8 November Press Brief Briefing Notes

Monday, 8th November 2010

Media Colleagues: Welcome to the weekly Executive Mansion press briefing. There are several announcements of significance today.

As you know, on her birthday on October 29th, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf accepted, on behalf of the Liberian people, 25 buses donated by the Government of India to increase public transport capacity in Monrovia.

To facilitate Liberian education, the President has directed the National Transit Authority (NTA) to provide free bus transport to all students for two and a half months. Students dressed in their uniforms will be able to board and ride the buses free of charge. The buses will commence service a week from today, on Monday, November 15th.

The President is this week continuing her trip to the United States. Today she is leaving Richmond, Virginia, for New York, where she will tonight accept Glamour Magazineís 2010 Woman of the Year Award, along with four other female Heads of State, at Carnegie Hall. 

On Tuesday, President Johnson Sirleaf will participate in an interactive event at Harvard Universityís Kennedy School of Government, her alma mater. She will also meet with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Ms. Susan Rice, and later address the Liberian Association on Staten Island. 

In her remarks at Saturdayís Richmond Forum in Virginia, the President further emphasized that her decision last week to place her entire Cabinet on administrative leave aims to improve government, and that she expects many effective Ministers to return to the Cabinet. She will announce those Ministers who will not be resuming their duties when she returns to the country next week.

The review of Cabinet Ministers will be followed by a similar process involving concerned autonomous agencies of government.

A couple of clarifications need to be made at this point:

First, the decisions regarding temporary appointments of Acting Ministers were made by the President and no one else, in keeping with her constitutional authority.

Secondly, at last Fridayís Cabinet session, Acting Ministers were clearly instructed to ensure that cars were to be parked at a safe location, and to secure the keys for the period of the administrative leave. All Ministers on administrative leave are complying.

The media and public are reminded that the Cabinet Ministers on leave are responsible public servants who have no desire to misuse their appropriate ministerial privileges.