President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf says she’s impressed with ongoing development projects expected to be dedicated in Bomi County as part of this year’s Independence Day celebration.
Bomi is co-hosting, along with neighboring Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu Counties, the nation’s 166th Independence Anniversary Celebration, in continuation of the President’s Decentralization Policy.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader, speaking on Saturday, June 14, shortly after an inspection tour, said projects are now moving faster to meet the target dates for dedication. “The progress I see today is by far improved than when I last inspected these very projects in early April, and I want to thank all of you, irrespective of status,” the President told jubilant citizens of Bomi.
The projects inspected include: the Klay and Guei Town Bridges along the Monrovia-Tubmanburg Highway; a guest house in Klay; and a market building being constructed in Gbah Town by the Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund, a non-governmental organization working to improve the welfare of market women in Liberia.
Engineers constructing the two bridges informed President Sirleaf that they would be completed by June 25, 2013 and would be ready for dedication in July.
The Liberian leader also inspected other Tubmanburg projects like the official residence of the County Superintendent, the Presidential Palace, the Chief’s Compound and the regional headquarters of the West African Examination Council (WAEC). However, these are not projects earmarked for dedication during this year’s Independence Anniversary celebration.
President Sirleaf said she was particularly impressed with citizens’ participation, which she saw as indicative that the people of Bomi are taking ownership of the celebration.
She mentioned Senators Sando Johnson and Lahai Gbabye Lansana, House Speaker Alex Tyler, and new Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly all from Bomi County and all of whom are engaged in constructing private properties. Madam Sirleaf noted, “I know these properties are owned privately, but they are equally going to help with accommodation and it’s a form of investment, as in the case of Senator Johnson who has already completed two guest houses, and this is welcoming.”
President Sirleaf also praised the ordinary residents of the county for their role in making the celebration a success by their active involvement as contractors hire them daily.
During her tour of western Liberia in March, President Sirleaf called on citizens of the three counties hosting this year’s celebrations to play their role in making the 166th Independence Anniversary meaningful in terms of infrastructural development.
The citizens, chanting “United We Stand, Divided We Fall,” told the Liberian leader that they were motivated by her repeated calls for their participation, which they said is paying off economically. “Thank you, Madam President, for your encouragement,” said Mr. Paul Somah, the head of the sub-contractors, who added, “Sometimes all is not about money, but a commitment to one’s own heritage that matters greatly. This is why we are all here as sub-contractors, making sure that the projects are finished on time.” He responded to the President when she donated rice and cash to the contractors.
Earlier, Superintendent Samuel Brown updated the President on the challenges and prospects in getting the projects completed on schedule. Although the challenges were many, he said that the county leadership, including the Legislative Caucus, is aware of the need to work together in ensuring success. Through this collaboration, they had now completed over 60 percent of the projects. Superintendent Brown expressed optimism for the timely completion of the projects, with the availability of funds being drawn from the County’s Development Fund.
For the Presidential Palace, which is being funded by the General Services Agency (GSA), its Director-General, Mrs. Pearine Davis-Parkinson promised its timely completion, as well as the Guest House attached to it.
President Sirleaf is expected to continue inspecting development projects earmarked for dedication in the host counties during the Independence Anniversary, when she travels to Bopolu on Saturday, June 22.
Before arriving in Bomi County, the Liberian leader inspected dormitory facilities at Bromley Mission and Ricks Institute, both in Virginia, outside Monrovia. Bromley is all-girls boarding institution owned and operated by the Episcopal Church of Liberia. Ricks, a coeducational boarding school, is owned and operated by the Baptist Church in Liberia.
The projects on these campuses were undertaken by the Ministry of Gender and Development in support of girls’ education. Minister Julia Duncan-Cassell said the renovation and/or construction of the facilities demonstrate President Sirleaf’s policy on girls’ education. She said a similar project, in Gbarlatuah, Bong County, another all-girls’ boarding school is run by the Ministry of Education.
The Administrator of Ricks Institute, Dr. Olu Menjay, lauded the Gender Ministry for the partnership, and promised to honor his side of the agreement that will see more girls enrolled at the institution at the expense of the Ministry.
Accompanying President Sirleaf on the inspection tour were Internal Affairs Minister Dukuly; Gender Minister Duncan Cassell; Education Minister Etmonia David-Tarpeh and GSA Director-General Davis-Parkinson.