Atty. Woods wants the country’s forest remain preserved.Human Rights activist, Attorney Samuel Kofi Woods, has challenged the Liberian government to do what is right, or else “take me to a court of competent jurisdiction to answer for my stewardship.”Atty. Woods’ challenge was contained in a statement he issued yesterday as a rejoinder to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s recent assertion, insinuating that he must take responsibility for any wrongs at the Ministry of Public Works (MPW) during his tenure.The former Minister of Public Works recently urged President Sirleaf to take responsibility for National Oil Company of Liberia’s (NOCAL) woes, which has plunged NOCAL into financial crisis.“I fully agree and commend President Sirleaf for her response to my recent comments on NOCAL intimating that “she takes responsibility for what happens in all ministries and agencies of her government, “and I should take full responsibility for what happened at the MPW during my tenure, even if I was not directly involved,” Woods noted.Woods said he has not, and would not shy away from any wrong that he may have done as Minister of Public Works.“I have repeatedly said both in public and in private, and in my various communications to the President that I stand ready for any scrutiny. I implore and challenge the government to do what is right and take me to a court of competent jurisdiction to answer for my stewardship,” Woods said in a strongly-worded defensive statement.He, however, expressed gratitude that Liberia is reaching the point where Liberians can collectively end impunity and ensure that the government accounts to the people for her stewardship, both past and present.For him, he said Liberia appears to be ushering into the age of accountability.In his recent comment, Woods urged the Liberian government to ensure that all public officials – past (he included) and present —submit to similar (accountability) processes without discrimination.He believes that the failure of the government to exhaust the process of accountability is a neglect of its duty, which encourages impunity and subject individuals in government to collective guilt.“I will not be perturbed. Liberians will seek justice and demand what is right! No smear campaign will stand the test of me as I maintain my position on NOCAL,” Woods vowed.The President, in her recent address to the nation, announced that the head of NOCAL will be honorably retired and severance benefits paid out.To that assertion, Atty. Woods disagrees, believing that a full management audit must be conducted in the NOCAL saga to include financial, procurement amongst others.He said Liberians need to know why a once potentially viable entity such as NOCAL has so spectacularly collapsed.“The response, in the immediate aftermath of what appears to be the latest evidence of the inescapable failure of a national asset is inadequate, is limited, is insufficient and is disconcerting, if not out-rightly disingenuous.”When the President openly vindicates rather than demand accountability, she sends the wrong signal to a public, which now views our government’s actions with much consternation and deep mistrust,” Atty. Woods, who was once a Labor Minister asserted.He said information on the situation at NOCAL was well known to the Administration of President Sirleaf a long time ago, “but the President chose to look the other way and do nothing.”“The full scale of the consequences of NOCAL’s decline,” he said, “must not be lost but it must be brought to the full view of the public and responsibility taken to address collateral damage to innocent citizens and institutions.”He stressed the need for Liberians to ensure that students benefitting from NOCAL’s scholarship programs are given special consideration.“We need to deal with our national human resource deficit and therefore cannot afford to let them become victims of this (embarrassment),” the rights activist noted.“I therefore, propose that the recommendation on severance and retirement payment be suspended until a full report on NOCAL is submitted to the nation through an independent process. The Board bears equal responsibility and therefore may not be the competent authority to conduct a house cleaning exercise.”He added that accountability institutions in Liberia, including the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC), the General Auditing Commission (GAC), and the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) should take the lead, move in immediately and act consistently with their respective mandates to bring the ongoing situation at NOCAL to its logical conclusion.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
In a bid to formalise relations it shares with the National Toshaos Council (NTC) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Natural Resources Ministry on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formally establish relations.The MoU will also pave the way for the Ministry to establish and maintain an effective communication channel with the Indigenous communities, through – but not limited to – the NTC and therefore promote tits programme as it relates to Guyana’s Indigenous stakeholders and other interested parties, and to workNatural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman (seated second from right) among executives from the NTC and WWFtogether on any other issues as may be mutually agreed upon between the parties.The collaboration between those two parties will ensure the mandate as set out in Part IV, Section 41 of the Amerindian Act 2006 as it relates to the areas of good governance and the preparing of strategies and plans for the protection, conservation and sustainable management of Indigenous community lands.Meanwhile, the MoU between the Natural Resources Ministry and the WWF serves as a renewal of a previous one.“It will now continue the working relationship between the Cooperative Government of the Republic of Guyana and World Wildlife Fund Inc, and extend it to incorporate specific relations between WWF; Ministry of the Presidency – Department of Environment (DoE); Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR); the Environmental Protection Agency; Guyana Forestry Commission; Guyana Geology and Mines Commission; Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission; Protected Areas Commission, Office of Climate Change, Department of Fisheries, Non-Governmental Organisations and Community-Based Organisations for the implementation of the WWF Guianas programme of activities in Guyana,” the Ministry explained in a statement.Attending the event were the Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman; NTC Chairman Toshao Nicholas Fredericks; Director of Environment, Ndibi Schwiers; WWF Guianas Representative Laurens Gomes and a few other officers.Trotman, who gave the feature address, alluded to the Ministry’s commitment to its motto to “Explore, Develop, Sustain” and said that it was recognised that these values could not be realised without strong partnerships. He said that it was upon this foundation that the MoUs with the WWF and the NTC will rest, since these agencies are recognised as partners who care about the sustainable management and development of the sector.The Minister also noted the productive engagements that the Ministry has had with both the WWF and the NTC in the past. The WWF has been a consistent partner and has provided financial, administrative, institutional and technical assistance and support to key natural resource agencies.
There were no surprises in the returns of the Mat Su races after Tuesday’s vote count was tallied. Unofficial general election results show that the Matanuska Valley’s Republican incumbents kept their jobs after the voting was done on Tuesday.Speaking at Anchorage’s Election Central, House 12’s Shelly Hughes says she’s looking forward to the next legislature. “I think it’s a good night, I think that the future is bright for Alaska. That there’s work on the gasline, there’s work on bringing down the budget. And we’ve got a good team that’s coming together to be able to do that down in Juneau. Still watching that governor’s race. I think that is the one everyone is watching.”‘] The governor’s race is too close to call yet, although Republican incumbents Wes Keller, Lynn Gattis and Mark Neuman will return to the state house. Mark Neuman said the wins were the result of hard work.“I think we’re doing okay in representing the views of the people. I don’t know if I ever really expect anything. I just work hard and we end up where we end up.”Newcomers to the House’s Valley delegation are Republican Jim Colver, who won a three way race to win House 9. Colver thanked his volunteers, saying“Yeah, I’ve got a core of folks, you know, working Alaskans. Valley people, Valdez people, we like to hunt and fish. I can relate, we’re all Alaskans. They want a guy like me, that you know, has got a track record, I think. I like to solve problems and build roads. That’s what I plan to do. You know, it looks like I’m going to be in a good sized majority to work with. We got our work cut out for us with the budget, though. “ And Republican Cathy Tilton won her first state election to take the House 12 seat vacated by former Representative Bill Stoltze.Stoltze handily won his race for the new Senate F seat, besting Democratic challenger Pat Chesbro. Stoltze said he’s ready to take it on. “A lot of challenges, looking forward. I’m glad our full Valley delegation got a return trip. If any one of us would have lost, it would be a big loss for the whole team.” Incumbent Republican Senator Mike Dunleavy defeated independent challenger Warren Keogh, to keep his Senate E seat in Juneau.