Magazine article New African

Urey, the New Face on the Block

Magazine article New African

Urey, the New Face on the Block

Article excerpt

Rev Sando E. Townsend (pictured above) is the moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Liberia. For a time, he was Benoni Urey's pastor in his hometown of Careysburg. Here, Rev Townsend talks about the electoral chances of the man he had known closely for many years.

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Q: There are people who say Liberia has seen a lot of changes in the past 10 years, do you agree?

Yes, a lot has happened over the period. At least, one big difference is that we now have peace; in fact we celebrated 10 years of peace a few months ago. Now people can go about their normal business, and more people are getting jobs, and getting back on their feet.

However, even though the government is doing its best to take care of the roads and the general infrastructure, people say this development is not reaching down to them as they are not feeling the impact in their personal lives.

Another big problem is the dual currency system, the simultaneous use of the Liberian dollar and the US dollar in this country. The high exchange rate between the two currencies adversely affects the prices of goods and services, and creates real hardships for ordinary Liberians. I think the government has to decide; either it solves the problem by strengthening the Liberian dollar, or we scrap the Liberian dollar and use the US dollar only.

Q: What do you think of Benoni Urey, who says he will run for president in 2017. Will he make a good leader?

Liberia has been recycling politicians for decades. But I said recently that the person who might end up as the president of this country in 2017 might come from the blind side. You know in driving, sometimes a vehicle is next to you but because you can't see it in the wing mirror, you don't notice it.

All of a sudden Benoni Urey is in the race. He is a new figure, a new face on the block. A lot of people will be questioning his credibility and what he will bring to the table. Because he is a new face, people would want to know who he is. Urey is a Presbyterian, one of my members, who attends the branch in (Careysburg. Before I came here, I served as pastor at the church in Careysburg, so I can say I have some intimate knowledge about him. …

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