Towards Repealing Liberia’s Draconian Press Laws

first_imgAaron Kollie, CEO of Power TV, made a strong point last week when he insisted that the perilous media conditions existing in Liberia can and must be reformed by the Liberian government exercising the political will to make reform happen.Addressing a panel during the two-day Media Law and Regulatory Reform Stakeholders Conference, Mr. Kollie said the free press, which government continuously boasts about, must not be measured simply by the proliferation of media houses and free talk, but by the formulation of laws and policies that safeguard that freedom in line with constitutional foundation.Kollie described the media reform initiative as “a strategic initiative to safeguard the sacred journalism profession.”We are pleased to hear Mr. Kollie describe the journalism profession as “sacred,” but how many Liberian journalists think so? But first, let us understand what “sacred” means. It means holy, consecrated, revered. How many Liberian journalists are practicing journalism in a “sacred” manner? For a very long time the profession has been seen by many as “pay as you go,” meaning you can get anything published or broadcast once you are backed by some unseen hand paying for it. No! That is just as corrupt as the very government which we journalists so often and so vigorously criticize for wrongdoing.This brings us to the main point of Mr. Kollie’s remarks, that Liberia’s perilous media conditions “must be reformed by the Liberian government exercising the political will” to make it happen.True, Liberia’s “perilous conditions” were made “perilous” by the punitive and punishing legislations made by the government itself, without regard to the Constitution. Take the law on Criminal Malevolence passed by the Tolbert Legislature in 1978. That law, seriously criticized by the constitutional analyst and pamphleteer Albert Porte, said the media could not criticize the Head of State of Liberia or any other country or high government official, even if the allegation were true.Mr. Porte urged the government to repeal that law; otherwise it would spell trouble for the country. Like so many other warnings, this one went unheeded and ignored. And what happened almost two years later? The 1980 coup d’état, followed by the civil war.So surely, it is primarily the responsibility of the government, which first put these laws into place, to take the first step to have them repealed and struck off the law books. If the GOL has the political will to do so, it should commandeer all the lawyers under its control, especially those in the Justice Ministry, but also lawyers that GOL can contract or co-opt to help with the repeal process by drafting the repeal bills for forwarding to the Legislature. GOL should then undertake the necessary follow-ups until the repeal process is successfully concluded.But it takes two to tango. The PUL and all Liberian journalists have a stake in this noble and urgent endeavor. Fortunately, the PUL and Liberian journalists are not weak. They have many friends in the legal profession who think that way—lawyers who know that the perilous laws are wrong because they violate the Constitution. These media-friendly legal professionals are willing and ready to help PUL put its case before the Legislature.We refer to such media-friendly lawyers as Counselor Tiawan Gongloe, former Solicitor General and former Labor Minister, Attorney Kofi Woods, former Public Works Minister, and others. We recall that when in 1984 the People’s Redemption Council (PRC) government closed down the Daily Observer and later sued it for “quo warranto” in an attempt to cancel its Articles of Incorporation, Counselor Varney Sherman, then a partner in the Maxwell and Maxwell Law Firm, joined the Observer’s retained Counsel, Counselor S. Raymond Horace, Sr. and other powerful lawyers and came to this newspaper’s defense, free of charge! The Daily Observer won the case before the Justice in Chambers, His Honor Emmanuel Koroma. But the state, under the leadership of the infamous Attorney General, Jenkins Scott, shamelessly took appeal to the full bench of the Supreme Court. All of the Justices on the Supreme Court bench were seen laughing as Counselor Laveli Supuwood, representing the state, floundered while presenting his legal arguments. We the Observer staff present, and our lawyers, knew we had won the case again.Alas, on the day of judgment, Chief Justice Emmanuel Gbalazeh did not have the courage or integrity to place the case on the docket. When, during the Supreme Court’s first recess, Counselor Horace asked him why the Observer case was absent from the docket, the CJ replied, “You think I’m stupid? You want me to lose my job?”Having surrendered his constitutional, judicial authority to the Executive, in clear violation of the “separation of powers,” Chief Justice Gbalazeh was himself listening to the radio on July 26, 1984, when Head of State Samuel K. Doe announced the reopening of the Daily Observer newspaper.We submit that PUL should not wait for government alone to take the repeal initiative, though it should. But we in the PUL, too, should marshal our own team of erudite and patriotic lawyers to join in the repeal process, and work diligently until all these draconian laws are repealed.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Consumer Affairs recovers over $8M for first half of 2018

