National Excellence Awards Committee Calls on Vice President Boakai

Wednesday, 15th April 2009
Monrovia, Liberia - Liberia’s Vice President Joseph N. Boakai says a lot of changes have taken place in Liberia since the inception of the Unity Party-led gGovernment.

“Things that were glossed over in the past are no longer glossed over.  People go on the radio and speak their minds even against the Government without any reprisal. Even on the issue of corruption: it is not that corruption is rampant in this Government as perceived in some quarters, but because the Government has given the General Auditing Commission (GAC) the free hand to publish the results of its audits. Besides, people are now at liberty to discuss such issues with impunity,” Vice President observed.

He was speaking on April 14 when a three-member delegation from the National Excellence Awards Committee paid a courtesy call on him at his Capitol Building office.

The Liberian Vice President added: “As a Government, our desire is to make sure that this country moves to higher heights.”

He lauded the National Excellence Awards Committee for the initiative it has embarked on to recognize Liberians for their good work, and lamented that people sometimes feel that other people who brought about changes in the country are responsible for the war.

He also regretted the mindset of certain Liberians who do not see good in their fellow men, and said the exercise embarked upon by the National Excellence Awards Committee will cause people to begin to see the good in others, adding, “A lot of people will begin to strive for excellence.”

He added that those honored will also begin to see that they are part of this country, and that the country appreciates them. The Liberian Vice President said he was happy that the committee was going beyond Monrovia to select honorees.

Briefing the Vice President earlier, the Chairman of the Awards Committee, Mr. Christopher Hayes Onanuga, who headed the delegation, said the Excellence Awards program started two years ago as a means of contributing to the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), known now as "Lift Liberia."

He said the 24 persons in 17 categories who will receive this year’s awards were selected from an estimated 4,000 nominations saying, “this will improve as time goes on.”

Mr. Onuanga, who was accompanied to the Vice President’s office by committee members Edith Bawn and Vanessa Keller, said the National Awards Committee is preaching ‘Distinction, Recognition and Pride’. “This message will go forth. Let people know that their hard work pays,” he added.

He disclosed that the committee plans to construct a National Excellence Awards headquarters where the names of those who receive the award will be displayed on a tablet.

Mr. Onunaga said this year’s Excellence Awards program which will be held at the Unity Conference Center in Virginia on April 18, and will be graced by former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings, as well as representatives of the Nigerian and Sierra Leoneon governments.

He said Ghana based Liberian actor Van Vicker, as well as musical and other artists from Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and local stars will be on hand to thrill the audience.