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House Justifies US$900,000

first_imgDespite public outcry over Liberia’s poor infrastructure development program, the 53rd National Legislature has justified the usage of US$900,000 for the ongoing nationwide consultation on the Draft Petroleum Law of Liberia.The Executive Branch, through the National Oil Company of Liberia, (NOCAL) submitted a draft petroleum law intended to govern the oil and gas sector, a sector considered vital to Liberia’s emerging economy.The Liberian Senate had since held public hearings on the subject and subsequently passed and communicated the draft legislation to the House of Representatives for concurrence.In an attempt to take a legislative decision, the House of Representatives opted to have “a nationwide consultation before voting on the matter.”“The intent,” Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue saidMonday, November 11, “is to have inclusive participation of the locals and all county officials.”“US$900,000 is the budget for the consultation,” he said. Quizzed as to whether the budget was drawn from the Legislature’s budget line or NOCAL, Deputy Speaker Barchue added “go and check the budget.”Interestingly, the approved National Budget for the Fiscal Year 2013/2014 has no reference to ongoing National Consultation, where said amount came from remains unclear.According to the Grand Bassa County Representative, the Draft Legislation discusses several issues ranging from Liberians’ participation in the oil and gas sector, to better royalties for the counties and communities where crude oil deposits are found amongst other things.However, political commentators have criticized the Legislature for failing to incorporate therecommendations and input of locals relative to national issues. They argued that the Legislature had ignored public interest on several pivotal issues.They name confirmation of public officials, the Decent Work Bill, the Code of Conduct, and most importantly, the passage of Oil Block 13, a concession awarded to Exxon Mobile to operate in Rivercess County, as some legislations where the public interest and right to participate had been ignored.“Government has failed to provide housing units for low income dwellers. Spending such a huge amount of money on a mere consultation where the people’s views will not be reflected in the documents is unfortunate. That money could go towards improving our poor roads or building educational and medical facilities,” some political and legislative commentators told the Daily Observer yesterday in MonroviaMeanwhile, the second leg of the consultation goes to Western Liberia with some members of the Senate, which already passed the draft legislation, expected to form part of the delegation.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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New School Year Brings LongDelayed Construction At Worthing High School

first_img X Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Laura IsenseePrincipal Duane Clark welcomed guests to the grand opening of the new classroom wing at Worthing High School in Sunnyside.Before the first day of class, students got a sneak peek of the new wing at Worthing High School in the south Houston neighborhood of Sunnyside.It was an emotional grand opening for Worthing. The new wing has two floors, with new science labs, a college-style lecture hall, a library and bright, modern classrooms. As students head back to class this week, the Houston Independent School District is opening six new school buildings as part of its massive school construction program.Principal Duane Clark stood in the hallway to welcome the community.“My students are excited, we’re excited,” Clark said. ” This is a new Worthing. We have a new school and new expectations. We’re going to do great new things and we’re going to try and continue of the great traditions of the past.”The new addition is both a celebration and a reminder of ongoing challenges at HISD.The Sunnyside community waited almost 10 years for the new wing. HISD promised it when voters approved new construction projects in 2007. Worthing was supposed to be one of the first schools completed. Instead, it’s one of the last. Delays, contractor problems and lawsuits plagued the project.“I want to apologize because it has taken this project longer than it should have taken,” HISD Trustee Wanda Adams told the crowd of students, parents and alumni at the school auditorium. Laura IsenseeTrustee Wanda Adams and Worthing graduate Marye Dean joined the grand opening. Adams apologized for the long delay in the project, first promised in 2007.“But I tell everybody that things have to happen, but because they’ve happened, we’re able to build a state-of-the-art school and have the money necessary to complete all the projects for Worthing High School,” she added.Worthing will continue to get a makeover worth $30 million in total.It’s one of 40 schools in HISD that taxpayers agreed to renovate or rebuild in the 2012 bond package. At almost $2 billion, it’s the largest school construction project in Texas history.It’s had its own share of problems. Costs ran over by $200 million. The district’s auditor issued a critical report, saying there was some mismanagement. Now the board is waiting for an independent audit from the outside firm KPMG. Trustee Anna Eastman said that they should release that in early September. It was originally due months ago, in the spring.“From what I can see, I believe the bond is better on track than it has been since it was approved by the voters,” Eastman said. “I see projects moving. We have several schools, North Houston Early College High School opened, Condit opened,” she said.At Worthing High School, people wanted to celebrate instead of dwell on problems.Laura IsenseeThe new mural at Worthing High School was commissioned by alumna Marye Dean, Class of 1999. It depicts her mentors, state Rep. Alma Allen and Sen. Rodney Ellis, both from Sunnyside.One alumna, Marye Dean, commissioned a new mural for the library. She came back to Sunnyside from New York where she’s an attorney. She wore her green and gold letter jacket from 1999 as she explained the message in the mural.“The theme is ‘Each One Teach One.’ It’s an old African proverb because it was illegal for slaves to read. So if one slave learned to read, he had a duty to teach the person next to them, which spawned the phrase ‘Each One Teach One,’” she said. The mural captures some of the history of Sunnyside, showing local teachers and alumni who ended up in politics at the state capitol.But as students walk down the new gleaming hallway, Worthing faces other challenges.The school is failing to teach students, according to state standards. It’s rated “improvement required.”Enrollment is below 700, about half of the future capacity of the new campus. Listen 00:00 /03:44last_img read more

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