first_imgThe Competition and Consumer Affairs Commission (CCAC) has recovered more than $8 million in exchanges, refunds and repairs on behalf of consumers for the period January to June 2018.This was announced on Friday by Director of the CCAC, Dawn Holder-Cush, who said the Consumer Affairs Act is one of the most effective Acts, and it gives the Commission the authority to defend the rights of consumers in Guyana.The recovery of the more than $8 million came mainly from businesses in the auto, electronics, furniture, clothing and accessories, and construction materials supplies industries. These cases account for 100 of the 150 cases received by the Commission for the first half of 2018. The remaining cases are still under investigation.However, complaints to the value of over $122 million were investigated in 2017, with a 91 per cent resolution rate.The CCAC was established to administer and enforce the Competition and Fair-Trading Act 2006 (CFTA) and the Consumer Affairs Act (2011). The Commission is urging consumers to take advantage of the inherent rights given to them through the Competition and Fair Trading and Consumer Affairs Acts, and encourages consumers to seek redress with the Commission should they feel disenfranchised by the purchase of a good or service.Consumers are reminded that among their rights are the right to a refund and the right to return goods under specific conditions. It is the responsibility of consumers to always demand proof of purchase, inclusive of a receipt and contracts where necessary.last_img read more

PPP Commissioner “disillusioned” as GECOM sticks with 42-day C&O timeline

first_img– says full Commission’s 35-day decision subverted, should have been reinstatedOpposition-nominated Guyana Election Commissioners, who arrived at a meeting on Tuesday hoping that the decision to hold Claims and Objections (C&O) for 42 days would be reviewed, were left sorely disappointed, as a decision was taken to stick with that timeline.GECOM Commissioner Bibi ShadickGECOM Chair Retired Justice Claudette SinghThe meeting, which lasted for several hours, saw a vote being taken on the duration of Claims and Objections. At the end of the vote, a decision was taken to stick with 42 days, rather than the 35 days the full Commission had initially decided the exercise would take.At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Bibi Shadick described herself as being disillusioned by the decision. Shadick claimed that GECOM Chair retired Justice Claudette Singh gave her assurances on Monday that the 42-day decision would be corrected.“Interestingly, his (Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield’s) rationale is that because his timeline was catering for elections on the 24 of February, and the President announced March 2, he had seven extra days. And interestingly, he told the Chairman before he put the 42 days and the Chairman did not doubt him”.“So my firm opinion is that when the Chairman signed the second order, she knew very well she was signing 42 days, against the decision of the Commission. That is my firm opinion. And as far as I’m concerned, this is deja vu. We have another Chairman who is going against decisions of the (full) Commission, without the Commission’s input,” Shadick added.Meanwhile, Commissioner Robeson Benn noted that the 35 days should have been sufficient to carry out Claims and Objections. Benn also noted that the 35 days would be in keeping with the decision made by the Commission last week.“We have had the unsatisfactory occurrence where the Commission made a decision to have 35 days for Claims and Objections (and it has been changed). Originally, (GECOM Commissioner Charles) Corbin was suggesting 49 days, and then 42 days. The Commission decided 35 days, a decision I voted against (last week) because I suggested 28 days”.“To our surprise, the Chairman somehow signed an original order for 49 days—Mr Corbin’s number. That error was supposedly corrected, but then it returned as 42 days, not 35 days. We had great disagreement today (Tuesday) about this problem. It came to a vote”.According to Benn, it was felt that 35 days was sufficient time to give everyone who needed to a chance to participate in C&O. This was particularly so since the GECOM sub-offices would be open all day for this. Benn noted that the 42-day decision is against the record of the Commission from last week Tuesday’s meeting.However, Commissioner Vincent Alexander expressed the view that the 42 days and the extra time would actually be a good move. Besides the timeline for Claims and Objections, there were discussions about GECOM sub-offices for Claims and Objections.A decision has also been taken to have the offices conducting Claims and Objections remain open all day. According to the Commissioners, they examined a list of 41 possible sub offices that would be set up. This list, according to Shadick, will be perused by the Commissioners. It is understood that another meeting is scheduled for Friday, where outstanding matters will be dealt with.As per GECOM’s latest order, persons have until November 11 to make any objections to the list— if they are a Guyanese citizen by birth, descent, naturalisation or registration, 18 years or older or will attain the age of eighteen by December 31, 2019.last_img read more

