“Thanks to everyone who voted for me. Will never forget that moment, specially the reaction of the fans in the stadium,” the 33-year-old Portuguese superstar said on Twitter, using the hashtag #SpecialMoment.Real Madrid was already leading against the Italian champions thanks to Ronaldo’s opener after just two minutes when he acrobatically blasted in Dani Carvajal’s cross on 64 minutes.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Ronaldo said it was “the best goal” of his career and it helped Real to a 3-0 win on the night and moved them a step closer to an eventual quarter-final victory over Juve. The Spanish club went on to win the competition for the third consecutive season.The striker said the crowd’s reaction — a standing ovation from the Juventus fans — played a part in his decision to move to Turin in a 100 million-euro deal last month. Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) celebrates after shooting a penalty kick to score a goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg football match between Real Madrid CF and Juventus FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on April 11, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / CURTO DE LA TORRECristiano Ronaldo’s stunning overhead bicycle kick for Real Madrid against current club Juventus has been voted UEFA’s goal of the season.The former Real Madrid striker beat competition from 11 nominees for the award in honor of his goal in last season’s Champions League quarter-final first leg in Turin.ADVERTISEMENT Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is the all-time top scorer in the Champions League with 120 goals.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Peza offers relief to ecozone firms Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Ramping up Olympic preps: Japan wins 3 skateboarding golds MOST READ Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs 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 DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced View comments Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew LATEST STORIES
Bronze medalist Agatha Wong carries the Philippine flag after the women’s taijijian event of the wushu competition of the 18th Asian Games at Jakarta International Expo on Monday. —Aaron Favila/APNational sports associations (NSAs) will now have 600 million reasons to be at their best behavior. And associations that have long clamored for support from the government better take heed.In the wake of the country’s four-gold medal performance in the Asian Games, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chief Butch Ramirez promised to lavish NSAs with money—amounting to P600 million a year—if they “perform above expectations.”ADVERTISEMENT Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum The budget cuts, she said, “showed in the performance of my other teammates. If we had trained in China, we could have had a better [medal haul].”And wushu isn’t a slouch on the grassroots side either.“Most of our junior players in wushu are 8 to 11 years old. We assess them for their flexibility and we train them. We have so many junior athletes right now who can be future medalists [in international competitions],” added Wong.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next More importantly, Ramirez wants these NSAs to “behave.”Ramirez said they will not hesitate to spend even more if the NSAs meet several demands he made like “putting up a strong grassroots development program and encourage a roomful of athletes.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’“Buhusan namin ng pera (we’ll pour in the funds) if they behave with solid program, no leadership disputes,” said Ramirez. “Otherwise, I will ask the President’s permission to just spend the money for grassroots.”The announcement comes at the heels of a clamor of support for sports that have done well in the recent Asian Games. Weightlifting, skateboard and golf combined for four gold medals. The Philippines also bagged two silvers and 15 bronzes. PBA Board flies to Las Vegas for midseason planning Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Weightlifting heroine Hidilyn Diaz said it was time for “athletes and officials to sit down and truly discuss what each other wants.”“We have to be open,” Diaz said in a luncheon tendered by St. Benilde for its Asiad gold medalists Thursday at Vatel Restaurant, Hotel Benilde Maison De La Salle.Also present was Diaz’s fellow Benilde product and Asiad bronze medalist for wushu Agatha Wong, whose NSA perfectly fits Ramirez’s criteria.Aside from her medal in Jakarta, Wong also qualified for the World Championships in November.“Before the Asian Games, we had financial problems. We had no coach, we had no budget for a new costume. We weren’t able to train in China and for big tournaments such as the SEA Games and the Asian Games, it is mandatory that we train in China,” Wong explained.ADVERTISEMENT Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil MOST READ Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college LATEST STORIES Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal 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 Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
