Police arrest prime suspect in Tucville mechanic’s murder

first_imgDead: Orrette WestAlmost four months after 29-year-old Orrette West was stabbed to death at Plaisance, East Coast Demerara, over an old grievance, Police ranks arrested the main suspect on Thursday.West, a mechanic of Tucville Terrace, East La Penitence, was stabbed once to his chest and once to his abdomen on the morning of June 4, while hanging out at the Plaisance Railway Embankment.His attacker, who hails from Guyhoc Park, Greater Georgetown, had fled the scene immediately after injuring the mechanic and had been in hiding since.However, Guyana Times was informed by sources that on Thursday morning the Police received information about his whereabouts and went to Albouystown, Georgetown, where they arrested the suspect.The Police source further indicated the suspect was interrogated about the incident and subsequently confessed to killing the 29-year-old mechanic. He is expected to be charged and brought before the courts as early as today.Eyewitnesses had told this publication that West was dancing with a woman when the suspect walked towards him, hugged him and inflicted the wounds.West collapsed and was picked up and rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.Relatives of the dead man had revealed that the post-mortem confirmed that he died as a result of a single stab wound to his chest.Guyana Times was told that the stabbing might have stemmed from a December 2015 incident involving the two men.However, on the day of the stabbing, the dead man’s mother told this newspaper, her son did not have any issue with anyone, and refuted the claims that he was involved in a fight with the suspect.last_img read more

Lofa Senator Raises Alarm

first_imgA letter addressed to the Senate Pro Tempore, Gbehzohngar Findley, and his colleagues has raised alarm over US$1.75 million that has allegedly gone unaccounted for from the 2011/2012 national budget.Written by Senator George T. Tengbeh, Junior Senator of Lofa County, the communication asked for a full investigation into what he termed the “misappropriation” of US$1,750,320.The amount was said to have been set aside for car washing under a “Fleet Management Policy”; but according to Senator Tengbeh, thanks to an investigation, “no carwash in the Republic of Liberia has received said amount.”Senator Tengbeh’s letter read: “During the recess period, lots of issues were identified which claimed our attention. One of these issues is the alleged “misappropriation” of US$1,750,320 of the 2011/2012 budget that was said to have been given for car washing under the Fleet Management Policy. Our investigation revealed that no car wash in this country received such an amount.”He concluded: “In view of the above, distinguished colleagues, we request a full investigation into the matter to determine the whereabouts of this amount.”In reaction, Senator Isaac Nyenabo of Grand Gedeh intervened to point out that the organ that deals with misappropriations in the Chamber is the Public Accounts Committee:“…in [the] case of misapplication of items, the Ways, Means and Finance Committee comes [in]to play for inquiry and investigation. This communication talks about misappropriation; and the constitutional committee [concerned] is the Public Accounts Committee,” Nyenabo explained.The Grand Gedeh County Senior Senator then suggested that plenary dispatch the letter to the right committee.But in their reaction, some members of that august body observed that the name given the communication was incorrect; that instead of “misappropriation”, which would require reference to the Public Accounts Committee, the Senator should have used the word “misapplied.”The Senate, at only its second day sitting, refused to act on the communication from  Senator Tengbeh until it was rewritten and re-phrased.Amid the controversy, the presiding officer of Thursday’s plenary, President of the Senate and Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai, decided to end the debate. Describing Tengbeh’s communication as a serious matter, Boakai called for contact with the author of the letter.Following a few minutes of dialogue with VP Boakai, Senator Tengbeh agreed with his colleagues that the word “misappropriation” should be replaced with “misapplied.”Given the final decision, presiding officer Boakai ordered the communication withdrawn and rewritten to address the actual intent. That decision was unanimously agreed to.The verbage of the communication has now been downgraded to “misapplication” with the consent of the author.(Editor’s Note: This story has been edited from its original version to include the necessary corrections. We thank our readers for their observations.)Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Is Ebola a Curse From God or A Natural Disaster? (Part Five): Lessons to…

