Special Awards In Pictures


AS LIBERIA CONTINUES to contend with scars of years of senseless and despicable civil conflict in different forms and fashions, the enclave of Sinkor, a strategic part of Monrovia, is depicting change evidenced by the burgeoning infrastructural upliftment so glaringly visible everywhere, mainly along the main Tubman Boulevard. Sinkor, in all fairness, gives Monrovia a taste of the kind of city it ought to be, as it also reminds Liberians of what is lacking on the overall to compare their capital city with other cities across the West African sub-region.


Since the cessation of the 14 years civil unrest in the country, one of the sectors that still remains in turmoil is the education system; despite all of the good policies that have been developed with the aim at addressing the system to return to its pre-war status.


‘JUMPING THE GUN’ or running into the judgment has fast become a way of life for Liberians, less concerned about the consequences – positive or negative- thereof. Such is the trend with the debate surrounding the Code of Conduct vis-à-vis the recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Liberia. Three of the five justices of the Court voted to justify and legitimize the Code of Conduct, thus creating a huge political dust that is now causing untold embarrassment for Liberians desirous of contesting elected posts – the presidency and the National Legislature.


A CONDUCIVE AND Secure business environment, it is understood, goes beyond how secured a nation in terms of security or how many police officers or army personnel deployed to protect them against violent happenings. At times it is about how businesses are given unencumbered leverage, how they are protected against public remonstration and disgruntlement when their interest or business security is risked. This is the kind of scenario the current altercation between the government (national legislature) and Lone Star Communication, a GSM operator, portrays.

FOR THE PAST two years, Lone Star Cell, based on market assessment decided to provide ‘Three Days Promotion’ service to its many customers after its competitor, Cellcom, introduced same for its customers years later. For charging L$1, customers get three days of free calls. However, based on prevailing conditions wherein the government has decided to place 0.1 cent tariff per minute on each call, Lone Star Cell chose to make some sort of adjustments apparently to remain in the profit margin which is the goal of any business. Lone Cell Star’s adjustment has been construed by many as discontinuing the Three Days Free Calls Promotion, an action seen by lawmakers as an affront.


ACCORDINGLY, THE HOUSE of Representatives last week summoned officials of the Company to show cause why they should not be held in contempt for ‘stopping the free promotion program,’ and following hours of hauling and pulling on the issue, it (Company) was found guilty and threatened with a consequence. "I move if I receive a second that the Liberia Telecommunication Authority and the Ministry of justice be mandated by this plenary to thoroughly review the act creating the LTA and the License of Lone star and look at the maximum punishment available under the law and report to this plenary on Thursday for the appropriate action in defense of the Liberian people." - Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe, Representative, Montserrado County.

FEW QUESTIONS COME to mind when mirroring the issue and the action of the lawmakers, one of which borders on ‘whose business is it to determine what to do in this business,’ or whether the lawmakers took the decision based on convictions or mere reactions. Is it actually the business of the government to tell a business entity what sort of customers-services to provide or promotions to undertake to advance its business? Or in the case of the ‘Three Days Free Calls Promotion,’ did Lone Star Cell seek approval from the government (lawmakers) to provide same? What stake has the government when a company decides to drop a particular promotional campaign it finds no longer profitable?

IT IS UNIVERSAL, we stand corrected anyway, for businesses to choose whatever customers-service programs based on projections –loss and gain. This is to say that the Lone Star Cell management made the determination to do “three days free call,” based on its business projections and surveys under normal conditions.

WHAT IS OBTAINING, we think, is that the government is trying to scapegoat, attempting to cover up its missteps in the imposition of 0.1 cent tariff per call without taking into firm consideration the boomerang, as Lone Star Cells’ response portends. We are not convinced the Company, without any prejudice or inducement, was wrong to make adjustments in the ‘three days free call promotion’ based on the government’s action which places burdens in the company’s income. These are elections year, and it is common knowledge that politicians will want use all methods and means to cover up their wrongs, to put others in arms-way. In short, Lone Star Cell should be responsible in this matter. Let them (lawmakers) understand that what is good for Paul may not be for John, anyway.


BESIDES THE WRITTEN history of the 1979 Conference of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) now metamorphosed into the African Union (AU) that continues to be read and told even in learning places, the Unity Conference Center located in Virginia outside Monrovia also stands as symbolic reflection and reminder of the continental gathering of leaders. Seeing the state-of-the-art structure built with hard-earned tax payers’ money to host the conglomeration of the sons and daughters of the world’s second largest continent for the 1979 OAU Conference resonates and stirs anxiety apart from its associated sanctity and hallowedness.


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