GTT makes $2M donation to GuyExpo

first_imgGTT on Friday again threw in its support for celebrations to mark the nation’s jubilee anniversary programme, this time through the presentation of a million cheque to the GuyExpo 2016 Committee at the National Exhibition Centre, Sophia.GTT Director (Marketing) Daniel Jilesen hands over the cheque to Chairman of the GuyExpo Committee Dawn HolderChairman of the GuyExpo Committee Dawn Holder who accepted the cheque on behalf of the Committee expressed great satisfaction at GTT’s continued support.GTT’s sponsorship of GuyExpo comes two weeks after the company donated $1 million to the Telecommunication and Tourism Ministry, in support of Guyana Festival Fashion Extravaganza – one of the events planned as part of the golden jubilee.GTT’s Director (Marketing) Daniel Jilesen stated that as a company, GTT is pleased to contribute in a major and demonstrative way to the national and significant celebration in the country’s history.He also indicated that GTT will participate as an exhibitor at the expo, adding that visitors can look forward to very exciting offers. The company promises to announce several new initiatives in the weeks to come.last_img read more


PPP willing to negotiate outside the courts − Rohee

first_imgTied municipality, NDCsThe People’s Progressive Party/C (PPP/C) said Monday it was willing to meet with the A Partnership forPPP General Secretary Clement RoheeNational Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Government half-way and hold negotiations outside the courts, to have the deadlock on a Mayor for the Municipality of Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini) and chairpersons for the five Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) matters ongoing on the tied Local Authority Area (LAA), settled.General Secretary of the PPP Clement Rohee said the opposition has decided on this course after the interest of the people was taken into consideration.Speaking to journalists, Rohee said his party recognize the plights of residents in these tied LAAs, and the absence of functional councils since the March 18, 2016 elections are causing.Another factor is the failure of the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM) to timely manage its constitutional responsibilities of ensuring by-elections that statutorily are due in areas that have tied LAAs, Rohee said.“Equally important was the decision by the Granger Government, to impose and execute their solution, instead of negotiating,” he said, adding that this position is being maintained despite the ministerial appointment is in contravention of the laws of Guyana.Rohee said the government has already rejected the PPP/C’s proposal for a rotation of the Mayorship in the case of the Mabaruma Municipality or the Chairmanship of the five NDCs and instead, imposed its own office bearers.He said despite this, the PPP/C is again open to negotiations to iron out an amicable solution including a sharing of the position of principal office bearers in the tied LAA’s.“The party, in the interest of those persons is signaling its willingness to re-engage in negotiation with Government to have a resolution”.According to Rohee, his party’s Chief Whip Gail Teixeira had met with Government’s Chief Whip Amna Ally on the issue.Further contact was made with Ally recently to set up a date for the re-engagement, however, Ally has indicated that she will not be available until after June 11.He said rather than wait on the court, the party thought it could resolve this issue because it is the people who are affected.The PPP/C had moved to the courts to stop Communities Minister Bulkan from illegally appointing a Mayor for the Town of Mabaruma as well as the Chairpersons in five Local Authority Areas in which the PPP/C and the APNU/AFC had the same number of seats after LGE.Bulkan had appointed Kervin Crawford as Chairman of the Gibraltar-Fyrish NDC; Audrey Thomas as Chairman of the Industry-Plaisance NDC; Peter Livingstone as Chairman of the Malgre Tout-Meer Zorgen NDC; Carol Nurse as Chairman of the Woodlands-Bel Air NDC; Gershon Clarke as Chairman of the Woodlands-Farm NDC and Rupert Henry Smith as Mayor of Mabaruma.However, the Court quashed these appointments and ruled in favour of the PPP/C on the grounds that they were contrary to and in violation of Municipal and District Councils Act Chapter 28:01 and the Local Government Act Chapter 28:02.Justice Diana Insanally said the decision “is in excess of and without jurisdiction, made in bad faith, is unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, based upon irrelevant and improper considerations, mala fide, malicious, vindictive, unlawful, ultravires, null, void and of no legal effect”.And although the High Court had ordered that a date be set to host by-elections in the tied local authority areas, this is yet to be done.PPP Chief Whip Teixeira had expressed concerns that the Guyana Elections Commission and the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change Government continued to disregard the rule of law.Furthermore, she chided GECOM for abdicating its constitutional responsibilities of ensuring each local authority area has its leadership installed.“GECOM must be reminded that the elections process of the March 18 Local Government Elections is at this point incomplete until the by-elections of the tied local authority areas are concluded,” she stated, noting that GECOM has a constitutional right to ensure these elections are held.Earlier this month, GECOM said regarding the election of a Mayor for Mabaruma, Section 13(6) of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01, states that, “the Town Clerk shall appoint a date not later than December 28 in the same year for the election of the Mayor from the tied Candidates by the voters whose names appear on the register of voters, for the time being in force, for the city.”As it relates to the five NDCs, GECOM said Section 28(6) of the Local Government Act, Chapter 28:02 provides that, if there is no election of Chairman on account of an equality of votes cast by the councillors present, “the overseer shall immediately fix a day within the last 10 days of the year for the election” by the registered voters, for the election of a Chairman from the councillors receiving the equal votes.”In both instances, GECOM said it was still awaiting the notification for the date of the elections.last_img read more


