Thursday, October 23, 2008

United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) News

23 October 2008

· UN Deputy Envoy, Mr. Jordan Ryan, has assured Liberians that the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is committed to achieving the broader agenda of peace building, consolidating the rule of law, and strengthening national institutions by providing support to the Liberian government.
· Mr. Ryan made the statement when he awarded UN peacekeeping medals to 300 officers of the Ukrainian Aviation Unit for their contribution to peace and stability in Liberia. Commending the peacekeepers for their support, the UN Deputy Envoy said the peacekeepers’ contribution to UNMIL is befitting of Ukraine’s legacy in UN peacekeeping.
·“Liberia and the UN will always remember your contribution in maintaining peace and security in this country, because your deployment has ensured the safe transportation of colleagues, cargo and supplies throughout Liberia,” Mr. Ryan noted. The DSRSG paid special tribute to the Contingent Commander, Colonel Taras Shliukharchuck, under whose able leadership the officers have performed satisfactorily.
·Since their arrival in Liberia in January 2004, the members of the Ukrainian Aviation Unit have flown mission personnel and VIPs, delivered cargo, organized medical flights, and provided observation flights and air escorts to force movement totalling 27,550 flight hours.

IMF Holds Closed Door Meeting With “Embattled” President Pro-Temp
(The News, The Inquirer, The Analyst, Daily Observer)

· In the wake of leadership crisis at the Liberian Senate, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Wednesday held closed door meeting with the ‘suspended’ President Pro-tempore Isaac W. Nyenabo at the Capitol. Yesterday’s meeting between the IMF delegation and Pro-tempore Nyenabo lasted for half an hour.
·The meeting followed a letter addressed to Senator Nyenabo which was dated October 21, 2008 requesting a meeting with him at his office. The meeting was intended to discuss IMF program development and the status of debt relief.
· According to the IMF Resident Representative, Mr. Michael Tharkur, the delegation was in the country to conduct Liberia’s Article IV Consultation, and the first review of performance under the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF). Speaking to reporters following the meeting with Senator Nyenabo Wednesday, Mr. Tharkur said discussion centered on the IMF program development and status of debt relief. The IMF Resident Representative praised the Liberian government for the tremendous efforts in its economy recovery program.

President Sirleaf Addresses White House Summit
(Daily Observer, The News, The Inquirer, The Analyst, The Informer, National Chronicle)

· The media reports that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called on development partners to see Liberia as a “Laboratory for Innovation”. President Sirleaf said Liberia was well on its way to rebuilding institutions of government and welcoming the return of a vibrant civil society, a dynamic market-based economy and an open press.
· She pointed out that Liberia’s progress has been possible because the country was out of conflict situation and is being seen an emerging democracy in Africa. President Sirleaf made the statement during a White House Summit on International Development on Tuesday.
· The summit was attended by U.S. President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, Secretary of State Rice, U.S. government officials and members of the diplomatic corps. Speaking on the theme “The Importance of Country Ownership and Good Governance”, the Liberian leader recalled that during the period of war, Liberia was associated with terminology like “child soldiers,” “blood diamonds” and warlords.

Liberia Battles Unemployment - Launches “Cash for Work” Employ Scheme
(The Inquirer, Daily Observer, The News, The Monitor)

· Vice President Joseph Boakai will today launch the Liberia “Cash for Work” temporary employment project.
· The project is intended to provide income support to vulnerable households in rural and urban areas.
· Under the project 17,000 persons will be employed for a period of two months over a two year period nationwide.
·The Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment(LACE) is to implement the project
· A release said beneficiaries of the project are expected to engage in simple work in response to the needs of their communities.
· Government and the World Bank signed an agreement in June this year to support Liberia in response to the global food price crisis.

Africa Will Have It Tough Under Obama – Two U.S. Resource Personnel Predict
(The News)

· Two American resource personnel have predicted that Africa will have it very tough under the Democratic Party’s candidate Barack Obama’s presidency. “It will not be all love, love; it will be tough love (for Africa)”, they said. Journalist Eduardo Cue, a stringer correspondent for the U.S. News and World Report and Steven Rudy Ekovich, Associate Professor in the American University of Paris’ International and Comparative Politics Department made the prediction Wednesday during a Digital Video Conference (dvc) involving representatives of some of Liberian political parties, university students and journalists. The dvc was held live between the American Embassies in Paris where the two panellists are based and Monrovia where the audience was. Speaking under the theme “United States 2008 General Elections”, Cue and Ekovich said opinion polls have put Obama ahead of his Republican rival John McCain. But in response to a question as to how an Obama presidency would impact Liberia, both men pointed out that although Obama’s ancestors are (partially) Africans, Obama is an American, and as an American President, Obama will protect and put America’s interest above all other considerations. Journalist Cue and Associate Professor Ekovich said America’s policy for Africa will “not change; neither Obama nor McCain presidency will change American policy toward Africa; reading both Obama’s and McCain’s plan for Africa is like reading the same script twice.”

