Can Liberia Afford The Re-Imposition of Sanctions on Its Timber Industry/Forestry Sector?

first_imgAfter more than a decade of UN sanctions imposed since 2003, the ban on export of Liberian timber was finally lifted pursuant to a UN Security Council decision to not vote to renew sanctions despite the fact that the Government of Liberia had not made sufficient progress as set out in Security Council Resolution 1521 (2003). The imposition of UN sanctions on Liberian timber, on 7th July 2003 was based on the conviction, supported by facts that funds generated from the sale of timber were being used to finance the civil war.In order for the sanctions to be lifted certain conditions had to be met as laid out in UN Security Council Resolution 1521 (2003). The 2006 New Forestry Law was an attempt to address such issues within a controlling legal framework. Key amongst its provisions was that under Forestry Development Authority Regulation No. 108-07 titled “Regulation on Establishing a Chain of Custody System”. The “Chain of Custody System” is intended to ensure that logs harvested from Liberia’s forests for export have met certain basic criteria.It has long since been recognized that the forest sector has the potential to generate substantial environmental, social and economic benefits. In this regard, “efficient monitoring of logging operations is critical to safeguard Liberian forest assets and ensure that it effectively contributes to Liberia rebuilding process” according to Thomas Pichet Marie Laval and Antoine de La Rochefordière, authors of “The opportunities and challenges of implementing a timber chain-of-custody system in post-conflict Liberia”, published in a report of the XIII World Forestry Congress, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 18 –23 October 2009.Pursuant to this an international bidding process was launched to contract out the design and implementation of the Chain-of-Custody System. This system, also called LiberFor, was contracted out by the Government of Liberia to the Swiss verification company SGS, in partnership with the UK-based software company Helveta. Supervision of the implementation of the Contract falls under the Forest Development Authority(FDA).According to authors Thomas Pichet Marie Laval and Antoine de La Rochefordière, “LiberFor is the world’s most advanced nationwide verification system in place to monitor and verify wood products and associated revenues ensuring that the national forest resources contribute to the country’s sustainable development. Further, according to them, “Helveta’s CI World™ information system provides database technology, software applications, and hardware components to operate the end-to-end traceability system”.“LiberFor will track 100% of the wood products from forest concessions to the nation’s export gates and local wholesale mark etc. SGS provides overall project management and capacity building to national administrations”. Moreover, “Forest sector stakeholders have now access to critical information enabling broad consultation and establishing a constructive dialogue with and among governmental agencies, logging companies and civil society members. Finally, according to the authors, “The project will empower Liberia to effectively manage its forest resources and ensure that the forest sector restarts with a timber legality assurance system that meets growing international requirements to prevent illegal logging”.According to the 2006 New Forestry Law, the agreement should have become operational in 2007. Progress was begrudgingly slow and according to reports, logging concessions were and have since been generally unhappy about the introduction of the Chain-of-Custody arrangements, currently under the supervision of the Swiss company. Section 21. of the FDA Regulations entitled “Establishment, Scope, and Administration” provides the following:(a) The Authority shall establish and operate a Chain of Custody System to track Logs, Timber, and Wood Products from forest to processing to domestic market or export.(b) The Authority shall establish and maintain an electronic Chain of Custody database containing— (1) Information on all Logs, Timber, and Wood Products tracked under the Chain of Custody System; and (2) Information on forest-sector fees assessed and paid on all Logs, Timber,and Wood Products, and in connection with any associated Forest Lands.(c) The Authority may delegate, in whole or in part, day-to-day operation of the Chain of Custody System and maintenance of the Chain of Custody database to a private contractor, subject to oversight and auditing by the Authority.(d) The Chain of Custody System established by this Regulation shall begin operation on September 30, 2007.Against the above, this newspaper is gravely concerned about reports suggesting that the management of the FDA wants the Swiss company, SGS, out since its contract with the Government of Liberia is to expire soon. Under the contractual arrangement, all logs leaving the country for export must bear the stamp of the SGS certifying that the logs were harvested legally and were done so in compliance with all regulations governing the sector.Already, according to reliable reports, several export permits have reportedly been prepared outside the Chain-of-Custody arrangements. Although FDA officials deny that this is the case, there are reasons for concern, why? It is because the country’s forestry sector runs the risk of the re-imposition of sanctions which will only serve to hurt this government and hamper its chances of advancing its development agenda.The fact that Liberia has been suspended from the LEITI process due to the extra-legal change of its leadership provides even more reasons for concerns. This is because the forestry sector is part and parcel of the country’s extractive industries and any moves by the current management of the FDA to disengage from the Chain-of-Custody arrangements could prove counterproductive and ultimately hurt the interests of this Government.President Weah may have the best of intentions for his beloved Liberia but as we all do know, good intentions are not simply enough. They have to be followed by concrete practical action and steps taken in the right direction. This newspaper believes that emergent signs from ongoing developments at the FDA are worrying because they portend of danger to the country’s forestry sector and general interest posed by what appears to be blind avarice unhinged.The question is can Liberia afford the re-imposition of sanctions on its forestry sector? This newspaper does ot believe so but, Troubling Signs, they are, at the FDA and President Weah Must Take Heed!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Lawsuit Hangs over House of Representatives for Holding ‘Illegal’ Session