first_imgIn this fifth and concluding article of the series centered on the question of whether Ebola is a curse or a natural or man-made virus a particular attention is paid to the possible lessons we all as individuals, families, communities, religious institutions and nations can learn from the Ebola epidemic. What lessons can we learn from the Ebola disaster to make us better persons and a better nation? In what ways is the Ebola outbreak and the serious challenge it is posing to our existence an opportunity to change our attitudes and whole way of life for the better? Let us explore a bit below. The fourth article on human responsibility in dealing with the Ebola menace observed the following main points:Some believers wrongly think that human responsibility and divine support are incompatible. No, they are mistaken. The premise of this fourth article is that divine help and human efforts go hand in hand. We should not choose between the two. We make judicious use of both. We can always pray hard and equally work hard.The biggest challenge and gap in this fight against Ebola is to break the chain of transmission. We seem to be losing the fight as the rate of infection is increasing rapidly. To break the chain in transmission requires the involvement of everyone—especially individuals and communities. The outsiders can help with the building of more Ebola treatment centers, movement of equipment and medicines, lots of experts and preventive materials but the behavior change that is required has to be taught and effected by communities.Martin Luther King, Jr. once noted that to depend on our works and our works alone without any reference to God is atheism. Conversely, to sit and do nothing and expect God to do everything for us is not faith but presumption. Christianity is both trust in God and hard work. St. Augustine of Hippo put it like this: “Without God we cannot. Without us God will not”. In other words apart from God we can nothing. But though God can do without us, yet he has chosen to work with and through us mortals. What lessons then can we learn from the Ebola crisis to make us better?Joshua David Stone and Gloria Excelsias aver that every crisis is an opportunity: “Any crisis is an opportunity to change direction in your life”. They reveal that the word crisis is of Greek origin and it means “a turning point in a disease.” Their conclusion is: “So a crisis is truly an opportunity for a turning point in our lives”. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks of turning our liabilities into assets. He uses the perennial example of Helen Keller who lived in the late 1880’s and early 1900’s. Made blind and deaf by a debilitating disease at the age of nine, she rose above the challenges in those days of being blind and deaf to acquiring a university degree and becoming an author, a lecturer, and an activist for the disabled. She could have mourned and blamed other people for her condition. No, rather she worked extra hard and excelled above many normal persons! Some experts in how to turn problems into opportunities speak about “turning stumbling blocks into stepping stones” in going higher rather than lower.The question for those who are now experiencing the havoc of this deadly disease is “Will Ebola leave us the same unpatriotic, self-centered, polarized, and envious people or will it leave us a better united people”?I suggest a few cardinal lessons. Ebola is forcing us as nations to revisit our health systems and pay more attention to them by putting more money in them and managing them better for our own survival and means of growth and development. Ebola is teaching us about how to better care for our bodies and environments. Many of us were taught early on in life to wash our hands as often as possible and to keep our surroundings clean as a means of preventing a lot of diseases but we have been careless about putting these basic lessons into practice. Ebola is calling us back to those basics.Above all, Ebola is challenging us to dare to do things differently to what we are used to. If we who are naturally a touching (countless handshakes) and hugging people can learn to restrain from a natural habit then we can certainly change our old bad attitudes and try more challenging ways of thinking and doing things differently with the potential of making us better. Let Ebola help us change our attitudes and ways for the better.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Liberian while Traveling, I really wanted to shout, ‘I am a Liberian, not a…

