Jackson enjoying life at St George’s in ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup

first_imgBuoyed by his productive start to life at St George’s College, forward Akiki Jackson, who has returned four goals in as many games, says he feels more integrated as part of the ‘Light Blues’ and will be happy scoring goals and assisting his team with winning games.Jackson ran out as a starter in his first match at Winchester Park on Saturday, where he scored a well-taken hat-trick against Tarrant High School.The teen had a sublime game in front of goal while spearheading the St George’s attack alongside Alex Marshall, who also netted a hat-trick.”It’s a great feeling because it’s my first start and I had three goals. It brings my tally to four goals, so it’s a great feeling,” Jackson revealed.When asked how many goals he would like to score, the former Wolmer’s Boys’ player said: “As many as I can score this season. As long as we win, I am happy with that.”Jackson called his performance last weekend encouraging.”Playing at St George’s is a great feeling. When I was at Wolmer’s, I didn’t have any goals coming in. It’s my third match now and I have four goals to my tally, so it’s a great feeling.”It’s a very good feeling to help my teammates get on the scoresheet also,” he added, while noting that St George’s style of play is different from what he was used to at Wolmer’s.”Basically, St George’s team shares the ball more, so I get more touches of the ball,” he explained.When asked what prompted his decision to transfer from the Heroes’ Circle-based school, Jackson declined a response, but hinted that he was happy with his decision.”I don’t want to speak on that. It’s a great decision for me. I want to score goals, and to help the team win trophies is what I am aiming for,” he told The Gleaner.- S.F.last_img read more

Billups discusses front office ambitions, Pistons’ future

first_imgReport: Disney dropping the ‘Fox’ from movie studio names Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Pacquiao still ‘hungry’ to fight Chauncey Billups of Killer 3’s speaks to the media during BIG3 – Week Four at Little Caesars Arena on July 13, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Dylan Buell/Getty Images/AFPDETROIT — Chauncey Billups is still eyeing the chance to run an NBA team.The former Pistons standout was back in the Detroit area Friday night as part of the BIG3 — entertainer Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league of former NBA players, which made a stop at Little Caesars Arena.ADVERTISEMENT Trump assembles a made-for-TV impeachment defense team World Peace, of course, was the most infamous participant in the brawl between the Pistons and his Pacers at The Palace in 2004. On Friday night, he punted the ball away early in the game and was tossed — although it was a bit of a shank.“I told him in the locker room, ‘If you was going to kick it, you should have put it in the top row or the top deck at least,’” Billups said. “It was a weak kick.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next In one offseason, Casey has been fired by the Toronto Raptors, got hired by the Pistons and was named NBA Coach of the Year.Billups is still viewed fondly in Detroit after leading the Pistons to the NBA title in 2004. The team played at The Palace of Auburn Hills back then. The Pistons played their first season at downtown Little Caesars Arena in 2017-18.“It’s always good to be here. Everybody knows how much I love the city, love the fans. Obviously, I never had the opportunity to play in this building. I wish we would have. I wish we played in the city when we were here,” Billups said. “But The Palace was good to us. The city was good to us, the fans. So it’s always good to be back here. I’m such a big Pistons fan. … I’m excited for the team for next year. The East is wide open, and I’m excited for the team. New coach, new everything.”As for Friday’s BIG3 competition, Billups’ team — the Killer 3s — lost the night’s opening game. Metta World Peace of the Killer 3s was ejected. That was an unusual development in what Billups said should be a light-hearted league.“We’re doing this for fun,” Billups said. “It ain’t that serious. So that’s kind of my message. We’re out here to just have fun, compete, have a good time, enjoy the fans of Detroit, enjoy every single city that we go to, and go home to our family and chill and relax. That’s what this thing is all about to me.”ADVERTISEMENT Billups had talks with the Cavaliers last year but did not join their front office. When Detroit overhauled its organization this year, he seemed like a potential fit, but that didn’t happen either.“My desire is to one day run a team, be in a front office and try to build a champion,” Billups said. “I know that I will and I know I’m going to do a good job. When that opportunity presents itself, and it’s a good opportunity, I’ll be ready to go.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’The Pistons were run by Stan Van Gundy — their coach and president of basketball operations — for the past four seasons, but they moved in a different direction this offseason. Dwane Casey was hired as Detroit’s new coach, and Ed Stefanski came on board as a senior executive.“I thought Stan did a good job. Stan is a very good coach, but sometimes you just need a new voice,” Billups said. “Coach Casey obviously has been a very good coach the last few years, he’s really ascended to the top of the ranks in the league. Whatever happened in Toronto presented an opportunity for him to come here.” Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Putin’s, Xi’s ruler-for-life moves pose challenges to West Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding MOST READ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ LATEST STORIES View commentslast_img read more

