The Bank of Montreal is the latest international organisation to provide assistance for the development of Guyana’s oil and gas industry. The Bank delivered a presentation on the possible financial impacts of the promising industry to members of the subcommittee on oil and gas and stakeholder Ministers on Wednesday at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown. According to Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman, the Bank of Montreal had reached out to Guyana because, “Guyana’s find of oil is considered one of the best in the world right now.”“The Bank of Montreal had reached out to Guyana about two months ago asking to be able to give a presentation on the financial side of the oil and gas industry, the ups and downs of the market, financial services that are available,” Trotman said.This year, ExxonMobil’s Liza-2 offshore exploration found high propensity sandstone reservoirs that could produce more than 1.4 billion barrels of recoverable high quality oil. It is estimated that within the next five to seven years Guyana could begin producing this oil. Since the discovery, several other organisations and countries, including the US and Norway have offered their assistance to Guyana towards the development of an effective oil and gas industry.Trotman, who has oversight responsibility for the natural resources sector, said a number of initiatives will be unfolding. “Next month we’re going to be having a workshop on the financial part of it and so developments are taking place, we are working in finalising legislation and honing our efforts,” the Minister said.According to Trotman, the Government is also working to ensure that when the industry comes on board, it honours its social responsibility. “The Ministry is also developing a corporate social responsibility programme which will look at leadership and mentoring for youth so that the idea is to prepare and present a next generation of leaders for Guyana,” Minister Trotman said.Guyana has been receiving sustained international attention from huge companies, especially in the oil sector. The US Geological Survey said in 2000 that the Guyana-Suriname Basin has the second largest unexplored oil potential in the world after Greenland. Guyana first struck oil in the 1980s in the Takutu Basin and there is much optimism that oil will be found in commercial quantities. ExxonMobil has joined other investors such as CGX Energy, Repsol, Anadarko Guyana Co, and Nabi Oil and Gas in exploring oil in Guyana’s offshore Atlantic basin.
The Supreme Court of Liberia has finally given its verdict on whether or not the nation should hold the special senatorial election. The Court agreed, in a vote of three to two, that the elections should proceed.The petitioners, who asked the Court to postpone the special elections, argued that holding this election could lead to further Ebola viral transmission and threaten the people’s lives. But in its ruling last Friday, the Court said the Ebola issue is a political one, to be decided by the first two branches of government—the Legislative and Executive. The High Court has said exactly what the Daily Observer argued in its Editorial last Monday, December 8: “We pray that the court will find a way to mitigate (ease) the tension, by first realizing that the elections have been approved by the two other branches of government [Legislative and Executive]; and by suggesting ways in which the threat of viral transmission can be minimized.”In its ruling, the Supreme Court reminded the petitioners that the Liberian Constitution allows for the “separation of powers” between the three branches of government,” with each having its separate and distinct functions. It is purely judicial matters that have been reserved for the Judiciary, and these are matters upon which the two other branches dare not encroach. By the same token, matters political are the exclusive preserve of the Legislative and Executive branches of government. Chief Justice Korkpor and his colleagues on the bench agreed that Ebola and all the constraints and restraints that go with it are purely political, and belong to the two political branches of the Liberian government—not the Judiciary.We think it is commendable that the eminent citizens and their fellow petitioners had the courage and commitment to the safety of their fellow Liberians to try the strength of their conviction at the highest judicial level, the full bench of the Supreme Court. This was perfectly within their constitutional rights to do.Now that the High Court has ruled that the elections may go ahead, the ball is back in the court of the Legislature and the Executive, and most particularly its electoral arm, the National Elections Commission (NEC).It is the nation’s good fortune that the President has requested, and the Legislature has consented, that they remain in session for at least another week to handle matters relating to oil blocks which have been recently negotiated. Once the Legislators return to the Capitol today (Monday), the President, through her emissaries, NEC Chair Jerome Korkoyah included, should approach the Legislature and together come up with and agree on some guidelines on how the risk of viral transmission can be MINIMIZED as Liberians participate in the electoral process.We believe that massive campaigns are definitely out of