“US Will Support Job Creation in Weah Gov’t”

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United States under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas A. Shannon

By Jonathan Paye-Layleh

The United States Government has pledged to support “job and greater wealth creation” to the new Liberian government under the leadership of football legend George Weah whose inauguration on Monday drew more than 35,000 people to the SKD Complex that left at least 35 persons injured (according to the LNP) as they tried to force their way into the already packed stadium.

The United States under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas A. Shannon, who led a high-level delegation to the inauguration, spoke with confidence in an exclusive interview before his meeting with President George Weah on Tuesday.

“This is a great man,” Shannon said of the 51-year old president. “He’s someone who has distinguished himself in many fields, sport being just one of them, but somebody who obviously has an understanding and feels for the Liberian people. So it’s our intent to do everything we can do help him be as successful as possible, as early as possible.”

Since the end of the country’s 14-year civil wars in 2003, youth unemployment has remained at an all-time high.

“Probably most important will be looking for ways to help the president generate more economic growth, more job creation and greater wealth and stabilizing the economy that has suffered terribly through conflict and disease and pandemic,” Ambassador Shannon said.

“I think through commerce, through investment, and through helping connect Liberia better to regional trade, Liberia has a great opportunity to start generating the kind of economic growth it needs,” he said.

Shannon said the people’s response to Weah’s inauguration “was quite remarkable and I think it underscores the tremendous opportunity he has to be a great leader.”

The Weah government has inherited a weak economy and near inflation, weak health and educational sectors and an external reserve of just over US$150 million in a country where corruption is a cancer.

Yet, expectations are so high the former AC Milan striker told the crowd in his inauguration address there wouldn’t be “quick fixes.”

The US diplomat agreed.

“Expectations will always be high,” Shannon said. “People have great faith in democracy and great faith in the leaders that they themselves choose; that’s positive.”

He added: “But obviously managing those expectations is also a challenge and the president’s right to underscore the fact that there are no quick fixes; but the best way to deal with expectations is through accomplishment.”

Trump’s “Shithole” comment

In the interview Shannon attempted to clarify President Donald Trump’s recent “shithole” comment about Africa, Haiti and other countries with high immigrant populations in the U.S.

“First the president says he did not use the word that has been attributed to him,” he said.

Ambassador Shannon insisted the US Government will never put itself at loggerheads with its international partners including Africa.

“And I deeply regret that this is what the press has deeply focused on. But it is not a reflection of Africa or other partners; it’s a reflection of the intensity of the political debate in the United States and a way in which that debate has infected how we talk about important issues,” he said. “And so it is not a reflection on Africa or on partners; it is a reflection on us. And for that reason I want to underscore that we cannot abide vulgar disrespect when talking about partners that are so close to us.”

When Ambassador Shannon was reminded that there was a Democratic senator who attended the meeting and admitted President Trump had made the remarks, he replied: “Let me put it this way; I was not in the room, but the president himself said he did not say that.

“I can’t make any further comment than that, but I can say that those specific words do not describe our relationship with Liberia or any of our African partners.”

30 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks very much. The people of Liberia are happy to hear that the US supports the issue of job creation by the Weah-Taylor team.
    It is hoped that the US government will go an extra mile in the area of tracking down criminals who stole money during Johnson-Sirleaf’s 12-year reign. The FBI and other federal agencies within the government are masterful. The FBI can help retrieve the stolen money.

    The fact that money got squandered or stolen during Johnson-Sirleaf’s reign is not a made-up theory neither is it unknown to the US government. As an example, the USAID recently became critical of Johnson-Sirleaf based on how she and her cronies misused the country’s meager resources. Well, a good portion of the money that was misused by the Johnson-Sirleaf government was taxpayers’ money from the US.

    The US must not hesitate to help retrieve Liberia’s stolen money.

  2. Liberians are grateful to the United States for the many years of support. Thanks for the new commitment to work with WEAH’s government to fulfill his development agenda which will benefit all Liberians. Great News!

  3. Be skeptical when the United States offers a hand of friendship. After 170 years of friendship, Liberia is still treated like America’s stepchild. What do we have to show in terms of economic development for all those years of so-called special relationship with the U.S.A?