Tempered emotions

first_imgLATEST STORIES Volleybelles cast focus on SEA Games next year They will take on the TNT KaTropa on Friday before going through an 18-day vacation prior to the Fuel Masters’ Sept. 19 face-off with the Bolts.Eugene Phelps averaged 40 points the past two games for Phoenix, definitely a cause of great concern for the Alaska frontline led by Mike Harris.“Mike is doing a great job limiting the activity in the paint. He’s a defensive catalyst for us and I hope we continue doing the things that we did the two previous games,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.The NLEX Road Warriors replaced the injured Olu Ashaolu and will unveil Aaron Fuller in their meeting with the Columbian Dyip in the curtain-raiser at 4:30 p.m.Battling through pain, Ashaolu just couldn’t stop the Road Warriors from sliding to their first defeat against the Magnolia Hotshots three games into the season-ending conference.Akeem Wright is again expected to lead the offensive chores for the Dyip.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Calvin Abueva will be all business when his Phoenix Fuel Masters tangle with the Alaska Aces for the solo leadership in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.With Abueva inserted into the Phoenix rotation, the Fuel Masters remain unbeaten in two games, having toppled the Columbian Dyip and NorthPort Batang Pier in convincing fashion.ADVERTISEMENT Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal But Alaska hasn’t been a slouch either this conference. With Simon Enciso finding his range and Chris Banchero providing steady leadership, the Aces have joined the Fuel Masters on top following a couple of runaway victories at the expense of title contenders TNT KaTropa and Meralco Bolts.“It’s going to be a good matchup. We will definitely enjoy it,” said Abueva, who helped the Aces capture the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup title during his rookie year, in Filipino.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’The absence of fireworks in his statement seems to be in line with the team stance regarding the looming matchup.Coach Louie Alas, his face half in shadow as Phoenix wrapped up a practice session, said there was nothing special about the game against the Aces other than it is another match the Fuel Masters need to win. “We prepared the way we always do,” said Alas. Gesturing to reporters and TV crew that popped up during their practice, he added: “I understand you guys find it interesting and you see the drama. But as I told the players, we can’t get caught up in all of that. We have to play hard, we have to execute.”Most of Alas’ concern centered on one thing: “Since I came here, we’ve been crushed in the two games we played against Alaska. As early as the second quarter, we already lost the game. That has to change.”After six seasons with the Aces, Abueva was traded to the Fuel Masters prior to the conference in exchange for a first-round pick and Karl Dehesa.Abueva also said he won’t get caught up with the emotions of his first meeting with his first PBA ballclub. He and his teammates are focused on winning two more games before the league takes a breather to accommodate the Fiba World qualifiers.“We have been focusing on our first four games before the break. There’s no rest until the end of the month,” said Abueva.ADVERTISEMENT Peza offers relief to ecozone firms Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college MOST READ View commentslast_img read more

‘Despite Challenges, We Are Making Progress’

