As the nation witnesses the removal and reshuffling of several high profile government officials, some Liberians, particularly employees of the Justice Ministry, have expressed fear for their safety wondering when the Ministry’s new leadership will be announced,. Expressing their misgivings, they want to remind President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of the four top empty seats in the Justice Ministry, the government department responsible for the enforcement of law and order and the administration of justice in the country.The four top vacant positions at the Ministry include the Minister, the Deputy Minister for Administration, the Deputy Minister for Qualification and the Assistant Minister for Correction.According to our investigation, the Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, Cllr. Benedict Sarnor, is relatively acting in all the positions and running the Ministry in consultation with the Solicitor General, Cllr. Betty Lamin-Blamo.Some Liberians yesterday told the Daily Observer that the vacancies at the top echelons of the Ministry, if not filled soon, have the propensity to tilt the statutory mandate of that government department. These concerned citizens are keenly aware that effectual leadership at the helm is required for the Justice Ministry to carry out its chief responsibilities to enforce the law, defend the interests of the country, ensure public safety against foreign and domestic threats and provide unitary leadership in preventing and controlling crime and punishing those guilty of unlawful behavior.Madam Musuly Morrison and Mr. Jenkins Nah said separately that the absence of the Attorney General and other key officials at the Justice Ministry would undercut the rule of law, jeopardize the maintenance of peace and security, sustainable development, and the protection of human rights.However, the spokesperson of the Concerned Workers of the Justice Ministry, who is known only as ‘Scarface’, indicated that the prolonged vacancies of the top seats at the Ministry would not only slow down the access to justice but also delay the process of fair play and justice in the country.It may be recalled that former Justice Minister Christian Tah resigned a month ago. Earlier, Cllr. Whetonia Dixon-Barnes and Madam Victoria Leigh-Sherman were relieved of their posts as Deputy Ministers for Administration and Qualification, respectively, as well as Assistant Minister for Correction, Hilary Sackor.Justice Minister Tah, in her resignation letter, said she could not be the Minister of Justice and not supervise the operations of the security agencies under her Ministry.The letter cited her lack of independence to investigate allegations of fraud against the National Security Agency, which is headed by Mr. Fumba Sirleaf, son of the President.Minister Tah also said it had become “unbearable” to continue as Minister amid “determination to systemically undermine and gut the portfolio of relevance and effectiveness.”In a brief statement issued later, the Executive Mansion said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had “received and accepted the resignation” of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General. There is no hint of who the President might be considering to fill these top positions at the Ministry of Justice.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Recognising the importance of agriculture in decreasing the level of poverty, Food For The Poor on Wednesday donated agricultural tools to 81 farmers, as Agriculture Month is being observed in Guyana.Among the items handed over to farmers at the organisation’s Festival City, South Ruimveldt Gardens, Georgetown location were spades, cutlasses, honey extractors, files and even land tillers.The grave importance that agriculture plays in reducing poverty was pointed out by Senior Project Manager Andrea Benjamin.According to her, “in terms of reducing poverty, agriculture is very important so Food For The Poor in our mandate to help to alleviate poverty will continue to support the agricultural sector”.Further, she mentioned how grateful the organization was to be able to assistFood For The Poor Senior Project Manager Andrea Benjamin hands over the farming tools to farmersfarmers. The organisation, Benjamin noted, has been supporting the agricultural sector for a number of years, since it is cognisant of its importance. “We have patterned our support in recognition of diversification hence we are working now to empower the beekeepers in Guyana. We want farmers to start looking at alternative sources of income other than cash crop cultivation,” she added.The Project Manager disclosed that Food For The Poor was also “looking at mechanisation, equipping farmers with the necessary equipment that they can make farming easier”.A few of the recipients which included six farmers’ groups from Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Four (Demerara Mahaica) noted how helpful the tools would be in lessening their workload.Rhonda Boyce, a shadehouse farmer in Region Three, said the 10 farmers in that group would be very happy for the tools.Jermain David, also from Region Three, said he was certain that the equipment would help to alleviate the workload and thanked the organisation for its continuous support.Meanwhile, Linden Stewart of Region Four noted how happy he was for the donation, especially the honey extractor. According to him, the tool comes in a timely manner as this is the period when honey extraction begins. “Many beekeepers would have been looking to borrow extractors from other beekeepers and having to wait their turn before they can get to extract their honey.”Grace Williams, also of Region Four, who is part of a women farmers group, on the East Coast of Demerara explained, “We are going back to the land like the President (David Granger) would have advised. Food is important to all of us (and) we have the space, so we are going to work to get that done,”This year, Agriculture Month is being held under the theme “Shaping Agriculture for a Green Economy”.