Liberians across the country are currently engaging their government through interactive fora in the formulation of a national development agenda dubbed Vision 2030. The vision, which replaces the controversial Poverty Reduction Strategy or LIFT LIBERIA that was launched during the first term of President Ellen Johnson, seeks to create a middle class society here by 2030.
It also seeks to adapt a roadmap for addressing Liberia’s social, economic and political challenges on the road to growth and wealth creation as well as ensure public institutions and governing systems are efficient, responsive and accountable. The government is expected to formally launch the Vision 2030 by June this year.
Among several recommendations being advanced by the citizens include the need to grant citizenship to people of non-negro decent, a change in the national motto, “The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here” to “The Love of Liberty Unites Us” and reduction in the number of political parties in the country, among others.
However, one key area which seems to being ignored in the carving of Vision 2030 is how do we maintain and sustain our national values and public infrastructure to achieve a middle class society.
This has been a prime weakness of Liberians with devastating drawbacks that has subjected the country to age without development. Somewhere in the psyche of our people is the belief that public facilities belong to no one and therefore, they should not be kept properly or maintained.
Take a look around us – whether it is the historic Providence Island, the Gabriel Tucker Bridge, Centennial Pavilion on Ashmun Street, the Monrovia Beautification site on Broad Street or the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, among others, continue to suffer vandalization at the hands of some unpatriotic elements in our midst.
Most, if not all, of the manholes on the Gabriel Tucker Bridge have been removed by unknown individuals under the cover of darkness, while the Centennial Pavilion is being desecrated with human wastes and fence built around flowers planted on Broad Street under a city beautification scheme is being broken down by motorists and pedestrians without any regard to the importance of these public facilities.
In fact, our public infrastructure are usually left unkept unless when there is a national occasion or ceremony and VIPs or foreign guests are expected to grace such event before a quick fix attention is given. Worst of all, Liberians seem to have adapted a bad attitude of breaking down or neglecting all efforts made by previous an administration once a new leadership takes office.
We cannot as a people continue to live this way and expect to achieve a middle class as it is being envisaged for 2030. Six years from now, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her government, the main brain behind Vision 2030 shall have left office, but the onus of realizing all that we dream for ourselves as a nation rests with every Liberian.
Vision 2030 is a brilliant concept, which all Liberians should embrace and work concertedly towards achieving. However, we can only attain a middle class society by then if we cherish the pride in building upon the current gains, which would not only sustain the vision, but serve as a bridge to reaching our dreams.