first_imgFinance Minister Amara Konneh has told lawmakers of the House of Representatives that he and his team are making progress in the collection of government revenue despite the challenges contrary to allusions by those he calls “critics”.Minister Konneh told the Plenary of the Lower House that when he appeared before that august body on January 21 this year, the total revenue collected as at January 17, 2014 was US$278.3 million.The Finance Minister indicated that given the work that functionaries of the government have done together since that time, the total revenue collected as at May 12, 2014 is US$425.8 million, adding that this is a US$147.5 million increase since his last meeting of January 17, 2014.He made the assertions on Tuesday, May 13, during a public hearing at the House of Representatives as regards shortfalls in the National Budget of fiscal year 2013/2014.“This information,” according to the Finance Minister, “shows only one thing, that we are making progress in the face of challenging times.”“Permit me to remind us that when we submitted the draft Budget on April 30, 2013, the total estimated revenue was US$553 million. By the time the Budget was approved, that amount had risen by US$29 million to US$582 million,” he told lawmakers.He further stated that before the budget was approved, every one of them, including lawmakers, knew, that US$1.5 million captured as social contribution from offshore oil companies was not likely to come through because those estimates were not supported by the production sharing contracts.“However, we agreed that we should announce the US$582 million and then during implementation we will adjust the revenue envelope accordingly,” Minister Konneh explained.The treasury boss also added that when the budget was submitted, the exchange rate was L$75 to US$1.However, according to the Minister, because of the present exchange rate, which stands at L$90 to US$1, if the Liberian government collected all the revenues projected in the budget, there would be a “shortfall” of roughly US$7 million.Minister Konneh further explained to the lawmakers that with a noticeable slowdown in economic activities in the region, including Liberia, the country’s economy is exposed. He, however, maintained that in spite of these challenges, “we have taken several measures to mitigate the overall impact on the economy, and I have brought a detailed spreadsheet for your review, which shows what we have done.”Before the Minister began his explanation about the state of the nation’s economy, with the approval of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, he presented to lawmakers a spreadsheet, which indicated, according to him, that only US$167 million remains to be collected for this budget year.“I have highlighted areas where I believe your assistance will be invaluable to meeting the targets we consider to be realistic. I classified the areas as either “Uncollectible, Delayed or Risky,” Minister Konneh pleaded.According to the Minister, the total amount was estimated at US$70 million.He stressed that “for an economy that has survived largely on demand fueled by UNMIL’s presence and International NGO activities, no one needs to tell us that the withdrawal or slowdown of these major actors will have adverse economic impact on us.”“In 2010, aid accounted for over 127 percent of our Gross National Income (GNI), peaking at $1.4 billion. In 2011 and 2012 respectively, aid as a share of our GNI fell to 53.8 percent amounting to 4764 million, and 36 percent totaling $570 million, respectively. Moreover, the Government of Liberia’s slowness to ensure the operationalization of major concessions is hindering the reversal of the decline in aggregate demand in our economy. We can cry the slow progress and debate all we want, but that does not help us move forward,” Minister Konneh said.Meanwhile the Finance Minister reluctantly accepted responsibility for the revenue crisis. He added, however, that his acceptance does not suggest that he is the lone guilty party or he is inefficient or incompetent.The Finance Minister also failed to extend apology to the Legislature for the Finance Ministry’s press statement to lawmakers’ call for his resignation. In the press statement, it is said by some lawmakers, including Representative Isaac Roland that the Ministry allegedly used profanities on as they performed their legislative duties.After hours of closed-door discussion on the way forward, the legislature emerged with a decision to have the Minister apologize in seven local dailies.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Ellen Emphasizes Manufacturing above Exporting Raw Materials

