Liberia’s Leadership Succession at Risk

first_imgThis newspaper, the Daily Observer, has often complained of the seeming lack of coordination within the Liberian government.The erudite counselor and human rights activist, Tiawan Gongloe, acknowledged as much when, in an article that appeared on the back page of yesterday’s Daily Observer, he said that the absence of both President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her Vice President, Joseph N. Boakai, from the country at the same time “demonstrates a lack of coordination and makes the country vulnerable and insecure.”Those were strong words. But Cllr. Gongloe would have leveled a far stronger criticism at the government had he realized that there were two more alarming absences. Both the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alex Tyler, constitutionally the second in the line of succession after the Vice President, and the President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, Armah Jallah, are also out of the country!And who was left in charge? Well, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, whom the President left in charge this time—an assignment to which she has appointed him on numerous occasions.But! If anything happened in Liberia, Defense Minister Samukai would not be constitutionally eligible to accede to the Presidency because after the Speaker, the next in line to the succession is the Dean of the Cabinet, who is the Foreign Minister. ButLiberia has no Foreign Minister at this time, since the resignation a few weeks ago of Foreign Minister Augustine Ngafuan in order to seek political office in the 2017 presidential and general elections. Yes, there is an Acting Foreign Minister in the person of Mr. B. Elias Shoniyin, whose Nigerian-born father, according to unconfirmed reports, is a naturalized Liberian.It may be recalled that in December 1930, when in the midst of the Fernando Po Crisis, President Charles D.B. King and his Vice President, Allen Yancy, resigned, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Johnnie N. Lewis, was away in Sinoe County.With no airplane available to transport him immediately to Monrovia, the Joint Session of Legislature decided to install Secretary of State Edwin J. Barclay as President of Liberia.In the absence of the President, Vice President, Speaker and Senate Pro-Tempore, would the Legislature feel comfortable naming the Acting Secretary of State as President of Liberia?We give this analysis to underscore the critical importance of coordination in any government. In the Executive Branch of the Liberian government, there is one particular office that is responsible for coordination, and that is the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs (MOS). This office should definitely know of the travel schedules of both the President and the Vice President, and all the key players in the Executive Branch—the Cabinet and heads and deputy heads of all state enterprises. Did the MOS know that the Vice President was traveling to the United States and how long he would be away?The MOS surely must maintain the yearly travel schedule of the President of Liberia. This schedule should be regularly updated and coordinated with that of the Vice President so as to ensure that at no time will these two top officials of government be away from the country at the same time. The reason is the matter of constitutional succession. That is what vice presidents are for—to stand by in case something happens to the President. When President E.J. Roye was assassinated in 1871, his Vice President, James Shivring Smith, succeeded him. On July 23, 1971, when President W.V.S. Tubman died in the London Clinic following prostate surgery, Vice President William R. Tolbert was sworn in as President of Liberia. V.P Tolbert had been advised not to leave the capital until it was conclusively confirmed that President Tubman’s surgery was successful. But as soon as the Vice President learned that the surgery was successfully done, he left Monrovia for his Bellefanai farm in Bong County, about 140 miles into the interior. But when later that morning things turned for the worse and President Tubman bled to death, the Vice President was immediately sent for. He arrived in Monrovia later that evening and was escorted to the Cabinet Room of the State Department (now Foreign Ministry). There, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Richard A. Henries, swore Tolbert in as President of Liberia.We think it is a dangerous thing for the President and the Vice President to be away from the country at the same time. Serious constitutional issues are involved here. This should not have happened and should never happen again. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Investors Willing to Pump US$9 Billion in Hub Initiative

