A Sapo County: What is the Point?

first_imgYesterday’s lead headline sounded a disturbing alarm concerning tensions brewing in our nation’s South Eastern region. Two prominent members of the Sapo tribe, a subset of the Kru, voiced the alleged desire of their tribesmen to form their own county. Their rationale: greater self-determination through freedom from the allegedly domineering Kru majority. Speaking jointly, Mr. Romeo Quioh, Superintendent of Sinoe County, and Mr. Mobutu Nyenpan, former Sinoe Senator, pointed to fears among Sapos that the Krus would reclaim a key Senate seat currently occupied by a Sapo, in 2017. The solution: the establishment of a Sapo county, to maintain the tribe’s direct representation in the Legislature. But is the ‘representation’ of Sapos really the point of this proposition? Our nation was founded by black people determined to be free from oppression, underrepresentation, and economic distress. But, then, our forefathers turned right around, excluding and subjugating the indigenous peoples from the promise of freedom that Liberia offered. The result: nearly two decades of conflict. The same people, who kept the country to themselves for so long, ended up losing it and running right back to America, begging for green cards. And all because they saw our economy as a rigid, crusted pastry, instead of an expanding pie that grows exponentially when everyone gets a piece. But, is that really the scenario at play between the Sapos and the Krus? We think not! In our view, the Sapos and Krus need no separate representation because their needs and desires are the same. Every Liberian has a right to representation in government – on the basis of citizenship, geographical placement, and county population size. Not tribal affiliation. Because we cannot all participate in day-to-day governance, we elect officials to stand in our place, set the agenda and appropriate public monies according our priorities. That is where voting comes in – rule by the majority – because a nation where everyone always gets what they want, simply does not exist. Anywhere. So (ideally) we celebrate our wins, accept our losses, and try to work with those in office to implement our development agenda. And what is that agenda? For most Liberians, they are five simple words: agriculture, education, health, energy (God help LEC!), and roads. Simple. Pray tell, is that any different for the Sapos? Are their priorities really that different from ours? Space travel, perhaps? No. The truth is that this great and beloved tribe is just being manipulated by two power hungry politicians!Of course, this is no new tactic. Politicians, the world over, who lack the moral fiber to earn public confidence and votes, instead use fear, xenophobia, racism, sexism and religious prejudice to garner support for their ambition. Therefore, the proposition of a Sapo county must be given no credence. Or else, such action would set a dangerous precedent, allowing Nimba – where similar issues exist between the Gios and Manos – to follow suit. And what about Montserrado? Should it be reserved for the settlers only? And what of the half of Liberia’s population that resides here? If we allow this mad proposition, we would then have to double the number of counties, allocate the majority of our land to the most populous tribes, and then leave a small village to the smaller ones – which would incite them to anger. This would tear our nation right back into shreds – this time literally as well as figuratively. The thing to remember is that the Sapos and the Krus are one family, with one present and one future. And the solution for them is not separation, but unity around a real leader and a realistic agenda. Whether they elect a Kpelleh or a Mandingo representative is immaterial. What really matters is that their candidate actually works in the best interest of Sinoe, bringing human and infrastructural development (not destruction) to that impoverished county.Meanwhile, we would encourage Mr. Quioh, who is in the employ of the Executive Branch, to exercise some professionalism and at least participate more quietly in county politics. You were hired to supervise development in your county, and to manage the just ended Independence festivities. You failed at that, and must be held accountable. To Mr. Nyenpan: admit that you have failed both the Kru and the Sapos who elected you. You both need to rebuild your credibility through service, not manipulation. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Rampant Cristiano Ronaldo has learned to accept rotation: Zinedine Zidane

first_imgReal Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said on Friday Cristiano Ronaldo has accepted the need to rest during the season as the prolific Portuguese prepares to sit out a fourth consecutive league away game in missing Saturday’s trip to Granada.Ronaldo has missed eight of Real’s 34 league games so far this season in contrast to last year when he participated in 36 of 38, only absent due to a hamstring injury he sustained late in the campaign.The benefits of playing fewer games this term were evident as the Portuguese forward scored a dazzling hat-trick against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday to take Real to the brink of a third Champions League final, in contrast to the withered state in which he finished last season.Zidane remarked last year that Ronaldo needed to rest more but it was difficult to convince him to sit out games, but said on Friday the 32-year-old had accepted his new reality.”I speak with Cristiano all the time and I know him very well. He knows that until now he played 60-70 games a season and the accumulation of all those years meant he needs to rest a little,” Zidane told a news conference.”I’m not the coach that has made him rest, all I know is that players need to rest, especially if they want to arrive at the final stage of the season in top condition.”Real face the already relegated Granada, who have lost their last five games, on Saturday needing a win to stay level on points with La Liga leaders Barcelona, although Zidane is expected to leave Ronaldo out of the squad.advertisementThe Portuguese would be suspended from next Sunday’s vital league game against Sevilla if booked against Granada.Real trail Barca in the standings due to their inferior head-to-head record but have a game in hand on the Catalans meaning they will win a first league title since 2012 if they collect 10 points from their remaining four games.Ronaldo’s treble against Atleti followed his five goals in the quarter-final tie against Bayern Munich and Zidane said the player’s ruthless display meant he could collect the Ballon d’Or for a second year running, taking him level with Lionel Messi in winning the prestigious individual award five times.”I think he could win it again, and he deserves all the credit for that,” said Zidane.last_img read more

