Monrovia — Despite lingering perceptions of strains between she and President George Manneh Weah coupled with some level of disrespect from some members of the President's inner circle, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor says she has no intentions of resigning and remains focused on fulfilling the mandate given the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change government as a result of the 2017 presidential elections.
In an exclusive interview with FrontPageAfrica Monday, the first of three parts being unveiled today, today, the VP acknowledged that she has given the idea of resigning some thought in the past. "Truthfully, yes, many times, not just once. And there were those in my office who would say, perhaps you were better in the Senator's office. But my chief of staff would always say, "no, the Liberian people are still waiting for you to do what you and the President said you would do. So, there's no going back."
'Tough Times Don't Last; Tough People Do'
Despite the assurances, the Vice President said conditions have made it difficult. "You know as humans, some things would occur and you will say, Oh, God! Did I make the right choice? Yes, I have... . but like I said earlier, I am not a quitter; especially now. For I have the rare privilege to have been elected by the people of Liberia in 2017 and not just the CDC. I now belong to the STATE, whose trust I must bear till the end of this mandate. It is often said - "that tough times don't last, only tough people do." and there is certainly a silver lining beyond the clouds."
The VP lamented: "I have quite a few times, said you know maybe I didn't make the right choice, maybe I'm the problem for which this marriage is having all of the stumbling blocks. It's good to say, internally, you know, well, maybe I'm the problem, what can I do to fix it? But in spite of the many challenges, I know that the people of Liberia when they went to cast their ballot, they looked at the combination of what then Ambassador Weah brought to the table and what I brought to the table - and how we have managed to put in place in the campaign, a robust team that could deal with any issue - give us proper information, give us proper advice - that's how we won."
The Vice President appealed to President Weah and his inner circle to revisit the formula that led to the 2017 presidential elections victory. "If we didn't have a good team, we probably would not have won the elections, because it's good to jump around and, and do the songs but the strategies are important. So, I know that there is a beautiful coalition team that has the expertise of many persons, which we need to bring to bear. And so, I pray that year number three - going on that we won't have any regrets, that there would be allowed to fully engage."
The VP said she has a lot of experience that the ruling government can tap in but feels she is not being fully utilized. "I look at my years of experience and what I was able to help Madam Sirleaf accomplish in the legislature. How can I be at this level and not be able to make the impact for which the President sought when he began looking for Vice President. Whatever the undercurrents are, I pray that we all will begin to look carefully at Liberia."
The VP wondered: "What is it that people want? How can we again come together and work? It is possible in the time frame that we have. And that should be our legacy."
The VP hoped that the administration, entering its third year can seize on the frailties of the first two years and make a turnaround. "Hopefully, everyone will at this beginning point of the year, look back and see, you know, the missteps; look back and see how disjointed we were, unlike during the campaign and somehow come together. We have to unify; we have to put the past behind us, we have to gear up for ensuring that each of us that has a part to play in the Pro Poor Agenda does everything within their power to make it work so that the trust and the faith given to us in 2017 will not have been squandered."
Despite her resolve to hang on, VP Howard Taylor expressed disdain at the lack of respect from some members of the President's inner circle. "I believe that the inner wrangling and power struggles around the Presidency are cause for the lingering uneasiness between the President and I - a situation which makes others to believe that my position as an elected Vice President can be treated with disdain and disrespect."
Asked whether she felt some level of distrust between she and the President Weah, the Vice President said: "I wouldn't say that there is a mistrust in the meaning of that word because over the last two years with all of the wrangling going on, we've had several meetings. Some of our fathers in the land have called the both of us(President Weah and I) to see what's going on. And I know the President will always say, "I don't have a problem with her."
"We've never argued; we've never gone at each other, word for word or engage in a war-of-words. We've never had a negative, you know, embrace and he would say, "I don't have an issue with her." And people will say, "so, what's the problem?"
And he would say, every day, someone comes to me with a story - the Vice President is this, the Vice President is doing that, the Vice President is doing another thing."
The Vice President acknowledged: "Anybody will get concerned".
Nevertheless, she averred, the President would always in the end, prevail on the staffers to work things out. "After all the talking he would say, you know, you guys who are ministers and part of the framework, everybody go work. And let's work, we got work to do."
VP Howard-Taylor said that she has no negative feelings for the President. "So, if I were to really be truthful, you don't know what in what's in the hearts of people. So, I can only say how I feel that I have no, no iota of hatred, or disrespect or any negative feelings toward the President. I know he's trying to accomplish a job and those of us who are around him must sometimes put aside our personal issues and join that work. Are there issues with some of the people in government? Yes, they are issues. You know, I felt disrespected, I felt ignored at sometimes. And I think I've been patient for a two-year period just to continue to work this through. So, I do believe that there is some issue here and there about or between me and some of the ministers."
The Vice President revisits her now infamous comment that she would not be an old car parked in the garage and her ongoing beef with the Ministry Of Finance and development planning over lack of operations money for her office