Students at the ongoing SDGs awareness MFDP targets 60,000 studentsThe director of the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), D. Emmanuel Williams, II, said health, electricity, roads and education are among the other top priorities of students across the country on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Africa 2063.The SDG was formally launched in Liberia in 2016 as a means to end poverty and hunger, improve nutrition, and to ensure inclusive quality education for all Liberians. The government’s priority works with the popular agenda, “Leave no one behind.”Against this backdrop, employees of the Budget and Development Department at MFDP have been taking the goals of the SDG to students for assessment.At Thursday’s event, a cross section of students from various schools in Brewerville, Central Monrovia and Barnersville communities expressed appreciation for the SDGs. They expressed the hope that current and future governments will see reason to implement their objectives.Students have begun appreciating the SDGs, which were initiated to meet the needs of the current generation without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their needs.Following the meeting with employees of the MFDP at the Brewerville City Hall, students of Nathan E. Gibson Memorial High School and others said they were coming across literature on the working document of the SDG for the first time.“I think this is good for our country. Actually, this working document is good for us young people,” Moses Peter of Paynesville Community High School told the Daily Observer at Thursday’s ceremony.Earlier, the students engaged the MFDP employees with questions intended to clear some of their doubts about the SDGs.When the students asked about the achievements of the Agenda for Transformation, a component of the Ministry’s strategy for national development, the director for Plan Development and Coordination, P. Morris Kromah, named electricity, the county service stations, and the construction of additional schools across the country as some of the achievements.Mr. Kromah said even though many more achievements are needed to complete the SDGs, “those achievements are making positive impacts on the population, particularly the youth.”When asked about the achievements of the SDGs, Mr. Kromah said the SDGs have thus far not made much progress as anticipated, but said much of their implementation is left for the next government.“What we are doing is to prepare something for the next government. But for now we are doing fragility assessment and then pass it over to the next government,” Mr. Kromah told the students.D. Emmanuel Williams, II, Director for Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Development PlanningMr. Williams said Liberia has committed itself to domesticate both SDGs and Africa 2063, thereby carrying out awareness to get the people’s input.As part of the domestication, he said, “Liberia as a country has decided to implement one plan, which is to develop the national plan and incorporate SDGs relevant to Liberia and Africa.“It’s important for the citizens to know what the SDGs are and their importance to Liberia, and how Liberia can domesticate them. The current campaign targets students, unlike the previous awareness that captured everyone, including business people, students and others,” Director Williams said.Sidiki Quisia, Officer-In-Charge of the SDGs at the MFDP, said the goals address the needs of people in Liberia and other developing countries, emphasizing that no one should be left behind.He said the agenda addresses three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental, as well as important aspects related to peace, justice and effective institutions.Mr. Quisia said the 17 SDGs build on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which specifically aim to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women. Its other goals are to reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and develop a global partnership for development.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
– as residents decry sugar workers’ joblessnessFollowing the revelation that multiple workers attached to the Rose Hall Estate are being laid off, members of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) on Thursday protested Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo as he visited the Auchlyne Primary School on the Corentyne (Region Six) in East Berbice, he having travelled to the ancient county to celebrate his 70th birthday.The Prime Minister was visiting the school he had attended as a child, and what was meant to be a warm occasion was soon turned into bedlam as he was greeted by the chants from Opposition protestors decrying the closure of the sugar estates.Their protest action comes on the heels of information disclosed to Guyana Times late on Thursday — that some 500 more workers could face the breadline in addition to the 400 which were already reported to have been laid off. The protesters have claimed that the Prime Minister had deceived his fellow Berbicians.“We are here to remind the Prime Minister that 400 sugar workers would be on the breadline…and we are here to remind him about his campaign promise he made over 2 years ago – that sugar is too big to fail, and that they have the solution for sugar and he would ensure that sugar workers are not on the breadline,” protestor Zamal Hussain told Guyana Times.Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, had announced that the Special Purpose Unit (SPU) established under the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) would manage the privatisation/divestment process of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and determine the way forward for Rose Hall Estate.He had also claimed that closure of the estate was pushed back to sometime in 2018. Guyana Times, however, understands that the Special Purpose Unit, under the Ministry of Finance, may have brought forward the plans to discontinue the services of Rose Hall employees, which an insider pegged at 961 total workers before initial redundancy.Contacted for comment on Thursday, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder refrained from committing to a specific timeframe for the closure of Rose Hall Estate, but confirmed that the SPU is assuming responsibility for the divested estate, rather than GuySuCo.“The Special Purpose Unit falls under the Ministry of Finance and NICIL, not under Agriculture. I am not the subject minister for the Special Purpose Unit,” he clarified.“The State Paper says that GuySuCo will not be involved in [the divestment of] East Demerara and Rose Hall,” the minister added.When later asked directly about when the Rose Hall Estate would be closed, this minister directed this publication to speak with the Minister of State, as he was the one who would have made the disclosure of a deferred date. However, earlier in the afternoon, Minister Harmon did not allow the full complement of questions that he would normally take at his post-cabinet press briefings.Guyana Times recently saw a letter concerning a Junior Staff Redundancy Notification directed to Rose Hall Estate Field Supervisor Ramnarine Subramanian. Dated November 26, 2017, the letter stated that a meeting had been held at the Rose Hall Estate Community Centre on November 22 in the presence of this category of workers’ union, the NAACIE (National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE). The document stated that GuySuCo no longer had job vacancies to retain Subramanian’s services, and thatDecember 29, 2017 would be his last day with the Rose Hall Estate and GuySuCo, and that termination of his services was in keeping with the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act 1997 (TESPA).Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) President, Komal Chand, related on Wednesday that most of the 400 terminated workers had payments to them outstanding, and he expressed hope that the situation would not end up similar to what had obtained at Wales Estate, where, after almost one year, workers are still to be paid termination benefits.In May 2017, Government announced plans to close the Enmore and Rose Hall Sugar Estates, sell the Skeldon Sugar Factory, reduce the annual production of sugar, and take on the responsibility of managing the drainage and irrigation services offered by GuySuCo.The decisions announced by Government have been met with repeated protest actions, especially in sugar belt areas. Those protesting the presence of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo on Thursday have also called on Government to rescind the appointment of GECOM Chairman Justice James Patterson.When the Prime Minister visited Region Six earlier this month to attend two graduation ceremonies, the opposition political party had picketed him, and had vowed to so do whenever he or President David Granger visits the region.