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V.P. Boakai's U.S. (LAMA Installation) Trip Revealed Liberian Government is Wasteful and Fiscally Irresponsible

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh

 

Most Liberian communities in the U. S., wish they were as fortunate as the Liberian Association of Metropolitan Atlanta (LAMA), whose scheduled March 31 installation ceremonies this weekend brought out the Vice President of Liberia, the President pro-tempro of the Liberian Senate, the Mayor of the city of Monrovia, and other high-ranking government officials from across the Atlanta Ocean to Atlanta, Georgia.

According to a press release, the government officials while here will also participate in an investment summit – a piggyback event sponsored by the Liberian consul dubbed “Liberian and U.S Business Summit 2012,” intended to showcase Liberia as “An Investor’s Paradise.”

For the political leadership structure in Liberia to agree to travel abroad just to install a fledgling community association such as LAMA, encourages wild speculations as to the real reasons behind such decision, and also raised interesting questions as to why so many government officials are traveling here for this event?

However, of all the events taking place in Liberian communities across the U.S. this year or this month, the events in Atlanta this weekend tops the list because of the star political power that consented to travel to metro Atlanta from Liberia and Washington D.C., to install Leo Mulbah (President) and Mustapha Cacius Acolaste (Vice President) and other officers, who comprised the leadership of the Liberian Association of Metropolitan Atlanta (LAMA) in 2012.

While it is true that the Liberian government officials are here to participate in the installation ceremonies of LAMA officials, another primary reason for their being here is to support LAMA’s Community Cultural Center fundraising events, which event organizers hoped will bring Liberians out in droves to support a project that has been elusive to previous community administrations in the association’s nearly 40-year history of existence.

Even though the Liberian community in Georgia needs its own center that caters to the growing needs of its residents, what has irked many is the transatlantic politicization of the event by community leaders; coupled with the one-party, high-profile presence of luminaries from the ruling Unity Party, who would rather be here then be in Liberia doing real work for the Liberian people.

The huge presence of these Liberian government officials in metro Atlanta estimated to be between a dozen to about 24 individuals tells a different story about the LAMA community leaders who spearheaded the involvement of these individuals, and also magnifies their political motives as those who would rather hide behind the fundraising and building of a community center to enhance their own future political standing in Liberia, as others have done in the past.

How the presence of so many individuals including Maritime Commissioner, Binyah Kesselly; Managing Director, Liberian Petroleum Refinery Corporation, T. Nelson Williams whose organization, (LPRC) is allegedly and currently engulfed in a series of financial misappropriations; Christopher Neyor, outgoing President, National Oil Company of Liberia, Liberian Ambassador to the U.S., William Bull, and Acting Mayor of Monrovia, Mary Broh, will be subject to different interpretations.

With the Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed currently in China on an international business tour for the city, and not included on the program to participate or meet with his counterpart, Mary Broh to discuss issues concerning Monrovia-Atlanta relationship, inviting the controversial Mary Broh here to receive a “Distinguished Service Award” is an insult to many, and a waste of time, money and resources. Truth is, the backward policies of the polarizing presidential friend against the poor in Liberia is not deserving of a distinguished medal.

Another troubling aspect of this trip is the cost of transporting, (including per diems) housing and feeding these individuals traveling to Atlanta at government’s expense, at a time when a devastating global economic meltdown is affecting Liberia and countries around the world.

This is happening at a time when the cost of a bag of rice, Liberia’s staple, is sold in U.S. dollars and at a very high price, and the cost of living is also going through the roof; when ordinary Liberians can barely survive from day to day because of the unavailability of jobs in the country.

It is an extremely bad policy for the financially strapped government of Liberia to be in the overseas’ installation business, especially when the government has to take food and money out of the mouths and pockets of its weary and hungry citizens to transport its uppity government officials abroad on their mini vacation.

Then again, where’s accountability?

It wouldn’t have been egregious if a singular government official had consented to an invitation while traveling abroad on a government mission, and used the opportunity to visit a particular community and serve as its installing officer, which would be like ‘killing two birds with one stone.”

Representation of this kind would have done the Republic of Liberia a service by projecting the government as been fiscally responsible and prudent, and sensitive to the sentiments and aspirations of the Liberian people at home and abroad.

Now I see the problem with this administration: The Sirleaf administration’s problem is not only rampant corruption and neglect, but also waste and being fiscally irresponsible with the nation’s money and scarce resources.

Category: Editorial, News Headlines, Viewer Articles

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