ON THIS WEEKEND

first_imgSATURDAY10 a.m: Man United VS West Ham12:30 p.m: Chelsea VS Bournemouth7 p.m: West Brom VS Tottenham10 p.m: Southampton VS Aston VillaDigicel SPORTSMAX5 p.m: Arsenal VS SunderlandSUNDAY DIGICELSPORTSMAX 212 a.m: Watford VS Norwich City3 a.m: Swansea City VS Leicester City11 a.m: Newcastle United VS Liverpool DIGICELSPORTSMAX 2center_img ON THIS WEEKENDlast_img

Some Olympic leaders impatient with onslaught of scandals

first_imgA costly, catty dispute finally settled FILE – In this Jan. 25, 2017, file photo, former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a debate in Seoul, South Korea. Former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon has been elected chair of the International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission. In his acceptance speech Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, Ban called his new task “a serious responsibility.” (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)LIMA, Peru — As soon as he got the job, the new ethics chair of the International Olympic Committee received an earful, as well.Former U.N. secretary general Ban Ki-moon was elected to his new position Thursday — handed the task of restoring credibility to an organization that, according to its own members, is getting “hammered” by an onslaught of unsavory scandals.ADVERTISEMENT It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson —Another IOC member, Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah of Kuwait, did not show this week. He has been implicated in a FIFA bribery case in the United States, and resigned from FIFA in April, but has not left his IOC post.The IOC is seeking improvements in its ethics operation as part of Bach’s “Agenda 2020” reforms. Among the measures: establishing a new chief ethics and compliance officer’s position and creating a new ethics hotline that anyone can use to report violations both on and off the field of play.“I think we’ve made it clear that credibility for us is extremely important,” Bach said. “Because credibility in sports doesn’t only apply to sports competition, but to sports organizations, as well. This is what we addressed expressly with Olympic Agenda 2020.”But the changes take time, and meanwhile, the critical headlines keep coming.“There comes a certain point when you’re taking all this (crap), and you have to come out of the bunker and say, ‘What are we not doing that’s affecting the credibility of the IOC?’” Canadian member Dick Pound said.Maister said the combination of IOC members’ problems, along with the steady stream of medals being reallocated in an ongoing doping crisis, undermine fans’ confidence in sports.“Where are we on a crisis scale? We’re not off the scale. I wouldn’t put a figure on it,” Maister said. “But these are issues that need to be addressed, for sure.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Benilde runs Perpetual aground for third win In his acceptance speech, Ban called his new task “a serious responsibility.” After he was done, and the floor was opened for questions, IOC members took turns accentuating the challenge he faces.“Quite frankly, we’re getting hammered every day … to the point where there’s a perception out there, not just from the media, but from average people who feel almost betrayed by what they see as continual acts of corruption by high people in international sports,” said Richard Peterkin, the IOC member from Saint Lucia.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smogThis week’s IOC session was highlighted by the dual award of the 2024 and 2028 Olympics to Paris and Los Angeles. Sharing those headlines have been almost-daily developments about Brazilian IOC member Carlos Nuzman , who is under investigation for his alleged role in a $2 million vote-buying scheme to bring the 2016 Olympics to Rio de Janeiro.Earlier this week, IOC president Thomas Bach said the committee was awaiting word from Brazilian authorities before determining next steps. There are IOC members, however, who think the committee should act more decisively. OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Learning about the ‘Ring of Fire’ Break new ground Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award MOST READ A costly, catty dispute finally settled LATEST STORIES “The trouble is, presuming innocence is fine, but how long does it take?” New Zealand IOC member Barry Maister said in an interview with The Associated Press shortly after he, too, expressed his frustration during the Q&A with Ban. “It takes an age, and in that time, we just get hammered. It makes it look like we’re pushing the issue under the carpet.”Nuzman isn’t the only IOC member in trouble.—Last month, Patrick Hickey resigned his spot on the IOC executive board, a year after being arrested in Brazil in a ticket-scalping investigation.—Absent from this week’s meetings is IOC member Frankie Fredericks, who was previously removed from the committee’s inspection team for Paris and Los Angeles in the wake of allegations he was caught up in the vote scandal involving Nuzman.—The former head of track and field’s governing body, Lamine Diack, is also involved in the vote-buying scandal; he resigned his IOC position in 2015.ADVERTISEMENT View comments End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Winning startlast_img read more

