By Alva M. Wolokolie from Tubmanburg City
Finishing touches are taking place in Tubmanburg, Bomi County on facilities to be used during activities marking the 166th Independence Anniversary of the country.
Bomi County is one of the counties selected to host this year’s Independence celebrations along with Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu Counties.
From all indications, Bomi can now beat its chest for at least witnessing the rehabilitation of roads, streets in the city backed by the planting of light poles.
Bomi with its capital named Tubmanburg in honor of Liberia’s longest serving President William V.S. Tubman from January 3, 1944-July 23, 1971. The county was created by an Act of the Legislature in the 80s, as one of the newest political sub-divisions of the country during the regime of the late President Samuel K. Doe.
When the INQUIRER decided to tour the county on Wednesday, July 24, 2013, to observe the level of preparation and completion of projects for the July 26 celebration, there were series of projects ready and awaiting the dedication by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on or before the actual celebration. In some places, there are works still ongoing but it is now done with speed to meet up with time. Perhaps this could be attributed to the delay of funds disbursed by the Ministry of Finance.
From an independent analysis, progress is being made on the opening and rehabilitation of streets while light poles have already been planted. The Presidential Palace or Guest House has been completed along with the newly Civil Servants Agency (CSA) head office. County officials are optimistic that this is set to commence the celebration as scheduled.
Citizens are in high gear discussing and planning how to go about with the festivity because according to them, the selection of their county is an opportunity that they cannot afford to miss.
But unfortunately, there are media reports that police officers assigned in the three counties are disenchanted over the manner and form they are treated to celebrate the day.
It is alleged that police officers are being given US$10.00 as per diem for 7 days without salary which they the officers expected to receive before the July 26 anniversary.
The officers most of whom begged for anonymity told the INQUIRER that the situation has brought complete disgrace to them and the families. The assigned officers said, they had built their hope that central government would ensure that smiles would have come their way this July 26 but it was astonishing to know that only US$10.00 was given them to stay away from home for 7 days.
“My brother, we will just accept it and live with it because when you talk, they threaten to take you off the job. Sometimes they say we are rendering sacrifices for the country and so we either take it or leave it. I don’t want to be named so let it be so but you ask some of my colleagues around here for the story,” a nameless police officer told our reporter in Tubmanburg on Wednesday, July 24, 2013.
Meanwhile, police authorities in Monrovia have confirmed the situation and blamed it on the low allotment made to the Liberia National Police (LNP) and said the amount was given to meet the many officers assigned in those counties instead of been selected in the distribution.
The LNP authorities also explained on a local radio that the portion of the money has been used to buy food for the officers while they are on guard and gasoline for patrol operation in the three counties.
At the same time, the Ministry of State and Presidential Affairs has released the official protocol for the commemoration of Liberia’s 166th Independence Day.
In a release, the Ministry stated that the ushering of guests into the City Hall, Tubmanburg, Bomi County will commence at 8:45 ante meridian and end at 9:45 ante meridian. According to the release, with the exception of those listed in this protocol, no one will be permitted to enter after this time.
The release added that at 9:50 a.m. members of the Consular Corps will enter the City Hall and be escorted to seats reserved for them. At 9.55 a.m., the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and heads of International Organizations will enter the City Hall and be escorted to seats reserved for them.
At 10: 00 a.m. the Doyen and members of the Diplomatic Corps will enter the City Hall and be escorted to seats reserved for them, while at 10 a.m., the Dean and members of the Cabinet will enter the City Hall.
The Ministry said at 10: 25 a.m., the President Pro-tempore and Mrs. Findley, and members of the Liberian Senate of the 53rd Legislature will enter the City Hall. At 10:35 a.m. the Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court will enter the City Hall, while the Speaker and Mrs. Tyler and members of the House of Representatives will enter the City Hall.
The Ministry also announced that at 10:50 a.m., Vice President Joseph Boakai and Mrs. Boakai will enter the City Hall and at 10: 55 a.m., the Chief of Protocol will announce the arrival of the President of the Republic of Liberia.
Meanwhile, the official program will commence at 11:00 a.m. during which time the National Oration will be delivered by Cllr. H. Varney G. Sherman and at 2:30 p.m., President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will host the Independence Day Reception at the City Hall, Tubmanburg, Bomi County.