A brand new highway to hell

first_imgDear Editor,I am a resident of the East Coast of Demerara (ECD). I am happy that we have a new smooth wide and clear road that will ease the traffic on the East Coast corridor in rush hour or traffic build-ups. But I am also sad. Sad that the level of engineering put into this project was even worse than the planning of a circus.There were absolutely no public consultations on the design, a design meant for use by the public. Public consultations are very lucrative in the design process as it aids in ensuring the end product will be absolutely useful for its intended purpose without impacting the daily lives and businesses that reside immediately along the corridor. In developed countries, these designs are available online for public constructive scrutiny and criticisms, however, this was not the case for this project.The engineers at the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (MPI) treated these designs as if it were their personal heirloom and put it safely into pandora’s box where no one but the contractor and consultant had access to it. By guarding these designs, they perfectly preserved the flaws that eventually budded into the new ECD highway of hell. And by hell, I mean literally – all hell started from the inception of construction.If one were to gather data on the accidents caused by improper road safety in the construction period, one would be alarmed at the frequency and amount of damages caused to vehicles by construction pits that were literally left open or unlighted construction zones. Driving home in the nights was a challenge also because the entire construction corridor was unlit most times.To top it off, common sense was not a part of the planning process in the traffic diversions during the construction period especially during rush hour because this was not taken into consideration during the design process. The MPI is fully aware of these standard operating procedures of which are presented and reviewed in the design process utilising traffic data and studies collected and analysed.To make matters worse, the IDB Country Rep to Guyana resorted to Facebook to highlight the nonsense that was happening after being stuck for hours in the construction zone traffic jam. If this was an IDB-funded project, the contractor may have either been immediately terminated or heavily sanctioned for the nonsense that was allowed to take place.Most embarrassing is the fact that Geoffrey Vaughn, the coordinator for the Work Services Group (WSG), an engineering arm of MPI who are the ones responsible from the client end to oversee the project, traverses this corridor on his way to work and back every day and allowed the circus to entertain the play of citizens’ lives for the entire duration of this project, which, in my opinion, is criminal.The MPI was responsible for sanctioning the consultant who was responsible for the management of the project and seems to have failed miserably. I do hope media houses would do a little more research to add to my letter with all the incidents and accidents during the construction phase and the loss of life associated.The main reason for me writing this letter is, however, the lack of proper engineering which was supposed to be adopted to form the guidelines along which the whole project was designed. From previous knowledge and information received from a few longstanding engineers at MPI, the code usually adopted for road design is the AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials). An engineering review, should it be done, would show that this code, or no code, was adequately adopted or even properly consulted for the project design and construction procedures. The contractor was literally allowed to do as they pleased and the Consultant (E & A Inc) seemed like toothless poodles for the entire project.There are sections of the roadway that are definitely licensed to kill, take for example the southern dual carriageway from Good Hope to Mon Repos Market, which literally cuts down in width to approximately half the roadway without a transition or even safety signs placed there. If one were to consult the Guyanese critic page, there was an instance whereby after a lengthy blackout, there were two serious accidents where vehicles catapulted into the stalls that were left at the end of the broad section of the roadway.There is also a mistake in the transition coming out of the Good Hope cremation site and Fullworks Auto Spares junction, whereby the transition lane is placed on the wrong side of the median but all these are overlooked. One of my greatest questions is, where are the comments from the Guyana Association of Professional Engineers (GAPE) or any of the senior reputable engineers of this country on this?They are supposed to be watchdogs for engineering projects but they are toothless poodles, like the consultants. The signature of this highway to hell is the lack of engineered lighting design which would have adequately lit the roadway in the night and reduced blind spots.A proper road engineer would tell you to either put good lights or no lights on a road as this becomes a hazard. The MPI cannot defend my points highlighted because they have not done such designs and simply plucked an existing duck and