first_imgMembers of the Barkedu Development Association (BDA) based in the United States of America (USA) are calling on the government of Liberia to quarantine the township of Barkedu located in Quardu Gboni District, Lofa County.The BDA members, through their president Abdullah S. Sheriff, said the move would help contain the Ebola virus that has wreaked great havoc in the area.The township and district have been the hardest hit since the outbreak of the virus in the country. Some 130 people from Barkedu and the district as a whole have been taken to the Foya treatment center. Of that number, 70 people have died.An earlier amount of 34 people also died in the township of Barkedu, including a family of 15 that was completely wiped out.The township is predominantly inhabited by the Mandingo tribe.President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, while announcing the state of emergency imposed last month, said that ignorance, poverty, as well as entrenched religious and cultural practices continue to exacerbate the spread of the disease especially in the counties.Mr. Sheriff alleged that all those who died were buried without medical advice and has created many suspected Ebola cases among citizens of the town and district. Barkedu is the largest town and political seat of Quardu Gboni District.The BDA president, according to a communication, said government’s failure to quarantine Barkedu Town after the outbreak of the Ebola virus has exacerbated the situation in the area, something he described as very outrageous and disappointing, especially being one of the towns in Lofa County that has recorded the largest number of deaths from the Ebola virus.The BDA leader  indicated that the disease has killed more people in the town and district than any other part of the country due to the Liberian  government and its Ministry of Health’s  failure to quarantine and open a treatment center in the town, which he believes could have helped to save lives.He disclosed that at present there are 250 Ebola cases in Barkedu Town and the district.  He thinks the only way the majority of their people could have survived from the disease was for the government to quarantine the entire district and provide for the people the necessary medical treatments and food.”If President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf government should win the “ninety (90) days State of Emergency War” against the deadly Ebola Virus in Liberia, she must do everything possible to open centers in Barkedu which has been singled out to have largest Ebola cases in Liberia.”Meanwhile, Mr. Sheriff has described the State of Emergency declared by President Sirleaf early last month to contain the spread of the virus, as a good move, but added that it would not have been necessary had government been more proactive from the onset of the fight against the virus.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgExxonMobil signing bonus…should have come clean, instead of lying to the publicIn attempting to make sense out of the situation that involved Government trying to keep secret a signing bonus received from United States (U.S.) oil giant ExxonMobil, columnist and political analyst Ralph Ramkarran strongly feels that the Government has foolishly tarnished its credentials.In his weekly column, the Conversation Tree, the former Speaker of the NationalFormer House SpeakerRalph RamkarranAssembly said he also feels that the APNU/AFC Government should have come clean on this bonus, in order to save itself from the humiliation of having to explain the reason why it kept this matter a secret.“I have wracked my brain to figure out why so many intelligent people decided to maintain the secrecy since June, when it was clear that the revelation by Christopher Ram suggested that the information was out. Then was the time to come clean and avoid a scandal,” Ramkarran posited.Ministers of the Government have lied about this issue until the leaked information was reported in the local media, and Ramkarran believes consequences should attend those ministers’ actions. But he recognises that unless there is a mass upsurge, which is unlikely, this action will continue to be defended.“There is no excuse for the secrecy, and any attempt to defend it is an insult to the Guyanese people,” Ramkarran added, while explaining that politics in Guyana is what he describes is a zero-sum game in which the rules of transparency and accountability are weak, and are not enforced where they exist.And according to him, no conventions have been established or are entrenched.“The prevailing wisdom, therefore, is to give the Opposition and the Guyanese people as little as possible; and where possible, nothing. This is the national political culture derived from its core defect — the politics of ethno-political domination…,” he asserted.The former House Speaker also explained that in a situation the people are the pawns, and that is the reason why the APNU-AFC coalition, when in Opposition, could have been so strident in defence of transparency and accountability, and can now so “blithely dismiss” such concepts with contempt.