PPP condemns Dilma Rousseff’s removal

first_imgIn light of the recent decision by Brazil’s Senate to vote in favour of removing Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff from office, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has voiced its disdain for the impeachment. “The PPP condemns the impeachment of former President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff by the parliamentary Opposition,” the Party noted in a press statement on Saturday.Rousseff was ousted for supposedly manipulating the country’s budget and was removed after 13 years in office. The PPP pointed out that her removal is “tantamount to a mockery of the democratic process” in Brazil as Rousseff had been elected to office by a majority of the Brazilian people.“The removal of the former President is nothing short of a parliamentary and judicial coup against the former President and her Workers’ Party which over the years have transformed the economy to a global economic powerhouse and which lifted millions of Brazilians out of the poverty threshold,” the PPP stated on Saturday, adding its concern over moves in neighbouring Venezuela to shorten the reign of President Nicolás Maduro.“The removal of Ms Rousseff raises some serious question regarding the role played by reactionary forces in the removal of governments which are perceived to be on the left of the ideological spectrum, especially when seen against the backdrop of ongoing attempts by forces hostile to President Maduro in Venezuela to remove him from power before the constitutionally due date,” the PPP pointed out.Bringing the issue closer to home, the Party referenced moves by international players in its early removal from office which greatly impacted upon Guyana’s future: “The PPP recalls its own experience in the early 1960’s when foreign vested interests in collaboration with local reactionary forces conspired to remove the democratically elected PPP Government from office with devastating consequences for the political, economic and social life of the country.”“The situation in Brazil represented a case where a ‘technical’ argument was advanced by the political Opposition to derail the democratic process which is clear violation of the expressed will of the Brazilian people who voted for her in democratic elections,” the PPP expressed.In this regard, the PPP says it joins with all progressive forces in extending solidarity with the former President and the Workers’ Party of Brazil on what could only be described as “a rape of democracy” in the country.The PPP stated that it is calling on the international community to unite and take note of the “unfortunate development” which it reiterated was an “assault on democracy in Brazil.”Rosseuff who had represented the left-leaning Workers’ Party has continued to deny the accusation against her which stated that under watch, funds were moved “between Government budgets,” a crime under Brazilian law.Some 61 Brazilian senators voted in favour to remove her from office, whereas only 20 voted against the measure. After she was suspended, an interim leader, Michel Temer had assumed office but has since been sworn in as President of the neighbouring republic.Reports stated that he will lead the country until January 1, 2019 when Rousseff’s term would have ended.last_img read more


