LAMA 6961 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suite 224 Norcross, GA 30092
Email:firstname.lastname@example.org / Website: www.lama-atl.org
LAMA PRESS RELEASE
Atlanta, GA (April 6, 2012): The Liberian Community Association of Metropolitan Atlanta (LAMA) is greatly disappointed by the tone of the recent commentary in the Liberian Dialogue by Mr. Sungbeh, which sought to dismiss as “wasteful and fiscally irresponsible,” the recent visit of Liberian Vice President Joseph N. Boakai and delegation to the United States, as guests of LAMA and the Liberian Consulate in Atlanta.
As publisher of the Atlanta-based The Liberian Dialogue and a member and former President of LAMA, Mr. Sungbeh was as much a host of the Vice President and Delegation as LAMA and the Consulate. Hence, LAMA is disappointed that Mr. Sungbeh opted to focus on the decision-making processes of the Liberian government on foreign travels by its officials–which he and members of LAMA are not privy to–rather than focus on the huge goodwill the presence of the Vice President and Delegation brought to our community.
Apart from his private meetings with Georgia and Atlanta City officials, the Vice President and Delegation met with a cross-section of Liberians at a town-hall meeting on March 29, which was attended by More than 250 Liberians within the Atlanta area, and more than 500 Liberians from across the world via AfricaTV1, a Liberian-operated Internet radio and television outfit, which carried the town hall meeting live.
During the town hall meeting, the Vice President and delegation answered questions on a range of topics and national-policy issues, including the government’s Vision 2030 Program, land reforms and imminent domain, dual citizenship, Liberianization, national investment opportunities, international teacher’s exchange program, and the discovery of oil and other mineral resources in Liberia.
On March 30, the Vice President and Delegation participated in an all-day Liberia-U.S. Business Summit at a local college campus, which attracted more than 250 individuals and business entities with interest in doing business in Liberia. A former governor of Georgia and several college presidents from across Atlanta also attended the business summit to seek collaborative ventures in Liberia. And during the business summit, a delegation of Georgia State Senators read a proclamation in honor of the visit of the Vice President to the State of Georgia.
On March 31, the Vice President and Delegation attended the inaugural program of the new officers of LAMA, during which time the Vice President delivered the keynote address in which he encouraged Liberians to return home to help with the reconstruction of our homeland.
The Vice President also led the fundraising efforts by donating Ten Thousand Dollars (US$10,000) toward the construction of the first LAMA Cultural Center in metropolitan Atlanta. Through the help of the Vice President and Delegation, LAMA raised an initial amount of Twenty-Four Thousand Dollars (US$24,000) toward the cultural center project, plus other in-kind pledges by MoneyGram and other entities to furnish some of the offices in the center when completed.
“TOGETHER WE CAN SUCCEED”
LAMA PRESS RELEASE
From Atlanta, the Vice President and Delegation met with executives of Samaritan First in Charlotte, North Carolina, which organization is currently providing social services in five counties (Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Gbarpolu, and Montserrado), and has pledged to rehabilitate 28 of Liberian air strips,
and to construct a modern hospital center to replace ELWA. The Vice President and Delegation also met with the local Liberian community in Charlotte and its environs to brief Liberians in those areas on current developments in Liberia.
From Charlotte, North Carolina, the Vice President and some members of his delegation traveled to Phoenix, Arizona to hold a business summit involving potential investors in Arizona with interest in investing in Liberia. The Vice President and Delegation were also scheduled to meet with the local Liberian community in Phoenix and its environs at the time of the writing of this press release.
As co-hosts of the Vice President and Delegation, LAMA is constrained to make these clarifications to assure Mr. Sungbeh and other Diaspora Liberians that while they have an inherent right to demand accountability of their public officials in Liberia, it is difficult to analyze the active participation of the Vice President and Delegation in the joint activities of LAMA and the Liberian Consulate, and similar activities in Charlotte and Phoenix, and still conclude that the visit was “wasteful and fiscally irresponsible.”
Even Mr. Sungbeh underscored the significance of the visit and participation of the Vice President and Delegation in LAMA activities when he wrote in the commentary that “another primary reason for their being here is to support LAMA’s Community Cultural Center funding 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.”
If Mr. Sungbeh truly believed, as he acknowledged in the commentary, that the Vice President’s visit was meant to drum up support for the construction of the first Liberian cultural center in Atlanta, then it is difficult to understand how wastefulness and fiscal irresponsibility became remotely associated with the event.
Similarly, it is difficult to understand Mr. Sungbeh’s motivation for the charge against LAMA officials that the invitation to the Vice President “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.”
The current LAMA Administration does not wish to take issue with Mr. Sungbeh or any other former officer or member of our community, but to encourage all Liberians in Metro Atlanta to become active in the community and help us achieve our collective dream of building the first multipurpose Liberian Cultural Center in Atlanta. WE ARE TIRE TALKING!!!!
President, Leo Mulbah