... Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas addresses public concerns
The Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) has come forth to allay fears and address concerns of some Liberians as it relates to the Government’s US$100,000 pledge and US$300,000 budgetary allocation to the group’s Liberian Diaspora Initiative Fund (LDIF).
On March 27, the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Nathaniel Fahnlon McGill, representing President George Manneh Weah at ULAA’s 47th Inauguration Ceremony, pledged on behalf of the government, US$100,000 in addition to promising the diasporan Liberian group another US$300,000 to be placed in the next national budget.
ULAA National President J. Shiwoh Kamara (right) and ULAA National Executive President Hon. Minerva S. Grant
This gesture generated several concerns among Liberians of all walks of life, including presidential hopefuls, Cllr. Tiawan Saye Gongloe and former Liberian Ambassador to Washington, Milton Nathaniel Barnes, who challenged the Weah-led Administration’s move.
Addressing those concerns in a press statement, ULAA’s president said the fund is “an initiative aimed at funding economic projects in Liberia.”
“This donation is the largest of its kind ever in the organization’s history and it also shows the Government of Liberia’s readiness to engage, partner, and collaborate with the diaspora community to move our nation forward. It will also assist in laying the groundwork for advocating for issues affecting Liberians in the United States.”
The Diasporan Liberian group also said, “Furthermore, the accompanying pledged allocation of US$300,000.00, if passed and approved will specifically expand ULAA’s work in Liberia.”
ULAA National President J. Shiwoh Kamara and Guest Speaker, Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, US Representative from PA
ULAA’s LDIF also aims to promote economic development and reduce poverty for ordinary Liberians.
“LDIF will provide funding assistance in the form of grants, scholarships, sponsorships, in-kind donations to Liberian-owned organizations to empower them achieve their mission. LDIF will also provide technical assistance and training resources.”
Nevertheless, ULAA also acknowledged the opinions and concerns being expressed since the pledged donation and proposed budgetary allocation were announced by McGill and promised actions.
“We are reviewing all the legal, ethical, and financial implications such a donation could have on the organization and its ability to interact with the Government of Liberia, and freely advocate the issues impacting the lives of Liberians in the United States and back home. In an effort to bring transparency to our organization, our findings will be made available to the public and any decision thereof.
“ULAA remains committed to implementing the Liberia Diaspora Initiative Fund to open a diaspora office in Liberia and fund economic development projects to help reduce poverty in Liberia, through partnership and contributions from Liberians in the Diaspora, foundations, corporations, US Government, and the Liberian Government.”
ULAA extended special thanks to the government and people of Liberia for what it termed as “a substantial donation of US$100,000 to the Liberia Diaspora Fund, under ULAA Social Services, a 501 (3) C Entity.”