-PUL President CoffeyThe President of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), Charles Coffey on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, said there is no assurance that President George Weah’s administration is releasing anytime soon, the US$300,000 previously allotted for the union’s headquarters project in Monrovia.Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in the 2017/2018 National Budget, allotted the amount of US$300,000 for the PUL’s headquarters project against the projected US$650,000 required to complete the project.But responding to a lawyer’s question about the status of the project that has long been stalled, Coffey said they have not abandoned plans for the project, noting, “it was the government that still holding back the money to finish the project.” The lawyer served as one of the facilitators at the ongoing USAID-Internews organized specialized media law training for Public Defenders in Monrovia at the Temple of Justice on Capitol Hill.According to Coffey his leadership, for the past months, has lobbied with the government to see reason to make available the US$300,000, “but we are not yielding any fruitful results”.President George Weah is expected to complete PUL project.“The money is not forth coming, because it was given to the union by laws enacted by the government. So why can’t we get the US$300,000,” Coffey told the group of lawyers, who expressed interest in knowing the status of the union headquarters’ project.“Look at how Ghana’s former President, John Agyekum Kufuor, built the headquarters for the journalist union in that country. So why can’t our government do the same,” Mr. Coffey wondered.He continued, “we are bitter enemies of the government. They fail to know that we are only there to ensure that public servants account for the resources entrusted into their care to the people. But, we need the money for the project.”On the issue of collaboration with the public defender, Coffey assured the lawyers that the Press Union is prepared to work with them to protect journalists that would come in conflict with the law.“I like to inform that the union is going to work with you to ensure that you represent us whenever we are being sued for libel or any other crimes for performing our social responsibility,” he added.Answering questions about disciplinary action taken against journalists, particularly radio talk show hosts accused of using profane language and spreading hate messages, Coffey, in response, blamed the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) and the Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA).“It is the LTA and the MICAT that you people need to blame for the hate messages and profanities being used on local radio stations because they are the ones that issue frequency to those stations and not the union,” the PUL president maintained, arguing that the union does not have any role to play in the issuance of frequency or registration of radio stations and newspapers.Coffey said on countless occasions, the union has suspended journalists that were linked to spreading hate messages. “Even if we were to suspend them, do we have the power to revoke their frequencies or their licenses?” Coffey asked.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Mr. Coffey wants government release the money allotted by former President Sirleaf in the national budget to complete PUL’s headquarters. – Advertisement –
One of the ransacked rooms at the Herstelling homeAn East Bank Demerara man was briefly hospitalised after he was beaten by several armed men who posed as police to gain entry into the premises. According to reports gathered, around 02:45h Thursday, 5 bandits stormed the Lot 463 Herstelling home of Lalta, his wife Esther Sammy and their 21-year-old daughter.Guyana Times understands that the gunmen arrived by car. The five men exited, four of whom kicked down the door to the house while the fifth kept watch. The men then held up the man and dealt him several blows to the back and chest with a cutlass. They then ordered the woman to kneel on the floor as they turned their attention on the daughter.This publication was further told the bandits took the young lady into the upper flat of the house where they ransacked the bedrooms. They then carted off an undisclosed sum of money and a quantity of jewellery. One of the neighbours recalled what she witnessed.“They run and kicked down de door and one of the man say we is police and say open de door so the man said why I must open me door for and dem run and kick down the door and go in and hole up de man,” the woman explained.Eyewitnesses also said that as the robbery was unfolding they made repeated calls to the Providence Police Station but all were unsuccessful. It was sometime later that ranks reportedly attached to the Brickdam Police Station who were on patrol came and took the report.“We couldn’t do anything because when we peep through we window, we see de gun, we couldn’t come out. We just put on de light and tek it off back… everybody calling [the Providence Police Station] dem seh de phone na working,” the woman said.This newspaper was however made aware that when one of the eyewitnesses visited the Providence Station, two telephones were working.The police are continuing their investigations but no arrests were made.It was only Wednesday around noon that a Cuban vendor Maria Puig, 61, was shot to her right hand outside a store in Regent Street, Georgetown, after being robbed of $5000 cash. The bandits reportedly fled on a CG motorcycle.Meanwhile, over the past week, both armed and unarmed bandits carried out over 20 robberies on several businesses in the Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara. In many instances, excessive violence was used. The area’s Acting Divisional Commander, Leslie James met with stakeholders there where he related that more patrols will be set up at strategic locations.