CSO Asks Legislature to Reject President Sirleaf’s Request

first_imgHon. J. Alex TylerSpeaker of the House of RepresentativesCapitol BuildingCapitol Hill, MonroviaDear Speaker Tyler:The Civil Society in Liberia writes to express its deepest concerns of a letter addressed to the Legislature from the President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf seeking extra-constitutional powers to respond to the ebola outbreak in Liberia.We are of the opinion that no one has the power or authority to suspend Article 1 of the Liberian Constitution regardless of the circumstances. When the framers of the Constitution fashioned Article 1 in the way they framed it, they were making clear that Constitutional power lies only in the people of the country:“All power is inherent in the people. All free governments are instituted by their authority and for their benefit and they have the right to alter and reform the same when their safety and happiness so require.”We fear that a move like this has the propensity to set a dangerous precedence for future governance of the country as unscrupulous persons can easily abuse it and plunge the country into chaos. Even now, there is a possibility of such a power being abused by the president.In regards to Article 12, Civil Society argues that The President does not need extra powers over this provision of the Constitution, and we are quite sure that Liberians do not have to be made slaves in order to end the scourge of the Ebola Virus Disease in the country.While we accept the necessity of restricting the movement of people in and out of the country on legitimate public health grounds, the power to do this should rest with the courts and not solely in the hands of the President. As before, concentrating such a power in the hands of one person can lead to the wanton abuse of the rights of the people of this country.Honorable Speaker, Article 14 is one of the bedrocks of our democracy and system of government. The Constitution has already indicated at this article how religious freedoms can be curtailed and the process through which it may be done. There is nowhere in this provision or anywhere else in the Constitution that any one individual is given the right to place restrictions on religion. That power is the sole preserve of the Liberian Legislature and the article clearly says that, “All persons shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment thereof except as may be required by law to protect public safety, order, health. or morals or in the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.”On the President’s request to continue exercising powers restricting Article 15 rights, it is once more our considered opinion that such powers are best exercised through the Judiciary or the Legislature. There are already statutes which stop people from exercising this right irresponsibly. Even the Constitution provides safeguards. We agree that no one should be allowed to cause a state of panic in the country regardless of the reason. What we do not agree with is the power to restrict Article 15 rights should be left to one person’s discretion.As regards Article 17, it is well understood that public assemblies of large groups may not be a wise thing to do in the current health crisis especially as it relates to a disease like Ebola which spreads through close bodily contact. In spite of that fact, we still do not think that the power to restrict this right should be held by any one person. The government already exercises the people to stop people from demonstrating on grounds of a statute. The restriction on this right may continue to be enjoined in this manner.Mr. Speaker, we think it is an absolute violation of the Constitution to allow the President the right to continue exercising the powers she has requested you to endorse under Article 24. The Constitution, at this article, has already given the government the right to expropriate private property in a situation like this. What the Constitution has clearly not allowed is for such expropriation to be done without just compensation as the President has asked. The Constitution also does not give the President the power to remove the right of any such property owner except through a recourse to the courts.Finally Mr. Speaker and Honorable Members of the House of Representatives, the Emergency Powers provisions of the Constitution have been misconstrued in many corners of this country. Clearly Article 86b states that “A state of emergency may be declared only where there is a threat or outbreak of war or where there is civil unrest affecting the existence, security or wellbeing of the Republic amounting to a clear and present danger.” While the EVD presents a danger to Liberia, it does not meet the critical legal test (threat or outbreak of war or…civil unrest) to serve as the basis for declaring a state of emergency.Further, Articles 86a and 87 clearly state restrictions on the exercise of legislative powers. Article 88 makes it clear that at the time you voted to impose the state of emergency, included in your joint resolution with the Liberian Senate, there should have been all the justifications and restrictions necessary and justified for making the declarations. The constitution is clear when it says “…The Legislature shall within seventy two hours, by joint resolution voted by two thirds of the membership of each house, decide whether the proclamation of a state of emergency is justified or whether the measures taken thereunder are appropriate.”Mr. Speaker and Honorable Members of the House of Representatives,  In addition to the acknowledged facts that the letter seeks to limit basic freedoms, the Civil Society the following reasons for which the request should not be accepted.The circumstance in our country is now more in terms of health services, and the issues being proposed could not provide any more response to the ebola situation now in the country than the health services being provided.In addition, the proposal suggests the suspension of rights provided for under the state of emergency, but the time frame provided by the constitution has been exhausted, so we request that these measures be ignored.Mr Speaker,In conclusion, Civil Society like to note that the issues raised by the president do not seem to be considerate of the due respect for the constitution. It is our expectation that you would take the prudent decision of rejecting this request of President Sirleaf and remain on the path of promoting democracy in our country.Sincerely yours,Civil Society in LiberiaLancedell J. MatthewsOn Behalf of the OrganizationsShare 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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SOCU, SARA staff among public officers to be asked to declare assets