    Beware whenever the Americans come to offer friendship, always keep one eye on your natural resources, and keep the other eye on the United States foreign aid and loan package. You have to pay them back at a big cost!!!

    There is a United States friendship policy of what’s in it for the United States? Liberia should not allow itself to be saturated with foreign debt again. We will forever be indebted to these foreign powers for our existence.

    We saw in the early 80s how the United States showered the Doe government with unnecessary military aid for a small impoverished country like Liberia. Did we really need all that military spending? That money spent on propping a military government could have been used to build roads, schools, hospitals and put thousands of Liberian on much needed agriculture projects toward food security.

    What we need is partnership like that with China in economic development and bilateral relationships. We don’t need any country to come into Liberia to rip off Liberia’s natural resources for a penny on a dollar.
    We need developmental partners in electrifying the country; developmental partners in rebuilding our water pipes and water sewer systems; developmental partners in rehabilitating roads; developmental partners in building schools, universities, airports, hospitals, passenger rails; developmental partners in helping us established manufacturing companies to covert our raw materials (timber, iron ore, rubber, etc.) into finished products for export. These are the kinds of friends Liberia greatly need.

    If Liberia does not produce products, finished and unfinished, for exports to the world market, Liberia will be forever doomed economically despite all the friendship United States offers in foreign aid.

    We have to cure ourselves of these disastrous foreign aid syndrome and corruption to become competitive in the economic world market.

    We need U.S.A and other friendly nations as business partners and not as greedy landlords.

    Yes indeed Mr. President, “Liberia is open for business.”

    • Thank you sir. However, Liberia must be a responsible partner in the process…Not an ATM. Constructive engagement benefitting and enhancing the quality of life all Liberians ..

    • You should read the response of the President of Uganda.
      He did not complain if it was said as mentioned, but Trump denied that he said so.
      It was brought up by a US Senator that is a known liar, bur what the Uganda President said that Trump would be right an hopefully open the African Nations eyes to start doing it on their own.

  4. As my Liberian wife said:

    “the USA is all about the big show, lots of noise but no actual substance… USA says blah blah blah blah blah… but nothing comes of it… whereas the Chinese put their money where their mouth is…. for example in the last 12 years:
    Newly resurfaced roads = Chinese.
    New airport = Chinese.
    New hospitals = Chinese.
    New schools = Chinese.
    America is no true friend of Liberia. American’s aren’t going to like that I’m saying this, but it’s true.”

    • I guess the Chinese are your friends, but they do not give you money for free, they will own all your valuabe assets, like businesses and mineral lock stock and barrel in addition they will bring in their own people to do most of the work, create Chinese communities, they will not associate with Liberians and change the Country into a different Country then what is now.
      Start speeking Chinese

      • So what. It is better than those who show teeth but think they are better. You keep dreaming that the U S is your friend. Who killed Lumumba. Who Call Mandela a terrorist. Who helped the white South Africans to oppress blacks. China trained the blacks in South Africa for liberation. China never colonized any African country or took them as slaves

  5. Is that coming from Mr. Trump? That he will help one of the ‘shithole’ countries. I don’t think so. Weah, look for help from other countries. The US had us dying for 14 years. We have long memories.

  6. Hahaha – you remember what Trump said about Liberia during the Ebola? Don’t count on him to do anything for us. Maybe in the next administration, but we can start building our own country and don’t have to wait for the US.

  7. MONROVIA IS NOT LIBERIA, MOVE BACK TO YOUR COUNTIES AND BEGIN THE DEVELOPMENTAL PHASE OF YOUR COUNTY. WHEN CONTRACTS ARE BEING AGREED UPON. EDUCATION, HEALTHCARE AND OTHER HUMAN DEVELOPMENTAL LANGUAGE MUST BE AGREED UPON. LIBERIA is rich in TOURISM, use it.

  8. As long as Liberians ARE awaiting GOL handout “YOR WILL STAY INSIDE LONG TAAN”. Counties can do it themselves if they wanna.

