The Promise of Christmas 2016: Restrained Happiness, Yet Radiant Hope

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We all know that 2016 has been a tough, even gloomy year for Liberia. Yet, it is better than 2013 through 2015, when we were battling and recovering from the killer Ebola pandemic that suddenly and precipitously sank our economy from a glittering 6 percent growth rate to a gloomy 0.3 percent.

This was further exacerbated (made worse) by the concomitant (connected) fall in the prices of Liberia’s chief foreign exchange earners, rubber and iron ore. This had a catastrophic effect on the nation’s two premier private employers, Firestone and ArcelorMittal Liberia. Firestone laid-off 500 workers, and Mittal went on a go-slow, leaving hundreds jobless and causing economic depression in its two key locations, Yekepa, Nimba County, and Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

Fortunately, the entrepreneurial ingenuity and dynamism of Nimbaians, led by the county’s commercial capital, Ganta, keep Nimba soaring. This has prompted a leading Liberian banker to predict that Ganta will become, in the next five years, Liberia’s commercial capital.

Let us pause here to call once again on all our educational institutions, beginning with the leading one, University of Liberia, the second, Cuttington, and all other universities, as well as all high and elementary schools TO START TEACHING BUSINESS TO ALL OUR STUDENTS. The specific aim here is to develop Liberian entrepreneurs (businesspersons, capitalists, industrialists).

All of these institutions must recruit experienced businesspeople to teach marketing, commerce and industry. And because so few Liberians have expertise in the art and science of business, we need to engage the businesspeople among us—the Lebanese, Indians, Fulas, Nigerians—to join in this important educational effort.

And because many Nimbaians are also good at business, let us engage them, too, to help in this important exercise. Among these could be Ganta’s Prince Howard and Jestina Yormie, and
Sanniquellie’s Tomah Floyd.

We hope this heartfelt proposal will be taken seriously. We are aiming at a better tomorrow for Liberia. And we all know that A BETTER TOMORROW necessarily and most certainly LIES IN EDUCATION.

This Christmas we can rejoice in pointing to a few bright spots in our country. One is the hydro, which is being rehabilitated. And yet, the hydro, for three reasons, has a long way to go before it becomes meaningful to most Liberians. First, its capacity when it is completed—80 megawatts—will still be too small to serve even half of Liberia.

Second, the staff of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) has a long way to go to render speedy, effective and efficient service to the people. Most customers find LEC technicians too slow, even too reluctant (unwilling) to deliver electricity. It normally takes three months or more to connect a single home. Every day it is “Go come tomorrow.” The LEC management must recognize this problem and deal forthrightly and decisively with it if LEC must make a positive difference to its customers.

Third, LEC or somebody else with the ingenuity and dynamism must seize the initiative to invest in mini-hydros, using our many rivers and streams that the good Lord has generously given us throughout our country.

Such an initiative would bring electricity to most Liberians. It would limit, even stop the use of charcoal to bathe, cook and wash. Yea, it would help SAVE our forests and green vegetation for something even more important—agriculture. The saving of our green vegetation would at once reserve the land for farming and enhance Liberia’s contribution to the fight against global warming.

All of the foregoing, we are convinced, have a lot to do with Christmas. For what did Jesus say He came for? “That you might have life, and have it more abundantly.” Abundant life should be our goal in 2017 and beyond.

Can we in the coming elections choose a leader who can truly help us find that abundant life and spread it throughout Liberia?

All of what we have said so far in this Editorial should spark the radiance that will illuminate Liberia.

Let Christmas 2016 seize this hope, this vision that will make Liberia a beacon (an example, inspiration), carrying us successfully into the 21st Century.

The ingredients of this hope lie in empowering our people in business; in fixing our education, electricity and health and medical systems; and in helping to make Nimba and all other counties shine.

Part of this vision, too, is a four to six-lane highway to Robertsport in Grand Cape Mount County that could turn the Cape Mount Mountain, Lake Piso and the golden Atlantic beaches into a tourist paradise.

Cape Mount has enough green vegetation and can produce all the rice, tubers, fruits and vegetables to supply the five-star hotels that will emerge.

We at the Daily Observer wish our President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, our Vice President, Joseph N. Boakai, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and Justices of the Supreme Court, Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay and Members of the House of Representatives, President Pro-Tempore of the
Liberian Senate, Armah Z. Jallah, all our People of Liberia including our Readers and Advertisers – A Blessed Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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