Have Liberians every heard of countries called Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania? Of course they have. Do Liberians also know that these countries every year attract millions of tourists from around the world?
Well, yes, these countries all have a thriving tourism industry not only because they have beautiful beaches and some of the world’s most modern hotels. One of their primary assets is their wildlife.
Now we come to Liberia, whose people seem unable to organize anything with a high degree of success, or turn their assets into gainful opportunities to move our people and country forward. Here are these Gbarpolu officials in the Legislature and elsewhere, elected and supported by their poor, uneducated people, using their positions of power and privilege to retard development by supporting people who consistently drive out any possibility of development in county.
How do they do this? By engaging with the powerful and systematic backing of some of their most prominent citizens to kill the county’s rich wildlife heritage which God has bestowed upon Gbarpolu.
So, instead of engaging President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to use her immense international contacts to bring investors to develop tourism in Gbarpolu, these officials are backing the ruthless wildlife marauders (pillagers, plunders, bandits) to kill the county’s precious wildlife for bush meat. They have never asked themselves where can bush meat business carry Gbarpolu? The answer to that question, of course, is NOWHERE but further into darkness, despair and destitution.
On the other hand, if these Gbarpolu officials were patriotic, farsighted and caring enough about their people’s plight, they would launch a persistent campaign to attract investors to develop tourism in Gbarpolu.
Tourist would come from around the world to see the wildlife and culture, enjoy beautiful landscapes, beaches, expeditions and water sports on their beautiful rivers while being able to relax in the comforts of unique hotels. The results? jobs, jobs, jobs.
The government itself would be challenged to put paved roads through Gbarpolu to make modern tourism happen. And remember, Gbarpolu is, like Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Bong, Lofa and Nimba, rich in indigenous culture that could be a glittering addition.
Let us pause here to remind the Liberian people of the coming 2017 elections, when we will have the opportunity to choose those who will be our leaders in the Legislature and Executive branches. Our challenge is to choose people who are enlightened and visionary, with a passion for the people’s uplift from backwardness, poverty and hopelessness into an era of development and prosperity.
Yes, we need leaders who will not sacrifice the country’s vast resources, such as its rich wildlife, on the altar of bush meat, whose only end is defecation in the bushes and surrounding neighborhoods, leaving the people in the perpetual darkness, poverty and hopelessness that they have known for centuries.
Amid this catastrophic jumble of darkness, despair and destitution, is there any hope?
Yes, there is!
There are, in the coming electoral field of battle, a few bright stars—highly accomplished, experienced, patriotic and visionary individuals who can make a difference and bring hope to our beleaguered country.
Our people are called to look carefully at all those seeking public office in these elections; listen keenly to their messages; check out their individual backgrounds; their failures; and their accomplishments.
Then we must all of us pray that those we elect will not be carried away by the trappings of power and, like so many of our past leaders, quickly forget about the people.
Let us pray; and not only pray, but work diligently to keep our leaders accountable, transparent and good, faithful to the promises they made in their campaigns. Let the press and the people give no one, ever again, the chance to depart from their campaign promises and pursue their own selfish agendas, leaving us in ignorance, poverty and disease; and when confronted, tell us that our desperate condition is “none of my business.”
Let us never indulge in any semblance of sycophancy, blindly following and supporting a leader who is clearly reneging on his campaign promises.
Let us all be aroused with patriotism and passion to work with our elected and other leaders to bring Liberia, at long last, out of the millennium of poverty, into the era of development, advancement and prosperity.
These are not simply words, words, words. We are writing ideas we sincerely believe in and are convinced that indeed they are achievable in Liberia.