President Sirleaf Dedicates Development Projects in Margibi and Bong Counties; Becomes First Liberian President to Visit Piata Town
(MONROVIA, LIBERIA – Tuesday, August 14, 2012) President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf dedicated development projects in Margibi and Bong Counties amidst massive celebrations from the residents of the two counties.
On Monday, August 13, the Liberian President was in the two counties to officially dedicate, symbolically, 25 boreholes, as well the new Totota/Piata road and a modern concrete bridge that links Totota to the town of Piata in Sarnoyea District, Bong County.
Speaking at the symbolic dedicatory ceremony of the boreholes at the Presidential Palace in Kakata, President Sirleaf, who is also Africa’s Goodwill Ambassador on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), declared that she was exceedingly pleased to dedicate the boreholes because water is vital to life and health.
“I was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for Water and Sanitation because Liberia has so much water; but, unfortunately, we deliver very little water to the people. This is a situation we are trying to correct by the construction of these boreholes”, the President told the citizens of Margibi. The symbolic dedication of the boreholes in Kakata marks the launch of the borehole project in five counties, namely, Montserrado, Bomi, Gbarpolu, Margibi and Grand Cape Mount.
President Sirleaf told the citizens that the boreholes project is aimed at improving the ugly record of providing very little water to the people, and also help to improve sanitation which is also bad. She told the residents of Kakata that it was now time for Liberians to roll up their sleeves and work for the uplifting of the country, adding that nobody else will do so for us.
She indicated that in the next three years, those who are not prepared to work must get out of the way because its development time in Liberia.
Speaking earlier, Margibi County Superintendent John Buway and Senator Oscar Cooper thanked the President for her efforts aimed at providing safe drinking water for the people of Margibi County, and called on the citizens to help protect the development.
Senator Cooper told his compatriots that Government’s water program is not limited to boreholes as Margibi is among five other counties targeted to benefit from a pipe-borne water program in the country.
The two officials informed President Sirleaf that the county will add an additional 25 boreholes from its Social Development Fund once the fiscal budget is passed.
Also speaking at the occasion, Deputy Public Works Minister, Steven Yekeson, and Program Delivery Unit Senior Officer, Amos Siebo, told the gathering that a total of 65 boreholes will be constructed in the five counties, at an estimated cost of US$186,000. The project, financed by the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs, comes as a result of a commitment made by President Sirleaf.
During the dedication of the Totota-Piata road and a modern concrete bridge in Sarnoyea District, Bong County, later, President Sirleaf stated reasons for celebrating the cutting of the ribbon. She named citizens’ participation and cooperation in developmental initiatives; local talents and performance, as demonstrated by the two local Liberian construction companies; partnership as shown with the Liberia/Swedish partnership on the Feeder Road Project; and also a celebration for officials who carry out instructions and promises from the President, as demonstrated by Public Minister Kofi Woods and his team.
In response to earlier comments made by the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Public Works, Senator Cooper, and a representative of Solid Rock and West Wood Corporation – the two local companies that carried out the construction – the Liberian leader identified two issues she pledged to address, one being the disadvantages faced by local contractors.
She also encouraged the residents of the area to take agriculture seriously now that the district has a brand new road. “Now that we have built for you a new road, let me challenge you to help maintain the road and bridge by brushing the side of the road and your towns regularly and avoid actions that will undermine the concrete bridges,” the Liberian leader concluded.
For his part, Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods informed President Sirleaf and citizens of Sarnoyea District that the intent of the project was to demonstrate how the work the Ministry does, impacts on the people, adding that the residents of the area have walked on logs across violent rivers and creeks to get to the towns and villages since 1982. He told the gathering that the completion of the road project was a promise fulfilled.
During the 2011 presidential and legislative elections, President Sirleaf promised the citizens in Sarnoyea and Piata town a brand new road and a modern concrete bridge to connect their towns and villages.
Minister Woods noted that, following the completion of the road, transport fares to the areas have dropped considerably, with one town experiencing a drop from L$650 to L$200, and wondered if this, too, was not a reduction of poverty.
He also indicated that the over 16 log bridges along the route are being transformed to concrete ones to enable the free and safe movement of citizens across every county. He urged Liberians to abandon the crab syndrome of pulling each other and everything down, and to adopt the crane syndrome by lifting each other and everything up.
Earlier, Representative Corpu Barclay, Elder James Mulbah and Senate Standing Committee Chair on Public Works, Oscar Cooper, thanked President Sirleaf for working to take development to the people. They urged them to remain patient as the Government is doing everything possible to improve their well-being.
The team leader of the Liberia/Swedish Feeder Road Project, Mr. Belal Hussein, informed President Sirleaf and the citizens in Bong County that since 2006, the people of Sweden have invested a total of US$31 million in the project. He also pointed out that, already, a total of 197km of feeder roads (105.7km in Bong and 91.3km in Lofa) have been rehabilitated, along with 16 reinforced concrete bridges, 7 box culverts and 245 reinforced pipe culverts constructed.
The 56.80km Totota-Piata road, the 22.3km Gboyea-Kankalanata road, along with the 30-meter-long Piata concrete bridge cost US$886,199. President Sirleaf is the only Liberia leader to visit Piata town since 1847.
Mr. Jerolinmek Matthew Piah