Grand Cape Mountanians, the Tienne people in particular, had good reason to rejoice about the visit last weekend of Central Bank Governor J. Mills Jones.
Not only did he pledge to build the county youth’s US$40,000 multipurpose palava hut. He also reassured the county’s business people–and poor people throughout the country–that the CBL would continue its loan program, through the empowering of microfinance institutions, in a determined and unrelenting (resolute) bid to lift Liberians out of poverty.
The Governor, during his visit to Tienne, made the strongest affirmation yet of his determination to help reform and transform the direction of the Liberian economy, which continues to be dominated by foreigners. Said he, “We can’t be bystanders in our own economy and expect not to be poor. If we want to fight and win the war on poverty, we must go to our towns and villages where poverty is.”
Our Business Correspondent George Kennedy quoted the Governor as going one step further: he challenged the people, Kennedy said, to “love your country and work hard to develop it.”
We don’t know what prompted Governor Jones’ visit to Cape Mount, one of the least developed parts of Liberia. But Cape Mountains most certainly need a lift–many lifts, in fact. Visitors to Cape
Mount often complain that they can find nothing to buy there, not even a hand of bananas. Cape Mountainians to come to Duala to shop for vegetables, etc. Yet Cape Mount is potentially one of the nation’s greatest tourist attractions, with its clean and beautiful beaches, where foreigners flock every weekend to surf in the Atlantic; and where within a one-mile radius there is a mountain, a river, a lake and an ocean. Yet Cape Mount is one Liberia’s poorest spots. They really need help and we are glad the Governor went there.
But Cape Mountainans should never forget the Governor’s three chief admonitions to them last week: first, love your country; second, work hard to develop it; and third, pay back your loans, so that others may benefit from the lending program.
One other very important attribute Cape Mount possesses is green vegetation. Even Cape Mount’s outstanding son, Charlie B. Sherman, knew that when he developed an extensive oil palm plantation there in the late 1960s. That became the biggest agricultural investment the county had ever known. We don’t know what is happening to that plantation now, since Mr. Sherman has long departed. But at least he proved that something big could be done in agriculture in the county.
So with all that rich land, why is Cape Mount poor, why is she not feeding herself. This is a question that puzzles many visitors, not just to Cape Mount, but all over Liberia. We have all this good land that God has given us as our heritage, and yet we are still poor and hungry. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
So, Cape Mountainians, listen to the Governor: love your country, work hard and pay back your loans. One of the manifestations of love is to do everything possible to improve, expand, develop and enrich that whom or which we love. That is why men buy jewelry and perfumes for their women–to improve their beauty and appeal, to make them happy and more self-confident. That is
what all of us Liberians should do for our country–improve, improve, improve Liberia, make her more beautiful, more productive, more self confident. We can do this by working hard, by being faithful to one another, in our daily interactions and in keeping our financial institutions solvent by paying back our loans. In this way more lending will be extended and more development will take place.
Governor Jones’s personal commitment to Cape Mount and its youth–to build for them a US$40,000 all-purpose palava hut, clearly demonstrates that he is truly interested in Cape Mount. Can he help show them the way to successful farming, so that the people may start feeding themselves and sending vegetables and fruits to the Duala market to sell?
We think this would be an important initiative–empowering Cape Mount’s farmers, for it was Government Jones who this very week told the nation, we have got to produce, if we want the Liberian dollar to compete successfully with the United States dollar.