7 February Press Briefing Notes

Monday, 7th February 2011

Monrovia, Liberia - The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia will on Friday grace the official celebrations of the 54th Armed Forces Day, scheduled to be held at the Barclay Training Center in Monrovia.  As part of the celebrations, the President will commission two Coast Guard boats to help patrol the coastal waters of Liberia. The exercise will be part of the Government’s commitment to protect the country’s coast which has over the years witnessed illegal activities such as smuggling and over-fishing.

The President will address the ceremony, reminding Liberians once again of the importance of a capable Armed Forces and contrasting today’s professional military with the uncontrollable and unaccountable force that used to terrorize citizens in the past. “This Army, like this Government, is here to serve and protect the people,” she will say.

• The President met on Monday morning with authorities of the Public Works Ministry to discuss the low performance of local contractors, a factor which is slowing down the ongoing road-building and other infrastructure projects. The President made specific mention of neighborhood roads, including the Parker Paint road, the Logan Town road and the Rehab road, which is yet to be contracted. The President also spoke of delays in the renovation of the Executive Pavilion and the overall performance of some local contractors who have been sub-contracted to undertake government projects.

The President urged the Ministry to review the performance of the local firms and take the necessary action against those who are not living up to the task. “Roads are one of my top priorities,” she told the meeting, “and we must carry on keeping the promise to rebuild the network so that people can travel easily.”

• The President is scheduled to travel to Ganta, Nimba County, at the weekend to participate in the official dedicatory ceremony of the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Regional Referral Hospital. On Saturday, 12 February, the President will participate in the official opening of the new Referral Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County. The hospital is in keeping with Government’s aim to bring vital services, like health care, beyond the capital to Liberia’s rural areas. The 100-bed hospital, which was built with the support of the People’s Republic of China, brings a range of modern facilities and care to the public, including heart care (Cardiology), children’s care (Pediatrics), a trauma unit, and surgery. Most importantly a major department will target maternal and infant care, in the wake of the President’s promise to tackle child and maternal mortality through childbirth.