The Liberian International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR), the
US-headquartered operator of the Liberian ship register, has welcomed
pledges of international support - many of them from major shipowning
nations - for the reconstruction of Liberia.
At the International Reconstruction Conference on Liberia, held at United
Nations Headquarters in New York last week, a total of $520 million was
pledged to help Liberia meet a host of reconstruction and humanitarian needs
over the next two years.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the two-day meeting that Liberia had
arrived at a moment of hope, and that the conference was meant to
demonstrate international solidarity with Liberia at a decisive moment. US
Secretary of State Colin Powell, meanwhile, in describing the United States
as "Liberia's best and oldest friend," said peace in Liberia was critical to
peace and well-being throughout West Africa. "The United States will stand
by Liberia," promised Powell.
Tom Kitt, EU Minister of State for Development Co-operation and Human
Rights, said the European Union would not be found wanting in its support.
Government ministers from France, Sweden, the UK and Japan were also among
those who pledged their support to help the recovery, reconstruction and
long-term development of Liberia. And a spokesman for the World Bank said
that Liberia was setting out to create a culture of transparency,
accountability and inclusion.
G Gyude Bryant, Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia,
assured the meeting that the country's limited resources would go towards
the purpose for which they were intended, and that his government was
committed to putting transparency and accountability mechanisms in place.
At a Washington, DC luncheon reception at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill
hosted by LISCR, Bryant revealed that his Government, since its incumbency
last October, had received almost $5.5m in ship registration fees under the
maritime programme. The maritime funds had allowed the Government of Liberia
to pay in full all the salaries outstanding to Liberian civil servants. He
concluded, "We want to assure all those concerned, including governments and
organisations, the United Nations
, and those shipowners whose support is so
essential, that funds paid to Liberia through the Maritime and Corporate
Registry programme will be properly accounted for through proper checks and
balances, including audits by reputable international accounting firms, and
used for the development and other legitimate programmes of the Government
Yoram Cohen, ceo of LISCR, speaking at the luncheon said, "The Liberian
Registry, as well as being an important contributor to world trade, is the
heritage of the Liberian people, one that provides Liberia with
international standing. It deserves the continuing support of shipowners who
appreciate the reality of the situation and the contribution they can make
to Liberia's return to stability and democracy.
confirmation of the UN-backed Transitional Government's
commitment to transparency and accountability. This commitment in support
of the strong ship register, which has been properly administered by LISCR,
can only augur well for the long-term recovery of Liberia and its people to
democracy, prosperity and peace."