“I don’t perceive any altercation in the wake of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) drawdown prior to the holding of 2017 presidential and legislative elections,” Defense Minister J. Brownie Samukai has said. “I know there will be challenges in the national security sector due to budgetary constraints, but there is no tangible reason to keep UNMIL perpetually as the country’s security forces are now to fill in the gap.” Minister Samukai gave the assurance on Friday when he appeared on the ELBC Super Morning Show, where he discussed a number of wide range national issues highlighting the country’s security concern. He however said the presence of UNMIL couldn’t stop anything negative happening with internal threats. “Get away from the age-old dependency syndrome with UNMIL presence; let us train and have confidence in our own security forces by directing our priority instead of depending on UNMIL to do all for us,” Samukai warned. According to him, Liberia security is not 100 percent prepared, but adequately prepared to take over responsibility for the nation’s security after UNMIL’s mandate ends by June this year.“Even with the full presence of UNMIL here, there were deaths of people under mysterious circumstances, there were thefts, and all sort of crimes committed, but thanks to the quick response from officers of the Liberian National Police (LNP), who have equally been trained in the wake of rising tide of Al-Qaeda that poses threats because of the proximity to our country from where they now operate in the sub-region,” Samukai declared.It may be recalled that unidentified gunmen recently killed at least 21 people at a beach resort in Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast. Grand Bassam is 25 miles east of the Ivorian capital, Abidjan; less than 50 miles from the country’s coastal border with Ghana; and over 250 miles from the Liberian border on the other side.Ivory Coast was seen as a model of stability in West Africa until a civil war erupted in 2002, which pitted the mainly Muslim north against the largely Christian south. Since then, peace deals have alternated with renewed violence.With that latest development in neighboring La Cote d’Ivoire, Minister Samukai said, “Liberia needs to take her security to the next level with appropriate budgetary support,” and that, “our military is ready to take over responsibility.” He said the more than 2,000 strong military personnel have been undergoing various types of trainings including counter-insurgence, anti-terrorism, among others, in preparation for the UNMIL drawdown. “From our side, we believe that the roles and responsibilities that we have are easily executable because we have been doing the preparedness a little over a year and a half,” Samukai said. “We are at the point where all of our forces, all of the 2,000-plus personnel of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) have been going through different kinds of training, operations, different kinds of scenarios exercises, including our participation in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). So, we are very confident in the competence of the AFL,” he assured.Additional personnelSamukai said the military graduated about 154 additional personnel recently after they completed their advanced individual training (AIT) to prepare the army for the different roles and responsibilities they would play as a result of the drawdown of UNMIL. “With our military capabilities, we recently deployed just a platoon of our soldiers along the Liberia/Ivorian border in the Southeast, particularly in the forest of Grand Gedeh, who arrested 10 Ivoirians and 11 Burkinabes that illegally entered Liberian soil and planted cash crops, which our soldiers have uprooted,” Minister Samukai disclosed.Those arrested, according to Samukai, had extended their journey into the country by 5km and had planted Cocoa on the Liberian soil, which could last them for the next generations to come.“Though the situation has been brought under control, we turned those arrested to authorities of the Bureau of Immigration for Naturalization (BIN) which is expected, along with the locals, to do proper vetting and investigation of those reportedly involved.2017 ElectionsSamukai denied that the trust factor in the presence of the international community implies that the Liberian military is incapable of maintaining the nation’s security on its own.Though Minister Samukai made an open declaration to support the presidential bid of Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, he said, “The military has no influential part to play in the electoral process, adding, “The military simply has unique capabilities in terms of logistics and transportation and the facilitation of individuals from one point to the other.“The military cannot and will not be able to influence the outcome or the process of the elections that will be held in 2017. So, the preparedness of the military is simply to suggest its capacity to manage the security situation, come 2017 along the border and the frontiers of our country.”In that respect, the defense minister said the military is already playing a more positive role through its contribution to the reconstruction of the country where its engineering company is now involved with civil works such as reconditioning of roads and bridges.It has been suggested that about US$100 million would be needed to get the Liberian security sector ready to take over from UNMIL, which has been in the country since September 2003, to monitor a cease-fire agreement between belligerent forces. This followed the resignation of President Charles Taylor and the conclusion of the second Liberian civil war.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Of the 118 Community Access Points (CAPs) established in various communities islandwide through the Universal Service Fund (USF), Kingston and St. Andrew account for 53, to serve the most populated urban centre in the island. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the USF, Hugh Cross, told JIS News that another 21 CAPs are being constructed in the Corporate Area, and 32 applications being processed. Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on March 6, Mr. Cross said that similar facilities are being constructed in the rural areas, to ensure that persons have access to the internet. According to the CEO, CAPs are beginning to have a significant impact on the communities and the demand for them is growing. Mr. Cross pointed out that students can now do their homework/research in their respective community or at a point closest to home, and community members now have access to modern technology, without having to spend vast sums of money. “We currently have under evaluation applications for 138 additional CAP facilities. We want to ensure that more Jamaicans have access to the internet. At the moment we have 34 libraries, 112 schools and 57 post offices connected,” he said. Among the projected 138 CAPs, Mr. Cross noted that there will be a few model cyber centres, which will be set up in the major towns. As at February 5, 2013, some $9.7 billion has been collected by the USF by way of a levy of US$0.03 per minute on inbound international voice calls terminated to fixed lines and US$0.02 per minute on calls terminated to mobile lines in Jamaica.
State Rep. Brett Roberts invites local residents to meet with him during office hours this November.Office hours will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 17 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Grass Lake Diner, located at 108 E. Michigan Ave. in Grass Lake.“I hope anyone with questions or concerns about state government is able to attend,” said Rep. Roberts, R-Eaton Township.No appointment is necessary. Residents unable to attend are encouraged to contact Rep. Roberts’ office by phone at (517) 373-1775, or by email at [email protected]### Categories: News,Roberts News 09Nov Rep. Roberts announces November office hours
Categories: Kahle News,News 18Oct Rep. Kahle sponsors bill as part of Professional Skills legislation State Rep. Bronna Kahle today introduced legislation to help expand professional trade instruction in Michigan high schools, helping provide more career-oriented opportunities for students.“Many good paying jobs across Michigan and Lenawee County remain unfilled. There are not enough skilled workers to fill vacancies and that skills gap is expected to grow,” said Kahle, of Adrian. “There are bright career opportunities in the professional and skilled trades and our young people need to know these options and have the opportunity to train in these fields.”Specifically, Kahle’s legislation will permit schools to hire professional trade instructors to teach classes that align with their expertise and in which they hold a license or certificate.The bill is part of a five-bill package developed from the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance, which includes state K-12 education and employment leaders working together to help strengthen Michigan’s future. The legislation was announced during a news conference today in the state Capitol with Director Roger Curtis from the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development and Michigan Manufacturers Association joining Kahle in voicing their support.“The future is bright for professional trades and for our creative, young people with an interest in those fields. The focus of these bills is providing students with pathways to careers that match their interests and goals,” said Kahle. “In order to help give these students more real-world education, there is a need for more qualified, experienced instructors.”The legislative package also:Creates a K-12 model program to delivers career learning and themes for each grade level, while focusing on engaging with parents, community businesses and industry interests.Provides credit toward teachers’ continuing education and professional development for time spent engaging with local employers and professional trade centers.Allows proprietary schools, community colleges and skilled trade employers access (with parental consent) to high school pupil directory information for the purposes of recruitment and career opportunities.