Cone: We’re the Gin Kings but Beermen still ‘PBA kings’

first_imgLights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Coach Tim Cone thanks the fans. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netDethroning San Miguel Beer is one thing but taking its place as the best team in the PBA today is a different case altogether.Barangay Ginebra foiled San Miguel’s bid to repeat as Commissioner’s Cup champion but head coach Tim Cone said the Beermen still sit atop the PBA mountain.ADVERTISEMENT Finals setback will only make San Miguel ‘hungry,’ says Lassiter READ: Ginebra dethrones San Miguel, cops PBA Commissioner’s Cup title“I think they see us as a threat to their perennial crown. They are, perennially, they’re the king,” said Cone after winning his third title with Ginebra on Wednesday night.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’“Even though, we’re the Gin Kings, they (Beermen) are the PBA kings.” READ: Finals setback will only make San Miguel ‘hungry,’ says Lassiter LATEST STORIES Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. San Miguel hadn’t been beaten in the finals since coach Leo Austria took over the team in 2014 until Ginebra ended the Beermen’s perfect 6-of-6 record.But Cone said the Beermen remain as the league’s gold standard and that every team’s road to a championship will have to get past the winningest franchise first.READ: Title loss to Ginebra ‘wake up call’ for San Miguel“They’ll always going to see us as a thorn in their side but anything we wanna accomplish as a group, we know it’s always gonna have to go through San Miguel because they are the best team,” he said.“Like I said, we’re the best team for a night but they really are the best team. It’s a fact,” he added. “There are other teams also but ultimately, all the teams are gonna go through San Miguel. So if we get successful, we’re gonna stop them, but generally, they’re gonna get their success.ADVERTISEMENT Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Peza offers relief to ecozone firms View comments MOST READlast_img read more

Willis Knuckles’ Death Shocks Friends, Family

first_imgThe former vice chairman of the Liberia Football Association (LFA), Mr. Willis D. Knuckles, Jr., died in Accra, Ghana, on Monday July 28, 2014, after a brief illness, family sources told the Daily Observer yesterday.In the 1980s, he was appointed as vice chairman of the Liberia Football Association, to head a team that changed the future of Liberian football for the better.Though the late President Samuel K. Doe held on to the chairmanship of the LFA, the operational aspects of the association were under his leadership.Knuckles was assisted by Mr. Paul E. Mulbah, as Chief of Operations, with the late Marcel E. Bertin as Secretary General.His administrative secretary was Mr. Harry M. Attoh. President Doe worked along with the team at the LFA, and reorganized the administration of football in the country.Under his leadership, major reforms were introduced, including the establishment of sub-committees and sub-associations throughout the country. They are still the bedrock of the Liberia Football Association.A regular soccer league was put into place and the traditional Invincible Eleven versus Mighty Barrolle regulars were replaced with a system.Knuckles supervised a new football association, and with effective administrative skills, backed by presidential support and funding, began football competitions that helped to bring out the George Weah generation.It was still under his administration that teams in the national league increased to 12, with clubs like Monrovia Black Star, Fulani FC (all in Monrovia) and Young Eagles of Harbel challenged the league’s dominance of Invincible Eleven, St. Joseph’s Warriors and Mighty Barrolle, to begin Liberia’s participation in continental tournaments.In fact Young Eagles were known as the giant killers, with goalkeeper John Dorbor as one of the nation’s best, despite his height advantage.Knuckles’ administration expanded the league and encouraged the formation of soccer teams that were fully supported by government agencies.For instance, LPRC-Oilers and NPA-Anchors were born in this period and with players being financially supported, (many were employed at the various corporations), and much attention was placed on the actual game performance.Unfortunately, Knuckles resigned his vice chairman position due to what was described as ‘policy differences’ with President Doe and was the publisher of the erstwhile SPORTS WORLD newspaper.It was later learned that Knuckles advised against spending money to get foreign nationals to play for the Lone Star, at the expense of developing local talent.After he resigned, Mr. Cletus S. Wotorson, (Grand Kru Senator), was appointed to his stead. Mr. Wotorson had succeeded by lifting basketball to another level and President Doe was convinced he was the best replacement and he did not disappoint him.When contacted yesterday, Sen. Wotorson told the Daily Observer, “I was in a state of shock and despair when I heard the announcement of Mr. Knuckles’ death. He was my best friend.”Sen. Wotorson added that the late Knuckles was very dependable and loyal who would go the extra mile for a friend. “He was approachable and well organized for a task, though not an engineer, he did excellently well at the Ministry of Public Works,” Sen. Wotorson said.He expressed his deepest condolences to the family and prayed for God’s support in this difficult time.Knuckles also held positions as Public Works Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs of the Republic of Liberia in President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s administration. He was Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Youth and Sports at the time of the 1980 coup d’etat.He was the founder of the Alpha Old Timers Football Club, and active player in the old timers’ league, till his recent illness, family sources said. It was during his administration at the LFA that the Sports Writers Association of Liberia, SWAL, was organized.He was also a member of the LFA Advisory Committee that reviews current activities of the Liberia Football Association with recommendations for President Musa Bility’s consideration. It is headed by Information Minister Lewis Brown.A spokesman for the Advisory Committee expressed condolences to the family and friends, and requested for God’s blessings for the family. Funeral arrangements will be announced later, a family source said.He is survived by his loving wife, Mrs. Hawa Sherman Knuckles, two daughters, Hawa Ellen and Ethel Virginia, a son, Willis III, grand children, several brothers, including Gabriel Knuckles, a sister, Bushin Knuckles and many other relatives.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

