Liberia: Open letter to President George Manneh Weah
.... Re GOL’s Indebtedness to the Daily Observer Newspaper
His Excellency George Manneh Weah
President, Republic of Liberia
The Executive Mansion
Dear Mr. President:
I am writing respectfully to seek your personal intervention in the matter of the Liberian Government’s indebtedness to the Liberian Observer Corporation and its newspaper, the Daily Observer — indebtedness that has lasted over several years.
We would like first to point out that the Daily Observer is not the only media institution that suffers from prolonged and stifling GOL indebtedness. We are aware that several other media are in the same boat as we, suffering from extensive and prolonged indebtedness on the part of our own Government, which we in the media strive faithfully to serve daily not only in bringing to Government’s attention the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly happenings in the country, but also direct messages which the Government itself sends out to the public as advertisement to ensure that the people and institutions of the country are effectively, faithfully and regularly informed about what the Government is doing in running the country and meeting the Liberian people’s needs and expectations.
To date the Government’s debt to the Daily Observer lies in the staggering amount of US$41,450. You can imagine, Mr. President, that for an old but small business like ours, this is a huge amount that we cannot afford to keep on our books indefinitely, especially from our own Government, which we strive faithfully to serve on a daily basis, not only by keeping it informed on a daily basis on what is happening in the country but also faithfully and regularly carrying its vital messages and notices to the public.
We appeal to you, Mr. President, to instruct your various Government Agencies, especially the Ministry of Finance, to pay us as soon as possible to enable us to meet our several overdue obligations to our employees, suppliers/vendors and the LBDI Bank so that we can continue to serve our people, Government and nation and provide for our families.
President Weah, please take this matter into your own hands because our persistent efforts and appeals to our government officials to settle our bills have yielded no results. It does not bode well or appear astute that your government is unresponsive to Liberian businesses which are left stranded and struggling even when your international partners have provided funds to settle domestic debts some months ago.
To our (or the public’s) knowledge, those funds have not been disbursed to any published list of local vendors. If vendors were indeed paid, why was the Daily Observer excluded? This brings us back to the question we have been asking Finance Minister Tweah for weeks: What wrong has the media committed? It appears that Mr. Tweah doesn’t think that the fourth estate, which helps to pay his salary, deserves a response. We hope, Mr. President, that you will correct him and insist that he does the right thing for Liberian businesses and the employees and families they support.
We cannot end this letter without congratulating you on your son Timothy’s achievement on the world soccer stage in Qatar which we are all proud of. As you bask in Liberia’s first son’s achievement in Doha, following in the footsteps of his father’s luminous soccer career, we wish him and your family continued success. We want all our families, our children, to also thrive in their own endeavors and you signed up for the job of President of Liberia to make that happen not just for yourself and a few powerful people.
Please realize, Mr. President, that we are not seeking from you a handout or a contribution. Rather, we are respectfully asking your government to pay without further delay its legitimate debt owed to the Liberian Observer Corporation and other media. Sir, that is the fair and right thing to do.
Thank you very much, Sir, and we look forward to hearing from you very soon.
Kenneth Y. Best
The Daily Observer Newspaper