The Liberian government finds itself in a difficult position after cultural advocates began criticizing its move to start the construction of the new culture center in Ben Town, Margibi County, describing such a plan as an irreparable damage to culture.According to the government, the first phase of the project will begin with fencing the 52-acre of land secured for the National Culture Center and building a concrete pillar fence with barbed wire. The government also said 30 acres will be used for construction of the new cultural village. Phase two of the agreement will start with the construction of pre-fabricated buildings to be positioned at 15 different sites in accordance with the master design layout.The cost of the project has been put at US$200,000, and the contractor, Manyu Kamara of Link Architecture Contractor and Consultant, will pre-finance the purchase of all equipment and materials.For more than eight years now, government has been hit with extensive criticisms from cultural advocates for its refusal to relocate the new cultural center to Behsao after selling Kendeja. The refusal is seen as a direct setback to their arguments.No matter what arguments advocates advance about this project, the Liberian government made the unilateral decision to kick-start the project.Maybe the Liberian government’s decision came in the wake of trying to boost the public’s confidence that culture is part of the government’s national agenda and that the assertions that they do not care about culture is wrong. Whatever the case may be, the Liberian government has taken a decisive stance.The project, if not completed for the budgeted amount, will also make way for skepticisms or doubts from campaigners, and would certainly elicit disagreements among citizens, while still being strongly backed by the Liberian government.However, many thought that the announcement from the Liberian government could open a new chapter of relationship after much delay to build the center, but that seems far from becoming a reality.Saifa Ballah, Executive Director, Flomo Theater Production, added his voice to the heated condemnations of the step taken by the Liberian government to build the culture center in an area that does not possess any cultural value by calling it a direct punch to their faces.“The first problem with this new center is that it will be built with pre- fabricated Ebola materials, which is not part of our culture,” Mr. Ballah said, adding that the so-called new center is another money scheme for government officials. “A culture center does not need to be built with pre-fabricated Ebola materials, but rather with typical traditional building materials,” he said. He added that the lack of consultation with stakeholders and technicians is the cause that the center is about to be misplaced and generate new problems for culture.“Does the Liberian Government consider the National Cultural Center a national priority and if it does, then why must a government ask an unknown company to pre-finance so important a national endeavor?” the Daily Observer newspaper asked in one of its editorials.The editorial added: “The Cultural Center in Marshall? Marshall has beautiful beaches and imposing new mansions already, but there is nothing cultural in Marshall besides Fanti Town. And the Fanti people are not even Liberians. This is as such a misplacement of our sense of cultural value.”Regarding the Observer’s assertion that the National Culture Center would be misplaced in Marshall, President of the Liberia National Culture Union (LINCU), Kekura Kamara, said “a culture center should be built in an area that has significant cultural value, not an area like this new location.”The LINCU boss said it is unfortunate that the Liberian government is pretending to have a cultural agenda after failing miserably to do so in the past year, “and this is definitely a cover up for the US$100,000 that Kendeja was sold.” “No one has seen the blueprint of the village, expect a few government officials. And the worst part is that they do not care to seek advice from the real technicians on the ground about how a cultural center should look like,” Mr Kamara noted.Kamara said that government is afraid to engage stakeholders because they do not want to account for the money that Bob Johnson paid to purchase Kenedaja, the former cultural center. “If they refuse to listen to us and go ahead with building the new center, it will be abandoned because no real cultural practitioner would like to live in a pre-fabricated building that does not represent their culture,” he added.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The pipeline feud between British Columbia and Alberta is escalating, as Premier John Horgan is threatening Rachel Notley with legal action should she enforce Bill 12.Political Scientist David Moscrop with Simon Fraser University says it’s not unusual for provinces to “fight,” but admits this particular case is uncommon.