  9. LIberians quick to act like beggars when the Us give them a bone. Does the US even have a Secretary of State for African Affairs? NO. The trump administration does not like Africa or Africans. But Liberians always jumping to give America seat. we are indeed a colonized people

  10. Without a shred of doubt, there is a unique relationship between the US and Liberia. The relationship between the two nations is historical. The relationship must be strengthened on both sides. While the people of Liberia wish that Uncle Sam could more, it is equally important for Liberians to understand that their past leaders have operated under a cloak of chicanery as a way of consolidating their grip on the Liberian people.

    Years of President Samuel K. Doe:
    In the early eighties, president Ronald Reagan pumped $500 million dollars in Liberia to help the people of Liberia. During that time, Liberia was not at war with any country neither was there any rebel activity that could pose a threat of destabilization to the Doe regime. I went for a visit in 1983 to see my parents. I could not travel by road to get to Cape Palmas, Maryland county because the road was badly devastated by torrential rainfall.
    What happened to the aid money that poured in Liberia by president Reagan? Did president Doe consider road construction a top priority? Or, did the US magically withdraw its aid money from Doe?

    Road construction was not the only project that president Doe could have undertaken with the $500 million dollars.

    Schools:
    Again during the 1980s, Liberian public schools across the country did not function properly. Students did not have their full set of tectbooks neither did teachers have the opportunity to be given their full set of teacher edition textbooks.
    Should we blame the US for the misbehavior of our former leader. Mr. Doe?

    My concentration focus centers on the $500 million dollars that president Reagan pumped in Liberia during the Doe years. I cannot go the political route because I will be forced to ask about Thomas Wensen (forgive the spelling), Jackson F. Doe and others who died mysteriously during those years. Neither will I go the military route to probe the purchase of weapons from Romania when president Doe told the world he did so in other to “protect the mansion”.

    Most recently, at least during the past 12 years, the US did not withhold its economic assistance from Liberia. Rather, more aid money from the Obama administration continued to flow in Liberia. As an example, consider the 20 million dollars that president Obama gave to Johnson-Sirleaf to improve schools nationwide. Does anyone know what happened to that money? Have schools improved in Liberia at all? Do students have their full set of textbooks today in Liberia?
    Finally, is the US blameworthy on this latest 20 million dollar deal?

    China….
    There are some in the Liberian community who strongly believe that Chinese aid is much, much better than what the US, a historical ally provides. That’s not true at all!
    Please note that Chinese economic assistance comes in the form of loans. For instance, the newly completed Terminal and Runway at Roberts International Airport by China is not a free gift to the Liberian people. Also, the new Ministerial complex that’s under construction in the Monrovia area, is not a free gift. Combining the cost of the above mentioned projects, we old approximately 115 million US bucks. There are road construction projects the Chinese are involved with. If the total cost is calculated, we the people of Liberia owe the Chinese people nearly a billion dollars. Lastly, when the Chinese undertake a project, the Chinese bring their own laborers. Very rarely do they hire Liberian workers. It was a practice of theirs to hire their own people. Please correct me if I am wrong! I am not trying to impugn the integrity of the Chinese people at all. I am stating the truth.

    The American-Liberian historical relationship has brought various types of benefits. Let’s take a look at the Liberian flag. The state of Texas is nicknamed the “Lone Star state”. Now, what is the difference between the flag of Texas and that of Liberia? Also, what is the name of Liberia’s national soccer team? Lone Star? Right?
    The flag that we have brings more money to Liberia than anything the Chinese have done. Our flag’s origin is from the US. Ships fly or display flags of convenience as they crisscross the seas and oceans of the world. Our flag which has it’s origin from the US, is displayed by hundreds of ships and oil tankers. The US-Liberia historical relationship brings monetary benefits. Unfortunately, the benefits do not trickle down to be appreciated by the average Liberian.
    In conclusion, I hope and pray that the Trump administration will keep its word. I certainly hope that the Weah-Taylor will be helped by the US to create jobs in Liberia.