first_imgI hadn’t thought about the racial underbelly of Ebola airport surveillance until I experienced it for myself this week.It all started at Heathrow Airport, where a “trainee” airline official asked me three times what I was doing in the UK even though I mentioned five times that I was a student, pointing emphatically to my very valid visa in a passport emblazoned with “Republic of Liberia” on the cover in gold letters.His boss, a no-nonsense looking woman with dark hair and soft brown eyes, wanted proof of residence in the UK, something I had never been asked to show before. When I looked at her, visibly annoyed, she tried a different line of questioning.“Do you have other proof that you are studying here?”When I whipped out my school ID, she seemed momentarily appeased but not quite satisfied.“Why are you travelling to the US?” she continued.“I’m attending a conference,” I said pre-emptively handing her my US residency card.“Are you coming back to the UK?” she wondered.“Yes, I have to finish my programme,” I said. Her soft eyes hardened as she wordlessly waved me through to the baggage drop off line.“I saw them giving you a hard time back there,” said a black British man I ran into moments later.“I have a Liberian passport,” I said. He nodded in empathy, with the knowing look of someone who had experienced similar provocation.The spectre of Ebola followed me to the east coast of the United States. Disembarking from the jumbo jet in a mad dash to catch a connecting flight, I walked purposefully to the line marked “permanent residents”. A burly officer holding what appeared to be a list of passengers approached me. Here we go again, I thought.“May I see your passport?” he said in a tone that was more command that request. Taking the document, he flipped through the filled up pages for what appeared like hours, then asked, “When was the last time you were in Liberia?”“July,” I said. He paused. I could sense he was counting in his head the months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds, to ensure that I was not infectious or diseased.“You were born in 198X?” I responded in the affirmative, hyper aware that he knew the answer before asking. “I may have to ask you more questions later,” he said gruffly.“No problem,” I said in bemusement. As he motioned for me to move to the immigration officer on duty, I wondered if he and others like him had undergone mandatory technical and sensitivity training for Ebola surveillance. It seemed obvious to me that they needed it.“When was the last time you were in Africa?” began the next line of questioning.I responded with a cheeky retort, “Well, I was in LIBERIA in July.” The immigration official seemed completely unphased that I was mocking his description of Africa as a monolith swallowed whole by Ebola.“How are you feeling?” he said in an attempt to gauge my state of health. “I feel great, like a million bucks!” I said. I really wanted to shout, “I am a Liberian, not a virus!” the slogan coined by a Liberian woman, Dr. Katurah Cooper, which recently went viral on social media. The man verified my fingerprints, stamped my passport heartily, and handed me the document, a fake smile plastered on his chiselled face.My gait picked up as I tried to make it to the customs line unmolested. Too late. Another officer stood in the way, motioning for my passport. We went through what became a familiar tango and then it was over. I looked back briefly to see if he had stopped anyone else. He hadn’t.From London to Philadelphia, I went through five lines of questioning in which my passport was perused, poked, and prodded. Like my travel document, I felt exposed and laid bare, wondering where Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the NAACP were when you needed them.I was not travelling directly from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone – the three countries in Ebola’s tight grip. Nor was there anything suspicious or out of the ordinary about my travel documents. If I was not immune to this brand of inspection, I could only imagine the negative reception others of my ilk might face.There’s a phrase that was popular in the 1990s, “driving while black”, which African-Americans coined in the US to expose the insidiousness of racial profiling. The 21st century version of that phrase should be “traveling while Liberian…or Guinean, or Sierra Leonean” in the age of Ebola.I come from a stock of dignified and resilient people, but there’s only so much we can take. Attempts to quell international hysteria about Ebola with increased airport surveillance should not obscure the threat this poses to the rights and dignity of the “surveyed”.Ebola airport screenings must not be a smokescreen for harassment, intimidation, and racial profiling.Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author based at SOAS, University of London.The article was originally published on Aljazeera.com.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

US$600M Budget Leaves Capitol Hill

first_imgDespite the presence of the Ebola virus and government’s lack of capacity to combat the spread of the disease, Capitol Hill has passed a budget of US$660,236,000 million.A draft National budget was submitted to the Legislature by the Executive in April of this year for deliberations, before opening it to full plenary. Liberia was hit by the second outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease. Since then, the budget had been debated and discussed behind closed-doors until yesterday when it surfaced on the floor of the House of Representatives.The Committee on Ways, Means and Finance and Public Accounts presented the bill before plenary.“Having thoroughly scrutinized the Draft National Budget for FY 2014/15 and derived a National Budget envelope of US$660,236,000, the Joint Committee requests the passage of the FY14/15 National Budget into law,” the Committee said.Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood’s motion to pass the draft law was overwhelmingly endorsed and immediately transmitted to the Senate for concurrence.The Senate then acted with speed and passed the Act in an Executive Session and has since communicated that to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for signature and expected to be printed into handbill by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.In the 2014/15 Budget, government is set to collect US$25 million for signature bonus from the sale of oil blocks 6, 7, 16 & 17 while Contingent Borrowing is set at US$10 million.According to the Joint Committee, the Executive submitted an initial budget envelope of US$473,252,000 but additional US$7,047,000 revenue was realized during budget hearings. It was realized that government is to collect US$74, 300,000 from Grant (contingent) and Grant (core) respectively.  Borrowing (core) is US$70,637,000 in the new budget.The fate of civil servants still hangs in the balance as up to press time, as there was no news about the over 40,000 public workers in the new budget.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Overseas Citizens of Liberia,’ not Dual Citizenship

