‘We Are Losing Our Country To Foreigners’…Kenneth Best Cautions At Cuttington Commencement; Stresses Liberian Partnership

Veteran and venerable Liberian journalist Kenneth Y. Best has expressed fear and concern that if nothing is done Liberians may lose their country to foreigners faster and more irrecoverably than ever before.   He pointed out that unless Liberians wake up and start “working conscientiously, patriotically, smartly and hard to take it back, one day Liberia will be lost and we will have to lease from these same foreigners the land to make our farms and build our homes and businesses.”

Speaking Saturday as the convocation speaker at the 53rd commencement of Cuttington University in Suacoco, Bong County, on the theme:” Redeeming Liberia For Liberians, “Mr. Best cited that there are some leading Liberian families, and not so prominent ones, who are leasing their prime properties to foreign businesspeople for 30 to 60 years, mortgaging the future of their posterity for pittance.

He said, ‘many of these families do not even know how long their children and grandchildren will live to benefit from their drastically delayed inheritance which, come to think of it, may be lost forever.’

Mr. Best, who has been in the practice of the profession for decades, observed that many of the nation’s assets, including huge tracks of agricultural land, petroleum blocks and mineral deposits, are being assigned to foreign conglomerates with no Liberian participation.

He noted, ‘in any country around the world, these are among their most treasured assets. If the people are not partakers in the benefits of these assets, such countries and peoples are doomed to poverty and inevitable conflict.’

Sensing the danger of this and the need to reserve it, , Mr. Best, called on the Liberian government and its President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to ensure that the Liberian people take substantial ownership in all the nation’s land, mineral, petroleum and other assets.

In order to bring Liberians into the money economy and establish a strong Liberian middle class, Mr., Best suggested to the government that every company that is investing in Liberia, from merchandize trading to real estate and industrial enterprises, should have at least one substantive and credible Liberian partner.

However, he said Liberians must never forget that Liberia, when most African nations were still colonized, was one of the signatories to the creation of the Brettenwood Institutions, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and   the International Finance Corporation.

He noted that even in the midst of our agricultural, mineral and now petroleum wealth, Liberia and Liberians are still among the poorest nations and peoples on earth! It is incumbent upon the Brettenwood Institutions themselve to answer the question, how come?

He maintained that the time has come for Liberia as a sovereign nation to make her own decisions about her future and the economic and financial integrity, peace, wellbeing and stability of her people.

We cannot and must not continue to allow foreigners to come here with nothing and become rich off our resources,  while our people remain perpetually poor, deprived and powerless in their own rich country.

Mr. Best, a 1963 graduate of Cuttington College, now Cuttington University, urged his Alma Mater to immediately begin, from the coming academic year, a deliberate and well researched, planned and tutored course in ENTREPRENEURIAL CAPACITY BUILDING, to train Liberians to become businesspeople.

He said, “I throw out this challenge to all universities, community colleges and high schools in Liberia. We must begin to develop a Liberian business class that will participate actively in the business sector and the economy. The Government, I repeat, can make this happen by making it mandatory that ALL foreign businesses, whose operations are US$50,000 or more, have a Liberian partner. Suggesting partnership with foreign companies alone is not enough.     We have to know how to partner in our own interest. We have to be clear what is our interest and be focused on it.

Also, he challenged Cuttington to take the lead in reexamining the purpose and goal of education, and what form it should take to fulfill that purpose and goal. Let me begin by proffering this idea: the ultimate purpose of education is to LIBERATE the human mind, spirit and condition.

He also believes that If the government does not pay keen attention to this challenge and DO something CONCRETE AND DECISIVE about it NOW, our people will remain poor, powerless and hopeless, believing and knowing that they have no stake in what is called Liberia.

With this, he said they will, therefore, be ready, eager, willing and able to take part again in any insurrection that will spark the destruction of the country’s infrastructure, adding, “ Remember, that is just what they were led to do by Charles Taylor and his band of rebels that totally destroyed the Mount Coffee Hydro, the water system in Harrisburg and everything else in Liberia, plunging the country more than 50 years in regression.”

Expounding on his theme, Mr. Best said, “Redeeming Liberia for Liberians’ is an urgent national call to restore commonsense, sanity, patriotism and ownership of this country to those to whom it belongs—the Liberians. Alas, the people who have come here bring no money of their own but built what they have on any and everything they found here. They are the ones who definitely believe they are the new Liberians, the veritable owners of Papa’s land. They demonstrate this not only economically and financially, but also politically and judicially by telling the poor Liberians,     “take me anywhere and it is you who will leave there, but not me.”

He said he knows of no country in the world which has given foreigners in their midst that kind of power—power over its lawyers, judges, politicians, its government officials, even the poor man and woman on the street who is thus reduced to vulnerability, subservience and powerlessness.

To the Graduating Class, he urged them to NEVER forget the advice which Bishop Hart gave them last  Sunday, by using their talents wisely; and eschewing selfishness, greed and corruption, and that they should always remember Solomon’s ancient but lasting and critically important advice: “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Best has called on the Ministry of Justice, particularly its Immigration arm, and the Ministries of Commerce and Industry and Labor to do everything to find high school and college graduates jobs in the business houses, instead of continuing to allow the invasion into our country by foreign young people to take the jobs that Liberians can be trained to do. He said this is an advice that the government can ignore to its own peril. Over 500 students graduated from several disciplines. For Higher Scholastic ( Summa Cum Laude) 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Honors were Anthony S. Kollie, Josephus K. Bartuah and Alex Tartoe, while David Seyaker Jr. and Prince Tarawallie came third and fourth respectively.

