Home Governance “I Am Leaving As A Happy Man” … Kemayah Reflects on 3-Year Achievements As Foreign Minister

“I Am Leaving As A Happy Man” … Kemayah Reflects on 3-Year Achievements As Foreign Minister

by News Manager

MONROVIA: At the occasion making the dedication of the newly renovated Ministry of Foreign Affairs building and the launch of the revised July 2023 Passport Regulation, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Doyen of the Cabinet, Ambassador Dee Maxwell Saah Kemayah, reflected on the plethora of achievements made at the Ministry under his leadership.

The Foreign Minister said, with the support of President George Manneh Weah, his administration at the Ministry undertook several impactful reforms that changed the dynamics of the country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Speaking at the event on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, the outgoing Foreign Minister disclosed that he is delighted to serve the nation under the administration of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC), with several gains under his watch as Doyen of the Liberian Cabinet for the past 3-year.

Ambassador Kemayah said he is pleased to have served as Minister, indicating that he served diligently with pride and he is leaving the Foreign Ministry as a “Happy Man.”
“I’m truly honored to serve, and with God above, I am leaving from here very happily and as a happy man knowing of what we have done at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the short time, a little over three years as Minister of Foreign Affairs,” he said.
“I’ve got nothing to regret about exiting the stage, nothing absolutely,” he noted.
Minister Kemayah recounted a number of achievements including the launch of the revised July 2023 Passport Regulations and 4th Edition (revised August 2023) of the Foreign Service Manual of the Republic of Liberia.
The occasion was attended by an array of government officials, including President George Manneh Weah and Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, Internal Affairs Minister, Varney Sirleaf among others.

“The renovation, Mr. President, is in line with our reforms which I usually referred to as uncompromising, irreversible and irrevocable and that will be enforced until I happily exit on January 22, 2024,” he emphasized.
He said despite other undertakings such as the renovation work to give the Ministry a facelift, which is the external face of the country, there are a number of reforms he initiated and implemented at various intervals, pointing specifically to the revision of the issue of Honorary Consul Generals, which according to him, brought commendation from foreign colleagues and the country’ development partners.
He said after a rigorous exercise, the number of Honorary Consul Generals which has been an issue of concern was brought to only five; four in the maritime sector and only one in Kenya.

Minister Kemayah also spoke about a decision the government took at the time to close down the Liberian honorary consulate in Minnesota, in the United States, which he said was highly politicized by detractors of the government without understanding that the decision later paid off as the diplomatic presence in Minnesota has now been upgraded to almost the status of a full embassy status.
“When we cancelled the services of the consulate in Minnesota,” the Foreign Minister further reflected, “it was a big issue. Our citizens were not happy and we knew at the time that the issue was politicized. We wanted it to be on par with a full-fledged embassy.
“I am pleased to inform you that the career diplomatic status for Liberia’s representation in Minnesota has been approved by the United States Department. The rent was paid; staff for the consulate in Minnesota has been issued visas by the US Embassy in Liberia.”
He said diplomatic postings of foreign service personnel will now have a two-year duration and at most 3 years at which the personnel will return home to serve at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs awaiting for possible re-posting to another mission under similar terms and conditions.
He also said Liberia is the only country or among the very few where diplomatic passports are paid for but under the new regulations, the process will be institutionalized and there will be no cost to the beneficiary just as he said the duration of the Liberian passport has been synchronized with the sub-region and will now be for a 6-year duration.
Updating the audience on the Ministry’s renovation work, Ambassador Kemayah stated that the new renovation includes the installation of three elevators, customarily built by an Italian company and each of them has the capacity to keep functioning for 45 minutes when there is a power outage.
He defended his stewardship and every decision he took at the time, vowing to repeat similar things when given another opportunity because he believes that was what he could do to get the results he wanted.
“Even though we took decisions as a team but when the execution aspect comes, it appears like you along take the decision; but I am unmoved especially with my enviable reform process,” he said further.
According to him, he worked along with his able team at the Ministry to close the operations of what he called “the cartels” and other bad practices at the Ministry under his reform agenda.
Minister Kemayah was also quick to mention that he was glad and very pleased with the renovation work at the Foreign Ministry, adding, “I have done my work and set the stage for my predecessor.”
He praised President Weah whom he called a “true leader” for the opportunity given him to serve his government, adding that his family would eternally be grateful to the President for such confidence reposed in him throughout the various capacities served.
President Weah, who spoke later on at the occasion said that he was pleased with the renovation works, commended Minister Kemayah and team for the excellent work.
“I am proud of you, Minister Kemayah, for your astute and exemplary leadership. Minister Kemayah has proven that something can come from Nazareth,” President Weah said.
The Liberian leader said though the country is undergoing transition, it was still the duty of the government to execute every project within its time limits and that those that may not be completed will be overtaken by the next administration.
He urged Liberians to strive for peace, one of the cardinal objectives his government was able to achieve during his tenure.
Earlier, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Administration Mrs. Comfort Thelma Sawyer welcomed guests at the program and thanked President Weah for the inspiration he has given to the team at the ministry under Minister Kemayah.
Also speaking at the occasion, Ambassador Beng Yela Augustine Gang of Cameroon and Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps said the international community was pleased to identify with the lofty project.
He thanked Minister Kemayah “who has shown a strong character to step up the game at this Ministry and we had no doubt that he was up to the task in the midst of all the challenges and competing needs”.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Liberia Madam Christine Umutoni said, she was excited to be at the dedicatory program and as partners, her office would continue to always appreciate the relationship that exists between the government of Liberia and the UN system.

She commended Liberians for the maturity and seriousness they attached to the just concluded democratic process.

Given the overview of the project, John Youboty, the Managing Director of MDMC, contractor of the project said, the project was divided in two phases. According to him, first one had to do with the complete renovation of the 6th floor and installation of the 3 elevators.

He said the elevators which came late could not be installed as expected on time but will now be installed during the weekend.
He said the second phase was the renovation work from the 5th floor and down to the ground floor which is ongoing. The project cost valued over US$3.5 million
He said except for some minor works, almost everything in the second phase has been completed.

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