Government Cries Foul

first_imgCote d’Ivoire was the first neighboring country to close its border to Liberia and halt movements of people, ships and flights. The Foreign Ministry stressed that the current Ebola outbreak is not only a problem for Liberia and other worst-hit countries: “It is also a test of human solidarity amidst human adversity”.      The Ministry, meanwhile paid tribute to the many countries, whether big or small, that have rendered exemplary assistance and empathy to Liberia since the outset of the Ebola epidemic in the country, adding that those countries deserve tremendous credit for the progress Liberia is beginning to register in its fight against Ebola. These measures, the Statement noted, are inconsistent with advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and other experts. The Liberian Government, the Statement noted, has protested against these unnecessary restrictions and stigmatization through a variety of channels, including direct diplomatic contacts to the countries involved and advocacy at multilateral fora, including the AU and the United Nations.  The Liberian Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has reiterated its concern over the manner in which Liberian citizens are being stigmatized due to the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak in the country. The Statement particularly hailed the Government and people of Cote d’Ivoire for the resumption of flights by its national carrier, Air Cote d’Ivoire, to Liberia and other Ebola affected countries: “We hope that others will soon follow suit in line with commitments made over a month ago.” “Blanket visa suspensions and other extremely harsh actions do not necessarily isolate Ebola; they only isolate countries affected by Ebola; and by so doing, they do not only undermine the ability of affected countries to effectively and expeditiously fight the disease but also compound the long-term socio-economic impacts of the Ebola crisis”, the statement said. Minister Ngafuan termed this situation as the height of unfairness and blanket stigmatization attitudes by some countries to treat every Liberian who constitutes a part of the country’s 4 million population as though he or she is an Ebola carrier because over 6,000 persons have been infected with the virus in Liberia since March 2014. The statement also noted that countries perpetrating these harsh measures do not take into consideration such particularities as to whether or not the Liberian passport holder had in fact been in Liberia over the past one month or so or whether or not the passport holder had come in close contact with any infected person. The Ministry asserted that the Liberian Government does not contest the right of any Government to protect, first and foremost, the interest and well-being of its own citizens and residents; but strongly urges leaders of the world – heads of state and government, parliamentarians, ministers, etc., to take measures that achieve the double objective of protecting their own citizens and at the same time assisting countries battling with Ebola to quickly contain the disease.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs asserted that these harsh measures also run counter to the September 18, 2014 UN Security Council Resolution 2177, sponsored by over 130 countries, and the decision of the Extraordinary Meeting of the Executive Council of the African Union (AU) held on September 8, 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Foreign Ministry, as a way of averting and promptly responding to travel and other complications that may be experienced by Liberians due to stigmatization, disclosed a series of local and international phone numbers, and email addresses as well as the Ministry’s FaceBook address. Foreign Minister Ngafuan noted that citizens and residents of Ebola affected countries have already been victimized by the deadly virus and that it is unfair and unconscionable for them to be doubly victimized by actions that are not necessarily aimed at attacking the disease, but rather attacking the fact that they hold a particular type of passport.  The Foreign Ministry further narrated that in order to forestall such difficulties, it advises officials of government and ordinary Liberian citizens, to the extent they feel comfortable to do so, to apprize the Ministry via email of their travel itineraries at least two days before their date of travel out of Liberia: “This will enable the Ministry to contact the Liberian mission(s) accredited to the country (ies) of travel to take proactive actions and be on the alert to assist whenever travel complications arise.” The Foreign Minister referenced the ordeal of a young Liberian lady named A. Boffah Kollie, who was denied entry at the airport of a country (name withheld) in which she had gone to begin graduate studies in Medicine.  This, said the Minister, is just one of many heart-rending stories that the Foreign Ministry receives daily.  Of recent, Morocco has expressed skepticism about hosting the African Cup of Nations in Rabat fearing that people from Ebola-affected countries may spread the disease in that north African country. The contact channels will afford Liberians facing these stigmatizing circumstances the opportunity to alert the Ministry of the specifics of their case: “While we cannot guarantee that acceptable redress will be found in every case, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assures the general Liberian public that it will exhaust all available diplomatic options to bring relief to Liberians or groups of Liberians facing such embarrassment.” The Ministry then disclosed that in order to improve the safety of travel and enhance confidence internationally, the Government of Liberia, with capacity support from partners including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has been implementing robust and strict exit and entry screening procedures at all our air, land and sea ports.CONTACT DETAILSDirect Contact to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia:CELL NO: +231 770 262 756 and + 231 886 002 728Email: [email protected]: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of LiberiaLiberians may choose to also contact the following hotlines at the following Liberian missions abroad:United States of America:Hotlines:+1 646-287-9755 and +1240-396-7246United Kingdom (UK):Hotlines:+44-7459704031 and +44-7438516153Belgium:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) “While we appreciate the assistance from governments and other partners from across the world in our fight against Ebola, it should be noted that no amount of external assistance can be more appreciated by the Liberian people in these trying times than to be treated with respect and dignity.” South Africa was the second to announce stopping its citizens from entering Liberia and Liberians from entering South Africa. A Foreign Ministry press statement read, by Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan at the daily news briefing of the Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism (MICAT) last Wednesday, expressed deep concern over a rising trend of measures and reactions on the part of some members of the global community that can only be described as disproportionate and panic-driven. Also citing another reference to the UN, the Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the UN Security Council, in its unanimous Resolution 2177 “expressed concern about the detrimental effect of the isolation of the affected countries as a result of trade and travel restrictions imposed on the affected countries”, and called on “Member States, including of the region, to lift general travel and border restrictions, imposed as a result of the Ebola outbreak, that contribute to the further isolation of the affected countries”.last_img read more

