Mz MennehWhat a year, a year in which Liberia’s growing music industry has experienced and recorded more beef than any other years in the country’s history!This year, it is no longer beef between artistes only but also producers and top-rated promoters, with the last one involving Dj Blue, Double H of the BlueLinks label, versus Lewis McCarthy, the manager of late artist Quincy B.The sour beef, which has now split friends and ruined relationships, started after Lewis McCarthy accused Blue and Double H of allegedly killing his artist, has been frowned on by singer and writer Mz Menneh, who described it as “hindrance to the gains being made to build a strong music industry.”In a strongly worded statement issued to Daily Observer, the neo-traditional singer said beefing brings about hatred and hatred discourages people from working together for a good cause, a situation which is happening currently in the music industry.“Healthy competition is great to build cohesion, development, and progress for all of us as Liberians. Stop competing against each other in ways that do not build unity among us, and let’s find the best for ourselves through love, peace and positive feedbacks.“There is an old adage ‘liquids find their levels’; all of us will never be on the same level but that does not mean your level or mine is better or worse than the other. Together with all of our differences and collective ideas and potentials, we can create a better environment of respect and dignity for one another. Together we can, let’s stay the course. And avoid beef. Beef is killing the industry. We need unity to grow, not beef,” Mz Menneh said.Mz Menneh added it is very frustrating that artists are now focusing more on beef than quality songs that will expand the music landscape.“The industry we now have was not built on beef. It was built on unity and hard work. The pioneers know that beef could spawn hate and undermine their agenda of creating a better music industry for us. And this is what musicians, producers, and promoters need to understand,” she said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
SOCU chargesLawyers representing former Finance Minister Ashni Singh and former Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Winston Brassington, on Friday presented arguments on why the misconduct in public office charges against their clients should be thrown out.Former NICIL Head Winston Brassington and former Finance Minister, Dr Ashni SinghSingh, 45, of Lot 129 Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara, and Brassington, 50, of Florida, USA, are accused of selling various properties at prices the State contends were grossly undervalued. These charges have to do with the sale of several plots of land on the East Coast of Demerara to the following: National Hardware Guyana Ltd for over $598 million; the sale of land to Scady Business Corporation at a cost of $150 million; and to Multi-Cinemas Guyana Inc. at a cost of $185 million.The two were granted bail in the sum of $6 million each when they denied the charges filed by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) at the Magistrates’ Courts following advice obtained from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DDP).However, lawyers for Singh and Brassington subsequently secured stays of execution, to halt the lower court proceedings while they challenge the misconduct charges in the High Court.But then another set of charges were filed against Singh and Brassington, this time over the sale of the former Sanata Textiles Complex to Queens Atlantic Investment Inc (QAII).This, like other charges, was also challenged in the High Court; and back in July, acting Chief Justice Roxane George consolidated the four ‘misconduct in public office’ charges into one substantive challenge.When the case was called up for hearing on Friday, Attorneys-at-Law Anil Nandlall and Ronald Burch-Smith expounded on their written submissions which were already filed.Nandlall, in his oral submissions to get the Court to review and quash the charges, said that the DPP, Shalimar Ali-Hack, acted capriciously when she advised that the charges be laid against the former Finance Minister and NICIL.He contended that the question of whether the Court has the jurisdiction to review the DDP’s decisions ought not to arise, adding that he is of the “impression” that there is an attempt to put the DPP’s execution of her duties in a different category from any other public servant, where her decisions cannot be challenged.To this end, Nandlall, also a former Attorney General, noting that DPP acted “capriciously” and “arbitrarily”, submitted that there is no jurisprudence to put the DPP in such a “special category”.Nandlall also focused his line of questioning on the most recent charge against the two former Government officials. That line alleged that between October 26 and December 20, 2010, the duo acted recklessly when they agreed to the sale of the Sanata Textiles Complex to QAII. According to the charge, the 18.976-acre property was sold for $697.8 million, but it was valued at $1.04 billion.However, according to privatisation documents published by NICIL, the property was valued at $245 million by the Government’s Chief Valuation Officer, but QAII paid $809.5 million for the property – more than three times the Government valuation.According to documents seen by this newspaper, upon Cabinet’s approval, QAII