Expressing fatigue with the country’s dependency syndrome, President Sirleaf says it is time Liberia got away from international support and starting looking to sustain itself.
“As you may know, Liberia is fast approaching the time when we must stand on our own two feet, as we cannot continue to rely on the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL); the United Nations, our good international friends and neighbors, came to help us in our difficult period. They have put us on the road to recovery,” the President explained.
She continued saying, “We, at some point, must begin to stand on our own and reach a point where we will have to become responsible for our own safety, security and development programs, rather than depending on others.”
The President made the statement after officially dedicating the renamed Tubman Military Academy at Camp Todee, in Upper Montserrado County. She was urging soldiers, recruits, and other officials in attendance to roll up their sleeves and get into a self-dependent mode.
The ceremony coincided with the AFL’s Annual Affiliation Day. Afterwards, the President proceeded to Edward Binyah Kesselly Camp in Schiefflin, Margibi County, for the official 2013 Affiliation Day program.
The dedication ceremony at Todee gave the President the opportunity to interact with new recruits undergoing training there. She urged them to see themselves as the “face of Liberia” after training and the commencement of their service to their country. She reminded the trainees and soldiers that government expects nothing less than professionalism and discipline as they serve as promoters of development.
During the ceremony, Mrs. Sirleaf unveiled and dedicated most of the refurbished facilities including the auditorium, the staff living quarters, and the “T” and “U” buildings being used as classrooms for the recruits.
Earlier, Defense Minister Brownie J. Samukai, Jr. noted that the presence of the President at the dedication of renovated facilities marked the beginning of the continuation of a series of training programs for the AFL.
According to him, the renovation of the Todee facilities—which he said had reenergized the soldiers—was done with support from the government through appropriate budgetary allotments.
“There are plans to renovate more damaged military installations across the country,” Minister Samukai said, explaining, “They would allow the MOD to accommodate members of the AFL while decongesting the EBK Barracks.
“All of this is being done to provide better accommodations for the soldiers as an example of our continued commitment to provide and develop soldiers under the motto, “A Force for Good.”
The military facilities at Todee were solely renovated by the AFL’s Engineering Company.
For his part, the Command Officer-in-Charge of the AFL, Major-General Suraj Abdurrahman, described the event as a great honor for the soldiers to share the day with the C-I-C. He believed it served as a motivation for the service men and women.
The event marked the observance of this year’s AFL Affiliation Day. The day is set aside every year for the Ministry of Defense (MOD) staff, AFL personnel, and their families to get together and interact with the President and Commander-in-Chief in a relaxed atmosphere to mark the end of the year.
It is also intended to foster and strengthen ties with the C-I-C, MOD staff, AFL personnel, and their families, as they rekindle the comradeship and esprit de corps (inspiring keenness, gusto) between those groups and their families.
In a related development, C-I-C Sirleaf has renewed her government’s commitment to the rebuilding process of the AFL as part of Liberia’s post-war recovery program.
According to the President, the Force, as Liberia’s pride, deserves government’s fullest support as it strives to defend the nation’s sovereignty.
The CIC pledged, “My administration will continue to support the progress that the AFL has made since the commencement of its rebuilding and restructuring, and it is my hope that you will continue to make us proud.”
She assured the Defense Authority that her government was committed to providing the needs of “our soldiers and as the C-I-C, I will do my best to provide the necessary mechanisms for the renovation of all other remaining military facilities to fast-track accommodations and training for more soldiers and recruits.”