A Reminder to Speaker Chambers: You Can Fool Some of the People All The…

first_imgThis newspaper’s attention is drawn to a front page story carried in its March 20, 2019 edition headlined “Speaker Chambers Blames Past Gov’t for Country’s Failing Economy”. According to reporter David Menjor, who wrote the story, House Speaker Bhofal Chambers has charged the past administration for being responsible for the current difficult economic situation the country faces.In a recent radio interview with the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS),  Speaker Chambers said the failure of the past government to properly legislate concession agreements is responsible for the now faltering economy.He noted further, “We all are aware of reports which clearly noted that out of the sixty-eight concession agreements signed between the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s regime and foreign companies or investors, only two were in line with the best international practices of concession deals between the government and the investors”.For all what is being attributed to the past government, there can be no denying that Speaker Chambers then Representative Chambers also served in the past government in the Legislature where the sixty-six bogus concession agreements were passed into law. Similarly too was President Weah who served as Senator of Montserrado County. Collectively, they also share blame for the passage of those bogus agreements. To the best of available evidence, there is only one legislator who, on the record implored his colleagues, without success, to refrain from passing the Elenilto Agreement without first having done sufficient due diligence.And when that failed, the legislator also wrote President Sirleaf also imploring her, without success, to veto the Elenilto bill should it come before her without having passed the requisite due diligence.Aside from this now former legislator (name withheld), there is none other on record for having expressed opposition to the passage of bogus concession agreements. Speaker Chambers must now show his clean hands, if he has any, now that he has come to equity.The point being made here is that neither Speaker Chambers nor President Weah can honestly absolve themselves of blame for the malfeasance and or non-feasance committed by members of the Legislature in the discharge of their duties.Speaker Chambers is therefore reminded that casting blame on the past government for current failures is not an excuse. This is especially when one considers the fact that this government under the leadership of President Weah has flatly refused to audit the past government. President Weah had at one point in time told Liberians that his foremost priority as President was to ensure the protection of President Sirleaf’s interests whatever those interests were.For example despite strenuous denials of culpability in the alleged missing billions of printed Liberian dollar banknotes, authorities at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the Ministry of Finance did not provide investigators the cooperation expected. CBL officials according to both the PIT and Kroll reports actively prevented investigators from accessing the CBL’s vaults to conduct verification checks on local and foreign currency banknotes held in its vaults.Now if Speaker Chambers maintains that the past government should be blamed, then why is this government at the same time acting in ways that suggest this government has something to hide, a “Kukujumuku” kind of situation?Whatever the case, it must not be forgotten that neither Speaker Chambers nor President Weah is a stranger to national governance, both individuals having previously served as legislators. They must have been aware of the challenges any successor to President Sirleaf would have had to face because they (meaning the Coalition for Democratic Change) proclaimed themselves to be ready and fit for the task to lead and develop the nation.And the grand plan through which this would be achieved is the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development. After a little over a year, it is beginning to appear that the plan may not be actualized for the benefit of the people.Reports from the IMF/World Bank instead paint a rather gloomy picture of the country’s economic situation which appear to worsening by the day with the continued slide of the Liberian dollar. The exchange rate now stands at 163 Liberian dollars to one US dollar and threatens to slide even further.Corruption and huge but unplanned increases to the national wage bill have been singled out as major problems threatening macroeconomic stability and yet officials of this government appear to be little troubled by these developments. Speaker Chambers has accused the past government of a host of ills which may indeed be true.But how can Speaker Chambers explain that the national budget law was tampered with right under his watch with the siphoning of thousands of dollars in questionable allocations to private interests including those of his Pleebo Health Center and other private clinics — one belonging to the wife of Representative Jeremiah Koung and another to the wife of Liberia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Dee Maxwell Kemayah?This newspaper would remind Speaker Chambers that this government has a charge to lead which it must do. But it cannot do so while blaming others for things it can do or has failed to do. For example, this government has failed to tackle corruption and take on corrupt officials past and or present. Yet at the same time, it is blaming the past government for corruption.How can Speaker Chambers, for example, account for the fact that the NPA has unilaterally entered an agreement with a foreign company without the approval of the Legislature and there is not a whimper of protest from the head of the Legislature.How can Speaker Chambers also account for the passage of a Mineral Development Agreement awarding concession rights over virtually the entire southeast to a foreign company, in which the President Pro Tempore of the Senate has shares? Can the Sirleaf government be blamed for this?Perhaps Speaker Chambers needs to reminded of the saying that “You can fool some of the people all of the time but you cannot fool all the people all of the time”.