US Ambassador’s Challenge to Weah Is a Call to National Consciousness

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In her speech delivered at the occasion marking the 242nd Independence Anniversary of the United States, US Ambassador Christine Elder challenged President George Weah to jump-start improvements in the Liberian economy because it is the main thing that will get the people out of poverty.

In a soft but cautious diplomatic tone, Ambassador Elder described the economic issue as a serious challenge among many others, while acknowledging that the US shares the Liberian Government’s sense of urgency to move the country forward in its development.

She reminded the GOL that successful economies in Africa have mastered a balancing act that creates a combination of laws and incentives that deepen the relationship with the companies that are cornerstones of their economies and attract new businesses, while providing governments the much needed revenues and creating domestic jobs — mainly for the youth.

Another point the Ambassador made was about her passport and quotes she read on separate pages therein. She said she felt fortunate to possess the passport and privileged to stand before Liberians to represent her country. These statements deserves some introspection and deeper analysis.

First, she admitted and it is true that Liberia’s economy is in serious trouble and needs urgent improvement. In recent days reports of arrests of counterfeit Liberian dollars have emerged. The currency has grossly depreciated, thus adversely affecting prices of commodities and transportation fares.

Both Ambassador Elder and President Weah in separate speeches concurred on the need for equality, justice and freedom for all citizens. A huge segment of the Liberian population is suffering as a result of the depreciating currency and declining economy, a situation that does not reflect values underscored.

The Ambassador’s statement, therefore, should remind President George Weah that a leader of any country is obliged to seek the welfare of his/her citizens. It is a reminder that, while almost every citizen is complaining about high prices of commodities and ever increasing transport fares, President Weah should not drop his guard and allow complacency to set in.

Rather, he should revisit his plans for the people in whose interests the “Pro-poor” agenda is anchored and driven. In campaign messages a few months back, the promise of “change for for hope” — a better and more prosperous life for the people — was emphasized time and time again. And because the people believed in him, the CDC, not surprisingly, garnered the lion’s share of the votes, thus ensuring victory for the party.

In this light, the Ambassador’s statement ought to remind the President of Jesus’s parable that “To who much is given, much is expected.” Ambassador Elder called for reforms that will facilitate the fight against corruption in order to attract investors so that job opportunities can be provided for citizens — mainly the young people who admire you so much, Mr. President.

Reforms intended to enhance the fight against corruption do not only mean keeping close watch on government officials to reduce possibilities and opportunities to indulge in corrupt behavior, it also means proper vetting of individuals appointed to serve in positions of trust.

How do Liberians view public service? A place to steal, make profit, convert public properties to personal properties, misuse of public properties including vehicles amongst others, appear for all intents and purposes to be the main push factors driving the scramble for lucrative job appointments.

We at the Daily Observer feel strongly that Ambassador Elder’s statement is a call to dedication, loyalty, honesty and trust to serve our own country and collectively build it.

This is a call to duty and the display and embrace of patriotism; let the President and all Liberians heed the message and work conscientiously to place the country firmly above self!!!

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