“This is a bridge beyond what we’re used to, and it’s probably going to sour interprovincial relationships between the government of British Columbia and the government of Alberta for some time,” he tells NEWS 1130. “And keep in mind this is as good as it’s going to get. This is with two NDP governments. Imagine if you have one NDP government and one UCP government for instance.”Related ArticlesAlberta passes legislation to cut off oil supply to BC at any timeKinder Morgan suspending all non-essential spending on Trans Mountain pipeline expansionCritics want big banks to stop backing the Trans Mountain pipelineIf the legislation gets Royal Assent, Bill 12 would effectively give Alberta power to cut its oil supply to BC. It’s designed, Moscrop explains, in such a way that Notley could use it for “precision strikes.”“They could ban very specific shipments without having to ban everything, and they could do it case by case, and they could ban a little bit as an opening salvo.”However, he points out the provincial government would effectively have to negotiate doing so with industry stakeholders.“I can’t imagine the oil and gas companies are going to be super pleased with having contracts restricted, and shipments restricted. It’s going to cost them money, even if you say, ‘Well look it’s a little bit of short-term pain for long-term gain.’ I suspect though every party at this point will be circumspect at what they do, but here’s the thing. If Alberta decides to use [Bill 12], then BC’s going to sue and then we’re off to the races. So you know, it could escalate very quickly.”The likelihood of Alberta enforcing the new bill? Moscrop says it’s hard to say at this point, but admits it’s possible.The BC government has come under fire for delaying the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion since it announced it was restricting bitumen shipments pending environmental reviews. Moscrop says the dispute could not only sour relationships between BC and Alberta, but could also put strains on its relationship with others.“You’d probably have to look at have to look at it case by case,” he says. “It sours the relationship with the federal government a little bit.”However, he says this probably improves things with Quebec, where he says observers may be looking at this situation as a test of what the federal government can force provinces to do. “And what provinces can get away with when they disagree with the federal government and another province.”Bill 12 and BC gas pricesMeantime, experts say Alberta cutting off its oil supply to BC will certainly have an impact on gas prices on the Lower Mainland which have already broken records.“A couple of things to keep in mind, and I’m using April as an example,” explains Dan McTeague with GasBuddy.com. “It’s really critical that people understand this. In the month of April, Vancouver imported 900,000 barrels of gasoline. There’s 159 litres in a barrel, so you can imagine a situation where some 60,000 barrels of product like gasoline and diesel or even jet fuel are somehow interrupted.“That wouldn’t just mean potentially half of the gas stations no longer supplied in the Lower Mainland, it would also mean Parkland would be affected as its crude supply of lighter crude will also be affected.”He says if the pipeline is blocked 100 per cent, even American refineries would also be impacted.“They bring in about 30,000 barrels of heavy oil from the Trans Mountain pipeline almost daily, so there is really no positive out of this and the pain will be felt both in terms of a lack of product as well as much higher prices.”Horgan has threatened that his government would sue should Alberta move forward with its new legislation. His threat came the same day the federal government announced it would offer financial protection for Kinder Morgan’s investors in the pipeline expansion dispute, a move he believes puts unnecessary taxpayers’ money at risk.
MONTREAL – Montreal’s French-language superhospital says it’s looking into a complaint by a patient who says a reputed urologist rebuffed him because he wanted to be served in English.Zbigniew Malysa, a 67-year-old Polish man who has lived in Canada for more than 30 years, alleged in several interviews the doctor, Luc Valiquette, made offensive remarks about his ethnic origin and his difficulties in expressing himself in French.The doctor then allegedly tore up and threw out a colonoscopy form that was intended for the patient.Although Malysa speaks and understands French, he said wanted discussions about his medical care to be conducted in English.Valiquette said the situation had arisen from a misunderstanding and that he’d be in touch with Malysa.Management at the French hospital, known as the CHUM, said a review of Malysa’s complaint is underway.The hospital also noted that while it strives to serve patients in their mother tongue, it is not on the list of public institutions required to offer all its services in English.Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette said the situation, if Malysa’s version of events is true, “is totally unacceptable.”“It’s reprehensible, it’s beyond understanding and it’s a deep lack of judgment — if it all happened that way,” Barrette said as he attended an event in Montreal.Kathleen Weil, the cabinet minister responsible for relations with English-speaking Quebecers, tweeted that the government “cannot comment further at this time.”“We will continue to follow the case closely,” she said. “If the allegations are confirmed, the entire situation is unacceptable.”