Mr. Eduardo Moeira of UNIDO and LCU president Toure.Whoever said that “if you give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime,” might have had an idea why the Japanese Government decided to provide development assistance to Liberia, after the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country.The Japanese government realized that Liberia is still on its way to recovery from a 14-year civil war and the recent outbreak of Ebola that seriously affected the country’s path to reconstruction, leaving Liberians heavily reliant on transnational corporations (TNC) for the country’s economy.However, the Japanese government has realized that unemployment is unavailable to unskilled and semi-skilled workers and that TNC’s contribution towards creating job opportunities as well as poverty reduction has been limited. “Conflict against TNC’s has been frequently observed in concession project-affected communities (PAC).”Hence, the Japanese government, in its supplementary budget year (2016), with the implementing period (March 27-June, 2018) through UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization), in the amount of US$597,000, initiated a project that aims to promote social stabilization by improving human security of the vulnerable people and communities affected by crises in close coordination with TNCs.The activities include carpentry and Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP) training. The project sites are Monrovia and Margibi County; it is expected to enhance socioeconomic resilience and provide a means out of poverty.Several hundred Liberian youth, who have worked along with the Liberia Carpentry Union (LCU), have been assisted to develop their skills in carpentry, while some of their leaders have gained training in Japan, under Japanese government’s assistance.According to Mohammad Toure, president of the LCU, the Japanese government’s assistance has been tremendous. “We chose 60 young people from communities that are near concessionaire areas, such as Margibi, Grand Bassa, and Montserrado counties where 300 young men were trained, with 55 of them well established.”He said with the improved work of their members to provide quality furniture, the Liberian government should implement a policy that gives Liberian carpenters the opportunity to supply 25 percent of furniture bought for ministries and agencies of government.“We want a showroom where we can display our products so that Liberians can see what we are capable of doing,” Toure said. He commended the Government of Japan for carving a pathway for Liberians who are prepared to learn carpentry and get themselves out of poverty.Toure told the Daily Observer that his Union is dialoguing with authorities of the Ministry of Commerce to work out an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the promise that through the Japanese assistance, Liberian carpenters will provide any quality furniture imaginable for the local market.He said at present, at least 400 Liberians, including females, have gone through a system of education, using the Booker Washington Institute (BWI). While regretting that there are challenges, Toure believes that once the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) can show the political will to empower them with their demands, LCU members will have a sustainable route out of poverty.Mohamed S. Turay, vice president of the LCU, told journalists that he was opportune to travel to Japan with assistance from the Japanese government. “What I learned in Japan has motivated me a lot and I am imparting the knowledge to young people who are passionate about learning carpentry,” he said. The carpentry project is led by UNIDO, with Eduardo Moreira as the project’s technical advisor.“We want to appeal to the Japanese government to resume its assistance so that we can continue to develop our capacity as a way of getting many young Liberians out of grinding poverty,” Turay said.Japan provides approximately a US$3M grant assistance for grassroots human security projects in Liberia (2012-2018).Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
In light of Chief Justice Roxane George refusing to set a date by which constitutionally-due early elections ought to be held, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has declared that his party – the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) — will now view the coalition Government as unconstitutional.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoAt his weekly press conference on Thursday, Jagdeo explained that this position is being taken since the December 21, 2018 passage of the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) triggered early elections within three months, and since there was no extension by the National Assembly to extend this timeline as required, then General and Regional Elections ought to have been held by March 21, 2019.“My new position in the PPP and based on this new ruling… [is] since March 21 of this year, the Government has been practicing unconstitutional rule. It has been a usurper of power in Guyana. It has acted outside of the provision of our Constitution. We were prepared to allow this to happen after September 18; to be generous and say after September 18, you go into unconstitutional rule. But if they think this ruling helps now, well it only reiterated what we already know that the Government has been a usurper of power since March 21,” Jagdeo posited.According to the Opposition Leader, this now means that every deal and agreement made by the coalition since then will become null and void.Some members of Cabinet“So I saw they’re extending the oil contract – CGX got an extension and I want to say to CGX that that extension is not valid because it was done in a period when we have a caretaker government. I’ve already made it clear that the daily sale of land and all of these things that are being practicing, and not through public processes, are all illegal. And, this is not from June 18 or September 18 but from March 21,” he asserted.Chief Justice (ag)Roxane GeorgeOn Wednesday, Chief Justice Roxane George dismissed an application filed by Christopher Ram, who challenged the constitutionality of ongoing House-to-House Registration and asked the Court to compel the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, and others to hold elections on or before September 18, which is three months since the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) validated the passage of the NCM against the Government.However, the Chief Justice noted that like the Trinidad-based regional Court ruled, the High Court cannot set a date by which elections ought to be held and that the conduct of House-to-House Registration is not illegal.But she did note that it would be unconstitutional for the registration exercise to remove qualified persons from the voters’ list for reasons other than death or those disqualified under Article 159 (2), (3), or (4).Pointing out that the “right to vote and the right to be registered to vote are sacrosanct”, the High Court Judge said “residence requirements from citizens are no longer a qualification for registration”. This means that persons cannot be removed from the list if they do not re-register, or if they are not in the jurisdiction or otherwise not at their residence during the registration exercise.According to the Opposition Leader, this is a victory for the Opposition, which had joined in on Ram’s legal challenge.“As far as we’re concerned, we achieved the purpose of what we set out to do, that is, to not have Guyanese de-registered by this APNU-led government. They would’ve done this; developed a flawed list, left out thousands of Guyanese, add in some fake names, and then rushed the elections through. That was their aim… but this [ruling] has thwarted that. They can’t touch the database, the NRR (National Register of Registrants)… So it’s a momentous victory, people don’t see that. And it’s not for the PPP, it’s for the Guyanese electorate,” Jagdeo contended.Furthermore, the Chief Justice had ruled too that while it is not up to the court to determine whether House-to-House should be held, it is not the only option available to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to update the current list. The Court said it is up to the Elections Commission to determine a way forward within the confines of the constitutional provisions.But GECOM at a meeting on Thursday did not come up with any decisions on the holding of early elections, saying that it will await the court’s ruling later this month on a similar case challenging the House-to-House exercise before deciding on the way forward.However, Jagdeo contended that the ongoing registration should be scrapped and the elections body should move to an extended Claims and Objections period during which new qualified persons can get registered.“That is what is required at this point in time, and urgently so, because we’re not operating in the normal elections cycle as the Chief Justice pointed out,” the Opposition Leader stated.