YMCA Wages Intense Ebola Fight in West Point

first_imgThe YMCA continues its fight against the deadly Ebola virus in West Point with the recruitment and temporary employment of forty residents every week to clean all the township’s seven communities.The 40 volunteers, under the scheme, Food for Work (FFW) receive a 25k bag of rice, a gallon of cooking oil, half dozen tins of sardines and 50 pieces of Vital Cube at the end of the week.  A new team of 40 volunteers is hired each week.The uninterrupted cleaning campaign which began in October 2014, is one of YMCA’s initiatives to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).The project, titled: Saving Lives and Restoring Livelihoods in West Point,’ was awarded by Y Care International and funded by Comic Relief, UK.The program, which is to be implemented for six months, is in its 18th week.The Coordinator of the Project, Jerry Paye, told the Daily Observer yesterday that the total value of the project is an equivalent of US$181,706.00 and a total number of 6,068 direct beneficiaries will be impacted. Mr. Paye said the project is a way in which the YMCA can help the Liberian government fight the pandemic and address the economic impact on the community.According to Mr. Paye, about 960 persons will benefit monthly from the Food For Work (FFW) subproject with the temporary employment of 40 persons weekly and their possible estimated beneficiaries of six persons.Besides the FFW scheme, the Liberian YMCA also trained and deployed 24 peer educators on the Ebola preventive measures.  Each peer educator is expected to reach out to 50 persons a week.He stated that during their outreach, leaflets and posters about the prevention against the virus are distributed and posted on houses, shops and other places.The Coordinator indicated that in order to address the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak in West Point, there has been food support to single mothers, sick and disabled persons, Ebola survivors and those distributions will continue to the end of March.  He further said the Liberian YMCA provides financial support to the West Point Township Commissioner for coordinating meetings. In collaboration with the Commissioner, the YMCA has repaired two latrines and the third one is still undergoing renovation.“Additionally, we also give 37 bags of rice monthly to the management and staff of the Star of the Sea Clinic in West Point,” Mr. Paye said.He said about 175 persons, including marketers and Ebola survivors, are expected to receive US$150 as a package to restore their lives.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Clashes of Ideologies

