Vice President Boakai Concerned About Growing Level of Greed And Dishonesty

Thursday, 22nd December 2011

Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has expressed concern about the growing level of greed and dishonesty, the erosion of confidence in friends, mistrust among colleagues at the workplace, abuse of public property and disrespect for one another.
“For example, give two Liberians a hundred dollars to share, the next day you will receive a complaint that one person was either cheated or completely left out. Send a committee to negotiate and you end up with three or four different committees each seeking its own separate interest,” Vice President Boakai said and lamented: “How can we have a country united in one purpose with these kinds of characteristics.”
Delivering the 2011 University of Liberia commencement address Wednesday at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex, Vice President Boakai lamented that if this trend is not put under control, the nation’s youth will be left with no other alternative but to follow this path.
Speaking on the theme: “Character Building: A Challenge for Post-war graduates, the Liberian Vice President cautioned the graduates against acts that would haunt them upon graduation noting,” as you begin to knock on doors, seeking a grand entry into the future, the degree that you proudly clinch in your hand will be but a simple piece of paper if you don’t have character and integrity.”
“Do not misunderstand me, it is indeed a good thing to study and get a sound education as you have done. But I tell you that no amount of long nights of studying and no amount of diplomas or degrees can produce character and integrity,” the Vice President emphasized.
He also expressed concern about the high rate of immoral behavior and total lack of character and integrity permeating Liberian society, including lying, cheating, stealing, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of respect for human dignity and total disregard for the rule of law.
The Liberian Vice President also decried the selling of grades and bribery in Liberian schools , including higher institutions of learning and within the larger society, noting, “In fact, some professors today find it easier to administer true or false exams since it makes grading a cakewalk, not considering the need for assessing students’ mastery of written expression and the use of proper grammar,” he added.
Vice President Boakai also lamented the aura false pretence permeating Liberian society, and cited the mushrooming of organizations during the just-ended presidential and legislative elections. “Intellectuals for the re-election of Ellen; Kitchen workers for the re-election of Ellen…Nine out of ten times, the President and I knew that these individuals and organizations were made up of the same people, and worse of all, they had no intention to actually campaign or do anything other than receive money and campaign materials,” Vice President Boakai observed.
He challenged parents and teachers to instill in their children and students the virtues of integrity noting, “The values that we seek today to build a new Liberia cannot be established or created in a day, a semester or year. They must have been institutionalized and built in our character over time. Like our religion, sound morals and ethical behavior must become a way of life…”
The Vice President also challenged the graduates to strive to be Liberian men and women of noble character.
He also decried the tendency of vendors to change prices depending on who is buying, buying of stolen phones even by people who frown on snatching phones,  embellishing resumes  to get jobs under false pretense, the trading of votes for money, knowingly purchasing land which title deeds belong to another person, or land sellers re-selling properties the titles of which they had to relinquish because the legitimate title deed owner has not yet constructed a home on the property.
Lamenting further, Vice President Boakai asked: ”Who is more guilty, the police who  receives the ‘small cold water, the ones using their  badges as hunting licenses or the one who offers the bribe?”
He also condemned tricks certain professionals engage in to fleece well-meaning citizens of their hard-earned money, like mechanics who deliberately sabotage customers’ vehicles  simply for them to return the next day.
“I  fear that Liberian society is gradually getting to a point where we see acts of dishonesty as acceptable practices in our society. But dishonesty, like cancers, can eat the moral fabric of our society and organizations, especially if leaders explicitly and implicitly condone the acts,” Vice President noted, and cited the looting of materials for a university built by aid money and tools used for bridge construction stolen by would be users.         
He challenged the graduates to summon the moral courage to hold their ideals above themselves when confronted with issues of morality noting, “Your character will be defined by the judgment you make on issues that you will encounter.”
During the Convocation ceremony, the University of Liberia conferred on Vice President Boakai a Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters in Education. 1,862 graduates were awarded degrees in various disciplines at this year’s commencement convocation.