Cover art of the book, Gbagba, by Robtel Neajai PaileyIn a recently released video of ‘Gbagba: The Stage Play,’ a diminutive, 8 year-old Liberian child actor proclaims, “In gbagba or corruption, there are never any real winners, only loser.” On November 20, World Children’s Day, this pithy phrase is particularly relevant because it sums up how corruption—a mainstay in nations both rich and poor—stifles human progress.The play debuted at Monrovia City Hall in Liberia on September 28, 2017 comprising an all-child Liberian ensemble cast trained over a period of five months by premier theater company, Flomo Theater.In the book and its stage adaptation, children navigate the confusing ethical codes of the adults in their lives, in places as diverse as traffic jams, schools, churches and marketplaces. The children express clearly and honestly the concrete ways in which gbagba, loosely translated in the Bassa language as ‘corruption,’ hurts rather than heals society.‘Gbagba: The Stage Play’ was adapted from the anti-corruption children’s book, ‘Gbagba,’ written by Robtel Neajai Pailey, illustrated by Chase Walker and published to critical acclaim by One Moore Book in 2013.The stage play and accompanying highlights video, join a growing collection of multi-media tools adapted from the book to facilitate conversations between children and adults in Africa and across the globe about how to be accountable to self, community, nation and world.In the video and other media outlets, Gbagba author Pailey says that “children are the moral compass of Liberia; they are the moral compass of the world. When they start publicly exposing corruption for what it truly is, my hope is that adults will be shamed into living more honestly, with integrity.”‘Gbagba: The Stage Play’ was made possible through a generous grant from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). Massa Crayton, Liberia country representative, who was present at the stage play, had this to say about Pailey’s use of the arts to tackle corruption: “The Gbagba story is a classic example of the saying that children live what they see. Gbagba or corruption is one of the major societal vices they grow up with in the home, community and larger society.“Development of the Gbagba story into a stage play for children, who are the future leaders of Liberia, places premium on a much needed national conversation about the effects of corruption and the more than urgent need to curb it. Special thanks to the children who performed brilliantly on stage. We hope they carry the anti-gbagba message as wide as possible.”Since its publication in 2013, ‘Gbagba’ has been piloted in schools across Liberia as well as placed on the supplemental list of readers for 3rd to 5th graders by the Liberian Ministry of Education and for Primary 3 by the Ghana Education Service.The subject of anti-corruption workshops for children in Liberia, Mozambique, Jamaica, and the UK, ‘Gbagba’ has also been adapted into a song, video and radio drama. A sequel is forthcoming in 2018.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Orwain Sandy, the former Guyana Defence Force captain who shot his girlfriend, Reona Payne to death and then blamed his action on mental illness, was deemed fit to stand trial for the heinous crime.This was revealed when he reappeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday.Sandy’s Attorney, James Bond told the court that there were difficulties getting a private psychiatrist to examine his client and as such, they had to resort to local Psychiatrist, Dr Bhrio Harry to perform the evaluation.Bond further related that he and his client are ready to proceed with the full disclosures for prosecution. On the other hand, Police Prosecutor Vishnu Hunt told the court that the Police are yet to collect three outstanding statements in the matter but assured that they will be ready for commencement of the Preliminary Inquiry (PI).However, Magistrate Judy Latchman further remanded Sandy to prison and the matter was adjourned until June 11 for statements.In May, Sandy shot and killed Payne in broad daylight in First Street Alexander village; he then turned himself into the Police and handed over the service weapon he used to commit the act. Payne was shot multiple times about her body.Sandy was subsequently charged but he was granted an application to be mentally evaluated after his attorney told the court that the examination is critical to his client’s well-being, since he has been consulting with a psychiatrist for the past two years.It was reported that Sandy and Payne were in a motorcar proceeding along First Street, Alexander Village when an argument ensued after he reportedly accused her of being unfaithful.It was reported that he stopped the car, and as the woman exited, he shot her several times with his service revolver.He left her lifeless body on the roadway and went to the Ruimveldt Police Station, where he surrendered, informing ranks what he had done moments earlier.This publication was told that the argument ensued after Sandy had confronted Payne about having an affair with one of his colleagues.