AFC to petition Cabinet to keep embattled Ambassador

first_img…claims legal woes now a “spent conviction”The Foreign Affairs Ministry’s investigation into the veracity and gravity of the charges against Guyana’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Dr Shamir Ally, is still to be completed, but the Alliance For Change (AFC) is standing staunchly behind its member and will petition the Cabinet Council of Ministers to have him remain in his diplomatic posting.Guyana Times spoke with a reliable source close to the leadership of the AFC and was told that the party leader, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, will be looking to argue the case before Cabinet that Dr Ally’s legal woes in the United States of America should beDr Shamir Allyconsidered a “spent conviction”.A spent conviction refers to a penalty effectively being ignored on a person’s record given the time that has lapsed since the original charges were laid.This is the argument since the charges are now 14 years old and the party’s leadership is arguing that Dr Ally should not still be held liable or unworthy as Guyana’s Ambassador to Kuwait.The source has pointed out too that the party’s leadership, in making its case on behalf of Dr Ally, will point to the fact that he is a recipient of the highest award of the US Republican Party and will suggest that if this party saw Dr Ally as fit to receive the award despite his legal troubles, why should he be made to demit a ‘local’ diplomatic posting.According to reports, on May 11, 1994, Dr Ally received the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle Medal of Freedom from then US President George Bush for dedication, unwavering support, and as a prominent leader in the Republican Party –the highest honour the Republican members of the US Senate can bestow.The AFC, over the weekend, also in defence of its key supporter said since 2002, Dr Ally has continued to function unimpeded at very high levels in and out of the United States, voting at all national elections, city and town elections.At Indian Trail, North Carolina, Dr Ally was also sworn in to serve on six Town Boards and Committees from 2014 to December 2015.More recently, in February 2015, the North Carolina Secretary of State appointed Dr Ally as a Notary Public.The party was at the time adamant that Dr Ally was charged and required to pay a penalty by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and was not convicted of a crime.The AFC, over the weekend, issued a missive in defence of Dr Ally, denying he was the mastermind in the US fraud scheme and instead claimed he inherited the accounting system. The party said he “vehemently denied the charges, but agreed to pay the US$10,000 penalty under protest”.Dr Ally and his co-accused had copped an out-of-court plea deal with the SEC to pay fines ranging from US$10,000 to US$50,000.He was charged in 2002 by the Commission for “the dissemination of false financial information” using his company, Acrodyne.The Guyana diplomat and others were said to be “aware of numerous and significant problems with Acrodyne’s accounting controls, but failed to assure that Acrodyne’s financial transactions were accurately recorded”.According to the AFC’s statement, Dr Ally was charged jointly with two other senior executives of Acrodyne, but “instead of proceeding with a long and costly trial, the three professionals were strongly advised by that company’s Attorney-at-Law, Mr Steven Thomas, to make a deal with the SEC to pay fines without admission of guilt”.This was done, but Dr Ally, in denying culpability, said the financial practices for which he was charged were in place when he started working at the company.He accused the SEC of “making him a scapegoat since the accounting procedures he had worked with, he had inherited from his predecessors, and he has consistently iterated that he worked under close supervision”.Dr Ally, in continuing to deny guilt, said he was prevented access to the accounting records “which would have enabled him to substantially rebut the SEC’s 2002 charge”.The AFC said that Dr Ally was employed by Acrodyne for a short period, “from February 2, 1999 to May 9, 1999 as the Cost Accounting Manager… On May 10, 1999, he was promoted to Controller and he served in this position for 15 months up to July 10, 2000.”Dr Ally was fired from Acrodyne in July 2000, circumstances he blamed on a “power struggle, falling revenue/income & a depleting labour force” in the company.He was later charged along with two other Acrodyne executives, including its President in May 2002, by the SEC with civil action.Dr Ally, in seeking to provide an explanation, said Acrodyne used to prepare quarterly financial reports “based on some actual, and some estimated figures”.He said the company would, at the end of the year, do an annual stock taking and these reports would be audited and sent to the SEC.He maintains that this system of preparing records based in part on estimates “was Standard Operating Procedure at Acrodyne”.In March 2003, the SEC had ordered Acrodyne to cease and desist from future violations of the anti-fraud, periodic reporting, and books and records provisions of the Exchange.last_img read more


