The Liberian Action Party (LAP) Presidential Candidate, Cllr. Varney Sherman, led a high-spirited delegation of campaign officials and staffers to Detroit, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio September 17-19, 2004. Members of the delegation included Mr. Henry Clements (National Chairman, Varney Sherman for President Committee), Mr. I. Rimisa Williams, Mr. Elliott Acolatse, Jr., Mr. Joe Williamson, Mr. Edet Jones and Mr. Emmett Metzger.
The first official function for Cllr. Sherman upon his arrival in Detroit, Michigan on Friday, September 17, 2004 was a private meeting with local campaign officials of Detroit and Toledo at the Tropical Hut Lounge. Cllr. Sherman and delegation received a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the group. Mr. Stanley White of Detroit and Mr. Arthur Nickerson of Toledo, individually expressed overwhelming support of Cllr. Sherman’s presidential candidacy and their willingness to promulgate the policies and visions of the campaign in their respective states. Mr. Nickerson also extended an invitation to Cllr. Sherman to visit Toledo.
Cllr. Sherman thanked the organizers and members for a fantastic organization in place for the campaign and their dedication in sharing his vision of bringing a pragmatic change to the old way of governance in Liberia. Cllr. Sherman reiterated his campaign theme of “The Enterprise”, which is an inclusive concept, where every Liberian is a stakeholder for the resources we are endowed with. There was a question and answer period following Cllr. Sherman’s brief remarks. Refreshments were served and Cllr. Sherman and delegation retired for the evening.
The following morning, Saturday, September 18, 2004, Cllr. Sherman decided to honor the request of the Toledo campaign officials. Cllr. Sherman’s delegation arrived in Toledo shortly before noon at the home of Ms. Mai Freeman. She warmly received Cllr. Sherman and delegation to her home. Mr. Arthur Nickerson officially welcomed Cllr. Sherman to Toledo and thanked him for coming.
Mr. Clements introduced the meeting and gave a status report on the campaign and the tremendous work ahead to get Cllr. Sherman elected as the next President of the Republic of Liberia. Campaign materials were distributed including videotapes, magazines, raffle tickets, logo buttons, etc. There was a question and answer period for Cllr. Sherman from members present concerning the current state of Liberia, the campaign and strategies for bringing about a change in Liberia. The Toledo meeting ended with a luncheon hosted by the Toledo campaign officials.
The hallmark of the trip was a town hall meeting and social event at the Liberian
Association Hall in Detroit, Michigan that Saturday evening. The program commenced
with a fervent prayer by Rev. Dr. Charles Boayue, Pastor of Second Grace United Methodist Church of Detroit, Michigan. Pastor Boayue prayed for Liberia and the peace
process, the ensuing presidential elections and candidates, current problems and situations in Liberia and humanity. Cllr. Sherman was very moved and inspired by the prayers that he requested a copy to use in his own spiritual journey.
Mr. Eujay Peterson, President of The Liberian Association of Michigan made welcome remarks. In his remarks, he welcomed Cllr. Sherman and his delegation to Michigan and was pleased that the meeting was being held in a hall totally owned by Liberians in Michigan. This was followed by introduction of Cllr. Varney Sherman, Presidential Candidate for LAP, by Mr. Stanley White. Mr. White introduced Cllr. Sherman as a friend going back to their childhood days growing up in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia. Mr. White enumerated several instances during this period where Cllr. Sherman stood out among his peers and others with leadership qualities. Mr. White also observed Cllr. Sherman to be very honest, responsible, kind and caring towards people.
Cllr. Sherman thanked Mr. Peterson and Mr. White for the warm welcome and was extremely pleased to see Liberians, irrespective of their politics, join together in unity to purchase the Liberian Association Hall to be utilized by all Liberians for various events. Cllr. Sherman sounded out a challenge to other Liberians throughout the United States to emulate the level of cooperation and bring about similar Liberian edifices for Liberians throughout the country.
Cllr. Sherman began his extemporaneous speech by clearly and unequivocally stating that his vision for Liberia is to set in place a “New System”- one that will change Liberia. He affirmed his passion for Liberia throughout and felt the cause to him was not only an obligation, but also a responsibility. There were numerous thunderous applauses during the speech in this jammed hall of hundreds of Liberians.
Cllr. Sherman also elaborated on his “Enterprise” initiative. This is the belief of ownership by all Liberians with everyone sharing the burdens and fruits, and not a select few. He also called for the need of revenue sharing where the source of revenue generated can also play a major role in the distribution and allocation of that revenue. Cllr. Sherman’s mission is to transform Liberia based on the rule of law. He foresees a country of checks and balances, accountability, transparency in public funds, responsibility and an even playing field.
Cllr. Sherman also challenged the gathering and Liberians in the Americas and
throughout the world to join him in rebuilding a new Liberia. He admonished
academicians from all walks of life and others in technical fields to come and
be the “middle class” in Liberia. He further asserted that there
is no true democracy without a middle class. Cllr. Sherman also admonished all
Liberians that those with residency statuses in The Americas will not be discriminated
against by his administration. As Liberians, they will be accorded the same
opportunies as their fellow Liberians in Liberia. There will be no witch hunting
of those who left before, during and after the wars. He said it would be an
even playing field.
Cllr. Sherman believes the vital role his administration will play is providing opportunities to all Liberians. He pledged to be firm, consistent and fair in his policies. He also stressed that there will be some Liberianization for certain goods and services. Cllr. Sherman immediately warned that anyone trying to undermine this program by posing as a benefactor while having other nationalities really in control in the background, would be dealt with promptly.
Cllr. Sherman entertained many questions from the audience on the electoral process, programs for education, health care, re-integration of combatants, payments of former employees of Bong Mines, etc. Cllr. Sherman patiently and honestly answered each question with facts and illustrations. In one instance, he asked if anyone who worked with Bong Mines received compensation in Liberian Dollars instead of US Dollars or knew someone who did. Some in the audience were stunned when a gentleman in the audience testified that he was paid in US Dollars as Cllr. Sherman has repeatedly said throughout the campaign.
Mr. Henry Clements gave the vote of thanks followed by the Liberian National Anthem. The evening ended with dinner, socializing and the grand march led by Cllr. Sherman.
On Sunday, September 26, 2004, Cllr. Sherman attended church services at Second Grace United Methodist Church in Detroit Michigan. Pastor Boayue and his congregation again warmly received Cllr. Sherman. Deviating from church tradition, in not allowing politicians to make statements in the church, Pastor Boayue asked Cllr. Sherman to make a brief remark. Cllr. Sherman thanked the pastor and congregation for having his delegation and him share in their worship. He thanked them for their continued prayers for Liberia and other troubled areas of the world. He asked for their continued prayers for Liberia. After service, Cllr. Sherman met with some of the congregation members.
Cllr. Sherman and delegation later had a sumptuous lunch with campaign officials
at the Tropical Hut Lounge in Detroit Michigan. There was a wrap up briefing
and Cllr. Sherman and party returned later that evening to the DC Metro area.