AU Chair Lobbies for Flight Resumption to Ebola Affected Countries

first_imgThe Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Madam Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, disclosed yesterday that she has been working behind the scene to ensure that regional and continental airlines resume flight to Ebola affected countries.The AUC boss said the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease has taken a hard toll on the affected countries in every sector, especially their economies, which for Liberia and Sierra Leone were just beginning to rebuild after devastating conflicts.Madam Dlamini Zuma, who is also the wife of South African President, Jacob Zuma, made these comments in the Foyer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when she along with President Sirleaf addressed a joint press conference in Monrovia, during a solidarity visit she paid to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the people of Liberia.The AU Commission Chairperson noted that she was happy to be in Liberia, an opportunity she would also use to exchange views about the Ebola crisis, which would put the AU in a position to prevent the outbreak of similar infectious diseases in the future.Madam Dlamini Zuma, who earlier served the South Africa Government as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Health, told newsmen that she was frustrated by the action of some African countries to isolate the affected countries, something she said was not in line with African solidarity.It would be recalled several airlines, some owned by African states, including Kenya Airways, banned flights from coming to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone for what they termed as fear of passengers from the countries transporting the virus to their countries.Even West African neighbors such as Ivory Coast and Senegal along with South Africa, where the AUC boss comes from, closed their borders to citizens of affected countries, a move that was heavily protested by the Liberian government and some internationally prominent individuals.She said bans imposed by airline owners and other countries, especially those on the African continent, is worrisome, looking at the implications that could such bans could have on these countries that are already going through a lot with the outbreak of the virus.Madam Dlamini Zuma, however, indicated that modalities are being worked out to ensure that airlines resume their normal activities; a development that urgently help affected countries in the recovery processes after the virus has been contained.“We have been working behind the scene talking to member states and airlines to see how we can get regional and continental airlines flying back to the Ebola affected countries.”The South African diplomat further indicated, however, that there are some constraints that need to be addressed in order for the resumption of flight to these states.“We are actually in talks with the airlines but they are saying that the problems are not with them but with other countries on the African continent.”“The airlines are saying that countries on the continent should be talked to because they are the ones who refused flights from these affected countries, from entering their countries. They are also asking us for the affected countries to put in place proper, adequate and efficient and rigorous screening infrastructures. So these are some of the constraints that we are going through now,” she said.Meanwhile Dr. Zuma lauded Liberians for what she termed as their resilience, strength and courage in fighting the deadly Ebola virus which is now stabilizing.She said from the onset of the outbreak, the AU tried and mobilized, and continues to mobilize human resources that would help in containing the virus. “We have ensured that a small team of health workers from the AU are on the ground in the three countries to help in containing the further spread of the disease,” she said.President Sirleaf, for her part, noted that the visit of Madam Dlamini Zuma, who is the first female Chairperson of the AU Commission, would add further impetus to a fight that has already placed Liberia at an advantageous position.President Sirleaf lauded Madam Dlamini Zuma for the level of support to Liberia and its neighbors since the outbreak of the virus.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Giving protesters credit for knowing when enough is enough

