By Paul Murphy | Entrepreneur
Things are becoming bad at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Liberia such that Liberia is becoming a no-fly zone for not just foreign tourists, international investors, and even Liberians living abroad but for international carriers or airlines such as Brussels Airlines. In any case, the country’s leadership especially President George M. Weah bears some of the blame [even though he is not the head of the RIA management and operational team] for being complacent and adamant in appointing incompetent and inexperienced administrators to manage the affairs and operations of the RIA.
Despite numerous failures over and over regarding dangers and irregularities at the RIA, the President is just mute and unconcerned. When airlines expressed concerns about the danger posed to passengers including Liberian citizens and airline crews at landing, the President takes no action and remains incommunicado. It is time President Weah appoints Mary Broh to oversee the affairs of the RIA. Mary Broh based on what is read about her internationally and nationally has the record to fix the mess at the RIA so that we who are friends of Liberia and those who want to invest in the country can do so.
In a nation of more than five million people, why is President Weah adamant about appointing and sustaining clueless and incompetent individuals in serious public positions? Is it that he has no clue himself or is he just an “I don’t care” kind of leader? Many Liberians may consider what is happening at the RIA as a joke, however; it has serious long-term negative consequences. First, it affects Liberian tourism and investment climate now and, in the future, when Weah would have long gone. Second, it makes Liberia lose its standing as a serious nation. Third, it adversely affects collective growth and socio-economic development as well as perpetuates poverty and insecurity.
According to frequent passengers including international visitors and others, luggage theft is a widespread problem. Passengers’ luggage is broken into at the RIA and no one in the RIA’s management, as well as the government security sector, seems to bother about it. Hundreds of Liberians and foreign travelers like myself to Liberia have reported and continue to report more than nine mishandled bags for every ten bags that passed through the airport. Who is doing this and why should this happen at the country’s main international airport? The Liberian leadership and government need to take luggage theft at its international airport very seriously because no country attracts foreign investment and boosts tourism when its gateway to the nation is a mess. Lastly, Liberians need to demand action from the government on this issue. Governance is not a joking and unserious matter and the President, and his team must not treat it as such.
About the Author:
Paul Murphy is an entrepreneur and long-time friend of Liberia. He was recently invited to Sierra Leone and Liberia by his Liberian friend to explore investment opportunities in agri-food product manufacturing.