Chiefs and elders in Totota, Central Bong County, on Wednesday, February 3, honoured the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Dr. J. Mills Jones, as Chief Kolleh Gwee; Kpelle for “bright scholar.” The locals also gowned Governor Jones for his “valuable services” to Liberians.
The naming formed part of activities that marked the opening of the Totota Rural Community Finance Institution (TRCFI).
“We did not know in the past what CBL can do, but what we are seeing under Dr. Jones’ watch is different. CBL is now impacting our lives at our respective door steps,” said Oldman Kollie, speaking on behalf of the traditional leaders of Bong County.
Kollie said further that there are many who have served as Governor of CBL, but never touched the lives of ordinary Liberians. According to him, it is only through the able and dynamic leadership of Dr. Jones that rural residents can now feel the impact of the bank.
Oldman Kollie added that giving Governor Jones the traditional name was not a mistake, “because he has proven to them that they too are citizens with added value to their lives.”
He then called on Dr. Jones to keep focused and never be deterred by detractors, assuring, “we are with you and anywhere you go we will always be there with you.”
In his remarks, Dr. Jones informed the gathering that he and his entourage were in the county in the name of “unity and economic empowerment,” adding that if Liberians work together, they can make bigger things of themselves and their respective communities rather than relying on the international community for help.
He observed that if Liberians come together, they can do bigger and better things for the country, taking into consideration that the country has for so long lived in poverty.
“We have to succeed together or fail together,” said Dr. Jones told the gathering to a round of applause.
He said leaders lead by example, and this is what he wants to do, adding that good policymakers bring development. Jones said that it is because of his good policy that developments such as opening of rural banks are taking place across the country.
“The CBL,” he said, “is not for Governor Jones, but for the Liberian people, even though some Liberians continue to have misconceptions about the bank’s economic empowerment policy.”
Dr. Jones also assured the gathering that whether he stays at the Central Bank or not, his vision for economic empowerment will still continue, noting, “I believe in equal opportunity for all.”
For her part, Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, on behalf of the county’s Legislative Caucus, expressed gratitude to Dr. Jones and his Board of Governors for the project.
She described the project as a dream come true because they have been talking about the “Village Savings Loan” for almost two years, “and today that dream has come to fulfilment.”
Madam Esther Walker, who spoke on behalf of the chairperson of the National Apex of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA), assured Dr. Jones of their preparedness to work together in eradicating poverty from the country.
She said CBL’s dream to empower businesswomen will go down in history, adding that members of her organization are proud to have Dr. Jones as Executive Governor of the CBL, because without him, they could have suffered from extreme poverty and starvation.
Madam Walker also pledged the organization’s preparedness to work with Governor Jones across the country to ensure that his dream and aspirations come to pass.