first_imgPresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has stressed that Liberia no longer needs exportation of raw materials to other countries but must be a manufacturing country where finished goods will be sent out.Expressing the concern while receiving the Letters of Credence on April 30, 2014 from ambassadors, including Mr. Sentürk Uzun of Turkey, President Sirleaf recalled that the civil conflict in Liberia destroyed the infrastructure and fabric of the Liberian society, and as such exportation of raw materials will not do much help but producing goods that will enhance both domestic and foreign trades.Outlining some plans government has about the country, the President named the Vision 2030, which seeks to make Liberia self-sustainable and become a middle income country and the Agenda for Transformation that is a complementary program to Vision 2030 as key on her government’s development agenda on which foreign partners must act.“It is our resolve to shift from simply exporting raw materials to being a manufacturing nation,” she informed the new Turkish envoy.She added that government is quite aware that this ambition comes with huge challenges; reason for which she and her people are calling on all the partners, including Turkey, to direct their investments in the manufacturing and service industries.The President, acknowledging the level of peace Liberia has enjoyed, indicated that the environment now is better for such engagement, and therefore Turkey and others coming in should see it an opportunity to make the needed impact they can in Liberia’s post-war recovery process.The Liberian leader stressed, “Having enjoyed more than a decade of peace and stability, we can say with certainty that this is a favorable environment required for such engagement,” adding, “we therefore note with immense appreciation that your Government has emphasized its willingness and preparedness to explore with Liberia all existing opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation and to contribute to the development efforts of the people of Liberia.”She expressed appreciation to the Government of Turkey for the support given to peacekeeping initiatives in Liberia, especially to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in which 25 Turkish police currently serve.The Liberian leader also acknowledged and thanked the Turkish Government for its technical support to the Monrovia and Paynesville City Corporations, the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation as well as the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. She welcomed with delight, Turkish pledge of continuous support to Liberia’s reconstruction process.Presenting his Letters of Credence earlier, Ambassador Sentürk Uzun extended warm greetings from his President, Abdullah Gül, and sincere wishes for the prosperity of the people of Liberia and her personal wellbeing.He said Turkey is keen to share its development experience with Liberia and other countries within his jurisdiction especially humanitarian diplomacy, a key pillar of Turkish foreign policy, adding, that believing that the 21st century will be Africa’s century, Turkey will continue to nurture the strategic partnership with Africa.Ambassador Uzun, who would be resident in Accra, Ghana, acknowledged that as Turkey highly relishes the friendship with Liberia, his government has instructed him to work for the strengthening of cordial relations as well as promote mutual beneficial cooperation between both countries. “During my tenure here, I will not fail to carry out this instruction to the best of my ability,” the new Turkish Ambassador to Liberia promised.He stressed that despite the distance that separates the two countries, the Turkish Government is willing to develop, wherever possible, economic, commercial and technical cooperation with Liberia to the mutual benefit of both countries and peoples.The new Turkish Ambassador disclosed that in recent years Turkey has improved her contacts and existing cooperation with Africa, and his government is willing and ready to explore with Liberia all existing opportunities for the mutual benefits of both countries as well as to contribute to the development efforts of the people of Liberia.Ambassador Uzun, who is accredited to Sierra Leone and Ghana also, said Turkey is committed to the goal of achieving peaceful relations among nations and pledged his country’s full support to effort aimed at improving international climate and the promotion of global peace and stability within the United Nations framework. “The principles of the Turkish foreign policy are strongly opposed to oppression,” he said.He said given the similarities of the two countries’ foreign policy objectives, he is confident that the coming years will witness frequent consultations between Turkey and Liberia. “Your Excellency, it will be an honor as well as a rewarding experience for me if I can make some contributions to the development of the relations of our two countries in the course of my accreditation here in Liberia,” he said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Tubman University Principal is July 26 Orator

first_imgThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it has selected the President of Maryland County-based Tubman University, Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell, to deliver this year’s 167th National Independence Day celebration.  The public is yet to know which areas in the Liberian society the orator will focus her attention.Dr. Davis-Russell will deliver her oration at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion, Ashmun Street on July 26, 2014.She is expected to be admitted into the Order of Distinction of the Republic of Liberia. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appointed Dr. Russell in 2007 to head the Tubman University, formerly the William V.S. Tubman College of Technology, following the refurbishment of the campus.  She assumed leadership of that institution in July 2008. Born in Harper, Maryland County, Dr. Russell is the daughter of former Associate Justice O. Natty B. Davis and Diana Dueh. She began her education at AME Day School in Harper and then transferred to Cape Palmas High School where she completed the eighth grade.She later moved to Suehn Academy to complete high school. The orator left Liberia for London, England, to continue her studies at London’s Tutorial College.She later moved to the United States where she obtained a B.A. in Psychology in 1965 from the Oakland University in Michigan.She earned her Master’s Degree in Education Psychology from New York University, as well as an Ed. D in Counseling Education from Yeskiva University in 1975. According to a Foreign Ministry profile of the national orator, she matriculated to New York University and completed the required studies for a Ph. D in clinical Psychology in 1987. She also pursued Post Graduate Training and received Certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at the Institute for the Study of Psychotherapy in New York. Dr. Davis-Russell is a licensed psychologist in the State of California, where she had a private practice in addition to teaching.Prior to her preferment, she served most of her professional career, spanning over 35 years, in the field of higher education, notably as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the State University of New York College at Cortland, Dean for Academic and Professional Affairs at the California School of Professional Psychology, Associate Professor, Founder and Director of the Center for Intercultural Clinical Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, respectively.Dr. Davis-Russell was awarded two Doctorates of Humane Letters by the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in addition to receiving the Outstanding Psychologist Award from both the New York and Chicago Branches of the Association of Black Psychologists.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Belgian Citizen’s Murder Suspects’ Fate Decided Today

