“Liberians should stop fussing with each other,” says President Johnson-Sirleaf
By Siahyonkron Nyanseor
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf Meets with the Liberian Community Association of Metropolitan Atlanta (LAMA)
LAMA’s President Yancy Williams delivered the welcoming remarks in which she stated: “I would like to use the opportunity presented by this occasion to extend our belated congratulations to you on your election and inauguration as the first female President of the Republic of Liberia and on the continent of Africa. Your rise to the highest office in our country is a tremendous source of inspiration and pride for Liberians everywhere, and we want to commend you for that”. She added, In responding to our invitation you said you would be unable to meet with the greater Liberian community at this time because of your tight schedule, and that you would be receptive to our request in the future. While your schedule would not permit a town hall meeting with us at this time, I would like to express our appreciation for your response. Madam President, there are hundreds of Liberian citizens in the State of Georgia whose faith in the future of our country has been rekindled by your election who would like to meet with you. So please keep us in mind”.
Also, the LAMA leader extended words of gratitude to the Liberian Honorary Consul General, the Honorable Dr. Walter Young, “for his service to the Liberian community. We thank you Dr. Young for making this occasion possible for us to meet with our President”.
In closing she said, “Finally, President Sirleaf, we believe your presidency signifies a bright star of hope on the Liberian horizon, which will shine its light of peace upon our people and inspire confidence in their own future. And you can rest assured, Your Excellency, that as Liberians we will do everything within our power to help you achieve the goals that you have set for our common country. Again we welcome you to Atlanta, and thank you very much for including the community in your basic schedule. May God bless you and save the Republic of Liberia. I thank you”.
The LAMA leader’s remarks was followed by brief
remarks by representatives of the various political
sub divisions and related organizations of Liberia,
i.e., Bomi, Bong, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Kru, Margibi,
Maryland, Montserrado, Rivercess, River Gee, Sinoe,
St. Paul River District, Ministerial Association, Lawyers
Association, Medical Association, etc.
In President Johnson-Sirleaf’s brief remarks to the community, she thanked the leadership and members of the Community for their continuous support to the people of Liberian, and that “Liberians should stop fussing with each other”. She went on to outline her Administration’s 5-Pronged Program Plan, which includes first and foremost, Peace and Security, Governance, Transparency, Improvement of the Judicial System, Economic Revitalization with emphasis on Professionalism, Infrastructural Development, i.e., electricity, roads, hospitals, housing and safe drinking water among others. She also talked about the many challenges and obstacles the country is facing. Some of the challenges she referred to are: the $3.5 billion external debt, 80% unemployment, the lifting of sanctions, providing universal primary education for every child, which she referred to as ”from the street to the classroom”. She ended with the criticism directed at her, “the people say I am traveling a lot”; but in my travel, I am improving the credibility of our country that was badly damaged by the civil wars.
Her remarks were followed by a 10-minute question and answer period. A total of 5 questions were asked; one of the five questions asked was by Mr. Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh, Publisher of The Liberian Dialogue Internet web magazine. Mr. Sungbeh’s question was in reference to the recent handling and burning of the market stalls by the police, and what the Government was doing about it. In response, President Johnson-Sirleaf said she regretted that the incident happened, but that the incident had to do with some conflict within the leadership of the market association; but went on to say, the Government is in the process of relocating marketers in the vicinity of VOA (Voice of America); and that the new environment will be equipped with facilities that will care for the marketers’ children, etc.
After the 10-minute question and answer period, the President shook hands with the audience, and the meeting was closed with a benediction by Rev. William B.G.K. Harris, Senior Pastor of the International Christian Fellow (ICF) Church.
President Sirleaf departed Atlanta for the United Kingdom on Sunday, May 28, 2006 for meetings with British officials.
Prior to the community’s meeting with the President, Mr. Hassan Kiawu, a member of the community, published on The FrontPage Internet website indicating that LAMA’s President Sue Yancy Williams had intended “to mastermind the downfall of the banquet organizers”. This assertion prompted Mr. Abraham M. Williams, a key member of the Community and the husband of LAMA’s President to write the Editor of The FrontPage to have the article retracted because “Kiawu’s assertion that he attempted to reach Ms. Sue Yancy Williams is completely false because until I called early Thursday morning, he did not know Ms. Williams’ phone number. And if he had called he would have reached someone to talk to or left a message and his phone number would have been recorded by our Caller ID”.
Had it been for LIFE and Liberians in the community
who claimed “special privilege” to the President,
this meeting would not have been held. Whatever their
reason, they need to know that in these United States,
the Liberian Community Associations under the umbrella
organization of the Union of Liberian Associations in
the Americas (ULAA), is the only organization that represents
all Liberians. There exist no other organization in
the U.S. with such broad base and inclusive appeal in
which Liberians can relate and feel an integral part
of, than the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas
and its local branches to which LAMA belongs.
Liberians need to refrain from the behavior that the leadership of our country belongs to a particular group of people in Liberia. Liberia does not belong to one group of people; therefore, the practice of laying claim to a President because he/she is from your county brings about disunity. The fact of the matter is, we are all Liberians; to think otherwise, will continue to pull us apart, and will keep us fussing with each other “until kingdom come”.
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