United States Ambassador to Liberia Deborah Malac has urged Liberians to have confidence in their own future and not expect a government or a partner to “deliver” the goods they need.
During a reception she hosted last Thursday at the Centennial Pavilion in celebration of July 4th, the United States’ 239th Independence anniversary, Ambassador Malac admitted that the U.S. has had its ups and downs in the nearly two and a half centuries of its existence.
Admitting that her government has often failed to live up to its ideals, Malac assured nevertheless that, “we have never given up in our quest to overcome those shortcomings nor abandoned our collective commitment to look optimistically to the future.”
“Noisily, publicly, and sometimes tragically, we have learned and are learning still to embrace our differences and to build on the strength of our diversity,” she said.
Advocating for collaboration and unity among Liberians in order to enhance development and democracy, Malac advised, “I hope that Liberians, too, will accelerate their own efforts to pull together in pursuit of their dreams, to provide better lives for their families and future generations.”
Liberians have the capacity for collaboration, she acknowledged, referring to the unity demonstrated during the height of the Ebola crisis. This is a definite sign of such capacity, she said.
“I urge you to find that collective spirit to build a better Liberia,” Ambassador Malac urged.
With respect to the high expectations of change in Liberia, the US Ambassador assured Liberians that the United States stands ready to help them help themselves. She, however, reminded Liberians that development, consolidation of democratic governance and reconciliation are all processes that take time.
She again stressed that by working together, valuing differences and committing to the greater good, progress comes more quickly.
Regarding Liberia’s success in its development drive, Ambassador Malac said, “Long-term success in Liberia requires dependable infrastructure, much of which never existed or was destroyed during Liberia’s civil war. The Government of Liberia’s Agenda for Transformation correctly emphasizes the importance of good roads, ports, airports, electricity, and water—and we saw how important these things were to the fight against Ebola. We are working closely with Liberia, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and other donors to expedite implementation of the plan.”
She, however, quickly reminded Liberians that Long-term success will require the continued development of Liberia’s governance institutions, with transparent accountability to ensure that the many needed infrastructures, energy, education and public health projects stay on track, are sustainably funded and regularly maintained.
The Ambassador also gave assurance that the selection of Liberia in 2012 to benefit from the Power Africa through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is considered by the US Government and she hopes later this year that government will contribute significant resources to rebuilding the Mt. Coffee Hydro-Electric power plant.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in her congratulatory message to the people and Government of the United States, recalled the important role played by President Barack Obama during the Ebola crisis and extended commendation to him and the American people for that tremendous role.
She recalled that as the situation worsened the US Government sent about 4,000 troops to Liberia to contain the virus, adding that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was also present here providing healthcare services.
President Sirleaf also acknowledged the role of Tom Frieden, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), who she said led a team of health personnel to Liberia for an assessment that led to
the coming of over 50 health workers from that institution.
President Sirleaf further acknowledged that Ambassador Malac, too, played a heroic role in the fight against Ebola, recalling that throughout the crisis the US Ambassador remained in the country, giving encouragement to Liberians in the fight.
In appreciation of Ambassador Malac’s role and that of President Obama, the Chief Elders of the Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia, Zanzan Kawor, gowned Ambassador Malac and presented her with another gown to be conveyed to President Obama.
Chief Kawor said that as a tradition, they could not let such a great role played by the US Government go without notice.