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EDITORIAL – Debating the President Foreign Travel

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Since her incumbency, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has made dozens of foreign travels, most especially to the United States and Europe. Many-a-time these foreign visits were either condemned or criticized by a number of Liberians, including members of the Liberian opposition.

Among the reasons given for these criticisms and condemnations is the waste of the country’s resources, mainly the huge cash involved in these trips in terms of air ticketing, allowances and accommodations for delegates.

Critics of the President’s trips abroad also believe that these trips do not accrue any benefits for the people of Liberia. While we do agree with the foregoing, all of us need to understand that the costs of most of these foreign trips are underwritten by the hosts and other organizations.

Considering the influx of aids and other bilateral and multilateral assistance to our country, one does not need to visit the moon to be able to understand the huge benefits Liberia accrues from most of President Sirleaf’s trips abroad.

While we may disagree with Madam President and her administration in certain instances as far as the governance of this country is concerned, we are of the fervent belief that Liberia has accrued a lot of benefits from her foreign visits.

It’s just simple reasoning to understand how the streets of Monrovia are being rehabilitated-how the University’s Fendell Campus is being done-how the  Harbel-Bassa highway is undergoing rehabilitation-let’s even look at the new Polytechnic being constructed in Sinje, Grand Cape Mount County, as well as the hundred-bed hospital now under construction in Tappita, Nimba County, just to name a few.

These are results of the numerous foreign trips made by Madam President that we must welcome or appreciate, even though we may have our qualms with how things are administered.

Even her latest trip to the United States and meetings with President Obama and other Officials of his government, as well as other multilateral groups viewed back home negatively.

Many had thought that her meeting with the U.S. President was just a “scheme.”  But again, the meeting was actually held and there are general benefits for Liberia and Liberians, especially the US$15 million for the millennium Development goals in Liberia.

We need to understand that without these trips/visits, we would only rely on our internal revenues, which would be very minute for our own socio-economic and infrastructural development, and then we would be the same ones to complain here, there and yonder.

We are very cognizant of the numerous trips abroad by opposition leaders, and what benefits do Liberians accrue from these trips anyway?

Our own words of admonition to all of us is to call spade a spade, avoid wishful thinking and appreciate these foreign visits by Madam President because they are for the general good of the Republic of Liberia and not necessarily Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

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