If you’re a five-star college football recruit, make sure you always hang onto your phone. Otherwise, your friends may feel the need to have a little bit of fun at your expense. Five-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who is considering a number of schools for 2016, tweeted out that he’s “100%” committed to LSU Wednesday afternoon. Minutes later, he revealed that it was actually one of his colleagues who’d tweeted it as a joke.Tigers fans, temporarily, were through the roof with excitement.Nate tweeted on my account sorry everyone— Dwayne Haskins, Jr (@dh_simba7) March 4, 2015Haskins tells me someone tweeted that he had committed to #LSU from his phone. Haskins has NOT committed— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) March 4, 2015Haskins is considering the Tigers, as well as Maryland, Notre Dame, Ohio State and others. We’ll let you know when he actually decides to commit.
- Martha Sendolo Belleh Elated as She Turns 70
The 70th birth anniversary of former Health and Social Welfare Minister Martha Kau Sendolo Belleh was a memorable celebration graced by family, close friends, professional colleagues and schoolmates gathered at the enchanting Kendejah Resort near the Atlantic Ocean on the Robertsfield Highway. Her name became a household word in the 80’s when the then head of State, M/Sgt Samuel K. Doe left her in charge of his Cabinet for four days while he attended the funeral of the mother of the late Ivorian President, Félix Houphouët-Boigny.“I thank God because not too many persons have been able to reach this age. But looking back at the past, I remain grateful to God for bringing me from Ganta, Nimba County to Monrovia where I earned my high school certificate from the College of West Africa,” Mrs. Belleh recalled. Her 70th anniversary, she said, was organized by her two children, Saye and Kau (names of male and female first born according to the Mano tradition from which Martha hails). “They organized the ceremony to make me happy just like any other parent who has ascended beyond three scores and ten. This is why I was posturing during the peak of the occasion,” she said. Those who attended the festivity had something to remember as they were entertained by a live band that rendered lively music including traditional Nimba favorites requested by Mrs. Belleh as her guests enjoyed the sumptuous food and drinks.There were many speakers on that occasion. The invocation was delivered by United Methodist Bishop Innis. Kenneth Y. Best, publisher of the Daily Observer newspaper, and husband of Martha’s CWA and Cuttington classmate, Mae Gene Traub Best, recalled his first interview with the new Minister of Health shortly after she was appointed by President Doe to succeed Dr. Kate Bryant, who resigned for health reasons and later departed for the United States.Mr. Best recalled that Martha was the first nurse probably in the whole of West Africa to be appointed as Minister of Health and Social Welfare, a position in which she served faithfully until 1990 when the civil war broke out. It was on April 25, 1990 that Martha left the country for the United States, on the same flight with Best. What prompted her departure, Mr. Best said, was not only the fact that the regime was killing many people, most especially her people in and from Nimba County, the Gios and Manos; but most especially some 200 children who having lost their parents, were being taken from Nimba to be placed at the Children’s Village in Monrovia. But en route to Monrovia, the two truckloads of children disappeared and were never seen again. They were believed to have been buried alive on some beach, Mr. Best said, most probably near the military barracks in Schiefflin.“That,” Mr. Best said, “was too much for Martha; she felt she could no longer serve such a regime.”Other speakers included former Chief Justice Henry Reed Cooper, Martha’s CWA schoolmate, Dr. Wilfred Boayue, MD, who was Deputy Health Minister at the time and was instrumental in getting Martha appointed Health Minister. He said the Doe government had told him they wanted a woman to serve in that position. He and his colleagues had mentioned several names, but when Martha’s came up Doe asked, “Why didn’t you mention that name first?” She was immediately accepted.Several other of Martha’s CWA schoolmates graced the occasion. They included Mrs. Arabella Keller Greaves, Ms. Ruth Doe and two of Martha’s CWA classmates, Mrs. Juanita Neal, former Deputy Minister of Finance and wife of dentist Taylor Neal, and Mrs. Mae Gene Best. EducationalAs the first Mano woman to complete college education, Martha was also the first Ganta, Nimba County woman to serve at the cabinet level as Minister of Health and Social Welfare (MOH/SW) under the government of the People’s Redemption Council (PRC). As a former chairperson of the West African Health Community and Foundation fellow of the West African College of Nursing, she filled in temporarily as president of Liberia when M/Sgt Doe had to travel to other African countries, particularly in 1987. She was Public Health Officer assigned in Nimba County prior to her appointment as minister of health following the 1980 coup. She finished junior high education from the Ganta United Methodist Girls Hostel and subsequently enrolled at CWA in Monrovia from where she entered the Cuttington College (now university.)At Cuttington she studied Nursing, obtaining the B.Sc. She then traveled to the United States where she attained her Master’s in the field. Following her return home, she taught at the Cuttington/Phebe Nursing School, where she rose to chairperson.Madam is the author of a book entitled “The Years of My Life” which is personal memoir of her life in Nimba County, Monrovia, USA, including the various positions she held throughout her career as a professional nurse.Mr. Best earlier commended her for writing the book documenting her life experiences. He called on other Liberians to follow her example and share their own experiences and leave their personal records for posterity. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
