Who Is Sylvester M. Grigsby and Why Some Want Him Out of The Executive Mansion?

By: Stephen E. Harvey

Part-2 of 3…

It has really been an honor and pleasure for me to profile and share my perspectives about a man with outstanding public service record and of course, a fine statesman whose remarkable credentials speak for itself in a phenomenal way. In part-1 of this three-part article which was published in multiple local dallies on Monday 20 May 2024, I profiled Minister Sylvester M. Grigsby and proudly argued about the unparalleled skills set he brings to the coveted and sensitive post of Minister of States for Presidential affairs, a unique position fate would have him occupied for the second time in recent years.

Grigsby brings to his current role a unique combination of enviable skills set and an unmatched wealth of experience setting him apart as the most knowledgeable and dynamic person in the current cabinet composition of President Joseph Nyuma Boakai. I also argued that not only does Grigsby bring an enviable wealth of experience and unique capabilities to the role, he also brings integrity to the job coupled with the fact that he is an affable gentleman who has over the years distinguished himself from the tempting trappings of power. Over four decades of public service and now, Grigsby continues to set himself apart as a revered state bureaucrat, a diplomat extraordinaire, and a venerated statesmen who carries himself with humility, repute, and grace. Without a doubt, the appointment of Grigsby to the position of Minister of State for Presidential Affairs was a brilliant decision made by President Boakai, contrary to the view espoused by some reactionary elements that he is not fit for the Job.

The assertion that Grigsby is not fit for the job or lacks the ability to effectively execute and navigate the cumbersome intrigues of the job is not only weak in substance and laden with sentiments, but it is a product of lies and sheer hypocrisy. The pedigree of Grigsby, a towering yet unassuming statesman is in no dispute. The hurting adversaries of Grigsby know fully well that he is eminently qualified for the job as well as politically astute, hence, there can be no better person to man the post of Minister of State at this crucial and compelling moment, but Sylvester M. Grigsby, the man who doesn’t blow his own horn. Therefore, President Boakai was in no error to appoint him in this role, as such, Grigsby must be left alone to do his job. Under former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Grigsby was appointed in this very position and he executed the functions thereof with distinction. His public service record is incredibly profound, and for any one to argue on the contrary, I will be constrained to believe that they have taken leave of their senses.

In Part-1, I vehemently unmasked the reactionary elements in the Executive Mansion who are masterminding the removal of Grigsby by desperately attempting, at all costs, to pit the President against his Minister of state and buddy of several lofty years. I intimated that we are reliably informed that these mischievous individuals are plotting and regurgitating negative narratives in the Liberian media with the intent to scandalize the reputation of Grigsby as well as to render him unfit to serve as Minister of State for Presidential Affairs. It marvels me that in this deadly quest to eliminate Grigsby by every means possible, they have crossed over to the Legislature from the Executive Mansion to co-opt some selfish lawmakers to join in the grand conspiracy against the man. The only motivation for doing this is to have Grigsby removed as Minister of state, so as to have unhindered access to the President. We are aware that they want to use the powers of the presidency to advance their selfish political agenda as well as salvage their greedy economic interest ahead of 2029 which will be a defining political year for Liberia.

In this second series, I will significantly touch on the lawmakers who have joined the bandwagon against Grigsby and want him removed. They have publicly called for the dismissal and investigation of Grigsby for “questionable dealings”. Any claim of shady dealings against Grigsby is nothing but a sheer character assassination if not a black mail. Grigsby has no record of public theft and graft and he is not the character that is desperate for material wealth—especially amassing it by stealing public money. After forty years of public and private service, Grigsby prides himself on the record that blossoms with probity. Some of the Lawmakers shamelessly spewing this gibberish against Grigsby made several attempts to have a foothold of President Boakai soon after he was elected President but miserably failed. Some of them were recently closed to power and became Lords and Prime Ministers wielding enormous power in government with ultimate decisions on who gets what and what happens in Liberia. They were ‘Lord and Gospel’…suffice to say their utterances were unchallenged and final, and if they stood against you, you were automatically doomed. They know power and understand the huge power and influence Grigsby holds as Minister of State for Presidential Affairs. They feel entitled and always want to be in the room with the President to influence major national decisions. Because they are so selfish and absurd they carry in their swollen heads the daft notion that without their presence at the high table, nothing good can happen and others do not have the ability and connection to make things happen. This is the height of their arrogance and lunacy. Some of these lawmakers were earlier involved with the formation of the Boakai government and even made appointments of their friends, family members, and partisans in cabinet roles and other top positions. President Boakai was fast to detect and halt their rising influence. They would no longer possess the power and influence to make or manipulate appointments in the government under the guise of the Rescue Mission political alliance, as the President would take full charge of his constitutional duties and responsibilities. It is from this point, I believe, Grigsby fell into trouble with these Lawmakers and their co-conspirators at the Executive Mansion. They believe Grigsby is primarily responsible for the President sudden change, not to allow them usurp his functions under the pretext of political alliance or collaboration. And that at the moment, Grigsby is the guy calling the shots and influencing major national decisions emanating from the presidency.

