Grand Bassa County Blackmailing President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf?

(Open Letter to Mr. Johnny McClain)


From Jerome Z. Gayman


The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
February 10, 2006


Webster’s Dictionary defines character as, a quality or trait that distinguishes an individual…nobility, integrity, or ethical stability.

Why would I begin an article with the definition of character? Because it (character) means a whole lot to me and should mean as much, if not, more at this very critical period in our Liberia History. The purpose of this article is to address the appointment of Mr. Johnny McClain as Information Minister, as reported by (, January 28-2006 “Ellen’s Cabinet: Report- Johnny McClain Tapped as Information Minister”).

The circumstance under which Mr. McClain was appointed if (and only if) it still stands is demeaning at best and Tribal at worst. First, the political pressure group that lobbied on behalf of Mr. McClain is not authentic and not visionary; the action itself is tantamount to BLACKMAILING, plain and simple.

According to the article, Mr. McClain was reluctant in accepting the position. I would not blame him in the least, however, I would question why he would go against his better judgment under these clouds. According to sources in Liberia, the Bassa pressure group pressed the President to at least appoint a “Bassa” person to her cabinet. That attempt to appoint a person to a cabinet position solely because of one’s ethnic/Tribal background is dishonest and lacks character.

Second, the appointment of Mr. McClain to said post in this manner creates a cloud of “sympathy appointment” over his head and ultimately would inhibit his capacity to lead and make decisions effectively. This behavior sets a bad precedence. As Minority professionals in the Diaspora, I and many others can attest to the fact that being in a position with a perception that is contrary to the fact is unhealthy and counterproductive. We are all educated to the fact and or reality of true democracy, at least in these United States; that when a winner is declared in any electoral contest, the winner has all the Constitutional rights to put in place a team that he or she feels is right for the job.

The last time I read the Liberia Constitution, I did not see anywhere therein where the President is required to put a “Quota” system in place to equally share her/his “Spoils.”

Third, in the real World of politics and the art of campaigning, it makes sense to put one’s team together based on physical, political and cultural geography; but when the team has won, it makes even more sense to put a working team together that would bring home the “Bacon.” This being said, you want the best based on people’s ability to produce desired outcomes. I have no doubts that Mr. McClain is qualified for the job. In fact this is the point. Mr. McClain’s credential and his achievements in his area of expertise are self evident. For this administration to relegate this quality of a person to this embarrassment is incomprehensible.

Many, if not all Bassa People should be spinning out of obit by now, if possible. How dare any one in his or her right thinking faculty to have the audacity of Blackmailing the newly elected President of our emerging Democracy. Mr. McClain should be hired or appointed based on the contents of his CHARACTER, and not his Tribal affiliation.

Mr. McClain, do your fellow Bassaians a good deed, decline the position. We are a proud people. Your hard work and subsequent success stories speak volumes for you and all Bassa People.

Jerome Z. Gayman
1124 Rosedale Avenue
Fort Pierce, FL 34982
Tel: 772-971-2793