first_imgFifteen persons accused of killing a Belgian national, Michael Bruno, referred to in court document as “Bruno Nicholas,” may likely not  go free today, Tuesday, March 18,  if their pleas to drop murder  charges against them is rejected by Criminal Court ‘A’ at the Temple of Justice.Following the killing of Bruno, who was the general manager of the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC) in Grand Bassa County, the then US Ambassador to Liberia, Donald Booth, had sent a “classified document,” exclusively on Bruno’s death to Washington. Thanks to Wikileaks, the “classified document” is attached below.However, the Criminal Court A’s position to decide the fate of the accused was announced by Judge Yussif Kaba, following final legal arguments on Friday, March 14 in a “Motion to Dismiss and for Acquittal of the Defendants” filed by the defense team. However, the prosecution has argued that the Court denied the motion filed by the defense team.In their counter arguments on Friday, the defense team explained that defendants were tried in 2008, at the Second Judicial Circuit Court for Grand Bassa County by Judge Benedict Holt.They argued that Judge Holt was forced to “terminate” the matter based on revelations of jury tampering from then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Cllr. Johnnie N.N. Lewis.“As a result, no other courts, including Criminal Court ‘A’ has the lawful authority to try the defendants for the same crime, since it was terminated for political interference,” the defense team argued.They further stated that the only reason to retry a defendant should be based on circumstances over which the court has no control, citing illness of jurors, the judge, the defendants or any person whose present and participation is indispensible to a fair and impartial trial, as examples.According to them, the trial has progressed to the point where both state and defense team rested production of both oral and documentary evidence before it was terminated by the state, something, they alleged is “double jeopardy.”The defense said Article 21 (b) of the 1986 Constitution provides that no person should be subject to double jeopardy, meaning being prosecuted or sentenced twice for the same offense.“Therefore, our clients should be discharged from having to answer for the same crime again, and for matter which was terminated by Judge Holt,” the defense team insisted to the court.Prosecution for their part, argued that any decision to accept the motion means reviewing the action of Judge Holt, which will be a violation of the law that states, “Judges of concurrence jurisdiction cannot review the acts of their predecessor. Only the Supreme Court of Liberia has the sole authority to review judge’s decision.”According to them, Judge Holt did not disband the jury upon ordered of Chief Justice Lewis, but rather conducted an investigation of jury’s tempering.At the conclusion of said investigation it was then he ruled that there was indeed jury tampering. “We all accepted the Judge’s disbandment of the jury and ordering of a new trial, therefore the allegation that the original trial was ‘terminated’ because of political interference has no basis and it should be ignored.”“Therefore, the ruling of Judge Holt and ordering of a new trial is conclusive and binding on all parties,” the prosecution team also insisted.The defendants were charged of the crime “murder” in 2008 for allegedly using a single barrel gun to shoot and kill Michael Bruno on November 17, 2007, at the extension site of the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC) in District #3, Grand Bassa County.A claim they denied when they were first tried in 2008, by Judge Benedict Holt of the Second Judicial Circuit Court for Grand Bassa County.However, under the law a defendant charged with the commission of the crime murder is not entitled to a bail, but all of the defendants are currently placed on a bail bond, meaning they are not in jail. Surprisingly, Judge Holt suspended the case and transferred it to the First Judicial Circuit Criminal Court ‘A’ for Montserrado County, following allegation of jury’s tempering.Under the law a court can acquired jurisdiction by virtue of a transferred of a case.That allegation was brought to the attention of Judge Holt by then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, Johnnie N.N. Lewis.Chief Justice Lewis further alleged he received the jury’s tempering complaint from somebody he described as “Higher up.”Based on that complaint, Judge Holt disbanded the jury team and awarded a new-trial, according to him, his investigation established that senior court’s staff was involved in the acts.Classified By: AMBASSADOR DONALD E. BOOTH FOR REASONS 1.4 (b) and (d)1. (C) SUMMARY. The Executive Mansion has called the murder of Liberian Agriculture Company (LAC) General Manager Michael Bruno “unacceptable” and vowed to find and prosecute the perpetrators as soon as possible in order to protect Liberia’s investment climate. The Mansion also expressed concern that the murder may have political implications and vowed to bring any politicians involved to justice. The Liberty Party told Embassy PolOff its top officials are being monitored by the Government of Liberia (GOL) and may be prohibited from leaving the country. The Liberian National Police (LNP) sent its Director along with a team of its best investigators to Grand Bassa County and have detained twenty persons of interest. No official arrests have been made. The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has secured the LAC rubber plantation and is providing support to the LNP. END SUMMARY.GOL RESPONSE TO MURDER OF MICHAEL BRUNO2. (C) President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf publicly expressed sympathy for the loss of Michael Bruno and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice as soon as possible. She called the act “unacceptable” and