The National Chairman of the opposition Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), John Barlone, has threatened to take legal action against the government for what it called the ‘unlawful embarrassment of its political leader Simeon Freeman.’ Mr. Barlone, who made the announcement on Friday at the party’s headquarters in Monrovia, said the action by the government of Liberia, through the Liberia National Police to subject Mr. Freeman’s family to humiliation by holding them “hostage for over four days without access to food, water and other necessities is unlawful, counterproductive and condemnable of good governance.”“We shall effect a legal pursuit of this matter against the government. These actions signal an apparent hastened return to the ugly past, and a contradiction of President Sirleaf’s recent assertion that Liberia is safe. Safe indeed, for the few political patrons of the system, not the critical voices and the ordinary citizens,” he said.Mr. Barlone maintained that the MPC feels insecure by recent circumstances that characterized the so-called “‘police invitation’ of our political leader, Mr. Freeman, the violation of the fundamental rights of his family members and other occupants from accessing food, water and free movement, the attending fear and insecurity hatched among community dwellers and the undeserved brutality meted out on some of our partisans who were considered ‘suspicious’ by police officers deployed at his Beverly Hills residence in Virginia. “With cognizance of the government of Liberia’s constitutional responsibilities of protecting the lives of its citizens and guaranteeing their fundamental rights and liberties, coupled with the unwarranted display of arrogance by police authorities that led our political leader into recent silence, the Movement for Progressive Change is emphatic that should anything happen to our political leader, the government of Liberia shall be held responsible,” Chairman Barlone stated.Mr. Barlone said the party maintains that Mr. Freeman made no allegation as claimed by the government of Liberia.“Instead he requested the government to constitute an inclusive panel as a way of opening up the investigation in order to allay the rumors of a death squad, a blacklist, etc., as being circulated on the street corners and reported in local dailies,” he said.However, Barlone said if the government is convinced of prosecuting Mr. Freeman, it should proceed to the court and stop violating the rights of his family members, close associates and partisans. “Do you need to see the alleged offender of the law before filing a legal action? asked Barlone. “We encourage the opposition community to strengthen the networking more than ever before as a way of watching each other’s back, as well as request the international community, particularly the United Nations through its mission in Liberia, to strengthen its watch over us during its remaining stay in Liberia,” said Barlone.Meanwhile, Barlone said the party stands ready to collaborate with all well-meaning citizens and organizations to expose every act of cruelty against Liberians that has led to heightened poverty, hopelessness, and deprivation. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
With Brexit expected to legally take place on March 29, Guyana has signed a pact with the United Kingdom (UK) to secure its trading relations with the British country after it leaves the European Union (EU).Guyana’s Ambassador to Belgium, David Hales, and Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith were among those at the signing last FridayGuyana’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, David Hales, signed the CARIFORUM-United Kingdom Economic Partnership Agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on behalf of the Guyana Government on Friday last. UK’s Minister of State for Trade Policy of the Department of International Trade, George Hollingberry, signed on behalf of his Government.The signing, which took place on the margins of the 25th meeting of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) Council of Ministers in St Lucia, is of economic importance to Guyana’s Private Sector considering that the United Kingdom is Guyana’s largest trading partner in Europe and its sixth overall.The inking of this agreement is a direct response to the impending exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union as the current trade arrangement governing Guyana’s exports to the British market will lapse once that State leaves the regional body. Additionally, this action is the culmination of an approach agreed between CARIFORUM and the United Kingdom in March 2017 to ensure continuity in the existing preferential trading relations, including duty-free quota conditions, among others.Eight other CARIFORUM Member States – Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines – have signed the Agreement, while others have signalled their intention to do so shortly.Guyana along with other CARIFORUM States and the United Kingdom will now take the necessary domestic procedures that will allow for the Agreement to come into effect as soon as the latter leaves the European Union.The partnership between the United Kingdom and Guyana accounts for about two per cent of imports and almost nine per cent of all exports. Furthermore, the United Kingdom is an important market for export of Guyana’s sugar, rice and rum.At the regional level, absorbing about a quarter of exports from the Caribbean, the United Kingdom is the largest trading partner for CARIFORUM.On June 23, 51.9 per cent of the UK voted on a referendum to leave the economic bloc and since then, both British and EU officials have given assurances to local stakeholders that Brexit will not affect relations here and in the Caribbean.In fact, only earlier this year, British High Commissioner Gregory Quinn was quoted saying that his country is looking to increase its footprint in this region with a “confident and clear British presence”, especially now as it leaves the EU.With Guyana’s ties to European embedded through its history with the UK, the EU has previously committed to continuing relations with the Government.