placed it in the pot.But little do they know that each type and manufacturer of lights have their own unique properties which would define the placement and height of lamp poles. This malpractice is adopted across Guyana with confident ignorance and only political gains to accomplish.Finally, on this “hellway”, I would like to let the MPI know that the lack of consultant oversight will lead to long-term disaster on some of the drainage structures which were not done to even the locally adopted construction standards as I have witnessed uncompacted backfill being done to a few culverts and all engineers know the importance of compacting backfill and for those who know, I suggest that they inform the consultant on this road project.I forgot to mention the gross neglect of temporary diversion signs during construction which should have been in place until the final road markings and signs were erected but this was not done and is yet another instance of malpractice which led to many disastrous accidents which went uncompensated by the contractor and blindsided by the consultants.Who has to bear the nightmare both physically and financially of this hellway? Yes, it is us the regular taxpayers. We have to pay for the sloppy work and feel it even more when there are accidents.The MPI acted like a lost dog for the entire project and still have no clue that they have been delivered yet another Chinese failure akin to the 69KV GPL lines and interconnecting substations which were subject to endless politicised football blame games and the Skeldon Horror House. But all politicians can do in the time of disaster is point their rotten fingers on the other guy and absorb the insanity. Wake up Guyana!Sincerely,Name providedlast_img read more

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Theatre arts can aid social cohesion – Ron Robinson

first_imgActor, director and veteran broadcaster Ron Robinson believes that the performing arts can influence theRon Robinsonprocess of social cohesion in Guyana and thinks that should writers move in train, this could be achieved.Robinson was part of a three-member panel on TVG’s “The Factor”, where he, along with Al Creighton, Head of the Confucius Institute at UG and Director of the National School Of Drama; and singer-songwriter Dave Martins, examined the role of the performing arts in aiding the process of social cohesion.The local performing arts have moved beyond musical performances and drama to encompass “spoken word”, “slam poetry” and dance.According to Robinson, who has been active in numerous local plays, he has been seeing behavioural changes as a result of the plays put on locally.“I think theatre now is playing a much more meaningful role in the lives of people, especially when plays like the ones coming out of the two recent drama festivals. There have been changes, but the link has been primarily satirical, people come and life… we reflect,” the theatre veteran said.He said the performing arts (including music) could be a good tool to use to realise social cohesion. He said, however, as it was now, too often there have not been many playwrights going deep enough to actually produce change, both behaviourally and socially. He said often many of the plays were too light and the message was not strong enough.“We have not rightfully addressed play writing as an art form that could foster behavioural change … even without consciously trying, there have been changes as a result of the Link Shows.”He said on the other hand, there were a few instances where they were seeing playwrights going much deeper in their work, doing work that was now creating debate at places like Queen’s College and other secondary schools. He said prior to this, people only enjoyed the satire and went for night outs.However, Dave Martins said while the performing arts could have some effect on social cohesion, he was yet to see it. “It is a matter of degree. I believe that the arts could spur people and make them think. Whether it can actually change direction in society is another issue,” Martins said.He said while there would be some impact, it would not be enough to change people’s position on fundamental things they have been doing for years.“I don’t believe that most writers come to a position to say that I’m going to write something to effect that… they are not looking to effect change,” Martins posited.He added what some persons were seeing as a change happening as a result of the arts was a change that has been happening on its own.Meanwhile, Creighton, who said he was still to grasp the concept of social cohesion as being sought after by Government, said writers may not know how to get to the issue in their scripts. “They reflect things; they don’t craft a play that would direct the audience to solutions. There is a lot of focus on social ills, and that has gotten their attention. How do you handle the social ills put in a drama? Do you subtly put things that would influence the audience? It has to do with technique and how you handle the problems you show on stage.”last_img read more

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GTM makes whopping $1.1B payout in claims

