Following comments that he was appalled by how “dirty” and “disgusting” Monrovia is, despite donor support to clean the city, the Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Liberia, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse has apologized to the Government of Liberia and anyone feeling misrepresented by these remarks, thus expressing his willingness to retract the exaggerated wording that he used.
Ambassador Delahousse stated these comments were meant as a wake-up call to Monrovians to change their practices of littering and to improve the waste management system that is financially supported by the European Union and implemented by the city, community-based enterprises and SMEs and other stakeholders.
He clarified that in no way were his remarks intended to disparage anyone or to affect the reputation of the beautiful capital city of Liberia.
He added that in no way was his intention to take a political stance that would be absolutely contrary to his ethics and mission as a diplomat.
“This Tuesday morning at the Monrovia City Forum on Solid Waste Management, I shared in my public remarks some impressions on the situation of waste collection in the city that I have felt since my arrival in Liberia a year ago.
“I confirm my engagement and that of the European Union on the side of the City of Monrovia and the Government of Liberia to improve the lives of the citizens of the capital city and of all Liberians.”
Ambassador Delahousse told the forum organized by the Monrovia City Council on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 that he was ”a bit surprised” by what he saw when he arrived a year ago.
“Monrovia is a disgusting city, it is a dirty city,” he said.
“Of all the capitals I have seen in my previous posts in Africa, I have not seen one that is as dirty as yours,” he added.
He went on to urge city officials to address the crisis, and to account for the money received from donors and the taxes collected from businesses.
“A clean city is an asset; it creates jobs and probably that is what Liberia needs most,” he said.
The EU envoy joined other speakers in telling the city council that decorating Monrovia every now and again was not enough when the issue of sanitation remains a serious problem.
For his part, Monrovia City Mayor, Jefferson Koijee told the forum that waste management in the over-crowded city was a major challenge.
But he noted that with more support from donor partners like the European Union they would continue to tackle the problem.
There has been huge support from the donor community for the upkeep of Monrovia over the years, but the city has remained filthy with heaps of rubbish seen all over the place and some remaining on the streets for weeks.