The political leader of the All Liberian Party (ALP), Benoni Urey, says Liberia can become a prosperous and developed nation only when political leaders change their ‘master mentality’ and become servants of the people.In his New Year message to the nation delivered over the weekend in Monrovia, Urey said Liberians’ precarious situations are such that the leaders want to accrue everything to themselves, thereby leaving the masses, whom they have been called to serve, in abject poverty and illiteracy.“A healthy and prosperous life continues to elude most of our citizens, not because they are not working hard, but because they toil in a country that has reserved the best for people who misrule them because officials of government make decisions that affect the lives of all citizens,” Urey said.He said, “Government officials ask us to make sacrifices by paying more taxes, take less money home, go to unlicensed health centers with untrained workers, and send our children to inferior schools and colleges.”While Liberians are making sacrifices, he said government officials have not taken pay cuts in salaries and benefits, instead they take more money home to support their luxurious lifestyles, seeking medical attention abroad and sending their children and political allies to the best schools in the world at the expense of the Liberian people.Austerity measures cannot only be directed at ordinary citizens while officials of government continue to live extravagant lifestyles, Urey said.“Other countries are prospering because they put the interests of their citizens first, but in our country it is the other way around,” he said, adding that governments everywhere are servants and not masters of the people.He said current Liberian leaders have forgotten from whence they came, adding: “Few years ago, many of those who run our government today were ordinary citizens living in wretched conditions.“We elected and supported their appointments with the hope that they would make our lives better, instead they only care for themselves, but not much for the ordinary Liberians.“Over the 11 years of this administration, while very little progress was made in the lives of Liberians, despite our hard work and yearning for peace and despite the abuses meted out to us by the system that continues to deny us the basic necessities of life, we Liberians have shown our resilience.”The government, Urey noted, is not creating an enabling environment for economic expansion because the tax base is not growing, and instead the government squeezes more taxes out of the shrinking base.He noted that in 2016, the Liberian Government increased taxes on goods and services from 7 to 10 percent, while it sought to impose excessive taxes by increasing the cost of clearing a container by Liberian importers at the Freeport of Monrovia by nearly 300 percent.Bad economic and fiscal governance continue to obstruct progress in the country under the UP administration, Urey said. “It is bad economics to increase taxes when our economic growth rate is declining while the government makes only half-hearted attempts to reduce expenditure.“In times of economic hardship, it is incumbent upon our leaders to also make sacrifices including drastically reducing spending. But instead, legislative perks, unbudgeted and off budget spending are not being controlled. In the midst of the hardship, prices are increasing due to the depreciation of theLiberian dollar and the additional taxes imposed,” he added.The increment of the least commodity on the Liberian market, a sachet of mineral water that has gone from L$5 to L$10, is a clear consequence of this situation. “We cannot afford to impose such hardship upon the poorest people in our midst, especially when the government itself cannot provide potable water for them,” he said. An optimistic Urey noted that though 2017 is a critical year for national decision making through the ballot box, it can be a better year.“This will be a lot better than the challenges and tribulations we endured in 2016 and years before. On an optimistic note, 2017 can be a year of change. We can change our present circumstances and improve our future by making the right choices this year during the elections,” he said.Liberians, Urey indicated, can change the direction of their country, and this change can only come through free, fair and transparent elections.He said that it is therefore incumbent upon the national leadership to ensure free, fair and transparent elections and subsequently a smooth transition, the first in 73 years since 1944.“We have the opportunity to proceed on an irreversible path of democratic governance, which will ensure inclusive economic growth and development.“We can rise up to be a great nation, as we are blessed with all the potentials, including a vast arable land mass, abundant water and natural resources, and best of all our greatest asset, human resources,” he said. He refuted the logic of those who say Liberia is doomed. “Liberia is not doomed. We have the potential to be a healthy, prosperous and creative nation,” he said.“Let us make 2017 the beginning of the big push that will lead us to sustained development where our hopes, dreams and vision of a new Liberia will be achieved.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
– Associated Press160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsErkki Turunen, holding a beer glass in one hand, shouted that Finland won “because it put on a genuine show.” “This wasn’t some sort of rubbish. This was really cool,” Turunen said. President Tarja Halonen congratulated the band with a telegram, and Culture Minister Tanja Karpela said Lordi’s victory showed that Finnish music could succeed abroad. Since March, when Lordi won the competition for the Finnish entry, many in this self-conscious nation feared the metal band would damage the country’s reputation. Finnish officials vouched that the Nordic country will stage one of the best Eurovision competitions when it hosts the show next year. Finns poured into the streets Sunday to fete their monster victory in the Eurovision Song Contest, and the president congratulated latex-masked hard rockers Lordi for breaking the country’s losing streak. After 40 years of trying and eight last-place finishes, Finland finally won the melody contest late Saturday in Athens with the band’s unconventional piece “Hard Rock Hallelujah.” Fears that Lordi would give Finland a bad name gave way to celebration as hundreds of people cheered in the streets of Helsinki, waving Finnish flags and singing the Lordi song. Cars honked their horns and sped through the wet city streets. “I don’t claim to be a rock fan, and it’s not my favorite music, but I admire these guys,” said Nina Laisi.
The U.S. state of Illinois is set to become the 15th state and largest in the heartland to allow same-sex marriage, after both chambers of the state legislature approved a measure legalizing gay weddings.Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, said in a statement Tuesday that he would sign the bill into law, although he did not specify a date. The House, which had adjourned in May without passing a Senate bill legalizing same-sex marriage, approved the measure Tuesday by a vote of 61 to 54.“Today the Illinois House put our state on the right side of history,” said Quinn, who campaigned for the measure, which is scheduled to take effect in June.An aide to Quinn said the governor will sign the bill by the end of the month.The vote capped a string of legislative and legal victories for same-sex marriage activists since they won ballot initiative fights in Maryland, Maine and Washington state in 2012. This year, they won legislative battles in Delaware, Rhode Island and Minnesota, where an attempt to ban same-sex marriage failed the previous year; a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June striking down California’s same-sex marriage ban; and a ruling last month by the New Jersey Supreme Court that the state had to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples because a challenge to the state’s ban was likely to win on appeal. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, subsequently said he would not challenge the ruling.“It’s been an absolutely historic year of powerful momentum, and I think it just shows the country is ready,” said Marc Solomon, national campaign director for the group Freedom to Marry.Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said in a statement that it was “disappointing but not surprising that the House has voted to redefine marriage. The losers will be the people of Illinois who will see that redefining marriage will unleash a torrent of harassment toward those who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”Brown added that the law, which stipulates fraternal religious organizations such as the Knights of Columbus do not have to host same-sex wedding ceremonies, lacked sufficient religious liberty protections.“Once the law goes into effect in June of next year, we will see individuals, businesses and religious groups sued, fined, brought up on charges of discrimination and punished simply for holding true to the traditional view of marriage,” he said.U.S. President Barack Obama — who campaigned for the law this year — praised the Illinois legislature, where he once served.“As President, I have always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law,” Obama said in a statement. “Over time, I also came to believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married like anyone else. So tonight, Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours — and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law.”Hawaii is likely to be the next state to legalize same-sex marriage; the state Senate passed such a bill Oct. 30, and the state House is expected to vote on the measure in a matter of days. Hawaii, like Illinois, allows for civil unions of same-sex couples.The New Mexico Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the question of same-sex marriage on Oct. 23 and is expected to rule on the matter in the coming months.The state’s constitution is silent on the issue, and six same-sex couples have sued for the right to marry.© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Comments No related posts.