Liberian Deputy Information Ministers at Confirmation Hearing
By: C. Winnie Saywah
Posted December 12, 2003
Deputy Minister for Administration-designate Bernard Waritay, at the Ministry of Information, says MICAT must at all times remain government’s only mouthpiece.
Mr. Waritay said in order for its information dissemination system to be cohesive, responsible and proactive government must allow MICAT to effectively carry out its mandate.
He stressed that state matters relating to the dissemination of information, has to be handled by the Ministry and not the Executive Mansion press secretary.
The MICAT Deputy Minister-designate said various departments, bureaus and agencies of the ministry must be made functional by both the Executive and Legislative branches along with the Press Union of Liberia (PUL).
He said under the former administration of Mr. Charles Taylor, nearly every minister, director and even low ranking government officials assumed the role of spokesperson of government, making contrasting public statements to the embarrassment of the state and its security but if confirmed, he will insist that MICAT remains the government only way out in reaching state related matter to the public.
Mr. Waritay then called on government to also empower the PUL so as to enhance its work in creating a check and balance in the mushrooming of media houses.
He said there should be a professional standard set, by looking at the hierarchy of that institution in order to resist future embarrassment in terms of reporting or its professionalism.
He urged the United Nations to give assistance to the Liberian media, instead of operating as separate media, it could use a local media which according to him, know the terrain of the country so their information dissemination will be achieved.
Mr. Waritay further revealed that the two-year registration waiver that was put in place for any publisher by the then Information Minister Reginald Goodridge, has been reduced to a year, because of the prevailing situation and that the decision was reached after the ministry met with all publishers recently.
For his part, MICAT Deputy Minister-designate for Tourism, Caroline Caranda stressed the need for the tourism industry of the country to be tapped and rejuvenated so that the much needed economy can be generated.
Ms. Caranda said if confirmed, she will endeavor and seek to lift the country up on the map of tourism.
She said Liberia with its natural resources and landscape is rich and will serve as good tourist site, therefore if Liberians join hands in making the sector viable the economy of this country will be boosted.
Ms. Caranda said, if confirmed, she will also seek the reformation of the national tourism board which was introduced by an Act that brought into being the National Cultural and Tourism Bureau of the Ministry of Information and provides for National Tourism Board.
The two staunch PUL members made these remarks when they appeared on Wednesday before a committee on Information, Culture and Tourism at the NTLA headed by Rep. Nelson Wah Bah for confirmation as Deputy Ministers for Administration and Tourism respectively.
They were selected by the PUL recently to fill those positions given to that institution through the Civil Society.