Why A Man Like Harry Greaves Should Not Be Taken Serious


By Dorsla D. Farcarthy

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
April 12, 2005


During the tyrannical regime of the former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, now an indicted war criminal, the Liberian people witnessed all forms of humiliation and underwent tremendous hardship until the coming into being of an interim administration. During this period, those advocating for the basic and inalienable rights of the public were seen as archenemies of the regime and in most instances were arrested, incarcerated, dehumanized and made to suffer long and bogus jail terms as a means of silencing them. The guns were used to frighten members of the civil society who attempted to champion the cause of the people. The Liberian people should be grateful to the likes of J. Aloysius Toe, an uncompromising agent of positive change and a bulwark defender of human rights for which he was made to pay a price.

We also remember the advocacy of Liberia foremost human rights lawyer, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe who was very instrumental in ensuring that the basic rights of so many Liberians were not determined by evil and bloodthirsty individuals but rather by the rule of law. We know archbishop Michael Francis and his role in criticizing the government for wrongs and anti-democratic tendencies. These are few individuals including so many others who cannot be named now that were prepared to offer their lives as a sacrifice for the good of our society and the Liberian people. Giving the behavior of the Taylor regime, anyone coming under the banner of the human rights community to criticize the government had sympathy with the Liberian people in as much those criticisms were directed at the powers that be. The reasons were obvious. The government could not provide basic social services and better life for its citizenry.

Just before this dictatorial regime crumbled, Harry Greaves, Jr. a one time active politician during the regime of Samuel Doe, another dictator who was ousted from power by force, came back to Liberia after he fled for fear of his life. He went on the catholic owned Radio Veritas, the most credible station at the time and the only one that hosted opposition politicians and other shareholders in the body politics to add his voice to the so many others who started this crusade. He heavily criticized the regime and was applauded for speaking out against the ills and vices that existed in the society. I listened to Mr. Greaves who boasted that basic commodities like gasoline should be sold for 99 cents a gallon and that the price of rice on the world market was very cheap and he believed then that rice should be no more than 16 US dollars.

These are things the Liberian people were willing to hear and so Greaves became a hero and his name was like an unsung song in Liberia. He was called from one program to another to speak on a wide range of national issues. Within few months, the Taylor regime was forcefully removed from power as well and an interim government was brought in to help put the country back on track. Mr. Greaves was appointed Economic Advisor to Mr. Bryant, the interim leader and was also head of the Council of Economic Advisors. To the utmost surprise and dismay of the war-wearied population, this so-called savior who made numerous promises has not been able to transform his statements into positive actions. Of late, he has made several poor excuses that I believe no one should take serious.

Unfortunately, the price of Liberia’s staple food has gone up to an unimaginable proportion of US 50 dollars on Greaves’ watch. The price of cement is now US 11 dollars with the gasoline Greaves boasted of now about US$3.13 per gallon. All these are occurring on his watch. Little did I know that this young man who was very grandiloquent in his statements is now claiming to be a mere advisor. To the extent that the people are now crying that Taylor time was better and are crying for the Taylor days. What a shame Mr. Greaves. Even during the tyrannical regime of Taylor, the price of rice remained US 20 dollars and cement was stable at US$4.50. The price of the gasoline you boasted of so much was dwindling between US$1.45 and US$1.50. Under your leadership, it is rising with new tax being added. Is this what you had for the Liberian people? Why didn’t you inform the public then that your statements were conditional on your advice been taken into consideration. Had Mr. Farjue not criticized you, the Liberian people would have never heard your side of the story. Thanks to Mr. Farjue.

When did you get to know that the Gyude Bryant government was very corrupt? Is it now that you want to paint yourself white and recluse yourself from the devil you help to dress. Is it only when you are criticized that you come out with all of the poorest excuses in history. How could a man like you who doesn’t understand Government 003 be telling someone about Government 101. The very criticism that you are referring to as a drivel is the one you decided to respond to. I don’t understand how you will respond to something that in your meaning is nonsense. You sound like a political protégé who falls for everything and stand for nothing. Was it not you Greaves who used power politics to get the late Dr. Moniba out of the race in Ghana to bring to Liberia the most corrupt government the country ever had.

Every well-meaning and well-intentioned Liberian should be mindful of you because you only eye the gravy train as you have always done in your political life. What is the cost of the car you ride today when you criticized the Taylor government for buying flashy jeeps? You have made for yourself an ambience where you reside in pomp and pageantry with the very Liberian people money. Of course, Mr. Farjue is correct that you are also corrupt. Since you knew that things were done wrongly, what actions did you take? You continue to serve the very government you are criticizing with diligence and enjoying huge amenities at the expense of the Liberian people. We now understand what the criticism was all about. It was just for jobs, flashy cars, fabulous homes and stolen wealth as well as plundering of the nation’s coffers beyond tsunamic proportions. No ideological difference between this government and the former regime but yours is worse.

You are clarifying now because you are aware that elections are around the corner and your present political alignment doesn’t seem to be getting the needed support from the Liberian people and so you want to distance yourself to find a place in any new arrangement. Make no mistake, some of us are determined to drag you and your likes before an economic crimes tribunal.. I believe you should keep your excuses for that day. The Liberian people are not dummies or donkeys for you to always take a ride. It must occur to you that others are watching from a distance your actions, policy statements and your maneuverings. It is callow for you of all persons to grant succor to this very interim arrangement and heap insults in the end. At what point did you realize that no one person has monopoly over bits and pieces of advice.

The IMF, World Bank and other institutions you mentioned in your article as knowing your stance on issues, is a myth. As a matter of fact, these institutions do not deal directly with individuals but rather countries, institutions and the alternate Directors who most times are Finance Ministers or Central Bank Governors. You cannot mislead anyone into believing that you are vocal on corruption when these last days you are engaging in shady deals to privatize most of the government owned corporations like LEC, TELECOM and other institutions to get your kickbacks. You come to America under the canopy of official visits and leave for Europe hustling for individuals and wheel dealing for your own selfish interest. We are aware how before the removal of Mr. Taylor, you were then special assistant to Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Ivory Coast. When Cllr. Brumskine came to town, you abandoned Mrs. Sirleaf to join his ranks and went to Accra with him just to return under the wings of Gyude Bryant. Where to you stand, Mr. Greaves?

You are now seen in the corridors of the Unity Party trying to convince Mrs. Sirleaf to take you. Like I stated earlier, you see Liberia as a bandwagon for gravy seeking activity but I hope Mrs. Sirleaf will learn from past experience because a man like you cannot be trusted. You always aim for the highest bidder and this is haughty and supercilious on your part. What was your advice on the buses donated by ULAA? You are only serving your self interest and I believe you should not come in the name of the Liberian people to falsely advocate when you are in effect worse than those you were criticizing at the time. The million dollar question to you is WHY NOW, Mr. Greaves. The answer is so simple. Elections are due in seven months and so it is better to exonerate yourself from your kabobs. Know these truths. To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The writer is a former student leader from the University of Liberia and at present a candidate for Master of Science in Policy Economic from the University of Illinois and can be reached at: jlale2002@yahoo.com.