They are quite wrong and I would say it is unconceivable to think that President Boakai with decades of experience in the craft of governance does not know his powers and cannot make critical and timely decision. The President decision to halt some of the Lawmakers who were involved with the early configuration of his government was due to the fact that they were abusing the opportunity, only to satisfy their selfish desire for power and money. The President was magnanimous enough to allow them participate in the appointment process of his government essentially because of the political alliance, but they abused that opportunity to the extent where it became expedient to put an end to what can be described as a blatant overreach. There were no concern about the qualification of people they were considering for major appointments. The public was shockingly concerned that several appointments were made without a mention of key people who relentlessly championed the Boakai presidential bid from 2017 to 2023. The public was not only disappointed in the strange names that were littering the presidential appointments, but would condemn the appointments and call on the President to take charge and pay attention to the people who believed in him from the onset and pioneered his revolution to such glorious end.

This is how President Boakai decided he will sit on his appointments and take his time to vet people that would be appointed in his government. Of course, when he took that decision, Grigsby concurred without an ounce of hesitation on grounds that President Boakai was the one the Liberian people voted for, as such, he must form his government and not allow anybody to usurp or undermine his constitutional functions. Grigsby was surely right to stand by his boss because that was the right thing to do. As Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, it is his duty to advise the president appropriately and to guide the president effectively, and since he assumed his role he has been quite up to the task much to the delight of his boss.

Like I stated in Part-1 of this piece, contrary to the greedy motives of these fifth columnists, Grigsby is rather concerned about helping the President to etch in stone his legacy. He is diligently working 24/7 around the clock to layout the necessary frameworks that will lead to significant success of the Boakai administration. Unlike them, Grigsby does not abuse his access to power and neither does he use his authority for personal aggrandizement. He is potentially keen on President Boakai fulfilling his electoral promises to the people of Liberia, i.e. the establishment of the office of the War Crimes Court which he (Grigsby) worked tirelessly to achieve just in 110 days following the inauguration of the government. Liberia’s development partners have described as a definable move, the political willingness to establish the office of the War and Economics Crimes Court, adding, it presents a fine image and echoes the genuineness of the Boakai government in the realm of the international community. Grigsby with the backing of his team is also working hard to ensure that President Boakai upholds his pledge to conduct a comprehensive audit of the George Weah administration—in a bid to retrieve state funds and assets stolen by roguish former officials. He is deeply concerned about the rule of law working once again so as to make Liberia a safe and free country for all its citizens, but even more importantly, for creating the ambiance to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), to put Liberia on an irreversible path of economic growth, job creation, and poverty reduction. Grigsby is also working diligently to see education, tourism and other things laid out in the government ARREST agenda work to the delight of the people of Liberia. He is not concerned about personal glorification nor fame. On every passing day, he works the hardest to help his boss and buddy, President Boakai succeeds. And without a doubt, President Boakai knows the capabilities of his Minister of State for Presidential Affairs. He knows Grigsby is loyal and shares in his vision to uplift Liberia and its striving people from decades of socioeconomic depravity to nobler heights.

With will and courage, I must state once again, that the Grigsby I carefully followed over the years is no doubt the man with the steep and depth for the job and no amount of machinations, manoeuvrings, and mendacity would cause President Boakai to sack him away. He is a noble statesman and a true patriot who is and has always been interested in the forward march of his country Liberia, and never bent on any greedy motive to grease his pockets at the detriment of the state treasury while the Liberian masses battle harsh economic hardship. Grigsby has no other interest but the success of the ARREST agenda, which is President Joseph Nyuma Boakai’s Agenda. So, I call on these band of political rocketeers to leave Grigsby alone, and allow him to do his job. He has done nothing wrong, but to busy himself with the vision of the President, which is to navigate Liberia on the solid path of social transformation, lasting peace, tranquility, and security. To be continued…

Watch out for Part-3

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