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Gov’t Vows to Prosecute Rioters in Red Light Attack

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first_imgJustice Minister and Attorney General Cllr. Benedict F. Sannoh has vowed to prosecute those involved in last Thursday’s Red Light conflict, including any officer of the Liberia National Police (LNP) who acted unprofessionally.He announced that motorbike riders on the streets of Monrovia in particular, ELWA junction to Paynesville Red Light and Paynesville Red Light to Double Bridge and Paynesville Red Light to Mount Barclay are suspended effective last Friday.“LNP is hereby instructed to impound any motorbike found plying the streets from this date, and to have the rider arrested, detained and charged,” Minister Sannoh added.According to him, this will enable the government to secure a corridor of peace and tranquility in the affected areas, investigate the circumstances that led to the disturbance and take appropriate actions.He called on residents and citizens in the areas affected to cooperate with the government in having this incident investigated.At a news conference in Monrovia on Friday, Cllr. Sannoh explained that upon the death news of a bike rider, the riders went on a rampage during which they vandalized and destroyed 5 police depots, released all the detainees and set the stations ablaze.According to Minister Sannoh private and police vehicles were damaged and a number of police officers, including female officers were attacked, stripped naked and seriously injured.Minister Sannoh warned that motorbike riders will not be allowed to hold Liberia under hostage nor will the peace and stability of the country “be left to their whims and caprices or to the whims and caprice of their supporters as experienced on Thursday.“This incident caused panic, fear and disruption of normal activities in the Paynesville area and its environs and the government will not allow this despicable act to go unpunished,” he warned.Minister Sannoh further explained that before the Red Light episode, an AFL soldier assaulted and killed a bike rider in Thinkers Village community and the soldier has been arrested and detained.According to him, the Minister of Defence and the AFL Chief will soon make a determination as to whether the soldier will be tried by the AFL under the Uniform Code of Military Justice   (UCMJ) or will be disrobed and turned over to the Justice Ministry for prosecution.The Justice Minister warned, “The government will not condone impunity and we want to assure the general public that the AFL soldier will be tried and punished in accordance with the law.”Minister Sannoh said another death also occurred on Friday morning when a commercial truck ran into a motorbike rider resulting into injuries from which the rider subsequently died. The truck driver, he said, has been arrested and charged.“We are aware that the use of motorbikes is an economic activity and that it creates jobs for many people, particularly our youths. “The right to use motorbikes does not confer upon bike riders any special privilege to engage in conduct that will undermine the peace and stability of Liberia,” the Justice Minister emphasized.Meanwhile, Minister Sannoh has called on all bike riders to respect the law and submit their grievances to the law and not to take matters into their own hands. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

No need for gold refinery – Jagdeo

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first_img…as GGMC workers walk off job over mercury issuesOne week after Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman had announced the impending arrival of a South African team to explore the possibility of setting up a gold refinery, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo has there is no need for a refinery. Rather, he suggested, Government should be looking at ways to fix the mercury issue at the Guyana Gold Board’s Laboratory.Trotman had announced that representatives from South African Precious Metals were expected to arrive in Guyana to explore the possibility of setting up a gold refinery here, but efforts to confirm the arrival of the experts have proved futile.Opposition Leader Bharrat JagdeoTrotman had said Government has already received a number of proposals from both local and foreign companies to set up a processing plant in Guyana, and the move towards a refinery was to modernise the sector.Responding to the announcement, Jagdeo said Government is parading the proposal as though it were something new. He revealed that during the Peoples Progressive Party’s tenure, they had received a number of those proposals, but had decided against them.“There is a critical macro-economic reason for this (rejection). This Government is walking blindly into this, and I don’t want them to do this, because this will destroy the country further. So, if you have a private refinery they will buy the gold here, and they will export the gold on their own and they will keep the foreign currency, and that now the transactions move from the Gold Board to a private refiner, and they sell it there and then it is exported, not much value added,” Jagdeo explained.The PPP General Secretary said the Central Bank gets a significant part of its foreign currency reserves from the Guyana Gold Board through export of gold, hence the reason Government continues to export gold rather than simply allowing the Private Sector to control the sector.“Central Bank needs this money to pay our debts and often to make it available to people who import fuel, because if the fuel importers were to all go to cambios every week and buy large transactions in a shallow foreign currency market, it can drive the price. You can have a wide volatility for the exchange rate, and you can drive it out because there will be lump transactions. The Central Bank smooths this out so we can have stability in the foreign currency,” he further stated.The former President related that Guyanese do not need a South African company to tell them whether they need a refinery or not. He said it seems as though Government is intent of farming out intellectual work to foreigners.“This is a pattern; we farm out intellectual work to foreigners. We need to fix the issue of the mercury at the Gold Board. We should make that decision right here right now in the best interest of our people,” he advised.Walk outMeanwhile, despite assurance that the mercury content in the Guyana Gold Board’s Laboratory — housed in the Brickdam compound of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission — is safe, workers walked off the job on Friday, protesting the high levels of mercury in the compound.According to information, the workers do not believe the reports, and are of the view that the Commission is not doing enough to address their concerns; hence the reason for their walking off.Since discovery of high levels of mercury in the Laboratory, the GGB has contracted the services of Trinidad-based Kaizen Environmental Services to conduct an independent investigation of the effect of the emission, and that company has said the mercury levels are back to normal.According to the report, the study was conducted on March 28 at ten locations primarily within the Guyana Geology and Mines Commissions’ compound and surrounding areas.“The Mercury (Hg) levels monitored at all ten (10) locations were within the United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration (US OSHA) eight (8) hour Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL),” the report stated.Out of over 130 staffers tested, it was discovered that more than 60 reported high levels of mercury in their system.Additionally, the Guyana Public Service Union has said it has written the GGMC and Trotman, seeking a meeting to have the concerns addressed.last_img read more