first_imgThe Pastor of the New Water in the Desert Assembly (NWIDA), Reverend Dr. Kortu K. Brown, has called on “ordinary Liberians” to stand up against dual citizenship to avoid what he called “recreating the age-old Americo-Liberian Country divide” that plunged the country into a bloody coup and a devastating civil war to undermine the country.Rev. Brown, who pastors the Apostolic Pentecostal Church (APC), was speaking last Sunday during divine thanksgiving worship service.  He argued that the current dual citizenship drive is not timely nor a priority for reconstruction and development.Dr. Brown, who is also the 1st vice president of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), averred that “there are those who argue that the country will not be developed until it embraces dual citizenship.”The Pentecostal cleric, however, reminded dual citizenship advocates that statistics show that there are more than 65 countries, some very powerful in the world that do not promote dual citizenship and have considerably developed; citing China, Sweden, Japan, Cameroun, Malawi, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe, among others.The APC general overseer noted that the real challenge with the dual citizenship is “divided loyalty”.Dr. Brown argued that more influential Liberians with foreign connections have shown more loyalty to foreign states than their country of birth; saying the question of divided loyalty cannot be ignored in the current debate.“When Liberians who have resided in foreign countries are dismissed, they revert to their new country of residence where they hold greater loyalty and willingness to follow the laws of that country than their country of birth.”Furthering his argument, Dr. Brown suggested that Liberia adopt the Indian model of dual citizenship, dubbed as the “Overseas Citizens of India,” (OCI), not “Dual Citizenship.”The apostolic cleric is therefore suggesting that the country endorses a law creating the “Overseas Citizens of Liberia” for all persons of Liberian birth, provided that OCL status holders are not permitted to carry Liberian passports, vote in local elections, stand as candidates for any elected office, hold constitutional offices of President, Vice President, Lawmaker, Judge, Cabinet Minister, among others and senior level appointments in government.According to Rev. Brown’s anti-dual citizenship debate and his favored OCL suggestion, Overseas Citizens of Liberia, will be entitled to travel documents, dubbed “OCL Booklet” to enable them to freely travel to their motherland and participate in the socio-economic development of the country.The OCL Booklet holders, according to Rev. Brown’s suggestion, may own properties and engage in any lawful business of their choice.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘We Are In Difficult Times’

first_imgOver ten years of leadership and receiving over US$16 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and millions of dollars from development partners, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is grappling with building a vibrant economy.Though the President and her lieutenants usually boast of tremendous increase in the country’s national reserve since taking office in 2006; however, things have not been favorable as a result of some shocks that the economy continues to experience.In her annual message to the Legislature on the state of the Republic yesterday, President Sirleaf, a Harvard trained economist, said that as a result of the crisis, the government will be unable to meet the targeted level of public sector investment that is required to meet its obligation to ongoing infrastructure projects and new priorities that are essential for the country’s economic diversification goals.President Sileaf said as a result of weak revenue performance, total expenditure in the FY15/16 budget of US$622.7 million is expected to be reduced by 11.2 percent to US$552.8 million, representing potential cutbacks from all entities while avoiding cuts in compensation and other economic and social services’ expenditures.The implication, she said, “is that we will be unable to meet the targeted level of public sector investment that is required to meet our obligation to ongoing infrastructure projects and new priorities that are essential for our economic diversification goals.”She did not name some of the projects that would be affected by the situation.“About two months ago, we were compelled to draw the attention of the nation to the ailing state of the economy influenced largely by exogenous factors, including the outbreak of a deadly disease and the precipitous decline in our traditional exports of iron ore and rubber,” she said.She said the economy is under severe stress, adding: “We are in difficult times. As we all recognize, this situation is causing hardship for many ordinary Liberians.” Meanwhile, numerous calls for the Government of Liberia to empower farmers and increase its support to the agriculture sector over the years appear to have gone unheeded. Budgetary support to the sector has been consistently dominated by donor support, with GOL contribution only 1% of its own money. Vice President Joseph N. Boakai recently said in Nimba that Cote d’Ivoire is the only member state of the Mano River Union (MRU) whose economy is currently doing well under the global economic crisis. According to him, this is because of that country’s serious investment and involvement in agricultural activities. Near the end of her speech, President Sirleaf proffered to the Legislature “a number of measures… to see us through yet another cyclical flow of the changing conditions of the global economy.” Among these measures, the President outlined the need to:– Provide a guarantee of US$15 Million to commercial banks for loans to finance operations in the rubber sector under Sector Restructuring Plan that ensures debt settlement and value addition for farms of not less than 100 acres;– Provide Guarantee of US$2 million to commercial banks for loans small Liberian Businesses that require no more the US$50 thousand for commercial activities;– Revise Revenue and Investment Codes to protect local manufacturers;– Expand duty free on all agricultural machinery and farm inputs;– Restrict duty free privileges;– Enforce the law restricting certain businesses reserved for LiberiansLiberia obtained the cancellation of an external debt burden of US$4.9 billion under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, President Sirleaf said.However, the foundation of economic diversification already set in place by the administration could not fully absorb unexpected shocks that affect the economy.In addition to the global economy shocks, she said Foreign Direct Investment into the economy has been adversely affected by land and labor related disputes. To date, an estimated US$4.2 billion has been operationalized to create jobs, improve infrastructure and generate revenue.In addition to the perpetual budget shortfalls, the Liberian economy has experienced three shocks since 2006. The first shock grew out of the 2008 global financial crisis which slowed the pace of investment resulting in a GDP decline to 5.1 percent in 2009. President Sirleaf said that despite this shock, the economy grew by 8.7 percent in 2013.The second shock, which threatened lives and livelihoods of Liberians, collapsing the health sector and paralyzing the economy, came from the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in 2014. “This was concomitant with the third shock – a sharp decline in global prices of our two main exports: iron ore and rubber. “As a result, real GDP growth plummeted from an original forecast of 5.9 percent to 0.7 percent in 2014,” she added.The President admitted that the economy continued to experience suppressed growth in 2015 owing not only to falling prices of “our prime export commodities and the effects of the Ebola Virus outbreak but also to the ongoing drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), which mainly affected the services sector.”Consequently, she said the GDP declined further to 0.3 percent in 2015, compared to the original forecast of 6.8 percent.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Castro’s Relevance to Africa