first_imgAt a time when stringent efforts are being made to weed out corruption within the public sector, the Integrity Commission is looking to expand the range of public officers who are required to declare their assets.Head of SOCU Sydney JamesDuring a press briefing on Wednesday, Chairman of the Commission, Kumar Duraisami said that certain officers are not included on the list of declarants since most of these posts were nonexistent when the Integrity Commission Act was established.Nevertheless, Duraisami noted that recommendations have been made to have Schedule 1 of the Act, which contains the list of public officers required to make declarations, expanded.Among those public officials are those within agencies that investigate money laundering and other financial crimes such as the controversial Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and the State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA).“The Financial Crime Unit (FIU), we’re hoping to have those officers in that unit to be included in the schedule among others. We’re hoping to get SARA and SOCU; these organisations and these officers, who are public officers, should be accountable to the Integrity Commission,” the Chairman asserted.In addition, Duraisami also outlined that a number of top-ranking officers within the Guyana Police Force (GPF) are also among those to be added to the Schedule. These include Deputy Commissioners, Divisional Commanders, Assistant Commissioners, and the Divisional Crime and Traffic Heads.Head of SARA Clive Thomas“The Schedule before only states that the Commissioner of Police submit [declaration] but I think that’s because the police departments are so large and they have so many sections, we should include these people,” the Chairman posited, while adding “…These are people in position who can be susceptible somehow to people approaching them and we’ve heard all kinds of allegations [against] them… So I think they ought to be [in the Schedule] because the Commissioner of Police is not the only person who ought to be accountable to the public.”Furthermore, the Integrity Commission also wants to include the Registrar as well as Deputy and Assistant Registrars of Lands; the Deputy and Assistant Registrars of Deeds; and the Deputy and Assistant Commercial Registrars on the expanded Schedule.Asked about plans to make public officials from the Department of Energy, which falls under the Ministry of the Presidency, declarants as well, Duraisami pointed out that the oil and gas sector is now coming on stream. But he noted that this will be done when there is a fully operational sector.“As that sector develops, we will have to look at it; look at those public officials, who in our opinion, ought to declare… We haven’t produced a drop of oil yet. It’s ‘til next year we’re supposed to produce oil and once that department gets functioning fully, we will be aware of all the public officials who are involved in it,” he stated.However, according to Duraisami, while there is a need for the Schedule to be expanded, the Integrity Commission can only make recommendations to the subject Ministry, which is Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.“The Prime Minister is responsible for Commission so all Schedule changes and changes to the Act will go to him… As soon as this thing in Government smooth out, somehow, we will make recommendations to the Prime Minister and he will discuss with his colleagues…,” the Chairman stated.But even as the Integrity Commission is looking to expand the list of declarants, there are still hundreds of defaulters on the current list who are yet to make their declarations.According to Duraisami, in accordance with the Act, the Commission has already published five lists of defaulters, with two more to be published before they can move to prosecution.last_img read more

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Roopnaraine ousted, Henry to act as Education Minister