Brazil, Tanzania Win Street Child World Cup

first_imgTeams Tanzania (boys) and Brazil (girls) lifted the 2014 Street Child World Cup (SCWC) trophies; but on an incredible day at Fluminense stadium last Sunday, all of the players were crowned champions.Team Liberia joined with all of the other countries, including the USA, Pakistan and Indonesia, to celebrate what has been an amazing experience at the SCWC in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.”Football is what brought everyone together,” said a blog post at the team’s web site. “It is a universal language understood by all corners of the globe, and it helped deliver the message…… ‘I am Somebody’.”The tournament was a vehicle to gain the world’s attention and make the hundreds of street children taking part realize that they are important and that they do have a voice. The closing ceremony provided just such an opportunity when every team dressed in the cultural outfits and performed different forms of entertainment including singing and dancing.In a full day at the Estádio das Laranjeiras. Under the gaze of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) four games were played to determine the final standings from first place to fourth.Boy’s 3rd and 4th place play off- Pakistan 1-1 USA (Pakistan wins 3-2 on penalties)Girls 3rd and 4th place play off – El Salvador 1-1 Mozambique (El Salvador wins 2-1 on penalties)Boys Final – Tanzania 3-1 Burundi; Girls Final – Brazil 1-0 PhilippinesAfter the games, all of the players received a medal and special awards to recognise their contribution to the event.Team Liberia was praised for the team’s positive spirit, and Coach Sam Burnette was hailed as Coach of the tournament.”Throughout the trip, everyone involved has made Liberia and Street Child of Liberia extremely proud; and upon their return people will see them not as street children, but as champions,” organizers said.Meanwhile, Team Liberia’s Public Relations Officer in Monrovia, Tarsha M. Jackson, told the Daily Observer yesterday that the team will be arriving home on Thursday, and arrangements are being made with the media to give them a heroes’ welcome. Team Liberia outran South Africa and Egypt and many thought they would wrestle the trophy, but lost to Burundi in the quarter-finals.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


Unification: When Dead Body Die

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Kenneth Best to Speak at Cuttington’s Commencement

