Beach Workers Storm Finance Ministry

first_imgHundreds of beach workers who were hired to keep Monrovia’s beaches clean, yesterday gathered in front of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to demand eight months wage arrears.The workers also threatened to take their protest to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the current office of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as part of their options to ensure that the government settles their salary arrears.According to spokesperson Edwin Kanneh, the beach workers have complained to the United States Embassy. They have also petitioned members of the Legislature and held a personal conversation with President Sirleaf and House Speaker J. Alex Tyler as well as other top government officials.Their situation, Mr. Kanneh said, has remained the same without any positive sign as to when their arrears would be paid.“The group includes about 1,900 people from the slum communities of West Point, New Kru Town, Fish Market, and ELWA Community,” he said.They were hired by the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) to ensure that all beaches around Monrovia are kept clean.“We ensured that during the outbreak of Ebola, there were no cholera and diarrhea outbreaks in the country and if we cannot be rewarded, we must at least receive our arrears,” Mr. Kanneh stated“We are Liberians. Why will Minister Amara Konneh continue to have us treated like this? He makes a fabulous salary which has never been delayed. Why will he make us to work like slaves without our just benefits? We need our money,” Mr. Kanneh demanded.According to him, some Liberians believe that they are more important than their fellow compatriots. As such, they don’t prioritize what affects the interest of ordinary people.Based on his perception, he vowed that his group will continue a “peaceful protest” until their arrears are paid.He appealed to the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) to intervene by making the money available to pay them as they continue to work to maintain cleaner beaches in Monrovia.“We are involved in cleaning our beaches and also protecting them from illegal mining, but we believe that government has taken this project as a political tool,” Kanneh said.Kanneh claimed that there is what he described as “reliable information” that they might not receive their arrears because they did not vote for a particular candidate during the recent senatorial elections.He told reporters that they were going through many difficulties on the job even during the Ebola outbreak in the country. But they have always tried to ensure that there was no cholera outbreak.“The money in question would help us take care of our families, our rents, our health and also pay our children’s school fees.”Meanwhile, the communications director at the MFDP, Abraham Warity, told reporters that the Ministry has agreed to pay the workers beginning Friday, May 29.“The Ministry will pay them the first five months and the remaining three months will be negotiated,” he explained. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Greek football league suspended after gun drama

first_img“We must all decide to ignore the political cost…It’s a question of will. Personally, I am determined to go ahead,” Tsipras said ahead of a meeting with a rival party leader.His deputy minister for sport, Yiorgos Vassiliadis, had earlier told reporters after an emergency meeting with Tsipras that the Superleague championship would “not start again without a new framework agreed by all.”Vassiliadis said the government was in close contact with European football body UEFA, which he said had been “shocked” by the incident.Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of PAOK owner, Greek-Russian businessman Ivan Savvidis, after he stormed the pitch on Sunday, accompanied by bodyguards, to confront the referee in protest at a 90th-minute disallowed goal in a top-of-the-table clash against AEK Athens.PAOK sports director Lubos Michel, a Slovak former FIFA referee, is also believed to have threatened referee Yiorgos Kominis.The match was interrupted as AEK’s squad walked off the pitch. The goal was later allowed.Vassiliadis said the government had “fought to clean up” Greek football for three years “and would not allow all this effort to be threatened”.“We await proposals from the federation and the league,” he said. “A tougher framework is needed.”He did not rule out the prospect of Greek clubs sitting out next season’s European matches, but insisted the national team would not be affected.PAOK and AEK are in a neck-and-neck race for the league title, which would be their first in over 24 years.Olympiakos have won the last seven championships under the ownership of Greek shipowner Vangelis Marinakis, who, like Savvidis, is one of Greece’s most prominent businessmen.The league suspension is the latest stopgap measure adopted by the Tsipras government to maintain order in a championship spiralling out of control.– Clashes –Less then a month ago, fans of the four most popular clubs — AEK, PAOK, Olympiakos and Panathinaikos — were banned from away games after recurring violence.This was after Olympiakos fans clashed with police on February 4 after a shock home defeat to AEK dealt a serious blow to their title defence.Yet a few weeks later, another match in PAOK’s Toumba stadium had to be abandoned after a cashier roll thrown from the stands hit the Olympiakos skipper.PAOK were initially docked three points, but managed to overturn the decision on appeal.A tobacco industrialist with extensive holdings in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, Savvidis controls the city’s top hotel and recently also bought one of Greece’s top newspapers, Ethnos.The 58-year-old, a former lawmaker with the party of Russian president Vladimir Putin, is considered a political ally of Tsipras.A police source on Monday said Savvidis was not sought over the gun, for which he has a license, but for the pitch invasion, a misdemeanour that carries no prison term.Savvidis, who owns companies that are leading sponsors of the Greek league, defended his behaviour.“Ivan (Savvidis) didn’t threaten anybody with a gun,” his media department told Russia’s Sport Express newspaper.“It means that the provocative headlines in certain media are totally untrue.“He carries weapons as he has a permission for it. It’s not prohibited in Greece…..Savvidis has allowed himself some excessive emotions but, once again, he didn’t threaten anybody with a gun.”Last year, Savvidis was part of a Franco-German consortium that won a bid for the privatisation of the Thessaloniki port authority.But the deal was postponed after a Russian bank backing Savvidis was placed under temporary administration.In a rare step, the US embassy in Athens later expressed concern over the issue, suggesting a lack of transparency over the funding behind the deal.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000The Greek football league has been suspended after PAOK president Ivan Savvidis, with a handgun in his waistband, confronted the referee after he disallowed a last-minute goal against AEK Athens in the top-of-the-table clash on Sunday © AFP / stringerATHENS, Greece, Mar 12 – Greece’s top-flight football championship was suspended indefinitely Monday, a minister said, hours after the owner of the PAOK team invaded the pitch with a gun strapped to his belt.Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he was “determined” to enforce order in the country’s oft-chaotic leading sport, which has repeatedly been marred by violence on and off the pitch.last_img read more