first_imgRe-elected GTM Chairman Ram SinghSalesperson of the Year and Superstar Achiever, Hansraj SinghThe Guyana and Trinidad Mutual Fire Insurance Company Limited (GTM) last year paid out a whopping $1.1 billion in insurance claims, even as its profit margin declined by a little less than half compared to the previous year.This was the dire state of affairs reported by re-elected Chairman of the Board of Directors, Ram Singh.The Board of Directors met with policyholders on Wednesday at the Georgetown Club for the 136th Annual General Meeting (AGM), where Chairman Singh reported that after-tax profit for the company in 2015 was $82 million, as against the $160 million earned in 2014.Fire lossesSpeaking to the $1.1 billion payout in insurance claims, Singh told policyholders, this was primarily as a result of large fire losses incurred for the third consecutive year.He sought to reassure policyholders, however, that “since the beginning of 2014, your company has taken steps to prevent a reoccurrence by implementing more stringent underwriting guidelines”.Singh was optimistic in his pronouncements as he told policyholders in his report that despite the increase in claims that had to be met, the company still performed “fairly well despite fierce competition from existing insurance companies, new entrants, a decline in premium rates and a reduced demand for insurance coverage”.Speaking on the company’s asset base, Singh told those in attendance that GTM did record an increase in its holdings, totalling $6.65 billion in 2015, up from $5.92 billion the previous year.He said given the 2015 performance, the company has declared a final dividend of 4.6 per cent for ordinary scrip, preferent scrip and first preferred stock holders.The resolution for the dividend payout was unanimously approved by the policyholders in attendance.Regional performanceThe GTM Chairman also used the opportunity to provide an update on the performance of its regional branches.He told policyholders that in Grenada, total premiums grew by G$20 million. Singh recalled too that at the beginning of 2014, that country’s Government commenced the rollout of its three-year home-grown economic recovery programme of fiscal adjustments and reform – supported by the International Monetary Fund – and this programme at the end of 2017 is expected to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment.In St Lucia, Singh lamented, the country’s economy shrank by almost two per cent and its “general insurance sector continues to face intense competition, high policy attrition (erosion) and declining growth”.According to Singh, in an effort to maintain market share and profitability, competitors engaged in discounting of premium rates, but these factors negatively affected the performance of the St Lucia branch.He said the sister branch in St Vincent and the Grenadines faced similar challenges to those experienced in St Lucia, but has fared better with marginal growth in premiums.Investment returnsThe GTM Chairman’s spate of bad news continued, as he reported on the company’s investments, highlighting that they have seen a decline in the rate of returns being earned.He sought to reassure, however, that “cognisant of the need to improve the yield on investment in order to avoid volatile or toxic investments, the Board’s first priority “is to protect your company and its investments by seeking only secured and guaranteed investments”.Singh used the opportunity to lament that the motor insurance aspect of GTM’s business portfolio did not fare well in 2015.This, he said, resulted from insurance companies across the territories, “underwriting at rock-bottom rates with very large excesses”.According to Singh, “on the surface, this may seem beneficial; however, the client ultimately loses more at the time of a claim”.This practice, according to Singh, will not be entertained by GTM.He told policyholders, “Any policy or practice that leads ultimately to the client being placed at a disadvantage will not be adopted by your company.”The GTM Chairman also used the opportunity to provide policyholders with an update on some infrastructural works undertaken in 2015.1962 roofAccording to Singh, the company utilised $51 million in renovations and repairs in 2015, most of which went into replacing the entire roof of the original GTM building in addition to upgrading its outdated electrical systems.He told policyholders that the repairs were deemed necessary, since “the building was last roofed in 1962 and had developed a number of leaks”.Singh also reported that the company renovated a property which it had leased in D’Edward Village in Berbice and has since relocated its Rosignol office there.“Other renovations included constructing a roof to cover the entire fifth floor of the Head office building to improve utility of the roof garden.”Superstar achieverSticking to tradition, the company also used the opportunity to reward its outstanding employees.Hansraj Singh was the top awardee copping a number of prizes, including Salesperson of the Year, the Superstar Achiever Award and the Chairman’s Award – the highest award across the branches.The company also presented bursaries to a number of students who recorded creditable performances in their examinations.All of the Directors, inclusive of the Chairman, were re-elected to serve on the company’s Board of Directors for another year.last_img read more