first_imgOn the early morning of Saturday, November 26, the world awoke to news of the death of Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, whose demise actually occurred on Friday morning, November 25. Fidel left public life in 2006 due to ill health, leaving power in the hands of his brother, Raul Castro. Following the news of his death, US President-elect Donald Trump, according to BBC, described Castro as a “brutal dictator who suppressed his own people during his tyrannical regime”, a comment that set off diverse views on the leadership of the late Cuban leader. The BBC also reported that dissident Cubans in Florida in the United States, upon hearing of Castro’s death burst into joyous celebration, with some expressing regret that he was not prosecuted in a criminal court for his alleged brutal regime.United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, quoted by the BBC, however, acknowledged Castro’s leadership in making Cuba one of the most recognized literate societies with a resilient health care system providing universal free health care to its citizens.Russia and China have expressed remorse over Castro’s demise on grounds that he was a communist and a true revolutionary leader who stood by his decision and principles to defend the communist ideology and his country.Amid diverse reactions from around the world over the death of Castro, how impactful was his style of leadership on Liberia and other African countries?During the Ebola crisis in 2014 in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, Cuban doctors were sent to the sub-region to help contain the disease.According to the Cuban Embassy near Monrovia, over 48 Liberians have benefited from training in medicine in Cuba, which Chargé d’Affaires Yordenis Despaigne Vera says solidifies Liberia-Cuba relations.Liberia and Cuba have been in mutual diplomatic relations since the 19th century especially when Liberia pleaded for lifting of the economic blockade imposed by the United States on Cuba.At the continental level, Dr. Stephen Wilkinson, Editor of the International Journal for Cuban Studies, told BBC in his analysis that many African countries benefited from Castro’s regime despite the economic blockade on Cuba.Dr. Wilkinson said Fidel Castro’s regime identified with liberation movements in Africa and during their struggle for independence on the continent, Castro helped many of them with military aid.Among countries that received military aid from Cuba are Angola, South Africa, Mozambique, the Congo, Algeria, and Ethiopia.During the Angolan civil war that was fought between the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) between 1975 and 2002, Castro supported MPLA with military aid against the US backed UNITA rebels.His regime also condemned the inhumane treatment perpetrated against black South Africans; and since 1996, South Africa benefitted from “Cuba Medical Internationalism.”During the Mozambican civil war that started on September 25, 1964 and ended with a ceasefire on September 8, 1974, Cuba was among countries, including the defunct Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and China, that supported the Mozambique Liberation Front (otherwise known as the FRELIMO). In the Democratic Republic of Congo’s crisis during the fight for independence, a Cuban Expedition Unit led by Che Guevara trained Marxist rebels to fight against the weak central government of Joseph Kasa-Vubu along with the forces of Mobutu Sese Seko.South African President Nelson Mandela visited Cuba after he left office in 1991 and extended gratitude to Castro for standing by the suffering black South Africans.Former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano early Saturday morning expressed his condolences to the people of Cuba for Castro’s passing, remembering the revolutionary role he played during that country’s struggle for independence.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Orange Appeals for Transparency, Stable Tax Regime in Liberia

