Liberia: Cummings Declines Gov’t Invitation to “Extravagant July 26 Celebration”; Expresses Concerns about Worsening Economic Conditions
Monrovia – Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, Political Leader of the Alternative National Congress (ANC), has told President George Manneh Weah that he can’t accept an invitation to dine and wine with him at the 172nd Independence Anniversary luncheon when the nation is going through extremely challenging economic times and the government renting executive cars from Guinea and executive motorbikes rented from Ghana. Mr. Cummings prefers celebrating the day visiting and identifying with less fortunate children at orphanages around Monrovia.
In the ANC press statement under the signature of the party’s Secretary General, Mr. Aloysius Toe, states: “The ANC does not find pleasure in celebrating when civil servants are yet to be paid their salaries for the months of June and July; when government scholarship-students are stranded and homeless in Morocco for failure to pay their fees; when university faculty members are on strike for a 25% cut in salaries they are yet to even receive; when many families cannot find food to eat for the 26th because of rising prices of food and the declining value of the Liberian dollar; when many parents cannot afford fees to send their children to school; when many clinics and hospitals are without drugs; and when the streets of Monrovia and its environs are in filth and stench, etc.”
Describing the celebration as “elaborate” with a cost of not less than US$1 million the party said their Political Leader would like to inform the people of Liberia that he cannot, in good conscience, celebrate in extravagance and opulence in the midst of these pressing issues which require funding and when the vast majority of them cannot afford a meal for your children on 26 Day because they have not received their salaries.
ANC further stated that it does not find pleasure in celebrating when civil servants are yet to be paid their salaries for the months of June and July; when government scholarship-students are stranded and homeless in Morocco for failure to pay their fees; when university faculty members are on strike for a 25 percent cut in salaries they are yet to even receive; when many families cannot find food to eat for the 26th because of rising prices of food and the declining value of the Liberian dollar; when many parents cannot afford fees to send their children to school; when many clinics and hospitals are without drugs; and when the streets of Monrovia and its environs are in filth and stench, etc.
“While he supports the observance of our Independence Day, when this country’s sovereignty was recognized, he does not believe that it is prudent at this time to spend such excessive amount on pomp and pageantry or to celebrate lavishly in the faces of the struggling masses,” ANC states further.
Mr. Cummings says he looks forward to a better economic situation for the remainder of Weah’s presidential term, during which time he will celebrate along with all Liberians, if or when he is invited to similar events. He hoped that the government will become more responsive and sensitive to the welfare of the people by committing to make sound financial decisions and cutting down wastes, especially in difficult times.
The party stresses that their Political Leader believes that the only celebration worth having is a celebration that all Liberians can be a part of.
However, Mr. Cummings would like to welcome all foreign heads of states and dignitaries to Liberia and wish them safe travels back to their people and respective nations.
Meanwhile, Mr. Cummings has delivered a 26-Day Message to his fellow Liberians in which he calls on all Liberians to soberly reflect on where they have come from as a nation, where they are today and where they hope to go as a people and a nation. He further asked his fellow countrymen and women to reflect on these things with a great sense of hope for their beloved country.
INDEPENDENCE DAY MESSAGE BY ALEXANDER B. CUMMINGS POLITICAL LEADER OF THE ALTERNATIVE NATIONAL CONGRESS (ANC)
Fellow Liberians, as we celebrate 172 years of our sovereignty, I call on all Liberians to soberly reflect on where we have come from as a nation, where we are today and where we hope to go as a people and a nation. I ask that we reflect on these things with a great sense of hope for our beloved country.
It is no question that we have seen and experienced the good, the bad and the ugly, which in all fairness is not unique to Liberia, but I say to you today that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Let us not only take solace in this year’s theme that: “Together, We Are Stronger” but must passionately add meaning and value to the purpose that indeed there is “Strength in Unity and Diversity”. It is through unity that we can pull our strength together to build a strong nation, with a government that responds to our demands with a sense of urgency and works with a deep sense of responsibility, integrity and accountability.
My Fellow Liberians, while we prepare to celebrate this day, we are reminded of the inability of most of our population to afford to eat today. While we want to celebrate the birth anniversary of our beloved country, we cannot ignore the many challenges faced by our people. The rising cost of living and its accompanying hardship, lack of job security as companies shut down or scale down, civil servants’ uncertainty about getting paid their monthly salaries; the skyrocketing exchange rate, the dire constraints plaguing our healthcare and education systems, and many more. However, let us not just brood over the challenges or grievances that confront us today but remember that we are stronger than our adversities; that we are resilient, innovative and capable of exploring new, creative and fresh ideas to solving our problems differently.
My Fellow Liberians, as we go through these difficult times, we must renew our allegiance to a common belief in the growth and development of Liberia. Governments, good or bad, will come and go but the people of Liberia will remain unwavering. As a nation, we have not allowed our challenges to defeat or define us; not Ebola nor the war years, and we will not begin now. It is time we pull up ourselves by the boot strap and begin to change the things we can control now- our
commitment to being better citizens, to electing better officials, to rejecting corrupt and self-centered politicians, to loving Liberia and putting her first. We must not give up on our country and we must begin to believe in its greatness. As the author Idowu Koyenikan succinctly puts it, “Your pride for your country should not come after your country becomes great; your country becomes great because of your pride in it”. Today, I urge all of us to take pride in our country and believe in the greatness of Liberia again.
My Fellow Liberians, our sober reflection today should be guided and informed first by our trust in God who shall renew our strength and prepare us to confront whatever battle lies ahead. I know that whatever challenge we encounter, we shall conquer; for we are CONQUERERS!! On behalf of the ANC, my family and myself, I want to wish you all a Happy 26! “My 26 on y’all”.
God bless you and God Bless Liberia!