Butaw citizens in Sinoe County and in Monrovia have warned the Liberian government against arbitrary arrests of its citizens, especially those who have fled into the bushes for fear of being imprisoned.The citizens said during a meeting here in Butaw that the prolonged hiding of their kinsmen in the bushes, villages or forest posed a health hazard and they would never “forget or forgive” the government if anyone loses his or her life for fear of being ‘brutally beaten’ or arrested over the May 26 mob violence at the Butaw headquarters of Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL).The Butaw citizens also urged the government to unconditionally free their children from prison, arguing that in concession areas, disagreements and protests would always arise.The citizens issued the stern warning on Saturday during a meeting organized by scores of Butaw citizens from Monrovia, headed by activists A. Saydee Monboe, II and K. Hasting Panyonnoh, I.The two men said their presence in the county is to intensify their campaign with what they described as the “undying commitment to fight for justice” which includes warning the government and assuring their kinsmen of their readiness to galvanize national and international support to free their children from detention.Over 20 youth, mainly males, are being held at the prison compound located at Johnston Street, Greenville, since their arrest on May 26.They have been charged with terroristic threat, armed robbery and theft of property and breach of the peace.On Friday, the preliminary hearing at the Magisterial Court to substantiate the charges failed to take place due to the ill health of the judge.Mr. Monboe, who is also the executive director of the Center for Trauma Counseling and Conflict Resolution, (CTCCR) said they have galvanized pro bono lawyers amid reports that the Sinoe County Public Defender, Atty. Wilfred Nyanti is unable to defend over 20 persons.Monboe said Cllr. Lencer Matthews and Atty. Alfred Brownell are helping to coordinate lawyers for the case for which the date of hearing has not yet been decided.According to Mr. Monboe, today there will be another meeting at Butaw Compound during which citizens will be briefed about their discussions with the County Legislative Caucus, the Green Advocates and other civil society organizations to galvanize legal support for the release of the youths.“We will mobilize our colleagues and our people to contest the judicial system against the arrest of our people. Our international partners will also help us in this legal battle,” Mr. Monboe stated.According to him, the people of Butaw are disappointed over the 65-year concession agreement that was signed by the government and the GVL without direct benefits to the people of Butaw.He said the upgrading of the schools, the lack of a hospital, roads and water in Butaw are issues that still need to be addressed and which, he said, are grounds for more protests.He, however, said the issue of the GVL agreement would be adequately tackled after the legal battle over the release of the youth in detention and the return of those in the bushes.Mr. Monboe termed the value of the GVL riot damages, which was put at over US$200K, as unrealistic and demeaning.For his part, Mr. Panyonnoh said although they are against mob violence, the arrests should not be political and the cause of the mob justice should be dealt with to avoid a recurrence.He said the release of the youth and a guarantee that those hiding in the bushes will not be arrested should claim government’s attention.According to the GVL’s report of last month’s riots, two employees were badly injured and were hospitalized in Monrovia while several others were treated locally. Employees’ houses were broken into, vandalized and their private properties stolen. GVL said the company’s rice warehouse was looted and its facility and vehicles were damaged.Sources in Butaw said the riot against GVL is owing to the unresolved land dispute between the GVL and the Butaw community. The youth and elders claim that their lands are forcibly taken from them by the Liberian government through GVL for a “nickel.”They argued that the concession agreement between the government and leeward communities should seek their input. They warned of continued unrest if there common ground were not established.