Mayor Aki-Sawyerr talks on Universal Healthcare

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Mayor Aki-Sawyerr has participated on   a high level plenary panel at the UN summit where she spoke on issues affecting the global community .

The event was during the flagship One by One Conference in New York.

The discussion was about using political leadership across health, environmental and sustainable development platforms to help achieve universal healthcare for Africa.

Drawing from her experience developing TransformFreetown, Mayor Aki-Sawyerr emphasized the need for cross-sectoral collaboration in the delivery of primary healthcare.

‘’For TransformFreetown, we had everyone – central government, private sector, NGOs – at the table to set our health targets for our city.’’

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr spoke alongside former President of Tanzania, H.E. Kikwete, and former Prime Minister of Norway, H.E. Gro Brundtland, who are champions of Universal Healthcare Coverage and they offered valuable insights and challenges to state and non-state actors.

The Mayor had several other engagements with other world leaders and partners in development.

China to Celebrate 70th Anniversary with Fastest 5G Phone

Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Amb. Hu Zhangliang_

Chinese Ambassador Hu Zhangliang has said that as they are celebrating their 70th National Day on October 1st and they will do it with pleasure and flair because they have unveiled the world’s fastest 5G phone.

He said the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has unveiled a phone with a folding screen, just four days after rival Samsung became the first major handset maker to offer the feature.

The phone, Mate X, he said will be compatible with the new fifth-generation wireless networks which are starting to be installed around the world.

Ambassador Hu said for 70 years they have toiled and worked under the harshest condition as they fought for survival. He said they were labeled the ‘sick man of Asia’ but they never relented and today they are now respected, rich, prosperous, peaceful and secured.

“China today is the world’s second largest economy, the country with the highest financial reserve, the country that has four out of 10 of the world’s biggest banks, the country that has the highest number of billionaires and the country that is the first to launch the 5G network in the world.”

Ambassador Hu said they did not achieve all these by talk and diplomacy, but by sacrifice, hard work and determination. Today he said China is now a socio capitalist with Chinese characteristics and in the last seven years they have elevated more than 300 million people out of poverty, turning villages to towns and towns to cities.

“We are proud of our achievements and after 70 years, today we can say we are proud of what we have achieved and the support we have given to the world at large. We believe that we can help build a harmonious world where peace and stability reigns and we hope that we will still continue to work with our partners for a secured world.”

On the 5G, the Mate X’s display can fold back on itself to become a 6.6-inch display, slightly bigger than the screen on the foldable phone which Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone seller, unveiled on Wednesday in San Francisco.

Several other smaller companies are rumored to present their first foldable phones at the trade fair in Barcelona this week.

Handset makers are looking to folding screens to reverse falling smartphone sales as consumers hold on to their devices longer due to a lack of innovations, but analysts predict the market for the feature will be limited, at least in the early days.

Huawei, the world’s second biggest smartphone maker ahead of Apple, sold 206 million smartphones in 2018, compared to just over 150 million in the previous year.

Huawei’s consumer business group said the handset is the first in the world to support standalone and non-standalone 5G networks and its downloading peak speed can be 10 times as fast as 4G smartphones.

Ambassador Hu said Huawei was not the only company in China that unveiled the 5G phone but also ZTE with their world’s first smartphone with 5G technology.

With a download speed of up to 1 Gbps per second, the phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor that features an integrated X16 LTE modem and represents an important step for 5G technology. The Ambassador said.

“The phone “marks an important cornerstone for the 5G mobile era, as it will lead to a new world of mobile experience with 360-degree panoramic VR video, instant Cloud storage, entertainment upgrades and fast cache of ultra Hi-Fi music and movies.

ZTE is a leading global provider of telecommunications equipment, networking solutions and one of the world’s fastest growing smartphone manufacturers. Ambassador Hu averred.

AS OPERATIONS CLOSED AT MARAMPA MINES; THOUSAND TO GO JOBLESS

Written By, Amadu Lamrana Bah

SL Mining, a subsidiary of Gerald Group has said they are putting their entire project into suspension in accordance with the laws of Sierra Leone and in what is commonly referenced as ‘care and maintenance.’

The company in a confidential letter to its employees accused the government of not complying to an order from the International Chamber of Commerce(ICC) in London.

According to the company, following two months of unsuccessful engagement with the government, they challenged the suspension at the International Chamber of Commerce(ICC) in London where an Emergency Arbitration Final Order was awarded two weeks ago.

The order, they said is compelling the government of Sierra Leone to lift the export ban and allow SL Mining to continue exporting and shipping its product and ensure full operations resume.

Few days ago, some workers with placards were out of the mining site in Lunsar, Portloko District demanding that the government and SL Mining resolve the issue so that they will not go out of job.

The Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources and National Minerals Agency has refused to comment on the issue when contacted by this medium.

SL Mining says they are committed to Marampa, the surrounding communities and Sierra Leone as a whole but will also continue to defend their rights legally.

“Even in these dire situations, SL Mining is and will continue to do everything in its power to defend its rights legally by all means possible in order to resume operations, discuss the impasse with the government when they are ready to properly meet and resolve it and eventually resume normal operations.”

A letter from the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources on July 3rd 2019 suspended the operations of SL Mining accusing the company of not paying royalties and citing other legal issues that needs to be addressed.

SL Mining which made only three exports of iron ore from Sierra Leone this year, has since denied the claims of the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resource.

ACC ADDS MORE INDICTMENT ON REGISTRAR, FOUR OTHERS

 By ACC

The Anti-Corruption Commission, on 23rd September 2019, filed an indictment against STEPHEN YAYAH MANSARAY, former Master and Registrar of the High Court of Sierra Leone; RICHIE EDWIN ASGIL, former Principal Accountant in the Judiciary; ADELE FAYA, former Account Clerk of the Judiciary; and CLARENCE SOLOMON WILL, a Legal Assistant at a Law Firm in Freetown; on various counts of Misappropriation of Public Funds, contrary to Section 36(1); and Conspiracy to Commit a Corruption Offence, contrary to Section 128(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008, respectively.

STEPHEN YAYAH MANSARAY and RICHIE EDWIN ASGIL were the signatories to the Judiciary’s Master and Registrar’s account domiciled at the Bank of Sierra Leone. On diverse dates, between June 2014 and May 2018, both accused men, conspired with others to sign a number of cheques through which they authorized the withdrawal of funds from the aforementioned account for their personal benefit or for other unjustified purposes.

Similarly, ADELE FAYA, former Account Clerk of the Judiciary, also instructed the encashment of various cheques from the same account, and misappropriated these monies.

CLARENCE SOLOMON WILL, a Legal Assistant at Bah & Co., a law firm in Freetown, on diverse dates between 25th April, 2018, and 14th March, 2019, conspired with unknown persons, to misappropriate public funds by illegally facilitating the encashment of cheques from the Judiciary’s account.

All four accused persons misappropriated the total sum of FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY MILLION, TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY-EIGHT THOUSAND, AND TWO HUNDRED LEONES (Le460,268,200/00) from the Judiciary’s Master & Registrar Account domiciled at the Bank of Sierra Leone.

All accused persons are expected to appear in the High Court holden at Freetown on Monday 30th September, 2019. 

The Commission wishes to reassure the general public of its continued resolve to fight acts of corruption at all levels and at all times in Sierra Leone.

The Torman Bum Bonth District project this country has been patiently waiting to provides substainable foods, jobs, brings foriegn exchange and above all lift up the country economy and change the naration of (D Ground Dry) has been finally signed today between the the Government of this Sierra Leone through ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food security and the Turkish group. According to the investors who came from Turkie ,this project is going to provides more than two thousand jobs for the people of this country. D talk and do government is at work , please be patient. In the conclusion of all this today, I personally praise and thanks almighty God for his blessings,wisdoms and protections he gave to our President, two Ministers in the Ministry of Agriculture, the Country Managing Director of the project Mr Alphason Alpha Yarjah, Turkish group and all other parties connected. Finally our own time has come.

Bread and Butter

By  PEL Koroma.

The *Bread And Butter* crusader, Hon. J.J. Saffa,  propelled at the current  2020 budget hearing that the crucial strategy for the security of the Country is to provide more jobs, especially for the youths. In his presentation, the Minister of Finance Hon.J.J.Saffa dilated on the importance of making jobs available, a prime priority in the New Direction government, adjacent to the human capital development. Hon Saffa emphasised his determination to ensure that the people of this country enjoy peace, and security, a top agenda he articulated to all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies today at the 2020 budget hearing at the Miatta Conference Hall.Hon.J.J.Saffa exploited the means in achieving job creation through the Agricultural sector , which he envisaged will provide 30,000 jobs for Sierra Leoneans. Certainly, the 2020 budget will compromise attention to the Agricultural sector so that the young  people will access jobs to cushion the *bread and butter* scheme. “Without jobs, there is security problem”, the Finance Minister emphasised. The Sierra Leone Roads Authority,  according to the Finance Minister, will catch the attention of the 2020 budget as a major component in job creation. With the SLRA, jobs would be created through the maintenance of Feeder Roads in all districts in the country. And Hon.J.J.Saffa emphatically propounded  that the youths stand to benefit more if much  finance is disbursed in the Feeder Roads maintenance. Hon.J.J.Saffa appealed to contractors to be rational, considerate, as his Ministry is not ready to do business as usual, such as over pricing cost in the Feeder Roads  maintenance.

The focus of the 2020 budget will embrace the restoration of the country’s forestry,  by planting more trees, a drive that will also provide jobs for the people of Sierra Leone.  Hon.J.J.Saffa appealed to the Environmental Agencies to take note that the nation will not just be felling trees without replacing them, and therefore, the environment should be protected, and at the same time creating means for Sierra Leoneans to surmount the bread and butter scenario by giving Tree Planting jobs to people in order to mentain national security.

As an Economist,  and Minister of Finance, national security is paramount, Hon. J.J.Saffa reiterated, and very crucial for peace and development. Much to the progress of the country, the budget should look at promoting Tourism, Energy, and for the Trade Ministry to focus on Special Economic zones, and the acceleration of Small Commercialisation, a key  sector for economic growth.

In actualizing service delivery as a government, Hon.J.J. Saffa pin pointed that it is the Ministries, Departments and Agencies that should make sure services are transparently carried out to meet the targeted beneficiaries. He appealed to MDAs to put more effort in serving the people of Sierra Leone diligently. All the monies asked for by MDAs should be for activities, and much patriotism is expected in delivering on the promises of the government to the people of Sierra Leone.

A monitoring mechanism in the quality of budget delivery will see the development of local structures to track down how services are delivered in the best interest of the people.

