29 October Press Briefing Notes

Monday, 29th October 2012

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this very special press conference in the C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. Auditorium. Today is Monday, October 29, 2012. The last time we had a gathering like this was August 1, 2012, which means it’s just prudent to have this one.

1. We’ve got a couple of issues and, as you may be aware, President Sirleaf, along with two other world leaders – the British Prime Minister and the Indonesian President – were chosen to co-Chair a special High-Level Panel on Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) initiatives. The President will depart the country tomorrow for London, where she will co-Chair a special meeting on Thursday, November 1, 2012, of Panel where they will examine what has happened with the MDGs over the last twelve years, what can be done in the next three years, and to set the agenda for post-2015. Specifically while in London, President Sirleaf will chair two meetings: one on human development; and the second will be on jobs, livelihood and targeting.

While in London, the President will host a luncheon where the topic will be “the creation of political consensus.” The co-Chairs, will hold a joint press conference at Number 10 Downing Street, the residence of Prime Minister David Cameron. The day-long meeting will climax with a dinner, to be attended by all African women Ambassadors in London and the entire membership of the High-Level Panel. Besides the three co-Chairs, the entire High-Level Panel will be in London for this meeting. 

For her part, President Sirleaf, who is the voice of Africa on the HLP, commenced consultations with African Heads of State during her recent trip to the United Nations in New York. In Tokyo, the President was one of five panelists discussing the post-2015 development framework, on the topic: “Is there a role for a next generation of Millennium Development Goals?”
Here at home, the President last Thursday, October 25th, participated in the Africa-Wide Civil Society Organizations Consultation on the Post-2015 Global Development Framework. The three-day forum, held right here in Monrovia, brought together 50 leaders of civil society, from all five regions of Africa.

To assist her in her HLP task, the President has appointed a Secretariat. It includes: the former Prime Minister of Haiti, Dr. Garry Conille, who was designated by the United Nations Development Programme;  Dr. Alioune Sall, a well-known intellectual who worked on our own “Vision 2030”;  Dr. Abdoulaye Dukulé, Mr. Sam Jackson,  and the young son of former Vice President Harry Moniba, called Clarence Moniba. We are also asking other people, such as Dr. Byron Tarr, who has studied the New Deal Agenda, which brings special attention to fragile States like Liberia to get onboard.  At the meeting with CSOs on Thursday, the President also promised civil society to include in that small group one of their designated persons. With that, and with what’s happening in the other countries, the President hopes that Africa can make a major contribution to this new global development agenda.

2. For several days now, we have followed rumors that the Executive Mansion has initiated an alleged effort to remove Honorable J. Alex Tyler as Speaker of the House of Representatives. I am authorized to state that, to the contrary, President Sirleaf looks forward to meeting with Speaker Tyler to discuss matters pertaining to the hosting of the 2013 Independence Day celebrations by Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu counties. In fact, the President still has great confidence in Honorable Tyler leadership as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

3. Another unfortunate rumor being circulated is the charge that the Executive Mansion has a hand in the suspension of broadcast activities at the Catholic-owned Radio VERITAS, and that I, in particular, spearheaded discussions with the Church authorities to close down the station due to its alleged critical reportage. Such a rumor is absurd.  If the Executive Mansion had a problem with critical reporting, and sought to prevent it, which media house here would have been spared? The President has, over the last seven years, promoted press freedom, as all of you are keenly aware, and her administration will continue to do so. Had that not been the case, this President would not have been chosen by the Africa Editors Forum for its Friend of the Media Award in 2011. It is therefore untrue that either the Executive Mansion or I, as the Press Secretary to the President, had any role to play in the suspension of broadcast activities at Radio VERITAS. In fact, we look forward to the resumption of broadcast activities at the station.

4. As you may all be aware, the President is today observing her 74th birth anniversary with a host of activities at her residence. She is receiving guests and being entertained by an array of performers. The Cabinet will, around 5 p.m. today, make a special presentation to the President at her residence in recognition of her natal day. We are exceedingly pleased to note that, at 74, President Sirleaf is even more energized, strong and determined to continue the business of governance.

5. Finally, in keeping with the ongoing review of the performance and output of officials of her Government, I have been authorized to indicate that a number of Presidential actions, ranging from transfers and reshuffles to dismissals, will be effected soon. The President’s action will be geared towards enhancing effectiveness, efficiency and productivity, as she endeavors to live up to the promises of delivering to the people. Let me assure you that the President has not and will not lose track of her responsibility to govern well and deliver the promises of the administration to the people. In fact, she’s even more resolved to remain focused and continuously promote the tenets of good governance as well as the maintenance of peace, security, reconciliation and national development for the people.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen of the press.