Vice President Boakai Hails Liberians in Rhode Island

Sunday, 4th October 2009
Rhode Island, U.S.A. -The Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai, has hailed  Liberians in the Diaspora for their support to the Liberian economy during the country’s difficult days.

He observed that remittances back home by Liberians in the United States and other parts of the world to their people, especially during the days of the civil conflict, helped to not only keep them alive, but also keep the national economy out of the doldrums. “I wish to use this forum to thank you for the critical need you are meeting even now,” he added.

Vice President Boakai made the remarks on October 3 during an honoring and fundraising program hosted by the Liberian Nurses Organization of Rhode Island at the Lancellotta’s Banquet Restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island.

Vice President Boakai noted that the shortage of nurses and medical doctors is such a huge challenge that the Government alone cannot cope with it, and called on all Liberian medical practitioners in the Diaspora to help the Government in addressing this critical need.

He informed the gathering that the increase in the population of Monrovia from about 350,000 before the war to about 1.3 million now has overburdened the medical sector, especially the country’s referral hospital, John F. Kennedy Medical Center.

“You can send all the money to your people, but we need trained manpower to render needed medical services," Vice President Boakai emphasized, adding, “You can play with agriculture and other areas, but not medicare.”

Vice President Boakai described the honoring and fundraising program as a good climax of his visit to Rhode Island, which started last Saturday.

At the program, the Liberian Nurses Association of Rhode Island honored Madam Lucille Massemino, Administrator of the Charlesgate Nursing Center of Providence, Rhode Island, for her invaluable services to the Liberian community in Rhode Island, especially the Liberian Nurses Association of Rhode Island.

Vice President Boakai was also honored for his invaluable service to the Liberian state and humanity.
In response, the honoree, Lucille Massemino, a Rotarian, thanked the Liberian Nurses Association of Rhode Island for the recognition, and announced that her organization will, in the not distant future, airlift medical supplies and equipment to Liberia in a bid to help the post-war country’s ailing health sector. “I dedicate myself and my club to helping Liberia,” Ms. Massemino added.

In her keynote address, the guest speaker, Donna Policastro called for closer ties between the Rhode Island State Nurses Association and the Liberian Nurses Association of Rhode Island.
Ms. Policastro, who is  President of the Rhode Island State Nurses Association, also pledged to forge closer ties between Rhode Island universities and nursing schools in Liberia to build the capacities of Liberian nurses.

Speaking earlier, the President of the Liberian Nurses Association in Rhode Island, Elaine Traub, said the dinner was intended to raise funds for the construction of a nurses’ library in Liberia. She said Ms. Massemino was honored because she encouraged and assisted immigrant Liberians in Rhode Island to pursue careers in nursing.

Scores of Liberians in Rhode Island attended the fund-raising dinner.

The Vice President and party leave Rhode Island on October 4 for Liberia.