“Our Best Years Are Ahead Of Us” – Special Statement By Alexander B. Cummings Political Leader CPP

May 1, 2023

My Fellow Liberians:

Things are bad in our country and only getting worse. Hardship is everywhere. In President Weah’s six years, we have seen  prices for food, gasoline and fuel go up. We have seen rice shortages and high joblessness, especially for our young people. We have seen high death rate from preventable diseases such as diarrhea and malaria as well as maternal and infant mortality. We have seen rape, including of children and babies, go up and rapists getting away with impunity.

We have seen classrooms without teaching materials and students without books or could not afford to buy them. Meanwhile the country was rocked by reports of the missing LD12 billion newly printed money and the unaccountable US$25 million for mop-up of excess Liberian dollars. Meanwhile, President Weah and his officials have been getting rich as Liberians have gotten poor. They have failed to declare their assets as required by law.

Anyone traveling by road to Maryland, Lofa, Sinoe, Rivercess, Grand Kru, or River Gee from Monrovia, like I have done, will be heartbroken by the extent of the poverty and neglect of our country by its leaders. The roads are literally a graveyard of broken down vehicles. Passengers are stranded for days on the road without food. In my travels through the rest of the country, I found the same level of poverty and neglect, even in counties considered to be “better off”. People are living in such hardships its as if they do not own Liberia, too.

I have spoken out over and over against this sad situation of our country. I have also spoken time and time again about the deep-rooted corruption, stealing and mismanagement of the government, lawlessness, mysterious deaths and murders, and abuse of human rights in the country.

Today, things continue to get worse. Liberians have grown disappointed with the hardship and  friends of Liberia who are trying to help are giving up on President Weah and his government. The stealing and corruption by the Weah administration have become so bad, that our international partners are no longer just laughing at our country, but they are now seriously worried and scared about giving money to the government for the benefit of the Liberian people.

Recently, the United States Ambassador to Liberia told the world about the suffering and neglect of the Liberian people that he saw when he visited our counties. Hospitals are not receiving any of the US$100,000 appropriated in the 2022 Budget for their operations. He said the blocking of resources to hospitals is so complete, that it must be due to the “existence of a syndicate involving players at the legislature, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs.” 

As I speak today, our election in October is uncertain because of the lack of money. Government may not pay civil servants.  The hard time will likely get harder. We have some difficult days ahead of our nation, my people. And even worse, we have a President who does not know what to do and does not care that too many people are suffering. He is about to leave the country again for another wasteful travel abroad in the face of the financial mess he and his friends have worsened for our country.

We see corruption in all sectors of the government. Officials who have oversight duty including the Legislature are failing to exercise their responsibility. Those who should be stopping drug trafficking are the ones facilitating and protecting those bringing drugs into our country and selling it in our communities. Some of the new drugs are so dangerous that our youths have begun to die from its use. President Weah doesn’t even care.

County Service Centers were established as initial steps toward decentralization and bringing government services, such as issuing birth and marriage certificates, and vehicle registrations and driver licenses, to the people who live outside Monrovia. The centers have been supplied solar-powered electricity at the cost of around $40,000 each by the UNDP. Most of them, however, are not working because they have received none of their 2022 budget allocation of only US$13,333.

Yet, the LRA reported that it has collected more money than in the past four years. It said, from US$435,682 million in 2019, it collected US$605,005 million in 2022. The government also says that the Liberian economy grew by 3.7% in 2022. So, where is the money going? Who is benefiting from the so-called growth while the people are suffering?

Well, we know that the President, Vice President, Speaker, Senate Pro-Temp and Deputy Speaker – only 5 persons – get more money from the budget than money given to public schools and hospitals. If there is any “growth” in the Liberian economy, as the government likes to say, it must be in the bellies of corrupt government officials while the ordinary citizens go hungry and continue to suffer.

