Authorities of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Liberia over the weekend honored, certificated, and gowned United Nations Development Program (UNDP)’s outgoing Resident Representative Stephen Rodriques for his contributions to the environmental sector of Liberia.
EPA Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh presented a certificate of appreciation to Mr. Rodriques on behalf of the Board of Directors, Management, and Staff of the Agency at a dinner held in his (Rodriques) honor at Cape Hotel in Monrovia.
Flanked by some members of the senior management team, Prof. Tarpeh said Mr. Rodriques has transformed the relationship between UNDP, as an implementing entity and the EPA.
“We are here in a small but special way to say Stephen thank you. Thank you on behalf of the Board of the EPA, the management, and the staff of the EPA for the level of collaboration you were able to attain,” Tarpeh said.
He disclosed that when the met Mr. Rodriques for the first time two years ago, he had thought that his twins’ brother had been resurrected because they share similarities.
He described Mr. Rodriques “as a friend, brother, and a trusted partner.”
Prof. Tarpeh hopes UNDP continues its support and collaboration with the EPA without Mr. Rodriques.
In a statement, the outgoing UNDP Resident Representative disclosed that the relationship between UNDP and EPA has increased under the leadership of Prof. Tarpeh.
Speaking at the farewell dinner Representative Rodriques described Prof. Tarpeh as his ‘twins brother’ and said they have had a warm relationship since he arrived in Liberia.”
“It has been easy to talk, we have the same minds,” the UNDP outgoing resident representative said pointing at Prof. Tarpeh wearing a smile.
Mr. Rodriques continued, “It has been an absolute pleasure and blessing to work with you”.
“The partnership between EPA and UNDP has intensified under your leadership. It’s you and your team and my team. I want to recognize them. We have always had the intents of Liberia,” Mr. Rodriques emphasized.
He disclosed that he had always felt at home while serving in Liberia knowing that First Lady Clar Marie Weah is from Jamaica and that President Weah loves Jamaica, where he hails from.
Mr. Rodriques arrived in Liberia during COVID 19 upsurge.
He narrated that while on his way from the airport, he saw many ‘brothers and sisters’ who look similar to people back home in Jamaica.
According to him, the first people he met here were a Jamaican family who had migrated here.
He also recalled having cordial working relations with Mines and Energy Minister Gesler E. Murray who he called a fatherly figure.
The outgoing UNDP Resident Representative indicated that he was warmly embraced by Minister Murray, whom he had a discussion with about the Monrovia Metropolitan Climate Coastal Resilience Project (MMCCRP) and the Sinoe Coastal Defense Project.
He appreciated Assistant Mines and Energy Minister Johnson Willabo and said he’s a pillar of power and strength.
Mr. Rodriques explained that the relationship has been incredible from the President to the Chief Justice and the National Elections Commission and Minister of Internal Affairs.
The outgoing UNDP Representative said he’s leaving with a heavy heart and disclosed that his biggest regret is the duration of his time in Liberia.
“I was negotiating to stay until after the elections and I want to see the MMCCRP break ground and the construction started, but I take comfort in the fact that the leadership of Prof. Tarpeh and Minister Murray and the strong team that I am leaving back will carry this forward and what was started will continue and it will benefit the people. May God bless Mama Liberia,” he concluded.
Also speaking, Minister Murray thanked Mr. Rodriques for his services which he described as exceptional.