INKS ARE DRYING over the media stunt that followed the end of a two-week high-powered government visit to Washington, D.C. The delegation climaxed the diplomatic push with an elating press statement which spelled out the engagements undertaken and progress made. On account of that press statement and all that was contained in it, and assuming it reflects the actualities of the trip, we say hats off to the Government for such a giant move.
WE ARE INCLINED to hail the Government on this move not only because it is the first overt diplomatic exploit for external acceptability but also because any external affection that the government enjoys turns out to trigger down to the entire populace and for national growth. We are elated because it had appeared in the last three years that Liberia, under President George Weah, was caged in and limited to only its domestic destiny and that many doors opened after the civil conflict were closed again. And, as everyone knows, a door closed on this country could lead to doom for us all.
LET’S HASTEN TO say, however, that a single knock to the door does not necessarily open it. In other words, a two-week visit to the United States is not an automatic guarantee that manna will begin to fall. Thank God the press release issued tacitly points to a lot of things and several hard efforts needed and are left to be handled before Uncle Sam finally opens its arms. There is much left to be done by the Government to meet benchmarks critical for the actual breakthrough that holds the real sigh of relief. Whether Liberia gets what this administration needs from Washington or not will depend on how fast and sustained follow-up actions become in the next weeks and months ahead.
AND THANK GOD the United States is not needing human head and blood from Liberia before it finally let the valve off. All that is needed, as the government’s own press release indicates, border on the canals of transparency, accountability and good governance—something many in this administration boast of. The Americans need greater space for freedom and civil liberties. They need improved judiciary. We need greater press freedom. They need proven, genuine strides in the fight against corruption. So far, that should not be a big deal because the virtues constituting benchmarks for breakthrough are the same values we professedly cherish, and take pride in, at home.
SECOND, TO BE able to meet those conditionalities put forth by the United States, designated officials must pay keen attention to them and make aggressive, sustained moves. We are so concerned because while we are not insiders, it is said in government circles that most officials are sluggish, carefree and lazy to make follow-ups on important assignments. We hear that most officials are only strong in eye-service, running behind the President and almost everyone wants to tell the president morning, bid him goodnight every day and forgets their fiduciary responsibilities.
THIRDLY, IF THE caliber of people are not available in government currently, we are sure Liberia or even the CDC is not human resource-starved. For once, let the President look outside the box and find the appropriate minds that that can help him and the country.
WE ARE SO concerned because failure to woo the international community to help this country is not just a failure of the Government. It is the failure of the country. The impact equally affects not just people in Government. It also affects the entire country and its people.
IT WOULD THEREFORE we wise that the Government pays much attention to the outcome of the two-week visit to Washington. If possible, the tasks for government as indicated in the outcome of the visit must be calendarised, so to speak, and weekly roundtables held to review progress.
AND FINALLY, WE urge Government not to limit the diplomatic push to America alone. Similar exploits must be made to world power in ways that enriches every diplomatic connect with those powers.