MONROVIA – The Liberia Renaissance Office Incorporated, a think tank working towards good governance in Liberia has cautioned the government to act responsibly and stop shifting blame in reacting to an editorial written by Dr. Michael Rubin, an international blogger and executive of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Think Tank, who had claimed that President George Manneh Weah and his entourage received a “Rogue Nation” treatment from the US government when it arrived in New York for the ongoing United Nations General Assembly(UNGA)
According to a press statement issued by LOROI and signed by Mr. George Wisner, Country coordinator, for some days “regime apologists” led by Lenn Eugene Nagbe have struggled woefully to discredit Dr. Rubin who had stated that the treatment meted against the Liberian delegation are those reserved for leaders and representatives of governments with strained and difficult relationships with the United States Government and instead of the government addressing the issues, they are shifting blames and blaming opposition members especially Mr. Alexander B. Cummings, Standard Bearer of the Collaborating Political Parties(CPP).
“For 5 years, President Weah and his cronies have continued to not take responsibility for their thuggery and thievery. When the world catches them for stealing which they have publicly boasted off, they shamelessly blame Cummings. When they abuse their offices and use thugs to hurt peaceful Liberians, they blame Cummings for getting internationally and nationally condemned.
“Of course, Mr. Alexander B. Cummings is internationally connected and very highly respected. When he speaks, important leaders around the world, especially in the United States, tend to listen and take what he says seriously. But, as well-respected as Mr. Cummings is, he cannot dictate how the Weah Government chooses to conduct itself. President Weah and not Mr. Cummings is in charge of the Weah-led administration.
“Mr. Cummings is not responsible for President Weah’s sudden unexplained wealth after inauguration for which he has built cities, resorts, condominiums, and continues to display opulence and extravagance while the declaration of assets get downplayed and too many Liberians go to bed hungry at night. President Weah’s officials are happily doing the same – getting rich quickly and not declaring assets while Liberians are suffering.
“Mr. Cummings did not effectively destroy integrity institutions by bypassing and underfunding them so that most, if not all, are effectively dead. President Weah and his administration are the ones continuing to act to destroy the integrity institutions so that neither the President nor his officials are publicly accountable!
“Mr. Cummings publicly warned against weaponizing the courts against political opponents, and similarly advised the President to act more decisively in dismissing and prosecuting his 3 powerful friends, after they were designated for sanctions by the United States Government”, the statement said.
Making reference to the editorial by Rubin, the statement said President Weah was kept at the “J.F. Kennedy Airport for hours while Immigration and Customs Enforcement Officials treated them as ordinary travelers rather than VIPs”; that Weah and delegation were issued restrictive C2 visas to the “United Nations Headquarters District” and not allowed to travel outside the 25-mile UN District until the President’s departure to the airport for his return trip; and that this restriction and not-so-cordial reception of the Liberian President by the United States Government is because the US Government is displeased about the runaway corruption and bad governance in Liberia, for which, after several US Government officials repeatedly warned the Liberian Government, the US Government recently sanctioned 3 of President Weah’s closest and most powerful officials including Weah’s gatekeeper.
“Again, it was President Weah who tried to think he could cover up by announcing bogus suspensions and fake investigations which no one has ever heard of again.
“On their stealing from the people of Liberia, the Weah-led Government has steadily worked itself into trouble with the international community led by the United States”, the statement said.
LOROI further said that early in the administration, 11 Embassies and Missions near the nation’s Capital unprecedentedly wrote President Weah warning his administration to stop stealing their monies deposited in the Central Bank of Liberia. “This was and should have been taken as a serious warning by the President. Alas, although he has continued to call out the government for stealing, Mr. Cummings did not write that letter for the international community”, the statement said..
“Through all of this, the excuse of the Weah Administration continues to be that they are justified to steal and enrich themselves at the expense of the suffering Liberian people because previous governments did it in the past. Mr. Cummings disagrees.
Liberia deserves better, he rightly says. Stealing in the past should never be used to justify the runaway stealing of today, so much so that officials are being sanctioned for the daylight robbery taking place in the government!
“Rather than crying like babies because they have been caught, and blaming Cummings, President Weah and his cronies need to act responsibly. Especially through our Maritime resources, President Weah has spent millions in lobbying fees, and today, he and his delegation are being caged within a 25-mile radius of the UN District. Public relations, shifting blames and lying will not erase the lack of leadership and stealing that are now nationally and internationally known to be the character of the Weah-led government.
“The world is watching. The Liberian people deserve the truth about their Government. The President, Mr. Nagbe and the government must own their discredited actions. While they do that, they should also address themselves to the following:
“Were the American authorities not given the arrival schedule of the President and his delegation prior to their arrival at J.F.K Airport, and do they not think it unusual that the receiving Party and Secret Service Detail arrived about 2hrs 30 minutes after the President landed?
“If not C2 Visa, which visa type did the President and entourage travel on (except for the Finance Minister who is traveling to Washington DC for the IMF meeting)?
“Why was President Weah’s attempt to meet with US Vice President, Kamala Harris rebuffed, and wasn’t the fallout from that one of the causes of the unceremonial, undeplomatic, and knee-jerk “recall” and replacement of Ambassador George Patten (Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States)?
“Why has the US Embassy not refuted and or clarified Dr. Rubin’s viral characterization of President Weah’s reception and visit?” the statement further said.
The statement further said that as the leading voice of the Liberian opposition, Mr. Cummings should and must continue to call out the lack of leadership as well as the wasteful and unaccountable management of the country’s resources.
The Think Tank noted that is what serious opposition leaders are supposed to do, adding that If his voice and advocacy on behalf of poor and affected Liberians can summon the international community to act against the runaway stealing and thuggish rule of President Weah, long may it continue so that the government can be accountable to the suffering masses of the people, stressing that after all, Mr. Cummings has promised to change Liberia’s failed and discredited system.
“We understand the anger of President Weah and his administration officials against Mr. Cummings. No one should reasonably expect criminals to celebrate law enforcement officials just as crooked leaders and politicians cannot be expected to celebrate honest opposition and change agents like Mr. Cummings who are determinedly calling out their crimes and disservice to the Liberian people.
“Former Information Minister Eugene Nagbe has the right to audition for and pre-position himself to assume the role of de facto Prime Minister, which was once played by now disgraced former Minister of State, Nathaniel McGill. But we reject his tactics of misinformation and disinformation.
“To not label our country a “rogue nation”, President Weah and the likes of Eugene Nagbe must look at themselves and change the criminal behaviors against the Liberian people, or as Mr. Cummings repeatedly says, be ready for the national and international consequences. The choice is the Weah-led administration to make and not Mr. Cummings who did not ask any official to steal or abuse their offices, for which he must be blamed”, the statement concluded.