first_imgThe Board of Trustees, Faculty Senate and student leadership at the faith-based Cuttington University (CU), formerly Cuttington University College (CUC), in Suakoko, near Gbarnga, Bong County, have selected veteran Liberian journalist Kenneth Y. Best to address the 53rd Commencement Convocation.Mr. Best, a 1963 CU graduate, is the publisher and managing director of the renowned independent newspaper, Daily Observer, published by the Liberian Observer Corporation.He will deliver his speech on Saturday, June 28 on Cuttington’s main campus in Suakoko, near Gbarnga.Best’s selection, according to faculty sources, is based on his concern for quality education and the growth and development of the Liberian society, where he has over the years, remained the “voice of the voiceless.”As a prolific writer and a powerful speaker, Mr. Best’s speech is expected to center on societal ills, which over the years, have plagued the country, leaving Liberians poor, powerless and vulnerable.Kenneth Y. Best was born on October 28, 1938, in Harrisburg, on the bank of the St. Paul River in Montserrado County.He is a product of St. Patrick’s Elementary School on Snapper Hill, Monrovia, the Booker Washington Institute, where he was a member of the Class of ’59, graduating with a diploma in Agriculture. In 1960 he entered Cuttington, where in his sophomore year he was appointed editor of the Cuttington Review, a literary magazine, which he ran until his graduation in 1963.Graduating on December 2 that year, with the Bachelor’s in English and Political Science, he was appointed the next day as Assistant to the Dean of Liberal Arts of the University of Liberia.  In April 1964 he was called to the Department of Information and Cultural Affairs, where he started as an Information Officer.  He later studied Journalism at the Berlin Institut for Publizistic in Berlin, West Germany and later at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, New York, where in 1967 he received the Master’s in Comparative Journalism.Returning home in 1968, he was appointed Director of Press and Publications at Information and in 1972 President W.R. Tolbert, Jr. appointed Kenneth Assistant Minister for Information in the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT).Kenneth took the hand of his workmate at Information, Ms. Mae Gene Traub, in marriage on July 17, 1971.  The couple has been blessed with six children, two foster children (five daughters and three sons), and nine grandchildren.In December 1973 Mr. Best resigned his post at Information to become Information Director at the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) in Nairobi, Kenya.  There he helped develop communication strategies for African churches and published several AACC publications.  He was the co-founder, with the Information Directors of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC), of the All Africa Press Service.  The service produced a weekly package of news and features about African churches and nations.  Mr. Best conducted journalism seminars throughout the continent in order to develop a cadre of reporters for the Service.In 1980, he resigned his AACC post to return to Liberia to launch, along with his wife Mae Gene, the Daily Observer, Liberia’s first independent daily newspaper.  The newspaper’s maiden issue was published on February 16, 1981. In 1990 in the heat of the war it became impossible to continue publishing the Daily Observer, which had suffered great persecution under the military regime of Samuel K. Doe. Mr. Best and his family sought exile in The Gambia on August 1, 1990, and there they started a second daily newspaper by the same name, Observer.  Though most people, including the seven journalists the Bests met in that country, did not believe that the country was ready for a daily newspaper.  But the Bests persisted and launched their second daily on May 11, 1992.  The newspaper took off in three weeks and became highly successful.  But following a military coup d’etat, overthrowing the democratically elected government of President Sir Dawda Jawara, the Gambian Observer told the story of the coup to the world.  However, when the newspaper started reporting on the human rights violations of the military regime, Mr. Best and several of his reporters were arrested and imprisoned, and a week later, on October 30, 1994, Kenneth was deported back to Liberia. A week later he received an invitation to address a media conference at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  In January 1995 Kenneth and his family applied for political asylum.  He remained in the USA for 11 years, and returned to Liberia in June, 2005 to re-launch the Daily Observer.  The newspaper reappeared on the newsstands in three weeks, after 15 years of exile.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


What Happened to the Kokoyah Millennium Village Dream?

first_imgOn Tuesday and Wednesday this week, our team of Investigative Reporters produced two stories detailing what now seems to have been a good pilot education project in rural Liberia which seem to be on the brink of failure.In those stories, we reported that due to the nonchalant disposition of stakeholders, a project designed to lift a whole community from the doldrums of poverty is floundering, to the great disappointment of the hapless and impoverished would be beneficiaries. The Millennium Village concept developed by former Harvard University don, Jeffrey Sachs, now Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, portends  methodologies to reduce by half  extreme poverty and the spread of HIV/AIDS as well as  providing universal primary education.When Professor Sachs came to Liberia in 2007, in the lead up to the launch of the Kokoya Millennium Village Project (KMVP) in Liberia, he said “The priority areas for investment in the project will be in the areas of agriculture, health, education and infrastructure.”On education, Sachs said, “Our commitment has to be that there are schools for the children to attend, teachers to teach and the books and supplies to learn from.” Under this component of the KMVP, four schools in Kokoya, Bong County were targeted: Wesseh Gardea, U-LAH and Quoikapor elementary and junior high schools in Botota and Quoikapor, respectively, and the Tugbahblee elementary schools.  These schools would each have a computer literacy program under an arrangement with the Sony- Erickson computer giant.Erickson, in collaboration with   a local communication provider, would have operated a Caller Users Group (CUG) program to aid health and community workers, teachers and Kokoya statutory authority in the discharge of their duties.According to Sachs, agriculture would have taken center stage  as investment in food  production and income earnings to lift communities in the district out of poverty.These priority areas were to be developed in the many Millennium Villages which were to be built across the country had the pilot project proved successful. The pilot project in Kokoyah and another  somewhere in River  Gee County were to be completed and unveiled in 2015, the cut off point of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) and the introduction of the Global Development Goals.These potentially great ideas projected in the KMVP, seem far from what is now obtaining in Kokoyah District five years after the project got started. A cross-section of the population, who spoke with our reporters in Kokoya, expressed their disappointment over what they invariably described as a project on the brink of failure.Documents in our possession suggest that the Norwegian Government, key donor to the KMVP, was not happy over the manner in which the project was been implemented. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), lead implementer of the KMVP, under its Direct Implementation Modalities (DIM), agreed with the Norwegian evaluation team findings but cited reasons for apparent failure in implementing the project according to the proposal.The UNDP unreservedly blamed partners, especially the Norwegian Government, for what it called “gaps in funding which made it difficult, if not impossible to implement any meaningful activities in the project area.” UNDP also blamed the project failure on the high turnover of government officials, which created an absence of leadership and guidance from government side.Be that as it may, our reporters established that the KMVP has now been put in the hands of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), under what is now being termed as the National Implementation Modalities (NIM).  This followed a series of meetings among stakeholders. Under NIM, the MIA, working with a paltry US$1.4 Million, is expected to roll out a small part of the infrastructure program of the original KMVP.This we find to be a disservice   to the people of Kokoyah District, after raising their hopes so high and even causing other NGOs not to intervene in Kokoyah. The joke is told how, when Kokoyah citizens approached other NGOs to make interventions in certain areas of rural development, they replied,  “But you have got the biggest NGO operating in your district.”Judging from the Daily Observer’s findings, we still believed it is not too late to rollout the KMVP and ensure that the lives of our people in the deep backwoods of the Kokoyah forest are transformed for the better and their  children remain healthy and enrolled in schools with trained teachers and a state of the art computer literacy program.We urge the Ministries of Education and Internal Affairs and the Office of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to liaise with the other stakeholders, UNDP and the Norwegian Government, in an urgent and expeditious attempt to salvage this all important pilot project.  It is too critical to the educational, economic and technological future of rural Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