Hon.J.J.Saffa stood on moral ground at the 2020 budget hearing commencement that his Ministry, and the SLPP government was abled to deliver services to the people of Sierra Leone with a 75% internal revenue mobilization, compared to the out- gone APC government  that dispensed just 30% to 40% of internal revenue, and resorted to Bank loans for service delivery, hence the austerity that hit the country before the 2018 elections . It was the fiscal discipline maintained by his Ministry, and government  that accounted for the successes so far. All MDAs, Hon. J.J.Saffa asserted, were abled to receive all their allocations in the 2019 budget, a reason why the IMF, and other international financial institutions have deemed it necessary to continue doing business with the government of Sierra Leone under the New Direction.

Hon. J.J.Saffa reminded Ministries, Departments, and Agencies that their budgets should be realistic, especially as the SLPP government is moving towards fiscal consolidation for job creation.

Be a proud Sierra Leonean.

 VP JULDEH JALLOH LAUNCHES 2020 BUDGET hearing

Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh on Wednesday 25th September, 2019 launched the 2020 National Budget at the Miatta Conference at Youyi Building.

Expressing pleasure to be part of the budget consultation process, as well as being given the opportunity to give the keynote address, he narrated how the process exposes and articulates government’s economic diversification plan.

He thanked the Ministers of Finance and Economic Development and their staff and Members of Parliament for being part of the process of creating what he called a credible budget.

Explaining the importance of the budget, he stated that the Fulani have a proverb that if one has idea without resources to bring it to reality, that idea becomes a story. Thus, he said resources help to realize the implementation of projects.

As such, the budget planning process links government policy to outcomes, with the budget hearing central to the budget development process and ultimately impacts on government’s delivery of goods and services to the people.

The process he highlighted provides opportunity for MDAs to lay out policies and budget plans in helping the Executive achieve economic growth and diversification, as well as it being a tool for fiscal consolidation for government’s twin priorities of job creation and human capital development in achieving the country’s national development plan.

VP Jalloh pointed out that the now developed Asian states became what they are through huge investments in education and health in improving productivity.

As such, government he said remains committed to prioritizing energy for economic diversification, education, health and investments to create jobs.

HRCSL on a retreat

 By HRCSL Communications Unit

The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL) will  on Thursday September 26 to Saturday September 28th undertake a retreat at the Pearl’s Residence and Restaurant, Lumley beach.

This retreat is coming after the Commission last held one in 2015. During this retreat the Commission will have the opportunity to review its previous work as per the strategic plan 2016-2020, considering its successes, its challenges and the way forward.

Staff of the HRCSL can be more productive and motivated when they feel a greater sense of involvement in establishing the goals and ideals of the Commission as well as when the  staff is ensured of its creative participation in setting goals and contributing to decisions.

Effective retreats produce concrete approaches for tackling long-standing and difficult organizational problems.

Why should I call my self a proud Sierra Leonean*?

UNDER THE BRITISH ADMINISTRATION

Sierra Leone was the head and centre for all British West African countries.. Sa. Leone became the first country in the whole of Sub Saharan Africa to have railway in 1898 -First to have electricity in 1927

– First to have Broadcast Services

– First to have airline in 1927

– Freetown became the first city in West Africa where Planes landed in 1927, from England direct flight to Hastings, returned from Freetown via The Gambia to England

– first to have airport

– First and the only country to have Tropical Hospital in 1925

– First to have school back in 1794 ( not S.L. Grammar School)

– First to have University in 1827

– First to have Hospital for the Mentally Retardants in 1920

– First country in West Africa where Motor Vehicles was introduced in 1912

– First to have English Legal system with black judges and jurors.

Sierra Leone Supreme Courts became the final court of Appeal for Ghana, Nigeria and The Gambia

– In 1843 the Whole of Gold Coast(Ghana), Nigeria and The Gambia were placed under the admission of Freetown.

-In 1792 Sierra Leone became the first country in the world where women first casted vote before it even came to Britain in 1918 when women first voted.

-In 1800’s seventeen Black Priests and a Bishop went to Ghana and Nigeria as missionaries to spread Christianity, Nigeria and Ghana had their first churches.

-In 1893 Freetown Municipality (F.C.C) became the the first city in West Africa to have a Mayor (The Queens Advocate became Mayor of Freetown) -Freetown became the first city in W. Africa to have a Banking system- ‘Bank of British West Africa’.

-First country to have post Office.. Need I say more?…

Where are we now?

We must be ashamed

 N R A holds talks with house owners

With relentless efforts towards enhancing  Revenue mobilization, the Rent unit under the Domestic Tax  Department of the National Revenue Authority  has today 24th October, 2019 at its Wellington Street Office held a stakeholders’ meeting with Estate Agents, Administrators/ Executors and solicitors.

The meeting has been earmarked as the first ever meeting which invited over a dozen house owners with an objective to sensitize and educated them on the essence of paying rental taxes, when these taxes are to be paid  and how they can be paid with emphasis on the reforms the NRA is rolling  out  particularly within the Domestic Tax Depramtent which will be incorporated into the Integrated Tax Adminitration System (ITAS) in the shortest of time as a major digital revolution to continuosly enhance huge revenue generation.

The Manager Rent Uhit Mrs. Christiana K. Jalloh at The Domestic Tax Department of the NRA hollistically explained to the invitees for better understanding  on issues bothering around Rental Taxes and the impact on revenue mobilization. She expressed that the meeting was a brief one but assured them of another meeting.

DNA SEQUENCING FOR RAPE AND PATERNAL ISSUES TO COMMENCE

  BY JONATHAN HINDOLO KURABU

In the wake of the spiral and alarming hike in reported cases of rape and other

despicable forms of sexual abuse meted out to girls below the age of 18 by mostly

men who are old enough to be their fathers or grandfathers, there is an increasing need to clampdown on these alleged rapists. Sadly though, the cumbersome processes in our Judiciary heightened by unnecessary court adjournments during the Preliminary investigation at the Magistrate Courts before committal to the High Court most often than not, leave the victims in agony.

Out of sheer ignorance, the

victims most times destroy the evidence even before reporting the cases and often

further worsened by some police officers who have shallow knowledge in evidence gathering and protection of incontrovertible evidence which could be classically admissible in the court of law.

Even against the backdrop of a State of Emergency slammed by His Excellency the

President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio months ago with a punishment of life imprisonment upon conviction; the situation remains far worse and seemingly unabated.

For lack of evidence, the alleged perpetrators are discharged and left to roam freely while their alleged victims suffer in silence. With strides made so far by President Bio, plans are now rife for Sierra Leone to commence DNA sequencing for rape and all forensic cases involving ritual murder, murder etc.

This was disclosed to a cross section of dignitaries drawn from Njala University,

SLARi, Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security,Environmental Protection Agency, Detective Officers from the Sierra Leone Police, Directorate of  Technology and Innovation to name but a few.

Team Lead from Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Iain Macharen-Lee said the DNA sequencer can be used across a multitude of different fields. He underscored

that the technology is a new way of reading DNA which he said is fundamentally

different from previous technologies and furthered that the MinION Sequencer is a small device, portable and simple device which can be deployed anywhere and can

be used by anybody with the requisite skills and competence.

According to Iain Macharen-Le, the MinION MKC1 has developed a method for passing DNA through a pore which protracts an electrical current and it can be

interpreted as electrons of genetic code which can fetch the required answer in minutes.

For forensic purposes, it requires a picture sample which can be simply prepared by isolating DNA from the sample, prepared and put on the DNA

sequencer which can get the results within few minutes. Using the third generation

of DNA sequencing, perpetrators of rape and other crimes can be detected in

minutes and will constitute the evidence in court for proceedings.

The MinION MKC1 DNA Sequencer was first handled by President Bio upon

their first engagement in Sierra Leone.

 According to the Team Lead from Oxford Nanopore Technologies, President Julius Maada Bio is the Third President in the

World and the First President in Africa to have had a feel and grip on this modern

technology which they referred to as the third generation of DNA Sequencer.

The delegation was lured to come over to Sierra Leone by President Bio during his ‘TED TOK’ in Vancouver courtesy of  Dr. David Monina Senge, Chief

Innovator and Director, Directorate of Science, Technology and Innovation, DSTI.

ABERDEEN/LUMLEY BEACH ROUNDABOUT designed

A patriotic citizen, Madam Binta Bah has opted to give back to the Aberdeen community by sponsoring a group of youths to clean and beautify the Aberdeen/Lumley Beach Turn Table.

The groups which comprise men and women commenced the facelift efforts on Tuesday 24th September, 2019 at the Family Kingdom precincts led by Mr. Mohamed Vandy who expressed his pleasure to partner with the philanthropic gesture of Madam Binta Bah.

“We are very happy for her and very much impressed with Madam Binta Bah,” he noted.

Also, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Madam Memunata Pratt in appreciating Madam Bah’s gesture commended her for her selflessness and love of country.

She called on other well meaning Sierra Leoneans to emulate Madam Bah’s effort at helping to promote tourism, which she said has huge potential to not only put Sierra Leone back on the world scene but to also earn huge revenue for the government and communities as well as create jobs and incomes.

Meanwhile, the Ministry’s Cultural Funfair week kicks of this Friday.

Liberian President credits UN for ‘16 years of unbroken peace’, outlines plan to reduce poverty, boost growth

25 September 2019

Peace and Security

“Liberia is a UN success story”, President George Manneh Weah told the annual United Nations high-level generalral debate in New York on Wednesday.

“After being devastated by a brutal civil conflict that lasted for 14 years, peace was restored and maintained by what was then the largest peace-keeping force in the history of this Organization”, he explained.

“Under the auspices of the UNMIL [UN Mission in Liberia] peace-keepers, Liberians enjoyed 16 years of unbroken peace”.

President Weah explained that when the peacekeeping force withdrew two years ago, the Government stepped up to maintain the peace.

“However,” he said, “long after the guns have been silenced, the survivors have to live with the collateral damage of the war-wounded, the shattered families, the displaced populations, the resettlement of refugees, and all the other negative consequences of a national socio-economic fabric that has been torn apart”. 

Despite the many challenges the country has endured, Mr. Weah proudly said “our country is today a beacon of democracy in Africa”, with the freedom of press, expression, association and other political and democratic rights respected under the law.

And yet, there is an emerging threat to the country’s “hard-won peace and stability”, he lamented.

“Some individuals, within and out of our country, particularly those who have lost democratically-held elections, have resorted to incitement, threats of violence, misuse of social media, and hate speech, with the aim and objective of achieving power through undemocratic means”, he detailed, adding “this is unacceptable… we must all learn to respect the mandates of the electorates, even when that mandate is not in our favor”.

‘Faith and confidence’ in the UN

The Liberian President pointed to today as “a time of uncertainty and heightened tension in global politics, security, and trade”.

