Every year the Management of The NEWS Newspaper recognizes individuals and institutions for their respective contributions in the advancement and forward march of Liberia. With this year being no exception, we have identified individuals and institutions that contributed toward the good of the Liberian society especially during the Ebola outbreak. Hence, the editorial department of The News Newspaper chose some celebrities during the year 2014.
Dr. Jerry Brown: Person Of The Year
The News Newspaper's “Person of the Year” honor is awarded to Dr. Jerry Brown, Administrator of the ELWA-Two Ebola Treatment Unit due to his sacrificial services during the heat of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.
At the time where no health practitioner was willing to offer his/her services to cater to sick people for fear of contracting the Ebola virus, Dr. Brown took the courage to save lives by treating Ebola infected persons as a means of giving them joy, self-fulfillment, which is an affirmation of brother's keeper.
Evidenced by his work, Dr. Brown is being recognized by various local and international media outlets as a “Fighter of Ebola” and will be remembered for saving the lives of people who were in a complete state of despair and under extreme difficult circumstances.
In the self-sacrifice of the Good Samaritan giving hope to the hopeless, Dr. Brown improved the country's image on the international scene by caring for his compatriots who were suffering from the virus, although some of whom never dreamt of survival.
Amid apprehension on the part of health workers at ELWA Hospital, it took the devotion and commitment of Dr. Brown to inspire his team into action.
We professionally covered detailed investigative account of events, which demonstrated a clear expression that Africa and the world at large did not just watch a peculiar epidemic devastating the people of Liberia, but articulate the compelling need to give flowers to someone who truly risked his life to save others.
As the country continues to battle the virus, Dr. Brown quickly transformed the ELWA Hospital's Chapel into an Ebola treatment unit as a means of pushing the Church to intervene in serving humanity.
Due to commitment and dedication as a medical practitioner, Dr. Brown's ELWA Hospital in Monrovia was considered destination for other hospitals in the three hardest hit West African countries.
While other health institutions closed down for fear of the Ebola plague, ELWA Hospital under Dr. Brown's watch remained opened. He and his team, however, did not ask what was government's contemplation, rather, they asked what the World Health Organization was preparing when Liberia became plagued and health institutions stretched out.
Dr. Brown, like a Good Samaritan with unwavering faith, unshakable determination and amazing compassion, was selected by our editorial department as “Person Of The Year 2014.”
Senator Jewel Howard Taylor: Woman Of The Year
Senator Jewel Howard Taylor of Bong County is our Woman of The Year after demonstrating a strong political role in the just ended Mid-term Senatorial election.
Senator Taylor is the only female contestant who emerged victorious and one of the two incumbent senators who was re-elected in the just ended senatorial election.
Senator Taylor, former First Lady of Liberia was the only female candidate among 12 men who contested the Bong County senatorial seat and defeated all of them to remain senator for the next nine years.
She was one of the incumbent senators who many believed could not have won considering the caliber of individuals she was running against. But to the utmost surprise of many, she won with a wide margin.
Despite all the political badmouthing by her opponents that she has failed to live up to promises made to the people during the 2005 elections and was part of a regime that destroyed the country as well as failing to reconcile citizens of the county, our Woman of The Year was able to break through and caused uneasiness for her male contestants to win the seat.
It takes a brave mind, courage, focus and self-confident for a female politician like Senator Taylor to escape such a political disgrace by winning two successive elections. The Bong County senator is the only female candidate elected among the over 15 women candidates supported by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to contest various seats in the 15 counties.
Representative Saah H. Joseph: Humanitarian of the year
Representative Saah H. Joseph of the Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) is our “Humanitarian Of the Year” due to his humanitarian services to Liberians during the heat of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.
Representative Joseph used his salary to procure ambulances to participate in the fight against the Ebola virus. He did not just show concern for his district #13 residents, but went to other districts to render similar services.
At the onset of the Ebola outbreak when the Liberian government had limited capacity to move people suspected of Ebola virus, it was Representative Joseph whose ambulances stood in to fill the gap.
Since then, Representative Joseph's ambulance services remained visible in every part of Montserrado, Margibi, Grand Bassa and Bomi counties, conveying suspected Ebola patients to the nearest health posts.