first_img– WPA slams Govt for lack of consultation, to request meeting with PresidentGovernment has announced a major shake-up in the Education Ministry, with Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine being demoted to head a department in the Ministry of the Presidency.Minister within the Ministry, Dr Nicolette Henry, will replace him, taking over the portfolio as acting Education Minister. Henry had previously held responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sports.Roopnaraine will now work within the Ministry of the Presidency, with responsibility for Public Service. The appointment of Dr Roopnaraine will take effect from June 15, 2017. According to a Government release, Roopnaraine will keep his place as a member of Cabinet and a Member of Parliament.Speaking on the issue, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon stated that President David Granger had full confidence in the ability of his Ministers and in Roopnaraine. He said that Roopnaraine’s transfer followed a discussion the former Education Minister had with Granger.“The President further briefed Cabinet that a Department under the Ministry of the Presidency will be created to oversee innovation and reform in the education sector. This Department will be under the President. In the meantime, Minister within the Ministry of Education, Minister Nicolette Henry will continue to perform the functions of the office of the Minister until further notice,” he said.WPAInterestingly enough, the announcement of Roopnaraine’s demotion comes on the same day of Dr Walter Rodney’s 37th death anniversary. Rodney helped found the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) that Roopnaraine, one of its last remaining stalwarts, represents in the coalition Government.When contacted, WPA executive, political activist and professor, Dr David Hinds noted that the party was preparing to write the President expressing its concerns about the shake-up and to request a meeting. According to Dr Hinds, one of the party’s concerns relate to the lack of consultations.“The President got into contact with the WPA yesterday (Monday) and requested a meeting. We sent our Chairperson, Desmond Trotman, to meet with the President. The President, at that meeting, announced the decision,” Hinds said.“So yes, the WPA officially has some concerns about the way the matter was handled. And we’ve requested a meeting with the President to discuss those concerns. One of the things is that we were not initially consulted; we were informed about the decision after it was made. And we do have concerns about that.”The WPA had joined with the People’s National Congress (PNC) in order to form the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), along with several other small parties. APNU then collated with the Alliance For Change (AFC) in order to contest the 2015 elections.The WPA is an important member of the coalition. However, with Roopnaraine’s demotion, it means that no WPA representative holds a substantive ministerial portfolio any more.last_img read more

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Cop shots self while attempting to hide illegal gun

first_imgA Police subordinate officer is now hospitalised after he reportedly shot himself while attempting to hide an unlicensed firearm in his pants waist on Monday.The incident occurred at Whitewater, Region One (Barima-Waini). The officer, whose identity was not released, was admitted a patient at the Mabaruma Hospital.Reports are the firearm – which had no serial number – along with five live rounds of ammunition and a spent shell, was retrieved by an Army Lieutenant at the location.The officer and a constable were part of a joint Police-Army patrol in the area. A team of senior detectives attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is expected to travel up to the area to commence investigations.last_img

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High Court denies injunction against Guyana Times, Opposition Leader

first_imgHigh Court Judge Fidela Corbin-Lincoln on Tuesday denied an injunction filed by engineer Charles Ceres to prevent Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo from speaking about Government’s alleged massive land giveaway, from which he reportedly benefitted. The court also denied Ceres’ application to prevent Guyana Times from publishing stories on the same matter.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoCeres and his wife, who is an employee of the Ministry of the Presidency, filed for the injunction against this newspaper after reports were published on alleged land corruption within the Government. The allegations were made by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo during his weekly press conference in June. Guyana Times along with other media houses reported the Opposition Leader’s claims and were subsequently sued by Ceres and his wife for libel. They are seeking over $200 million each in damages.In his statement of claim, Ceres and his wife are seeking damages from Jagdeo and Guyana Times for statements he made for alleging they obtained public lands at Canje Creek, Bohemia and Liliendaal by corrupt, illegal and/or criminal means.Charles CeresJagdeo had initially expressed concerns about the massive giveaway of lands by the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission to alleged associates of employees of the Ministry of the Presidency at strategic locations to massively benefit the beneficiaries from the coming oil boom. Guyana Times, along with several other media houses, had reported on the matter. Jagdeo had accused Ceres of obtaining hundreds of acres of land in Canje Creek, Region Six, and in Bohemia, Region Six. Following the accusations, Ceres and his wife denied the allegations.last_img read more

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Expand coverage without raising taxes