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Message for National Heroes Day 2017 Leader of the Opposition Dr. Peter Phillips

first_img‘A GREAT HERITAGE, A GREAT LEGACY’Once again it is time for us to recognize and celebrate the achievements of our national heroes.  Collectively,their exploits and accomplishments have paved the way for Jamaica to move from plantation slavery to nationhood. The bravery and courage of Nanny of the Maroons and Sam Sharpe propelled us along the path from slavery to freedom. Paul Bogle and George William Gordon led the fight for social justice and access to land.Marcus Garvey gave Jamaicans the self-confidence to rise above their circumstances, and compete successfully with the best in the race of life.Alexander Bustamante’s deep commitment to the workers and Norman Manley’s confidence in Jamaica’s capacity for self-government charted the course from colonialism to nationhood. The journey from plantation slavery to nationhood has made us a proud visionary and ambitious people, always striving for excellence, committed to equality and social justice and caring for each other. However, we need to bear in mind that with each passing year fewer and fewer Jamaicans have any living memory of any of our heroes. It is therefore of the utmost importance that we utilize the media, the classroom and our creative artists to inform and educate our children of the great heritage and the great legacy that we have inherited.Today, as we celebrate our National Heroes; let us also pause to recognize the tremendous contributions of the thousands of our ordinary Jamaican citizens who have given and continue to give service way beyond the call of duty to keep Jamaica going. Particularly at this time, we pay tribute to the members of our security forces, who put their lives on the line battling violent criminals, often without adequate support.  We also pay respect to our teachers, health care workers, and the other public sector workers who often give of their personal time and resources, to keep the nation’s social services functioning in very difficult circumstances.  Respect is also due to the thousands of Jamaicans who give voluntary service through their citizens’ associations, neighbourhood watches or youth clubs, on behalf of their fellow citizens.These are the present day heroes, who by their collective effort remind us that the vision, hopes and aspirations of the founding heroes of our nation are still to be fully realized.  There are still too many suffering from poverty, joblessness and a lack of housing or access to land.  Too many of our children are left behind in our educational system without adequate preparation for responsible citizenship and the world of work. The Jamaica that our heroes lived worked and died for is one in which no citizen would be a squatter in the land of their birth. In that Jamaica no child would be left behind by an educational system which fails the majority of students. It would be a Jamaica in which every worker would have a fair share of the wealth they create and equal enjoyment the rights that our heroes secured for them.This Jamaica, however, can only be built by a political leadership that places the highest premium on integrity; and which is committed to the highest standards of public service while recognizing the importance of a partnership with the people they serveWe can best honour our heroes by providing this leadership in our various areas of endeavor as we rededicate ourselves to the task of building a Jamaica that offers opportunity to all its people, and where we all share and care for each other.Have a happy Heroes Day and may God bless you all and Jamaica land we love.last_img read more

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Government to Spend $1 Billion to Cut Waiting Time in Public Health System

first_img The Government is to spend $1 billion on an initiative to address excessive waiting in the public health system.Focus will be placed on reducing the long waits for certain day and inpatient surgeries, diagnostic tests, and bed space shortages.This was announced by Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, during his contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on May 7.He informed that Professor Archibald McDonald, a trained surgeon and respected academic, will be appointed to oversee this effort.Dr. Tufton pointed out that currently there are patients waiting over a year for general surgeries, such as hernia.“It’s not going to kill them, but it places citizens of this country in so much pain. There is downtime from work,” he said.For other procedures, such as hysterectomies or myomectomies, there are patients waiting for over 10 months, and for surgeries, including radical prostatectomy, patients are waiting for over six months.“We would be an uncaring government if we did not find a way to respond to this very difficult situation for so many Jamaicans. Those who are poorest are the ones that suffer the most,” Dr. Tufton said.Under the programme, Jamaicans who are examined in the public health system and approved for diagnostic tests will be given the tests free of charge, even if they have to get them done by an approved private provider.In the case of surgeries, the Government will look at the priority placement of each surgery and determine a maximum wait time. Similarly, where possible, the Government will outsource those procedures to achieve minimal wait.Some of these surgeries include hernias; prostate – benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and Cancer; uterine fibroids; haemorrhoids; gallbladder diseases – gallstones and cholecystitis; and orthopaedic procedures.Diagnostic Services include CT scans; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); ultrasound; angiography; endoscopy (colonoscopy and urogenital endoscopy); and histopathology.The billion-dollar intervention will also seek to free up bed space by removing social cases from hospitals and placing them in nursing homes, based on certain criteria.Dr. Tufton said the large number of social cases in the system is as a result of persons who are fit clinically for discharge from the hospital, but who remain because their relatives have failed to claim them.“We are going to assess each social case once they are eligible for release. If they are an infirm and have nowhere else to go, we will collaborate with the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, and where there is space available, to transfer these social cases [to infirmaries],” he pointed out.Additionally, the Minister said the Government is looking at how it can take action against the relatives of some of the persons who have been abandoned at hospitals.In many instances, he said relatives show up after their family member has died to collect a death certificate in order to claim their assets.“I have looked at the law and under the National Health Services Act, Section 13, the Minister can intervene and make regulations to force persons who have the responsibility and the means to take their loved ones from these hospitals and take control or charge of these persons,” Dr. Tufton said.He added that this can also be facilitated through provisions in the Poor Relief Act and Maintenance Act.Currently, there are 197 social cases in hospitals across the island. This was announced by Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, during his contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on May 7. Focus will be placed on reducing the long waits for certain day and inpatient surgeries, diagnostic tests, and bed space shortages. Story Highlights The Government is to spend $1 billion on an initiative to address excessive waiting in the public health system.last_img read more

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