Liberia: U.S. Diplomat Pouring Water On Duck in Liberia's 'Enabling Environment' Remark

opinion

THE EDITOR,

The US Deputy Chief of Mission is simply trying to be diplomatic in her choice of words of calling for an "enabling invironment" that must be created in Liberia inorder to attract American investors to Liberia. To put bluntly, Ambassador Grunder is saying that corruption in Liberia is preventing American investors from going to Liberia.

Note that the US Diplomat did not blame the Press and opposition political parties who are often branded by regime operatives as "enemies of the state responsible for foreign investors not to do business in Liberia," a popular anthem of regime propagandists and apologists.

But Ambassador Alyson Grunder is simply pouring water on a duck. For what our leaders know or pretend not to know or simply refuse to know or acknowledge is the dreaded word "CORRUPTION." It is this national cancer that has permeated every facet of Liberian society that is keeping investors away from Liberia. I say that a hundred times.

Another thing is our leaders' refusal to study and understand the rituals or requirements of American investors from the US government/US State Department for the Green Light to put their moneies into any country. Because American companies can in turn sue the US government for any losses on their investments if a particular country does not have an "enabling environment" to do business in such country.

So, what constitutes an "enabling environment" that must be met for US companies to invest in a country?

Back to the classroom again? When Liberia "failed" the scorecards of the US Millennium Challenge Corporation/USAID ( US Agency for International Development) benchmarks), President George Weah understood and misunderstood it to mean that "Liberia was not given enough study materials to be able to pass." Hallelujah!

But dont blame Dr./President Weah but blame is "advisers." Thus, my nationslistic and patriotic duty is to help our President to understand what constitutes an "enabling environment" that if met, will attract US investors to invest in the failing Liberian economy that has the potential to thrive if only we had created an "enabling environment."

Apart from the minimal requirements of an "enabling environment" are: infrastructures of good roads, electricity, pipe-borne safe drinking to run factories, an educated workforce, internet connectivity, hotels, sewer system, good medical centers to treat EMERGENCY medical situations where you dont have to waste precious time of days to fly injured and sick patients to Ghana, Dubai, South Africa, Europe or to the United States, just to name a few. Medical emergencies are what they are where each minute wasted can mean life or death. But we have not gotten that message in 173 years of "indepedence."

But the Mother of All "enabling environments" or conditions that must be met are: can the Liberian judicial system dispense transparent justice where the rule of law is not suspect and justice is not awarded to the highest bidder in a dispute in a judicial system notorious for the "sale" of justice if American companies are sued under a microscope of transparency and accountability? We are not there yet, I am afraid.

Is there ample transparency and accountability at the Good Governance Commission, the Liberia Public Procurement and Concession Commission, the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission which ironically is headed by a non-Liberian,-a Nigerian citizen which in itself is an act of corruption and a violation of the Constitution and laws of Liberia? Is the justice system fair and impartial and does the Supreme Court stand by its slogan/motto of "Let Justice Be Done to All Men?" The Court is judged by its past decisions.

Ambassador Grunder and American businesses already have the answers to these critical concerns and no amount of symposiums or investment conferences can convince them regardless. Their answers are found in the US State Department Annual Human Rights Report and Labor Practices on each country including Liberia which Ambassador Grunder suprervises in their compilations to the State Department. Unless our government "rubbishes" the State Department Reports as it often rubbishes all critical reports on the ills of our government.

God alone knows how many times our government leaders have invited American investors to invest in the Liberian economy. But deeds/actions and not sweet talk can get foreign investors to invest in Liberia.

You ask yourself this: Why are American companies flocking to Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Seychelles and even next door to Sierra Leone and not to Liberia which is historically an "American Stepchild?" Corruption and not creating an "enabling environment" are what keep investors from any country. No other "short cuts" can get investors to put their monies into corruption sinkholes. Just a thought and not a sermon.

Jerry Wehtee Wion

Washington, DC, USA

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