Traditional fishermen are Liberians who are engaged in small scale fishing in communities located along the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. They depend on the practice as a trade as well as to feed their families, and 1,210 of them want support from the Liberian government and other public and non-governmental organizations in the sector.According to Mr. Wle Wle Kofa, chairman of the Traditional Fishermen Association of Liberia, (TFAL), members from West Point to New Kru Town and other areas that border the Atlantic Ocean are in need of material support.“Our members are hard hit by the coastal erosion that has affected West Point, New Kru Town, Colonel West and Popo Beach and I think it is about time the government and organizations in the sector turn to support our members,” Mr. Kofa said in an interview yesterday in Monrovia.He said TFAL has members from Cape Palmas, Maryland County to Monrovia, Montserrado County and they all suffer from the increasing coastal erosion that has affected Liberia in the last couple of years.“Our members live in poor and extremely poor communities and their children hardly get better education,” Kofa said, adding, “I think this sector has been ignored for a long time and it deserves some attention by the government and non-government organizations in the sector.”Kofa explained that traditional Liberian fishermen use smaller canoes for their work hence are unable to raise themselves above the poverty line. As a result their children suffer greatly, said Kofa. “Many times male children of fishermen follow their fathers to do the very job that has kept them down for so long,” he said, adding that, “without financial support that could help them purchase bigger canoes for large catches, the situation remains the same year after year.”The females, he said, to a large extent end up with children at an early age, “and this is not good for the country. The women later get involved in drying and selling fish at the various markets and the cycle continues.”Kofa made an appeal to the Liberian government not to forget the sector and those who spend their lives making a living in the only trade they know. “This particular industry has been practiced by our people from time immemorial and so we must find means to grow it.”Mrs. Betty Nyanti, a mother of eight, is the head of women whose husbands engage in small scale fishing in Colonel West. “I have been able to educate seven of my kids and only the 8th child followed his father to become a fisherman,” she said, “it’s been hard but I am thankful that my husband Stephen has been of great help.”She said her husband is sometimes fortunate to make a huge catch but “very often we sell some and use some for the family.” She admitted it is a hand to mouth occupation because at times, “Stephen returns with nothing.” She said the majority of her women friends have not been lucky.“Many children, particularly the women, don’t really get good education and they follow their mothers to sell in the market,” she said. She hoped the sector can be improved.Many Liberians residing in coastal areas of the country are involved in small scale fishing from Cape Mount, Grand Bassa, Grand Kru, Sinoe, Maryland and Montserrado counties, for what Mr. Kofa describes as ‘fishing to survive,’ and are in need of government and partners’ support to raise their occupation to a better level.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Gbartala, Liberia soybean observation demonstration plot sponsored by The Apostolic Pentecostal Church and Church Aid, Inc. of Liberia in collaboration with EYN church in Nigeria and SIL.New journeys often begin with tentative “first steps” as evidenced by an on-going initiative of The Apostolic Pentecostal Church and Church Aid, Inc. Liberia to explore soybean as a new crop option for their smallholder farmer countrymen. The Liberian initiative is an outgrowth of a September 2016 study tour sponsored by the Elgin, Illinois, USA based Church of the Brethren for small delegations from Nigeria and Liberia to visit SIL’s SMART FARM in Ghana. Dr. Dennis Thompson, PI of SIL’s MRA-10 “Seed Systems,” was the project leader.The delegation members from the two West African nations bonded while in Ghana and a unique collaboration was born. The EYN church colleagues from Nigeria, having certain soybean experience and agronomic knowledge, offered to assist their Liberian counterparts. The immediate challenge was to determine how best to move forward in Liberia in view of the challenge of doing so with limited technical and financial resources.SIL’s recommendation to the collaborators was to initially establish a few soybean observation plots. Persons to be engaged with soybean introduction in Liberia as well as smallholder farmers simply needed to see growing soybean plants and have ongoing opportunities to observe how the plants grow and develop – from planting throughout harvest. A demonstration of this type was intended to be only a “conversation starter” with common Liberians and various organizations seeking to improve the livelihoods of Liberian farmers.To that end, Nigerian and Liberian collaborations began and a demonstration plot was planted in the central city region of Gbatala. In addition to the central demonstration site, “small, small experiments, just a handful of seeds in a couple of areas” were also planted according to the Bishop, Dr. Rev. Kortu K. Brown, who participated in the 2016 study tour to SIL’s SMART Farm and has collaborated with Dr. Thompson on agricultural development initiatives since 2014.The Rev. Dr. Brown welcomes additional collaboration discussions that might allow this initial effort to be further developed with respect to exploring how soybean might become a potential cash crop for limited resource Liberian smallholder farmers.