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U.S takes a new approach towards Liberia.
Solomon Myers (April 2004)

Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it's set a rolling it must increase. Charles Caleb Colton

The new approach by the United States; to not only dole out money to Liberian officials, but to also monitor and demand responsible governance and accountability in Liberia is indeed commendable.

The statement by the United States Ambassador to Liberia John W. Blaney, in response to the mounting complaints of corruption of the Transitional Government, is a step in the right direction.

Blaney emphasized that "...if the US concludes that an individual is corrupt, or is undermining U.S. assistance goals, or is extorting US businesses, he and his family will not be going to the United States for any reason." and that those "..who steal from public coffers or use their positions to extort, not only should, but must be fired" is extremely positive news for Liberia.

Blaney's statements should be welcome news for all responsible Liberians; because past trends have shown that the monies doled out to Liberian officials, are often squandered abroad and invested on foreign real estate while Liberian infrastructure has lain derelict. It is therefore essential that corruption; of any form, be nipped in the bud, because like Charles Caleb Colton once said, “Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it's set a rolling it must increase.”

The support by the World Health Organization (WHO) in instituting a US$4.9 million budget program to improve post-war health care delivery system in the country is also noteworthy.

In the interest of public health, it is essential that swampy areas, sewers and stagnant waters around Monrovia, be properly drained and cleaned. Proper drainage systems must be built in areas like Bushrod Island, Sinkor, the Garnesville area, and other such areas which harbor mosquitoes. A 2001 survey conducted by the National Drug Service put malaria cases at between 37 and 40% of all health cases at medical centers across the country. Hence, dealing with the drainage problem could go a long way in curbing diseases. There should also be a move to increase public washrooms, improve the pipe systems around Monrovia and create well built disposal areas; and further stop the use of the beaches and surrounding areas as dumping grounds of human waste. All this will go a long way in halting the spread of disease.

A nation can only thrive when it's people are healthy; hence, any government that does not deal decisively with the problematic health issues of its citizenry should be labeled as a failed government.

Liberians must move above "character assassination" and all hands must be on deck to move Liberia out of the state of nature, and back into the civilized world.

From where I sit...



Solomon Myers hails from Buchanan, Liberia. He is a Political Scientist/Historian, currently based in Ottawa, Canada.

Other articles by Solomon Myers


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