They were sent to Morocco for study by the the Government of Liberia, which promised to take care of them. But now, they say, they are living in hell.
This situation is the story of 84 Liberian students studying various disciplines in Morocco on a government scholarship, who say they have been neglected by their benefactors, to suffer in a foreign country.
”We are suffering and, every day that passes by, things are getting worse to the extent that we are not getting any word from our government back home, neither the embassy officials here. Unlike other scholarship students here, we are living a double life; we have to study to score the required grade points, and at the same time, we have to hustle to find food for ourselves,” John Singbae II informed the Daily Observer.
Student Singbae is one of the leaders of the Liberian students in Morocco. He informed this newspaper that their current situation makes them feel as though they are being neglected by the Liberian government, most especially authorities at the Ministry of Education (MoE), “because we have informed them through various means of communication and on numerous occasions. Yet they have not intervened.”
While narrating further their present hardship, Singbae added that a year ago, they signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the MOE for a monthly allowance of at least US$300 for each student’s bills, including rental fee for an apartment, electricity, water, transportation, and feeding; however, they have not received a dime from the government since then.
“In November 2018, the government sent 54 students to join the 30 others already in Morocco to study different disciplines, but since the students arrived there, the GoL has not lived up to the terms and conditions of the MoU.
“Since last year up to now, students here have not received a cent from the government, nor has the government communicated to us about the cause of the delay in remitting our monthly allowances,” Singbae lamented.
He also said the situation has made life unbearable for the Liberian students studying on the government’s scholarship, as they cannot afford electricity and water bills, transportation to go for classes, or even find food to eat.
“Worst of all,” Singbae said, “when any of our colleagues become ill, that student is left at the mercy of God, because of the obvious reason: there is no money for medication.”
He said at present, three of the students are down with various ailments for the last two months; but because there are no monthly allowances, they have not been to the hospital, rather looking up to divine intervention.
“As it stands, we are experiencing real hard time, and there has been no concern from the Liberian government despite our engagements with the authorities,” Singbae said.
The young Liberian scholar further explained that the situation has forced some of his colleagues to start asking their parents back home for monthly allowances, but such help is not forthcoming.
“To survive, we have to find a way to get money for food and transportation — a condition which, in itself, has defeated the essence of the scholarship,” he said.
To further exacerbate the situation, some of the students have received warning notices from the Moroccan authorities to pay their water bills or else they will be switched off from the country’s water and electricity main lines.
Latim DaThong, Deputy Education for Administration, who corroborated the students’ woes, informed our reporter that the government is working on the situation.
“We are working on the situation, and very soon (in a week or two), we will make the funds available,” DaThong told this newspaper via mobile phone.
President George Weah is currently chairing a meeting with members of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) Governing Council.
This Council came into existence in 2017 after three political parties formed a coalition — CDC — which won the 2017 General and Presidential Elections and made George Weah ascend to the nation’s Presidency. The parties in the Coalition include Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) of the current President, National Patriotic Party (NPP) of former President Charles Taylor and Liberia People’s Democratic Party (LPDP) of former House Speaker Alex Tyler.
The Governing Council are all members of the Executive Committee of the coalition, which includes, chairs of the three parties, political leaders, secretary generals, vice chairs amongst others.
It is not yet clear why the meeting was called.
However, over the weekend, the President, who is chairing the first Council Meeting since assuming power on January 22, 2018, asked members of the Coalition Governing Council; the Coalition Executive Committee; Executive Committees & Members of collaborating political parties, members of the Cabinet, the Montserrado Chapter of the Coalition for Democratic Change, the Coalition’s Revolutionary Nat’l Youth League, the Coalition’s Women League, the National Coordinator’s Council & Zonal Heads of the Coalition for Democratic Change, Standing & Ad-hoc Committees of the Coalition for Democratic Change, the Coalition’s Nat’l Auxiliaries Network, the Coalition’s Disable-League, members, sympathizers & supporters of the Coalition for Democratic Change to come to the Meeting.
Multiple sources within the administration have hinted FrontPageAfrica that the top agenda items will likely include the dismal state of the economy, countering a planned June 7 protest and consultations over a long-anticipated shake-up of the government.
READ MORE........ FrontPageAfrica.com
Harbel, Liberia – After a thorough and strategic review of its current operations in Liberia, West Africa, Firestone Natural Rubber Company, an indirect subsidiary of Bridgestone Americas, Inc., has announced the difficult decision to reduce its workforce by 13% (approximately 800 employees) by early second quarter (Q2) of 2019 at the company’s Firestone Liberia operation. Headcount reductions will take place throughout the company’s operations, and include retirements, the discontinuation of certain work contracts, and redundancies.