And yet, despite a global economy is under stress, security tensions on the rise and trade protectionism and climate change causing consequences, especially on developing countries, Mr. Weah “strongly” believes in the UN’s ability to “maintain international peace and security, foster friendly relations among nations, and promote social progress, better living standards and human rights”.

“We continue ‘to have faith and confidence in the United Nations as the best universal institution to guide the nations of the world in peaceful and harmonious interactions”, he spelled out.

In closing, President Weah assured those in the Assembly Hall that “Liberia will remain engaged as a responsible member of the international community, on all bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.

“We will continue to work with the United ‘Nations and its organizations to foster peace, security and harmony among the peoples of the world”, he concluded.

End of Rule by Politicians – Did Boris Johnson dupe the Queen?

WILL THE SIERRA LEONE JUDICIARY LEARN FROM THIS?

 By Charles Mwewa

Immediately after the decision was released by the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) on September 24th, 2019, the majority who commented said, “Nobody expected this…” Some shouted, “Its unbelievable…shocking….” The reactions themselves, rather than the unanimous ruling of all eleven Supreme Court judges, handed down by Lady Brenda Hale, is what seems to be shocking to many. But in reality, both the nature of the decision and the tremor it has generated, should be shocking to all. These are my reasons.

1. Because politicians have, hitherto, circumvented the law

Until this decision, it had become fashionable for parliament to be used just as a rubber-stamp for the whims of the politicians in power. This did not matter whether that parliament was found in a nation with Parliamentary Democracy (such as the UK, Canada, and etc.) or in a Presidential Democracy (such as the USA, Zambia, and etc.). It was that ardent campaigner and businesswoman’s sentiments that solidified this notion: “It was very nervous up to the moment…there was little guarantee that we would win this,” (Gina Miller). This should shock every democracy lover and Rule of Law agitator. The people had given up on the power of courts or the law to rule. The world had resigned itself to the caprice of politicians to manipulate the law and “abuse” parliament for its own hidden agendas. That’s why people were surprised at the decision.

2. Because abuses of power have, hitherto, been cloaked in divided court decisions

We all know that ruling parties, presidents and Prime Ministers, have been abusing power and running away with it. This has been possible because the auras of people-power have been diminished. In parliamentary systems, prorogation of parliament, or in presidential systems, use of executive emergency orders, have all meant that the will of the people have been secondary. And to add salt to injury, courts had been, hitherto, justifying-chambers of the abuses of the politicians. It’s no wonder everyone did not expect the unanimous decision of the UKSC. Faith in the judiciary all over the world have been slowly eroding, because there has been very little distinction between political quirks and judicial activism. Each time a court rendered a divided decision on a matter that, in the judgement of society, ought to have been unanimous, it made politicians bold. Because, when they partially lost in court, they still argued that some judges stood with them in their abuses of office and authority. That’s why this decision is, ironically, landmark, because it refuses to side with the abuse of power, it decides to stand up for principle, the Rule of Law, and fundamentals of good governance. The decision says, “No-judge agrees with Boris Johnson, in part on or whole.” If there was even a single judge who dissented, Boris Johnson would stand on the world platform and declare that he had at least one ally in the UKSC. That’s how politicians have spun their undemocratic tendencies into placards of lame victory. But as far as the UKSC is concerned, the Prime Minister broke the law, and his decision to prorogue parliament is as if it never even happened!

3. Because even the Queen could be misled

Politicians mislead everybody, in the case of Boris Johnson, including the Queen of England. The UKSC ruled that the decision to advise the Queen to prorogue parliament was unlawful. The Queen had earlier consented to the prorogation of parliament. This is very informing – it means that, hitherto, even venerated offices such as that of the Queen of England, had been subservient to the whims of the ruling politicians. Indeed, we know that the regal bureau is only ceremonial. However, this, effectively, means that democracy had fallen prey to the Tyranny of the Majority and the inviolable power of one-man.

In conclusion, the world has a reason to celebrate this landmark, unanimous UK decision. This is because it’s a UK decision, the birther of the Magna Carta, and the land that bequeathed to Western political and legal cultures, their legal and political systems. At least in the interim, this decision curbs on political extremities of those who rule nations as if they have been given a license to abuse power and privileges.

It is now my delight to start cataloguing the components of the psychological caution of our esteemed brother and Admin; and will even go further to disclose and throw my hat in the ring, for a healthy debate, on this pertinent issue:

1. THE PORT LOKO MINI STADIUM

From what I know, the Port Loko Mini Stadium Project was initiated, to serve the entire Port Loko District.

I am not demanding an inclusion, for now, but will do so; when the time is ripe. That time is, when the project is fully completed. We will do whatever it takes to be included in the management of the stadium.

The stadium is in Maforki Chiefdom. How ironical that, we are not represented in its management. Who is committing trespass here😃.

We need to be included; not only for social cohesion; but also, for various other reasons.

Instead of worrying that I am attempting too many sensitive issues, I think, ALL of us should be asking how and why we were not included in that management, in the first place!!!

Who made that decision? We would like to know!

Let’s take a perceptual view of the current arrangement.

How would one feel, if one is not recognised and represented in managing the affairs of ones Chiefdom and/or district? I implore All to please be honest. “Honesty is the best policy”.

We are not demanding representation now. Even if we do, I think that is in place; as we also need to monitor how the project is being implemented.

Work is going on; but we have no full understanding of the project: Time, Quality and Money are the bedrock of Project Management. How do know that, the project is successful, without being involved?

As I wrote inter-alia, we will have to be included in the management of the stadium. No its, no buts!!

If this does not happen, we will approach the government , for a dialogue.

Where professionalism and gentility fail, then, we will construct a toll-gate, at Gbankasoka Hydro Dam, and Songo Road; and will collect dues, to compensate ourselves for not being represented 😃.

 Gloucester Councillor &Headman call for development

By Mohamed Katta

Councillor Zechariah Kanneh of ward 395 in the Western Area Rural Municipality ward 395 has visited the SLRA’s office alongside Mr. Frederick Hanciles the headman for Gloucester village.

The meeting with the Director General of SLRA , Mr. Amara Kanneh appealed for development as regard the proposed Berry street, Leicester road, Gloucester to Regent hill side road construction.

The meeting according to the two community leaders was extraordinary and fruitful.

Speaking to Public Review they stressed on the enormous bad impact of the road to their people considering the huge challenges they’re facing as poor communities with limited basic infrastructural development and key amenities of life.

‘’we find it strenuous throughout to access vehicle to carry our goods and properties in these mountainous communities.

The construction of this road will greatly salvage the situation and will ease the movement of their people as there are few vehicles plying this route due to the condition of the road.’’

The meeting was great, we hope to get something from them, a faithful promise was given to us , we pray that it comes to pass.  the road is  a priority to us, we want to see it constructed by SLRA’’ Councilor  Kanneh told Public Review.

 THE PENITENT STATE OF AFFAIRS AT DEPARTMENT OF LAW, FBC

By Fayia Amara Fayia

If you are still surprised that students from the Department of Law Fourah Bay College University of Sierra Leone could not make the top three,four/five of the recently Published  Law School Bar final examination list, then  you really need to read this and do some further investigations at the department.

The social media outlets were oversaturated last week with May 2019 Bar Final Examination Results with titanical failure of 91, 54 referred and only 29 passes.  The colossal number of the reference came in Criminal Law. In fact it’s usually cataclysmic even at the Department of Law, Fourah Bay College.

The Department of Law at Fourah Bay College University of Sierra Leone sends more students to the Law School where the final examination is taken and if one goes through successfully you start counting your stars as one of those in the corridor to be called to the BAR( Become a Lawyer),passing the Bar final exam is not the final stage but we leave that for now.

Many social media commentators were concerned that students from the Law Department of recently established private University of Makeni( UNIMAK) shined and took all the exaltation over those from the decades old department. Some attributed it the quality of facilities, content of courses offered, performance and methods of lecturing, efforts and determination on the part of the students among others. All these could be an open guess to any in the academia but a continuing students or a recent graduate from the department of Law FBC will garnish them more with little hope of returning to FBC for any other course.

The department like Masscom have been rated high for standard, quality of lecturers the administrative setup which puts preeminence on students welfare for quality of graduates over quantity and any other thing.

Sadly, recent developments have forced the Masscom department to start distancing from the law. People refer to Masscom now as the Private School of the University.

The Department of Law is like any other, Save for Masscom, Engineering, when it comes to crucibles other students go through. Things I never experienced when I was invited into the Honors Program in the Department of Politics are commonplace in the Department of Law today.  Students scramble for lecture rooms, chairs, classes cancelled without prior-notification, administrative/office staff, securities, insult students with little or no respect for student’s human rights. The same colonial system of registration for each semester continue to frustrate students who have to stand in que for hours. Many take a week or two to complete registration. The university and departmental administrations continue to violate our educational rights enshrined in section 9(1)a of the Constitution of Sierra Leone Act.No 6 1991.

The University administration apparently enjoys it all as the continuous absence of Students Union government at FBC is an added advantage to a system that does not want pressure from any group. They in their hearts like the status quo.

I strongly believe so. Blame us the students for always acting like those in any of the other “Bays”. We fight when elections are called. Honestly not for fraternity and ideology but National Political interests.  The same game plan has engulfed the Department of Law, going for years without Students’ Leadership to man the Law Society.

The best of brains are in the department as lecturers ,I proudly say so- Judges of the Highest Judicature, Lawyers, all with impeccable record standing but truly something is missing. Team work? May be!. And this is affecting the performance of the students.

The mental picture of disaster that  looms, the experience of those ahead may force one to abandon the course. Only courage, perseverance, seeing others go through will keep hundreds climbing Mount Aureole, some on daily basis. Students fail not because they are unintelligent. The unfair continuous assessments, short semesters, wrong exam time( raining months) to name but few ,account.  I wonder how a lecturer generates continuous assessments for students in class when he/she does not conduct tests or give assignments. Real magicians!.(SOME).  Students promote themselves to next level or year without knowing their grades for first semester of their previous year.

 Perhaps only in the Department of Law. Interestingly, even when first semester grades for some modules are out either together with or after second semester grades, you hear about missing grades. To access those you hear are out is another onerous task even if you’re a paid up or SLG registered students.  Some students do not know if they are to repeat or promote.

Those who have secured two references don’t know whether more are on the way that will send them down or when they will take the resit, like for those who got referred in one module during the first semester.  We now have both semester resits waiting.  Funnily, I saw a notice from exam asking students to make payments for resit exams when even the first semester grades are not known. Second exams have come and gone and we are on recess. ( DEN SAY BAY NA BAY ENN?).

 This is the problem currently in the Department of Law –FBC. We hear some say the department intake has increased so much. Should that be a reason to crate room for students to fail? Why the administration can’t take a sizeable number to maintain standard?