    • Most Americans cannot locate Liberia on a map. Keep dreaming about historical relationship. it is all one sided. Keep begging for scraps while the other African countries laugh at us. 170 years old and not a single good road in the country. do you see Ghana running to England? Liberia say it was not colonized but we have the slave mentality: Thank you Sir, yessir, thank you America. No wonder they laugh at us.

  11. Actual Liberians do not get offended when United States ,Trump uses the “shit hole” term , if he did, yet it expresses the truth of Liberian present condition and economic standard if Liberians reflect on the destruction cause as a result of our civil war now still not sanitized. Those who may not have experienced the effects of civil war may be blinded not us. Now considered by others and even some Africans, Liberians who have naturalized Americans call Liberians ‘ peace of shit ‘ that helped caused the fight in Liberian conflict. During the civil war and prior, some of the United States used the United States Dollars as ‘pieces of shits’ for self investments and political interest to suck up our natural resources and finished products seeing the division of Liberians in the fight on sides of Germany, China, Russia and other nations craving to evacuate their citizens along some Liberians. Never should this happen again. War has no profit and no mercy. We see United States interest in its impression of Liberia’s new leader but dashing a bunch of United States dollars in Liberia’s economy in the wrong hands with intent to deliver to the Liberian people and bring back corruption will only make the situation more graved. Corruption is not only stealing money. For instance, Finance or Justice Minister signs on behalf of Government, the three branches of Government heads get their shares each, the media gets something and announce the full amount before the project even begins. The officer frees his prisoner and leave your prisoner inside to die. In this light, it is suggestive that the United States Government should send actual materials in terms of healthcare and agricultural instruments, research materials, critical masses, road and buildings equipment infrastructural, vehicles and other major logistics for protection and development that Liberians need but do not or cannot locally produce would pose some real equity to aid. Liberia has and can create its own currency. The special drawing right could trade Liberian currency printing cost for American dollars usage where domestic trade does not need American currency. Liberians are determine now to thoroughly check those Government Officials who receive monies on behalf of the Liberian Nation to be used for the purpose suggested by the donors whether in foreign or domestic currencies to avoid future economic upheavals. This present United States of America’s President seems to be a good world trade dealer and no doubt will help to grow the Liberian economy, as an ally, to one of the best shits in Africa if United States really means what we hear this American envoy says.
    Let the Liberian people know in common Liberian languages or dialects. Do not reply.

    Gone to 57% in silence.

  12. There is factual historical evidence that authenticates what I said, Mr. Moses Johnson. The fact that there’s such a relationship does not mean that Americans are going to fly overnight to Liberia to build roads or electrify every corner of Liberia. Of course not.

    Johnson, keep this in mind. Liberia is going through rough times. The reason we’re experiencing tough times is that our past leaders have not been as patriotic in the real sense of the word as they should have been. In other words, our past leaders’ self-interest was always placed over the interest of the nation.

    Let’s take a good look at a few examples of how serious mistakes have been made in the past.
    1. Although freed American slaves were sent to the Grain Coast, an area that’s called Liberia today, some of our former presidents who were direct descendents of enslaved black people, engaged in slave trade. Native Liberians were the enslaved and the perpetrators of the enslaved were freed black people, who were some of our former leaders. Johnson, think about that? This is a typical example of black on black crime! Our former leaders showed that they were possessed by what I call “crab syndrome”. You put crabs in a bucket and no crab leaves. Any time a crab attempts to get out of the bucket, another crab (maybe a she crab) pulls it’s legs. Yap. That’s our people!

    2. The Firestone Rubber company started its rubber business in Liberia in 1926. Just imagine how many years it’s been since that year. But, up to date, there is no rubber processing plant in Liberia today. Who do you think ought to be blamed? Nigeria?

    3. During the past 12 years, no meaningful scholarships were awarded to the best of the best among our youth in Liberia. But yet, the country of Liberia does not have a lot of mathematicians, chemists, biologists, economists, or phycicists that could teach at our premeir institutions. Neither do we have a lot of foreign trained medical doctors. What is shameful if not downright stupid is that some well-to-do Liberians go to Ghana to get their teeth pulled. Johnson, whose fault is it? The Gambians?

