Liberia’s 168th Independence Day Orator, Dr. Charles Minor, says many Liberians are still surviving at the margin of society, even as the country celebrated 168th Independence on Monday, July 27. The official Independence Day was on Sunday, July26.
He cautioned that there is still hunger and “we are” experiencing young women opting to become commercial sex workers – both at home and abroad, as a means of earning their living.
Citing longstanding constraints faced by citizens here, he says many Liberians see nothing to be proud of, “perhaps nothing to celebrate.”
“As we celebrate 26 today, many Liberians are still surviving at the margin of society. There is still hunger; we are experiencing young women opting to become commercial sex workers – both at home and abroad, as a means of earning their living.”
Dr. Minor says the country has suffered years of war and civil strife, violence, overthrow of governments, deprivation and starvation, and years when Liberians were dislocated from their own homes and had to flee their homeland and whatever they had.
The July 26 Independence celebration for this year under the theme: “Celebrating our community as a strong foundation for accelerated development” was co-hosted by Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties in south east Liberia.
President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Speaker Alex Tyler and Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor were joined in the southeastern counties by members of the diplomatic corps and heads of international organizations for the weeklong activities that climaxed Monday, July 27 at the Greenville City Hall in Sinoe County.
In his Independence Day Oration, Dr. Minor observed that although some 40 to 60 percent of Liberians may not have personally experienced many of those years, he says it does appear that the young and old alike in Liberia have been economically, psychologically … influenced by those years.
He says as the cost of living rises here, families are finding it difficult to meet their basic needs, while health care and good education remain major challenges for Liberians.
In an earlier sermon delivered by Rev. Foday E. Karpeh in Barclayville City, Grand Kru County on Sunday, July 26, the clergy similarly made a bold wakeup call on government to accelerate development, due to the fact Liberia was lacking far behind.
In a very powerful sermon, Rev. Karpeh said underdevelopment in Liberia is not the cause of lack of resources, arguing that lack of development is the challenge of lack of unity among the people, patriotism and love for country.
“Celebrating our community as a strong foundation for accelerated development”, he notes, points to one attracted goal– growth and development.
Rev. Karpeh said there is a clear fact that Liberia is lacking far behind the minimum benchmarks of acceptable standards as far as the respectability of nations are concerned.
He sees development to mean change, improvement, expansion and visibility, suggesting that the national development needs to be expedited, while reminding that development that is anticipated can only be implemented in the context of the community.
He insists that it is the responsibility of the State to use the national platform, including the incentives that come along with it to mobilize people towards a common future.
But he made it clear that by the “State,” he did not mean the institution, but rather the noble principle of leadership.
“If Presidents were what develop nations, Liberia would have been among the leading nations because we have had more than 20 of them … if power could develop people, Liberians could have been among the most privileged people because we have had one party state, two party state, head of state, presidents, councils of state, democracy and even democracy,” Rev. Karpeh said.
Meanwhile, the Liberian prelate has also emphasized the need for Liberians to show respect for their leaders, even if they are exercising their rights to do advocacy or critique governments, as leaders deserve respect from the governed.
But the National Orator, Dr. Minor believes some criticisms by citizens are justified, even if government see them to be negative, and cautioned that some of those criticisms help those who govern refrain from mistakes made or already perceived by the citizens.
In her Independence Day remark, President Sirleaf thanked Liberians, and particularly the citizens of Sinoe and Grand Kru for the success of the 168th Independence Anniversary celebrations, urging that all must now go out and each one touch one, and say good thing about the country.
She recognized the assistance of international partners in the fight against Ebola here, and described their presence at the 26 celebrations as a show of strong love for Liberia.
Touched by the level of preparation, reception and unity observed in Grand Kru, President Sirleaf said this year’s Independence Day Celebration was one of the best held in the past years, and gave special thanks and appreciation to the people for their reception.
At the time of the final ceremony in the J. Dominic Bing City Hall in Greenville, roughly 33 countries and four international organizations had sent messages of congratulations and felicitations to President Sirleaf and her government and people of Liberia for on the 168th Independence Anniversary. By Winston W. Parley