Baseless Rhetoric amid Dire Fuel Shortage…

“Every man decides whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness”. – Martin Luther King, Jr.  The nation is almost at a standstill - surely it is reeling from the trappings of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas festivities.

“My Christmas on you” syndrome continues unabated.  Liberians in their droves have been bundling up bits and pieces here and there – some supposedly streaming to the city center since December 1, 2012 to prey on the generosity of their compatriots, brothers and sisters or you name them. Liberians are traditionally kind-hearted people. Hmmm!

Monrovia, the selfishly built capital is swelling disproportionately to its geographic size in terms of land mass. We are grappling with too many people that are occupying so small a land space. Wow! In spite of the growing middle class making do with few fairly acquired used cars of gifts from relations mainly from the city of 10 thousand lakes – Minnesota, public transportation is over-charged while the existing vehicles are bare adequate to cope with the over-stretching population of City of Christ.

Filling stations are overwhelmed with scores of brand new, used and wretched cars queuing desperately at Petrol Stations to purchase a gallon or two. Families want to get home as the night slips away into thick darkness. We cannot ignore the ever nauseating traffic jam – hooting of car horns and violent release of carbon monoxide in the thin air. Although the Petroleum Refinery folks have been up and about doing junk styled PR, regrettably  when the wrong advisors get hired – the results would not require any rocket scientist to decipher.

Why is Nelson Williams not telling the Liberian people the truth? Has he got anything to hide? What is happening? The Liberian people have a right to know! Not rhetoric though…  Hey, this is not about managing crisis folks. This is a critical time for all Liberians – and although we all do not subscribe to Christianity but in the tolerance of our Moslem brethrens, they demonstrate a sense of espirit de corps. But do the Christians on the other hand reciprocate when Moslems observe their religious occasions? We stand to be corrected!

The situation is grave - thus leading to repercussions of unimaginable proportions. The taxi drivers who are scrambling to get some fuel at higher price would eventually pass onto their customers whatever the excess. When politicians make rhetorical comments – we can understand. What is the point? Are politicians meant to play to a gallery of slanting game like the journalists would endeavor to make a case? That is absolute nonsense! Politicians have a common agenda – to capture state power and manage state recourses at their beck and call.

Is that what we expect of our Refinery professionals? We cannot for a second expect that as it were from T. Nelson Williams and team. No amount of jazz music-styled nerve-calming will help to deliver anyone at L.P.R.C. for now. The good people of this country think they deserve better. Taking to public platform for now is not remedial. The people want solution to their problem. Do we really have petroleum products in stock to take us through this festive season? We mean sufficient enough to undo the inundated queues at petrol stations?

If admittedly there is adequate supply for the market, should we have reasons to blame petrol station owners for causing artificial shortage? Doing something or acting more pragmatically is worth the while than appearing on a network that cannot go beyond Kakata, in Margibi County. If some group of people have selected to hoarding, which is against the law, what is the Commerce Ministry doing after all? The Liberian people in this instance are being cheated in broad daylight folks. Are they being left on their own to suffocate at the peril of greedy and mischievous business people? The Commerce Ministry must sit up since the honeymoon is over.

For now, no one seems to be telling the real story that will attract the best reasoning. Yes, the frustrations, uncertainty and grimace at filling stations leave so much to be desired folks. The good people of this country decided democratically to entrust their fate in a government they elected and the governors owe they dearly. They are bound to deliver according to the wishes and aspirations of the governed.

Does T. Nelson Williams along team understand that? Do they really know that the administration was not elected to do favor but to serve the people scrupulously? Governments are not philanthropic establishments by their very nature. Owing to their make-up; they are framed to be considered government by the people, for the people and of the people.

They have a duty to fulfill the wishes of the people. Who asked to be elected? The government in which Nelson and team serve roamed every inch of this country – from helmet to helmet, village after village, from one town to another, district after district and county to county to preach the gospel of “vote us and we will bring you social, political and economic prosperity”. Campaign season has been long over – it is time for action – fulfilling promises and putting the economy on its feet.

The dust has since settled folks and this is the time to deliver. No one has said that there are angels at L.P.R.C. to make magic of some sort. No! But when good managers are put in charge of such human institution, the extent of organization backed by sound planning and programming remain crucial in every aspect.  The managers at L.P.R.C. know what is strategic planning and understand forecasting as well. Surely, they were in a better position to advise the government ahead of potential challenges as far as the present fuel shortage is concerned. Were they abreast with obtaining reality beclouding the sector? If so, what measures were put in place to avoid over-choking this festive season?

The good books have warned that “for the lack of knowledge, my people will perish”. Similarly, for the lack of proper planning and strategic thinking – disaster looms – as L.PR.C. folks have lazily condoned. The prevailing chaos of the last couple of days could have been contained if the requisite mechanisms had been put in place. L.P.R.C. works with numerous service providers and should be able to effectively monitor existing stock versus output of petroleum products. Had the necessary tracking been monitored periodically – the management would have established the availability of adequate reserves for the Christmas festivities.

Call it human error or whatever; the rippling effect of the current fuel shortage does not require any kind of brave face folks. Also, by telling it as it is – simply seeks to remind our leaders that the open and democratic society that we eagerly yearn for will only stand the test of time when our institutions of state are progressively and radically strengthened for the benefit of the people they are meant to serve. Baseless rhetoric cannot be the answer the nightmares our people are compelled to stomach. We want a solution and the time is now.


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