Friday, December 31, 2010

Armed Men Attacked Saye Town Community

Residents of the Saye Town Community in Sinkor woke to the sound of three gun shots fired by armed robbers who attacked several business people and made away with about L$ 49,350 and other valuables.
The robbery took place yesterday at about 1:30 am when business houses were still opened and transaction was being carried out but nobody was severely injured.
How the robbery was carried out
According to eyewitnesses who monitored the execution of the robbery against money exchanger, Mr. Perry Clay, 34, at least three men armed with a ‘single-barrel pistol’, cutlass and baseball bat terrorized the area.
During the raid, Mr. Clay and the robbers tussled over his money bag and he was hit to the head with a stick to release the bag.
After the robbers hi-jacked Clay’s money, they rushed to a provision shop, Lagos Provision Shop, but did not enter because the shop owner closed the door before they could get to it.
Eyewitnesses said the robbers shot one round at the door and shot two more in the air to frighten away the crowd which were in the vicinity.
The robbers having taken their loots ran towards Jallah’s Town where they boarded some motorcycles and escaped the terrain before police could arrive.
Shells of the bullet was found by people on the scene and turned over to the Liberian National Police who arrived on the scene later and took
Perry’s story
Mr. Clay was the most victimized and explained what happen during the raid against him which he said has frustrated all progress he had made in business in business since the late 2000s.
“Right now I am confused and do not know what to do,” he began. “When the robbers came and start to demand me to give my money I thought they were some of my friends in the community but they begin arrogant when I was not going to let them have my bag.”
“One of them said shoot him, then I heard the gun sound. We were still fighting over the bag then the other man hit my head with a stick that was when I left the bag. They ran to the Nigerian shop and then ran toward jallah town.”
“I had US$707 [L$49,350] equivalent, 1 N gage phone value, US$ 500, 2 Nokia phone, value US$20 each and a ZTE phone value, US$ 10 in the bag. The N gage was pawned to me few days ago.”
34 years old Clay had entered into business in 2000 as a fanti bread seller and gradually progressed to selling car oil, gasoline and fuel until recently when he began money exchanging which was a clear indication of how determine he is in business.
Why the robbery
Some of the bystanders at the scene attributed the robbery to the high urge some people have for money because the Christmas season.
But others disagreed and said that such mischief happened because there is no more vigilant group in the area that could counter raids in the absence of the National Police.
However, many other attributed the gang raid to the late hours business owners in the area keep their businesses open.
Residents grateful, police watchful
Though Perry Clay lost a substantial sum of money and sustained ‘minor bruises’, residents of the area were grateful that no one was seriously injured or killed.
When contacted on the incident, Police Spokesman, George Bardue, said reports of the robbery have reached the Liberian National Police (LNP) but no arrest has being made.
He assure that the police are doing all that they can to investigate the issue and bring the perpetrators to justice.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Number of Ivorian Refugees Increases in Liberian Towns

Liberian towns bordering the Ivory Coast are being crowded day after day with Ivoirians refugees who are leaving their homes to find a place where they could dwell safely until the brawl over who becomes the country’s next president is resolved.
Among the refugees who had being crossing since December 1, 2010 after the results of elections which became a controversy, with Alhassan Ouatarra and Laurent Gbagbo claiming the presidency, were Dami Arnaud Carlos,26, his wife Kpan Deundo Octavie, 20 and 6 months old son, Dami Trezer.
“Two days after the election in Ivory Coast I had to leave with my family because we were being treating with beating for being supporters of Gbagbo,” Carlos said.
He then recalled the difficulties he, his family and friends trekked through bushes to cross the border but said “I am glad to be in Liberia alive.”
Carlos and his family, like many other refugees who have crossed into Liberia recently live in the homes of kindhearted Liberians rather than camps.
Reports gathered from United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) indicate that Ivoirians refugees are entering the Liberia at a minimum rate of at least 260 per day at all 18 entry points.
Latest statistics reports from the UNHCR have shown at least a little over 8,000 refugees have crossed into Liberia from the Ivory Coast between December 1 -20 2010.
These refugees whom number is gradually increasing in towns bordering Ivory Coast are being faced with an urgent need for food, clothing, sanitation and medical facilities.
“Since we moved into this place the people here have given my family and I a room to stay in but we do not have mattress, beddings or even cloth to keep us warm. My son have not being very well and I do not have money to buy him any medicine. There has being no medical aid here,” Carlos said.
Gomon Notia, 100, who provided shelter for Carlos and his family in Douplay said she and her family are trying their best to share what they have with the refugee family but does not know how long her family could keep providing for the strangers with their limited reserve.
Ivorian refugees are now accompanying their hosts to farms to be able to keep food the attic for some time. Such efforts will soon be futile when the rainy season sets in.
Aside from the problem of food, medicine and clothing some of the communities in which the refugees are occupying are faced with unsafe drinking water source which could give rise to outbreak of cholera and other diseases related to unsafe drinking water.
One such community is the kissiplay town situated about 30km from the border with Ivory Coast where Johanna Tuo, 21 was seen drawing chalk colored water from a pit.
“There is no source of good water here. We use this water for drinking, cooking and other things,” Tuo said.
Thought there is a hand pump in the township, Johanna said “when we try to get water from the pump, sometimes we get two buckets than the water will stop coming.”
The current population of Kissiplay is now put at about 3,500 persons including women, children and the refugees.
Many of the refugees who had crossed the border are expressing little hope of returning to the Ivory Coast until the scuffle over the country’s presidency is over.
Colibaly Mamadou, 47, a business man and father of four who fled his home, Danane, since the civil crisis that divided between the New Forces rebel movement and the Gbagbo Government in 2003 said his prayer is that the crisis in his country will be over some day when he will have a chance to go home.
“All my businesses in Danane got damaged during the first war that entered Ivory Coast. At least none of my children were killed, but I ran off from my businesses.”
“Since I left home in January of 2003, I have not returned. Though I have not forgotten all about my home, but I do not want to return now. I want my children to have a chance to go to school. I pray that one day the crisis will ceased so I can return,” he said.
It has being observed that several United Nations agencies in Liberia are responding to the situation by providing nonfood and sanitary items to the refugees.
Though many of the refugees who have crossed into Liberia and other neighboring countries look forward to the day that the situation in the country will calm down, reports in the media show no signs whether Alhassan Ouatarra or Laurent Gbagbo will let go of state power.
Recent reports about violence in several parts of Ivory Coast indicate that there could be a fresh outburst of civil in the country which would force tens of thousands Ivorian refugees into exhale. – Bill E. Diggs, Newsline