Don’t allow people to pay millions, waste years to become lawyers, with some even enjoying the tittle( BARRISTER/LAWYER) and glamour in their communities and back in their villages only to be frustrated by those who could have helped them achieve their dreams. Some lecturers  are totally unapproachable, they don’t talk to students outside class, no matter your concern(s).

 It calls for the attention of the Anti-Corruption Commission ( ACC), the Chancellor of the University, The DVC, The Dean , The HOD and all concerned.

Students are suffering in silence. Colleagues have dropped out of the course. I know of two, and it was just after one monumental test. Our class (LLB 1 2018/9) will never forget that test and the particularly the question.

NOBODY is talking for fear of intimidation that comes in the form of lecturer(s) failing students (“they will fail you” ) for speaking out these burning issues that are  having excruciating effects on the performance of students in and from the department.

 But this writer has decided to do this for the welfare, rights, success of the students and betterment of the department. I believe our lecturers are liberal, in fact many human rights backgrounds, if you write you gets your marks.

Nobody is going to fail any student for saying the truth UNDER THIS NEW DIRECTION OF PRESIDENT BIO.

THANKS.

Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio commemorates 180 years of Amistad Slave Revolt, receives New Haven City Mayor’s Award

New Haven City, Connecticut, US, Tuesday 24 September 2019_* – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has commemorated 180 years of Amistad Slave revolt, during slavery, in the New Haven City, Connecticut, where he was also decorated with the Mayor’s Key award for outstanding leadership. 

The said revolution of many Africans on the Spanish slave ship, La Amistad on 2 July 1839, was led by Sengbe Pieh, a Sierra Leonean of the Mende people and had important political and legal repercussions in the American abolition movement.

While welcoming President Bio, Mayor Toni N. Harp said that the respective histories of New Haven and Sierra Leone had been interlaced for centuries, citing his outstanding contributions towards the restoration of democracy and the attainment of peace in Sierra Leone.

“From the time of the Amistad Revolt and prolonged legal struggle to the Ebola tragedy of just a few years ago, the people of our two jurisdictions have enjoyed friendship, camaraderie, and respect – and these things that bind us have only drawn us closer over time,” Mayor Harp said.

In a short statement, President Bio thanked Mayor Toni N. Harp and officials from New Haven’s Amistad Committee and the New Haven Sister Cities Committee for not only providing a home to Sengbe Pieh and others but also for their support to Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak.

He told the audience that New Haven and Sierra Leone had been brought together by history and added: “This is a great story and you are a great people. Just like you did for Sengbe Pieh and others, your city has been generous to us. You have always believed in the dignity of the human being”.

He assured that he was also going to strengthen the relationship between Sierra Leone and New Haven City.

Later the Mayor led the President and entourage outside the city hall to a sculpture which served as a memorial to the 1839 Amistad revolt and its leader, Sengbe Pieh for the bravery and courage to emancipate themselves from the bondage of slavery. 

To further commemorate this year’s Amistad revolt, the President also laid a wreath at the gravesite in remembrance of those Amistad captives who survived the voyage but became gravely ill and could not return to Sierra Leone with their compatriots in September 1841. At the gravesite, he also dedicated a tree in honour of Sengbe Pieh and other slaves and all those who helped them to regain their freedom.

FIbank:  Reliability, transparency and improved customer service!

By Alimamy Palo Bangura

 When it comes to banking, reliability, transparency and customer service play a key role in a customer’s selection of bank.

“We understand how important these areas are and that is why we put so much focus on them.”

Pa Ousman Njie, Managing Director of FiBank sat with the Public Review team to discuss the transformation of FiBank and the positive effect it has on old clients and those who happen to be banking with them for the first time.

“Upon opening an account with us, the document outlines all charges you receive or may receive in future transactions.” There are no surprises or unexpected charges suddenly sprung on customers of FiBank.

As far as reliability is concerned FiBank is proud to state that they comply perfectly within the regulations set by the Bank of Sierra Leone.

“In compliance with BSL regulations we send daily, weekly and monthly financial reports. As of yet we have not fallen short of any of our obligations to BSL or customers.”

Between Managing Director Njie who has over 40 years of banking and finance experience and Deputy Managing Director Randall who has over 35 years of banking experience, FiBank assures its clients of professional and efficient service. FiBank is not just a bank, we’re a family.

NACSA gives out Le1.5 Bn to deprived  communities

By Donstance Koroma

The Program Manager, Social Safety Net, National Commission for Social Action, Regina Sia Saffa has said that they had commenced the disbursement of five hundred thousand Leone each to a little over one thousand households in the Western Rural district to the tune of 1.5 billion Leones.

The funds are from the World Bank and the government of Sierra Leone.

According to the program manager,  the initiative  helps  the financial  aspect of the poorest of the poor every three months to take care of  their domestic expenditures and increased household

Consumption.

She stated that the commission is using the recent Sierra Leone Household Indicator Survey 2018 to identify poorer communities across the country

According to him, the project is in ten districts across the country that kick started in 2014 and  that it is now at its exist stage , madam Saffa noted.

Originally, she continued, the project was designed for three years but that due to the Ebola outbreak in 2014, the project was interrupted; hence the reason why we are paying them once and for all and target new areas, she emphasized.

She said that thirty six pay points had been identified in the Western Rural district to enable staff to disburse the said amount to the little over one thousand households with ease.

Before any disbursement, the program manager added, beneficiaries are trained on nutrition and good health, hygiene and sanitation practices, the value of education and financial literacy with regards the management of finances at home and how to invest into small businesses.

 Senior Management of the Sierra Leone Standards Bureau (SLSB) on Thursday held a strategic meetings with representatives of the Environment Protection Agency Sierra Leone (EPA-SL) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) team to discuss E- Mobility project in Sierra Leone.

The meeting was geared towards mapping out ways for collaboration for a successful launch of the E- Mobility Project in Sierra Leone. E- Mobility was endorsed by the EPA-SL from the Global Environment Fund (GEF) for the development of an electric Mobility project in Sierra Leone.

Welcoming the team on behalf of the Executive Director of SLSB, Tamba Kamanda commended the team for coming. He said the SLSB and EPA are partners in development and had been working together over the years particularly towards issues relating to the environment.

In his statement, Ahmed Tunis, EPA’s Deputy Director of Planning and Policy Development said they were at the Bureau to discuss E- Mobility project for Sierra Leone. He said the EPA and UNEP are working on the E- Mobility Project implementation in Sierra Leone. He said the project is funded by the Global Environment Fund (GEF). “EPA and UNEP cannot do it alone in collecting the data, and we rely on your expertise. We want the SLSB to work with us by telling us what the Standards are for Mobility ranging from vehicles to tricycle and motorbikes. What do we do to meet the change that is coming? The future of mobility is electric whether we like it or not.” He urged the SLSB to collaborate with the EPA in providing the necessary expertise for a successful implementation of the project.

In his contribution, Aziz Kamara, Manager of the Standards Department said the core mandate of his department is to develop and adopt standards. He said E- Mobility is a new phenomenon. He said the Standards for air quality, hazardous substances and noise standards had been reviewed and about to be published or gazetted. He said the SLSB is member of international standards bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization, African Organization for Standardization (ARSO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and THC among others.

 The meeting agreed for strong collaboration with the relevant institutions such as the Sierra Leone Roads Safety Authority (SLRSA), EPA and SLSB to come together and develop a national policy on E- Mobility for successful implementation of the programme.

Sierra Leone Brewery Limited can boast of quality services because it has found an excellent balance between international and local standards.

As a subsidiary of Heineken Limited, arguably the largest beverage manufacturing company in the world, SLBL has to adhere to their production and manufacturing procedures.

This means that SLBL brewing procedures follow the same steps as the one of the world’s leading beverage manufacturing companies.

We have automated the majority of our productions ensuring safety for employees and increasing our output”.Mr Collier, Head of Corporate Affairs, says.

SLBL’s local track record is flawless also. They can boast of excellent relationships with the Ministry of Labour, Environmental Protection Agency and the Standards Bureau because they always comply with their inspections and regulations. The factory has never failed a radiation inspection, has created a topnotch Water Treatment Facility and regularly send samples to Standard Bureau for observation.

One of the key reasons that Brewery products are of such high quality is because they pass through so many rigorous processes before being distributed publicly.

SLBL samples are manufactured in the state of the art laboratory at the brewery factory, passing through so many different chemical procedures before being designated as shipment ready.

Even then, the samples are sent to other Heineken branches around the world to be independently certified by other laboratories. It is only after such a secure process that new samples are allowed to be distributed.

This is the process undertaken for the new Salone Beer, launched in 2016. Produced locally, but approved by all international standards, It is an example of Brewery’s commitment to international class, even in local products

Mayor Aki-Sawyer joined the New York City Commissioner for International Affairs and the Mayors of Helsinki and Mannheim to sign Voluntary Local Review (VLR) Declarations in the SGD Action Zone at UNGA. Also present at the event were the Executive Director for UN-Habitat and the Secretary General for United Cities and Local Governments (“UCLG”).

VLRs are annual submissions by cities to the United Nations that highlight achievements at local level that align with the implementation of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”). The SDGs are fundamentally a blueprint for sustainable urban development and that is why cities all over the world are committing to submit VLRs. New York City has championed the VLR process.

We are thrilled to have Freetown sign its own VLR Declaration. Each of the 19 Targets in #Transform Freetown are aligned to one or more of the 17 SDGs. We will work hard to implement the 37 related initiatives, meet our 19 targets across the 11 priority sectors so that together we Transform Freetown!

CARL and Advocaid Launch decriminalization of Petty Offences document.

The Center for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) and AdvocAid on September 26 launched a Position Paper on petty offences at the Sierra Light House in Freetown. The position paper, informed by a baseline study conducted by CARL and ADVOCAID, seeks to support advocacy efforts aimed at decriminalizing petty offences in Sierra Leone. The African Commission on Human Rights defines petty offences as “minor offences for which the punishment is a warning, community service, a low-value fine or short term imprisonment, often for failure to pay the fine.”

Among other things, the research found that the petty offences disproportionately affects poor and marginalized sections of the population, and “place a heavy burden on the police, courts and correctional centers.” The data further shows a strong nexus between overcrowding in correctional centers and petty offences. Consequently, the report suggests that reducing overcrowding of prisons and cost of processing and incarcerating offenders would require a decriminalization of and/or providing clear guidelines regarding three key petty offences, including minor road traffic offences, loitering and obtaining goods or money under false pretenses.

More crucially, perpetrators of petty offences, who are often poor and marginalized, are always at risk of getting arrested.

CARL and AdvocAid believe that these laws and their modes of enforcement, contravene the guiding principles of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.

Today’s launch attracted key stakeholders, including senior personnel from the Sierra Leone Police, Judiciary, Correctional Center, Parliament and Civil Society Organizations.

