Playing politics with our security will not protect our borders (Pt 1)

first_imgDear Editor,Two ludicrous news items appeared in the <> on April 6th. One bears the headline “Joint Services adequately resourced to protect Guyana’s border – Harmon”, and the other, “GPL will become world-class utility company – CEO”.Unless the Guyana Power & Light (GPL) is given full control of the Amaila Falls Hydroelectric Plant after it is built by the PPP/C when we return to office in 2020, GPL will always remain incompetent, unreliable, and be a major liability on the financial resources of the country.But this letter is not about GPL, it is about the ludicrous statement made by the Minister of State, Joseph Harmon. If the article is correct, Minister Harmon was quoted as saying, “I would say that the disciplined forces there – the Police and the Army – they have the resources to respond quickly to these reports.” Of course he was referring to the “growing concerns about the safety and security of citizens living and working along the border communities, who complain of increasing attacks, particularly from the Venezuela-based Sindicato gang members.”As I’ve written earlier, the Parliamentary Oversight Committee for the Security Services, headed by Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, just returned from a fact-finding mission to Region One, where we inspected Police stations at Moruca, Matthew’s Ridge, Port Kaituma and Mabaruma.The overall report card reflects the concerns of senior Police ranks on these very issues, and the willingness to get the job done. But without clear policy guidelines; adequate manpower; proper weapons, vehicles, boats; and more secure holding cells, it would be impossible for them to contain and deter criminal activities in the area. Sending more Police and soldiers to the region would further complicate matters, as accommodation is limited and inadequate even for those now living there. Where would Minister Harmon put these additional Police and troops? Did he not consult with his colleague, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, before making such a statement? Playing politics with our security will not protect our borders, but will condemn our disciplined forces to a failed mission if proper planning is neglected.Sincerely,Harry GillPPP/C Member of Parliamentlast_img read more

Troubles in Bassa Deepen, Big Fish Accused, Including T. Nelson Williams II and Buchanan…

first_imgAs the looming trouble in Grand Bassa County deepens, authorities of the county have reportedly accused some prominent citizens of the county of being behind the Aggrieved Bassa Citizens (ABC) who are calling for the immediate resignation of County Superintendent Etweda T. Cooper and Assistant Superintendent for Development Adonie Z. Greaves.The ABC group wants the current leadership of the county to be immediately  unseated for allegedly mismanaging funds intended to kick Ebola out of the county among other funds also intended to develop their devastated county. The amount in question is a staggering US$307,000.During the second day of the ABC’s protest, on October 9, 2014, members of the group “booed at Superintendent Cooper and shouted loud voices.Rogue! Rogue!! Rogue!!! When she was attempting to flee the hostility of the ABC demonstrators gathered around her office on that fateful day. Had it not been for the police and other security officers to escort her away, all  hell would have broken loose.Following this, some supporters of the county administration, already in ‘hot water,’ alleged that the Managing Director of the Liberian Petroleum Refining Corporation (LPRC) and Executive Director of the T. Nelson Williams Foundation is  one of the staunch supporters of the ABC’s action against the county leadership’s removal from office.During a press conference held at the offices of the foundation in Buchanan last week, Mr. T. Nelson Williams categorically  refuted the allegation leveled against him, describing it as false, misleading and unfounded and intended to tarnish his long built reputation and to discredit his immense contributions to the eradication of the spread of Ebola and the development of our war torn county.Mr. Williams clarified that at no time has he given the ABC US$1,500 to facilitate the unseating of the current county leadership as had widely claimed by his accusers. He challenged them to prove their allegation to the letter.Mr. Williams disclosed that he only gave the amount of US$900 to six local radio stations in the county for the promotion of the prevention of the spread of the Ebola Virus in the county and nothing else.He revealed that his foundation is a non-political, non-profit one, but purely humanitarian.  It continues to help vulnerable people, give  scholarships to needy students at all levels, without any discrimination.He was allegedly linked to a staffer of his foundation, DU-Ben Cleon, who heads the ABC.Predicated upon this, Mr. T. Nelson Williams has suspended Mr. Cleon for time in definite for using the compound of the foundation to host ABC’s meetings.Grand Bassa County Electoral District #3 Representative  Gabriel B. Smith, also denied the allegation that he is one of the supporters of ABC to unseat the county’s current leadership.Mr. Smith then clarified that he only received a letter from the ABC as their direct lawmaker informing him about its action against the county leadership, but he never replied the letter or supported the group’s action.“Under the Constitution of Liberia, every citizen has the right to freedom of speech, but he or she must be responsible for what he or she says,” he added.On Friday, October 10, 2014, pandemonium broke out when another resistance group calling  itself Patriotic Alliance of Bassa (PAB) reportedly attacked the ABC members and violently stoned and wounded some of them at the Unification Pavilion Hall. The victims were rushed to nearby Drug Stores for medical treatment.At the same time the police in Buchanan, headed by the Superintendent Fredrick Nappy, arrested about 20 men of the PAB and detained them for disorderly conduct.The incident erupted when the ABC was awaiting the arrival of the county’s Legislature caucus to present their petition to them during the third day of their demonstration.At the police Headquarters in the Fairground in Buchanan on  that fateful day, the Development Superintendent Adonie z. Greaves, who had carried the Buchanan City Solicitor, Isaac Yorcee, and the county’s Public Defender, Paul P. Jarvan, to release the detainees of PAB, went loggerheads with Buchanan City mayor Julia Bono.Had it not been for the interception of the police, Grand Bassa County supreme grand zoe Edward John Taywayou, the two groups  would have engaged in a fist fight.Mr. Greaves accused Mayor Bono of supporting ABC, while Mayor Bono also accused Mr. Greaves of organizing the PAB to violently attack and disrupt the ABC’s protest.In another development, one  Liberia’s seasoned lawyers, who is also a son of Grand Bassa County, Cllr. Theophilus C. Gould, allegedly quoted Mayor Bono as saying the ABC’s petition to the county lawmakers was delayed because she should have been in charge of the Ebola Task Force warehouse but to the contrary.Cllr. Gould then described her as being selfish and unpatriotic.He made the utterances on Saturday, October 12, 2014 when his group, the Ancient  Free and Accepted Masons,  along with the General Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star of Liberia, donated some assorted Ebola preventive materials and food items to Grand Bassa County Ebola Task Force.  The donations were  received by Superintendent Etweda A. Cooper, on behalf of the Task Force.In reaction, Mayor Bono catergorily denied the allegation and described it as false and misleading which she said is intended to create confrontation.She then expressed disappointment over Cllr. Gould, as a renowned lawyer to the country, leveling such  an allegation against her.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more