Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Despite Difficulties, Sirleaf Has Made Progress, U.S. Speaker Pelosi Declares

Despite Difficulties, Sirleaf Has Made Progress, U.S. Speaker Pelosi Declares
05/26/2010 - FPA STAFF REPORT


Washington –

The Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday declared that Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has made much progress during her term in office through a difficult post-war peace and reconciliation process.

Speaking shortly after a meeting on Capitol Hill, Speaker Pelosi said Liberia's security situation is currently stable; the economy and the humanitarian conditions on the ground, including the electricity sector, have significantly improved under her leadership; and Liberia is scheduled to hold a second free and fair election in 2011. Nevertheless, the speaker said substantial challenges remain. Speaker Pelosi said Sirleaf has stayed true to Liberia's national motto: "The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here."

Said Pelosi: “As you know, the United States and Liberia have a relationship that is as old as both of our countries. The United States has a clear interest in building a brighter future, working with President Sirleaf and the citizens of Liberia. And I look forward to working with her on the critical issues confronting her nation for years to come.

Nita Lowey,(D-New York), Chairwoman of the influential Foreign Operations Subcommittee of Appropriations said it was a special privilege to welcome President Johnson Sirleaf back to Washington. Congresswoman Lowey said she had the privilege of visiting Liberia several years ago and to think, Madam President, that in seven years, the children growing up have been able to grow up, get an education, and live in peace. “That is probably, Madam President, one of the greatest achievements after so much strife and so much heartache and so many lives senselessly lost. You have been able to bring your leadership to bear and give the people of Liberia hope. Your turning the electricity on; your providing seeds and agriculture assistance so that individual families can truly have their own source of living. You are providing education, not only for the young people, but giving them the opportunity to gain higher education as you open new centers of learning and universities.”

Congresswoman Lowey said she was proud to welcome President Sirleaf to the United States of America and assured the Liberian leader that the U.S. we will continue to be partners, so that Liberia continues to thrive and truly be a light unto all the nations.

Speaker Pelosi recalled that she first met President Sirleaf in Liberia shortly after the 2006 inauguration. Said Pelosi: “And when I went to Liberia, I said that her election electrified the nation and now, as Americans, we wanted to help truly electrify the nation helping with power for Liberia. And I know that President Sirleaf has made great progress in that direction. Though I only met her several years ago after she became President, my admiration for her has lasted many years, where as an educator and as a leader in the World Bank and the rest, she acquired quite a reputation. Her speech to the Congress was one of the best we ever heard, and one that was very memorable.”

Pelosi said both she and Congresswoman Lowey were united in support for Sirleaf in her efforts to pursue stability, economic growth, and democratic governance for the Liberian people. “As the first woman elected to lead an African nation, President Sirleaf is an inspiration to women everywhere, men too – a woman revered by her people and determined to make progress.”

Sirleaf, speaking on behalf of the people of Liberia, expressed thanks and appreciation for the support shown the post-war nation.

Said Sirleaf: “You have made a major investment in the future of our country through your support, and I come to report to you that significant progress has been made and bring to you the return on that investment—return in terms of peace and security, our nation is now enjoying its seventh year of peace; return in terms of the opening up of our economy, all of our productive sectors are now being put to work again, and that should enable us to have the resources to finance our development; return in terms of governance and a rule of law with an open society where human rights are respected and where there is all a basic fundamental freedoms are enjoyed in our society; returns on the improvement in our infrastructure, our schools, and our clinics, and our light, and our water, all that are being restored to a population denied from that in two decades.”

Sirleaf said Liberia owes a lot to the people of America. “We will continue to build on that progress and consolidate our peace, and we are determined that Liberia will become a post-conflict success story of which you can be proud and you can take credit for what you have done to enable us to achieve that goal.”

Chairman Leahy. I am one American who is very, very proud of the President and what she has done to not only restore stability in her country, but to show a sense of democracy and a rule of law. I think she is one of the most extraordinary people I have met.

Four years ago, President Sirleaf addressed a Joint Session of Congress, sharing her vision for Liberia and the “enormity of the challenges”:

In the campaign months, I traveled to every corner of our country. I trudged through mud in high boots, where roads did not exist or had deteriorated past repair. I surveyed ruined hospitals and collapsed clinics. I held meetings by candlelight, because there is no electricity anywhere - including the capital - except from private generators. I was forced to drink water from creeks and un-sanitized wells all of which made me vulnerable to the diseases from which so many of our people die daily.

I came face to face with the human devastation of war, which killed a quarter of a million of our three million people and displaced most of the rest. Hundreds of thousands escaped across borders. More - who could not - fled into the bush, constantly running from one militia or another, often surviving by eating rodents and wild plants that made them sick and even killed them. Our precious children died of malaria, parasites and mal-nourishments. Our boys, full of potential, were forced to be child soldiers, to kill or be killed. Our girls, capable of being anything they could imagine, were made into sex slaves, gang-raped by men with guns, made mothers while they were still children themselves.

But listening to the hopes and dreams of our people, I recall the words of a Mozambican poet who said, “Our dream has the size of freedom.” My people, like your people, believe deeply in freedom - and, in their dreams, they reach for the heavens. I represent those dreams. I represent their hope and their aspirations. I ran for president because I am determined to see good governance in Liberia in my lifetime. But I also ran because I am the mother of four, and I wanted to see our children smile again.

Already, I am seeing those smiles. For even after everything they have endured, the people of Liberia have faith in new beginnings. They are counting on me and my administration to create the conditions that will guarantee the realization of their dreams. We must not betray their trust. All the children I meet - when I ask what they want most - say, “I want to learn.” “I want to go to school.” “I want an education.” We must not betray their trust.

Under President Sirleaf’s leadership during a difficult post-war peace and reconciliation process, Liberia’s security situation is currently stable, the economy and the humanitarian conditions on the ground have significantly improved, and Liberia is scheduled to hold a second free and fair election in 2011. President Sirleaf has made great progress.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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