President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says the newly dedicated headquarters of the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority or LCAA is not like any other ordinary structure, saying everytime she passes-by, she could notunderstand what she sees.
Dedicating the complex Monday, 14 March in Unification City near the Robertsfield Airport, Margibi County, President Sirleaf described the accomplishment as a celebration of dedication, commitment and hardworking by LCAA Managing Director Mr. Richelieu A. Williams, and his team to be able to achieve something of such.
“… And despite the obstacles, despite the challenges – [he] goes forward to the finished line. And Richelieu as I call him, is artistic and innovative. But everytime I pass by this building, I say what isArchie up to? What is this structure that we now see? I cannot understand it,” she said.
She commended the LCAA board of directors for working so hard and giving policy support, as well as the many staff of the institution who are the ones that she said have been able to get the workaccomplished. “If there’s anyone in Liberia who is the institution of Civil Aviation it is Mr. Richelieu Williams,” she said amidst cheers from the gathering, adding further that Mr. Williams served in so many waysas head of the Roberts International Airport back and forth so many times as well as the LCAA.
President Sirleaf said his service was justified because he was somebody government depended on to get things done. President Sirleaf thanked all of those that supported the endeavor, and also thanked Mr. illiams particularly for the time he has spent, the resources he has mobilized, the friendship he promoted and create and the support of his family and his wife.
Liberia’s Transport Minister Angela Cassell Bush described the LCAA as a quiet but key institution that stands at the height of national agenda to transform the lives of the people of Liberia and unlock forthem the many opportunities the economy has to offer and position them competitively in the global market.
She said she was proud of the productive relationship enjoyed with the LCAA, and that the Transport Miistry remains committed to supporting the authority’s essential role on coordinating and regulating activities of the airports and formulating policies and programs aimed at stimulating economic growth and development.
Madam Bush applauded the leadership of President Sirleaf and cabinet colleagues for their commitment to the LCAA’s technological advancement and the strengthening of the nation’s security apparatusthat she says enable the LCAA to address global threat against citizens and travelers.
LCAA Managing Director Mr. Williams said the authority has fulfilled one of its key requirements essential to the sustained future aviation development here, and assured that the next phase “must include a staff housing project” for people who face commuting challenges from Monrovia.
Mr. Williams expressed pleasure over the passage in 2015 of the LCAA Act, and recalled how in 2006, the authority streamlined over-staffed personnel fraught due to lack of a qualified workforce. “For example, out of 106 deficiencies identified in the last ICAO Audit Report, CAA meticulously addressed 103,” Mr. Williams reported, adding that travel agencies were down-sized in respect of quality of services, office spaces and trained employees, among others.
He said Liberia has effectively deregistered all aircraft on its registry for gun-running and drug smuggling and closed its registry, thanking President Sirleaf for the political will. “… Liberia is back and is more than ever prepared to take its proper place within the comity of nations as it is currently off the E.U. blacklist and in good book with ICAO,” he said.
By Winston W. Parley-Edited by Jonathan Browne