first_imgTheme 3: Peace and ReconciliationThe findings and recommendations of the TRC have been lingering for about eight years. Do you have any suggestion for implementing those recommendations?Brumskine: Start with palava hut approachMy understanding of the report is that it took two parallel approaches: retributive justice and restorative justice. Under my administration, make no mistake, there will be no tolerance for impunity. But we can get perpetrators later. Let’s start with the palava hut approach.Cummings: Focus on reconciliationWe cannot change the past, but we can influence the now and the future. I believe Liberians should focus on reconciliation. If we focus on retributive, I believe it will consume us and divide us. I want us to build monuments, and conferences through which we can acknowledge the pain and hurt. But by expanding the economy with access for everyone, will make things better for us all.Boakai: Preferred the South African approachWhen the TRC started, I always wanted to see the South African approach. I have the strongest belief that once we open our economy, people will build their lives; the hurt that is there will go after a period of time.Urey: Perpetrators must get their day in courtThe TRC, not only the report, but the whole process continues to haunt us as a people. Why? Because we didn’t do it right. We had actors in our civil war who were members of the TRC; actors who appeared before the TRC and admitted to their crimes and boasted about them. Under a Urey government, the TRC must be revisited. We know who did what in this country, and they all must get their day in court. The ALP has the 15 musts: one of those is to reconcile and unite our country. The most important thing is to reconcile our country and we must love one another.During the civil war, we lost thousands because of ethnicity. We thought we had moved past that during the post-conflict era. But during these campaigns, the old congau/native divide was reignited. There has been advocacy to declare Liberia a Christian state. Would you clearly condemn tribal and religious bigotry? What are your plans to heal the divide that could threaten the peace that we continue to enjoy?Cummings: Shame on advocates of divisivenessIt has been very disappointing to hear Liberians advocate such divisive politics. Hunger, joblessness, poverty does not distinguish between different types of Liberians. I want to be a president of all Liberians. We as leaders should be talking about bringing ourselves together and shame on those who are advocating that [divisive] point of view.Boakai: Committed to an inclusive governmentI don’t feel inferior to anyone. For me, tribalism is not part of my blood; I have friends all over. For us, we have already committed ourselves to an inclusive government. On Christian state, proponents should live the Christian life and be an example for others to follow freely.Urey: We are all indigenous one way or anotherTribalism- A poster that appeared on the internet with Boakai called an indigenous ticket. Boakai has given me no reason to believe he is a tribalist. Nuquay and I are from the same Presbyterian church. But we must be cognizant that this campaign, people would say anything to win! If I told you that I am an indigenous person, you wouldn’t believe it. On Christian State: We never thought anyone would have considered such foolishness. Now even some Muslims are supporting candidates who are proponents of the Christian State, and this is confusing.Brumskine: We must learn more about ourselvesIt is a shame that every elections cycle, the country vs congau divide rears its ugly head. Then after elections, we all become Monrovia people. My government will set up a commission of experts from each of the ethnic groups so that we can trace the contribution of every ethnic group to Liberia. King Bob Gray was referred to by settlers as the Education Chief because he made them sign a document that all Bassa children would be educated. So much information about ourselves, such as this is not widely known. Theme 2: Security and Rule LawWhat specific plans do you have to strengthen the justice sector, so that it adequately responds to the high crime rate and the backlog of pre-trial detentions which has led to overflowing prison populations in the country?Urey: opt for a Minsitry of National SecurityThis is not just a challenge for the President of Liberia, but for every Liberian. My government will opt for a Minsitry of National Security. We don’t want the executive branch of governemnt to be too involved in the security matters. NSA, LNP, Immigration, all report to the president. In this case, they are not unified in their advice to the President and many times they are dishonest to the President.Boakai: Security is a holistic conceptInternal and external security. We have done well training our security. For me security is a holistic concept: access to food, safety, etc. Security issues are a result of unresolved crime. If we improve the quality of education of people, we improve the lives of people.Putting rules are good, but enforcing them is more important.Cummings: Unemployment our biggest security riskOur biggest national security risk is the number of unemployed and unemployable Liberians. the percentage is an unsustainable number. Yes, we need to strengthen our police force and soldiers. But unless we fix the economy by providing jobs for our people, we will not solve the national security problems. There must be consequences for crime, no matter who you are.Brumskine: Ensure Justice Ministry’s independenceWe need to have our law enforcement people trained. But the most important thing the LP government will do will be to ensure the independence of the Ministry of Justice. To ensure that the Justice ministry does not have to call the Executive Mansion to get approval as to whether or not a matter should be prosecuted. Not every probable cause should give rise to a jail sentence. I agree with Cummings that the underlying problem is the economy. The Sirleaf economic policy has been based on the Tubman economy policy… which relied on only our natural resources.What specific plans do you have to protect women and girls from sexual violence, considering that many perpetrators of sex crimes do not serve a day in jail and most victims rarely get justice?Cummings: sexual violence unacceptableSexual violence is completely unacceptable and we will prosecute anyone in our society who commits those crimes. We will commit in my administration that 30% to 50% of our government will be women, because they will add value to development and enforcement of laws.Brumskine: Rape law needs to be enforcedLet’s start with the young girls in the classroom, where they are taken advantage of by teachers. Predatory teachers should be jailed. Rape law is on the books and simply needs to be enforced. 