Thousands of Liberians turned out on Saturday, February 13 at a packed Antoinette Tubman Stadium, to pledge their support to identify with outgoing Central Bank Governor, Dr. J. Mills Jones.
In their various statements, the citizens from across the country’s 15 counties and various organizations around Monrovia said, “Dr. Jones, even though you are going out of the Central Bank, we will always be there for you in whatsoever initiative you undertake in public life.”
They said Dr. Jones is the only Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia with a history of reaching out to the common people to relieve them of their economic difficulties.
The head of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA), Lusu Sloan in her remarks, said “Dr. Jones’ ten years of service at the Central Bank positively touched lives of his people in every sector of the Liberian economy.”
Village Savings Loan Association (VSLA) president, Esther Nagbe, also said, “You have made the voices of Liberian women heard by economically empowering them. Wherever you go, Dr. Jones, we will forever remember you and will identify with you in whatever you plan to do in the Liberian public.”
It is yet unclear what will be Dr. Jones’ next step after leaving the CBL; however, many of his admirers at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium bore placards expressing gratitude and support. “You have our support, Dr. Jones, we will petition you for any high public position,” they said.
The multitudes were all attired in T-shirts bearing an image of Dr. Jones and inscriptions stating the names of their groups.
In a shocking remark, former Chairperson of the ruling Unity Party, Dr. Charles Clarke, said it was his first time seeing an outgoing Governor of the Central Bank to be highly honored by such a multitude of people.
In his own reasoning, Dr. Clarke, who also once served as president of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA), said Dr. Jones deserves the honor because during his regime he touched the lives of many people, noting, “This is not a mistake that he receives such an honor.”
The honoring ceremony for outgoing Central Bank Governor was organized by the Grand Coalition of Liberian Organizations (GRANDCOALIO), which comprises various organizations, including business, sports and students, in the 15 counties of Liberia.
Its chairman, Dee Maxwell S. Kemayah, who is also president of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA), had said earlier that they were honoring Dr. Jones because had it not been for him (Jones), Liberian owned businesses would not have tasted a bit of the proceeds from the resources of the country.
Mr. Kemayah, known for his consistently blunt remarks that the Liberian business community does not need to beg for their own resources, indicated that they are watching every public official to know what impact their services will make on Liberians.
He said it is based on their evaluation that they have to reciprocate Dr. Jones’ endeavors because his services at the CBL had significant impact on them.
The CBL under the leadership of Governor Jones provided US$5 million through commercial banks to enable members of LIBA receive loans to foster their businesses.
Mr. Kemayah recalled a remark he made about two years ago, during the funeral service of Dr. Jones’s mother, saying, “Governor Jones, we have come to just sympathize with you today, but what’s for you shall see your face.”
In response to the honor, Dr. Jones commended the people for the honor and said Liberians are the only ones to help one another.
He said though critics see his achievements to be detrimental to their philosophies, he believes that without a Liberian like him to help Liberians, they (Liberians) will not be lifted out of poverty.
In the wake of the many honouring ceremonies that have been held for the outgoing CBL Governor, he has not on any occasion pronounced what his next course of action is in the public domain.
On almost all the occasions, Dr. Jones has only been rhetorical in his speech, without a clear position on what he thinks about future positions.
It may be recalled, however, that in September 2013 the Council of Elders and Chiefs honored Jones in the Fendell Community for his services. At that program he said, “I know what you people are thinking and we will get there.”
Just last Monday, February 8, he mentioned in his speech at a dinner organized by the Central Bank in his honor that “I am leaving the Central Bank of Liberia, but I am not leaving public life.”
These statements have left many with the notion that the outgoing CBL Governor would probably contest a position in the upcoming general and presidential elections in 2017, not ruling out the Presidency.