The achievements of the agenda for Vision 2030 have come under the spotlight with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressing doubt as to their implementation.In the annual State of the Nation address, the President disclosed that the Agenda for Transformation pointed out that the national Vision 2030 would only be achieved if there is economic transformation that addresses the long standing structural deficiencies in the system.According to the President, “the beginning years of our national recovery required reactivation of growth in those traditional economic sectors; however, these latter years demand a commitment not to repeat the mistakes of the past. We should rather respond to inequality by lifting a larger number of the Liberian populace out of long-standing poverty through inclusive growth.”President Sirleaf identified as part of the chronic deficit in Liberia’s growth potential a large undiversified economy dependent on traditional export products; iron ore, rubber and timber, which she said, are exposed to the global markets’ volatility. The Liberian leader said, despite these historical constraints and the sluggishness of global economic recovery in the last two years, the Liberian economy would continue to be resilient.President Sirleaf explained, however, that growth and progress could have registered at even higher levels if greater effort had been made to unleash the potential consistent with the more than US$16 billion which was mobilized in Direct Foreign Investment. She said: “As we move to address historical constraints, infrastructure is a first priority.” The President added that an economic constraints analysis conducted by the government in collaboration with the Millennium Challenge Corporation identified electricity and roads as the two biggest constraints of economic growth and private investment in Liberia.The Liberian leader furthered that many challenges remain in improving financial management; a state of affairs exacerbated by unduly long procurement processes. The President declared this situation must be corrected.“We are addressing these shortcomings by strengthening the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework budget process; strengthening the technical capacity of the Project Management Office in the Department of Budget; and reviewing the laws, provisions and organizational arrangements in the procurement process.” Madam Sirleaf concluded that the Government would implement stringent guidelines relating to State-Owned Enterprises (SOE); which would no longer be allowed to make discretionary disbursements, approved by self-serving company boards that are not in conformity with the nation’s priorities and goals.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Commander-In-Chief (C-I-C) of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has declared that by February, Liberians would fully take charge of the nation’s armed forces.They will, accordingly, serve in the echelons (levels in a hierarchy) of the AFL’s command structure.President Sirleaf described as ‘tough’ the times when a Nigerian officer had to be in charge of the AFL. A turn of events that took place in keeping with the crafting of 2003 Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The President was pleased to announce this situation was now something of the past.According to C-I-C Sirleaf, with the support of the international community, especially the United States and United Nations’ peacekeeping and peace-building efforts, Liberia has rebuilt a new, ethnically balanced and professional army.The President maintained that her government has embarked upon a process to enhance the professional capacity of other security apparatuses, including the Liberian National Police (LNP), immigration and intelligence agencies in line with their responsibility to man the country’s borders.However, she admitted that much work remains to be done. As such, government welcomes the recent United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 2116 extending the mandate of UN peacekeepers to September.President Sirleaf’s statement was contained in her Annual Message to the third Session of the 53rd National Legislature on the theme: “Consolidating the Processes of Transformation.”Referencing the role of the Ministry of National Defense (MOD), the C-I-C said the 1,980-person-strong AFL continues to position itself to support a democratic environment through tactical and technical proficiencies and the development of a robust capacity to defend Liberia’s territorial integrity.She explained, “The Armed Forces Training Command now headquartered at the newly renovated Todee Camp, Upper Montserrado County, assumed responsibility for tactical and proficiency training locally and is presently training 140 new army recruits.”“The number,” C-I-C Sirleaf noted, “would be increased by some 400 recruits who have already been vetted and endorsed by the Joint Personnel Board.”