Mayor Aki -Sawyer Signs Declarations at UN

Mayor Aki-Sawyer joined the New York City Commissioner for International Affairs and the Mayors of Helsinki and Mannheim to sign Voluntary Local Review (VLR) Declarations in the SGD Action Zone at UNGA. Also present at the event were the Executive Director for UN-Habitat and the Secretary General for United Cities and Local Governments (“UCLG”).

VLRs are annual submissions by cities to the United Nations that highlight achievements at local level that align with the implementation of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (“SDGs”). The SDGs are fundamentally a blueprint for sustainable urban development and that is why cities all over the world are committing to submit VLRs. New York City has championed the VLR process.

We are thrilled to have Freetown sign its own VLR Declaration. Each of the 19 Targets in Transform Freetown are aligned to one or more of the 17 SDGs. We will work hard to implement the 37 related initiatives, meet our 19 targets across the 11 priority sectors so that together we can achieve them.

 SLMA CELEBRATES WORLD MARITIME DAY

Sierra Leone Maritime Administration under the new Executive Director, Philip Sondai  has celebrated World Maritime Day, a global event scheduled for 26th September 2019.

The theme for this years’ celebration is “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”.

The event  focused  the contemporary issues surrounding maritime operations.

According to Mr Sondai, the theme goes to raise awareness about need for women’s participation in the Maritime sector since it had been proven global that women can contribute valuably to Maritime operations.

He said the theme appeals to the world to involve women in the maritime operations, given that the industry can now boast of women who are navigators, lawyers in the operations.

The event witnessed the signing of an MOU between the Maritime Administration and N’Jala University for the provision of a wide range of training programs and research projects for the country’s maritime industry.

The signing took place the SLMA’s auditorium at Government Wharf Freetown.

.

Mr Sondai noted that this year’s event is  significant because its adds to the human resource capacity gaps and contributes to nation building through the sector as well as enable the industry’s operations meet international standards.

Trump did nothing wrong – Still, Pelosi and her colleagues will do anything to undo 2016

The speaker and Democrats are determined to pursue their impeachment dreams. Facts and evidence are of little consequence.

Without having seen or read the released transcript of President Trump’s telephone conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepped before cameras and microphones on Wednesday morning and boldly condemned President Trump for using a foreign nation to help his forthcoming presidential campaign.  But that’s not quite what the conversation revealed.  No matter.

Pelosi and rabid Trump-hating Democrats long ago preordained their impeachment ambitions. Any pretext to achieve that end will do just fine. But the speaker’s pronouncement without first learning the essential facts was a stunning admission of partisan bias. All pretense has now been shed. Pelosi and her confederates will do anything to undo the 2016 election results and drive Trump from office.

Nevertheless, facts are stubborn things.  They are critical, if not dispositive, in legal cases.  They are also highly relevant in the inherently political process known as impeachment.

So, let’s examine what we have learned so far, realizing that many more facts have yet to be unspooled in what Trump is now calling the latest version of the interminable “witch hunt.”

THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATION

The early reporting on the leaked conversation with Zelensky alleged that Trump demanded a “quid pro quo.” That is, Trump allegedly ordered Ukraine to help investigate allegations of corruption involving Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, or the U.S. would withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine.  However, the transcript shows no demands or conditions were stated or otherwise discussed.  No promises were contingent on financial assistance.  Did President Trump apply pressure on Zelensky?  There is no evidence of that in their discussion.

Instead, after congratulating the Ukrainian president on his election to office, Trump asked Zelensky to help investigate matters of alleged wrongdoing involving “this whole situation with Ukraine.”  Trump made vague references to Crowdstrike and “the server.”

This appears to be a reference to the origins of the Russia “collusion” investigation and the suspected role of Ukraine, the Democratic National Committee, and the cybersecurity firm that the DNC retained to examine hacked servers.

This part of the conversation is cryptic.  But if Ukraine possesses some evidence of corrupt acts involving Democrats or Hillary Clinton surrogates or anyone else, this would logically be something that the U.S. should be made aware of.

The phone conversation between the two leaders then turned to fired Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin.  Trump remarked how “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”  The videotape of Biden boasting of the “quid pro quo” he engineered is a remarkable lesson in hubris and foolishness.

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By way of background, Shokin is on record telling the Washington Post that he was fired in 2015 because he was investigating Hunter Biden and his Ukrainian gas company, Burisma, and that then-Vice President Joe Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion dollars in U.S. aid unless Shokin was sacked:

“I will answer that the activities of Burisma, the involvement of his son, Hunter Biden, and the (prosecutor general’s office) investigators on his tail, are the only, I emphasize, the only motives for organizing my resignation.”

Fast forward to the July 25, 2019 Trump-Zelensky telephone call. Zelensky volunteered that a new investigator would look into the matter. Trump asked Zelensky to speak with Attorney General William Barr and the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani about it. This was not unreasonable.

Democrats, like Pelosi, claim that the conversation is absolute proof that Trump was asking a foreign government to help him damage his political opponent, Biden, in the upcoming election. But the proof is not absolute at all.

If the president of the United States is made aware of suspected corrupt acts by a public official involving a foreign nation, he has every right to ask that nation to either investigate and/or produce any evidence. Indeed, it is incumbent on him to do so.

One of the president’s fundamental duties is identified in the “take care” clause (or “faithful execution” clause) of the U.S. Constitution. It imposes duty on the chief executive to take care “that the Laws be faithfully executed.” President George Washington observed, “it is my duty to see the Laws executed; to permit them to be trampled upon with impunity would be repugnant to that duty.”

Whether it be immigration laws or finance laws or criminal statutes, the president is duty-bound to enforce all laws. Failure to do so would be a dereliction of his duty, as our first president believed.

Biden does not get immunity simply because he used to be vice president or is currently running for president. Was Biden’s confessed “quid pro quo” pressure on Ukraine a potential crime? More facts and evidence is needed. But using your public office to benefit your son might constitute such corruption crimes as bribery or honest services fraud. On this basis, Trump had every right to ask for evidentiary assistance from a foreign power.

Unlike Biden, who threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer money from Ukraine, Trump did not explicitly mention the freezing of roughly $400 million from Kiev.

The president has repeatedly stated he put a hold on the funds because he was reticent about giving such an enormous sum of money to a newly elected president who was taking over a government widely known for corruption.

As columnist Marc Thiessen pointed out in the Washington Post, Democratic Senators Robert Menendez, Richard Durban, and Patrick Leahy had been far more overt two months earlier when, in a letter, “they implied that their support for U.S. assistance to Ukraine was at stake” if the nation’s prosecutor general did not capitulate to their own demands over the closing of several investigations connected to the Mueller investigation.  Hypocrisy, of course, is rampant throughout this sordid story.

THE “WHISTLEBLOWER” COMPLAINT

All of this came to a sudden boil when a complaint was filed recently by a so-far unidentified employee of the intelligence community. Citing the Trump-Zelensky conversation that he or she did not hear or even read in transcript form, the employee nevertheless filed a whistleblower complaint against the president based on nothing more than hearsay.

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The complaint was legal folly. It does not qualify as a whistleblower complaint as defined by the whistleblower statute (50 U.S.C. 3033). Why? Because a whistleblower cannot blow the whistle on the president.

This means that he or she is not really a “whistleblower” at all under the specific language and meaning of the law, as I argued in my column last week.

This was explained in an 11-page opinion by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) when it issued the follow opinion:

“The president is not a member of the intelligence community, and his communication with a foreign leader involved no intelligence operation or other activity aimed at collecting or analyzing foreign intelligence.”

Under the whistleblower statute, both these conditions are required.  Yet, neither were met.  As a consequence, the complaint “does not trigger a reporting obligation” to Congress by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).  This DOJ opinion is also shared by the General Counsel in the Office of the DNI.

Pelosi declared that the law is “unequivocal” that the DNI “shall” give Congress the whistleblower complaint.  This would be true if the complaint qualified under the whistleblower law, but it does not. Pelosi was incorrect.

The OLC opinion made clear that the complaint “does not trigger a reporting obligation” and that the DNI does not have “a statutory obligation to forward the complaint to the intelligence committees.”

In our constitutional form of government, the president is a unitary executive.  He is not in any department or agency. He is not a member of the intelligence community. A “whistleblower” can only complain about misconduct by someone in the intelligence community.

Acting DNI Joseph Maguire will appear at a public congressional hearing on Thursday. He will surely reiterate all of the above so that Pelosi, who bragged that she is an “authority” on the law, might understand what the law actually means.

Despite all of this, the speaker and Democrats are determined to pursue their impeachment dreams. Facts and evidence are of little consequence.

[26/09, 15:20] User: Sierra Leone Brewery Limited can boast of quality services because it has found an excellent balance between international and local standards.

As a subsidiary of Heineken Limited, arguably the largest beverage manufacturing company in the world, SLBL has to adhere to their production and manufacturing procedures.

This means that SLBL brewing procedures follow the same steps as the one of the world’s leading beverage manufacturing companies.

We have automated the majority of our productions ensuring safety for employees and increasing our output. ” Mr Collier, Head of Corporate Affairs, says.

SLBL’s local track record is flawless also. They can boast of excellent relationships with the Ministry of Labour, Environmental Protection Agency and the Standards Bureau because they always comply with their inspections and regulations. The factory has never failed a radiation inspection, has created a topnotch Water Treatment Facility and regularly send samples to Standard Bureau for observation.

One of the key reasons that Brewery products are of such high quality is because they pass through so many rigorous processes before being distributed publicly.

SLBL samples are manufactured in the state of the art laboratory at the brewery factory, passing through so many different chemical procedures before being designated as shipment ready.

Even then, the samples are sent to other Heineken branches around the world to be independently certified by other laboratories. Its only after such a secure process that new samples are allowed to be distributed.

This is the process undertaken for the new Salone Beer, launched in 2016. Produced locally, but approved by all international standards, its an example of Brewery’s commitment to international class, even in local products.

CARL and Advocaid Launch Decriminalization of Petty Offences document.

By CARL

The Center for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) and AdvocAid on September 26 launched a Position Paper on petty offences at the Sierra Light House in Freetown. The position paper, informed by a baseline study conducted by CARL and ADVOCAID,  seeks to support advocacy efforts aimed at decriminalising petty offences in Sierra  Leone.

 The African Commission on Human Rights defines petty offences as minor offences for which the punishment is a warning, community service, a low-value fine or short term imprisonment, often for failure to pay the fine.

Among other things, the research found that the petty offences disproportionately affects poor and marginalised sections of the population, and *”place a heavy burden on the police, courts and correctional centers.* The data further shows a strong nexus between overcrowding in correctional  centres and petty offences. Consequently, the report suggests that reducing overcrowding of prisons and cost of processing and incarcerating offenders would require a decriminalisation of and/or providing clear guidelines regarding three key petty offences, including minor road traffic offences, loitering and obtaining goods or money under false pretenses.