first_imgRep. Clarence G. Gahr: “I am contemplating of suing the House of Representatives for having an illegal session to pass bills and conduct business of the day.”— Margibi County Rep. Clarence Gahr walks out in protest, as lawmakers insult each other Tuesday’s session of the House of Representative has been viewed ‘illegal’ by Margibi County District #5 Clarence G. Gahr and, in protest, he angrily walked out and threatened to sue the Lower House for ratifying laws and conducting business in an ‘unlawful’ session.Rep. Gahr is the second lawmaker to walk out of session in protest and threaten lawsuit for either the procedures or the control of the session by the House Speaker Bhofal Chambers. The late Rep. Adolph Lawrence walked out several times and was thrown out twice.The Margibi County lawmaker argued that the necessary quorum of 37 being present, was never required in Tuesday’s session in consonance with the 1986 Constitution of Liberia and the House’s Rules and Procedures.Rep. Garr told journalists on Tuesday, that the bodily turnout of members of the Lower House yesterday, which marked the 29th day sitting, was below 20 persons, contrary to the 1986 Constitution of Liberia which called for a ‘simple majority.’ The House’s simple majority is 37.Article 33 of the Constitution says: “Simple majority of each House shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a lower number may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of absent members….”The House’s co-chairman on the Committee on Public Accounts and Expenditure, who was visibly upset, said Speaker Bhofal Chambers is stonewalling the House’s Rules and Procedures, which said only a motion can compel the attendance of absent members to form part of a quorum for the House to conduct a business of the day.“Without motion to compel the attendance of absent or excused members to compel the attendance to have a simple quorum of 37 is illegal,” Rep. Gahr said. “Tuesday’s session was illegal, we were below 20 and we didn’t have a quorum, because the motion was not carried.“Rule 12 of the Rules and Procedure of the House of Representatives says: “A quorum shall consist of a simple majority of the members of the Honorable House of Representatives. Quorum shall be necessary for the transaction of business. However, a minority may meet from day to day. Meetings at which a quorum is not present, only a motion to compel the attendance of absent members or to adjourn may be made.”During the reading, correction and amendment and adoption of Tuesday’s agenda, Sinoe County District #3 Rep. Matthew Zarzar denied the amendment from Rep. Gahr that the motion should include the attendance of absent members to form part of the quorum to have a simple majority.Rep. Zarzar said the amendment was ambiguous, but Rep. Gahr said the Sinoe lawmaker ‘is not reading and therefore is part of the problem for the session to be illegal.’He furthered: “I am contemplating of suing the House of Representatives for having an illegal session to pass bills and conduct business of the day.”Accordingly, the Chief Clerk has recorded 37.Low attendance has for the past months has been chronic problem and has prompted Montserrado County District #8 Representative Acarous Gray to indulge members of the House of Representatives to effect Rule 21.1 of the Rules and Procedures of the House of Representatives, which called for punishment for ‘absent lawmakers’.“No House member shall stay away from sessions without the expressed approval of the House for a period of more than two weeks; for a period less than two weeks, permission may be sought from the Speaker. Violators shall be penalized in a manner deemed appropriate by the leadership of the House in consultation with plenary,” the rule says.Buttress Rep. Gray’s point, Rep. Gahr added that absent lawmakers who have not given expressed excuse for a period of more than two weeks, should be penalized without salary and allowance.Meanwhile, before session would begin, Nimba County District #1 Representative Jeremiah Koung and Grand Bassa County District #4 Representative Vincent S. T. Willie, insulted each other in the Chambers of the House of Representatives.The lawmakers insulted each other with language such as: “corrupt, spying in class, parasite, dirty,” among others.The confusion was triggered by an alleged comment on Truth FM recently that the lawmakers were receiving their legitimate benefits, which prompted Rep. Willie and members from the Independent Legislative Caucus (ILC) to disagree.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

