18 July Briefing Notes

Monday, 18th July 2011

• The Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State of the Mano River Union, hosted by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was a resounding success. The President is pleased with the outcome of the deliberations and wants to extend thanks and appreciation to all Liberians and other nationals of the sub-region who turned out on Sunday to receive our visiting guests.

Sunday’s one-day Summit is another testimony of the increasing role Liberia is playing in the promotion of regional and global peace and security.

• The President over the weekend visited Margibi County in continuation of her County Tours.

During the visit, the President dedicated and inspected projects constructed by the Ministry of Public Works under the County Development Fund. Three schools were dedicated: the 14 Road Public School; the Borlorla Township Public School; and the Yarnwuellie Public School. A Conference Center at C.H. Rennie Hospital in Kakata, the Baypolu Youth Center and a major bridge in Borlorla were also dedicated.

The two-day tour of Margibi also included the inspection of such as the Gibi Worhn Road Project and the Bondiway Clinic.The President also visited Lower Margibi and dedicated the Schiefflin Public School.  The Liberian leader was also the Guest Speaker at Saturday’s Commencement Convocation of the Firestone Liberia Senior High School, in Harbel. The President expressed satisfaction at the level of progress the company is making in the achievement of its social development programs. All graduating seniors of the school passed the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) Exams.

• Campaigning for the 2011 general and presidential elections has gotten under way, and the President reiterates her appeal to the Liberian electorate to remain peaceful throughout the process. The campaign will generate emotions; however, it is important that calm prevails as we embark upon another campaign to freely choose the leadership of the country in transparent and credible elections.

• The President’s attention has been drawn to suggestions in some quarters that a bill has been submitted to the National Legislature, calling for the removal of the teaching of the Bible is public schools. Such reports are mere speculation, which have no basis in fact. 

The bill before the House of Representatives does not place any regulation on the teaching of religion in public schools. The Minister of Education, Mr. Othello Gongar, has met with the Liberia Council of Churches to clarify the misinformation. The Minister and the LCC held very fruitful discussions last Thursday over the issue.

The misrepresentation may have come from an earlier provision before the National Legislature which discourages the teaching of religion aimed at conversion in any public school. That provision, however, noted that there shall be the teaching of comparative religion, history of religion and moral ethics.  Those provisions which were part of regulatory measures by the Education Minister to ensure curriculum development have now been removed from the document.