Independence Celebration Kicks Off in Southeast

first_imgThe much anticipated Independence Day celebrations marked by special events that reflect the growth and progress of the country and that also attract development projects to the host counties, finally kick-off yesterday in Sinoe and Grand Kru counties. This year’s Independence Day falls on Sunday, but will be officially observed on Monday.The celebration was initially planned to have been held in the two host counties last year, but was aborted as a result of the bad road conditions as well as the delay in the commencement or completion of key projects that would have been dedicated. This unfortunate situation was also exacerbated by the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in the country.This year’s Independence Day celebration actually commenced with an investiture ceremony last week Friday in Monrovia, during which the President conferred distinctions of various ranks on 42 personalities, eight of them posthumously, for their outstanding contributions to the nation. The conferral of national honors was dedicated to Liberia’s Ebola Heroes some of whom gave their lives in the line of duty to care for Ebola victims, stop the spread of the disease and bury the highly infectious Ebola dead.July 26 festivities in the host counties officially started yesterday when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leading a large entourage, performed the dedication of several major projects ear marked for the 168th independence celebration.The President dedicated the Johnnie N. Lewis Judicial Complex, the Superintendent’s Residence and the Executive Guest House, among others.President Sirleaf began the dedication exercises precisely at 10:20 a.m. with the Johnnie N. Lewis Judicial Complex, which is known as the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Sinoe County, being the first to be dedicated. Several high profile national and local legal practitioners were in attendance for the occasion. Among them were the Chief Justice of Liberia, Francis Korkpor, Associate Justice Kabinah Ja’neh and the county resident Judge, Cllr. Geeblah Tekloh Konton.Beginning her statement at the ceremony, President Sirleaf called for the observance of a moment of silence in honor of former Chief Justice Lewis in whose memory the Judicial Complex is named.She said the dedication was another manifestation of a promise made by her government to continue to bring development to all counties within the Republic.“The fact that this complex is one of the largest, if not the largest in Sinoe County, attests to this commitment that we have made to bring development to our people.”She indicated that she and her entourage were glad to join the citizens of the county as they celebrate the country’s 168th independence anniversary. “This gives us the opportunity to assess the progress we have made and to recognize the challenges that still exist,” she said.She also said that the celebration gives the national leaders the opportunity to have exchanges with their fellow citizens within the counties on how local residents see the way going forward to continue the progress in the county.She commended the Chief Justice and his Associates for their untiring efforts in constructing vibrant legal facilities in the various counties and for the justice that is now being rendered in the country. She said that the rule of law is being highly recognized by the citizenry.“To the Judges and the staff, we look to you to ensure that the premises are properly maintained,” she advised.She lauded the citizens of the county who provided the five acres of land on which the judicial complex is built, for their material, moral and spiritual support to the project.Chief Justice Francis Korkpor noted that he was happy to dedicate what he described as a “beautiful facility, the third of its kind in the country behind the Temple of Justice in Monrovia and the Judicial Complex in Bopolu, Gbarpolu County.”The complex houses several courts, including the Third Judicial Court of Sinoe County, the Debt, Traffic and Magisterial courts as well as several offices. He indicated that there is an area for the grand and petty juries consisting of separate rooms for both males and females.The complex will afford legal practitioners in the county the opportunity to work in an improved environment with better facilities.“The availability of several courts and offices in this single structure will make it easy for aggrieved partners to come to the court and seek redress and for judicial actors to coordinate activities for the speedy disposal of cases,” he said.He said the ultimate intent of the structure is to provide quality services in dispensing justice. The complex also promotes the concept of judicial independence. “It is high time that the Judiciary, an independent branch of government, be hosted in its own facilities throughout the country.” He noted that many of the courts are still operating from administrative buildings in some of the counties.Meanwhile, the President also cut ribbons to the Superintendent’s residence and the Executive Lounge, which has about 15 rooms and cost about US$249K. Superintendent Romeo Quaiah said these accommodations will highly benefit the county because the issue of housing and guest accommodations has always been a major problem in the county. He lauded the president for her continual support to the county.The President is also scheduled to dedicate the Youth Center and the Children’s Playground in Greenville. She will today head to Barclayville, Grand Kru County where several other development projects are expected to be dedicated.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Ramjattan ordered to meet with experts

first_img…as he staggers to find solution for prison woesIn response to the recent incidents within the local prison system, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has met with a team of persons with expertise to discuss possible solutions to address the issues facing the Guyana Prisons Service (GPS).Public Security Minister Khemraj RamjattanThis was revealed by Minister of State Joseph Harmon on Friday morning at this week’s post-Cabinet press briefing.“The Minister has been asked to convene a special team of officers and technical persons who have an understanding of the prison system to meet with him and to advise on further steps to be taken,” the State Minister said.When contacted later on Friday, Minister Ramjattan would only confirm that the meeting did happen, noting that he could not disclose what was discussed or whom he had met with. However, <<<<>>>> understands that certain recommendations were presented to the Public Security Minister during the meeting.On Monday morning, three inmates from the Lusignan Penitentiary, one of whom has since been recaptured, scaled the fence of the Holding Bay area and escaped. Later that night, several inmates at the facility kicked up a riot over the food they were served and in retaliation, ranks opened fire on them resulting in at least 10 of them being injured.At a press conference following these incidents, Minister Ramjattan lamented that he does not know what else can be done to address the troubles within the prisons system, describing it as an extraordinarily difficult circumstance.“I don’t have any other suggestions… for their security, for the citizens’ security as to what we can do there… So look, the thing gives me headache every night,” the Public Security Minister asserted.He went on to disclose that the requests made to various international agencies for funding to address the state of affairs within the prison system have been rejected and so now the only solution would be to await money Guyana will earn from oil production in two years’ time.With overcrowding being a major issue in local prisons, the troubles of the system worsened during the last three years. In March 2016, seventeen inmates were killed and several others injured after they set fire inside one of the holding areas in the Camp Street Prison.The situation took a turn for the worst in July last year after a jailbreak and fire which completed destroyed the Camp Street penitentiary, leaving just one concrete building which was recently built standing in the compound.Following that 2017 incident, over 1000 prisoners housed at the Georgetown penitentiary were displaced. While some were moved to the Mazaruni Prison, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) or granted early release or bail, others remained at the Lusignan Prison under strained circumstances.There are currently some 558 inmates at the East Coast of Demerara penitentiary.According to Minister Harmon, at Friday’s post-Cabinet press briefing, they have encountered two sets of issues facing the prison system; one of which has to do with the operation of the facilities and as such, clear directions were given to acting Prisons Director Gladwin Samuels to address these matters.“Interviews with the prisoners actually brought out the questions of the meals, accommodation, water and sanitary facilities… So we did express our concerns that those issues which are operational in nature must be addressed by the Director of Prisons and his officers. Also, the fact that the officers should, on a regular basis, interact with those prisoners who are there to find out whether in fact there are issues which are brewing and so we instructed that that also be done,” he stated.The other set of issues had to do with a higher level of strategic intervention. This, Minister Harmon noted, is being addressed with the expansion of the prisons’ capacity. Currently, works are ongoing to expand the Mazaruni Prison into a state-of-the art facility to accommodate an additional 400 inmates, while a new holding facility is also being constructed at Camp Street.last_img read more