denounced those “wishing to create unnecessary tension and terror in the country, with the objective to undermine efforts of the government to secure a peaceful and stable environment for all of its people and foreign residents.” Vice President Joseph Boakai said that the GOL would work to increase security while helping LAC to bring development and jobs to the area as planned. Executive Mansion Press Secretary Cyrus Badio, however, was more pointed. He said that Bruno’s death had political implications and was not an isolated event. Minister of Justice Philip Banks vowed to act swiftly on the case and went personally to witness the autopsy of Michael Bruno.LNP SENDS DIRECTOR AND TOP INVESTIGATORS, UNMIL SECURES LAC PLANTATION3. (U) LNP sent its Director and a top team from the Criminal Investigations Unit to Grand Bassa County to investigate. UNMIL has deployed extra troops to the area and secured the surrounding area of the LAC rubber plantation. United Nations Police (UNPOL) officers are assisting the LNP with all parts of the investigation.ADDITIONAL FACTS ABOUT THE LAC MURDER CASE4. (C) LNP Chief of Criminal Investigations Steven Zargo clarified a few facts for us on the case November 20. The victim was a 36-year-old Belgian named Michael Bruno (press reports have called him Bruneo Michel, Bruno Michiel, and other incorrect variations), General Manager of the Liberian Agriculture Company (LAC). Bruno was driving in Grand Bassa County November 17 with three African LAC employees (Liberian and Ghanaian) on the land LAC obtained through its November 15 plantation expansion agreement with the GOL. Between 0800 and 0830 the car was ambushed by villagers and Bruno was shot dead. The three African employees fled the scene immediately. They were not harmed. Zargo could not confirm whether LNP knew of their whereabouts or whether or not they were involved in the crime. Rumors that Bruno’s body was mutilated are not true. Zargo was present at the post-mortem investigation and said that Bruno suffered a gunshot wound to the head.TWENTY “PERSONS OF INTEREST” DETAINED, NO ARRESTS5. (C) Though the press reported that twenty people were arrested as suspects for the murder, Zargo clarified that no official arrests have been made. He confirmed that “twenty persons of interest” from surrounding villages have been detained in a non-prison compound. Zargo said that most of the detainees were “known troublemakers from the area” and that several were cooperating with information. He said that as Liberian law requires that all arrested persons be charged or released in 48 hours, the LNP would wait to make any official arrest until they have enough evidence to file any charges. 6. (C) Zargo emphasized that the investigation was still in its early stages but vowed that the LNP would leave no stone unturned in the case. He expressed confidence that the murder was not linked to the bank truck robbery, but could not rule out that the incident was premeditated nor that the MONROVIA 00001359 002 OF 002 three LAC African employees in the car were involved. His biggest concern was keeping the general peace in Grand Bassa County. He said that local population could become violent easily and worried that they may turn against the police for investigating the crime.EXECUTIVE MANSION PRESS SECRETARY WARNS OF POLITICAL TIES TO MURDER7. (C) Executive Mansion Press Secretary Cyrus Badio said at a press conference November 19 that the murder “had political implications” and “wasn’t isolated.” He vowed that any politicians found to have ties to the murder would face justice. As of November 20, no political party in country had yet issued a statement expressing condolences, including the Liberty Party, which controls five of the six seats in Grand Bassa County. Senator Nathaniel Innis of the Grand Bassa County Liberty Party expressed condolences for Bruno’s death in a radio interview but then continued on to say that the murder could have been avoided if local people had been included in the LAC expansion negotiations.LIBERTY PARTY FACES SCRUTINY, POSSIBLE TRAVEL BAN8. (C) The Chairman of the Liberty Party Israel Akinsanya told us that the GOL was actively trying to link his party to the murder and worried that party officials would soon be threatened. He said that GOL security forces had been ordered to monitor the movement of all senior Liberty party officials and prohibit them from exiting Liberia through all border crossings, airports and sea ports. There have been no official announcements, however, that Liberty Party personnel are considered suspects or are subject to any travel ban.9. (C) COMMENT: There is no evidence yet directly linking the Liberty Party to the murder of Michael Bruno. However, because it is considered the most serious opposition to the ruling Unity Party, and its popular base has always been Grand Bassa County, the Liberty Party has been implicated in the public eye. After Edwin Snowe, who was maneuvered out of the House Speakership earlier this year, Liberty Party standard bearer (and 2005 Presidential candidate) Charles Brumskine is the leading political opponent of President Sirleaf and her Unity Party. In is quite possible Unity Party statements are using the murder as a convenient excuse to undermine Brumskine’s and the Liberty Party’s ability to function as an effective opposition.10. (C) Comment (Cont.): Protection of ancestral land has been one of the most prominent issues of the Liberty Party’s local campaign. While they may not have ordered the murder directly, the Party was certainly active in getting the local population to oppose LAC’s expansion. The underlying land issues that ultimately lead to the murder of Michael Bruno illustrate exactly why it is so important to Liberia’s development to harmonize the traditional tribal land certificates with a formal deed system. END COMMENT. BoothShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

