At an impressive ceremony marked by pomp and pageantry, several publishers and journalists from a cross-section of media institutions in the country last Wednesday converged on the compound of the National Port Authority (NPA) to offer to the Managing Director of that entity Madam Matilda W. Parker her flowers while she is still alive.
Speaking at a program during which newspapers and media groups as well as civil society organizations showered praises and presented certificates and plaques to her in appreciation for her dedication to duties, Madam Parker challenged the media in Liberia to ensure that both the strengths and shortcomings of her administration as head of the NPA are delineated for public scrutiny.
"Help the NPA management team to live up to the expectations of its objectives. I remain open to criticisms, advises and suggestions that are necessary for the growth of the National Port Authority, as the work of the port goes beyond the mere alignment of containers, but a difficult process that involves proper planning and collaboration with the aim of achieving established goals", Madam Parker urged.
The NPA boss called on the media and civil society groups to help her succeed in her national duties by following both her achievements and shortcomings, as doing so will guide her to ensure that corrective measures are taken where necessary so as to make improvements in her performance.
Madam Parker, whose oratory demonstrated that she has a passion for business administration strategies also called on the media and the general public not to relent in contributing good ideas that can contribute to the smooth operations of her office, adding that the Public Relations arm of her office has been instructed to work out modalities for a quarterly interactions with the media in a public forum.
Madam Parker expressed thanks and appreciation to all the institutions that bestowed honor on her as 'Managing Director of the Year', adding that this remarkable milestone would not have been reached without the support of the entire NPA management team, including the deputy managing directors, janitors, security, secretaries all of whom contributed to making her succeed as head of the entity.
In separate remarks, various heads and representatives of media institutions and civil society organizations repeated the many laudable achievements of the NPA boss, some of them cautioning her to avoid corrupt tendencies, but to follow the rule of law and administrative procedures and due diligence in her functions.
They also urged her to follow the path of decentralization and transparent management that she has made cardinal to her port expansion and modernization policies. In spite of the mounting economic challenges, Madam Parker recently outlined plans for the expansion and modernization of all the four ports in the country namely the ports of Monrovia, Buchanan, Greenville and Harper in view of the increased volume of cargo vessels harboring to off-load imported goods and to load goods and commodities for the export market. There are also bright prospects for increased economic activities and population growth in communities and counties in which ports are located.
What appears intriguing to many that in less than four months after launching appeals for international support and the political will to realize her ambitious plans, Madam Parker, through her travels abroad for face to face discussions with investors and financiers, has succeeded in obtaining some funding from the Liberian government and signed contracts with reliable investors for port expansion in Monrovia and Buchanan.
Indeed many journalists interviewed by the 'Informer' said: "the fact is that over the years the NPA boss has regarded the press as a formidable partner and a catalyst of national development. Even though she may have some weaknesses, we feel that she has gone beyond the normal call to duty," several of the journalists intimated.