3 of the people who I love the most happen to be women. My mother, my wife and my daughter Charlene. These 3 women have shaped my life in many ways and the least I can do is to show every woman in this country: I have your back.Boakai: Teach girls how to protect themselvesI have said of the police quite often that the badges that the police wear are not hunting licenses. They must be people that are trained and honest enough, that love this country, who should be the ones to administer security in this country. Also we must improve ways to teach girls how to protect themselves. Law enforcement, the Courts and self-protection of citizens go hand in hand to make it work.Urey: Fast track court for rapeI am not a believer in reversed discrimination. Men are also raped, sexually harassed and molested in Liberia. So, this is not only about females. I have 5 women in my family – 4 daughters and one wife. Justice delayed and justice denied must never be tolerated in this country. We must create legislation to ensure that there is a fast-track court for rape. The department in the police responsible for rape need to be trained to handle such cases. We must put the resources to the right thing, with a fast track court exclusively for rape.Quite recently, some law makers instituted an impeachment proceeding at the House of Representatives against three justices of the Supreme Court of Liberia? There are many who are of the opinion that this action will affect the peace and security of the country.  What are your views?Brumskine: House is dead wrongThe members of the House are dead wrong, and the Supreme Court hasIf you are not satisfied with the Supreme Court decision, write a new law to address that decision.Cummings: Out of orderYou cannot have one branch of Government questioning the decisions of another branch.Boakai: We must respect the lawI cannot render judgement on it at this moment. We have to respective the laws of our judgement. Our lawmakers are capable people. We are waiting for the outcome. Whatever is the outcome, that’s the law and we have to respect that.Urey: Both branches in errorWe must all agree there are three separate, distinct and independent branches of government. We also agree that this case: one branch of government does not have the right to interfere in another’s function. But when one branch appears to interfere with the function of another, it becomes questionable. The Supreme Court’s action was tantamount to creating a law. Even though they might have stepped in the prerogative of another branch of government, that other branch also stepped in the prerogative in the previous branch. Both branches were in error.There is a concerning trend of letting faults slide “in the interest of peace”. We need to decide in the interest of the country. (Clockwise) Four presidential candidates participated in the debate: VP Boakai, Cllr. Brumskine, Mr. Cummings and Mr. Urey Closing remarks from candidatesBoakai: Be very practical in word and deedLiberians will judge us by our track record. If we improve sanitation of our people, we will be able to improve the health and wellbeing of our people. I don’t believe in NATO (No Action, Talk Only)… We need to be very practical in what we say and do. We need to open up this country with roads. Liberians should be empowered. I lived here all my life and have nowhere else to go and will stay here to ensure that Liberia moves forward.Cummings: Change you can trust, not superficial changeWe deserve a better Liberia. The way to get a better Liberia is not by doing the same things the same way. We need change you can trust, not superficial change. the best predictor of future behavior and performance is past behavior and performance. If you elect a Cummings, 6 years from now, if you ask whether we are better off after those 6 years, I am confident the answer will be yes.Brumskine: I have requisite and relevant experience[Listing of past experience…] Under my leadership in the Senate we grew the number of business in the Liberianization policy from 16 busineses to 26 businesses. We established a legislative budget office. I come with the requisite and relevant experience to lead this country.Urey: This election will decide many things for LiberiaI want us all to remember the suffering masses out there in Liberia. Do not forget the hungry, destitute people out there who are craving for a change. Remember that this election will decide a lot of things for us as a people. There’s not much free in the world again. Donald Trump says he does not want to be president of the world, just president of the USA. I am reminded of the position our youth find themselves in — jobless…. Under my administration there is hope for us… If your mother is ill and you take her to JFK and she dies, you killed her. If your brother is unable to stand as a man and take care of his home, you did it. This is how important your vote is this October.