$134.2B tax concessions in 2018

first_img…doubled under APNU/AFC Govt – AG report…significant amount for luxury vehiclesWhen the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) was in power, the then Opposition – APNU/AFC, was intensely critical of the concessions that were being granted to the Private Sector. But the Audit Office has now found that concessions under the current Government have now eclipsed previous years.President David GrangerAccording to the Audit Report of 2018, some $134.2 billion in concessions were granted for 2018, compared to just $64.3 billion in 2017. According to Auditor General Deodat Sharma, this was a 91.97 per cent increase. In fact, the $134 billion it waived represents a large chunk of all monies collected by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) for 2018.The report notes that a total of 9359 companies benefitted from $104.7 billion in tax concessions. In 2017, this number was 7740 companies, which received $36.4 billion in concessions. In 2014, the last full year that the PPP was in power, there were 8105 companies who benefitted from a mere $41.5 billion, while the sum was $34.4 billion in 2013.“An analytical review of the total tax exemption granted for the past three years has shown a decrease in the number of exemptions granted. The value of the exemption granted decreased from the year 2015 to 2016 by $36.300 billion or 39.3 per cent. However, for the past two years, 2017 and 2018, there has been an increase of the tax exemption values by 37.5 per cent and 43.4 per cent, respectively,” the report states.GRA Commissioner General Godfrey StatiaConcessions are usually granted to companies in order to facilitate investments that create jobs and value to the local economy. The Auditor General found, however, that for 2018 “luxurious and modern vehicles attracted great tax exemption of which no payment of taxes was required.”Moreover, the audit report states that after an analysis of the concessions granted it was found that these lucky individuals paid a total of $5.3 billion in taxes, just four per cent of the billions in taxes that were waived.When given a chance to respond to the astronomical increase in tax exemptions, the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) attributed this to the oil and gas sector and the fact that several investors entered into agreements with the Government.Other conditional exemptionsThe audit report shows that under the category of conditional tax exemptions, 270 foreign-funded projects accounted for $2.5 billion in concessions, while Ministries and Government departments accounted for $4.4 billion.Meanwhile, churches and charitable organisations accounted for $1.8 billion in concessions. The audit report also included the Auditor General’s findings when the records submitted by the Guyana Office for Investments (GO-Invest) and the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) were perused.“In accordance with the Investment Act of 2004, an audit of incentives granted to an investor is required to be carried out annually by the Auditor General. According to the record obtained from GO-Invest and GGMC, thirty-seven and twelve incentives were granted respectively,” the report states.“Of the thirty-seven incentives granted by GO-Invest, only seven were processed, one was denied and one was cancelled by the Authority. The total taxes exempted for the seven incentives processed were $87.962 million, which is 0.8 per cent of the total tax exempted under the category Companies/Businesses. Of the twelve incentives granted by GGMC, only one was processed by the Authority of which total tax exempted for the year was zero.”According to GRA, it received 37 investment agreements from GO-Invest in 2018, but only 33 met all the requirements and were approved. The remaining four were approved in 2019. In terms of GGMC, GRA stated that it received 11 applications for tax exemptions. Nine were approved in 2018, while two were approved in 2019.When it comes to unconditional tax exemptions, some $17.9 billion was waived by GRA. This is also an increase from the 2017 amount ($16.3 billion), 2014 ($9.860 billion) and 2013 ($9.802 billion).RemigrantsThe remigrant scheme has its genesis in a drive to encourage overseas-based Guyanese to return from the diaspora to contribute to their homeland. The current Government had claimed that the scheme was abused previously and had vowed to tighten up controls, while paving the way for more youths to access the scheme.However, the Auditor General documented that 95 per cent of those who were granted re-migrant status and got tax exemptions were between the ages of 55 to 76. Defending this, GRA noted that there is no age limit for re-migrant status.The AG also documented instances of leakages in 2018. Of the 188 applications processed in that year, two remigrants did not own vehicles they were importing for the six months stipulated by law. In addition, another remigrant applied for a vehicle to be imported that was in the name of someone else.“Two persons were classified as re-migrants and received tax exemption totalling $25.829 million. However, they were not Guyanese by birth. In addition, the husband of one of these individuals also gained re-migrant status and received tax exemption totalling $702,968.”In explaining the discrepancies, GRA pointed out that they process exemptions based on the recommendations from the Ministry of Citizenship. Moreover, they noted that there were misunderstandings regarding the other supposed leakages.last_img read more

