‘We Are Defeating Ourselves’

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The tendency of destroying public infrastructure by Liberians whenever they have been provoked is not helping the forward march of the country, but rather defeating ourselves, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has said.

It was disheartening to see the destruction of infrastructures by some Liberians, especially at a time when her government struggles with the rebuilding process of the country. 

Speaking at Roberts International Airport upon arrival Tuesday from a weeklong trip to Washington, D.C., President Sirleaf made  reference to the recent fracas that erupted in Paynesville City, leading to the burning of a police station and vandalizing of several others by angry motorcyclists who were protesting the death of one of their colleagues.

In Washington, she participated in the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“We go out and work very hard to mobilize resources for the country’s development and it’s hurtful when you return, you find out that Liberians destroy things here,” President Sirleaf said in a rather frustrated mood.

She indicated that it’s very discouraging to her and the  partners and it takes away from the efforts to make the country a better place for all Liberians.

“Unless Liberians stop this destructive attitude, we will be defeating ourselves and further damaging the country’s development process,” she noted.

Madam Sirleaf warned that the message this attitude sends to the world is, “Don’t spend money building Liberia because tomorrow you will have a group of citizens go on the streets and destroy without remorse.”

She urged Liberians to work with government to better themselves. “Don’t take away from our effort,” she admonished.

Meanwhile, throwing light on her appeal to bilateral and multilateral partners for a ‘Marshall Plan’-like infusion of US$8 billion to enhance the Mano River Union (MRU) post-Ebola recovery,  President Sirleaf said the amount is in support of the two-year regional recovery plan for the three countries.   

Included in this amount are commitments already made by international partners to programs that fit in the regional plan.

“All of it is not new money,” she explained, but noted that they do expect there will be some new money as evidenced by the US$650 million pledged by the WBG, African Development Bank, among others.

Madam Sirleaf said the additional amount would be determined after the three countries have done their calculations and met with their partners.

President Sirleaf also clarified that the US$650 million pledged by the WBG is not meant to be divided but rather used through a regional plan.

“At this stage, we are not dividing money.” she clarified.  What the three countries are trying to do is to put the whole amount into a consolidated fund and work within the sub-regional recovery plan.

She indicated that allocations would be made in accordance to what is determined as the main activities that have to be done in each country. 

She  and noted that a lot of focus will be at the border areas where the three countries will create common facilities, exchange information and undertake research, and so forth.

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