—END OF DEBATE—Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Liberia has a budget deficit of about 8.5 percent of GDP, according to some estimates. This deficit as you know affects operations of government services. What specific plans do you have to address the repeated budget deficit, so that government operates smoothly?Cummings: Address waste in governmentWe have to address the waste in government. Look at the procurement process. Revenue side of the equation: can we get more out of our resources? Then reduce the salaries of the people at the top end of government.Brumskine: Deficit financing, but with financial disciplineA budget deficit is not necessarily a bad thing. There are times when we will need deficit financing, but we need financial discipline. We have to reverse the situation. The top officials take the lion share of the money. Karnwea and I have agreed to reduce our salaries by 30%. We need to expand the tax base: We need to invest in agriculture, diversify our economy and empower Liberians. Compare top level officials’ office appropriations with key indicators such as funding of social services such as hospitals.Urey: Deficit comes from poor planningThe whole thing of budget is a planning phenomenon. We note the need for a planning ministry. I you don’t have the requisite skills and knowledge to plan, you will have a deficit. I will work with the Legislature to ensure that the Ministry of Planning and Development will be reinstated. As president, I will effect a 50% reduction in my salary. This government has been too business unfriendly. Increasing taxes doesn’t necessarily give you revenue. 80% of our budget is on recurrent expenses. That’s too high.Follow-up question: Do you think we have had unqualified people managing our budget at the Ministry of Finance?Answer: Not at all. We have some of the brightest young minds that have served at the Ministry of Finance. However, Planning, coming out a civil war, is the most important ministry. We must also create a ministry of rural development.Boakai: We need a balanced budget, but we lack fiscal disciplineWe are too donor dependent. I have always said, an over protected child cannot be saved. Liberia has the resources. We don’t have to go to people for the money. My counterparts talk about my experience. I have experience. Fiscal discipline to spend the money that we have; the need to be determined to do the right thing. Follow-up: On fiscal discipline, are you suggesting that this government has been irresponsible?Answer: This government has not been only UP, but members of LP, CDC and other parties — all of us. So fiscal indiscipline is all of our problem. Liberians to hand-down verdict on October 10 as Presidential Candidates discuss ‘the pertinent issues’It can be termed as the most attractive political gathering so far since the National Elections Commission officially pronounced the commencement of campaigning activities, and it didn’t disappoint as four of the leading candidates for the Liberian presidency, with many pertinent national issues considered, took the stand to say why they should be given a shot at the Liberian presidency.In anticipation of what to hear from their various candidates, Liberians from all walks of life, including partisans of various political parties as well as undecided voters, converge in their numbers at the Paynesville Town Hall, via radio and online on Thursday to listen to their political leaders state their respective positions in their own words.The high level of anticipation that greeted the debate has indicated that the Liberian society is gradually becoming politically conscious; more issues oriented and less personality driven.The organizers of the event, the Deepening Democracy Coalition (DDC), had initially invited the six most highly featured candidates to address the debate. However, four candidates – VP Joseph Nyuma Boakai (UP); Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine (LP); Benoni Urey (ALP); and Alexander Cummings (ANC) – turned up, while the other two, Senator George Manneh Weah (CDC) and Dr. J. Mills Jones (MOVEE), declined the orgnizers’ invitation. Weah was out of the country while Dr. Jones preferred to pursue another engagement in Grand Cape Mount.The questions for the debate were drawn from six the​m​a​tic areas of focus for the debate which comprises several CSOs. These thematic areas were -Economy, Agriculture, Peace and Reconciliation, Youth Empowerment, and Security and Rule of Law.​The moderator did not name a clear-cut winner and there were no judges, leaving the verdict in the hearts and minds of each individual who attended or tuned into the debate.Below are some of the key points at the debate.Theme 1: The EconomyMany Liberians live below the poverty line. What specific measures will you put in place to address this issue? How will you fund a poverty reduction program?Boakai: Roads, roads, roadsRoads, roads, roads. Open up this country, and we’ll open up opportunities. Some of my colleagues are talking about a track record. If you have a race car in the garage and you want to see if it can run, then put it on the race track to test it.Cummings: Privatize infrastructureInvest in infrastructure. My administration will privatize infrastructure. That is the fastest way to grow our economy. Invest in education, the long-term solution to poverty in Liberia. The way to fight poverty is to go after waste and corruption in government and invest in our natural resources and redirect those monies to areas where they are needed most.Brumskine: Not poverty reduction, but poverty alleviationI do not subscribe to poverty reduction, but poverty alleviation. In the short run, we will use public procurement — the lion-share of it going to Liberians, putting Liberians in business. Use the agriculture sector, transition our farmers from subsistence to commercial farming. The current administration has done a lot of talking, but lacked the political will to put it into reality.Urey: Make economy agro-basedRequires educated, experienced and committed people to address. As an economist, planner and accomplished businessman, I can do it. We must make our economy agro-based; make mini-industries to support the larger ones. We will reopen Agriculture Development Bank and the National Housing Bank; put more money into the people’s pocket to give them purhcasing power. We