Liberians Must Take Responsibility!

By Armaso B. Bawn

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

March 3, 2004

Imagine yourself on that sunny or perhaps rainy Monday morning or afternoon on July 26, 1847, when the declaration of independence was being read giving birth to a new nation call Liberia.

It is exactly the same sentiment that I’ve experienced being in the Trusteeship Council Chamber of the United Nations on that Friday morning of February 6, 2004. It was like a fresh breath of air being blown into the nostril of a nation that lay in ruin as a result of 14 years of chronic war that have left over two hundred thousands Liberians dead and 24 years of economic collapse.

More importantly, we were reminded by the US Secretary of State, Colin Power and other speakers that “this is a day that may never come again” a day that brought the world together in a single setting to raise money for a tiny African nation call Liberia. Moreover, every high level speaker also reminded us that the world can raise money for the reconstruction of Liberia, but Liberians must take responsibility for building their own country.

That phrase, “Liberians must take responsibility for building their own country” has many interpretations. In my view, it meant that you could not take an old wine and pour it into a new bottle and expect it to taste like a new wine. It meant that you could not expect a corporation to be successful when its CEO has a record of failure with every corporation he/she has run. It meant that the world body could not select a leader for us, as Liberians must ultimately choose a leader and decide our own destiny. It meant that we must never forget our recent past as it is fraught with failure, but accords us an opportunity to improve.

What does this conference really mean to me? Friends, I can really boast that Liberia shall rise again. God is a God of second chance, and Liberia has been given a second chance to take her rightful place among the community of nations. She is once again given the chance to help the Sub-Saharan African countries obtain economic freedom as she once did with their political freedom.

Liberia is about to be blessed as she has never been blessed before, but the blessing is not hers to keep. Prosperity looms all over the place but it is to be shared. Our newly found prosperity will require hands on management not just a college degree to ensure the level of growth that will sustain economic life in our darling Liberia.

My conviction is and will continue to be, that a person with a Harvard’s degree with no prior experience is likely to run a candy store to the ground, therefore, we must begin to place emphasis on practical experience rather than a college degree if Liberia is to be transformed into a 21st Century country.

This is what the conference meant to me.

About the Author: Mr. Armaso B. Bawn is currently the president of the Liberian Community of Georgia. He is also President/CEO of the Mesurado Group, Inc., a real estate and financial investment corporation. Mr. Bawn has worked in the private sector as a VP of Finance of a New York based company. He holds an MBA with emphasis in Accounting and Finance and a Master degree in Management Information System.