Provide Evidence to the Contrary, not just Sheer Denial

By Frederick Varney

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

June 14, 2004


I am constrained by time to lately respond to Harry Greaves’ article: A Response To The Analyst Newspaper's "Graduation spree or State visit?" Article. Mr. Greaves sadly failed to address the key issue at stake in the Analyst June 1st 2004 (Vol.5 #125) edition. The Analyst claimed that Varney Sherman, Harry Greaves and others were in the United States on Liberian Government expense as members of Chairman Gyude Bryant's delegation. The burden of prove rests on the accused, Greaves and his colleague, Varney Sherman. But when the evidence, as presented by Mr. Greaves, comes in the form of mere denial and boastfulness, rather than empirical evidence such attitude lends more creditability to the story. Whether it is a fact or a fiction as presented by The Analyst, Greaves ought to have ably presented sufficient facts to prove to the contrary rather than bragging about his daughters and “his messianic” Harvard graduate, Attorney Varney Sherman’s academic achievements.

We live in a technology world; Greaves ought to know this, and not in the William Tubman and Sgt. Doe eras where emotions, lies, denials, deceits and innuendo were used to define the livelihood of the Liberian society. Greaves and his much-heralded presidential aspirant, Varney Sherman, should embark on the business of clearing the doubts of the Liberian people by making available the airline’s copy of the voucher or receipts (tickets) for publication via electronic or print media, including the Internet, since it has do with the test of their sincerity to Liberian People.

Sherman, I understand, was queried in Minnesota about the same ticket issue. Some one wanted to know who actually sponsored Mr. Sherman trip to the States. And the question came verbatim from the inquirer to Mr. Sherman- “Who purchase your ticket to the States?” Instead of Mr. Sherman directly answering the question, he too chose, like his friend Greaves, to brag about his wealth and achievement as a corporate lawyer. He went on narrating a litany of his financial strengths- how he can afford his own ticket-after all he has more money- he doesn't need to rely on government for such thing as airfare, etc. While Mr. Sherman may have more money as he claimed, he ought to know that man is naturally an insatiable creature. The more one gets the more he becomes desperately thirsty, particularly when it comes to that “circular-medium of exchange”- MONEY. Being a successful corporate lawyer doesn't make one a saint. It is not forbidden (crime) for government to finance the trip of these gentlemen; if only such a trip were in the interests of government, the entire story would have lent to past by now. But when one see the “corporate lawyer” all over the States addressing group of Liberians about his plans for the Liberian Presidency when he should have actually been confined to the UN head office in New York, this leaves more skepticism and distrust about the caliber of men seeking the high office.

If Sherman and his colleagues can fail to subtly address the Liberian people on such a treacherous move that has the tendency of ruining their political careers, what will one expect of them when they are entrusted with the running of the country? Our old people used to say, “If the unborn (baby) begins to deceive the mother, how much more will the mother expect of him if he is delivered”? Today it is about plane tickets; tomorrow may have the rest to speak for itself. Once the high office is grasped, the rest will fall in line, and then everyone may feel reluctant to march forward to Successfulville – Liberia’s newest village under construction by Gyude Bryant. Some may even say had we known? Sorry, but too late? That is what experimentation does.

Leadership is not about experimenting; a novice is indeed a novice no matter how one glosses him. Too often Liberians have found solace in gambling the future of their own country. No Liberian was ever ignorant to Charles Taylor insanity; but majority felt he would have changed even after murdering thousands of his fellow countrymen in the name of power. Similarly, people felt Alhaji Kromah, “Dr” Boley and the rest of the other chief killers would have dismantled their killing machines once the mansion was given them as a ransom for peace. The result was deadly; they collectively fostered their destructive agenda. Monrovia was devastated and severely littered with corpses, in April 1996, thereby unveiling the strength of their leadership skills. In recycling the same mistake, Bryant, a literal novice to public sector operations, was crowned neutral businessman and head of government by bunch of ruthless killers and “Jobseekers/politicians” in Accra- Ghana.

With an advertised title, “Successful Business Man”, just as his friend, Varney Sherman, is now being referred to in some quarters- “Successful Corporate Lawyer”; Bryant has shown to many Liberians what it means to be a successful and neutral businessman in Liberia. How dare could such a man, a head of a political party, a founding member of Action Party, an entrenched political element of the old order, be considered a political neutral? Only the BBC and Bryant’s fanatics owe such clarification to posterity. Now a political neutral is, even more, profoundly involved with replacing himself with his close friend and partisan than he is with the peace process. If the current allegation is not proven to the contrary, Bryant’s idea of sponsoring an overseas trip of a single presidential candidate, on a campaign mission, using the state funds evidently endangers the elections process that many foresee to be free and fair. Bryant, too, owes an explanation to the Liberian people.

“Leaders”, in the words of John W. Gardner - No Easy Victory, “have a significant role in creating a state of mind that is the society. They can serve as symbols of the moral unity of the society. They can express the values that hold the society together. Most important, they can conceive and articulate goals that lift people out of their petty preoccupations carry them above the conflicts that tear a society apart, and unite them in pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts”. But a novice, who relies on others to carry out the day- to-day operations of his office, actually lacks such characters as outlined by Professor Gardner.

There is a big disconnect between success in public sector and that of the private sector operations. There is one thing to be a CEO of Microsoft and there is quite another to be a president of a county. Achievement in the private sector doesn't necessarily translate itself into the public sector. The Liberian presidency doesn't deserve another novice. Liberians need to elect someone who is honest and well acquainted with the public sector operations. Some one who has already being “there” and not some one who simply thrives on a record of single-handedly running a firm that wins him bread for survival. A simple test of honesty, regarding this ticket issue, is the defining moment for Sherman and the Greaves. Otherwise the “Greaves” might make us to grieve the slow passing of our country, economically, once they take control of government. The challenge is theirs to make public evidence that will prove contrary to The Analyst claim.