There are three cardinal functions of a lawmaker, Lawmaking, representation and oversight, but Representative Joseph went beyond his call of duty by driving the ambulance to save lives. From his pocket, he hired the services of young people to serve as responders for his ambulances to attend to community needs.
While in the call of duty, one of the ambulances' drivers got infected with the virus while trying to save a child who was abandoned in a house due to the death of his parents but later discharged following a successful treatment.
Representative Joseph during many of his tours in communities in search of sick people always said “we cannot sit back and allow all of these people to die; so we will do the little to get them to the nearest treatment unit. It is about time for everyone to hold hands and fight the deadly Ebola virus out of the country together.”
Our “Humanitarian Of The Year” also played a pivotal role in the 10-day quarantine of residents in the Township of West Point by providing food for them until the restriction was lifted.
Besides the provision of food, Representative Joseph risked his life to go in the township to move suspected Ebola patients to ETU for treatment.
The Editorial Department of the NEWS Newspaper is honored by Representative Joseph's contributions to Liberia and its people for which he's being recognized as The Humanitarian Of The Year.
Cllr. Varney Sherman, Politician of the Year
Cllr. Varney Sherman is a distinguished Liberian citizen renowned for his outstanding performance in the practice of law in the country and beyond the borders of Liberia. He brings integrity and moral respectability to the profession, raising the specter as one of the country's foremost legal luminaries.
He's a successful corporate lawyer who earned his wealth from litigation and other legal practices and ventures. He was in private practice as partner at Maxwell & Maxwell, a firm he managed long before he founded the Sherman & Sherman, which is today regarded as one of the most reputable Liberian law firm in terms of the quality of services to its clients, in terms of successes at civil litigation and other forms of representations, as well as efficacy as a service provider, among others.
Apart from the practice of law, Cllr. Sherman, like many Liberians, has political affiliation. He's known to have associated politically with the Liberia Action Party (LAP), a political entity that amassed huge followers during the era of the military junta. Although the political leader of LAP, Dr. Binyah Kesselley, was killed supposedly by the NPFL, Cllr. Sherman, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, currently President of Liberia, Senator Cletus Wortorson and others politically challenged the status quo and encouraged multi-party politics or democratic rule.
In 2005, Cllr. Sherman contested the presidential election on the ticket of LAP and he finished fourth in the contest of more than twenty aspirants. That was impressive for a man who made his first attempt at the presidency. Before that, Cllr. Sherman, regarded as king-maker, influenced the nomination of Charles Gyude Bryant (deceased) as chairman of the transitional government in 2003, following a nasty civil war that ousted former President Charles Taylor and the brief stint of Moses Blah at the helm of power.
Following the election of 2005, and after carefully considering several factors as well as the interest of the country, Cllr. Sherman's Liberia Action Party (LAP) and the current ruling Unity Party forged a merger. That merger was politically expedient, and in the fullness of time, Sherman became an influential key figure in the party. Before the 2011 election, Cllr. Sherman became chairman of the ruling Unity Party and he helped ensure the re-election of President Johnson-Sirleaf.
Our selection of Cllr. Varney Sherman as Politician of the Year is based on our conviction that the honoree demonstrated politically that he got the political clout, popularity, and as a consensus builder, he was able to get the mandate of the people of Grand Cape Mount County to represent them at the senate.
Without any shadow of doubt, Cllr. Sherman is one of the finest qualities of individuals elected to the senate. He brings to the post enormous experience as a Lawyer with impeccable academic credentials as a Law School Professor. Counselor Sherman has a LLB from the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law and obtained his LL.M. degree from Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.
Considering his success as a private citizen, who has never engaged in any act to subvert past and president governments or undermine the security of the state and/or the people of Liberia, and considering his non-violent approach to politics, specifically his election as senator of Grand Cape Mount County, The NEWS Newspaper confers on Cllr. Varney G. Sherman as POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR 2014.
Simeon Freeman: Political Activist Of The Year 2014
Our selection of Mr. Freeman, Political Leader of the Movement for Progress Change (MPC) is based on his stance on political issues in the country, especially his role in the recent lawsuit that led to a temporary stay order placed on the mid-term senatorial election by the Supreme Court of Liberia.