the question. NEC should in no uncertain terms tell the political parties and senatorial candidates that massive street demonstrations, parades and rallies and threaten the health of the nation. Two primary considerations must be stressed here: first, Ebola is real, it kills and is very easy to spread, especially through close personal contact. Second, the international community has so far spent billions of dollars helping us to contain and eradicate the virus from our shores. This massive effort and expenditure of human and financial resources to fight the deadly Ebola virus must not be jeopardized for any non-life threatening reason, politics included.As we proceed with these elections on December 20, it is imperative that we help ourselves by doing everything possible to restrain the virus, especially preventing bodily contact which is highly unavoidable during mass rallies such as we witnessed recently. The Legislature and Executive can and must show the way forward.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
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The celebration of the end of Ramadan in Greenville, Sinoe County nearly turned into a funeral when a bloody motorcycle accident occurred, involving three Muslim children and an adult – a female.Two motorcycles collided in Panama, Kpanyan District about fifteen minutes ride from Greenville.A female adult passenger sustained severe injury to her legs while the three Muslim children had relatively minor injuries.Scores of people from the Muslim Community, especially the women who visited the hospital, were seen with their prayer beads, muttering the name of “Allah” – most certainly thanking God or “Allah” for sparing the lives of the victims.According to motorbike rider Karnu Jalloh, 15, they were celebrating the end-of-the-Ramadan riding on the bike when the other motorcyclist drove into his bike which had his brother and a friend.Most of the Muslims were “decently and beautifully dressed.” Families are usually in uniform (dressed alike).Mr. Mohammed Sow, a member of the Fulah community, said the survival of their children is an indication that “Allah has answered our prayers and we are happy.”According to medical reports, the three children were discharged, but the driver and the female passenger have been hospitalized and responding to treatment.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Deputy Justice Minister for Administration and Public Affairs, Madam Wheatonia Dixon Barnes, last Friday admonished that as Liberia prepares to take over national security from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), security institutions should critically look at accountability and transparency if they are seriously assessing their agenda for the transition. “Self-assessment of every security institution should take into consideration transparency and accountability, promotion of good governance, human rights and respect for rule of law,” Cllr. Barnes declared.Addressing a two-day retreat in Bensonville, organized by the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN), Cllr. Barnes advised participants to use the retreat to develop a roadmap to help them address the gaps and challenges in the security sector which will be dealing with the issues of naturalization, immigration and cross border crimes.According to Cllr. Barnes, self assessment is about self-examination and identifying strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and trust of their institution. “You have to use this opportunity to complete a thorough analysis of yourselves and the BIN, particularly in the face of the UNMIL withdrawal and transition,” she said, adding, “Security sector reform is one of the critical areas of peace and nation building, especially in a post-war country like Liberia.” Earlier, BIN Commission Col. Lemuel E.A. Reeves told his officers that “a few months from now UNMIL will leave our country and security will be in our hands and those of other national security actors. We must be able to take up the mantle to perform as credibly as the Liberian people deserve.” “We should be looking at integrity, accountability and capacity building during these two days and we need to put aside our differences to make a very great impact for the future of the institution, ourselves and our country,” Col. Reeves said. For his part, the head of the United Nations Police in Liberia (UNPOL), Gregory J. Hinds, said, “It is time for government to come out with a complete plan and benchmark that will encourage the international community to fully support our transitional plan, before UNMIL’s withdrawal on June 30, 2016.” “You need to do it, so that you may assume responsibility, development and implementation of your transitional plan, which should include BIN and other security agencies that are responsible for border migration management, to make them more effective and efficient to contribute meaningfully to the future of the country,” the UNPOL boss suggested. Admonishing the participants, Hinds in a very soft tone told the BIN officers, “I urge you to remain an effective, efficient and reliable immigration service. It is your responsibility to discuss honestly your strengths, weaknesses and also think on what steps are needed for the BIN’s sustainability.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)