President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has rejected a gift of US7, 400 from her cabinet ministers, while cautioning them to focus on their jobs and deliver as mandated.
Upon her return to Monrovia following roughly two weeks of state visits to India and China on Friday, 6 November, President Sirleaf was greeted at the Roberts International Airport or RIA in Margibi County by cabinet members and partisans of the ruling Unity Party in T-Shirts before attending an intercessory service organized at the Sinkor A.G. Church.
Before returning the check to Gender Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell who had presented it during the intercessory service on behalf of the cabinet, Mrs. Sirleaf said she had asked the cabinet not to give gifts, yet “they disobeyed” her “and decided to raise funds.”
President Sirleaf instructed Minister Duncan-Cassell that the check be used for the survivors and orphans of Ebola, saying “the best gift that each and every one of you can give to me is to go and get your work done and done on time.”
She send out a message to her officials here to “talk less, and work more,” having earlier promised to speak to the nation sometimes this week with much more details on the visits she made to India and China.
But she however, gave brief highlights of her visit to India and China saying that the purpose was to reinvigorate and regenerate that spirit of friendship [by] using the visit as an occasion to learn from them how they have gone through the process of poverty that Liberia is experiencing.
“Even though there’s still poverty, but there’s enough to be able to address it,” she said, adding that the two states have assured their preparedness to support Liberia and have it remain one of their countries with which they remain committed.
President Sirleaf, howeve,r cautioned that China and India were clear that they “help those who help themselves,” suggesting that “if that support is going to come, it’s not going to come until we seize it and we deserve it and we make it work.”
President Sirleaf also welcomed back her Vice President Joseph N. Boakai who had also been in the United States, and expressed how pleased she was on the effective representation of Liberia by Mr. Boakai as he concluded the support from the United States Government for the $256.7m USD.
“He did not bring back a check; what he brought back was a commitment from our partner – the United States to finance activities – development activities that will be done by us,” President Sirleaf said.
She says the result of Mr. Boakai’s effort will not come by the trip he made, but by the commitment he brought and by the work that “we” are prepared to do.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah