— Former Information Minister, Rev. Bowier, laments
Former Information Minister and now minister of the gospel, Rev. Emmanuel Bowier has opened up for the first time since the installation of the George Weah Administration, stating that “Liberia is heading nowhere” because of a number of factors confronting the society nowadays.
Speaking recently to journalists at his residence in Sinkor, Rev. Bowier, an experienced government official who served the Samuel Doe Administration as Information Minister up to the Liberian civil war, emphasized that the government of today is in the hands of “Inexperienced” youths who do not consider the old folks’ advice on national and social issues.
Known for his oral historical treatises of Liberia, Rev. Bowier said he was five years of age when he began following activities relating the Liberian Government under the guidance of his father who held various administrative positions in the local governance structure in some counties in Liberia.
According to him, not many people in government today have any good orientation in governance to convince Liberia’s partners outside; which he said is responsible for the kind of economic condition and the country’s lukewarm diplomacy.
He added that many young people vying for positions in government or awarded public positions are not truthful to the leader appointing them, but set false impressions to gain the favor of the leader just to keep them in those positions without an impact on the public. “A lot of them do not have the qualification and competence, but want to live by favor for which they go ahead to lie to the leader of the day,” he noted.
“The young people today do not respect older people, neither regard their views nor consider them to be valuable to the society, but they feel that what pleases them should be done and they always take older people’s advice as ‘olden time’ talks that have expired,” said Rev. Bowier.
Touching some specific pressing issues affecting society, Rev. Bowier said the financial crisis facing the country and unprofessional practices in the media are some serious problems.
According to him, some past administrations especially during the First Republic (1847-1980), encountered such a problem where banks ran out of money, but the sound and wise officials and ordinary patriotic citizens of those days remedied it without the public knowing that such financial problem was facing the country.
“I tell you, past administrations faced this same problem, but you know what? Those who had money in this country trusted the government and whenever anything like this occurs, they will come together to credit the government to pay civil servants and afterwards the government will reimburse them,” Rev. Bowier said.
During those years, an elite group of people referred to as “Congos” ruled the country. Besides working in government, most of them owned large rubber farms, estates and industries and the government was renting their houses as ministries and agencies. It was so far the administration of Samuel Doe that Liberia began to see the emergence of more government-owned ministries.
He also indicated that the government of George Weah has a very poor Public Relations arm that is not helping to propagate messages that will help the government to build its image, but those clothed with the responsibility for Public Relations are all reactionaries.
“While at the Ministry of Information, I would do my research with ministries and agencies that certain issues are coming from and after understanding their workings, I would hold a press briefing to tell the public what is happening, but it is not happening now. Rather, people just come out to talk and say things that will sound pleasing to the President without convincing the public how the government is working,” said Rev. Bowier.
Rev. Bowier also frowned at the ways in which journalists are siding with politicians and others to castigate others. “Let young people, especially those in the media, know that there is a tomorrow. Collecting money from people to castigate others is not a good practice because you do not know whom you are going to meet tomorrow.”
He, however, predicted that as overwhelming as unqualified and incompetent dominate government and other institutions including the media, there will come a time in Liberia where qualified and competent people will be searched out to work as the country’s progress remains at a standstill.
Bowier who used to appear on the radio to educate the public on Liberian history and other governmental issues has, therefore, planned to get back on the radio to provide civic education on governance and social issues as his contribution towards restoring those social values Liberia is losing.