The Minister of State Without Portfolio, Sylvester M. Grigsby, has commended the International Committee of the Red Cross, including its Liberian office, for contributing to the improvement of the lives of people across the world by carrying out useful programs.
Serving as the keynote speaker at the program marking the 190th World Red Cross-Red Crescent Day held at the Paynesville City Hall, Minister Grigsby said the Red Cross Society worldwide is helping humanity fight against crises.
With particular reference to the Liberia National Red Cross Society (LNRCS), he expressed the government’s satisfaction in reforming the institution’s leadership and functions.
“President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is looking forward to an accountable, professional and results oriented Red Cross Society in the country as the change of leadership and systems have affected the Society here in line with the best international standards,” he noted.
He said President Sirleaf is concerned that actions leading to the near collapse of the LNRCS are not repeated to save the face of the Red Cross in Liberia.
“We pray that you work with impartiality and equality and uphold integrity among yourselves as volunteers and with others whom you serve on a daily basis,” Grigsby said. “Red Cross has made efforts over the years to empower women.”
For his part, the president of the Liberian National Red Cross Society, Mr. Jerome Clarke, said celebrating the Day under the theme “Everywhere for everyone” is about the responsibility each volunteer has to take for those dying and in need of LNRCS assistance.
“As we remain grateful to President Sirleaf for her timely intervention in our crisis that hindered our operations, let us not forget that we need to follow good ideas that will keep us united and going to work in the interest of all those who deserve our services,” Mr. Clarke said.
He called on his staff to be honest and transparent in all their dealings with each other, as well as with people from outside.
“If we should continue to attract support from our partners and remain a truly humanitarian institution focused on building trust with the destitute, we must be able to account for everything we do and follow all the required procedures to save us from public disrepute,” he noted.
He commended those who participated in the celebration of the organization’s anniversary and extended gratitude to President Sirleaf for being a true mother and a leader.
Mr. Clarke also called on donors, including the International Rescue Committee (IRC), to repose confidence in the Liberian office and help it survive the current challenges, including bankruptcy.
The occasion was marked by cultural performances as well as the reading of the LNRCS’ “Movement statement,” that stresses commitment to uphold integrity in all its operations, and the reading of a poem titled, “Red Cross Forever” by Pauline Korba, a student of Calvary Baptist School.
It may be recalled that in March 2016 President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf ordered the offices of the LNRCS closed and its Board of Directors dissolved after careful review of LNRCS’s activities.
An Executive Mansion statement announcing the decision stated “President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, as Chief Patron of the Liberian National Red Cross Society (LNRCS), has dissolved the Board of Directors of the Liberian National Red Cross Society with immediate effect. The president has also halted the activities/operations of the current Management Team of the entity.”
President Sirleaf took the decisions on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 following a careful review of events unfolding at the Liberian National Red Cross Society. The president of the LNRCS at time was Emmanuel O. Kparh, and was accused of financial mismanagement.