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Attack on doctors…victim says Police urged her to “drop” assault reportThe Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) Administration is currently negotiating with the Guyana Police Force (GPF) for the opening of an outpost at the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH), according to Regional Executive Officer (REO) Dennis Jaikaran.This comes one day after a doctor at that health institution was assaulted by a patient.Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence meets with West Demerara Regional Hospital staffJaikaran said the Administration was in the process of negotiating a deal with the Police Force to have regular patrols at both the Leonora Diagnostic Centre and the WDRH with the possibility of opening an outpost. He noted that the assault of a doctor at the WDRH raised serious concerns about security at the Region’s hospital; hence, the reason for an outpost.“With the (Police) Outpost, we will be able to improve security at the hospitals and prevent future incidents. The Police would also be working with the security guards at the hospital,” he said.Regional Health Officer, Dr Niall Utham told Guyana Times that the matter was being investigated and they met with the Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence on Tuesday.Lawrence said she would oppress for legal action against those who recently assaulted West Dem Hospital staff and destroyed some of its property.Lawrence made the disclosure on Tuesday during a meeting with doctors and nurses of the Region Three hospital at her Brickdam, Georgetown office.“This matter will not just slide; I want the staff to feel safe and secure…their safety comes first,” Lawrence assured the team during the meeting with the distraught WDRH employees.Dr Shonnette Jack, who worked on the evening of the assault, told Lawrence that verbal and physical attacks on WDRH staff by drunken and impatient patients and their families were routine on weekends and holidays.During Sunday night’s physical altercation, Dr Jack said there were “10 persons fighting in the Emergency Room for about 25 minutes”. She said during the melee, chairs were being hurled in the direction of the WDRH staff. Police ignored repeated calls for help, Dr Jack emphasised.Forced to visit the station on her own, Dr Jack said Police refused to take her statement and later “tried to intimidate me to drop the story”.“I am totally fed up and discouraged. It doesn’t feel good working anymore,” admitted young Dr Pooran Outar, who said he has “countless experiences” being attacked by irate patients and their disgruntled families.The assaults on WDRH staff are not confined to weekends or to the Emergency Room (ER), Medical Superintendent, Dr Bibi Jabar and Regional Health Officer (RHO), Dr Naail Uthman confirmed.Minister Lawrence and a team will visit the embattled WDRH today to hold further discussions with the worried staff. Assistant Regional Executive Officer (AREO) Jennifer Ferreira-Douglas will also meet with the firm providing security for the WDRH and D Division (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) Commander Leslie James to raise the issue of Police’s non-response to calls for help from staff of the hospital.As an interim measure, staff want proper locks on all of the hospital doors and a designated safe-place in the event that any future attacks become extremely life-threatening.Following the visit by Minister Lawrence, it is expected that security will be boosted for the WDRH staff.According to reports, the incident occurred around 20:30h when a male, middle-aged patient arrived at the Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Unit complaining of pain in his left arm. He was then attended to by a male doctor, who informed him that he would require an x-ray and referred him to a private institution, since the service was not available at the time.The patient, in his drunken state, began hurling indecent language at the doctor and then proceeded to ‘chuck’ him. After which another patient observed the incident and intervened. Following the intervention, the relatives of the doctor’s assailant joined in and a scuffle ensued.Security was unable to control the situation, and the Police were called in and the parties involved were all taken to the Vreed-en-Hoop Police Station, where statements were taken and the alleged assailant was sent for medical treatment at the Diamond hospital.