Radio summary

Information Minister on Progress Made by Government after 1000 Days in Office
· In an interview, Information Minster Lawrence Bropleh has admitted that everything is not well in the country but that government has made some progress in addressing the plight of Liberians.
· Speaking as government celebrates one thousand days in power, Minister Bropleh said the salary of civil servants was increased following the identification of more than 17,000 ghost names on the civil servant payroll.
· He also spoke of reforms in the mineral industry with the setting-up of the Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative and said government was committed to the fight against corruption.
· The government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came to power in 2006, with a promise to improve the living condition of Liberians and fight corruption.
(Also reported on Truth F.M. and ELBC)

Final Argument in US$500M Cocaine Cast Takes Place Today
· Final arguments in the US$500 million cocaine case were due to have taken place today at criminal court “C” at the Temple of Justice.
· It case involves nine Ghanaians arrested onboard the “Blue Atlantic” with 92 barrels of cocaine.
· Defense and Prosecution lawyers will try to convince jurors hearing the case to arrive at a verdict in their favour.
· The prosecution during the trial said it found that the vessel has been engaged with drug trafficking across West Africa and beyond
· French Navy troops arrested the nine Ghanaians and their vessel in an area where they found the cocaine floating at sea but the Ghanaians denied any involvement.
(Also reported on Truth F.M. and ELBC)

TRC Accused of Bad Labour Practice
· A group of aggrieved employees of the Truth Commission has accused the commission of human rights violation and bad labour practices.
·Two spokesmen of the aggrieved workers, Mohammed Cammue and John Toe said the commission terminated their contracts without giving them severance benefits.
· They also alleged the TRC has refused to pay them their transportation allowances in the tone of US$200 each for the period of seven months.
· Cammue and Toe further explained all attempts to prevail on the TRC to provide them their just benefits failed as the commission remains insensitive.
· The TRC aggrieved employees said they have since taken the commission to the Labor Court for redress.
· When contacted, TRC’s Media Officer Richmond Anderson said the commission was prepared to settle the aggrieved employees but the matter was in court.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Few minutes with Miss Liberia 2007/2008

Ms. Bendu Tita Parker in 2007 emerged as the winner of Miss Liberia 2007/2008 pageant. The pageant was organized by Miss Boss Lady Entertainment International in collaboration with the ministry of information.
During the program that gave giant size lead to Ms. Parker, she stood that underdevelopment of Liberia could be attributed to bad governance. She linked the 14 year senseless civil war to bad governance.
According to the outlined rules of the 2007/2008 pageant, Bendu was expected to receive us$10.000.00 from Kakata trading, $600.00 from Commium (a cell phone company in Liberia), Firestone scholarship of us$1,500.00 and us$500.00 from Ecobank
Recently, Mr. Sam K Zinnah “through facebook” came one-on-one with 2007/2008 Miss Liberia “Bendu Tita. Parker” who is currently on vacation in the United Kingdom. Mis. Parker declined interview but said she could spell out few of her activities in Liberia.

1. what are some of the activities you are working on in Liberia 'if any?

I do the regular charity work, with schools, hospitals, clinics, orphanage homes and the various counties. I also have speaking tours and concentrate on female education across the country. I partnership with the American library and had the first spelling competition ever in Liberia. I partnership with government of Liberia and UNMIL (United Nations Mission In Liberia) for the national anti rape campaign, partnership with government of Liberia and Liberia fistula project for a massive surgical fistula campaign, recently award over 29 elementary students scholarships for this academic year and many others

2. Thousands (if not millions) of Liberians were coerce out of Liberia during the civil war, many are either in Europe or America, if you were to ask for two major things from them, what would you ask?

I really have my own thoughts when it comes to Liberians that are away. Liberia suffered and gradually we are trying to put the broken pieces together. I will want all Liberians to return home and rebuild our nation,. at this point its a hard decision to make for many families. Most people have nothing to go back for, but we can all go back to contribute to our society. We must always put country first.
Some or many of these Liberians in question took on other citizenship while in other countries. According to the Liberian constitution, those Liberians are no longer considered Liberians; including their kids (if any) they had while in exile or refuge. how would such condition be reconciled with your plead to return home to rebuild our nation?

I don’t think dual citizenship should be the paramount issue. I believe you are still a true Liberian and that’s what runs in you, in your blood. It’s all about creating a better world for our children and leaving a legacy that will judge us tomorrow. Many Africans leave their countries in search of opportunities. In most of these cases, Africans return home when life gets better. I haven’t seen the part of the Liberian constitution that says you are not Liberian when you have another citizenship. There were issues about dual citizenship during our most recent elections, and I know it was taken care of.

Many people in Liberia look at Miss Liberia as just beautiful Liberian ladies advertising their beauty. What topic or strategy would you use to sell the idea of Miss Liberia to other Liberians who are not properly informed about you?

There is so much that our young women can learn from participating in the Miss Liberia beauty pageant. It is not just the physical beauty, but the beauty inside. It’s just simple. Give the young women the chance to display what they have inside. Support their projects. When I look at my position now, I don’t see myself as just Bendu Parker. I represent the many young women across my country. all the fifteen counties. I want people to see what i am capable of doing for Liberia. Evaluate my projects and support them. Beauty with a purpose is beauty with true essence.

The rebuilding/reconstruction of Liberia is actually a collective effort. Recently, one online Liberian news magazine published what appeared to be scams of activities allegedly involving some of the President’s inner circle, since the publication of those emails; there have been different views of Liberians in and out of Liberia. What do you or your organization make of this?
I do not speak for the miss Liberia org, I speak as Bendu T. parker, miss Liberia 2007/2008. We have serious issues to deal with. I don’t think Liberians should concentrate on those things that will divide our country. For too long, those were the issues. Let us think about those things that will develop our nation and not take us back to where we were 4 years ago. We have had enough of the confusion, war, violence and etc. anything that could take us back or remind us of the past, will not have my support.

Miss. Parker, it was nice spending few minutes of your leisure time with me this evening. what would be your last words before we draw our curtains?

liberia needs all of our collective efforts. We can create a nation we can all be proud of. I see a Liberia that the world will envy. God bless Liberia.
Once again, thanks for your time

good night