It seems that the fight against corruption in Liberia considered as the United States’ stepchild is been noticed by the US Government and is now ready to hold the bull by its horns as the new United States Ambassador-designate to Liberia has vowed to take on the fight.
New United States Ambassador-designate to Liberia, Mark Toner has pledged to tackle the fight against corruption in Liberia mostly government officials who are corrupt and depriving the country of development.
Addressing the U.S. Congressional Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing Friday, October 20, Ambassador Toner assured that the United Embassy near Monrovia shall lead efforts to hold corrupt government officials accountable and keep Liberia on a path to self-reliance, so that ordinary Liberians see the benefits of private-sector growth and accountable government.
The U.S. Diplomat stated that Liberia as a steadfast partner of the United States,’ he shall endeavor to work for increase investment opportunities for U.S. businesses and promote inclusive economic development focused on job creation, providing much-needed opportunities for a population in which the median age is 19 ½ years. However, Ambassador Toner noted that onus, ultimately, is on Liberia’s political leaders to increase transparency and tackle corruption, as both are integral to establishing the conditions necessary to attract responsible foreign investment.
“We must apply this same approach to human rights, as Liberia’s justice sector works to address reported cases of gender-based violence, forced child labor, and human trafficking, as well as the legacy of war crimes. These abuses must be confronted for their own sake, as well as to ensure a broader system of accountability, good governance, and rule of law.”
“If confirmed, I look forward to building on the outstanding work the previous Ambassador and his excellent team has done to assist with the many challenges facing Liberia. I am optimistic the United States can work with its partners in the Liberian government and people to help strengthen their democracy and secure a brighter, more prosperous future for the next generation.” Ambassador Mark Toner told the U.S. Congressional Foreign Relations Committee.
He lauded U.S President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken for the trust and confidence in him to serve as U.S. next Ambassador to Liberia.
Ambassador Toner told members of the Congressional Foreign Relations Committee that he shall endeavor closer working relationship between Members of this Congressional Foreign Relations Committee and staff to promote and protect U.S. interests in Liberia.
He recounted his longstanding working relationship with Liberia health experts as a Peace Corps-stressing that his return to Liberia is an honor to resuscitate the longstanding relationship between Liberia and the United States.
“I have a strong personal connection with Liberia, having served there as a Peace Corps Volunteer – a formative experience that kindled my desire to become a Foreign Service Officer. During that time, I had the privilege to work alongside many dedicated Liberian health professionals, people who showed up every day to work under difficult circumstances without any guarantee of a regular paycheck. These are the people who inspire me to this day through their commitment, courage, and determination.”
“If confirmed, it would be an honor to return as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia, a country with which the United States shares a special bond rooted in our deep historical ties, and preserved through our shared commitment to democracy, human rights, health security, economic prosperity, and regional stability.” Ambassador Mark Toner recounted.
Touching on Liberia’s democratic credentials, Ambassador Toner said while Liberia is also a country shaped by years of conflict, terror, disease, and hardship, however the resilience of the Liberia people in 2017, was a significant milestone by carrying out the first peaceful transition of power between two elected presidents in over 70 years.
On the October 10 Presidential and general Legislative Elections, Ambassador Mark Toner reminded both President George Manneh Weah and his main challenger Joseph N. Boakai of the opposition Unity Party of commitments made to ensure the holding of a Free, Fair, and transparent elections in Liberia warning that the United States and its partners are doing everything in their power to hold President Weah and Boakai accountable for delivering on their commitment.
“The United States is the largest bilateral donor to Liberia, with more than US$5 billion in bilateral assistance since 2003. That assistance has paid concrete dividends in the economic, education, security, and public health sectors, but that progress has also been heavily eroded by growing lawlessness and corruption within the present administration.” Ambassador statement at the U.S. Congressional Foreign Relations Committee emphasized.