first_imgCalifornia has about three times the health-insurance mandates of Idaho, about double the national average. If California were to allow true competition, including out-of-state plans, costs would go down and choice would go up. Another way to keep health care costs in check without sacrificing quality or raising taxes can be found in consumer-directed health plans. Enrollment in health savings accounts paired with high-deductible health insurance tripled in 2006. Compared with managed care plans, consumer-directed health plans reduce the annual cost per employee by about $1,000 while preserving patient choice. Unfortunately, California is one of only four states that does not allow this freedom of choice. And that’s a shame. Because there are many ways to increase Californians’ access to health care without illegally increasing taxes by calling them fees. Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, is a member of the California Assembly.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ARE Californians taxed too much, or not enough? Taxes are the central question of how to fund Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s massive $12 billion expansion of government-run health care with its 4 percent payroll tax, 4 percent hospital tax and 2 percent doctor tax. Ironically, Schwarzenegger lambasted Phil Angelides during last year’s gubernatorial campaign for wanting to raise taxes by $7 billion to create a new government health care entitlement. Angelides argued mightily that his proposal amounted to fees, not taxes. But the governor called Angelides’ “fee” a “tax,” so a “tax” it was. Now that Schwarzenegger is proposing a government health plan that is $5 billion larger than Angelides’ proposal, Schwarzenegger has decided to call his three new taxes “fees.” The reason the difference between a “tax” and a “fee” matters has to do with the required vote thresholds in the Legislature. Tax increases need a two-thirds vote for approval, while fees only need a simple majority. Republican legislators believe that these fees are really tax hikes and that a two-thirds majority vote should be required to approve them. If a majority-vote “fee” increase is rammed through the Legislature with the help of Democrats, lawsuits will be filed to block the tax hikes to defend the rights of taxpayers and the two-thirds constitutional requirement. Adding further difficulty is a recent federal court ruling that struck down a Maryland law aimed at forcing Wal-Mart to provide its employees with health care benefits equal to 8 percent of its payroll costs. The court held that Maryland’s so-called “Fair Share Health Care Fund Act” violated federal benefits law. This ruling means Schwarzenegger’s proposed 4 percent jobs tax for health care may be illegal under federal law. In 2003, amidst soaring workers’ compensation rates and rising taxes, California’s business-tax climate ranked a dismal 43 among the 50 states, according the Tax Foundation. California’s ranking improved to 38 of 50 in 2004 after Schwarzenegger signed workers’ compensation reforms and rolled back Gray Davis’ tripled car tax. Then California fell back to No. 42 in 2006, and declined again this year to 45. More importantly, our western neighbors offer powerful incentives for California businesses to expand out of state, with Nevada’s business-tax climate ranking fourth best in the nation, Oregon 10th, Washington 11th and Arizona 28th. So, it would appear that California is overtaxed, especially in comparison with its neighbors. Simple economics dictates that investment dollars will avoid California. What is the solution? last_img read more

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ENGLISH SAYS HE FELT ‘HEAVENLY’ AS HE SETS NEW 800M RECORD

first_imgDonegal’s Mark English recorded a new personal best of one minute 45.32 seconds to set a track record for the 800 metres at the Morton Games in Santry on Wednesday evening.His huge run was just 0.02sec outside the A standard for the world championships.Kildare’s Paul Robinson also put in the performance of his life in the 800m to claim fourth in a new lifetime best of 1:45.86. Reflecting on his victory, Letterkenny AC’s English said: “I just felt great out there tonight.“I had a real burst of energy on the second lap and felt heavenly coming down the home straight. I’m just pleased after the disappointment of last week at the Euro Under-23 Championships.” ENGLISH SAYS HE FELT ‘HEAVENLY’ AS HE SETS NEW 800M RECORD was last modified: July 18th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ENGLISH SAYS HE FELT ‘HEAVENLY’ AS HE SETS NEW 800M RECORDlast_img read more

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‘A cheating disgrace’ – England fans slam Colombia’s dirty tactics

