Monitor Govt. Expenditures - US Amb. Urges Liberian Press
By: Natoe Jallah
Serving as a keynote speaker at program marking the 17th Anniversary of the News newspaper over the weekend at the YMCA, Amb. Booth said GEMAP is designed to enhance transparency in handling of public monies but it is up to the press to use that transparency to monitor government expenditures of all three branches to expose waste, fraud and abuse.
Amb. Booth noted that when the international community negotiated the Governance and Economic Management Assistance Program (GEMAP) with the Liberian government, a huge responsibility was entrusted to the press and Liberian civil society to observe the process.
On the Emergency Power Project undertaken jointly by Liberia, EU, USA
and Ghana to bring electricity back to Monrovia, the US Ambassador stressed
that the press needs to make it clear to the public that this is an emergency
fix that will only bring electricity to a few parts of the city. He said
the press needs to help residents of Monrovia understand that if they steal
electricity from the new lines, the system will collapse.
Reflecting on the role of the Fourth Estate in the country, Amb. Booth cautioned that it is time to leave behind the troubled Liberia and build a new Liberia that requires the building of a new sense of what it means to be Liberian.
He then suggested that the most important thing would be to stress what unites the Liberian people rather than focus on difference.
The US envoy also urged media practitioners to investigate the demands of numerous groups for payments as well as investigate the validity of such claims, adding, “The press [should] help the people understand that arrears cannot be paid until their validity can be verified.”
Meanwhile, several personalities were also honored at the programs. Those honored include Madam Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf, Woman of the Year; Amb. Lin Songtian, Diplomat of the Year, among others.