If President Weah had any shame and respect for the Office of President, he would tell the Liberian people sorry, he would sack the ministers, who are responsible for the wickedness against our people, and the President himself will resign. It is one thing to have me talk about the stealing in government, the neglect and suffering of our people, and the irresponsible behavior of our government. But it is very shameful and embarrassing for the presidency and the entire country for strangers to tell us how rotten, corrupt and irresponsible the Liberian government is under the leadership of President George Weah.

We all know by now, that President Weah will do nothing about what the American Ambassador has said and reported from what he saw. He will not do anything because we know that a fish gets rotten from the head. For the government to be rotten, the head must, first, be rotten! When someone hay (head) burns, don’t ask about his beard.

President Weah is running Liberia like an irresponsible father who spends his pay on liquor only to beg his neighbors to feed his family, pay his rent and children school fees. The American taxpayers are spending around US$60 million a year on healthcare in Liberia, and another US$23 million on education. Our schools are being abandoned to faith-based institutions to run with little to no support from the government. Other development partners are helping to carry our country and to even pay government workers while our leaders are stealing, partying and travelling abroad to bluff with the country’s wealth they have stolen.

Leadership matters, my people. This is why a wasteful and irresponsible leader cannot be expected to run a responsible government. The same is true that a divisive leader cannot unite a nation just as a weak and indecisive person who will compromise principles only to win must not be allowed to lead us. We will not get out of our difficulty by compromising values and looking for easy wins and shortcuts. Doing the same things over and over will only give us the same bad results!

The truth is that Liberia is not poor. We are blessed to have a lot of natural resources. But our people are living in these bad and neglected conditions because our leaders are mostly irresponsible, careless, divisive and wicked. They care only about what they think is their chance to steal too.

How else can we explain that Liberia is so rich but Liberians are so poor, and too many families are without the basic necessities of life? After more than 175 years, how else can we explain that with rainfall and fertile soil, we still cannot feed ourselves so that the President’s personal bodyguards get more in the national budget than is given for agriculture? How else can we explain that even with a “Road Fund,” most of the major unpaved roads, including from Monrovia to Lofa, Grand Gedeh, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Maryland and River Cess, which could be improved with only US$500,000 allocation each year for actual maintenance, are not passable for most of the year? No government that cares will enjoy seeing their citizens sleep in the mud and dirt along these roads for days, if not for weeks.

We have to do better, my people. And to do better, we have to make tough choices and hard decisions in the October Elections. A wise Oldman told me that when hunger is taking over a village, to give the only cutlass to one’s grandfather and the oldest man in the village, to go make the farm, because he has “experience” in making farms, is to agree to let the village people die from starvation.

For things to really change in our country, we must not just change ruling parties, we must change ruling principles. We need to stop treating our country like it is elephant meat that we can take terms “to cut our own.”

For our people lives to get better, it is not going to be enough to just change individuals in October. We must elect people with a different mindset about what government is supposed to do and what leaders are supposed to be. Government is not a stealing business, and leaders do not have to be hustlers. Government is to help make people lives better. Leaders are supposed to set and live by higher standards. Without this new mindset, no matter who we change, things will remain the same.

I am often criticized for not having “government experience.” Well, if government experience is to steal from the people and neglect them to suffer than thank God I don’t have “government experience.”

My experience is one of leadership in fixing things. My experience is in fixing systems so things work better for all to enjoy. I have no “government experience” in trying to benefit from corrupt and broken down system. My experience is one of leadership in standing for principles and the values of hard work, integrity and honesty, and in keeping promises I make. My experience is one of leadership in doing the right things the right way, and not sacrificing my values and principles just to win.

In life, when we try to take short cuts to success, compromise our values, and believe we do not need to work hard and honestly for what we want; too often, we will not get the success we seek or the things we want. When we let ourselves fall for everything, it means we actually stand for nothing. Leaders must stand for something!

Like everyone else, I want to win. But I prefer to lose while fighting for Real Change than to win only to keep things as they corruptly and wickedly are, if not make it worse.