“This action is necessary due to continued and unsustainable losses resulting from high overhead costs associated with the company’s Concession Agreement with the Government of Liberia, low natural rubber production because of the country’s prolonged Civil Wars and continued low global natural rubber prices,” the company said in a press release issued Monday afternoon, March 18.
Firestone Liberia says it has been working closely with the Ministry of Labor and the Agricultural Agro-Processing and the Industrial Workers Union of Liberia (AAIWUL) to ensure that employees made redundant as part of this action will be done so in accordance with all applicable Liberian labor laws, company policies, and the company’s collective bargaining agreement with AAIWUL.
“Unfortunately, these measures alone will not be enough to restore Firestone Liberia to profitability. As a result, the company will continue to evaluate all aspects of its business to ensure long-term competitiveness and determine the best allocation of company resources to optimize our portfolio, processes and culture,” the release said.
by Ola Salem & Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath
Amid pressure, White House announces it is extending temporary protections for some 4,000 Liberians in US for a year.
Washington, DC - When Rose Knuckles Bull came to the United States in 1999, her home country of Liberia was beginning to experience its second civil war.
The first, which lasted from 1989 through 1996, killed some 200,000 people and displaced about half the population. The second war ended in 2003, but both conflicts created a devastating humanitarian situation that further complicated matters when Ebola broke out in 2014.
After coming to the US on a visitor's visa, Knuckles Bull was given Temporary Protective Status (TPS) under a programme that provides protections to individuals unable to return to their home countries usually due to wars or natural disasters. She was later given Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) protections, which gave Liberians the right to work and live in the US, but no path to citizenship.
In March 2018, US President Donald Trump said he was ending DED, giving an estimated 4,000 Liberians in the US a year - until March 31, 2019 - to either leave the US on their own and or risk deportation.
On Thursday, as the deadline loomed, and amid increased pressure by politicians, lawyers and the Liberian community, the White House announced it was extending the "wind-down period" for the expiration of DED for another year.
"Upon further reflection and review, I have decided that is is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to extend the wind-down period for an additional 12 months ... The overall situation in West Africa remains concerning and Liberia is an important regional partner for the United States," Trump said in a statement announcing the extension.
"The reintegration of DED beneficiaries into Liberian civil and political life will be a complex task, and an unsuccessful transition could strain United States-Liberia relations and undermine Liberia's post-civil war strides toward democracy and political stability," the president added.
Knuckles Bull, who lives in New York, expressed cautious optimism upon hearing about the extension. She told Al Jazeera the rollercoaster of emotions and the financial strain of having to reapply several times for work authorisation has created repeated stress over the last 20 years.
"[Trump] is just giving us time to be here, he's not absorbing us into the system," she said by telephone.
Other individuals and groups that have been organising over the past year to pressure the Trump administration to extend the deadline declared victory, but said a permanent solution needed to be found. Yatta Kiazolu, a Liberian DED recipient who recently testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that "we are still in the fight for a permanent solution because we still have lives after March 31st, 2020".
Ellison blamed Congress for the looming deportation order by failing to pass comprehensive immigration reforms. "In reality a lot of these folks in a functioning Congress would be citizens right now or on a path to citizenship," he told Al Jazeera. "Now we have to fight in the courts." Hannah Graf Evans, a legislative representative for immigration and refugee policy at Friends Committee on National Legislation, agreed, saying the problem with DED was that it locked Liberians under its protection from getting other visa statuses or citizenship, she said.
MONROVIA – Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) Commissioner General Thomas Doe Nah has called on all Public Officials including Legislators, Justices and Judges; Heads and Deputies at Ministries, Agencies, Commissions and Public Corporations who are owners of real properties to visit the LRA to make payment of all real property and related taxes owed the Government of Liberia. Real Property (also called real estate) refers to land, structures, or a combination of land and structure that are used either for residential or commercial purposes.
In a public announcement, Commissioner General Nah noted that the LRA expects all appointed and public officials to comply in settling their real property tax obligations no later than May 31, 2019.
He reminded public officials that they were mandated by President George M. Weah during a cabinet meeting on December 6, 2018 to be tax compliant.
The announcement notes that public officials who are themselves beneficiaries of the taxes have a responsibility to pay their fair share. Therefore, as the LRA seeks to collect lawful revenues, it would expect full cooperation and compliance from everyone concerned. He indicated that the LRA will provide a comprehensive list of delinquent officials to President Weah.
Meanwhile, in keeping with the revenue code, those officials that refuse to cooperate with this exercise would leave the LRA with no option but to bring to bear all legal options at its disposal, and this may include closure of premises, taking lien on properties and other legal action in line with the Liberia Revenue Code.