What Did Finance Minister Amara Konneh Really Say?

first_imgDid Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh really say what Inprofile and The News newspapers said he did? This is the question on everyone’s mind today.The problem is three-fold: first, what was said, which seems to be totally unbelievable; second, who said it, again completely surprising; and third, against whom it was said, which is equally unbelievable.Let us deal with the first problem—what was it that Minister Konneh reportedly said?  Both Inprofile and The News quoted Minister Konneh as having said that since his incumbency in 2012, the government of Liberia (GOL) had generated US$3.1 billion in revenues, but most of it had been spent on administration, involving only 40,000 people, as against 4.1 million Liberians.If President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administration is not careful how it spends government money, Mr. Konneh is reported to have told a Liberian town hall meeting in Philadelphia, then “there may be a recurrence of April 14, 1979 Rice Riots.”    The second problem is, who was talking?  Both newspapers clearly indicated that it was Finance Minister Konneh.   It may be recalled that the President in 2012 transferred him from the post of Minister of Economic Planning Affairs, to Minister of Finance. In appointing him to that far more important position, the President moved Finance Minister Augustine Ngafuan to Minister of Foreign Affairs, which was technically a promotion, since he then became Dean of the Cabinet.   But Foreign Affairs in purely technical terms may not be as powerful as Finance, for that is where the money is and from where most of the shots are called.That is precisely why it was unbelievable that an official as high as Finance Minister Konneh would be so bold, and some may say inept (clumsy, careless) as to make the statements he uttered,   especially while he was abroad. So before publishing Defense Minister Brownie Samukai’s reaction, this newspaper took pains to contact the Finance boss to confirm the report.  But Minister Konneh did not respond.In Minister Samukai’s clearly articulated reaction, unmistakably aimed at Minister Konneh— though Samukai denied the link—the Defense Minister confidently declared that there would be no repeat of April 14. Addressing prospective graduates of Stella Maris Polytechnic last Wednesday, he insisted that the state security was quite prepared to protect and defend the country after UNMIL leaves, as they are scheduled to do in 2016.Minister Samukai went further.  Speaking as a veritable and wholly committed part of the President’s government, he declared, “If you are part of the team, accept the moral responsibility of that team.  Do not go out and castigate the team as though you are ‘Mr. Clean’ within the system.”The two most important questions that arise are first, did Minister Konneh actually make those comments?  If he did, what led him to that?   Did he make them out of frustration or desperation?  Did this lead him to go for broke—meaning, I don’t care now?  If this is the case, what was the straw that broke the camel’s back?There have indeed been many criticisms of the current government, not the least of them being corruption and the way money is spent.  On March 24 this newspaper said editorially that there was an apparent financial crisis in one of the most lucrative state enterprises—the National Oil Company (NOCAL).  And we wondered where had the money suddenly gone—to someone’s political campaign, or what?If the Finance Minister himself—who signs most GOL checks—can be critical of the way government money is spent, then this is VERY SERIOUS.The state security apparatus—as the Defense Minister has said—may be up to the task to arrest any sign of instability.  BUT! Our security is not nor will it ever be stronger than that of Egypt or Muammar Gaddafi—both in 2011, when we all know what happened.We do not wish for an Arab Spring in Liberia.  Heaven knows we have had more than our share of troubles—political and otherwise.  We need no more! However, we cannot—MUST NOT—fail to learn from others’ mistakes.  Remember what our own Constitution says: “ALL POWER IS INHERENT IN THE PEOPLE.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Does This Country Need More HR Professionals?