    4. I heard that from time to time, our young men and women are sent to Ghana to study the work of immigration. I am appalled by this development. I ask….do the Ghanaian teachers or professor know the Liberian terrain better than the people of Liberia? Just imagine that a plane ride to Ghana is not free. Than food and lodging. Than consider the coursework. It’s not free in anyway the ice is sliced. Money talks and people walk. Are Liberians incapable to put an immigration curriculum together, Johnson?
    By the way, should we play the blame game with America? Our past leaders have led us in a ditch! It’s time that we had awaken to the smell of coffee.

    Sometimes, if not always, a change comes from within. Let’s quit blaming others for our blunders. The interest of a nation always takes precedence over the self-interest of any individual. But that has not the case with our former leaders. Our former leaders’ self-interest took control over the nation. Let’s hope that our man Weah will fight corruption as he promises. Hopefully, Liberia will change.

  13. “Let me put it this way; I was in the room, but the president himself said he did not say that.”

    Sorry readers, in this second to the last paragraph in the story it should have been: I was not in the room, but the president…..

  14. Liberia is a country of this world and the U.S. as well. We are bonded with you since our recognition, that harmonization must be more apparent as appreciating ourselves in this scope of existence. Some past leaders have not helped our domestic situation; but this forms part of our archive. Our current leadership is built within that group that were rundown and we hope this is the time for distinguishing and appreciating ourselves. Some Liberians in the U.S. are confronted with removal after their TPS expire March 20-31, 2018. This must be renewed by the U.S. government to another status that will conserve our brothers and sisters here and give them freedom of movement for many more years to come. The reason this must be highlighted because Liberia was founded by free slaves in 1821 and Puerto Rico in 1898 but Puerto Ricans are given citizenship and Liberians have to go through many destitutions and intervals; just look at our flags. So, I am certain many of our leaders have mentioned this to the U.S. government but you have botched to make us comfortable. I remembered the late Donald Payne, Sr. and other senators of the U.S. have fought and continue to present this unique case but there has not been no clear solution. Please include this into the package for development this time. Thanks

  15. yes, when we all start building our homes and business in our dear Liberia, as opposed to in other countries, then people will not call our country ‘SHITHOLE’. BUILD YOUR HOME/BUSINESS IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY my people.

  16. Mr. E. Tyson Lewis,
    Thousands of Liberians who are scattered throughout the world, agree with you as it relates to building houses at home. The problem is at home with government leaders. The crooks who masquerade as good people in the government are the ones who complicate matters for those of us who are scattered all over the world. I want to tell it as it is. Not every government official is corrupt. But, not too many government officials are uncorrupt. Believe you me.

    If you send a car to Liberia, you expect to pick it up after you have paid the Freeport duty. Guess what? It’s not as easy as it sounds. There are the so called brokers who charge $250.00 or more, who will tell you whether your car has arrived or not. Now, when your car finally arrives, that’s when you go to this Ministry, that Ministry, that person and that person and so on. As you go from east to west, you’re paying bribes. Everybody wants a cut. The system is cor-rupt. Now look, some people don’t go through hell to pick up their cars from the Freeport. Some people have connections, or as they call it, “direct contact…dc”. That “dc” stuff is cor rup-tion.

    I do not say everything back home has got to be honky-dory. But, I believe sincerely that some terrible corrupt practices could be minimized. If Weah sticks to his promise to fight corruption, Liberians will do well. When that happens, Trump will have no reason to accuse Africans with his shithole bullcrap. Secondly, our man Trump is very unpopular. According to a poll result I saw a few days ago, Trump’s overall rating was 38 percent. That’s a shame. Some members of his party, the Republican party are unhappy with him. Finally, Trump can talk all he wants, but Africans should not fall in his trap. He should be ignored.

  17. Let’s continue to strengthen the BONDS with our good old Uncle SAM; The United States Of America. It’s to “Liberia’s Best Interest.” Bravo! The U.S is looking FAVORABLY at Liberia. Let’s keep it that way.

  18. Let President Ellen and her son Robert sirleaf be brought to justice for wagging war on our national reserves. That would also put money in government account.

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