“The AFL is also expanding its engineering and medical units to assist in reconstruction projects and social service delivery. Similarly, the Coast Guard of 82 persons, is expanding and strengthening its capabilities to patrol and protect the country maritime domain, as evidenced by the recent arrests of several illegal fishing vessels in the country’s territorial waters,” explained President Sirleaf.The President also disclosed that the United Nations Mission in Liberia’s (UNMIL) transition plan to transfer security management of the state to the government has entered its second phase.The exercise follows the completion of phase one in strategic locations, such as Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County; Foya District, Lofa County; and the Loguatou Border in Nimba County, respectively. According to C-I-C Sirleaf, plans are well under way for trained security units to fill security personnel gaps created by the UNMIL drawdown.In her last year’s Annual Message, President Sirleaf indicated that government would, at this year’s Armed Forces Day—February 11— celebration, install a Liberian army Chief of Staff, among other top military brass.The process is the result of close consultation with relevant committees, particularly the security sector.Based on the consultation, “We have officially nominated, for confirmation by the Senate, the Chief of Staff, the deputy Chief of Staff and the Brigade Commander, all of whom, if confirmed, would be installed in these positions on February 11; Liberia’s Armed Forces Day.”Afterwards, the government would then bid farewell to General Suraj Abdurrahman of Nigeria, who the President said “served so well as the Command Officer-in-Charge of the AFL.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dear Editor,The Parliamentary Opposition is fully aware of its role and functions, and it is for that expressed reason it made known publicly its reason for not attending the Parliamentary tour of the CJIA Expansion project.We noted in the letter columns of the state’s newspaper of Friday, April 27, 2018 a letter signed by Mr David Patterson, Minister of Public Infrastructure, which contains at least five (5) blatant inaccuracies. We suspect that in the mad rush for cover — having been exposed of an attempted raid on the public purse – this is an attempt at damage control.For clarification, we have no knowledge of any member of the Parliamentary Opposition requesting a tour of CJIA Expansion Project. Could the Minister tell the nation when and where that request was made, and by whom?The second blatant and deliberate offering of misinformation was the Minister’s claim that the “parliamentary opposition, in fact, had raised vehement protest following a visit to the project in January by the Cabinet.” This statement is a concoction. It is the most visible manifestation of desperation, and it shows the APNU+AFC government’s mastery at the fine art of deception. There was never a protest, vehement or otherwise, as stated by the Minister.Could Minister Patterson tell the nation when and where this vehement protest took place, and by whom? And could the Minister point us to the evidence to substantiate this ludicrous statement?Thirdly, the Minister continues to spew dishonesty when he stated that Mr Edghill had been invited to other “Tours” of the CJIA project, and would have attended at least one of them. He could have simply said the truth: that Mr Edghill was invited once, and he attended. Why go at length to convey the impression that there were other tours?Continuing, the Minister seems to be annoyed over being made to account for his stewardship in the National Assembly, by saying my questioning in the National Assembly has been “deliberately obtuse.” The fact is, this particular Minister has always sought to obfuscate issues by bringing in “red herrings” in his answers, and has now perfected the skill of “talking much” but “saying little.”This current tour is nothing but a smokescreen, a shameless attempt to siphon off $346.5 million Guyana dollars from the public purse to finance what was already paid and catered for in the original “fixed price design and build contract.”From the figures provided by the Minister on Financial Paper #2/2018, one can easily do the math and conclude that when this project was redesigned by the APNU+AFC Administration, just on the alteration of moving from eight (8) air bridges to two (2) air bridges, the contractor benefited from US$5M, or in excess of $1 billion Guyana dollars in avoided cost.Could the honourable Minister say what was the “appreciation” bonus for this contract as altered and redesigned?Yours truly,Bishop Juan EdghillMember of ParliamentSpokesperson onPublic Infrastructure
Dear Editor,On April 22, 2018 a letter written by “concerned citizen” under the heading “This Government is ignoring the plight of the Marudi small miners”. Please allow a response to matters carried within that letter.The writer stated that they were seeking to “reclaim what is rightfully ours”. According to the Mining Act of 1989; Section 6: “All minerals within the lands of Guyana shall vest in the State.” The State has delegated that authority to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission through the GGMC Act of 1979.Section 7:3 of the said Mining Act states:“A licence or permit under this Act to enter on State lands and there search or mine for, take and appropriate, minerals may be granted by the Commission.”In keeping with Section 7:3, the GGMC granted a Mining Licence to the company Romanex since 2009.The Rupununi Miners’ Association in their proposal is advocating that the government give them Mazoa Mountain and in addition, the government should excise the said lands from the Romanex Licence.It would indeed “be bad for business” should the State arbitrarily revoke a licence issued to one person or company – a legitimate holder of a Mining Licence from the State – and give it to another. This would lead to a lengthy court battle where no one benefits.Let us put the shoe on the other foot; if the Rupununi Miners’ Association were in possession of a Mining Licence for the area, would they accept the Government revoking their licence to give the area to someone else?In their letter, the Rupununi Miners’ Association failed to mention that they entered into a mediated agreement that they have now refused to honour. This is unacceptable.Yours faithfully,Johann EarlePublic Affairs andCommunicationsOfficerMinistry of NaturalResources
Dear Editor,As we unveil this Gallery of Photographs of Our Presidents, let us strengthen our commitment to Get On With It: Get on with us growing and developing ourselves and our country, aware of but not incarcerated in our history of the arrival of Europeans in the land, and subsequently the times of slavery and of indentureship.People from six different parts of the world thrown together here like press-ganged sailors of old on a ship setting out into the then not well known oceans, must survive together or succumb together: thrown together for the setting up and manning of colonial plantations –cocoa, coffee, cotton, sugar, rum – we must now together find our own way in a changed and ever changing world.Fellow Citizens, during the childhood of any of us Presidents, I suspect that there would have been little to foretell that we would have attained the highest office in our Country: and I am inclined to believe, reflecting on the circumstances of and the late age at which I came to the politics of our country, my becoming President might have been the most unlikely, accidental, even an interloper into politics: someone who had strayed far from his chosen, safe, solid working career of chemical engineering. But such is life.Friends, particularly our younger fellow citizens, we have progressed much less than was expected at our Independence, but naught but little crying over spilt milk – would we not have done better if we knew better? It has been fashionable in our country to blame and disavow politics and politicians, but once we live in groups – living in ever larger groups, our productivities and possible standards of living go up a thousand fold compared with what we could do if we each lived in isolation – once we live in social and economic intercourse with others we are into politics and we are to some degree politicians.Early in our PPP/C being in Office, I took the visiting Prime Minister of Zambia to see the bauxite operations in Linden. Reflecting on my assertion that I was new to politics he responded – “When someone speaks with himself, we already have the germ of politics and when two people speak the politics is already very rich”. Politics and politicians may be to the north or south or east or west side of where the people are but they cannot be too far away from where the people are.Each of us should strive to make ourselves the best person we could be: capable in a number of areas; kind, helpful to others and contributing to society; expecting and satisfied with receiving some fair share of what we have produced together – you would be noticed, a call to step on our political stage may never be far away.Growing through my childhood years of the 1940s and 1950s, I was among the 70% of our people who would have been assessed at that time to be below the poverty line. Not knowing it, without chips on our shoulders we were not restrained by that material fact: all were striving to do better.I lived for periods of time here and there in the city, returning often to the Eastern Mahaicony countryside; coming into contact for periods of time with our various peoples in our various worlds of overlapping differences of race, religion, rural-urban, richer and poorer, traditional and modern. Growing cognizant of the different views and imaginations in different groups of our people, my own country and world view was not fully in accord with that of any group and to many, I would have seemed quite contrary, not fitting in with the beliefs, attitudes, behavior which prevailing convention expected of me.As I came to this building again today, after a number of years, my mind went back to the first time I entered this building, in August 1955, to receive my first County Scholarship, living expenses, term allowance of $15:00 (fifteen dollars) then, about G$30,000 in today’s money, from our country’s Treasury which was then on the ground floor of the east block where there are now Committee rooms. This building constructed over 1829 to 1834, at the ending of slavery and the beginning of indentured immigration, known earlier as the Public Buildings, housed the total Government of those colonial days up to about the 1950s. I came here regularly unto early 1962 to draw that scholarship allowance.I came again to this building about October/November 1970, on the request of then Prime Minister Burnham to meet him in the Prime Minister’s Office, in the upper flat of the western block, now the Office of the Clerk of our National Assembly. Mr. Burnham had passing acquaintance with me as a nephew of one of his friends, Mr. Frank Denbow.Earlier, in about July, 1962 I was called to my first one on one with him, then as Opposition Leader, at his lawyer’s office in the Clarke and Martin building. Mr. Burnham, recently back from a trip to the USA, had been offered some six University Scholarships by President Kennedy’s Office and I had been recommended to him, most likely by QC Chemistry teacher “Bup” Barker. No doubt on checking with his people, Mr. Burnham greeted me with the probing question, “How is Cheddi’s boy this morning?’ I responded, “I didn’t tell you so: Is that what you have been told.”To set the record straight and to express my appreciation all around, a little over a year later the US Embassy sent a letter inviting me to receive the grant of a University Scholarship but by then I was in Canada on a DEMBA Scholarship. Also, for the record, before mid- 1990 on the way to becoming his running mate, I had not met Dr. Jagan except for a passing handshake in our city streets during the Christmas/New Year season of perhaps 1962.On this second meeting (October/November 1970) Prime Minister Burnham greeted me saying that in speaking with people in Linden/McKenzie, he discerned that they were favourably impressed by three Guyanese members of the Staff of DEMBA (about 40 Guyanese then in a total of about 200) – I was one, the youngest not yet 27 years old. He was about to call ALCAN for talks about participation in DEMBA but was concerned about a hinted response of “take all or nothing at all”.At the end of the discussions Mr. Burnham asked what I thought was the greatest need for Guyana. “Better understanding between our two major ethnic-racial groups”, I replied. He responded that it was the same answer I had given him years ago in 1962, “but lots of water have passed under the bridge since then.”It so happened that that very day was the Nomination Day for the Local Government Elections of 1970 and telephone calls kept coming updating a chuckling Mr. Burnham on all the shenanigans that had seen off all other contestants, except in a very few places. I kept saying to myself, I don’t want to overhear and know these things – these are things for our country’s elders, for our politicians. You can imagine therefore how I felt in 1994 – 24 years later, a little like Jonah when it fell to me as Prime Minister heading that large Ministry that included then, Local Government and Regional Development, to lay the Bill for the Local Government Elections 1994, the very next one following the one I didn’t want to know about in 1970.The third occasion on which I came to this building would have been about October 10, 1992 to see again and bring an end to having the Prime Minister Office in this building, Dr. Jagan had taken the position that all Executive Government Offices would be relocated away from this Building and this Building would thenceforth be for the exclusive use of the Parliament. And I have been here for many Parliament sittings and Committee meetings over the following twenty-three years until our change of Government in 2015. (To be continued)Mr Samuel A A HindsFormer President andFormer PrimeMinister
… Minister awaiting GGMC reportA mining concessionaire has come forward with claims that Junior Natural Resources Minister Simona Broomes has been using her position in the Ministry to intervene in matters involving her close associates in a biased manner but the Minister has lashed back saying that the allegations are erroneous, distasteful and geared towards divisive and unproductive outcomes.Clarence Rodrigues, a 53-year-old miner and concessionaire, has levelled allegations after the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), reportedly acting on orders, seized six of his mining claims at Ten Mile, Port Kaituma, Region One (Barima-Waini) in light of a claim dispute involving Rodrigues and one of the Minister’s alleged associates.Speaking on Rodrigues’ behalf, his Attorney, Malek Cave, told this publication that the six claims were issued in the name of John and Clarence Rodrigues, who are Amerindians, from Port Kaituma in 1982.He further explained that John Rodrigues died in 2000, and since then, Clarence Rodrigues has been handling the affairs of the claims, and has been prompt with all payments. According to the attorney, Rodrigues received the seize order from the GGMC “acting on the advice of Junior Minister of Natural Resources” on February 25, and has since been unable to operate on his claims.He further explained that since that day, he has approached mining officials on Rodrigues’ behalf to ascertain the grounds on which his mining claims were seized; however, all of his attempts have been futile. “Since the 25th of February, I have tried every senior functionary at the GGMC and I am yet to get an answer from them in regards to moving forward,” he stated, adding that he approached the Commissioner of the GGMC, Newell Dennison on the issue.Cave expounded on the claims dispute, telling Guyana Times that an individual by the name of Van De Cruize was issued