In our country, when small people steal, they go to jail. But when big people steal, they go free. When small people commit crime, they get punished. But when big people commit the same crime, they get promoted. This is wrong, and it is why, year in and year out, the story of our country – officials stealing and ordinary people suffering – cannot change. We have to stop this! I promise you, I will lead us, with your help and support, to stop this nonsense.

A Cummings administration will not just fight corruption, we will fix the economy.  We will not just cook up numbers to say the economy is growing while people pay are being cut; while there are no jobs, and children are going to bed hungry. We will actually grow the budget and pay people well, and on time. We will create jobs – decent paying jobs too –  to restore people’s respect and dignity in their homes and communities. We will provide opportunities for all Liberians to live better lives and to care for their families. This is my area. I have done it all of my professional life.

In a Cummings Administration, Liberian businesses will succeed. We will protect Liberian businesses, especially Liberian women businesses, and provide them the means they will need to grow. From waiter markets, Liberians most grow to own and operate shops; and from shops, Liberians must grow to own stores. I want to see store boys becoming store owners. I want to see yana boys become business tycoons. I want to see girls making it – daring to dream and working to live their dreams – and not being broken by the restrictions wrongly imposed on them by the unfair system. This, too, is the Liberia we must become – a Liberia that will not be ashamed to help Liberians fairly and honestly succeed. By the way, growing business and making people succeed is my area.

We will work to unite our people, feed ourselves, and improve our health and educational systems. Again, these are not empty political promises. We will do what we say we will do.

Yes, we will ask our international partners for help. But before we go asking others to help us, we will responsibly and inclusively use and manage what God has blessed us to have, especially our best human resources, regardless of tribe, gender, religion or party affiliation.

My people, the next 6 years is not for play-play. The next 6 years is not the time to take risks with our lives. It is not going to be time for ‘big shot’ business. The hole our country is in is already too deep. To climb ourselves out of the hole, we will need all the energies and capacities of our nation; Liberians will have to work hard, work smart, and work for long hours.

Let me be as clear as I can be: I am asking the Liberian people for the chance to lead our country not because I am looking for a political job. Together, and with your help, I want to lead us to change the corrupt system that continues to see us mismanage our God-given wealth only to keep our people poor.

Finally, my people: Poverty is not Liberia’s destiny. Our government does not have to be so rotten, careless and irresponsible. Officials do not have to care only about “buttering their own bread,” while many of our people cannot even buy cold bowl. It is a shame on any government to make beggars of its people.

Under a Cummings presidency, anyone found to have stolen from the people, we will prosecute you, and if found guilty, you will pay it back, and be sent to common jail.

We will stop the 419 leaders and hustlers from on the backs of our people!

My people, we who believe in change must stand together, and with each other. We who want to move our country forward and not backward must work together for the change our country so desperately needs. We can, and together, should chart a new path not just to win the election, but more importantly, to fix our country.

Today, as always, I open my arms and the CPP to everyone looking to work for real change in our country. Together, let us write a new chapter for our country’s future.

If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

And so, my people, don’t ask if Cummings can win. Ask if you are ready for real change. Because if you are ready to change Liberia as I am ready to do, I promise you that together, we will win. We will win massively, and together, we will lead differently. Our winning coalition will not just be of parties, it will be for the good of the country. We will change our country and improve the living conditions of our people.

At the end of his press Statement, the American Ambassador asked, “Is this the best Liberia can offer? I have always said Liberia deserves better. And so, I say, No, Mr. Ambassador! Liberia has much more to offer. THE BEST FOR OUR COUNTRY IS YET TO COME!

Under a Cummings leadership, the hopelessness you see today, will change to hopefulness in a new Liberia. The neglected Liberians you see today, will be the empowered Liberians of tomorrow. The suffering you see today, will be the tale of what we had to overcome for a prosperous tomorrow.

Liberia will rise. Our country will shine. A united people will march forward to proudly claim a prosperous, secured, just and bright future for ourselves and for our children.

Real Change is coming, my people. The long night of darkness is about to end. A new daybreak is upon our country. God is on our side. Liberia deserves better. Liberians deserve better.

God bless you. I thank you.

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