VIDEO: Missed Luis Suarez’s title-winning hat-trick? Watch it here!

first_img Luis Suarez hit a hat-trick as Barcelona won La Liga 1 Barcelona have ended the season as champions of Spain, beating Granada 3-0 on the final day to fight off Real Madrid’s challenge.Despite a wobble last month, the Catalans have undoubtedly been the best La Liga team this season, and have played some of the most exhilarating football the beautiful game has ever seen.The two Madrid clubs posed a threat for much of the campaign, but Atletico dropped out of the race last weekend, and Real were relying on Luis Enrique’s men to mess up against Granada as they faced off against Deportivo.SEE ALSO: Watch all the goals as Real Madrid beat Deportivo here!However, Barca were in control from the first minute, and they eased to victory courtesy of three Luis Suarez goals.The Uruguyan took his La Liga tally up to 40 for the season, claiming the Pichichi Trophy in the process.You can watch the hat-trick below…last_img read more


first_imgBABY STEPS WITH ÁINE: Hello you beautiful people. Another week of fabulous weather. We’re being spoilt and long may it last!This week I’ll be sharing some of my favourite baby skin care products with you all. As you know, baby’s skin is very delicate. Fragrances, detergents and some baby products can often cause skin irritation.If your little one has sensitive skin, then you will know that it is hard and often expensive finding the right products to suit their skin.Ava has inherited her sensitive skin from me unfortunately. She suffered from mild eczema in the earlier months and continues to get the occasional flare up.Whether you’re looking for some gentle bath time products or something to relieve symptoms of dry skin or eczema, hopefully some of the following ranges might suit you. Childs Farm: Childs farm are by far my favourite products. They are made using natural ‘free-from’ ingredients and essential oils to produce mild and gentle care for the skin and hair of new-borns, babies and children. All products are dermatologically tested and paediatrician approved. The bubble bath makes bath time a little bit more fun as I found with other brands of bubble bath for eczema prone skin the bubbles disappeared really quickly.I also love the moisturiser. It is light weight, dries quickly and leaves Ava’s skin feeling soft and fresh. All of these products smell amazing and you can buy travel sized bottles which come in handy when going on holiday.  Since using these products Ava has not had any skin irritations.You can browse and purchase their products here.Aveeno Baby:These products were recommended to me by my health visitor. The Aveeno Baby brand offer skin and hair care products. The products are specially formulated with active naturals to help nourish, soothe and protect your little ones sensitive skin. Their creams are fragrance-free, easy to apply, don’t leave any residue but leaves your baby’s skin super soft and lovely. Products are suitable for babies from 3 months and are so gentle they can be used on anyone with sensitive or dry skin. This brand is also paediatrician recommended. Find the Aveeno baby Range here:Cussons Mum & Me: I became familiar with Cussons products when I received a gift set before Ava was born. Cussons Baby Range is great as part of a bed time routine. The lavender scent is not at all overpowering and the products genuinely seem to have a calming effect.Ava loves a baby massage after her baths so the massage oil has become my favourite product and one which I buy regularly. It contains a blend of Jasmine and Aloe Vera which helps soothe the skin.  It is also hypo allergic and paediatrician approved. Browse their products here.Moo Goo:Finally, I was recommended this brand by a friend. I have only tried the nappy balm so far and it has worked wonders. It is the perfect thickness; thick enough to leave a barrier but without being sticky or rubbing away when in contact with the nappy or causing any further irritation. It includes anti-yeast ingredients which is perfect because along with urea, yeast is one of the main causes of nappy rash.I have tried some of the MooGoo products myself from the adult range and absolutely loved them.Find the Moogoo range here.Like most things in the world of parenting, it is all down to personal preference.However, I hope this article has been of some use to you.Thanks for reading,Áine xBABY STEPS WITH ÁINE: BABY SKIN CARE RANGES FOR SENSITIVE AND ECZEMA PRONE SKIN was last modified: June 10th, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare 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:Baby ColumnBaby Steps with AineFeaturesMoo Goonewslast_img read more