Read More

Lazy public servants will get lazy person’s salary – Granger

first_imgPresident David Granger on Friday warned persons working in the public sector against developing traits and practices that could prevent them from rising to the challenge and performing exceptionally, maintaining that “if they want to be lazy, they will get a lazy person’s remuneration.”It was after the Head of State received the long awaited final report of the investigation into the public service at the Ministry of the Presidency (MoP), that he made the comments. He referred to the inquiry as a “landmark study”.The three-member panel headed by Professor Harold Lutchman was charged with investigating, reporting on, and making recommendations on the role, functions, recruitment process, remuneration and conditions of service for public servants. The Commission was also expected to determine measures to improve the efficiency of the public service. It was also expected to have a detailed examination of how salaries and wages are determined and allocated. The CoI commenced in September 2015 and came to an end in January of this year. The other Commissioners were Sandra Jones and Samuel Goolsarran.President Granger said that those in the Public Sector need to become aware of the importance of their roles to the people they serve, noting that any laid back attitude will attract a matching pay.“Many people expect that there is going to be some bonanza. I hope they will discover that the bonanza will come from their own efforts. The bonanza will come when they work hard and do better than the next person. If they work hard they will be rewarded for their hard work. This is what people in every area of endeavour must learn, that actual output is related to input,” the Head of State remarked.Zooming in on three critical areas on which public servants are being judged, President Granger noted impartiality and social responsibility, education, and experience.He stressed the need for a cadre of public officers who must discharge their duties without fear or favour, affection or ill-will.“Any concerns about ethnicity, party affiliation, neighbourhood or family should be erased from professional performance,” the Head of State asserted.He noted that the country cannot function without an efficient public service, which he said, is meant to ensure that the State is well governed.“The politicians will be elected and they will leave, but the public service remains and is responsible for continuity. It is responsible for the maintenance of standards. It is responsible for the enforcement of the laws of the country. Any country that is going to be lawless is going to come to grief… if we are to be lawful we have to have a professional public service,” the President said.Soon after taking Office, President Granger met with senior public servants at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre (ACCC) where he spoke of his Administration’s plan to ensure that the public service is one that is professional and “unbribable”.Professor Lutchman, in a brief comment, spoke highly of his colleague Commissioners, whose areas of expertise and qualifications were relevant to the issues which the Commission was mandated to examine. He also informed that the Commission received support and submissions from a number of persons and organisations both locally and abroad.The report will be deliberated on at the level of the Cabinet after which it will be presented to the Speaker of the National Assembly to be tabled in the House. It will also be shared with the unions.last_img read more

Read More