first_imgOne particular flashpoint came when Jordan Henderson collapsed in the penalty area, the result of what looked to be a Wilmar Barrios headbutt.The Colombia midfielder escaped with a yellow card and this proved to be the final straw, prompting a vociferous reaction from the England faithful. Colombia are a bunch of cheats.Come on England, BURY THEM.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) July 3, 2018 Colombia are a cheating disgrace. My god.— James (@JOC__1991) July 3, 2018 Colombia is embarrassing themselves, they’re better than this.— LISTEN TO MY PODCAST EXTRA GRAVY SHOW (@ThatDudeMCFLY) July 3, 2018 Colombia has gotten away with a lot. VAR not used to its full ability this half. Scummy bunch they’ve been.— Stateside LFC (@StatesideLFC) July 3, 2018 Kane was blatantly fouled in the 54th minute 2 Deserved penalty, Colombia been trying to get away with sly fouls like that all game.— TweetChelseaUK (@TweetChelseaUK) July 3, 2018 i am SO tired of colombia’s ridiculous antics and it’s not even half time #WorldCup18— Morgan McClelland (@mlmccl18) July 3, 2018center_img England fans were less than impressed by the tactics of Colombia’s national team during their World Cup last 16 tie on Tuesday.The Three Lions started the game brightly, but soon found themselves being neutralised by a multitude of small fouls from the South Americans. Colombia are playing dirty right now #ENGCOL— Jack Laugher (@JackLaugher) July 3, 2018 Colombia playing like cheating tramps. Very easy to dislike that crap. #COL #ENG #ENGCOL #Worldcup— Brian O Flaherty (@Flatsy1) July 3, 2018 This was only emphasised further when Harry Kane was wrestled to the floor by Carlos Sanchez, provoking the penalty from which Kane then bagged the game’s opening goal.You can read the best reactionary tweets below. Harry Kane clashed with Yerry Mina Colombia are absolutely ridiculous! This games gone comical— Daniel Howard (@DanielHoward92) July 3, 2018 2last_img read more

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DEATH OF LORD LEITRIM’S NEPHEW

first_imgTHE funeral will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, of a nephew of Lord Leitrim, ‘The Honourable’ Henry Vickers Strutt.He died at Letterkenny General Hospital on Monday. He was 97.His remains are reposing at the Holy Trinity Church, Carrigart today with a funeral service tomorrow, Wednesday, morning at 11am with burial afterwards in the adjoining cemetery. The Hon. Hedley Strutt had lived at Mulroy House, Carrigart.He often spoke of his family history, the Elizabethan and Cromwellian periods, and his ancestor Clements who fought with Cromwell in Ireland.He served in the British military as an officer in the Scots Guards. His grandfather, a great inventor, designed a component used in electric light bulbs.Hedley Strutt’s mother, Hilda Clements, was born and reared at Manor Vaughan House, the ancestral home of the Earls of Leitrim, and he often discussed his early family life and the fact that he and his siblings were all looked after by a nanny after his mother died when he was aged four. Hedley Strutt’s grandparents ran the Rosapenna Hotel.During world war two his platoon of Scots Guards were wiped out in a friendly fire incident.Politically he was a friend of the Unionist Prime Minister of the North Captain Terence O’Neill.He was friends to many people locally.His ancestor, the 3rd Earl of Leitrim, was shot dead in April 1878 on his way to his home at Mulroy. He had been despised by tenants – Catholic and Presbyterian – after a number of evictions. No-one was ever charged with his murder.The 4th Earl, Robert Clements, was seen as a more caring landlord who brought in reforms on the 52,000 acre estate.In a complete reversal of the 3rd Earl’s approach, the new landlord allowed evicted tenants to return to their farms and re-housed others.He also promised to provide a house in Milford to shelter the poor and destitute so that they could avoid entering the workhouse. And it appears these initial gestures were no hyperbolae. In the following fourteen years, he initiated ventures to improve local business and built hotels and golf links to draw tourists. He also inaugurated a line of steamers to run between Mulroy Bay and Glasgow, via Derry, thus providing access to markets for the estate produce. On his death in 1892, he was buried near Mulroy `amid signs of mourning from the tenantry among whom he had lived and for whose benefit he had worked’.DEATH OF LORD LEITRIM’S NEPHEW was last modified: March 27th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:DEATH OF LORD LEITRIM’S NEPHEWlast_img
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GARDAI HUNT GANG WHO STOLE GUNS AND A KNIFE DURING BURGLARY

first_imgGardai are hunting a gang who wrecked a house and stole two shotguns and a hunting knife from a house on the outskirts of Newtowncunningham.The raiders broke into the empty house at Rooskey yesterday afternoon and pulled a gun cabinet off the wall.The owner of the house, whose son in a keen hunter, arrived back in the afternoon to find the house ransacked. A substantial amount of money was also taken which was being saved by a young man in the house for a function.A farmer in the area who was spreading slurry noticed a man in a hoodie acting suspiciously in the area at the time.Gardai are now looking for the movements of a blue or green car with possibly a Northern Ireland registration in the area at the time.  GARDAI HUNT GANG WHO STOLE GUNS AND A KNIFE DURING BURGLARY was last modified: March 6th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:burglaryGardaigunsknifeNewtowncunninghamlast_img read more

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