By Edwin G. Wandah
Citizens of District #10 in Montserrado County, Peace Island, are said to be divided over land dispute. Sometimes ago, District #10 Representative, Julius Berran, requested the Council of Elders of the area for a land to construct a high school to assist with the educational endeavor of the area.
Last Saturday, when Representative Berran Kicked off his project, several persons, including youths, women and children in the area were seen protesting why the Elder Council gave the land to the Representative.
When this paper visited the area (Peace Island) yesterday and spoke with several persons, the residents said that they were not consulted by the elders.
Peace Island is a community with more than 25,000 persons, who have temporary residence status, comprising the entire 16 ethnic groups.
“We believe the Elder Council should have cited the community prior to giving the land to Representative Berran. We are not against the Elder Council’s decision to giving the land to the lawmaker, but our most disappointment was, receiving money for the sale of the land,” Ali Musa and Derry Hamilton stated.
“My brother, thank God that you are here, our elders got these land they called Administrative land only to sell it to people. For us, the benefits that comes to the community matters. There were other people who got land in the same way, but are using it for their own purpose,” Musu Kamara stated.
Although, the situation remains uncertain, others believe the action of the Elder Council was right. “We are disappointed over the action of the community dwellers protesting against the elders. The lawmaker could have gone to other community and build this school, but coming to Peace Island was in fulfillment of the Representative’s campaign message of building a school and living with the Peace Islanders,” Mark Gonkarnue Yekarzuah stated.
When contacted by this paper, Representative Berran said he went to fulfill his 2011 campaign message to the people.
“I told my people that I was to come back and fulfill to them the promise I made during the elections; I must thank the Elder Council for their supports, the women and the entire citizenry for standing with me during the elections that brought me here,” Rep. Berran stated.
When our reporter spoke with the Chairman of Peace Island, Prince Ben, he said the land in question was given to Representative Julius Berran on an agreement made between him and the community on ground that he was going to build a school and his private residence.
Also, the Advisor to the Council of Elders, Peter Kogar, blamed the Council of Elders for the lack of communication. According to him, the residents were not aware of the agreement made between the Representative and the Council of Elders.
Mr. Kogar said the previous agreement was for the lawmaker to build his private residence because the community residents fear that their lawmaker may claim the property should in case he would no longer be their lawmaker.