CDC Power Struggle Deepens

first_imgEmbattled Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) national chairman George Solo has suspended three Executive Committee members of the party for time indefinite, worsening the existing “power struggle.”Some executive committee members early August 2014, expelled chairman Solo from his post for allegedly breaching the party’s guidelines.A communication to that effect was transmitted to the national electoral body—National Elections Commissions (NEC).Solo had since protested his removal before the Elections Commission, claiming that his colleagues’ action was against the party’s constitution. Pending an official ruling from the NEC, Solo issued a statement in Monrovia suspending Mulbah K. Morlu, vice chairman for operations, youth league chairman, Jefferson T. Koijii and deputy secretary general for administration, Samora P.Z. Wolokolie.According to Solo’s statement, “these individuals are suspended for time indefinite and they are expected to submit to the special investigative committee for investigation.”Solo’s statement continued, “The chairman has set up a six-man special investigative panel headed by its executive committee member Mike Doryen to probe them for grossly violating the party’s constitution.”In reaction to Solo’s assertions, Wolokolie said, “We consider that trash.”“I can’t respond to an embattled chairman,” Wolokolie concluded.For his part, Mulbah Morlu, vice chairman for operation declined to speak, adding; “That man is not chairman any longer.”However, Solo announced the suspension of all political activities of the CDC and asked all partisans to refrain from party activities related to gatherings as per health regulations and the “State of Emergency” until the party sees it necessary.Meanwhile, NEC failed to resolve CDC’s saga after several conferences with parties involved, forcing Commissioner Jonathan Weedor to revert to the Board of Commissioners for further investigation, NEC Spokesperson Joey Kennedy said.“Commissioner Weedor, who has direct oversight responsibility over CDC, could not resolve the matter and has asked that the matter be brought to the Board of Commissioners’ attention; so that will be communicated soon,” the NEC official said.According to party sources, Solo is currently before CDC Grievance Committee and the statement issued under his signature at the moment further cripples his chances of retaining his position as chairman.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


Mother Mary Brownell at 86: What Are We Remembering of Her?