Monday, December 13, 2010

PSI Conducts 3rd Annual HIV/AIDS Test

The youth population in Liberia is the larger portion of the entire population in the country and it is still growing tremendously.
As the population of the nation grows the amount of people who stand the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS also increase as well; which calls for massive awareness and prevention measures are put in place to tackle the spread of the virus.
Last Thursday, the Population Services International (PSI) SMART Choice conducted the third annual HIV/AIDs Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) promotional event at the Young Men Christian Association gymnasium on Crown Hill, Broad Street.
The promotional event held under the theme “Live at the Y” attracted many young people living within Monrovia and its environs to come up and know their HIV status and be counsel on what to do to avoid contracting the virus.
According to the Liberia Demographic and Health Services (LDHS) report in 2007, the average national prevalence of HIV in Liberia was at about 1.5% with infection levels varying from 2.5% in urban areas and 0.8% in rural areas.
The recent “Live at the Y” event was an educational campaign that was intended to help encourage healthy choices and responsible sexual behavior among young people and the Liberians populace as a whole.
During the 2009 edition of the Live at the Y, give more than 200 persons a chance to be tested to know their HIV status and promote a healthy HIV/AIDS negative live.
This year’s event sought to increase the amount of people receiving VCT services and reinforced the importance of young people knowing their through interactive outreach activities such as HIV quiz shows and debate which was broadcast on UNMIL Radio 91.5 FM.
There were also entertainment such as basketball tournament, slam dunk competition and Liberian musicians to massage away the stigma or phobia associated with being tested for AIDs.
At least about four high schools participated in the tournament which was won by the College of West Africa (CWA) basketball team.
The turnout for this year’s event was put at about 300 participants which show that the awareness against the virus is relatively increasing.

One of the attendant being tested for HIV/AIDS

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Miss Liberia 2010 Reloaded set to explode

At least 18 contestants appeared during the pre-final which was held last Saturday in the conference room at the SKD Sports Complex. There they showcased their physical and intellectual talents.
According to Christopher H. Onanuga, Chief Executive Officer of CT.COM incorporated which is the organizing entity of the Miss Liberia beauty pageant; at least Grand Gedeh did not send any representative to the competition.
The exciting December 4th, event, the reloaded Miss Liberia Beauty Pageant, was graced by some of Liberia’s best recording artists Jamela, David Mell, K-Zee and stage dancer Little Michael Jackson who captivated the audience.
After each intermission by the artists, the contestants modeled up to the stage, displaying spectacular cat-walks which aroused the more than 250 beauty pageant enthusiasts. The contestants beautifully and vividly displayed their readiness for reloading.
Each of them was then given a chance to exhibit their intellectual and physical qualifications which they hoped would make them worthy of wearing the prestigious crown, by which they will be prepared to represent Liberia internationally.
After the contestants made three appearances on stage, the judges moved to the platform and presented the verdicts, based on eloquence and performance.
However, the irregularity in the appearance of the expected 30 participants compelled the judges to make some emergency adjustments. Hence, before the finalists were announced, the lead judge, Roosevelt Toe, disclosed a change in methodology regarding the selection. This made enabled contestants who did not have competitors in the pre-final to automatically qualify for the final.
He pointed out that the committee of judges was required to select one contestant from each county to go on to the grand final, but it had to change its mandate based on what he called “the objective performance of the participants.”
Having disclosed such information Mr. Toe then proceeded with the listing of the 13 finalists.
Contestants who made it to the final include: Miss Ruth of Grand Cape Mount County, Shelly Barclay of Bomi County, Corrina Peters of Nimba County, Tenna McGill of Margibi, Voseline Boteh of Maryland and Mennesha Supermane of Montserrado.
Others are Julie Preston of River Gee County, Miss Snohthio of Sinoe county, Anita of Bong, Hawa Shierrif of Grand Kru County, Annah Bangura of Grand Bassa County, Hawa Butler of Bomi and Erica McGill of River Cess County.
At least Annah Bangura was selected because she had no competitor, while Hawa Butler and Erica McGill were saved by the house.
Mr. William G. Greaves thanked the various contestants for taking part in the competition, and extended appreciation also to individuals and institutions that helped make the occasion a success.
Meanwhile, all of the selected contestants expressed confidence in claiming the crown being held under the theme “Beauty for Greater National Unity”.
One of the contestants, Annah Bangura, said she it did not came as a surprise that she was selected. She was very confident that she would wear the crown because with hard work and determination success is sure.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

