Opinions

Breaking News

Little Things That Could Help Us, ButOften Seriously Overlooked

JACOB N.B. PARLEY
Jacob Parley
Jacob Parley

I am one of the many Liberians who strongly believe that a lot of good things could come out of this country, if we seriously put aside certain things that are helping to hold back our forward match-movement as a sovereign nation. 

Liberia is blessed with a number of natural resources that other countries do not have. Some of the resourceful things nature has blessed Liberia with include, iron ore, rubber, timbers, among others.

As we speak, there have been increasing indications that Liberia stands to be a potential oil producing nation, if the necessary variables remain constant.

Government -The Job Provider

Yes, Indeed, I agree that government is under constitutional obligation to provide jobs. However, there are other positive little things that we (Liberians) could do to help sustain our respective families as a nation. 

The private sector is also another source of sustenance (engaging in a small business could help somebody find a daily bread for the family.

Making use of Liberia’s rich soil (agriculture), even on a small size, could help somebody find a piece of bread for the family. 

For instance, selling cold water, roasted fish, used clothing and some of the available small opportunities around could also help us in many positive ways, though it may not be on a large scale basis.

These examples should not,in any way, be seen as an attempt on my part to defend government.  In actual sense, I will not play deceitful politics by trying to hide the truth.

In this way, I do honestly agree that government must do all it can to provide job opportunities for the Liberian people, mainly young people who could easily be used by selfish elements in society to cause confusion, owing to idleness caused mainly by joblessness.

I pray that all of us, mainly policy-makers, will begin taking proactive measures to thwart unforeseen circumstances, especially for those who may be running out of patience.

Indeed, we should look up to government to perform, or satisfy its side of the social contract with the governed, especially  as  it relates  to the provision of basic social services, but what is wrong with the other little opportunities that are at our doors  as  Liberians?

Excuse-Driven Citizens

I realize that Liberians believe in sitting in one place to grumble too much about hardship, but we seem not to be prepared to walk out of hardship and poverty by taking positive steps to uplift our lives. People want to sit supinely; folding their hands and expect miracles.  

What kind of country is this that people just believe in sitting down in one place, grumbling too much, castigating others, and spendingall of their times on street shoulders to talk on non-essential issues and to expect bread and butter to fall from Heaven into their mouths?

Have we forgotten the famed Liberian Phraseology that says: ‘’No food for lazy man?”  We know that times are hard, but when a little window of opportunity is opened, we often protest and make unreasonable demands, instead of first accepting what is available and looking into the future for our wants.

Curbing the ‘’I’m also qualified” Syndrome

Nearly everyone completing high school these days sees himself or herself as one who is now up to the task for national leadership and appointment in government. That is why we keep hearing comments like:   “I am fit, up to the task and qualified to serve in government, too.”

* When students cry for vacation jobs and God hears their prayers, the next thing some people do is to condemn the initiative and set road blocks, or even burn car tyres in the middle of roads “to express their grievances, or to draw government’s immediate attention.”

*When it is raining, we complain, when the sun starts to shine, we complain. When we beg for something from the International Community and our cry is heard through God’s intervention, we also condemn thevery international community that always honors our requests, instead of appreciating them.

There are times we even go to the extent of condemning our very leaders who spend tireless times pleading with our external partners to help us as a country.  Anyway, perhaps   causing too much noise, setting road blocks and unreasonably condemning our national leaders is the fastest way of gaining national prominence nowadays in Liberia. 

*When a bridge breaks down, we complain, but when the same bridge is repaired, some of do not care to recognize those who provided the funding, but our next attention is only drawn to little faults that may be on such public facility.  In this case, the first thing this category of Liberians does is to assemble unsympathetic adjectives to condemn the work.

*Worse of all, when our hospitals and schools are out of equipment and supplies, we complain, but when steps are taken to address the challenges, some people steal, or takesuch equipment/ supplies awayfor their personal use. 