“The Government has foolishly tarnished its credentials. Those were already under strain by its refusal to reveal the contract it had signed with ExxonMobil. It has been recovering somewhat by its promise to reveal the contents of the contract, albeit under intense public pressure,” Ramkarran stated.He is of the opinion that if Government were to admit it had made an error of judgment in this instance, that admission would go a far way in putting the matter to rest; but he noted that this does not happen in Guyana’s politics.“We have to expect more bluster, cross accusations against the Opposition that ‘you were worse,’ and amidst it all, efforts at dismissals or explanations,” the political analyst added.According to him, none of that would work among “thinking Guyanese.” He said that even when it fades from the news, this episode would remain a stain on the integrity of the Government’s promises about transparency and accountability, and increase cynicism with politics, even among Government supporters.Ramkarran emphasised that Guyanese are the collective owners of the country’s resources, and the Government merely holds a temporary management responsibility over them. Therefore, all Guyanese are entitled to know all the relevant details of how it is managing these resources.“To keep these details a secret constitutes a breach of a sacred trust. Just imagine, we were being deliberately kept in the dark about our own money! How can this be excused?” he questioned. Ramkarran said this matter is therefore not merely a matter between Government and the Opposition.While the Government has already tried to justify why it hid the signing bonus received from ExxonMobil, the prominent attorney has said that what the PPP/C Government did in relation to the Guyana-Suriname boundary dispute is totally irrelevant, and the issue is the secrecy over income received by the Government.“No allegation has been made against the PPP/C Government that moneys were received by it from CGX and hidden. In this case, moneys were legitimately paid by ExxonMobil to the Government of Guyana as a signing bonus,” Ramkarran added, noting that whether or not ExxonMobil was aware that the moneys were to be utilised for a specific purpose is not an issue.However, it was the Government that decided that the money would be used to pay the legal expenses to be incurred in relation to a potential case at the ICJ concerning the Guyana-Venezuela Border controversy. “It hid both the payment and its purpose,” he asserted.Ramkarran said the Government had two choices, one of which was to hide the money and keep it a secret in violation of all financial practices and perhaps laws (which it did); and two, call in the Leader of the Opposition, deal with the funds in a lawful way, but seek his support in maintaining confidentiality. Ramkarran feels that Government would never have secured opposition support and confidentiality.The attorney said Government also had the option of paying this signing bonus into the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and find a lawful way to save it to utilise later in the manner in which it had intended.“I immediately concede that the purpose for which the Government designated the use of the funds ought to have been kept confidential. Guyana’s discussions with Venezuela and the United Nations are ongoing, and the release of such information could potentially be unhelpful. But the best way to ensure that (news of receipt of this bonus) enters the public domain was not to hide it,” he added.The former House Speaker continued, “I have wracked my brain to figure out what led to the belief among highly intelligent people — many of whom understand their responsibilities as elected officials; understand that these are modern times with independent journalists and commentators; understand that the days when these secrecies were possible no longer exist; understand that secrets among so many people cannot be maintained — to decide on such a foolhardy course of misapplying the funds to a secret account at the Bank of Guyana. It boggles the mind…. The wracking of my brain has produced no hint of potential reasons these intelligent people could advance.”last_img read more

first_imgDONEGAL Rose Catherine McCarron is heading for Tralee!Catherine is heading to the Roe of Tralee finalThe stunning 26-year old Raphoe native won through at the regional festival held at The Heritage Hotel in Portlaoise this weekend.Catherine joins fellow Donegal woman Caroline Callaghan from Murrin in Fanad who was chosen some weeks back as the Dubai Rose. Catherine’s party piece which impressed the judges was a rendition of Destination Donegal.A series of events were held for prospective Roses – and Donegal girl Catherine shone!A daughter of John and Margaret McCarron, she is a former pupil of St Eunan’s NS and Deele college in her native Raphoe and is now based in Ranelagh in Dublin.She won through the Donegal heats in March and will now be on stage in The Dome in Tralee in August with Daithi O Se. Catherine said she was delighted but genuinely surprised to be chosen for the final.The Rose of Tralee International Festival has been extended by two days to celebrate the Rose Gathering 2013. Anyone who has ever been to the Festival since 1959 – Roses, Escorts, entertainers and festival-goers – are invited back to join in the celebrations in August.Now Donegal’s Catherine will be there – and Donegal will be rooting for her in Tralee!DONEGAL WOMAN CATHERINE MAKES ROSE OF TRALEE FINAL was last modified: June 3rd, 2013 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:Catherine McCarronRose of Traleelast_img read more