Heritage (Monrovia)

Liberia: Ex-Careysburg City Mayor Praises Ellen's Annual Message

A onetime staunch supporter of the main opposition political party, the Congress for Democratic (CDC), Mr. Benoni Urey, has described the Annual Message delivered by President Johnson-Sirleaf as a good speech aimed at enhancing development and moving the country forward. This is the first time the former Careysburg city mayor attended the President's Annual Message.

On Monday, January 28, 2013, President Johnson-Sirleaf delivered her Annual Message to state before the joint session of the Legislature at the Capitol Building-the seat of the Legislature. Even though the former Careysburg city mayor did not elaborate in detail on the President's Annual Message, he said he was glad to be a part of the celebration.

In a chat with reporters, Mr. Urey made it clear that he graced the occasion as a statesman, but not as a politician.

The man widely believed to have been a staunch supporter of the CDC was seen smiling as he greeted members of the ruling Unity Party (UP).

One of the Unity Party supporters, who headed a battle cry at the ceremony, described the presence of Mr. Urey at the ceremony as a sign of reconciliation. Mr. Urey was a very strong supporter of the opposition CDC in the 2011 elections, though he was mayor of the city of Careysburg. He is one of several Liberians who the UN has maintained sanction on several years since the departure of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

The Liberian leader, in her message to the state, stressed the importance of reconciliation and spoke highly of collective efforts to transform Liberia through development She said discussions were underway to develop a Government-Civil Society Compact which, when approved, will commit both to work together constructively and productively for the transformation of the National Vision into concrete reality.

Said the President: "It is, indeed, time for transformation - transformation in the way we do business in Liberia; transformation in the way our partners do business; and transformation in the way our business laws are enforced in Liberia."

The Liberian leader said over half of the country's real GDP growth will come from the expansion of the iron ore mining sector, and extractive and capital-intensive operations. The large foreign investment mobilized has helped kick-start key sectors of the economy, such as mining, agriculture and forestry.

Meanwhile, some economic observers have said that foreign businesses alone cannot build a healthy economy.

Among other things, the economic observers warned: "Unless government can take tough decisions on how to use investment strategically, we could once again fall into the trap of experiencing growth without development."

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