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BCAE Trains 50 Ebola Contact Tracers

first_imgA locally based non-governmental organization, under the banner Bomi Citizens Against Ebola (BCAE), has trained 50 community-based health practitioners in Tubmanburg, Bomi County as Ebola contact tracers.The training was intended to deploy health workers in four districts in Bomi to trace the contacts Ebola-infected persons.The program, held recently in the county, brought together local government officials, district commissioners, chiefs and traditional leaders to find amicable solution to eradicate the disease from the country.Communities which took part in the training workshop included  Klay, Singe, Duwein and Suehn- Mecca districts,  It was facilitated by experts from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.The CDC’s Dr. Neil Vora said the team is in Liberia to work with the national government and local counties’ health-based organizations, such as the BCAE, to help kick Ebola out of the country.Dr. Vora noted that the training was important because it was the kind of approaches that other countries used to defeat the deadly disease.Also, WHO expert, Dr. Richard Luce, used the occasion to encourage the trainees to take the opportunity seriously and go back in their respective communities to sensitive people on the dangerous of virus as well as helping them to keep on the safe side.Dr. Luce also emphasized the need for traditional leaders and local leaders to lead the fight against Ebola.At the same time, BCAE used  the occasion to launch the Bomi Citizens Against Ebola in the county to help eradicate the disease. Launching the program, Assistant Health Minister for Vital Statistics, Mr. Samford Wesseh, lauded the organization for the initiative.Minister Wesseh told the audience that government is ready to work with any county or organization that will take the Ebola fight very seriously.He then called on Liberians not to relent until Liberia is free of Ebola.According to him, “Bomi could never be free of Ebola, until the whole of Liberia is free of the disease.”In addition, the Commissioner of Duwein District, Folley Siryon, acknowledged BCAE for the opportunity by training the first Ebola contact tracers in the county.Commissioner Siryon promised to work with other district commissioners in the county to fight the disease.BCAE is an organization of concerned citizens founded to help the Bomi County Ebola Task Force and Health Team in the fight against the Ebola disease.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Who Are the Motorcyclists?

first_imgIt has long been speculated that most motorcyclists in Liberia, especially in greater Monrovia, are foreigners.  We do not know whether or not this is true.  If it is, then we can understand why they would be so quick to take the law into their own hands, The violence with which the cyclists retaliated for the death of their fellow rider, even to the extent of openly challenging the Liberian National Police (LNP) and burning down a police depot, as happened last Thursday at the Paynesville Red Light, leaves many wondering if perhaps the authorities have lost control of this growing transportation sector.The question of the identity of motorcyclists is no attempt to exonerate (clear, excuse) the LNP officer who allegedly hit a rider on the head with a baton, causing his sudden death.  We think that particular incident, which sparked last Thursday’s riot, should be thoroughly investigated, to determine what led the officer to that fatal action.  If he acted unnecessarily, he should be prosecuted. The police should strive at all cost and at all times to refrain from taking lethal (deadly) action when faced with a potentially riotous situation.  It is part of their code of conduct.  Hopefully it is part of their training. The Bible warns us not to take a life we cannot replace.The National Police Academy, in its training of riot squads and all other officers, should require recurring practical and theoretical instruction on how to be firm and decisive without being deadly.  They, like the rest of us, have seen in the United States and elsewhere the results of rash and lethal police action.  It can lead to devastating consequences, particularly death of the victim and life imprisonment or worse for the perpetrator, not to mention weeks, often months of protests and other disturbances in communities, sometimes spreading nationwide. Teaching alternatives to lethal action should therefore be one of the key components of police AND military training. We repeat what President W.V.S. Tubman told a young reporter in the late 1960s as the two one day passed a group of well armed soldiers seated in a corner on the fourth floor of the Executive Mansion.   “Be careful with those ones,” the President told the reporter. “They are mean men.”The nature of the beast, one might say.  For as aforementioned, military and Para-military officers throughout the world, even some that hail from good families, can be lethal in their interactions with others.  This does not mean that all have to be that way.  It can depend on temperament, but, to some extent, also on upbringing and training.  