must never again listen to promises in Liberia, but look at what people have done. We need a new manager. – Advertisement – Theme 4: Anti-CorruptionPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said that her government has fallen short in the fight against corruption. If elected, how do you plan to address the menace?Boakai: I believe in the enforcement of the LawPresident Sirleaf did not say she did not try. I believe in the enforcement of the laws; setting up of a system that would ensure accountability. Our country is where it is because of corruption. Those who gave, those who received of corruption, must be exposed.Urey: Bad sore needs bad medicineWhen Doe took power, he executed 13 because of rampant corruption. If he saw today, he would execute thousands. When Pres. Sirleaf took office, we believe she really had the desire to tackle corruption. We must treat bad sore with bad medicine. Must have a fast-track court on corruption. We will also set up the mechanism to ensure that there is no corruption.Brumskine: 3-S MechanismIf Sirleaf and Boakai couldn’t fight corruption as admitted, I wonder how Joe will fight it alone! The combat against corruption is a war and has a perception factor. We are going to implement a 3-S mechanism: System (of accountability), Shame (the criminals) and Sanctions (which must be imposed indiscriminately).Cummings: Must tackle corruption on multiple frontsFirst, apoint a corruption Tzar, to oversee all anti-corruption institutions. Then prosecute corrupt officials and jail them. Under Cummings government, no one come and beg for corrupt officials. I will not take a salary. I will contribute my entire salary to fighting corruption.Allegations of nepotism have plagued this government and previous governments. What are your views on nepotism? If elected, would you employ your children, siblings and other relatives in your government?Urey: Dangerous, hard to avoidBut you cannot impose that as a president completely. We criticized Tolbert for nepotism; we still see it in the current administration. It is dangerous, but we cannot deny family members from serving their country, butBrumskine: We Have to Be Careful About ThisOne has to be careful that the children or siblings of a president do not get penalized. I say that none of my children will be employed in any position that Liberian people will say that it’s a “chopping place” (lucrative) job. But I will not stop my children from serving their country in government. For example, I [might] send my daughter to the Gender Ministry.Cummings: No Immediate Family Will ServeIn a Cummings government, no immediate family members will serve. This is a sacrifice we as a family will have to make.Boakai: I cannot stop my children from working for their countryIf people are qualified to work the condition should not be because they are my children. It is good to be practical and honest with people.Final question: Which of these sectors would be a priority for you, if you should be elected: Health, taxation, corruption, education, (especially girl’s education)?Boakai: Agriculture is Our Best BetWe must produce food enough to feed ourselves; have good roads to do that. This country must be able to be independent in food production to be able to employ people in the rural areas.Urey: HealthI would select health because we all have to be alive to do the rest. The danger of not having the requisite healthcare in this country is what we need to address urgently. I will close down JFK hospital and revamp it to make it the referral hospital it was in the 1970s.Brumskine: Corruption Trumps EverythingWe need to deal with corruption to have to resources to deal with everything else. Government has misplaced priority on health care: more emphasis has been put on curative medicine than on preventive medicine.Cummings: Tackling Corruption is our priorityTo generate the funds. Our first priority is infrastructure: electricity, water, roads and internet connectivity. Our second priority is job creation: agriculture… Then education, then health. The majority of Liberia’s budget is spent on the recurring costs of running the government, especially as it relates to salary payments. What measures do you propose to reign in the high cost of running government?Brumskine: Reduce salaries, fringe benefitsOn the reduction of salaries of people at the top, we have to be careful about the purchases we make in government. Vehicles, gasoline and fuel… there is no audit; they have been receiving millions and millions of dollars in gas slips. We need to monitor gas mileage and other detailed line items of expenditure.Cummings: Grow the budget, stimulate growthThe question has been answered as if the budget is static. One way to reduce that percentage is to grow the budget. We do this by stimulating the growth; make the government more business friendly; we tie our hands too much. We will reduce tax rates we’ll make more money, which would reduce corruption and also we’ll make money from our natural resources. I want us to rethink how we think of ourselves. We should think more expansively. We will create wealth by growing the economy.Urey: Curtail expenditureIt’s a matter of governance. If we don’t have structures to ensure that it does not occur, it will continue to occur. Even if our economy grows to over a billion dollars, it does not change anything unless we curtail unnecessary expenditures. What percentage of our budget will we use to get our country moving forward. Reduce the expenditures of vehicles: instead of US$70K vehicle, how about a US$20K car?Boakai: Be disciplined but practical with expenditureThank God people now know how much people earn in government. Knowing the problem is knowing part of the solution. For the first 6 years, I got half of my allowances. This is part of the discipline we are talking about: What part of the expenditure do we need to cut? (To Urey) A US$20K car will not last on the deplorable up-country roads such as to Lofa or the Southeast. Our solutions have to be more practical.last_img read more