first_imgInvestors have expressed a willingness to pump over US$9 billion in the Government’s Global Logistics Hub initiative.This was disclosed by Chairman of the Logistics and Investment Task Force in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. Eric Deans, who noted that with this initiative, Jamaica has the opportunity “to attract the best investors, contractors and developers.” Dr. Deans was addressing a Trade and Global Logistics Hub Luncheon Forum, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Jamaica, at the Spanish Court Hotel, on April 17.“By attracting businesses to our hub, we will allow them to fully integrate into the global trading system (which) will provide tens of thousands of jobs and in the process we will establish Jamaica as the fourth global logistics hub; the other three being Singapore, Rotterdam and Dubai,” he said.The Government’s initiative is aimed at taking advantage of the anticipated increase in maritime activities from the expansion of the Panama Canal, which is expected to be completed in 2015.Portfolio Minister, Hon. Anthony Hylton, has been promoting the Government’s logistics hub initiative through several missions overseas, which has captured the interest of potential international investors who have expressed a readiness to partner with the Government, and invest in the initiative.Recently, the Minister led a Government/Private Sector mission to the Middle East, which he described as a “phenomenal success”, during a press briefing held at his offices in Kingston on April 16. The seven-member delegation met with several influential players in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, mainly in aviation, logistics and financing.The Minister has already engaged missions to Panama, the Netherlands, China, and Singapore.In the meantime, Mr. Deans informed that investors who have responded to the tender for the development of the Caymanas Economic Zone (CEZ) project are currently being interviewed. This process should continue through to next week.The development of the CEZ is one of several components of the Government’s initiative. The zone will operate as a multi-use facility catering to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT), manufacturing, and agro-processing sectors. Work is scheduled to begin in May.Dr. Deans said many large companies are looking to establish their regional hubs in Jamaica, and as such, “we’re looking at creating special economic zones all over the country.”“So far, we have identified about 13, but as more and more investors come in with particular requirements, we anticipate that more economic zones will need to be developed,” he said.The other elements of the Government’s global logistics hub initiative are: dredging of the Kingston Harbour; expanding the port facility at Fort Augusta and Gordon Cay; establishing a Dry Dock facility at Jackson Bay, Clarendon; establishing a transshipment commodity port facility near Yallahs, St. Thomas; and developing an air cargo and passenger facility at Vernamfield, in Clarendon.The initiative was unveiled last year and is one of the planks on which Government intends to grow the Jamaican economy.By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporterlast_img read more

Nielsen Expositions Up For Sale

first_imgNielsen Expositions generated $183 million in revenue in 2011, or about 3 percent of Nielsen Holdings’ total, according to the company’s annual report.Nielsen reported fourth quarter and year-end results last month, posting 3-percent and 1-percent revenue gains overall. Its expo segment rose 2 percent for the year, but took a 19-percent hit in Q4. The company attributed the loss to the timing of its shows.Among the unit’s major holdings are ASD, the Hospitality Design Expo (HD Expo), the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), the Outdoor Retailer Summer and Winter Markets and Interbike. According to its annual report, Nielsen Expositions has more than 40 events spread across 20 industries and connects 300,000 buyers and sellers each year.The story comes just two weeks after FOLIO: sister mag Expo learned Cygnus Business Media had put its agricultural group up for sale.Credit Suisse Group AG has been named as the bank working with Nielsen, according to Bloomberg.com.Stay with FOLIO: for updates.Stay updated on the latest FOLIO: news, follow us on Facebook & Twitter! Nielsen Holdings NV has hired an investment bank to explore a sale of its tradeshow and event wing, Nielsen Expositions, multiple sources are reporting.Nielsen Expositions President David Loechner declined comment.According to various sources, the parent company wishes to concentrate on its core audience measurement business.last_img read more

Rohingya camp fire damages 14 houses

first_imgRohingya-burningA fire that broke out at a Rohingya camp in Chakmarkul area in Teknaf upazila early Wednesday burned down 14 houses, UNB reported from Cox’s Bazar.The fire incident occurred around 3:30am on the western block of the camp.Locals and police doused the flame after one and half hours of frantic efforts around 5am, said Dipankar Karmakar, sub-inspector of Whykong Police out-post.The police said the fire might have broken out following gas cylinder explosion.However, no casualty was reported.Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Rabiul Hasan said the affected people were shifted to another camp and the burnt houses will be reconstructed with the help of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs).last_img read more