Monrovia: Only you can do it for yourself
President Biden’s Special Assistant tells Liberians
By Jonathan Browne
Monrovia: The United States Head of Delegation to Liberia’s Bicentennial Celebration Ms. Dana Banks says it’s time for Liberians to stop depending on the US and the rest of the international community to solve its problems.
“The expectation, sometimes, is that the United States and the rest of the international community will step in to solve Liberia’s long-term problems. So let me be clear, the United States is a proud and dedicated partner and friend of Liberia. But ultimately, only the Liberian Government and the Liberian people can tackle corruption, fight for accountability and transparency, and move this country forward.” Ms. Banks President Biden’s Special Assistant and Senior Director for Africa at the National Security Council said Monday.
She reiterated that endemic corruption here is undermining Liberia’s development and growth, adding that it’s an act of robbery, as it robs Liberians of access to health care, public safety and education.
Making remarks Monday, February 14, 2022, at the official launch of the Bicentennial inside the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville outside Monrovia, Ms. Banks continued that corruption robs Liberia of the healthy business environment it could have to lift countless Liberians out of poverty.
She notes that Liberia has a host of anti-corruption institutions, but while they are nominally and legally independent, the truth is the government fails to adequately fund them and exerts its influence upon them.
“Too many of Liberia’s leaders have chosen their own personal short-term gain over the long-term benefit of their country”, the U.S. President’s Special Assistant explains.
She furthers that corruption subverts economic opportunity, exacerbates inequality, erodes integrity, as well as eats away at the democracy the country has worked so hard to build.
She says the expectation, sometimes, is that the United States and the rest of the international community will step in to solve Liberia’s long-term problems.
“So let me be clear. The United States is a proud and dedicated partner and friend of Liberia.
But ultimately, only the Liberian Government and the Liberian people can tackle corruption, fight for accountability and transparency, and move this country forward.”
Recently, Four U.S. Congressional members submitted a resolution before Congress, calling on the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury to issue targeted sanctions and other measures against officials in the Weah government that are responsible for undermining the rule of law and the faith and trust of the Liberian people thru corruption, a gross violation of human rights and other acts that threaten Liberia’s peace and security.
The United States had already imposed sanctions on Senators H. Varney Sherman of Grand Cape Mount county, Prince Yormie Johnson of Nimba county, and former director of passport at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andrew Wonploe and his immediate family for corruption and bribery.
However, Ms. Bank, who is representing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield to Liberia, assures that America will continue its strong and unique partnership in taking on all challenges like climate change and the global COVID-19 pandemic.
She recalls that President Biden has often said, this is a unique moment in history when the community of democracies should seriously ask themselves whether they are delivering the blessings of liberty and prosperity to their people.
She underscores that like many democracies, Liberia still has work to do to seriously address and root out corruption, adding “We bring this up as your friends who are eager to help.”
Turning to the Bicentennial, she says the celebration marks the 200th anniversary of free Black men, women, and children from the United States arriving on Providence Island in 1822.
“They were leaving a country that legalized slavery. They were sponsored, in part, by the American Colonization Society, a racist project – supported even by the Great Emancipator himself, President Abraham Lincoln – with the goal of removing free Black people from America”, she notes.
She continues that it was a hard journey, and an even harder life for those who arrived here, adding, “But we know why they made the journey. As it says upon your coat of arms, “the love of liberty brought us here.”
Ms Banks says when she thinks about what it must have felt like for those first free slaves arriving to establish Monrovia – feelings of apprehension, nervousness, excitement, returning to a home they’d never known – she can’t help but reflect on the deep, strong, historical ties between the United States and Liberia – “the very ties we are here today to reflect upon and commemorate.”
She recalls that under President Abraham Lincoln, the United States recognized Liberia as a sovereign nation in 1862, sending a diplomat to Monrovia in what would be its only direct diplomatic relationship with an African nation for the next several decades.
She says 160 years later, President Biden remains committed to the U.S.-Liberian relationship, despite troubling events elsewhere in the world, by sending a delegation on his behalf to demonstrate the unique bond that the United States shares with the founding of Liberia.
“Today, on President Biden’s behalf, we have presented President Weah with a framed archival copy of the 1861 Act recognizing Liberia as a sovereign nation.”
She observes that Liberia is a country where the sense of purpose to succeed is tangible, noting that from finding the strength and grace to leave behind nearly a decade and a half of civil war, to making history by electing the first female head of state not just for Liberia, but in all of Africa, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, saying “A milestone, I might add, we have yet to achieve in my own country.”https://thenewdawnliberia.com/u-s-liberian-governments-sign-55-million-health-partnership-agreement/