More crucially, perpetrators of petty offences, who are often poor and marginalized, are always at risk of getting arrested.

CARL and AdvocAid believe that these laws and their modes of enforcement, contravene the guiding principles of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.

Today’s launch attracted key stakeholders, including senior personnel from the Sierra Leone Police, Judiciary, Correctional Center, Parliament and Civil Society Organisations.

 Address by His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday 26th September 2019

Mr. President,

Colleague Heads of State and Government,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I congratulate you Mr. President, on your assumption of the responsibility to steer the work of the Seventy-Fourth Session of the General Assembly. I assure you of Sierra Leone’s full support during your tenure.

I applaud Her Excellency Madam Fernanda Espinosa Garces of Ecuador, for the effective manner in which she conducted the previous session.

I commend Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres for his overall dedication and commitment to the work of the Organization, including his efforts in advancing the urgent need to address Climate Change.

We commit in prayer, memories of the late President Robert Gabriel Mugabe. He was a dedicated pan-Africanist whose pursuit of African integration, cooperation and solidarity shall forever remain in our minds and hearts.

Mr. President,

The theme for this year, “Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion,” builds on commitments we made over the years. The issues are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We therefore commend you for the timely choice of a theme that resonates with the aspirations of the people whom we all represent. 

Mr. President,

Sierra Leone supports the principle of collective engagement in both the prevention and settlement of conflicts and disputes, as well as the Secretary-General’s reform agenda in sustaining peace in all its facets, including the efforts to reform peacekeeping.

As a Troop and Police Contributing Country, Sierra Leone’s active participation in peacekeeping operations demonstrates our firm commitment to the promotion and maintenance of international peace and security. Let me reiterate this firm commitment to continue to contribute our fair share to maintaining world peace.

Mr. President,

The need for Security Council reform is urgent and imperative. Our historic pledge to the early reform of the Security Council as an essential element of our overall effort to reform the United Nations must be upheld and implemented without further delay. The legitimacy and effectiveness of the Security Council’s decisions, as well as the relevance of the United Nations, will continue to be questioned if urgent action is not taken to make the Council more broadly representative.

Africa remains to be the only region without representation in the permanent category of the Security Council, and is also under-represented in the Non-permanent category.

In this context, Africa’s demand for two Permanent seats with all the rights and prerogatives of current members, including the right of veto, and two additional Non-permanent seats is a matter of common justice and the right to have an equal say in decision-making on issues pertaining to international peace and security. This long-standing injustice and imbalance perpetuated in the present configuration of the Security Council should be of grave concern to us all, which ought to be addressed.

As the Coordinator of the African Union Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government on the reform of the United Nations Security Council, we are convinced that this reform should address the long-standing injustice and imbalance in the present configuration of the Council.

We believe that the prevailing geopolitical realities are compelling for a comprehensive reform of the Security Council to make way for equitable geographic representation. Africa’s patience is being tested.

We therefore urge this Assembly to collectively support our urgent call for Africa’s representation in the Security Council, as espoused in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration.

Mr. President,

We pursue peace as a public common good and we have played an important role in securing peace as a stand-alone Goal in the 2030 Agenda. There is a strong case to make for the voices of billions of people living in conflict affected countries to be heard in the highest global decision-making organ, in particular, the g7+ countries.

Sierra Leone has pursued country-led peace and resilience through national dialogue and reconciliation. We recently concluded a broad-based national consultative conference, Bintumani III, where a nationally representative body resolved to establish a permanent and independent national commission for peace and cohesion. We do so, mindful that peaceful coexistence and inclusive governance are pre-requisites to our development.

Mr. President,

Development and poverty eradication must be well-planned, inclusive, and sustainable. It must transition our nation out of fragility.

To this end, Sierra Leone has partnered with United Nations agencies and development partners to understand the dynamics and severity of poverty, and map out possible approaches to eradicating poverty, SDG 1. This has culminated in the production of a national multi-dimensional Poverty Index, a report on multi-dimensional child poverty, and Sierra Leone’s Population Policy in order to effectively measure and monitor.

Mr. President,

The aspirations of Sierra Leoneans are reflected in a detailed and costed Five-Year Medium-Term National Development Plan, titled “Education for Development”. The Plan, aligned with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, is based on an inclusive nationwide consultative process. It ensures that people are at the centre and own our national development trajectory.

Mr. President,

Eradicating poverty can only be achieved when we develop and improve on our nations’ greatest resource – the people. Skilled, healthy, and productive human beings are the pathways to global success and prosperity.

As a nation, we see human capital development as a critical enabler for achieving the SDGs. My Government has therefore allocated 21% of the national budget to education. Consequently, pre-primary to secondary school education is free irrespective of gender, ability, or ethnicity and we now have 2 million children enrolled in school.

We have expanded opportunities in education for girls by creating safe spaces in schools, campaigning vigorously against early marriage and sexual and gender-based violence. Girls admitted to study STEM disciplines in colleges are guaranteed scholarships. Technical and vocational education centres are now accessible to more Sierra Leonean girls and youth; and, we are investing more in school infrastructure, transportation, sanitation and health, feeding, and retention programmes.

We are restructuring and redesigning our education system to deliver quality education that serves inclusive, sustainable, national and private sector development. Our focus is to achieve fundamental, age-appropriate learning outcomes in literacy, computational skills, and critical thinking. We invite the world to work with us!

Through the Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation, we have developed a Human Capital Development Incubator with extensive real-time data on education in Sierra Leone and other components of our human capital development flagship programme. Policy interventions and investments in education, healthcare and food security are increasingly informed by and driven by this real-time data.

Sierra Leone continues to use the power of data to plan, make policy decisions, allocate resources, guide governance, and open new possibilities for private entrepreneurship, and drive human capital development.

We are open to partnerships; we are open to collaboration; we are open to ideas about how to continue improving the quality of education because we believe that our success in a global digital economy in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is predicated on our investment in the future of our children. 

Mr President,

Through partnerships and innovation, we have made great progress in establishing legal identity and birth registration, by strengthening our National Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems. We have also unrolled Africa’s first Block Chain National Digital Identity Platform (NDIP) that will help citizens grant access to approved institutions to digitally verify their identities. Governance, development planning, financial inclusion, and human rights imperatives, among others, guide our initiative to establish legal identity using a singular, securitised, and serially numbered instrument. We can also use the same instrument to strengthen healthcare planning, health information systems, disease surveillance, and monitor public health interventions and outcomes.

Mr. President,

The threat of inequality, lack of opportunity and exclusion of our youth still persist. The anxiety over the growing youth population in Africa is complicated by increased poverty indicators, youth exclusion, perilous migration across the Mediterranean, transnational organized crime, terrorism and violent extremism, and greater national and regional security threats.

Sierra Leone is addressing the youth question through financial and social inclusion programmes, skills training, and farming initiatives. We are pleased to be among ten countries selected by the United Nations as pilot in the recently launched United Nations Youth Strategy. We look to collaborate across the region and with international partners, and share lessons and best practices.

Mr. President,

Our development agenda is inclusive and affirms the critical role of women. We have ratified the UN Resolution on Women, Peace, and Security. We are addressing the inclusion of women in governance and entrepreneurship. Our actions on child marriage, rape, and sexual and gender-based violence have been emphatic and uncompromising. We have passed progressive laws on sexual offences and a Presidential Task Force directly advises the presidency on Sexual and Gender-based violence. We are also working to eliminate barriers to the inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Mr President,

Quality, affordable, and universal healthcare coverage is foundational to productivity and overall well-being. This is critical for our human capital development agenda. As a nation, we cannot afford the cost of not investing in healthcare and universal healthcare coverage. We have maintained a rights-based approach to healthcare coverage that aligns with SDG 3. We are focused on and request cooperation on reducing maternal and child mortality; preventing epidemics, tropical, and communicable diseases through increased disease detection, surveillance, and control; providing primary health care in accordance with the Astana Declaration; providing first-rate, in-country medical diagnostic facilities; and strengthening capacity and resilience in healthcare service delivery. Through all these efforts, we are leveraging innovation and technology to support healthcare delivery.

We also believe that we cannot achieve Universal Health Coverage without delivering mental healthcare for all. We are rewriting the mental health legislation and we are committed to Community-based Mental Health Care and treatment. We aim to change attitudes to mental health and provide affordable and integrated quality care that matches the burden of mental health conditions. We therefore welcome partnerships towards achieving that goal.

Mr President,

Our focus as a government remains the delivery of accountable and transparent governance of the state through critical debates and engagements with all citizens on rights, governance, and development.

We continue to work with civil society and the press as we expand democratic space. My government has forwarded to parliament a bill to completely repeal a 54-year old law that criminalises libel, which has been used by past governments to imprison journalists and restrict press freedoms.

As Co-Chair of the Task Force on Justice, we strongly identify with and reiterate the Secretary General’s call for accelerated commitments to addressing gaps in the delivery of justice. We have signalled that commitment as a country by establishing a special directorate within the Ministry of Justice to monitor, evaluate, and report on progress on ‘Access to Justice’ for our most vulnerable. We are also using technology and innovation to digitise our court processes and thus fast-track justice delivery for all.

We have undertaken governance reforms that foster the rule of law and public accountability. We continue pursuing a determined fight against corruption while minimising the waste and abuse of state resources. We are implementing business-friendly reforms that create a conducive eco-system for private capital investments and entrepreneurship in our country.

Mr President,

Let me express my country’s sincere appreciation to the Secretary-General for convening the Climate Action Summit this September. Extreme weather events increase the risk of hunger, disease, forced migrations, conflict, and poverty. The science is indisputable; the effects on lives and livelihood are real; the threats to our efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals are clear and present. As a country, we are committed to a multilateral approach to fully implement the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Our Mid-Term National Development Plan provides for mitigation and adaptation strategies including reviewing, formulating, and strengthening national policy actions on environmental management and governance. We are committed to green and sustainable energy generation. With the right partnerships, the right attitude, and unflinching commitment to climate financing and continuing multilateral efforts, we can save our planet from the destructive impact of climate change.

Mr. President,

Let me conclude, by encouraging us all to keep sight of the shared responsibility we all have to ensure a peaceful and secure world for the next generations. Sierra Leone is a small state determined to play its own part in the international system. We are committed to promoting peace and security, addressing the underlying causes of fragility and drivers of conflict, tackling the scourge of climate change, and thus building resilience and achieving the 2030 Agenda. Together, we can achieve this in our lifetime!

I thank you!!

ACC SIGNS MOU WITH AfriRadio

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has on Thursday 26th September 2019, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AfriRadio FM 105.3.

The signing ceremony which took place at the ACC Head Office at 3 Gloucester Street, Freetown, will, among other things, formalize the agreement between the two institutions to work in partnership to provide reliable and relevant information on corrupt practices and other corruption-related issues in Sierra Leone.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Commissioner of the ACC Francis Ben Kaifala Esq. said that it required the “concerted efforts of all sectors for the country to succeed in its national agenda to defeat the common enemy of corruption, which has held to ransom the destiny of our country for several decades.”

According to the agreement, AfriRadio will continue to provide free airtime to the ACC for the broadcast of discussion programmes, jingles and other public service announcements to promote the work of the Commission.

The ACC Commissioner thanked the management of AfriRadio for their continued support to the ACC in the fight against corruption, noting that “Public education and relation are vital components in the fight against corruption- as corruption is a perceptional fight which is first won in the head.” Commissioner Kaifala furthered that this partnership will help keep the citizenry informed about the work of the ACC and strategies used; and help the Commission reveive feedback from the public.

On his part, Mr. John Konteh, Station Manager of AfriRadio expressed commendation to the ACC for the tremendous strides made so far in the fight against corruption, which “has contributed to a huge perceptional shift among Sierra Leoneans, who for the first time now strongly believe that corruption can be adequately controlled.”

Mr. Konteh said, a recent study conducted shows that 82 percent of Sierra Leoneans have access to radio; and AfriRadio FM 105.3 covers about 85 percent of the entire country with an online audience of over 50,000, which makes the station adequately positioned to provide the much needed radio coverage to convey anti-corruption messages both in and out of the country.

“This ceremony today is just to formalize the long-standing relationship between the two institutions, as AfriRadio has been providing airtime to the ACC and giving other necessary support”, he stated. Mr. Konteh ended by stating that such partnership with the ACC in the fight against corruption will add to the corporate profile of the radio station.

The signing ceremony was chaired by Mr. Patrick Sandi, Director of Public Education and External Outreach of the ACC, who noted that the Commission is aware of the benefits the MoU would add to its public education drive.

Sierra Leone Brewery Limited takes center stage in standard production

Sierra Leone Brewery Limited can boast of quality services because it has found an excellent balance between international and local standards.

As a subsidiary of Heineken Limited, arguably the largest beverage manufacturing company in the world, SLBL has to adhere to their production and manufacturing procedures.

This means that SLBL brewing procedures follow the same steps as the one of the world’s leading beverage manufacturing companies.

We have automated the majority of our productions ensuring safety for employees and increasing our output. ” Mr Collier, Head of Corporate Affairs, says.

SLBL’s local track record is flawless also. They can boast of excellent relationships with the Ministry of Labour, Environmental Protection Agency and the Standards Bureau because they always comply with their inspections and regulations. The factory has never failed a radiation inspection, has created a topnotch Water Treatment Facility and regularly send samples to Standard Bureau for observation.

One of the key reasons that Brewery products are of such high quality is because they pass through so many rigorous processes before being distributed publicly.

SLBL samples are manufactured in the state of the art laboratory at the brewery factory, passing through so many different chemical procedures before being designated as shipment ready.

Even then, the samples are sent to other Heineken branches around the world to be independently certified by other laboratories. Its only after such a secure process that new samples are allowed to be distributed.

This is the process undertaken for the new Salone Beer, launched in 2016. Produced locally, but approved by all international standards, its an example of Brewery’s commitment to international class, even in local products

Agriculture Ministry Signs $35 Million Project

By Mustapha Dumbuya

 The Deputy Minister of agriculture Forestry and Food security Sam k Brima has said that his government has  signed $35000 million dollar Project with Islamic Development Bank to support 5000 rice farms country wide.  The minister told journalists at the usual government press briefing held at ministry of Information and Communication Thursday 26th September, 2019.

Mr Brima said this development project would  cover over 2,500 hecters  of land that would be used to cultivate farms across the country.

 He said the ministry had recently  signed another project worth $12 MD with the Africa Development Bank  to also help to bust the agriculture Sector in the country.

He maintained that the Ministry has distributed 600 metric turns of rice country wide to support farmers and this has also helped to create high volume of job facilities through successful agribusiness across the country.

The Minister also said they  that had partnered with the Ministry of Youth and the Ministry of Defense to cultivate 17,000 hecters of rice in the next two years to also support the agricultural sector.

“The cocoa policy with Boosting Agriculture Food Policy is another key area that we had also paid attention where in the World Bank and the European Union have given great support to this policy” He said.

He revealed that the ministry had also supported the cocoa policy to help private farmers in producing huge amount of cacao in the country to increase in the country’s export in cacao production and boost the economy in the country by also helping them in producing and monitoring on their sales system.

The Minister also said that his government acknowledged the high rate of deforestation but  noted as  a ministry they had placed more support to the National Tree Planting programme.

He concluded that all farms should be headed by political appointees to foster transparency and accountabilities and assured the public that his Ministry could do all what it takes to address the agriculture sector in the country he stressed.

  UNBEARABLE PRICE HIKES HIT LOCAL FOOD STUFFS

BY Mohamed Juma Jalloh

To the proverbial Sierra Leonean politics is meaningless if it cannot translate into food on the table. The old aphorism, empty bag cannot stand is often heard on many people`s lips, alluding to the central role food plays towards the continuous survival of the human being.

 No one is bellowing for a nation as poor as Sierra Leone to operate as a namby –pamby state, where the state caters for the welfare of its citizens from the cradle to the grave. Nevertheless, it behooves the government to provide the enabling environment or the favourable climate for citizens to survive and thrive.

 It is a crystalise fact that when prices of goods and services becomes static, the average proletariat  and  family households  would  spend less on food consumption; consequently permitting  expenditure on other pressing needs such as health and housing.

On the other hand, if prices are skyrocketing against a stable wage and or salary; it is a red flag signaling the gradual decline of the standard of living of the people.

 It is vital to note that it is very difficult for the price of a commodity to remain the same for over a long period of time. Capricious Changes in the global price of fuel and investments in labour techniques and technologies are normally reflected in the net price of a commodity.

However, with a year and half in governance, the electrifying velocity in which the prices of basic food stuffs are changing under the reign of the SLPP has left many tongues wagging. Even die hard supporters of the Bio led government has expressed reservations over the government`s acumen to tackling the bread and butter issues.

About 65% of the youths who are suppose to constituting the econonomically active bracket is roaming urban cities unemployed. Their only means of survival is by engaging in criminal activities and prostitution. As a result, many are languishing at the Pademba Road for crimes such as Larceny, Robbery with aggravation, fraudulent conversion and obtaining money by false pretence. With over 60% of the country`s GDP gotten from Agriculture, youths are migrating from the rural areas in droves as alarming environmental degradation is rendering the soil barren. Changes in the pattern of rainfall, has terribly impacted on farming communities, resulting in the   reduction of crop yields and further putting additional stress on the country`s food security and livelihood programmes. The reality on the ground speak volumes, rather than consume 3 square meals a day; many youths in ghetto`s and Attaya Bases have confided that they can only afford a single Le5000 dish of cookery in 24hours.

“The game don gbodo” a young man jokingly said in the local Krio parlance which can be understood to mean the economic situation is very tough.

Along the streets of Freetown, the campaign posters of President Bio before the 2018 elections are still visible with gimmickal promises such as “Vote Julius Maada Bio for the effective political and economical management of the state”. As time steadily elapses, the Minister of Finance Jacob Jusu Saffa who was clobbering the previous APC regime for failing to tackle the bread and butter issues is yet to provide some quick impact solutions on the same recurrent theme. Instead of taking responsibility, the SLPP government prefers the blame game. The habitual excuses are always posited that the Bio regime inherited an unfavorable economic situation. An unprecedented domestic and foreign debt burden. The cessation of large scale mining operations  that brought in foreign exchange and the International Monetary Fund(IMF) have halted the Extended Credit Facility(ECF) owing to lack of adherence to its conditions  by the previous Koroma led regime. Even though the IMF has resumed cooperation with the SLPP government, the economic malaise is deepening because the country virtually exports nothing to secure badly needed foreign exchange. An economy that is oxygenated by foreign hand outs stands on a feeble foundation. The nation’s economy has not reached the point of hopelessness but Sierra Leone`s inabilility to creating wealth for its people remain structural, deep-rooted and recurrent. The economy is so fragile that with the slightest of shocks it is wracked and convulsed, as experienced with the scarcity of bread another staple food in February 2019.

 Given the prevalent bottle necks asphyxiating inclusive economic prosperity in Sierra Leone, efforts aimed at revamping the economy does not require knee jerk strategies. Rather, government must invest its efforts and resources in providing sustainable solutions.

The continuous depreciation of the Leones against international currencies such as the Dollar has precipitated the inflation of the prices of goods and services. The situation concords with a 2019 World Bank assessment of economies around the world that mentioned Sierra Leone alongside Venezuela, Sudan and Burundi as countries that would be worst hit by inflation. An estimation some people measured (including economists) would only be limited to imported commodities. What has left many people bewildered including economists is the price rises that has affected locally produced food stuffs. Many have asked what does the persistent rise in the foreign exchange has to do with the production of local commodities?

 By way of comparism to the period the previous APC government exits power, the price of some products have hit an exponential increase by over 50%.

Below is the selling price of indispensable food commodities at the Dove Cut Central market, the food centre that supplies other peripheral markets in the Capital city Freetown.

Commodity                    Price                                     Quantity

Country Rice            Per Bag Le400.000         1Cup Le2,500

Gari                            per Bag Le340.000         1Cup Le1, 500

Palm Oil       5gallons Le170.000                      1Pint Le3,500

Fish                          per cartoonLe420,000      3 Fish Le5000

Meat                         1 Pound Stake                     Le 25000

Pepper                      Per Bag 600,000             1Cup Le 3000

Many traders who display their wares at the Dove Cut market obtain their agricultural purchase from weekly convergences commonly called “luma”.One of the most popular among the weekly markets is the Bamoi luma located in Kambia district very close to the border with neighbouring Guinea.

Mbalu Kamara a trader who frequents the Bamoi luma said the transportation cost to and from the weekly market is Le120, 000.The cost for each bag of rice or gari loaded on the truck is Le4000.Another cost of Le1000 is paid to labourers to up load the bags, whiles the same cost is paid for offloading whenever the goods reach their destination at Dove Cut. An additional Le 2000 per bag is paid as a store fee.

On the other hand truck drivers transporting these goods to Freetown have complained of extortionate activities from the police who man these check points.

“If you don’t give them money your precious time would be waisted, because all the goods in the truck would be offloaded purporting to search for illegal substances like Marijuana and Tramadol”.Festus Turay a truck driver revealed.