first_imgDear Editor,I attended the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association (GM&SA) lunch at the Pegasus Hotel. There was a protest by some 200 or so people outside, which was quite noisy when I arrived but not violent. I was told later that Minister David Patterson was harassed by the protestors as he arrived. As a result of the heavy rainfall and some flooding of the Pegasus entrances and driveways, coupled with the security arrangements, many attendees had to park and walk past the protestors to find dry ground through which they could get into the Pegasus premises. So Minister Patterson could have been exposed to a little “roughing up”, but nothing like what could or would have happened in some other countries. Because the protestors were able to get close to him is testimony to the fact that we are not really too scared of one another.Inside the event, I had a close view of all that was taking place, including the protest by a table of PPPC supporters with makeshift placards which obviously had to be cleverly concealed on entry to the event. At the end of it all, I was confused for a while. Should I be embarrassed at the behaviour of some of our political leaders and embarrassed for Guyana? Or should I see it as democracy in action? The optimist that I am, I always prefer to see the glass half-full than half-empty. And President Granger’s response to the interruption— which was nothing but graceful— helped me to conclude that democracy is alive and well in Guyana and that the Opposition, whose role it is to oppose and protest, know when to bring their actions to an uneventful close. I give the protestors credit for knowing when enough is enough.I am a dual-citizen and in my other place of abode, the current President might have told the Police to “lock them up” or encourage some of his supporters to slap them. There was none of that. Before the protest, I focused on the table of PPP supporters when the President was introduced and made his way to the podium. All but one of the persons at the table stood up, though some hesitatingly. I was encouraged. I said to myself, the political culture is changing, not knowing what was soon to come. But even after the protest, I am encouraged that we are a people who must be proud of each other. Protest is a legitimate tool, once done peacefully and without any threat of violence and harm. The protestors got their five minutes of attention and after being persuaded by the Police to leave, did just that.This is not the kind of treatment that should be meted out to a President in a decent and lawful society, but these are not normal times in Guyana. The President, like I said earlier, never responded to the protestors, but continued his address until it was clear that his remarks could not be heard by the audience. He stopped. He remained standing patiently at the podium for quite a few minutes while the protestors went on. In some other countries, the protesters might have been removed at gun point and arrested. Not so in Guyana. The Police acted quite professionally and the protesters knew quite clearly that after about five minutes, their time was up. They had made their point and gotten the attention they desired.For me, I am encouraged. No Police brutality. No leaving the event on the part of the President, no condemnation of his hosts—the Guyana Manufacturers and Services Association (GM&SA)— notwithstanding that the audience was encouraged to give a round of applause to the protestors as they left…and the audience did.President Granger too got a hearty round of applause at the end of his very detailed presentation which covered his Government’s response to the No-Confidence Motion (NCM) and the legal justification for its actions thereafter; the process for his naming a date for elections and a quite long overdue expression of commitment to the role of the private sector and recognition of it as the engine of growth and development. He also fielded questions.I had earlier joked with Bishop Juan Edghill that he had defected from the protestors outside and told him I understood he was there to offer prayers and to bless the proceedings. Perhaps it was indeed a blessing in disguise, that we can disagree, protest, and disrupt temporarily the President of the country….and then we all go home to live normal lives until another day and another protest, which hopefully will play out just as this one did.On the question of elections, I would have preferred a November election at the latest. GECOM’s Cchairperson has advised otherwise. It is apparently her and her Commission’s call about when it is ready to hold credible and verifiable elections, and it is the Constitution, not Granger that mandates this. That is why we need constitutional reform.In the meantime, let the protests be peaceful. Let the Government function as an interim or caretaker government and let all of us be responsible in our actions so as to ensure we don’t blow our first and last chance (combined) to enjoy the prosperity for which we have longed, for so long.Regards,Wesley Kirtonlast_img read more

Were you at Clonmany Festival 2017? You could be on TV tonight!

first_imgThe popular Clonmany Festival of Inishowen will be under the spotlight in an episode of RTE’s Stetsons & Stilettos tonight. The Irish Country Music documentary series will meet the stars and revellers of last year’s festival for a special feature on the 50th anniversary celebrations.If you were in town during that week of summer fun, make sure to tune into RTE One at 7pm to see if you were caught on camera. Stetsons & Stilettos Episode 6. Image via RTEClonmany plays host to the longest running country music festival in Ireland. In 2017, the village threw it’s biggest party yet to mark a 50 year anniversary.Stetsons & Stilettos will meet the locals who make it all possible. With a night of nostalgia focusing on the veteran stars, Philomena Begley and TR Dallas take centre stage in this trip down memory lane.Check out some preview images from the episode below:Stetsons & Stilettos Episode 6. Image via RTEStetsons & Stilettos Episode 6. Image via RTEStetsons & Stilettos Episode 6. Image via RTEStetsons & Stilettos Episode 6. Image via RTEWere you at Clonmany Festival 2017? You could be on TV tonight! was last modified: April 17th, 2018 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Clonmany FestivalRTEStetsons & Stilettoslast_img read more