As Liberia struggle for foreign assistance, especially from the United States, a U.S. based Liberian rights advocate is calling on the Donald Trump led Government to halt all foreign assistance to Liberia unless what he called ‘Organized Corruption is addressed and salaries of officials are reduced’, below is one of the communications addressed to the United States Senate:
Dear Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,
Many thanks for your service to the American people and for your devoted interests in serving humanity as a US lawmaker. Through your involvement and concerns for global issues and matters, it is my strongest belief that the efforts applied by you and others have helped to continuously shape our world for the better.
However, I urge you to consider parts of the world where the United States administration and the Congress (House and Senate) have become part of the problem and the suffering of vulnerable people by paying deaf ears through inaction and collaboration with the powerful and the governors. One such places is Liberia, my native country.
In view this, Majority Leader McConnell, I urge you to call on the Trump Administration, especially various US government agencies responsible for international assistance, to immediately halt all aid to Liberia unless the exorbitant salaries and other benefits of Liberian lawmakers and executive branch officials are drastically reduced in line with the financial capacity and cost of living of the country. It is important to note that while the US wants to remain a generous nation, it cannot continue to aid and albeit organized corruption and widespread public theft while simultaneously robbing poor American tax payers of their minimum wages through taxes to aid unethical foreign officials and regimes such as those in Africa, especially Liberia.
It is no secret that Liberia is more than corrupt, and has a misguided leadership that is entrenched in arrogance at every level of government, including the executive, Legislature and judiciary, but the US government’s desire to turn a blind eye to these vices as the citizens of Liberia struggle to survive daily due to heightened food insecurity, colossal unemployment and the lack of better or no health facilities, is worrisome and dangerous. Civil servants do not get pay; women die from childbirth and some are unable to leave the already fragile hospitals due to poverty. Children are malnourished to the point of death and the private sector remains incapacitated. The energy sector is paralyzed. In short, Liberia is more than a failed state in another form. What you hear about Liberia is as a result of paid public relations by those in power to polish their image; the reality in the country is dismal.
In all of these terrible miseries and excruciating poverty, officials of the Liberian administration, including its lawmakers earn more than $12,000 United States dollars in addition to other benefits. Official and unofficial travels are used as a glaring form of legal corruption. Liberian officials travel far more than US officials and the reasons for their travels remain undesirable.
In addition sir, the lawmakers in Liberia (a country the size or less than the state of Virginia) earn far more than every state lawmaker in the United States. Yet, since 2006, the United States and international partners have sent over two billions dollars in tax payers’ money to the country without any form of tangible impact. This is precisely why Liberia continues to remain in a poor shape.
This must stop for the sake of the Liberian people; and more so, I don’t think it is fair to the people in your state who hard-earned tax dollars is used as a pond to enable corruption in another nation. I have attached the salary structure of states lawmakers in the 50 states of the US compare with Liberian lawmakers who earn US$12,000 monthly in addition to other benefits.
Sir, the high salaries of lawmakers in Liberia is not breeding career politicians and dangerous politicking, it is encouraging every Liberian to seek political office. Thus, devastating the private sector. This is wrong and dangerous for Liberia’s future.
I trust that you will give my request and the wishes of millions of struggling Liberians an urgent consideration.
Jones Nhinson Williams
Advocate for Concern Liberians
Tel. 302 358 1107