first_imgOrange, the France-based global telecommunications operator that purchased a 100% ownership of Cellcom, has appealed to the Government of Liberia for a transparent and stable tax regime in order to develop its investment in the country.Bruno Mettling, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Orange Group and Chairman and CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, said if the country has a transparency and a stable tax framework, it will encourage them to invest more, which will in turn help boast its economy, generating more revenue for government. He said predictability of the tax regime is key to increasing Orange’s investment in Liberia.Mettling was making specific reference to the US$0.01 tax levied on all voice calls, as proposed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf a year ago to the Legislature, who endorsed said proposal, in spite of a polarized debate over the measure. The aim of the new tax was to help raise revenue (a projected US$30.1 million) to support the 2016-2017 national budget.   However, just this week, the House of Representatives unanimously voted to repeal the law creating the tax, “after several consultations with stakeholders in the sector,” they said.According to Mettling, “We need to appeal because in some African countries there is transparency and stable tax framework that allow investors to invest and provide revenue and job for the Liberians, but if each quarter, a new tax [is required] – new rules are being raised – we will not be able to develop our investment.”And at the end of the day, “I promise for the state and citizens that the level of tax and revenues that Orange pay is more important that will help government gets more revenue.Mettling promised that if the government can ensure the needed transparency and stability, “Orange will re-invest US$20 million of its revenue in Liberia every year.” He also promised that Orange will open up a training program for Liberians in the telecom sector, at the Orange premises on the corner of Tubman Blvd. and 13th Street.Speaking to journalists yesterday at the official launch of its brand, Mettling assured customers that the company will meet their needs and expectations and to support government efforts to boost social and economic development.“I am very happy to be here with you today for the official launch of the Orange brand in Liberia. This important moment comes after the acquisition of Cellcom by our subsidiary Orange Côte d’Ivoire a little more than one year ago,” he said.Although new to Liberia, Mettling said Orange has a strong presence in Africa, with a major presence in all of the Mano River Union countries.“It may interest you to know that one out of 10 Africans is an orange customer. We are operating in 19 countries in Africa and we are proud to be in all the countries of the Mano River Union. In Liberia, we have added more than 1.6 million customers to our existing base of 120 Million customers across Africa.“We are strongly convinced that Africa is a land of growth, and it is clear that the digital revolution is underway across the continent,” Mettling added.“Already, the symbolic milestone of one billion phones has been reached, and we believe that by 2021 there be one billion smartphones.“Why now in Liberia?” He asked rhetorically saying that, Orange looked at the market potential and the opportunity to do business in the country.“We were very impressed. This is one of the key reasons why we choose to come and invest here.   In fact, we are very proud to have been one of the first international companies to invest in Liberia after the Ebola crisis.“Our decision to invest in Liberia is tied to our confidence in the economy as well as the great potential and opportunities that we see here,” he said.“Right now,” the group chairman said, “there is only a 70 percent mobile penetration and “we see this as a chance to ensure that ALL Liberians have access to quality and affordable telecommunications.“In addition the culture and innovation of Cellcom was another key factor in bringing Orange to Liberia.  In many ways, the Cellcom culture is similar to ours.   Specifically, aagility—the Company has a culture of quick decision-making and pragmatism driven by customer interests.He also mentioned innovation, which the company will use to create the first unlimited offer, noting that Cellcom has created a service tailored to the Liberian market, meeting their needs in terms of usage and simplicity; this offer has become the standard benchmark in the market.According to him, pioneering spirit–Cellcom was the first to launch 4G because it understood the need for world class internet quality in the country.“While we will maintain the core of these values, we will also tap on the expertise of the Orange group to accelerate performance in the follow key areas.“First, we invested heavily in expanding our network. In particular, since we arrived in June 2016 we build more new sites in six months than Cellcom had done in the previous four years.“We will continue Investment that will maximize connectivity for Liberians, especially access to data.   For example, we will be the first to launch 4G LTE in ten cities outside of Monrovia,” said Mettling.He further said customers have already started to experience faster internet speeds, since the acquisition of Cellcom by Orange, “we have increased our bandwidth from 2.5GB to 5GB. We also doubled the speed of our Internet allowing our subscribers to enjoy a better internet experience.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more