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Festival of Lights, Diwali, was on Sunday night kick-started at Rahaman’s Park, Greater Georgetown with the annual lighting of the National Diya.The lighting up of the 21-foot Diya is a spectacle being hosted for the fourth consecutive year by the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh-Hindus for Selfless Service (HSS).Themed “Atma Deepo Bhava” (you become the light), this auspicious event aims to represent the Hindu community’s continuous message of oneness and national unity.Showcasing white and purple lights, the structure comprises five smaller diyas to signify five days of Diwali celebrations as is customary in India where the celebration originated.The red, black, gold, white and green of the five diyas represent the colours of Guyana’s flag and like they do on the flag represent – endurance, zeal, wealth, the many waters of our beautiful country, and agriculture.The concept behind the Diya’s design is oil being poured into the Diya by the calasha as is the custom on Diwali night.In attendance at the event were heads of leading Hindu and other religious organisations; the Indian High Commissioner to Guyana, Venkatachalam Mahalingam; Indian rights activist and former ROAR parliamentarian Ravi Dev; Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, young leaders and the general public.High Commissioner Mahalingam reflected on the celebration in his homeland and gave a little insight on how Diwali was celebrated there.The Commissioner thanked HSS for not allowing the celebration to be forgotten and further wished the Guyanese community a happy Diwali.Delivering remarks on behalf of HSS, Karamchand Seenanan, a senior member, applauded the event, but in the same breath called for it to be larger in years to come.“I’m calling on all of you to be the light of good intentions and selfless service; we did achieve our purpose, but we want it to continue to grow in years to come,” Seenanan said in his brief remarks.Guest speaker at the event, Dhanrajie Haimraj of HSS, who was recently awarded a Medal of Service for her voluntary work in Guyana, asked for the concept of purity to be observed.“Purity that we talk about is referring to cleansing the outsides as well as the insides…we pray to God as creator of this universe to take away the greed and to replace it with everything that is auspicious in us as humans,” Haimraj said.She encouraged getting rid of all impure practices and cautioned against corruption in Guyana.“If we should do this daily, then Diwali will become a daily festival for us … we have weaknesses as human beings that will lead us to corrupt our values, but let Diwali remind all of us to let virtues triumph in all of us … you and I,” Haimraj added.The festival ‘Diwali’ in Sanskrit has a literal meaning of ‘a row of lamps’. This festival usually falls between the middle of October and the middle of November, although this is decided upon by the Hindu lunar calendar.The most popular tradition of celebrating Diwali is filling little clay lamps (diyas) with oil and wick and lighting them in rows all over the house; this reflects the rich and glorious past of culture and teaching to uphold the true values of life.Lights and diyas are lit to signify the driving away of darkness and ignorance, as well as the awakening of the light within one’s self. Diwali is viewed as a time for family gatherings and food as well as a celebration that reminds us of our original virtues; the light of which brings joy and hope.Diwali celebrates victory over evil or darkness and the coming of a new year. The light refers to following a path of virtue such that our thoughts are always pure in heart, and the darkness refers to negative thoughts which bring about hurts and sorrow.Additionally, apart from the spectacular display of the National Diya Light-up, there was a cultural evening of dances, skits and music to portray the significance of the national holiday.
New Delhi: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly has once again backed Rohit Sharma for the Test opener’s role and feels that the batsman deserved an opportunity in the longest format of the game. Ahead of the India and West Indies series, Ganguly had opined Rohit should be tried for the opening slot. However, he was left out for both the games. Ganguly also said K L Rahul’s poor form can push the team management to try out Rohit as the opener with Mayank Agarwal. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhRohit had a great run in the recently concluded World Cup 2019, where he slammed five hundreds. “I had suggested earlier about trying Rohit Sharma as an opener in Test cricket and I still believe that he needs to be given an opportunity because he is too good a player to be left out in the cold,” Ganguly said. “After a fantastic World Cup, I believe he will be itching to grab the opportunity to open in Tests. With Ajinkya Rahane and Hanuma Vihari settling in nicely, there is not much left to play around in the middle-order,” the former captain added. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterGanguly also felt fixing the problem with the opening slot is the need of the hour for India in longest format of the game. “The opening still remains an area to work on. Mayank Agarwal looks good but will need a few more opportunities. His partner KL Rahul, though, has flattered to deceive and that creates an opening at the top,” he opined. Speaking on the poor show by Jason Holder-led West Indies where they were whitewashed 0-2, Ganguly said the hosts lacked application. “As has been clearly evident in every form of the contest, West Indies have the talent but in terms of application, the they are a long way off. How they manage to resurrect themselves from here on will define the future of West Indies cricket.”