*Additionally, when darkness falls, we cry for light, but when steps are taken to supply electricity, some people dress like Chinese Super Nija and carry on power thief, while at the same time some big hands allegedly sell the fuel under the cover of darkness.

Are these harmful practices not suggesting that we are our own problem? Of Couse they do.

Micro Business Activities

Look around Liberia today, particularly around Monrovia- the nerve of government activities, most of the “Shoe Shine Boys” are non-Liberian citizens.

These non-Liberians, while we spend time on street shoulders to talk politics, condemn our leaders, tearothers apart in society through falsehood, these non-Liberians are succeeding in sustaining themselves, to appreciable extent.

*See some of the phone charging booths,   make-shift provision shops, erected on sidewalks, and in the various communities, where fried eggs, tea, wheat and other light food items are prepared and sold.
It is possible that these little positive ventures we keep overlooking are paying off in the lives of our brothers and sisters from other parts of Africa, thereby enabling them to remit huge sums of monies accrued from their toil in Liberia to build their respective homes.

Will we continue to be at the receiving end of our own economy in our own country?

A 2007 Interview aroundFreeport

In 2007, when a Chinese company was fixing the drainage on the Freeway-Somalia Drive, particularly in the Free Port area,  I took my microphone there after somebody told me that the company was recruiting Liberians to serve as contractors.

I got there and realized that the faces I saw and the people’s accent I listen to did not have any Liberian semblance.  Forgive me please, I am not trying to preach xenophobic sermon, but I am simply trying to   share with my many readers what

I saw or heard when I got there.  But, again, I realized that the few young Liberians whom I interviewed there had the potential of being recruited at the time, but were saying the amount the company intended paying them ($40 United Sates Dollars per month) was too small.

‘’Look, we want to use the media to tell the Liberian Government   that the money the Chinese company wants to pay us is too small and  so we can’t waste our time here,’’ they told me during the interview at the time.

I am not saying the Chinese company was right for “recruiting non-Liberians at the time. But, if the company actually did, the unwillingness of Liberians could be one of the company’s reasons for its (company) decision to have hired non-Liberian citizens at the time.
For me, it is better for us to be engaged in the available positive ventures while we look forward to better ones in the future, instead of folding our hands and complaining too much.

I also recalled when the new Armed Forces of Liberia was carrying on massive recruitment between 2006 and 2007,there were allegations that Guineans were making their way into the system.

The allegations were spreading like bush fire that I had to take my microphone out there again.

I was, however,  disappointed again that a large number of young potential Liberians were running away from the recruitment process on grounds that the AFL training was too rough and that  monthly salary was not encouraging, though the interviewees did not give the figure (salary) they were to earn.

If we are not mindful, we will keep giving excuses until one day we willexperience the worst situation in our individual and collective lives.

We keep complaining that our economy is in the hands of aliens and foreigners. But it appears that we are not ready to take constructive steps to change the situation around in our own interest, of course not through violence, but through constructive, tangible and positive measures. 

Again, I call on all well-meaning Liberians to consider venturing into the positive little economic initiatives that could help sustain our respective families as we look forward to a better time when bigger ones will be available. This is my adoring plead!

About the Author

Jacob Parley is an Associate Editor in the News and Public Affairs Department of the Liberia Broadcasting System.

Mr. Parley, a 2011 graduate of the Gabriel L. Dennis Foreign Service Institute, has published in Liberiavolumes of articles on diplomatic, media, political and social issues, including:

1. President Sirleaf’s State Visit to Indonesia- A Chronological Re-collection (Parts 1 &2),2. One Year Covering the Executive Mansion: Lessons, Challenges and Prospects,3. Washing the Liberian Media With Hyssop As ‘’Negative Reportage Widens, and 4. The Danger of Sharpening An Executioner’s Knife In A Post-conflict Society, etc.
He can be reached through: 0886560455, or jacobtheancestor@yahoo.com

 


Copyright 2012 Mylbsonline.com All Rights Reserved.