Nimba County’s stolen Ebola rice case, which was thrown out of court recently over the prosecution’s failure to present evidence, is said to have resurfaced and the suspects are expected back in court today.The case resurfaced after the Nimba Legislative Caucus mounted pressure on the Ministry of Justice to re-file the case for prosecution without delay. Senator Thomas S. Grupee, Chairman of the Nimba Legislative Caucus, told the Radio Saclepea Morning Show last Tuesday that the Nimba County Attorney had been ordered to gather all evidence on the case for immediate prosecution.He said the act of stealing rice intended for Ebola victims was a very bad thing, and should be considered as “a crime against humanity”. He demanded that those involved in stealing food intended for the sick or people in quarantine, should not go unpunished.Senator Grupee added that the caucus will not rest until all those involved are brought to justice to serve as a deterrent against such a shameful crime.On 31st October 2014 the Ganta Magisterial Court threw out the stolen Ebola Rice case involving four Nimba Health Workers and a business woman indefinitely, because the prosecution filed in a motion to have the case “Nulleprosequi” due to insufficient evidence.The prosecution, represented by Attorney James Boayou, said he could not prosecute the case in the absence of the plaintiff, who is the County Health Services Director Ramsey Leesala.Ganta City Solicitor, Attorney Boayou, said “I declared the case Nulleprosequi until the complainer can come and explain the details of the case to me.”But Senator Grupee said they are making sure that the plaintiff, the Health Officer under whose custody the items were stolen, will be present at the court to back the case.Since the case was thrown out of court, nothing has been heard from the Nimba County Health Team from whose warehouse the items were stolen and who did not turn up for the hearing.There has been administrative wrangling between the leadership of Nimba and the county caucus over the handling of funds intended for the fight against Ebola.The tussle led to the subsequent dismissal of Teeko Yorlay from the post of Assistant Superintendent for Development after the case reached the plenary of the parliament where a vote of no confidence was imposed on him and Supt. Fong Zuagele.The County Health Team has come under criticism recently for what was alleged as single handedly managing the budget allotted by the government for the Bahn Health Center.The issue of the single handed management of the budget led the Bahn Health Board, headed by one Joseph Menlor, to resign because of what it claimed as non compliance, undermining and ostracizing.Even though, the County Health Authority said the money had been used to undertake some development projects for the Bahn Health Center, using the funds in the absence of the board with the accountant based in Sanniquellie, still created serious concern and suspicion among the citizens. The stolen Ebola rice case began on 1st October 2014 when the LNP Ganta Detail arrested a vehicle marked TP. 766 with about 200 bags of 25kg rice, 15 five- gallon containers of vegetable oil and 10 bags of beans. These items were part of the food consignment donated to Nimba by the World Food Program (WFP) for those under quarantine from Ebola.The bags of rice were loaded on a mini truck headed for Saclepea from Sanniquellie when it was arrested by police in Ganta. It was believed to be without a way bill.However, those accused of involvement in the alleged illegal removal of the rice, namely C. Paul Nyanzee of County Community Health Service, Director Var Bleh, Ware House Manager, Sarah Lawehyee, Kou Yelibor, County Mental Health Officer and businesswoman Kou Kouh of Saclepea, had all been exonerated by the court and freed to resume their normal activities.They were arrested by the Liberian National Police on charges including criminal facilitation, criminal conspiracy and theft of property and sent to court.In the same development, the Karnplay City Mayor was linked to another stolen Ebola food case involving bulgur wheat distributed by the ADRA in Karnplay. She denied any link with the crime, but the stolen food items were discovered outside the ware house.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The stormy petrel of West Bengal politics, Mamata Banerjee has single handedly wrecked the red bastion in West Bengal ending Left Front’s uninterrupted 34-year-old rule after perfecting the art of the impossible.The feisty 56-year-old Banerjee, who is the founder and chairperson of the Trinamool Congress which she set up in 1998 after falling out with the Congress Party in West Bengal, can now have the satisfaction of a victorious General seeing all the war plans fall into place.For years the face of the Opposition in West Bengal, Banerjee, known to her supporters as ‘Didi’ (sister) has been the nemesis of the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Front over the last 23 years and has earned the reputation of being a