For the categories of Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude were 69 candidates, for the degrees in Major Disciplines, Graduate School (Candidates for the Masters of Business Administration Degree) M.B.A in Finance, 44 candidates, for the Masters of Business Administration Degree M.B.A in Management 22 candidates, and for the Candidates of Masters of Business Administration M.B.A in Accounting 12 candidates.

Others are, Candidates for Masters of Business Administration Degree M.B.A in Economics one candidate, Candidates for Masters Degree in Public Administration Public Sector M.PH 16 Candidates, Candidates for Master’s Degree in Public Health, Community Health M.PH 38 Candidates; Candidates for Masters Degree in Public Health- Epidemiology M.P.A 36 Candidates and Candidates for Master’s Degree in Public Health- Nursing Administration M.PH one Candidate.

Still others are, Candidates for Masters Degree in Public Health-Nursing Education M.PH one Candidate, Candidates for Masters Degree in Health Care Policy and Management M.PH 11 Candidates, Candidates for Masters Degree in Education Administration and Supervision M.E.D nine Candidates, Candidates for Masters Degree in Administration in Higher Education M.E.D one Candidate, Candidates for Masters Degree in Theology- Pastoral Theology M.TH two Candidates, and Candidates for Masters Degree in Theology- Systematic Theology M.TH one Candidate.

Still others are, Candidates for Post Graduate Diploma In Higher Education 8 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration BPA 24 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Science BSc in Economics 16 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Science BSc in Accountant 25 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Business Administration in Management 13 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts in Sociology BA, 18 Candidates, and Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts BA in Peace and Development Studies three Candidates.

Others are, Candidates for Bachelor of Arts in Education BA eight Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Science BSc in Nursing 120 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Science BSc. in Agriculture 52 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Science in Integrated Development Studies BSc one Candidate, Candidates for Bachelor of Science Arts BA in Theology two Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Science in Biology 35 Candidates, Candidates for Associate Degree in Public Administration seven Candidates, Candidates for Associate of Arts Degree in Accountant eight Candidates and Candidates for Associate Degree in Sociology two Candidates.

Candidates for Associate Degree in Education two Candidates, Candidates for Associate of Science Degree in Nursing seven Candidates, Candidates for Associate Degree in Agriculture four Candidates and Candidates for Associate of Science Degree in Biology one Candidate. Over 500 students graduated from several disciplines. For Higher Scholastic ( Summa Cum Laude) 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Honors were Anthony S. Kollie, Josephus K. Bartuah and Alex Tartoe, while David Seyaker Jr. and Prince Tarawallie came third and fourth respectively.

For the categories of Magna Cum Laude and Cum Laude were 69 candidates, for the degrees in Major Disciplines, Graduate School (Candidates for the Masters of Business Administration Degree) M.B.A in Finance, 44 candidates, for the Masters of Business Administration Degree M.B.A in Management 22 candidates, and for the Candidates of Masters of Business Administration M.B.A in Accounting 12 candidates.

Others are, Candidates for Masters of Business Administration Degree M.B.A in Economics one candidate, Candidates for Masters Degree in Public Administration Public Sector M.PH 16 Candidates, Candidates for Master’s Degree in Public Health, Community Health M.PH38 Candidates, Candidates for Masters Degree in Public Health- Epidemiology M.P.A 36 Candidates and Candidates for Master’s Degree in Public Health- Nursing Administration M.PH one Candidate.

Still others are, Candidates for Masters Degree in Public Health-Nursing Education M.PH one Candidate, Candidates for Masters Degree in Health Care Policy and Management M.PH 11 Candidates, Candidates for Masters Degree in Education Administration and Supervision M.E.D 9 Candidates, Candidates for Masters Degree in Administration in Higher Education M.E.D 1 Candidate, Candidates for Masters Degree in Theology- Pastoral Theology M.TH two Candidates, and Candidates for Masters Degree in Theology- Systematic Theology M.TH one Candidate.

Still others are, Candidates for Post Graduate Diploma In Higher Education 8 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration BPA 24 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Science BSc in Economics 16 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Science Bsc in Accountant 25 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Business Administration in Management 13 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts in Sociology BA, 18 Candidates, and Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts BA in Peace and Development Studies three Candidates.

Others are, Candidates for Bachelor of Arts in Education BA 8 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Science BSc in Nursing 120 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Science BSc. in Agriculture 52 Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Science in Integrated Development Studies BSc one Candidate, Candidates for Bachelor of Science Arts BA in Theology two Candidates, Candidates for the Bachelor of Science in Biology 35 Candidates, Candidates for Associate Degree in Public Administration seven Candidates, Candidates for Associate of Arts Degree in Accountant 8 Candidates and Candidates for Associate Degree in Sociology two Candidates.

Candidates for Associate Degree in Education two Candidates, Candidates for Associate of Science Degree in Nursing seven Candidates, Candidates for Associate Degree in Agriculture four Candidates and Candidates for Associate of Science Degree in Biology one Candidate. Written by PNW.

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