From the point of view of traders and truck drivers, the strategic imposition of three toll gates along the Freetown – Massiaka highway is the last straw that breaks the camel’s back. Large Trailer trucks carrying food objects from the provinces pay a total of Le549000 in all three gates to enter the Capital City Freetown. The idea of using the alternative route is not entertained by many truck drivers because it is simply a death trap. In the end when all these expenditures are factored in the final sales price of a commodity, one would be in a better position to fathom the reasons for the hike in price of basic food commodities.

The SLPP government when in opposition scored some political points when it promised the electorate to abolish the back breaking toll road. Now visibly in governance, even a re-negotiation of the agreement is no longer an option and its burden on the country`s economy has been ignored.Many Civil Society groups are mute on the political trickery regarding the toll gates, the poorest of the poor are left to bear the  economic brunt of the political deception.

During the good old days Sierra Leone was an exporter of a plethora of agricultural commodities including rice its staple food.However, factors such as low production, rising prices and the unavailability of markets for locally produced rice have turned out to be a huge obstacle for farmers and investors involved in the sector. This according to the Ministry of Agriculture officials has led to most of the rice produced being transported to neighbouring Liberia and Guinea where they fetch better market prices. The trade deficit in rice, has led to the massive importation of expired and rotten rice unfit for human consumption. Many households over the years have nourished a relish in consuming imported rice grown in Asia, because they cannot afford the locally grown rice as it is far more expensive. Foreigners doing the importation are always boastful of their connections with the powers that be, accustomed in breaking the laws and corrupting government officials.

Joseph Ndanema, the Minister of Agriculture did not mince his words when he said that there are people in this country who don`t want to see the dream of attaining food self sufficiency come to fruition because of the high profits they are enjoying from the importation of rice.

Being the country`s staple food rice is always considered as a political commodity, any government that comes to power would like to prioritise substantial rice production. For that reason, the Ministry of Agriculture only provides support to small holder farmers in the form of seed rice and fertilizers which in most cases does not cater for sustainable production. On the other hand the Ministry does not give direct support to foreign investors engaged in agribusiness. What they get is indirect support in the form of easy access to land from locals at extremely low costs and duty free concessions. In other countries farmers are heavily subsidized to maximize production.

Another worrying piece of news is the closing down of the Golden Mills in Port Loko District which operates the largest rice mill in the country. It has been forced to shut down due to low production capacity to meet the mill`s large size and operational cost. It is reported that the golden mill was producing 3tons of rice per minute (which is about 60 bags ),but that the outer grower farmers the company works with cannot produce the quantum of rice needed to be able to operate without incurring financial loss. Dr Joseph Ndanema recently announced that each district in the country has been charged with the responsibility of cultivating up to 1000 hecters of rice in order to achieve the much talked about food self sufficiency. The Minister made this pronouncement in Kambia district after conducting a needs assessment of all agricultural facilities and sites across the country. How these lofty ambitions would materialize remains to be seen. But the poignant reality is  after decades of independence  when the country is expected to increase its exports, Sierra Leone  is still importing about Two Hundred Million Dollars $200,000,000 million Dollars worth of rice each year; perennially  defeating the lingering belief of food self sufficiency.

The National Medium –Term Development Plan (NMTDP) launched by President Bio in January 2019 states that 48.8% of households were food insecure in Sierra Leone. That is, they consume limited and insufficient food to maintain a healthy and active life. Global Hunger Index continues to rank Sierra Leone as the 3rd hungriest country in the world, with “the percentage of the population that is under nourished estimated at 38.5%”. Given the immense natural and mineral resources available in the country, many would agree that Sierra Leone has no business becoming one of the hungriest nations in the world.

China and India with more than 1 billion population can boast of feeding their people and at the same exports it supplus to 3rd world countries. So the state of affairs inevitably begs the question, what is really wrong with Sierra Leone a country of about 7 million people? 

  Pres. Bio commemorates 180 years of Amistad Slave Revolt

  His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has commemorated 180 years of Amistad Slave revolt, during slavery, in the New Haven City, Connecticut, where he was also decorated with the Mayor’s Key award for outstanding leadership. 

The said revolution of many Africans on the Spanish slave ship, La Amistad on 2 July 1839, was led by Sengbe Pieh, a Sierra Leonean of the Mende people and had important political and legal repercussions in the American abolition movement.

While welcoming President Bio, Mayor Toni N. Harp said that the respective histories of New Haven and Sierra Leone had been interlaced for centuries, citing his outstanding contributions towards the restoration of democracy and the attainment of peace in Sierra Leone.

“From the time of the Amistad Revolt and prolonged legal struggle to the Ebola tragedy of just a few years ago, the people of our two jurisdictions have enjoyed friendship, camaraderie, and respect – and these things that bind us have only drawn us closer over time,” Mayor Harp said.

In a short statement, President Bio thanked Mayor Toni N. Harp and officials from New Haven’s Amistad Committee and the New Haven Sister Cities Committee for not only providing a home to Sengbe Pieh and others but also for their support to Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak.

He told the audience that New Haven and Sierra Leone had been brought together by history and added: “This is a great story and you are a great people. Just like you did for Sengbe Pieh and others, your city has been generous to us. You have always believed in the dignity of the human being”.

He assured that he was also going to strengthen the relationship between Sierra Leone and New Haven City.

Later the Mayor led the President and entourage outside the city hall to a sculpture which served as a memorial to the 1839 Amistad revolt and its leader, Sengbe Pieh for the bravery and courage to emancipate themselves from the bondage of slavery. 

To further commemorate this year’s Amistad revolt, the President also laid a wreath at the gravesite in remembrance of those Amistad captives who survived the voyage but became gravely ill and could not return to Sierra Leone with their compatriots in September 1841. At the gravesite, he also dedicated a tree in honour of Sengbe Pieh and other slaves and all those who helped them to regain their freedom.

SALONE HAS MADE HUGE DEMOCRATIC GAINS

-VP JULDEN JALLOH

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs, Vice President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh today 26th September, 2019 delivered the keynote address in celebration of this year’s International Day of Democracy on the theme: ‘Participation and Commitment for Democracy and Peace’.

VP Jalloh who said was honoured to grace the celebration highlighted that Sierra Leone has made huge democratic gains that it continues to consolidate as it continues moving on a democratic path.

He stated that we are celebrating the day because as a nation we believe that democracy is the best form of governance, noting that the occasion gives the opportunity to take stock of how far our democracy has come.

As an emerging democracy, he stated that we have made huge gains. These include successive, successful, peaceful, transparent elections that ushered in successive governments with peaceful transfers of power from one political party to the other.

Work continues in building of democratic institutions, a free press and a flourishing civil society space in enhancing a vibrant democracy.

New institutions, which VP Juldeh Jalloh said are unique to our democracy, include the Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Democracy, Political Parties Registration Commission, National Elections Watch, etc, are all hallmarks of vital complementary institutions that define our democracy, noting that more needs to be done.

He mentioned the need to look beyond electoral democracy to other crucial elements of the concept, institutionalization and scrutiny of democratic practices and wider participation in entrenching a functional democracy as ways of consolidating peace.

Challenges he said include the struggle to ensure intra political party democracy; enhanced representation; electoral violence; inclusive state institutions; inclusion of proportional representation to increase female participation, funding for CSOs which he said is critical to democracy.

Democracy VP Jalloh maintained is not only about holding of elections but also participation, functional state institutions, access to justice, security and social welfare for the people.

Underpinning of these pillars of democracy he said is effective, functional state governance that responds to the needs of the people, without which he said democracy cannot stand.

He disclosed how this government is investing in the public sector in ensuring that state institutions work well as its contribution to democratic growth in the country.

Observing that democracy is a difficult choice, VP Jalloh stated that to have a durable democratic culture, there should be respect for the norms of democracy.

He ended by expressing government’s commitment to strengthening democracy in the country.

NJALA UNIVERSITY

PRESS RELEASE 26th SEPTEMBER 2019

Recent developments impinging on parity of quality Education services across the State Universities, necessitate the cancellation of special exams for entry into NJala University.

Therefore the matriculation English and TC examinations scheduled to be conducted on Bo Campus, Saturday 28th September 2019, have been cancelled with immediate effect.

In order to receive refunds, applicants who paid fees for these examinations should present payment receipts at the Finance Offices of Njala University as follows:

(1)  Applicants in Freetown – and environs – go to no. 19 Henry Street (Finance Office)

2.  Applicants in Bo and environs – go to Bo Campus, Torwama   (Finance Office in the Administrative Building).

The Administration deeply regrets inconveniences experienced by anyone due to this cancellation.

Sign:

Dr.  Joseph  B. A. Kandeh

The Office of the Public Relations.

Minister of Technical and Higher Education Lauds Stats SL

By Stats PR Div.

The honourable minister of Technical and Higher Education, Professor Aiah Gbakima, has said that his Ministry was highly dependent on and would work with Stats SL in furtherance of Technical and Higher Education especially relating to Students’ research in the University. He made this statement while on a courtesy call to Stats SL headquarters on AJ Momoh Street in Freetown, on Wednesday 25th September 2019.

In welcoming the Minister, The Statistician General & CEO of Stats SL, Professor Osman Sankoh (Mallam O) thanked the minister for the visit whilst stressing that the ministry and Stats SL will certainly have to coordinate as data serves as a key component of research for university education

He further went to state that was in that bid that a strong team had been set up at Stats SL so that its mission which is to *Create a viable National Statistical System  with Stats SL at the centre for the coordination, production, dissemination and accreditation of official statistics to support evidence-based decision-making processes at both policy and planning levels*, and which is beneficial to Government, Parliamentarians, Development Partners, CSO s and NGOs, researchers, universities and the general public will be actualized.

In cataloguing key achievements of the institution since he took over in April of 2018, the SG said that the institution had undertaken some light but impressive refurbishment of the Statistics HQ, and plans to replicate same in the regions and districts. He called on Government and development partners to lend a hand. He underscored that the current leadership has earned respect and confidence of diverse partners. He intimated the minister that in addition to government and  partner funding, some funding has been generated by the institution’s own efforts through competing for surveys, loaning to projects of its fleet of Land Cruisers and printing services it offers to the general public.

 The minister lauded the Administration of *Mallam O* for the tremendous strides taken so far, and pledged government’s support with regards a partnership especially in the education sector.

Happy birthday goes to you Madam Gladys Bakarr of Fergusson street Freetown. Thursday 26th September 2019 marks another milestone in your life.

We wish you long life, prosperity and more blessings coming your way.

From your daughter Betsy, your granddaughter and management of Public Review Newspaper.

Happy birthday goes to you Babah Tamba Kanu of 15 Joshua Street Wellington Freetown. Friday 27th September 2019 marks another day of blessing in your life.

We wish you all the goodies and God’s richest blessings

From friends and family members and management of Public Review Newspaper.

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