This is why we urge the Police Academy—and by the same token—all military and Para-military training institutions, to expose their commissioned and non-commissioned officers to alternatives to lethal force.  It is possible, for example, for individual officers to be equipped with teargas that can be used when faced with a potentially dangerous or violent individual or crowd, as was the case last Thursday.We raise these issues of alternatives to lethal force to save lives and to prevent chaos and confusion in society and, ultimately, to preserve the peace.  As the Bible says, “the peace of God—for only He can bring true peace—passes all understanding.” But peace also supersedes everything in the lives of individuals, families, communities and nations; for without peace, nothing good can happen.We move now from emphasis on our police to the motorcyclists.  Who are they?  Is it true that most of them are non-Liberians?  One can then  understand why they, feeling absolutely no sense of loyalty to Liberia, would be so inclined  to rush in uncontrollable anger and take any action they pleased—arson, or even fatality.  We are told that in the melee last Thursday, the motorcyclists stripped a police woman buck naked.  But we have seen some Liberians in a rage behave in the identical way towards each other when they felt wronged, taken advantage of or confronted with deadly force. The most recent case was the West Point Ebola rampage.The time has come for the Liberian authorities to develop and maintain an efficient, comprehensive registration of all motorcyclists, commercial and private, operating in the country.  If they are found to be mostly non-Liberian, the authorities should find ways to address that.  Do they have residence and work permits?  Immigration and Labor should immediately look into this.It has also been alleged that certain foreign elements are massively recruiting and financing foreign motorcyclists in Liberia.  Is this true? If so, what is the motive?  This could well have serious security implications and must be investigated as a matter of urgency.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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MESSENGERS OF PEACE

first_imgAnother countdown to an Ebola free country commenced yesterday, but before then and for always, there is a need to recommend a joint strategy for hygiene education in our schools. Going to school at St. Teresa Convent, Monrovia was not easy and before then; going through the rigours of elementary at St. Mary Catholic High School, Bushrod Island, and Monrovia, Liberia was equally as challenging in terms of imbibing hygiene education and provision of hygienic facilities including water and sanitation.Whether we like to accept it or not, Liberia is a country in crisis as the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) of 2014/2015 not only threatened to cut off an already limited access to hygiene facilities, but severely impact on our education system as well, contributing to increase rates of water borne diseases, particularly amongst the very vulnerable school children.While Hygiene education is included in the primary curriculum, it is not yet clear if this is the case in both secondary and tertiary syllabus and the quality of the programme even in primary schools, in general is poor. The lack of water availability combined with generally poor sanitation and hygiene practices among school children and youth are predisposing factors to the escalation of Ebola virus.The response to the Ebola epidemic over the past months has been primarily financial and technical involving a lot of international support and guidance. It is our opinion at Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia, that the response to the Ebola virus should factor in long term preventive measures that introduces hygiene education in all learning institutions, both private and public.Our (Peace Messengers) discourse on introducing hygiene education centers on whether the outbreak of the Ebola virus in our midst stimulate a greater , or perhaps different type of, hygiene education programme that prevent the spread of Ebola Virus and other food/water borne or zoonotic diseases among children and youth in Liberia.Introducing or the reintroduction of Hygiene education programme in schools requires us to plan and develop guidelines of hygiene education programming. This effort requires a work plan of collaborative activities and not necessarily that of the Government of Liberia. We all have a part to play in developing hygiene education materials that are appropriate to our social economic context. Training and capacity building for hygiene education programming must take place within the context of our cultural values and beliefs.We must teach young people to live in peace and in hygienic environment, we must also try to instill in them the practice of hand washing which must and should be supported with the provision of adequate water supply and sanitation facilities in our schools.Peace in Liberia, especially as we cope with the aftermath of and a resurgence of the Ebola Epidemic remains fragile and concerning. Our Ebola Educates programme continues and we seek your support.Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Ebola Educates: Introducing Hygiene Education in Schools – Part 2-Crafting Hygiene Education Curriculum in Schools”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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“She’s Fine”: Black Diamond’s Single is a Holiday Hit