first_imgAS the seconds count down to the Donegal Rally, here’s a nostalgic look back at the rally of 1983….and the special stage which started in Market Square in Letterkenny that year.DDTV: BACK TO SQUARE ONE! VIDEO OF SPECIAL LETTERKENNY STAGE 1983 was last modified: June 18th, 2011 by gregShare 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:ddtv donegal rallylast_img read more


first_imgSouth West Donegal DartsDarts action returns to the South West Donegal area this weekend after the summer break, first up on Friday night Glenhead host The Bridge Bar in Cashel and Kilcar House make a welcome return to the league when they host Big Francies also on Friday night. On Saturday O’Donnell’s are home to last year’s treble winners Roartys which has the makings of a good game while The Cope House have a bye full list of fixtures and rules are on our website www.donegaldarts.comWeek One Fixtures Friday 5th OctoberGlenhead v Bridge BarKilcar House v Big FranciesSaturday O’Donnell’s v RoartysCope House ByeWeek TwoFriday 12th OctoberBridge Bar v Kilcar House Big Francies v O’Donnell’sSaturdayCope House v GlenheadRoartys Bye Saturday 20th October tournament in Big Francies, Ardara details next week.DARTS – SOUTH WEST DONEGAL LEAGUE was last modified: September 30th, 2012 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:South West Donegal Darts Leaguelast_img read more


first_imgDeputy Joe McHughDonegal Deputy Joe McHugh has welcomed the announcement from Minister Quinn which shows that DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunities in Schools) is working in primary schools around the country.Commenting on the report’s findings, Deputy Joe McHugh: “I am very pleased to see the findings released today, which show that test scores in DEIS primary schools at all grade levels have increased significantly.“This is something I worked closely on to convince the Minister to retain the DEIS disadvantaged classification and these strong indications of improvement among primary school students demonstrates how important this programme is. “The education system, specifically in Donegal, needs to address the different challenges students and teachers are facing.“As we know, small schools are common in the North West region and this is an issue that many of them face.“There is no question that some schools are going to come under enormous pressure, including some faith-based schools and this administration needs to focus on addressing individual needs and requirements, acknowledging that schools of different sizes and religious faiths face different issues. Investment in education is paramount in getting people into the work place and I believe the continued success of this programme will play a big role in that process.”  DEIS SUCCESS IN DONEGAL PRIMARY SCHOOLS – McHUGH was last modified: December 17th, 2013 by John2Share 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:DEIS SUCCESS IN DONEGAL PRIMARY SCHOOLS – McHUGHlast_img read more