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Scelzi, Todd storm Winternationals

first_imgThere was no such drama in Pro Stock, where Greg Anderson defeated Greg Stanfield,6.651 at 207.05 to 7.001 at 163.64 for his third win in the opener in the past four years. For good measure, it was the third consecutive win by Anderson on the famed Fairplex quarter-mile. In addition to back-to-back Winternationals, Anderson also won at last fall’s Auto Club Finals. “This track is magic for me,” said Anderson, whose string of three consecutive championships was snapped last year by teammate Jason Line. “It plays into our game plan, the 60- degree weather is right up the Pro Stock alley. “When it’s like this, the horsepower shows up and we use it all.” The two-hour late start, coupled with sun dancing in and out of the clouds and the late finish, changed the dynamics of the 47th annual event. The conditions produced some early upsets, most notably Joe Hartley taking out Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier Tony Schumacher in the opening round. In Funny Car, four qualifiers in the top half of the bracket were ousted, including the father-daughter duo of John and Ashley Force. In Pro Stock, there were three opening-round upsets. “When the rain came, it just changed things significantly,” said Jack Beckman, who lost to San Dimas’ Jeff Arend in the first-round of Funny Car. “Once you saw half the lower-qualified cars winning and once there was a pattern that got established in that right lane, it wasn’t necessarily a tune-up deal, it was a lane deal. “The higher-qualified cars switched over and for the rest of the round they won.” It was not a problem for Todd, last year’s rookie of the year. He ran 4.699 to defeat defending champion Melanie Troxel, 4.479 in eliminating Doug Kalitta and 4.473 in the semifinals against David Grubnic. Those runs, however, proved to be costly for the Skull Shine dragster owned by Evan Knoll. “It cost me $400,” Todd said. “I owe (crew chief) Jimmy Walsh a $100 each time I run a 4.40. It used to be a $1 for a 4.50, but I think the bonus I get will pay for it. “All those long hours during the off-season showed up tonight,” Todd said of Walsh’s work ethic. “We feel we can contend for the title.” Scelzi went to the starting line feeling his Oakley Dodge had nothing for Hight, who had a 4.646 against Arend in a semis victory. “We couldn’t match that, but we did not want to give it away,” Scelzi said. “We were looking for a 67 or 68.” Scelzi said he saw Hight pass him at 700 feet and the win light go on the opposite lane. “My crew came on and said I won because he had crossed,” Scelzi said. “I thought at first it was a dirty trick. We might have had two lucky runs, but our performance wasn’t luck.” Scelzi defeated Jim Head, Hight teammate Eric Medlen and Arend en route to the finals. louis.brewster@sbsun.com (909) 386-3865 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! POMONA – Neither rain nor darkness failed to deter J.R. Todd or Gary Scelzi from winning performances at the NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series-opening Winternationals on Sunday. Todd, who began the day with three career-best Top Fuel runs to reach the finals, took out Brandon Bernstein for his fourth career victory. His run of 4.482 seconds at 324.98 mph was the slowest of the day, but it didn’t matter much as Bernstein lost traction 60 feet off the starting line. In the Funny Car finale, Robert Hight crossed the finish line first against Scelzi. It was a remarkable feat considering Hight crossed the center line and hit a timing cone at 1,000 feet, an automatic disqualification. Scelzi, only the third driver in the 47 years of Winternationals to win Top Fuel and Funny Car, was credited with a run of 4.716 at 332.26. The fact he got to the line was a testament to the Don Schumacher Racing team after Scelzi drove into a sand trap after a semifinal win against Mike Ashley. “Every single guy was working on the car, trying to get the sand out,” Scelzi said. “That was a lot of hard work. We got lucky against Robert. Sometimes you might get lucky early, but we got lucky in the final.” Hight was despondent. “I feel I let the team down,” he said. “They worked hard all winter to give me a great car, and all I had to do was keep it my lane and I would have won.” center_img The 24-year-old, who became the first African-American to win an NHRA professional class in 2006, has won four times in his last 12 races. In all, Todd has competed 20 times in the dragster. “It’s pretty surprising to myself,” Todd said. “I never expected it to happen as suddenly. Last year was a Cinderella season, but it wasn’t surprising to ourselves.” last_img read more