first_imgBlack Diamond also known as the Black 1, is back with a bumping dance hit illustrating a stunning woman worth the stare that everyone on the dance floor is giving her. In the 4:23 minutes-long track, Black Diamond wants the love of this beautiful creature.In his deliverance, you can tell her dance moves are spicy enough to make everyone, including Black 1 want her as their own.“Wherever she passes by, all the boys are going crazy. She’s exclusive and all the guys are asking if she can be their girlfriend. “She’s Fine, has that Carnival style energy that will have you waving your flag. It is a sound from the motherland that transcends beyond the Islands of Jamaica, Haiti, St. Lucia and Barbados” he stated via Email. The song goes: “…The way you wiggle and bubble your thing/ you make a bad man want to spend some thing/This song will definitely hit the “must play” list for this holiday season.Meanwhile, Black Diamond, during the festive season in 2014, reached out the homeless, needy and mentally disabled in Liberia by feeding them. This time around, he is eager to render his charity towards the most needy, orphaned Liberian children. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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LFA Reinforces Support to SWAL

first_imgTo ensure that members of the Sports Writers Association of Liberia, (SWAL) are held accountable for what they write and broadcast, LFA president Musa Bility has said that only current SWAL ID Card holders will be admitted to its programs.“We want to complain you whenever you write or broadcast inaccurate information about us,” Bility said, at the end of year press conference last Saturday at the LFA headquarters in Monrovia.He said the LFA will also hold sports journalists responsible for unbalanced reporting that they themselves may not realize it because of their inadequacy or their inability to get correct sources for their reports.“This year 2016 we want to learn from each other and as journalists you probably learn every day but that does not mean that we should accept when you attribute statements to me that I have not said,” he said.He warned both the LFA and sports journalists must be accountable for what they say, and it need be, “I will seek redress in the court of law.”He made specific reference to a certain newspaper that quoted a report by Transparency International discussing the loss of millions of dollars in FIFA, and used his photograph on that report.“That story did not have anything to do with me or the LFA,” Bility said, “and yet my picture was placed on the story to give the lazy reader the impression that I was involved in the story.”To complain bias reporting for immediate redress, he said is to ensure that all sports journalists are accredited by the Sports Writers Association of Liberia.“From now only sports journalists with SWAL current accreditation will be allowed to conduct their affairs at the LFA and other areas under our control,” Bility said.Mr. Bility’s position might have stemmed from his recent experience with his FIFA presidency bid where the Ad-Hoc Elections Commission used unsubstantiated reports in the media against him.In his first rejection, the committee noted two types of beaches which it claimed undermined his eligibility as a candidate. One was Liberian related issues in his involvement in cases in the courts of Liberia, though he was never found guilty of any, and the other was his suspension by CAF.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Police, Protesters in Street Battle

first_imgA planned protest action demanding the unconditional release of political activist Vandalark Patricks from his cell at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP) yesterday turned violent leading to the arrest of another activist, Archie Sarnor.Patricks was sent to prison after he failed to secure a US$15,000 bond for his temporary release from jail and to enable him prepare for the sedition and criminal libel charges brought against him by the Government of Liberia.It all started early Monday, Feb. 29, when Mr. Sarnor led a group of protesters, among them students that were dressed in military khaki uniform, as well as representatives of political parties and civil society organizations to the Temple of Justice to demand the immediate release of Patricks without posting a bond.At the Temple of Justice, Sarnor and his group prevented the movement of people and vehicles in and out of the compound, thereby leading to the disruption of normal court activities.They even stopped the convoy of Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor from entering the Temple of Justice compound, which led to the intervention of Liberia National Police (LNP) officers. The police, however, managed to successfully convince the organizers of the protest to allow the Chief Justice to enter his Temple of Justice office.Minutes after Chief Justice Korkpor entered the compound, the protesters decided to force their way into the compound to continue with their protest; an action that was strongly resisted