All private media should benefit from State ads – Jagdeo

first_imgIn light of reports that Government has cut the amount of advertisements usually given to the Stabroek News compared to some other national newspapers, former President and current Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has stated that all private media outfits should benefit equally from the State ads. The Stabroek News has complained that since July, there has been a “significant” decline in the amount of state ads it receives when compared to Kaieteur News and the State-owned Guyana Chronicle – a move which it says is an attempt to muzzle the media entity.But speaking at his weekly press conference on Thursday, Jagdeo said, “I think all private media, regardless of where they stand, that they enjoy State [ads]”.Jagdeo, who himself had come under for doing the same under his presidency, admitted that his approach was wrong at that time.“We said… more ads will go to the newspapers that had the highest circulation. At that time, it was Kaieteur News and so [that newspaper] was a beneficiary of that. In retrospect, it maybe the wrong decision and I’m saying this today,” he asserted.Based on his past decisions on this matter, the Opposition Leader noted that going forward, a new People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration will have a new approach in this regard.“Looking forward, I think we must have, in the new government, an arrangement where all the private media benefit from State assets. State ads must not be used in a punitive manner. I did not do it in a punitive sense but notwithstanding that I think it was wrong,” Jagdeo posited.In an article on Sunday, Stabroek News suggested that this reduction in the placement of ads by the Department of Public Information (DPI) may have been a move to target the newspaper for “its forthright views on the government’s defiance of the motion of no confidence and the requirement for early general elections to be held”.The newspaper had been critical of the coalition Government for violating the Constitution of Guyana by failing to resign and set a date for elections following the June 18 ruling and subsequent orders on July 10 by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which had validated the December passage of the No-Confidence Motion.“An analysis of the ads placed in the four daily newspapers over the last six months has shown a sharp decline in the number of State ads placed per column inches in Stabroek News as of June 2019. There has been no corresponding decline in the Guyana Chronicle or Kaieteur News but a decline has been noted in the Guyana Times,” the newspaper reported.Stabroek News said it had written the DPI in May about a large outstanding debt for State ads and advised that no new placements would be accepted until a substantial amount was settled. After settlement of a substantial portion of the debt, the publication advised DPI that it can resume normal placement of ads but overtime, observed that the numbers were significantly low.However, in response to Stabroek News’ complaint, the DPI said the “blockade” imposed by Stabroek News resulted in Government seeking alternative sources to advertise. It said digital media, television stations and radio are giving Government “greater value”.In addition, the DPI noted that it has paid a total of $177,114,612 in newspaper advertisements payments to the four daily newspapers for the period January 1 to September 19, 2019 and of that amount, Stabroek News received $51,780,354.Furthermore, the DPI claimed that there is no removal of Government advertising from any newspaper.“There is no evidence whatsoever to support the false allegation that the Government was stifling the free press. Any claims to that effect are erroneous, malicious and self-serving,” a statement from DPI detailed.But graphs provided by the State agency show that while the other three newspapers were getting the bulk of government ads, Guyana Times was getting a portion of ads – the least of the four local newspaper.According to the graph, between January 1 to September 19, 2019, a total of $177, 114, 612 was paid by DPI for newspaper ads. Of that amount, Guyana Times received a mere eight per cent ($13, 450, 099), while Kaieteur News got 37 per cent ($68,130,977); Stabroek News received 30 per cent ($51, 780, 354) and Guyana Chronicle 25 percent (43, 753, 162).Meanwhile, during the period of June 2015 to September 2019, the graph highlights that Guyana Times only received 10 per cent ($72, 175, 528), while Kaieteur News got 27% ($207, 373, 258); Stabroek News with 26 per cent ($196,121,278) and Guyana Chronicle received 37 per cent ($292, 488, 281).last_img read more

This Weekend’s Sporting Activities

first_imgLots going on this weekend in FSJ… we have a floor hockey tournament rockin’ the North Peace Arena all weekend long and there’s drag racing at the Airport drag strip – 10 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.The Paladin Black Sox have a big double header at Kin Park Diamond 9, Sunday starting at noon, against the still undefeated Peace River Stampeders. Don’t forget that the Father’s day demo derby at the Taylor Speedway has been cancelled. It will be rescheduled in August.Also a note about next weekend, the all nations slow-pitch tournament, promising to be one of the biggest tourneys of the year, $300 bucks is the entry fee per team, cash prizes of 10 grand up for grabs, to register or for more info call Ferlin, at 793-2594.- Advertisement –last_img read more

1st Asian actress to win Oscar is dead

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By The Associated Press LICKING, Mo. – Actress Miyoshi Umeki, who won an Oscar for her performance as the doomed wife of an American serviceman in “Sayonara” and later starred in the Broadway musical “Flower Drum Song,” has died of cancer. She was 78. The Japanese-born actress, the first Asian performer to win an Oscar, died Aug. 28 at a Licking nursing home, said Michael Hood, her son. Umeki also portrayed Mrs. Livingston, the housekeeper, in the ABC series, “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” (1969-1972), which starred Bill Bixby and Brandon Cruz. In a 1969 Washington Post interview, Bixby called her “the best actress I’ve ever worked with.” last_img read more

