Liberia’s Ambassador in US Urges Diaspora Liberians to Support Liberia’s National Development
Washington, D.C., USA – Liberia’s Ambassador accredited to the United States of America (USA), George S.W. Patten, Sr. says diaspora Liberians have a critical role to play in Liberia’s national development.
Ambassador Patten said the task of post war reconstruction and national development in Liberia requires the collective support of all Liberians including those in the diaspora. He called on Liberians abroad, especially those in the United States to take the lead in the advancement of their nation’s development agenda.
He urged diaspora Liberians to support President George Weah and the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) government in making Liberia a better place for all. He implored his fellow countrymen to get involve in Liberia’s national development initiatives by projecting a positive image of the country at home and abroad.
The Ambassador spoke recently at the Liberian Embassy in Washington, D.C. when he held a get acquainted meeting with a delegation of the Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA). ALJA’s National President, Moses D. Sandy, led the delegation. The Association’s National Secretary General, Akai Awuletey Glidden and Mr. Pewee Baysah, Vice President of the ALJA Delaware Valley Chapter were members of the delegation.
The meeting was convened at the request of Ambassador Patten. He told the ALJA executives that the high-profile gathering was meant to put him in touch with the Association’s National Leadership; and to learn more about the organization. The Ambassador thanked Mr. Sandy and the ALJA leadership for honoring his invitation. He also, praised the Association for its continued advocacy role in Liberia; and called on ALJA and other diaspora Liberian organizations to work in unison for the betterment of the Liberian society.
Responding ALJA National President, Moses D. Sandy, thanked Ambassador Patten and the Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs at the Liberian Embassy, Gabriel I.H. Williams, for the invitation and the honor bestowed on the ALJA family. Mr. Sandy said it was delightful for ALJA executives to meet with the Ambassador and Minister Counselor Williams with the sole purpose of discussing Liberia and the way forward for national unity, peaceful co-existence, good governance and national development.
He assured the Ambassador and the Liberian government of the Association’s unflinching support in the execution of any policy and program that would prioritize the peace and stability of Liberia, and the wellbeing of the country’s citizens. Mr. Sandy then used the occasion to clarify that despite the myth being propagated by some officials of the Liberian government and supporters of the CDC that ALJA is anti-government because of its critical stance against brazen corruption and other forms of malfeasance in Liberia, the Association and the Weah administration are not adversaries. He stated “ALJA and the Liberian government are not foes. We are partners working together for a unified, peaceful and stable Liberia”.
He said ALJA’s stance and persistent advocacy against blatant malfeasance and acts that have the propensity of derailing Liberia’s peace and stability will not be comprised. The ALJA National President declared “We will recognize, commend and support President Weah and the CDC administration for positive developments. However, ALJA wouldn’t hesitate to criticize the President and his administration whenever they engage in acts that are inimical to Liberia’s peace and stability”.
He said since the ascendency of the CDC government to power nearly two years ago, ALJA has consistently monitored and spoken on core issues in the country that impact the lives of Liberians. The ALJA boss stated “We did similar thing when the Unity Party (UP) and former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf governed Liberia”.
Commenting on the CDC administration’s declared fight against corruption in Liberia, Mr. Sandy said ALJA welcomes the initiative, but noted if the government is to be taken seriously at home and abroad, then it must muster the courage by bringing to justice its officials and supporters, who have been linked to shady deals in the country.
He said Liberians and the international community are eagerly awaiting the outcomes of the probes into the 6 billion Liberian dollars which the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) printed during the final days of the Johnson-Sirleaf administration; and the US 25 million dollars the CDC government claimed to have used for a mop-up exercise that was purportedly aimed at rejuvenating the Liberian economy.
The ALJA National President said it is hypocritical for President Weah and the CDC to go after former officials of the Johnson-Sirleaf administration under the guise of an asset investigation, restitution and recovery initiative while at the same time shielding from justice CBL Governor, Nathaniel Patray, Finance and Development Minister, Samuel Tweah, and others linked to the unaccounted for US 25 million dollars mop-up exercise fund.
Mr. Sandy said while ALJA welcomes and supports President Weah and the CDC leadership in ensuring accountability in the public sector, such action must be taken with honesty and fairness. He noted “The fight against corruption in Liberia can’t be done on the basis of cherry picking; who to prosecute or not because of political, social and tribal connections. The government can’t go after former officials of the Johnson-Sirleaf administration for alleged theft while at the same time paying blind eyes to corrupt officials in the CDC administration. Any attempt to do so, would equate to a charade or witch hunt”, Mr. Sandy spoke emphatically.
ALJA is a conglomeration of current and retired Liberian journalists residing in the Americas. It is a 501c (3) non-profit organization. The Association was founded in 1998 with the objectives of fostering companionship amongst its members and their American counterparts. Additionally, ALJA is committed to advancing press freedom through media capacity building and the fostering of good governance in Liberia through media advocacy.