- US$30M Skeldon Co-generation Plant a ‘ticking time bomb’ – operator
… now requires US.5M to restart, USM more to fixThe Skeldon Co-generation Plant is a ‘ticking time bomb’ that currently requires US$2.5 million in immediate expenditure as a stop gap measure in order to restart the 30MW bagasse fuelled component of the facility and an additional US$17 million in order to fix the deficiencies identified a few months after the generators were turned on.The Co-generation Plant was purchased from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) for an announced price of US$30 million by Skeldon Energy Inc (SEI) – a special purpose company owned by the Government’s holding company, National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and the Guyana Power and Light (GPL).The damning state of affairs was laid bare on Friday by Skeldon Energy Inc’s Chairman, Lloyd Rose, who had moments earlier wrapped up a guided tour of the facility in Berbice for subject Minister Jaipaul Sharma, and members of the media.InvestigationMinister Sharma has since indicated that based on the preliminary assessment, he will be recommending to the Cabinet Counsel of Ministers, a full forensic investigation into the facility.Rose in providing a brief to members of the media, indicated that the facility had to be shut down in December 2016 owing to safety concerns.It was explained that apart from the badly deteriorated state of the facility – six years into its 25-year life span – the boilers being used at the facility are simply not for use in Guyana’s conditions.It was explained too that because of the design of the boiler, coupled with the types of bagasse being supplied, the circumstance has posed a difficulty where the ash blocks the air vents and disrupts the balance of air and fuel in order to ensure consistent generation.Media operatives examining a section of the plant during the tour on FridayDuring the guided tour of the boilers it was observed that the piping used to circulate the pressurised steam has eroded to a point where it now poses a safety hazard and risks an explosion.Speaking to the design of the facility, it was pointed out too that the boilers were not even protected from the elements including the salted air – there is no roof in place.Other visible deficiencies on the boiler were evident at the furnace doors where the insulation was almost completely burnt out as a result of the heat.ATCOMBriefing members of the media following the tour, Rose said safety issues and the problems with the boiler are what primarily led to the more than six-month closure.“The main problem we have to deal with, we have not been able to provide energy for first crop and the reason for that is we had to embark on major repair works,” he said.According to Rose, the company (SEI) has the US$2.5 million for the emergency works in order to restart the Co-generation Plant and the works should be completed by the end of August.Rose said SEI has contracted a South African firm, ATCOM (John Thompson’s). According to the SEI Chairman in January, the company will be looking to commence a US$17 million overhaul of the boilers, essentially installing one to replace the malfunctioning two.Asked about the finance of the US$17 million operation since Government has already indicated a shortfall in revenues, Rose spoke to a number of options.He was adamant that from projections in SEI’s business plan, the company can be viable if all conditions are met.OptionsRose said it was not a case where SEI was looking to ask Government for the US$17 million, since the company is exploring other options.He said SEI can either secure the money through a commercial loan, a buyer’s credit arrangement, a third party equity investor, and divestment or possibly even raised from the GRIF funds.The SEI Chairman made it clear however that several of the options being explored are contingent Government vesting the assets over to SEI –something still to be done since the company was incorporated in February 2015 and the finalisation of the sale in April of that year.Minister within the Finance Ministry, Jaipaul Sharma, indicated to media operatives that he was invited to the facility at the behest of the Board of Directors and was motivated further by the increasing negative reports emanating from Skeldon.He reminded that the Chairman of the Interim Management Committee (IMC), Professor Clive Thomas, had already pronounced that the Co-generation Plant is a ticking time bomb.Minister Sharma suggested that in order to allay fears being peddled that the negative reports were in fact an attempt to discredit the facility; he decided to take the offer to see first-hand the level of damage to the facility.He lamented the fact that the facility was poorly designed from the get-go.Another glaring discrepancy raised with the Minister was the fact that the co-gen plant was never actually commissioned which means it was never officially certified.He questioned too, why the defects were not addressed by the original contractors since the defects would have been identified during the defects liability period.He labelled the entire affair “corruption to the highest”; something he will not tolerate as a Minster.