The appalling physical structure of Liberia’s Embassy building and the Ambassador’s residence in the United Kingdom had caught the immediate attention of Vice President Joseph N. Boakai who wants prompt action taken to remedy such situation. Making a brief stopover in London after attending the 6th Global Conference on the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) held in Sydney, Australia, Vice President Boakai expressed disappointment in the condition of the Liberian Embassy and the Ambassador’s residence, stressing, “These buildings do not represent a diplomatic mission.”
The Liberian Vice President noted that with such a huge mission, the Liberian Embassy should not be at such standard, adding that there is a need to place more attention on what is considered as the second biggest diplomatic mission of Liberia next to the Liberian Mission in the United States of America.
Amb. Boakai’s statement was in response to Ambassador Wesley Johnson’s account of the status of the mission.
Amb. Johnson first started by calling for more support to the mission in London by the Liberian Government.
Amb. Johnson said he and his staffs have struggled to maintain their respective homes over the years, a situation he considered troubling to the upkeep of the mission.
“Three of our staffs including me live in the three buildings owned by the government of Liberia. These buildings need renovation to meet city standards but we are unable to do that right now. Even the building I live in here needs about £10,000 yearly for maintenance, something we have not done in the past years. The condition of these structures do not look like a diplomatic area,” Amb. Johnson asserted.
With reference to the challenges the mission is faced with, Amb. Johnson pointed out that there is a complete lack of information from various government functionaries in Monrovia about government activities in the various sectors of the country, something he said creates serious setback for the mission in the discharge of their duties of engaging partners for the good of Liberia.
“Government officials travel here without informing the Embassy,” he said. He noted that most often, the Embassy gets alerted only when there is a problem affecting these officials.
“Whether it is a conference, business forum or whatsoever, the Embassy must be informed about these things so that we can address whatever that comes from them. We are to be informed about whatever initiative government is instituting so that when we are discussing with investors and partners we can be able to speak from an informed position,” Amb. Johnson said.
He pointed out that there is more competition in the diplomatic world, and as such, the mission should not be kept in isolation all of the time because the consequence will be that more opportunities will be given to other countries other than Liberia.
Amb. Johnson is the Liberian Ambassador accredited to the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, The Holy Sea and The Order of Malta.
He is also the former Vice Chairman of the Interim Government that led the country to a successful election in 2005.