by the police, who were dressed and armed with riot gear. In the process of containing the situation from escalating into further chaos, eyewitnesses said, the protesters starting throwing stones at the police who, without hesitation, responded with teargas, which scattered the protesters in all directions. The protesters then began setting roadblocks and vandalizing vehicles on Capitol Hill, the citadel of power.Normal activities, including the free-flow of traffic, came to a standstill for at least three hours when students from the University of Liberia, dressed in military uniforms, marched to the Temple of Justice and reportedly joined the melee. There are reports that a related case concerning the expulsion from UL of their student-comrade, Alvin Wesseh, motivated their involvement in the protest at the Temple of Justice. The expulsion case against the UL administration is currently pending at the court. Several others believed to be members of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC), led by Mulbah Morlu, joined them. With batons in hand, police responded to the protest, making several arrests, including Archie Sarnor. Some of the protesters, eyewitnesses said, were throwing stones at the police, while police sprayed teargas in return to disperse them. Some of the protesters reportedly incited groups of UL students to join the fray when they said, “Move on them! Move on them! Their teargas finished!”The drama ensued when the CDC vice chair for mobilization, Mulbah Morlu, who was at the center of yesterday’s protest, escaped after encountering police head-on and leaving Sarnor at the mercy of the police. He told journalists that the police escalated the situation by brutalizing “peaceful protesters.”He told reporters at a news conference shortly after the incident that an LNP officer hit him in his right knee with a baton as he was escaping the scene, causing him “some internal injuries”. Although there was no independent confirmation, a female eyewitness said Morlu “leapt from the police like frog from an advancing hunter.” He however promised to create headache for the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Administration until Patricks is released from further detention.“We will plan the next course of action to engage the government in street protests using elements of surprise to release Patricks,” Morlue told reporters at CDC headquarters. Yesterday’s incident coincided with the university administering its final examinations for the first semester. As a result, academic activities came to a standstill, leaving other students expressing annoyance. “This is complete rudeness these people are carrying on against state security. They have the advantage because the police are not armed,” a frustrated female student said from a distance.A statement from the Government of Liberia late yesterday condemned what it described as “reckless and unlawful the action of some misguided elements of the society to storm the Temple of Justice when normal courts activities were in session, thus disturbing peaceful citizens transacting their judicial businesses.” The Government promised that, “strong security measures are being put in place to decisively deal with any other acts of violence.” Vandalark Patricks, for whose cause the protest was held, was invited by the LNP on February 24 over remarks made by him insinuating that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered the Police in 2011 to shoot CDC standard bearer, Winston Tubman, vice standard bearer, George Weah, and other citizens. He also claimed that the government hired assassins to murder former LPRC Managing Director, Harry Greaves Jr. After Police preliminary investigations, Patricks was charged with sedition and criminal libel against the President and was subsequently incarcerated at the Monrovia Central Prison, where he could only be released on bail if he filed a US$15,000 bond.As for student Alvin Wesseh, he was expelled from the UL for inciting violence, which led to his supporters dragging the UL administration to court with the hearing pending.GOL Response The MICAT statement said government “regrets that in the wake of the democratic atmosphere prevailing in the country, which ensures access to justice for all, it is unthinkable that some unscrupulous elements will once again use young people to create un-necessary tension in the society as a way of achieving their personal motives.” According to the statement, few officers of the Liberia National Police were wounded in their bid to restore law and order. Police authorities are investigating three of those who participated in the disturbances, including Archie Sarnor, Emmanuel Payne and Wilmot Karngbe. “Therefore,” the statement concluded, “the government assures everyone, Liberians and foreign nationals residing in the country that their security is guaranteed and that strong security measures are being put in place to decisively deal with any other acts of violence.”Meanwhile, the US$15,000 bond for Vandalark Patricks could not be paid and therefore he was not released from further detention, despite the demands for his release by the protestors yesterday.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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