concessions in the vicinity of Rodrigues’ claims, and one of the blocks that was issued to Van De Cruize falls on Rodrigues’ mining claims.According to the lawyer, Minister Broomes is a close associate of the said Van De Cruize, and as such, used her position in the Ministry to act in a biased manner towards Rodrigues.Rodrigues expressed his frustration with the situation, saying that he has been left in limbo. He related that earlier this year, his left leg had to be amputated due to diabetes and he has no other means of earning income. He said he has eight young children to maintain, and as such, life has been very difficult for him and his family.Commenting on Cave’s allegations of her association with parties to the conflict, Minister Broomes in a released statement said that “with the Rodrigues and Van De Cruize matter, first of all I want to make it clear that I have never seen Van De Cruize or Rodrigues ever before when they came here one day at an Open Day. The matter of Van De Cruize was referred to me by Minister Trotman”. She further noted that, “Cease work orders are not placed by a Minister or lifted by a Minister but is based on the Act. The Commissioner of GGMC is the only person who could rescind a cease work order so it has nothing to do with the Minister”.The Minister further outlined that she views this attack as a deliberate attempt to implicate her and noted that, “this matter is out there and I think it is deliberate. I have not yet received a report on the conclusion of the matter. In fact, Mr Van De Cruize keeps running, and crying every day that the GGMC dragging their feet and is taking a long time. But I have to wait on GGMC to do their work and then show me a report of the outcome.”Earlier this year, the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association issued a call for the Minister to be reassigned to another Ministry, since she has several mining concessions, which the Minister had said are now under the control of her children, and that her presence in the Ministry is a clear conflict of interest and poses a threat to impartiality.
Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has disclosed that following months of negotiations with Barama Company Limited on renewing its investment agreement, Government has submitted a draft proposal to the Malaysian-owned company.Talks are still ongoing for renewal of Barama’s agreementTrotman told reporters during a press conference on Friday that over the past 10 months, talks have been ongoing between the logging company and Government to renew its 25-year-old Investment Development Agreement, which expires this month; however, he noted that these talks have not yet concluded.“We have shared with the company our latest draft and the company is to respond, but we expect, of course, that some more negotiations may come with their counterproposals, but the expectation is before the end of the year, the Government and Barama will be renewing their relationship – one with the other,” the Natural Resources Minister posited.Barama is one of Guyana’s biggest foreign investors with operations at Buck Hall, Essequibo River, and at Land of Canaan, East Bank Demerara. Back in 1991, the company was allocated some 1.6 million hectares of State production forest, the biggest forest concession for any one company in the country.In September last year, Minister Trotman had visited the company’s Buck Hall operations to get a first-hand look at the operations and working conditions there. He had noted that the Government would like to see more value-added production from investors in Guyana and he would ensure that this component was included in any agreement.During that tour, the company’s General Manager Mohindra Chand had stated that the company was determined to continue its operations in Guyana, stating that while it was faced with many challenges, it never considered closing its operations here. Barama’s operations consist of forest management, timber harvesting and manufacturing of various wood-based products such as plywood, sawn timber, and flooring products.While its plywood operations was said to be its largest, there have been reports that it scaled down that operation and was moving into other areas, such as gold mining. When asked about this, the Natural Resources Minister told reporters at Friday’s press conference that he was not aware that the company was going into mining activities, but noted that within its concession miners are mining, which the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) has permitted.“Because of the slowdown in Asian markets, there has been a pulling back, but they have been doing plywood and specialised timbers for decks, decking and other applications like that. So they have been doing value added, we’d like to see them do more value added and as I said, given the slowdown in China and in Asia generally, we have seen a scale-back in some operations,” Trotman pointed out. With its $43 billion investment into local operations, the Barama Company was said to be one of Guyana’s biggest employers, employing approximately 1000 Guyanese.The company contributes about $400 million in taxes, royalties and other fees annually, with some $1.6 billion paid out for local services and goods.
