The recently appointed and confirmed Deputy Minister of Information for Press and Public Affairs, Jarlawah A. Tonpo yesterday, Thursday, July 8, 2021 assumes duty at Ministry of Information with some suggestions tabled before the Minister, Ledgerhood Julius Rennie and senior management which if accepted, according to him will assist properly disseminate the information of the government.
Mr. Tonpon who had earlier in his speech thanked President George Manneh Weah for his preferment, the Vice President and President of the Liberian Senate, members of the senate and others for the opportunities afforded him to work with them over the years, said that with the diverse people and institutions he had worked and associated with over the years, he will serve as a bridge between institutions and the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism.
“Because of my deep roots in the legislature, mainly in the Senate, in this role, I will serve as a bridge between the Executive and the Legislature. Because of my deep roots and varying roles in the Press Union of Liberia, I will serve as a bridge between the government and the Media. Because of my work and role in the Federation of Liberian youths and the Liberia National Students Union, I will serve as a bridge between the government and the Civil Society, including the young people of Liberia, and the student community, and as a devoted member of the Liberia Assembly of God Church, and my strong tie to the Late Shilk Kefumah Konneh and who has introduced me to the Muslim Community, I will engage the Religious Community. And I will be visible to engage the Liberian people,” he said.
He then suggested some plans which he believes will assist to effectively be used to explain government information dissemination is coordinated in a way that MICAT is the channel for articulating government position on development and policy issues, to decentralize MICAT to provide for County contact persons, adding that these people will support county wide engagements on government programs and policies, MICAT community engagements where MICAT will be taken to the people and community radio engagement intended to regularly explain government programs and policies
Others are to reactivate the oversea Press Bureau at MICAT as a conduit for Press Attaches regular update from various embassies, intended to gather information about developments concerning Liberian from other embassies, monthly meeting of all government public relations officers to share notes on developments at each ministry and agency and coordinate with the Legislature and the judiciary to share information on the benefits of their work during MICAT press briefing, adding that he shall ensure that the Chief Clerk of the Honorable House of Representatives, the Secretary of the Senate, and the Administrator of the Honorable Supreme Court, respectively shall be our regular guests to come and explain to the Public their Legislative and judiciary programs.
Mr. Tonpo also promised to have some rewarding engagements with the Press Union of Liberia, media, both local, regional and international and Media Development Organizations, Civil Society, Women groups ,Intellectual centers,Private sector engagement to share information about government programs and policies by the Minister) and Engagement with opposition spokespersons or secretary-generals on government policies and programs.
“These engagements are in line with paragraph five of the President’s statement in the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), the national development plan. When he said: “…Even those measures, our progress will be slow without the support of key partners-the international development partners, the private sector, and the civil society. We want to acknowledge the pivotal roles played, reassure them of the government’s commitment to an inclusive way forward, and seek their cooperation for the implementation of the PAPD.” Please underscore the phrase: “…and seek their cooperation for the implementation of the PAPD.”, he stated.
Welcoming the new Deputy Minister to the Ministry, Information Minister Ledgerhood Rennie said he was delighted to have Mr. Tonpo at MICAT and told him to be a man of his own, not to borrow from others or live and work according to the expectation of people who may want to set standards for him.
He said there is a perception out there in the public that if you are Minister of Information one is supposed to the person with the shortest voice, you are supposed to be the one with the loudest voice and you are supposed to be the one to be clamoring than anyone else, making palaver with people.
Minister Rennie said that mandate of the Ministry is very simple, adding that it is to promote government policy and progress and told Mr. Tonpo that the policies and approaches that he will deal with at the Ministry is to adapt, and though he may have the knowledge but it has to do with quality and the way in which you want to send out that particular messages.
“The Ministry of Information is not created to spread out inaccurate messages but to give out factual information to the public, promote policies, approach issues and progress and everything relating to our government so I want say to you Jallahwa those value that will make the public to hear you speak out and to build confidence and believe what you say to them, and that is the important aspect in disseminating public information”, Minister Rennie said.