastic bag in his hands, displaying an attitude which aroused much suspicion. The Police approached him and conducted a search on his person, leading to the discovery of a quantity of leaves, seeds and stems suspected to be cannabis. Gravesande was cautioned and taken into Police custody, where the suspected narcotic was weighed in his presence.Moore did not object to bail being granted, but requested that the accused report on a weekly basis to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Brickdam pending the outcome of his trial. The analyst report is outstanding, and the file stands incomplete.The Chief Magistrate upheld the conditions suggested by the prosecutor, and urged the defendant to attend every court hearing. She also warned him of the consequences of failing to attend court.This case will be called again on January 13, 2017.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon on Thursday handed over computer supplies to the village Chairman of Aranaputa Village, Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo), Adon Jacobus. The handover took place at the Minister’s office, Ministry of the Presidency, in Georgetown.According to a statement from the Ministry of the Presidency, Harmon handed over three Lenovo laptop computers, one Lenovo desktop computer, and one Hewlett Packard (HP) printer. The computer supplies will be used to aid the work, specifically record-keeping, of the Aranaputa Village Council.The supplies were given to the Aranaputa Village Council after Village Chairman Jacobus made a request to President David Granger at Lethem Town Day last October. The Village Chairman, on behalf of the Council, thanked Minister Harmon for answering their call so promptly.