SUPERB LINE-UP OF ENTERTAINMENT THIS BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND AT THE PULSE VENUE

first_imgPULSE VENUE BANK HOLIDAY PREVIEW: With SIX rooms and NINE bars spread over two floors ‘The Pulse Venue is the ULTIMATE clubbing experience for revellers in Letterkenny. The Pulse was fantastic again on Saturday night last with Dara K playing the tunes in the CLUB. The Rock hill ramblers rocking the LIVE EXPERIENCE and Paul R boogieing in THE LIVING ROOM.And if dancing wasn’t for you customers could take in the relaxing vibe of the Secret Garden or tuck in to a delicious Pizza from the Pizza shack or go all out for the VIP experience in the Reserve lounge.Check out the Pulse Letterkenny Facebook page for pictures of the weekend.This Saturday Night we have DJ AHMED in The Club, DJ AHMED is the one of Irelands Entertainment Industry’s premier DJ’s, his name is synonymous with what’s happening in all the top clubs, concerts, festivals in Ireland. The WAXIES are playing in The Live Experience and PAUL R in The Living Room.On Sunday we have FUTURISTIC POLAR-BEARS in the Club with support act Dark9ine.In the Live experience we have Johnny B & Boogie men and our Paul R The Living Room.Why not go to our Facebook page Pulse Letterkenny for your chance to win free entry and a bottle of Bubbly.SUPERB LINE-UP OF ENTERTAINMENT THIS BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND AT THE PULSE VENUE was last modified: April 28th, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:EntertainmentFeaturesnewsPulse VenueWeekend previewlast_img read more

MAXIMUM POINTS FOR COLÁISTE AILIGH GIRLS AISLING AGUS MOLLIE

first_imgColáiste Ailigh Leaving Certificate students Aisling Ní Bhraoin agus Mollie Nic Fhionntaí celebrate getting 600 points in this year’s examination.They are being congratulated by the Príomhoide agus Leas Phríomhoide na scoile, Micheál Ó Giobúin agus Úna Ní Bhriain.  MAXIMUM POINTS FOR COLÁISTE AILIGH GIRLS AISLING AGUS MOLLIE was last modified: August 13th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Colaiste AilighLeaving certResultslast_img read more

SECOND WOMAN CHARGED WITH ARSON AT PROPERTY OF DANA’S BROTHER

first_imgA woman has pleaded guilty to an arson attack on a home belonging to the brother of singer Dana.Donna Kildea, 29, is charged with arson at a property belonging to John Brown at Colehill, Newtowncunningham on August 29, 2011.She pleaded guilty of the charge when she appeared before Judge John O’Hagan at Letterkenny Circuit Court today. Ms Kildea, of 483 Colehill, Newtowncunningam, did not speak other than to plead guilty.Ms Kildea and another woman Stacey Doran have appeared before the courts on arson charges but on separate counts.Stacey Doran appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court last December.She is charged with setting fire to a property belonging to Mr John Brown at Main Street, Newtowncunningham on April 11th, 2011.Doran (29), of Ballybegley, Newtowncunningham, also previously pleaded guilty.A previous court sitting had heard there was between €12,000 and €150,000 or damage caused by the attacks.Judge John O’Hagan adjourned Ms Kildea’s case until the April sitting of the circuit court.SECOND WOMAN CHARGED WITH ARSON AT PROPERTY OF DANA’S BROTHER was last modified: January 27th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:arsondonegalDonna KildeaJohn BrownNewtowncunninghamlast_img read more

OUR BOYS WINNING OVER THERE! DONEGAL BOSTON GAA CLUB NEWS

first_imgDonegal GFC Boston continue winning streak!Donegal met Mc Anespies last week in the quarter final of the Pat OBrien Cup.Each side fielded a strong team, however Donegal had control of the game for most of the hour. The final score was Donegal 1-10 – Mc Anespies 0-06. Donegal:P.Boyle, M.Canny, D. Doherty, K. Mulhern, K.Mc Colgan, P.McNulty, E.Kelly(0-03), B.White(0-01), R. Ivers(1-01), G. Friel(0-01),C. Bell(0-02), N.Mc Connell(1-01), C. Williams(0-01)(Pic TOP -Brian White)(Pic BELOW – Niall Mc Connell)(Pic BOTTOM – Ciaran Williams) OUR BOYS WINNING OVER THERE! DONEGAL BOSTON GAA CLUB NEWS was last modified: May 9th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:OUR BOYS WINNING OVER THERE! DONEGAL BOSTON GAA CLUB NEWSlast_img read more