first_imgFianna Fail Cllr James Pat McDaid has claimed the housing situation across Donegal is at crisis point and only FF’s new policy can come close to solving the problem.Cllr James Pat McDaidAfter attending the FF Ard Fheis in Dublin at the weekend, Cllr. McDaid told the Donegal Daily that rather than just complaining about the current crisis, Fianna Fail is actively working on solutions.“Our recently launched roadmap on housing states that we will build 150,000 new homes nationwide, support 80,000 first time buyers, create 80,000 jobs, empower 20,000 new local authority homeowners, and secure homes for our elderly,” he added – optimistically. The New Mills based Cllr told the Donegal Daily : ‘Like every other electoral area in Donegal, Letterkenny has a very serious social housing crisis. He said: “The Letterkenny urban area with its population of over 20,000 people has only 6 housing units proposed for 2016. The area which has approx 16 main centres of population does not have any social housing construction projects under ongoing at this time.This county has a massive housing crisis with well over 4,000 applicants in need of social housing. Many others who are also in need of housing do not qualify under the current criteria.”Cllr Mc Daid added: “The Dail was told during a debate on housing last year that only 1 social house was built in Donegal in each of the last 3 years and this is totally unacceptable. The Council’s official figure for housing needs shows 2,750 on waiting lists. We have close to 350 on rent allowance and a further 175 have a leasing arrangement through the Council. When all the housing needs are calculated it is my belief that by the end of this year the waiting lists could be more than 5,000 in the county.Our strategy will include the introduction of a first time buyers saving scheme to help 80,000 families starting out get the money together for a deposit on their new home. For every €200 saved the government will add €50 to help meet the deposit. It’s time for a new vision. There can be no more boom and bust construction. What we need are the right homes in the right places and a planning system that sustains that. We have to get Ireland building again. The lack of home building is killing the dream of home ownership.  We will strengthen the rights of local people to build and own a home in their local area in rural Ireland.We will revise housing density levels in order to ensure homes are built where families want to live in, not where they will be forced to live, thus helping rural areas sustain their population base and help ease the pressure on urban centres.It is our intention to make sure that in this country every family should have the security of being able to own their own home and thus have a place to call their own and raise their family in.Fianna Fail is the only party committed to building homes and actively helping people to buy them.It is also our aim to ensure that our elderly live independently in their own homes as long as possible. A vibrant Ireland is one where all age groups remain as the heart and soul of society. Fianna Fail will fully re-instate the Housing adaption grants to help ensure their homes are re-furbished to accommodate them in their later stages of life.This policy will build more homes, create more jobs, help more first time buyers, empower more local authority tenants and secure more elderly people in their homes,” he concluded.FIANNA FAIL CAN SOLVE DONEGAL HOUSING CRISIS – CLLR McDAID was last modified: May 1st, 2015 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:donegalhousing crisisJames Pat McDaidlast_img read more

Showing the red card to racism

first_img2 July 2010 As the eyes of the world turn to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup, Fifa is using the occasion to deliver a clear message against racism and any other form of discrimination – with the full backing of the remaining teams. At all four quarter-final matches on Friday and Saturday, each team captain, watched by millions of people around the world, will read out a declaration condemning and rejecting any discrimination in football and society, and teams and match officials will pose jointly alongside a banner displaying the unequivocal message “Say no to racism” during the pre-match programme. Fifa has organised Anti-Discrimination Days during one of its competitions every year since 2001, when a declaration against racism was signed at the Fifa extraordinary congress in Buenos Aires. Although the rejection of discrimination applies all year round, the Fifa Anti-Discrimination Days give the football family the opportunity to join together in condemning this blight on society all around the world. “It is part of our social responsibility to use our competitions to raise awareness of the pressing social issues of the day,” Fifa president Sepp Blatter said this week. “The players’ voices help us amplify this message and the call for solidarity, respect and fair play – the basic values of our game.” As Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, has said: “Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination. The 2010 Fifa World Cup has renewed the spirit of unity in South Africa and across the world for people to find their common humanity.” Tokyo Sexwale, South Africa’s minister of human settlements and a member of Fifa’s Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility, said this week: “This tournament has brought the people of South Africa together to build on the legacy Nelson Mandela wanted to create for this country. “Although this project cannot solve the problem on its own, it delivers a clear message of zero tolerance of discrimination of any kind,” Sexwale said. Anthony Baffoe, former Ghanaian football player and the second African to play in the German Bundesliga, said: “If all parties involved in football join in condemning and acting against discrimination, there is hope for eradicating it from our sport. “There has been tremendous progress made over the last years, but we still have a great amount of work ahead,” Baffoe said. “The Anti-Discrimination Day here at the Fifa World Cup clearly shows the world the players’ rejection of racism and their willingness to fight it.” Source: Fifa.comlast_img read more