street-fighting politician.Maverick and emotional, she first hogged the limelight by blocking Jayaprakash Narayan’s convoy by throwing herself on the ground when he came to Kolkata to organise the masses against Indira Gandhi before Emergency.Banerjee, a firebrand orator, coined a catchy slogan “Ma, Mati o Manush” (Mother, Land and People) before last year’s Lok Sabha polls and played on the anti-incumbency factor after more than three decades of Left rule and the creeping disillusionment among several sections, like Muslims, to decimate the Left in partnership with the Congress.A leader with mass appeal known for her humble lifestyle, the seven-time MP successfully sold a vision of development, cashing in on the deep resentment among the middle classes and unemployed youths, promising jobs and development.Her nondescript residence–a tiled single-storey house in a dingy lane close to the Kalighat temple–and equally simple attire comprising cotton saris, jhola bags and cheap hawai chappals, endeared her to the masses.advertisementBanerjee had to shoulder multiple responsibilities– political strategist, union minister, chief poll campaigner and trouble shooter in her focus to dislodge the world’s longest democratically-elected communist government in a state.It has not been an easy journey though for the current Union Railway Minister who turned her call for ‘Parivartan’ (change) into a reality with ally Congress throwing its full weight behind her. But her energy, charisma and political astutenes made Banerjee one of the few mass leaders in the country.As a 29-year-old, Banerjee shot to limelight by pulling off a stunning victory over CPI-M heavyweight and now expelled party leader Somnath Chatterjee in the 1984 Lok Sabha elections in the Jadavpur constituency to become one of the youngest MPs.Born to a lower middle class family and daughter of freedom fighter Promileswar Banerjee, she entered politics by joining the Chhatra Parishad, the student wing of Congress, while studying at the Jogmaya Debi College in Kolkata in the 1970s. .Graduating to party politics, Mamata was general secretary of the West Bengal Mahila Congress in 1979-80 and subsequently held other posts in Congress.Losing her seat in an anti-Congress wave in 1989, she was back in the Lok Sabha in 1991 from Kolkata South and also won the subsequent elections in 1996, 1998,1999, 2004 and 2009 from the same constituency.Banerjee’s first tryst with the corridors of power came in 1991 when she became became Union Minister of state for Human Resources Development, Youth Affairs and Sports and Women and Child Development in the P V Narasimha Rao government.But in 1996, she fell out with the Congress, calling it a ‘stooge of CPIM’. Two years later, she formed the Trinamool Congress and quickly emerged as the dominant opposition party.In 1998 and 1999, Banerjee’s party won eight and seven seats in the Lok Sabha polls respectively and joined hands with the BJP, seen in party circles as a disastrous move in hindsight.During NDA rule under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Banerjee was Railway Minister in 1999 and for Coal and Mines in 2004. She was also a union minister without portfolio for a brief period in 2003-4.She quit as railway minister and NDA in early 2001 in the wake of the Tehelka expose into defence deals to ally with Congress for the assembly elections in West Bengal, but could make no headway against the Marxists.Banerjee had to eat humble pie and return to the NDA and the Vajpayee cabinet in January 2004 to become Coal and Mines minister till the 2004 election.In 2004, her party MP tally plummeted to one–just herself.Two years later, in the assembly election, Trinamool was routed, ending up with just 30 seats.A relentless fighter against the CPIM, Banerjee never gave up and bided her time. Her opportunity came when Nandigram and Singur exploded on the national scene. Since then it has been a story of her continuous rise.In November, 2006, Banerjee was stopped on her way to Singur in Hooghly district for a rally against the Tata Motors Nano car project, which was a turning point in the long-drawn agitation there with the Trinamool chief demanding that 400 acre of the around 1000 acre acquired be returned to farmers who were unwilling to part with their land.advertisementBanerjee also went on a fast for 25 days on a makeshift dais at busy Esplanade in Kolkata in protest against land acquisition at Singur, but called it off on December 28 following an appeal from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.But this did not resolve the problem at Singur and the agitation there started with renewed vigour under Banerjee.Ultimately, the Tatas drove out of Singur in 2008.When the agitation against land acquisition was on at Singur, the West Bengal police fired on protestors on March 14, 2007 killing 14 people at Nandigram in East Midnapore district where the state government wanted to set up a Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) on farmland.Banerjee took full advantage of