embarked on its promised programme of reclamation, clean-up and investment. On May 30, 2007, QAII had requested and received a valuation of the property from the Government Assistant Valuation Officer, which proposed $330.375 million (land $269.200 million; improvements $119.175 million).On June 7, 2018, NICIL had commissioned a valuation from the private firm of Rodrigues Architects Ltd, which posited that the property be valued at $1,042,403,500 (land $209.650 million; improvements $832.753 million). NICIL also obtained, on June 27, 2007, a valuation of the land and its improvements from the Government’s Chief Valuation Officer, which came in at $245.175 million (land, $130 million; improvements $115.175 million). QAII was responsible, at its expense, for the asbestos clean-up and removal of scrap, which alone incurred a cost of above $400 million.As such, in court on Friday, Nandlall warned of the opening of floodgates if the court were to accept the valuation done by Rodrigues Architects Ltd, insisting that valuation certificate by that firm is merely the valuator’s opinion.“[Is it that] not Parliament anymore but the opinion of an architect/valuator becomes engrafted into our Criminal Justice System as part of our Criminal Law, and persons can be charged who act offensive to that opinion, and lose their liberty?” he questioned.Moreover, Nandlall challenged the validity of the ‘misconduct’ charges. He pointed out that the Government of the day had a policy of selling properties below market value, and Singh and Brassington were merely executing their duties when they carried out the transactions.“What is this misconduct? There is no allegation that Ashni Singh or Winston Brassington profited personally from these charges… There is no allegation that the proceeds from the sale did not reach the state’s coffers… So there is no wrongdoing, no misconduct to attach sanctions,” he argued, while further questioning which law was offended when the lands were sold below market value.This point was also raised by his colleague, Attorney Burch-Smith, who pointed out to the court that both Singh and Brassington were agents of the State, carrying out policies, and that these charges are setting aside the corporate veil and entrusting the act of the company onto the agents.After nearly an hour of oral submissions, the Chief Justice adjourned the matter to October 1 for continuation of arguments.
As my colleague Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson pointed out this week: This is what nations around the world think of when they see our Red Maple Leaf, or when they see “Canada” on a brave soldier’s uniform. They know that when the cause is just, Canadians will be there. When the world calls, Canada answers, because that is the Canadian way. It always has been and it always will be. Thousands of Canadian soldiers are answering the world’s call this Christmas. They are serving in some of the world’s most troubled places, like Afghanistan. And we are thinking of them, their families and those who have lost loved ones. On behalf of my wife Leah, my children and my staff, I wish you and your family and friends a very, merry Christmas filled with hope, love and happiness.Advertisement MP Report by Jay Hill, M.P. What’s more, Canada’s Gross Domestic Product grew by 0.2% in October, the second consecutive monthly increase. It’s a fragile recovery, but worthy of generating some hope for the coming weeks as we gather around the table this Christmas. As I said, the year has not been without challenges. Far too many workers in Prince George-Peace River and throughout the country have lost their jobs or seen their family income drop due to the global economic recession. We will never forget that this country we love was built by generations of ordinary men and women doing truly extraordinary things. They have earned the right to be called our nation’s truest heroes.” After having served Christmas dinner to Canadians soldiers in Afghanistan in 2006, they continue to be very much on my mind each Christmas.Advertisement “It is at times like this that we understand how truly blessed our nation is to have so many courageous Canadians willing to sacrifice everything so that we can live in peace and freedom.Advertisement Just the fact that we CAN be with family is a blessing. In fact, many families of Canadian soldiers are truly missing their loved ones serving in Afghanistan. It’s not typical for me to quote economic statistics in my annual Christmas column but it is traditional for me to convey a message of hope and to focus on the importance of being with loved ones through the holiday season. Canada’s economy still has a long way to go but we can be thankful that we didn’t take the kind of hit that our neighbours south of the border have suffered. For the first time in a generation, the United States unemployment rate is nearly 2% higher than Canada’s. While Canada gained 80,000 jobs last month, considerably higher than the market expectations of a 15,000 job increase, the U.S. lost 11,000 jobs. As we gather with family, friends and neighbours to celebrate Christmas and look forward to a brand New Year, we have so much to be thankful for. Yes, it HAS indeed been a difficult year in many respects but this important holiday has a way of putting things in perspective and sorting out the truly “important” things in life. “Truly Blessed at Christmas”- Advertisement –