The coinciding absence of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Boakai from the country is raising eyebrows.Human rights lawyer Cllr. Tiawon S. Gongloe, says the absence of both the President and her Vice President “demonstrates a lack of coordination and makes the country vulnerable and insecure.”“This is a very important governance issue, because the Constitution provides for the president to work in consultation with the vice president, but if both of them left the country simultaneously, then where is the coordination between them,” Cllr. Gongloe wondered.President Sirleaf is currently visiting India and later China, while her Vice President, Joe Boakai, is in the United States of America.Gongloe raised the concern yesterday at a press conference held at his law office in Monrovia.“What is the compelling national issue that she could not wait for her vice president to come back home before making her trip?” the rights lawyer asked. “Is it that her Vice President did not contact her or what’s going on? How can our leaders treat us like this? They need to stop that immediately,”Gongloe chided.“What is so important that she could not designate somebody else to go to China or India since her vice president was not in the country? They left us vulnerable but we are fortunate because we have friendly neighbours,” added Cllr Gongloe.“Their decision is totally wrong. Even that cannot happen in the US for the President and Vice President to leave their people and the country at the same time. Nobody should play with our security because we are a fragile state,” Gongloe warned.He said though President Sirleaf left the country in the care of her Defence Minister, the minister cannot make any important decision in case of an aggression.He said, “While they are away, if anything happens, who does she expect to take action? Is it the person she leaves in charge who has no authority to make appointments or sack anyone?”According to him, Liberia is considered a “fragile state” and there is a need for both the President and Vice President to coordinate their activities before they leave the country in order to prevent the country from slipping into chaos.He said with the 2017 elections at hand, the leaders need to do everything possible to protect the peace. “The 2017 election is very important because it would be the first time for one party to turn over to another party,” Gongloe pointed out.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Image Courtesy: USCGAfter searching a total of over 5,000 square-nautical miles, the United States Coast Guard has suspended the search operation for a cruise ship crewmember who went missing from the cruise ship Liberty of the Seas on April 24.The search for Norman DeCastro was halted at 12:42 pm local time on Tuesday after the authorities searched the area some 170 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas.Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Eighth District command center in New Orleans received a report on Monday that the 39-year-old Filipino crewmember was missing aboard the cruise ship, operated by Miami-based cruise line Royal Caribbean International.The USCG said that the was last seen at 10:30 pm, Sunday, on the ship’s closed-circuit television.Involved in the search efforst were HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crews from Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi and Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile, and the coast guard cutters Manowar and Pompano.
One of the on-reserve homes flooded intentionally in 2011.Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsA multi-million dollar flood settlement has stalled after some evacuees claim people are making false claims to get money they don’t deserve, APTN News has learned.Lawyer Sabrina Lombardi said a Court of Queen’s Bench judge will be asked later this month to reopen the application process for compensation for personal property.The step is needed to determine who is a real claimant and who is not, Lombardi confirmed in a telephone interview from McKenzie Lake law firm in Toronto.“We will tell the court we hoped the payments would be starting to flow by now but we’ve had this hiccup,” she explained.“The class members were very concerned that…there were people…that maybe either weren’t proper members of the four First Nations or weren’t really ever residing on reserve.”The $90-million settlement won from the Manitoba and federal governments was to be distributed by the end of 2018 but now Lombardi said that won’t happen until the spring of 2019.“It’s not necessarily true that everybody that put forward a claim is eligible,” she said.“The two criteria they had to show was membership in one of the four First Nations and the fact that they resided in Manitoba in 2011.”The delay affects up to 7,000 people from Pinaymootang (Fairford), Little Saskatchewan, Dauphin River and Lake St. Martin, she said.People in those communities had their lives disrupted – and some remain in limbo – after the Manitoba government diverted floodwater to spare more serious damage in the nearby capital of Winnipeg.Area farmland and lakefront cottages were also destroyed.Flood victims sued the provincial and federal governments for damages after compensation was denied.The settlement was approved by a judge in January 2018 and applies to personal belongings – not communal property like housing, infrastructure and land.Compensation for those larger community losses is still being discussed.“Until we can determine who is, in fact, eligible to receive the money we obviously can’t dole it out,” Lombardi added, “and so we’re going back to the court.“There’s a large number of people whose claims aren’t complete enough to make a determination on.”She said a judge will be asked to approve the move that will ask claimants to re-submit claim forms and supporting documents.Eligible adults would receive “disruption payments” of between $42,000 and $67,000 while children would get 10 per cent of that.Still, being asked to wait longer is more hardship for flood victims, said Grant Louis of Little Saskatchewan.“People are still affected by this flood,” he said, listing problems like “sickness, poverty, depression, loneliness and addiction.“Low-income families are stressing and these payments would really help out.”Lombardi didn’t know how many claims were fake but said claimants would see more money in the end because of interest accruing on the money in the firstname.lastname@example.org