Mr. Freeman who was the first to raise the 'red flag' to halt the senatorial election and others thought that it was improper to hold the poll amidst the spread of the Ebola virus. He and some prominent Liberians who dragged the NEC and the Liberian Government to court also cited Constitution violation by NEC.
Freeman believes that Liberia should be declared as Ebola free by the World Health Organization (WHO) before conducting the Senatorial Election.
He repeatedly said it was a shame that the government decided to close schools and other activities because of the Ebola disease and wanted to conduct election that would put more lives at risk. Mr. Freeman acknowledging that the disease has caused hardship for most Liberians said he is worried that most children might not be able to get back to school immediately because many of the companies that their parents worked for had left the country due to the Ebola outbreak.
Apart from his political activism, Mr. Freeman also provided L$1million to orphanage homes caring for children made orphans as a result of the deadly Ebola virus. He has been pressing for social justice and democratic freedom in Liberia.
Public Corporation of the Year, NASSCORP
This year, our Public Corporation of the Year is awarded to the National Social Security & Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) for adhering to national and international best practices. More than that, the current administration, under the leadership of Director-General Dewitt vonBallmoos, has transformed NASSCORP into one of the best systems on the continent.
Individuals and groups doing business with NASSCORP have testified that the corporation has truly modernized its mode of operation consistent with international good practice.
Our attention was drawn to recent reports that NASSCORP has received an International Social Security Association (ISSA) Certificate of Merit for Good Practice in Africa for the Year 2014. The corporation was among 29 member institutions from 22 African countries that submitted 58 entries for the ISSA Good Practice Award Competition.
The Corporation's entry entitled, “Integrating Technology to Improve Operational Processes,” was selected by an independent international jury as the winner of this year's Good Practice Certificate of Merit in the areas of Contribution Collection and Compliance, Information and Communication Technology, and Service Quality.
The award ceremony took place on December 3, 2014 in Casablanca, Morocco, during the welcome dinner held on the Occasion of the Regional Social Security Forum from December 3 – 5, 2014.
We are convinced that the corporation deserves this award, especially at the time when Ebola had devastated the economy of the country and brought it at the verge of collapse. The presence of Ebola paralyzed the function of most government entities, making it difficult, if not impossible for them to function. NASSCORP would have decided not to engage in good practices, but due to its determination to elevate the portfolio of the entity (when others were busy compromising), it adhered to international standards and practice that yielded good dividend.
NOVAFONE-GSM Company Of The Year
Our “GSM Company Of The Year” award goes to NOVAFONE GSM Company.
Since its re-branding and subsequent launch in 2013, NOVAFONE has stood tall in the telecommunications sector of Liberia in a short period of time.
In less than two years, the signal of NOVAFONE is visible in nine of the 15 counties providing communication services to citizens.
The company won the award due to its value corporate social responsibility, preparedness to support educational programs for the Liberian youth, encouraging activities that coach leadership, teamwork and decision making skills. Since September 2013, NOVAFONE has demonstrated a high degree of commitment and seriousness to the Liberian people as well as playing a key role in the economic development of the country which shows that it is ready and prepared to play a major role in developing the telecommunications market.
In a short period, NOVAFONE was able to step up its services to include Corporate Secure Internet (Firewall), Email, WEB-Hosting, Domain Names, Fail-Over-Solution (Backup) for Corporate, Corporate Inter-Branch Connectivity At High Speed (DATA, VOIP, CCTV, INTERNET), VPN-IPSEC Solution for International Corporations, Disaster Recovery Solutions and IP-PBX Telephony with E1 30 Lines Solutions
The company has quickly improved in the short period to the extent that its voice mail serves as an automatic private answering machine that answers calls and allows callers to leave a recorded voice message in the voice mailbox. With the Voice-mail service, callers can retrieve messages whenever they want at their convenience.
With the above services provided by NOVAFONE, The NEWS believes that the company has quality prospects to make communication more affordable to the people of Liberia and is pleased to name the company as “GSM Company Of The Year.”