Camp Kinetic/Kaboodle to be held next week

first_imgCamp Kinetic and Camp Kaboodle have been combined to create Camp Kinetic/Kaboodle and will be held next week at the Pomeroy Sport Centre. The camp will run Monday through Friday for children between the ages of 5-12.Camp days will run from 8:30-5:30 and include activities such as crafts, theme days, tours, skating, and swimming.Early registration is encouraged as there is only a limited number of spots. The cost to take part is $200. Registration forms are available at the visitor centre.- Advertisement –last_img read more

France keeping feet on ground ahead of World Cup final

first_img0Shares0000France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris speaks to the press at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow © AFP / FRANCK FIFEMOSCOW, Russian Federation, Jul 14 – France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said the World Cup favourites are shutting out the mounting excitement at home as they focus on one final push against Croatia.Tens of thousands of people flooded the streets of Paris following Tuesday’s semi-final win over Belgium and confidence is high that Didier Deschamps’ team can match the achievement of the 1998 winners. L’Equipe’s Saturday magazine supplement even came with a front cover photo of crowds on the Champs-Elysees avenue. “See you tomorrow,” read the caption.Deschamps’ side are strongly fancied to win Sunday’s final but lessons from the recent past — including defeat to Portugal in the final of Euro 2016 — ensure they are not getting carried away ahead of the match in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.“To be honest with you, we are in our bubble,” said goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris.“Of course we know what’s happening in France, all the more so after seeing all the images after the Belgium game.“But tomorrow we will be coming up against opponents of great quality. They deserve to be in the final just as much as us. They have demonstrated their worth and that they have the physical and mental resources to go and win it.”Two years ago, France lost in the Euro 2016 final at home after beating world champions Germany in the semi-final.“At the Euro it was something new for the whole team. It is true that we experienced a great night at the Velodrome against the reigning world champions,” said Lloris.“But I don’t think it’s true that we got carried away, even if there was a lot of euphoria. And that was not the case after the Belgium game.”Deschamps, who was captain of the side that won the 1998 World Cup in France, also said the side were keeping their feet on the floor.“There is no euphoria. I don’t feel it anyway,” he said. “We are satisfied to be there, and we are aware that it is the biggest match of the year.”Most of the French squad in Russia were not even playing at Euro 2016, with Kylian Mbappe the symbol of the new generation that emerged following that disappointment.Mbappe tore apart Argentina in France’s 4-3 win in the last 16 in Russia, before they proved too strong for Uruguay in the quarter-finals and Belgium in the last four.“Today’s squad is different. Fourteen of them were not there at the Euros. There is less experience, but there is quality,” said Deschamps, who is wary of a Croatian side led by the brilliant Luka Modric.“Croatia’s players have gained experience with their clubs, and they have been playing together for a while.“But in practically all of our matches since the competition began we have been faced with this idea that our opponents have more experience.”0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more