NEW Taste Added to Liberian Entertainment

Creative Young People in Liberia are advancing themselves in various aspect of live thus becoming positive sign of change in the way Liberian are carrying on with life.
the are adding new taste to entertainment in Liberia on daily basics by introducing acts that are not traditional to the west African Nation. Here are two balletomanes who displayed awesome ballet skill at the semi-finals of the Miss Liberia 2010 Reloaded. It is amazing to know how creative they were thought there is no dance school that teaches such act in the country.

Stakeholders Hold Meeting on Freedom of Information Act

--- Cllr. Warner urged liberians to work to have Freedom of Information Act Implemented

Several stakeholders within the information sector of Liberia, last Friday, gathered at the Catholic Archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Monrovia for a one day interactive meeting on the implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act which was recently passed.
The meeting organized by the Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (CEMESP) with support from the Danish International Media Support (IMS), brought together Public Relation Officers within government ministries and agency, members of civil society and journalists as well.
During the discussion of the FOI Act, Cllr. T. Negbalee Warner urged those attending the program and Liberians in general; to not only celebrate the passage of the FOI to Law but to work to ensure that Liberia is recognized for its implementation.
While he discussed the FOI, Cllr. Warner outlined some shared responsibilities of the Government of Liberia (GOL), Civil Society and the Media to ensure an effective implementation of the Law.
Beginning with the government, Cllr. Warner said the GOL has to develop processes to have all information are available.
He said as an obligation the GoL have to set up an information commissioner that would supervise and oversee the implementation of the FOI.

“The government also has to support agency of government to have information officers in each agency that would be the first point of contact when you go there to ask for information,” he said.
He added that information generated for the public should be organized into a system that would gathered and retain them and have them in a user friendly and easily accessible framework which will required support.
“It is one thing to ask information and another thing to weather the information is available,” he pointed out.
“Even as civil society, we have to show some little bit of understanding that when these agencies have difficulties [with providing information], especially during the formative stages, is not because they are doing it with bad minds but they have operational challenges,” he noted.
“Your advocacies,” he continued, “may want to recognize that so that after time you will enjoy the honey moon. But after several months if you see that still happening then you will the start to question whether there is a commitment ot underline the responsibility.”
He said it is the responsibility of civil society and the media to use the Law to request information because the GOL and its partners have done everything possible to have this Law in book.
Also speaking earlier at the program, Mr. Peter Quaqua, President of the press union of Liberia (PUL) said if Liberians do not seek to have the FOI Law implemented they would set a wrong example for creating this Law and having other people to not abide by it.
“It is an opportunity that we have to carry on this history that we’ve made in the West African sub-region of Africa. And the question of implementing this Law will rest on the shoulders of a lot of people,” he said.
He added that people who are public relation officers in various agencies are custodians of some of the information that will me need in the public domain and if they are the ones that would serves as an impediment of the access o information they would be doing injustice to the promotion of the freedom of information within the sub-region.
He further stated he believe that president Sirleaf sign the Law because she “feels strong” about the FOI Act and those with in the civil society and the media would have to help her implement said Law in the country.
Mr. Quaqua said the implementation of the FOI Law will make other nations see Liberia as “just making mockery or once again jumping into making history that we cannot maintain.”
Assistant Minister of information and services said the government believes that its citizenry should be well informed because an inform citizenry would be able to complement the government’s efforts and not make the wrong decision.
“For too long our people have been given queasy information from bias perspective. At least if you have the information available to you, except where you are just unprincipled minded, then you will give the public queasy information,” he said.
The program was also characterized by a parallel discussion in which participants suggested the way forward on the implantation of the law.
The participants suggested among others that awareness if the law and collaborative pursue for information would be ways forward for the smooth implementation of the act.