“GOL Welcomes Strategic Partnership With ULAA”-McGill -Receives a carnival reception at the occasion

The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel Falo McGill has said the Government of Liberia wholeheartedly welcomes the strategic partnership being proposed by the leadership of the Union of Liberian Associations in the Americas (ULAA) anchored on constructive engagement that will benefit the country and its people. Minister McGill made commitment on behalf of the Government of Liberia that ULAA will subsequently receive annual budgetary allocation from the national coffers, which heralds a new dawn of relationship between the government and the umbrella body of Liberians in the United States of America.

Minister McGill also said the sustenance of peace and development in Liberia depends on the collective efforts of all Liberians and pledged government’s commitment to pass the Dual Citizenship Act in conformity to her once a Liberian, always a Liberian policy.

Min. McGill said Liberia needs all hands on deck irrespective of their religion, ethnicity and political persuasions. He reiterated the government’s unwavering support to cooperate and collaborate with all for the good of the country.

“Liberia needs you. You are professionals of great potential for Liberia’s growth and development. As we celebrate 200 years of existence, all of you in America and the diaspora are welcome to contribute your quota in whatever way”, the Minister and Chief of Staff to the President of Liberia emphasized.

Min. McGill was speaking last Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Essington, Pennsylvania, USA when he served as Chief Launcher at a Fundraising drive at the 47th Inaugural Ball of ULAA attended by top dignitaries including Liberian delegation he headed, 3 US Congress members from the state of Pennsylvania, former government officials , other distinguished guests, well-wishers, among others.

The protocol arrangement for the guests was perfectly executed and saw Minister McGill and entourage being ushered in the hall in a carnival style populated by Liberians and other well -wishers from far and near who had come to witness a unique occasion that has never been organized for a long time.

Speaking further, Minister McGill said out of his habit not to travel most of the time, he had to honor the invitation from the leadership of ULAA because of the special relationship that is being developed and also the involvement of President George Manneh Weah who instructed him to attend the program to demonstrate the government’s desire to enlist the cooperation and participation of every Liberian towards contributing their quota to the growth and development of the country.

“I listened to your speech Mr. President, I want to assure you as you have already said in your speech, that ULAA’s objective is to engage the government and I want to assure you today that this administration is going to work closely with ULAA to make sure we protect the interest of Liberians living in the United States”, he said amid cheers from the audience.

He said while being excited about the new direction ULAA is taking with respect to relating with the Government of Liberia, it was also important to throw a challenge to the President and leadership of ULAA to raise genuine concerns about governance back home and still being constructively engaged with the government.

“Mr. President, I am very happy to be here, this is a very important program. ULAA belongs to everyone, one of the things you need to do is to be engaged with the government, do not relent as President of ULAA to call on the government to say what it is doing that is wrong. If you believe that there is corruption, do not hesitate to raise it. Always raise it because all that the government is looking for is constructive engagement”, he said.

Minister McGill who is also the Chief of Office Staff to the President used the occasion to erase the notion from some quarters of the society that the government was after those who have contrary views or opinions against its style of leadership in the country and cited the recent decision made by the President to reach out to one of the government’s fiercest critics, talk show host Henry Pedro Costa, when all charges brought against him were dropped, reassured of his freedom and rights to visit the country and ordering his communication equipment to be returned to him.

He said what the President did was a clear manifestation that he has no intention going against any Liberian. He emphasized that citizens should be bold to come up with what they see and feel not to be right for the country that the government is doing, stressing that it was the essence of being constructively engaged with the government.

“Mr. President, the last time you raised issues with me and one of them is the unexplained deaths and I told you Mr. President, the government is concerned as you are and as we speak, the President has given instruction to the police to make sure that Liberians deserve answers were answers should be”, he said.

He said speculations surrounding these unexplained deaths are rife in the society and are sometimes erroneously attributed to “some of us who the public perceive as the most powerful and visible in this government, namely Minister of Finance and Development Planning Samuel D. Tweah, Jr, Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Tamba Koijee and myself”.

“And when these happen and explanations are not given properly it makes people assume that these powerful people are behind these unfortunate situations; so we are from time to time encouraging the police to provide adequate information for the Liberian people to be informed, so there can’t be  room for speculation. We want to encourage you to continue to engage the government, Liberia belongs to everyone”, he said.

Commenting on the Fund drive launched by ULAA,Mr McGill pledged US$100,000.00.on behalf of the government  and promised that US$300,000.00 will be included in the next budget year for ULAA. This will be the first time for the Union to be captured in the Country’s budget since its foundation in 1974.

Amb. Barnes’s assertion was however debunked by other speakers who said that donation to institutions by government for charity works has nothing to do with whether a country is poor or not and cited the case of the United States of America that contributes to institutions despite not being able to meet all the needs of its citizens.

When the contribution started, Minister McGill announced the donation of $7,500, which he divided into two, $2,500 for his membership contribution as a new member of ULAA and another $5,000 for his personal contribution. He made a similar donation on behalf of Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah Jr who also was subscribing for membership in the tone of USD 2, 500, and USD5, 000 for personal contribution.

When it was time for the launching, Mr. Nathaniel Barnes, former Finance Minister, erstwhile  Liberia’s ambassador to the United States and the UN and now a presidential aspirant for 2023, while making his contribution, took exception to the statement by Minister McGill that the Liberian government will donate to ULAA next year with USD 300,000.00 through the national budget, “when it should be the other way around where ULAA should be giving to Liberia, because of our country’s status as one of the poorest countries in the world” according Amb. Barnes. He however contributed $1,000 to the fund drive.

Min. McGill was accompanied by a cross-section of government officials including Liberia Ambassador to the United States, George Pattern, Gender Minister Williametta Piso Saydee-Tarr, National Oil Company of Liberia President Atty. Saifuah Mai-Gray and Presidential Press Secretary Isaac Solo Kelgbeh.

The colorful ceremony was attended by US Congress Members and local state representatives, a cross section of Liberians from in and around America, as well as former officials of government including former presidential aspirants.

Institutional and individual contributions also came from those present at the program including the Spoon Media Group, represented by its President and CEO, Stanton Peabody who contributed $5,000.

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