first_imgBusiness philosopher, Kevin Kruse said, “Life is about making an impact, not making an income.”It is predicated upon this philosophy that when the name Mary Brownell sounds in their ears, former Chief Justice Henry Reed Cooper, former Central Bank Governor Elias  Seleeby, banker C.TO. King, and many other prominent Liberians, recall their early school days, when they often shouted out, “Teacher Mary! Teacher Mary!”When women in close age range with her hear the name, they are quickly reminded of her bold, forthright approach to public issues, and the popular name, Mary B spills out. Mother Brownell could have no other inscription on her comfortable jeep’s license plate besides “Mary B. 3.”Residents of Brewerville,  outside Monrovia upon hearing the name without any comment following, will tremble because the bearer of that name is the one who initiated a school built in that part of Montserrado to provide free education to children of impoverished parents.Politicians also remember the name Mary Brownell as one who worked for the National Elections Commission (NEC) and left with a clean record.Parents, on the other hand, will sit and wish that they had been as successful as she in raising her children, including the celebrated Liberian musician and social activist, Miatta Fahnbulleh, and her brother, Dr. H. Boimah Fahnbulleh, Jr.Miatta says Mother B’s glittering (impressive) record of achievements remains in the life of her children and those of their generation for whom Ma Mary Brownell is indeed an inspirational figure in Liberian history.Her fellow parishioners of St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Camp Johnson Road, Monrovia, upon hearing the name, often praise God for giving them such a mother who motivates them when they are depressed.Mother Brownell was born 86 years ago today March 12, 1929, in Cavalla, Maryland County.  At age five, she was brought to Monrovia to begin her education. Her educational sojourn began at the Suehn Baptist Mission in the then Bomi Territory, (now Bomi County) in 1937 when women were not yet in the mainstream of education. Following the completion of her primary education, she enrolled at the high school division of Liberia College known subsequently as Laboratory High School and Martha Tubman Academy, where she obtained her high school diploma.With a passion for teaching, she pursued studies in Education and first obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Teacher’s College, University of Liberia, and later a Master’s from San Francisco State College (now University).  She became a passionate and lifelong teacher.  She started at the St. Patricks School and later became principal of the Botswain School.She also served as an administrator in the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), the Catholic School System and the Bong Mines School in Bong County.Mother Brownell is now retired and is not too often seen in public gatherings. One of the major events Mother Brownell attended in recent years was the University of Liberia’s commencement convocation in December, 2013, where she served as Commencement Speaker.In spite of her age, Mother Mary Brownell’s intellect and voice are still sharp—so sharp that she can perform even the teaching role.Comparing her youthful days to that of today’s generation, she wonders what will become of young people of today and Liberia in general considering the poor orientation of today’s youth.“There are too many differences between your days and my days,” she told a duo of Daily Observer reporters.  “During our days, children, especially girls, could not stay outdoors after 6 p.m., and when any parent of a different family saw a neighbor’s child outside after 6 p.m., that parent would discipline the child and the child would not be a fool enough to complain to his or her parents, lest he or she receive double punishment.” “In our days no single parent disciplined or trained a child, but parents did it collectively.  No different parent will do it for another person’s child today because either the child insults that person or his/her parents take that person to court,” she said.Mother Brownell is of the strongest view that because female children at early ages are used as bread winners and are allowed to be exposed to the streets, cases of rape as well as unwanted pregnancy continue to rise as do children without responsible fathers, found daily on the streets.These circumstances, she said, will also increase poverty and crime in the country.She frowned at gender advocacy groups, including the Ministry of Gender and Child Protection, for doing little to initiate programs that will address the plight of street girls, noting, “They (advocacy groups) are only there to advocate for funds that will not be used to address the purposes for which they are intended.”Mother Brownell said her 86th birth anniversary will, for personal reasons, not be elaborately celebrated.Nevertheless, the invitation is still extended to friends, acquaintances, loved ones and well wishers to pass by and share the affection and joy of the day.For all that Mother Mary Brownell is remembered for in the Liberian society, all who have felt her impact, including the owner of this intellectual property, are eager to wish her a Happy 86th Birthday and 50 more robust years!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more