The political leader of the Movement for Progress Change (MPC), Simeon Freeman, has again criticized President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for the poor economic governance of the state.Addressing hundreds of workers at a May Day rally Thursday, May 1, the MPC stalwart blamed Madam Sirleaf and the Unity Party for presiding over a nation with growth but no development.Sadly, Freeman termed Liberia, the nation of his birth, “a Wild-Wild West, a gangster’s paradise and a looter’s haven.”He noted that the society has shifted from a state of equal opportunity for all to a state where only those with access to state resources benefit.Freeman: “Those that don’t have access to the existing power are damned. When it is your time, get, grab, hire your family or children; attract international attention, mortgage national resources, pay lip service to press freedom, economically suppress and deprive your people, expose them to limited education, provide poor health facilities, spend more on security and dare people to revolt against your style of governance.“Those who have studied history or have been avid observers of the events of history know all too well that man will always dare to dominate man. It is not the domination of one man by another that is the issue; but the refusal of one man to be dominated by another; the unwillingness of one man or a group of persons to be subjected to slavery and economic deprivation and the reluctance of a people to live in hopelessness, want and poor sanitary conditions.“Man and his beliefs are inseparable. A man would rather sacrifice his life for the things he believes. It is for this cause that people sacrificed their lives for some of the very things we enjoy today. It does appear to me, though, that Liberians love hopelessness, poverty and depravation. We cannot live in so grave a time and period, when hopelessness abound and remain silent. It appears to me, we prefer to die with hopelessness but live in silence. If we truly believe in the economic liberation of our people, the redemption of all Liberians from hopelessness and depravation, the right of our people to have access to employment opportunities and the right to raise their children in the way they please, then I share with you the need for the – struggle to continue – in the face of the same challenges that compelled some of us belong to progressive movements in Liberia’s recent past.”Freeman, who contested last Presidential Elections and lost to Madam Johnson Sirleaf, said he shares the anger of many young Liberians, who are always denied state resources.No Liberian is better than the other, the MPC political leader said. He continued “Yesterday, we stood against nepotism, rampant corruption, lack of access to opportunities, domination of one group of Liberians over the other group of Liberians. We stood against those vices yesterday as we do today. Our values have not changed, though some of the leaders of the progressive movement misunderstood our support for the movement to mean support for the opportunity to collect global awards and replacing previous acts of nepotism with their own interpretation of nepotism.“We stand against rampant corruption today as we did yesterday. Acts of rampant corruption deprive thousands of Liberians access to electricity, water, quality education, good health facilities, road networks and life’s basic necessities,” Freeman asserted.He made the statement yesterday in Monrovia when delivering the keynote address at the celebration of World Labour Day.Organized by Liberia Labour Congress (LLC), the event brought together scores of workers from across the country, including members of the United Nations.With a single message to employers in Liberia, LLC said: “Making Liberian workers decent people” is the way for improving the livelihood of workers within the 73 districts of our country. The formal and informal sectors grow the country’s economy.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)