the acquisition scare among the minorities in rural areas and her declared stand against special economic zones endeared her to a section of traditional Left Front supporters, who did not like hobnobbing with big capital.With her ‘Ma-Mati-Manush’ slogan, she hijacked the issues dear to the Left supporters — pension, the insurance and banking sector, privatisation, land acquisition in Nandigram and Singur, Rizwanur Rahman’s death and the Sachar Commission report.Banerjee played her cards so well that she won over certain sections that were gunning for her till the other day.She was wooed by industrialists and even Left parties.A staunch Left-wing party like SUCI, which has bases in pockets of Bengal, is now an ally of Trinamool Congress.They helped give a direction to Banerjee’s brand of politics, which hitherto had a one-point agenda of blind opposition to the CPIM.When Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee with his ‘Brand Buddha’ image started on the slippery path of industrialisation through the private sector, Banerjee checkmated him on every front.This brought her a series of electoral victories in the panchayat elections, municipal polls, Lok Sabha elections and a string of assembly bypolls after that.But her chances in 2011 was largely due to her continuing to project herself as leader of the poor and the rural have-nots, a friend of the minorities, a champion of inclusive growth and one genuinely interested in delivering the goods.For full coverage, click here.
The Ministry of Youth and Culture will be using the celebration of Black History Month in February to sensitize young people about their rich heritage as part of a campaign to achieve a cultural revolution in the country. “We want to instill in our young people a militancy, and an attitude that uplifts them…when you talk to them, it is clear that there needs to be a cultural revolution in the country that looks at values, how they treat one another, how they see their place and purpose in Jamaica, how they understand where they are and how they understand the meaning of identity,” said portfolio Minister, Hon. Lisa Hanna.She was speaking to JIS News on Friday (Feb. 1), during the staging of a ‘Cultural Explosion’ event at Emancipation Park in New Kingston.The day-long event, organised by the Ministry and its various agencies, is one of the mediums being used in the change process, which also focuses on instilling proper values and attitudes.According to Ms. Hanna, if young people are able to fully grasp these positive messages and teachings, then “the bleaching would stop, the way they relate to each other (would improve),” she said, noting that they would also have a greater sense of self-worth.She argued that young people would also come to realize that culture is not only about dance and music, but “is a dynamic process of our country, including the way we develop and the kinds of mores and value systems that we have developed over time”.“One of the things we realise in speaking to our young people and our children is that many of them are taught history but they are not able to make that history empower them. So when you tell them how 300 years ago our Maroons beat a world super power and we led the abolition of slavery in this country, (and so on)…(this is inspirational),” she stated.Ms. Hanna told JIS News that the Ministry “wants to position Black History Month to lead that cultural revolution that we are starting. We realise that one month is not enough and so we are launching Black History today with this kind of function with exhibitions for school children.”She said the Ministry will be staging a series of events over the course of the month, “to lead us into that discussion and that conversation with our youth and our children and our nation really, so that we don’t just take things superficially, but we have a deeper meaning about where we’ve come from and how we are positioned and the purpose that we serve in the country”.The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), National Gallery, and the National Library of Jamaica, were some of the exhibitors at the Cultural Explosion.Several youngsters were afforded the opportunity have discussion with the Minister about their culture. Ms Hanna, who told JIS News that some of the youngsters were from places of safety, said she enjoyed the sessions with them as they were truly receptive. “There were so many school children here and I had a rap session with them about (several) things (such as) how they respect themselves and our history. We danced with them, did a lot of historical dances with the drummers and it was good because they really felt a part of what was going on. They viewed the exhibitions and they asked us questions,” she informed.The event also included a panel discussion with the youth. Patrons were also treated to performances depicting various aspects of the country’s traditions, including dances such as kumina and dinki minni, and drumming. A concert featuring several reggae artistes ended the event on a high note.