first_imgIt’s been just shy of a month since SHRM16 took over our nation’s capital but nearly a month is fairly late for getting a “post-SHRM16” blog written.To my credit, a lot has happened since that time; likewise, I have been mentally occupied so it was difficult for me to write much. But, better late than never and today, I hope this is a worthwhile read for you.SHRM16 was my 6th National Conference; each year, I walk away inspired about my profession, my career, etc. This year was no different and I have a plethora of ideas mulling about in my head on how to improve things in my professional world.However, the professional insights I received this year pale in comparison to the personal insights and inspirations with which I carried dearly back with me as I boarded my plane to Alaska.You see, I am disheartened with the great divide affecting our beloved country. My heart can barely stand to read and watch the news nowadays. Friendships have been stressed or severed, work relationships have deteriorated, and partnerships have been severely strained because of prejudice, bigotry, perceptions, offenses, and the like.It’s everywhere – you see it in neighbors who are guarded or judgmental, you hear it in the grocery lines, you observe it on the bleachers at your kids baseball game.I see, I listen and I wonder,·         “Why are we so committed to being right?”·         “Why are we so committed to being better or winning?”·         “Why are we so committed to putting others else in their place?”·         “Why are we so committed to placing blame?”·         “Why are we so committed to hurting people?”I just don’t get it.Hold that thought…I, a Human Resources Professional for 20+ years, just don’t get it.Am I different?I think, perhaps I am.As a Human Resources Professional, am I not trained to consider the totality of the circumstances? Do I not strive to identify what is fair and just?As a Human Resources Professional, am I not trained to collaborate and compromise? Do I not strive to work towards solutions?As a Human Resources Professional, am I not trained to look beyond stereotypes and assumptions? Do I not strive to consider one’s merit?As a Human Resources Professional, am I not trained to accept and encourage responsibility? Do I not strive to hold myself and others accountable?As a Human Resources Professional, am I not trained to protect people from the behaviors of others? Do I not strive to create within my workplace and model kindness and acceptance?I am!I do!  And for one week, one very special week in DC, I got to be around my peeps! Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize how much I needed a reprieve from the bad juju of this country until I was in a convention center stuffed to the gills with other HR folks.We get it!The positive energy regarding what’s going on in our nation turned me on!The healthy, value added conversations and disagreements energized me!The shared concern was comforting!(Truth me told, I cried in the bathroom with two friends, Julie Stephens-Doyle and Rebecca Briley, and was comforted because they are as worried as I am. It made me feel less crazy, less paranoid, less alone!)But alas, here’s the sad truth…our country isn’t filled with HR professionals!So this is where you come in…Find them!Develop them!Mentor them!I believe the values and beliefs of a great HR professional are the cornerstones of a great community.·         Fairness·         Collaboration·         Compromise·         Acceptance·         Tolerance·         Kindness·         GenerositySo, dear and great HR professional, go forth!  Do your jobs correctly!Your willingness to model these values and corresponding behaviors in the workplace will be noticed and hopefully, they will spread to people’s homes, neighborhoods, churches, etc.I’ll leave you with this:I think we need more HR professionals…or at least more people who act like us.last_img read more

World Cup: PM Modi hails Team India for fifth straight win

first_imgPM Narendra Modi presents a gift to his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott at a reception held in his honour at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne in this file photo. Former Indian cricketers VVS Laxman, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev are with them. Photo: APPrime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday congratulated the Indian cricket team for registering its fifth straight win in the ongoing cricket World Cup.Shikhar Dhawan cracked a scintillating century as a rampaging India created a record winning ninth consecutive ICC Cricket World Cup match, including four in the previous edition, by demolishing Ireland by eight wickets to seal the top spot in the Group-B table.Superb all-round performance. Congrats Team India! Keep up the momentum.&; Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 10, 2015 In a message, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said: “Win against Ireland has once again proved that India’s consistently fine performance at the tournament is a matter of pride for all Indians.”He also congratulated Man of the Match Dhawan.Sonowal hailed skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for becoming the most successful captain for India in the history of the World Cup.Chasing a respectable Ireland total of 259, opener Dhawan (100 off 85 balls) sent the Irish bowlers on a leather hunt en route his eighth ODI hundred as the defending champions reached the target in 36.5 overs to record their fifth consecutive win in this tournament.last_img read more