Gov’t Announces Reduced Transport Fares

first_imgTransport Minister Wlue (right) along with Deputy Minister Kollie at the press conference in Monrovia on Thursday.-2 Years suspension awaits violatorsAmid the reduction of the prices of petroleum products in the country, the government, through the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI), has released a new transportation fares structure for Monrovia and its environs.Currently, a gallon of gas is sold at L$525 while a gallon of diesel (fuel) is sold at L$585 in Monrovia and its environs. However, some gas stations in Monrovia and its surroundings currently sell a gallon of gas at L$480, L$490 and L$500 respectively.Minister of Transport Samuel Wlue announced the immediate reduction of fares yesterday at a news conference in Monrovia. He indicated that the ministry will print about 1,000 copies of the transportation fares to be distributed to the public.“It is because of the government’s sensitivity to the plight of the people and in line with our statutory mandate that technicians of both ministries have been holding series of meetings aimed at arriving at an acceptable fare structure for Monrovia and its environs,” Minister Wlue said.He said efforts were underway to holistically address the transportation fares nationwide in the next three weeks, including further reduction, if need be.“The Liberia National Police has received a copy of the fare structure and we count on them to enforce it. We also hope that drivers will cooperate with this new fare regulation,” Minister Wlue said.He said from Broad Street to ELWA junction is now L$70, from Broad Street to Red-Light is L$100, from Broad Street to New Georgia junction is L$55, and from Broad Street to Barnersville junction is L$70.Mr. Wlue further said that from Broad Street to Duport Road junction is now L$80, from Broad Street to Chicken Soup Factory junction is L$80, from Broad Street to Duala is L$50 and from Broad Street to Old Road is L$60.He said taxi drivers who violate the new fare structure will be fined US$100 for the first time, while bus drivers will be fined US$100. “Taxi drivers that violate for the second time will be fined US$200 and bus drivers US$400,” he said.According to Mr. Wlue, authorities of Transport and Commerce also met with the transport union, which is in support of the government’s decision before making the final decision on the fare structure.“The MOT, MOCI and the Liberia National Police (LNP) and various transport unions concluded the final discussions on the transportation fare structure for Monrovia and its environs on January 23,” Minister Wlue said.He added that the LNP, which is charged with the responsibility to enforce law and order, shall enforce the new transportation fares in partnership with inspectors of the Ministry of Transport.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

FSJ Mixed Slow Pitch holds Ice Breaker Tournament on the Weekend

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The FSJ Mixed Slow Pitch held their Annual Ice Breaker Tournament at the Surerus Diamonds over the weekend on May 25 and 26.This Tournament allowed players to “shake off the rust” before they head into the regular season.Overall, there were 29 teams taking part in this year’s Tournament.- Advertisement -Winners of the A Division were the Athletics, with the B Division going to the Spare Parts.Revolution managed to win the C Division and Tempest Swingers won the D Division.last_img read more

UPDATED: Pedestrian killed in collision with vehicle in Fort St. John

first_imgUPDATE: Fort St. John RCMP have confirmed the deceased is a 67 year-old male. Police also say the investigation is ongoing and it is not known if charges are forthcoming.Correction: The previous story stated it was a 67 year-old man. At this time, it is unknown if it was a female or male.FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The accident that happened at 100th avenue between 102nd and 106th street was fatal.- Advertisement -At around 7:00 am this morning, Fort St. John RCMP responded to a collision involving a car and a 67 year-old pedestrian from Fort St. John. The pedestrian was crossing 100 avenue in a marked crosswalk.The cause of the collision is still under investigation by the Fort St. John RCMP detachment as well as the Integrated Collision Analyst/ Reconstructionist Section and the BC Coroner Service. Police say that speed and impairment are not factors in the accident.The Fort St. John RCMP would like to speak with any additional witnesses that may have witnessed the collision. They are asked to the Fort St. John RCMP at 250-787-8100.Advertisementlast_img read more

Manchester United confident of landing Sanchez

first_imgUnited are reportedly set to offer Henrikh Mkhitaryan as part of a swap deal to lure Sanchez away from the Emirates.Sanchez did not travel with Arsenal for their game at Bournemouth on Sunday amid speculation of a January exit, and Arsene Wenger confirmed to Sky Sports that a resolution on the striker’s future was imminent.Ahead of Arsenal’s game, Sky Sports’ James Cooper said: “My understanding from the Manchester United point of view is that nothing is imminent regarding Sanchez.“There is no doubting that Manchester United are eager to get involved in this and bring the player to Old Trafford if they can.“I think there is confidence on the red side of Manchester that they have the fee that Arsenal are looking for and they maybe have a player in Henrikh Mkhitaryan that might certainly catch Arsene Wenger’s eye.“He is of course looking to plug a gap with Sanchez leaving as it looks to be happening very soon.“I think wages will be no problem at all and I think they [United] are hoping that they might have the sort of deal to bring Alexis Sanchez to Old Trafford.“On the blue side of Manchester though, we expect the leaders to arrive at Anfield [for their game against Liverpool] and we’ll get a bit more clarity on their plans.“My understanding from the blue side of Manchester is that they don’t want to pay anything like £35m for Alexis Sanchez, they would be more happy to pay £20m.“At the moment their need is perhaps less than Jose Mourinho’s need and that probably shows you why Manchester United are so keen on bringing Alexis Sanchez to Old Trafford.”-By Sky Sports0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Alexis Sanchez has refused to sign a new Arsenal contract with his current deal expiring in the summerMANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Jan 14- Manchester United are confident of signing Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal, according to Sky sources.Sky Sports News understands United are interested in beating local rivals Manchester City to the signing of Sanchez this month, and it emerged on Friday that City are not prepared to pay Arsenal’s £35m valuation.last_img read more