Unfortunately, leaders and officials of Bong County in Central Liberia could not put themselves in the most appropriate frame of mind for a sober reflection on Bong County @ 50- either before or on Saturday, January 18, 2014. The thinking of our leaders-Superintendent, Senators and Representatives, may have even been too far from organizing the necessary program, forum (at hatai centers or schools) or radio interviews/talk shows as a requirement to commemorate a ‘Golden Jubilee’ for a county they claim to dearly love-the land of their nativity. No-no; they and their supporters should not even misconstrue me to suggest that I am against them-no; I am not. It’s just to remind them as our leaders about their responsibilities to us-the people they serve at the moment.
In 1964, Bong County graduated from the status of one of the territories of the Central Province of Liberia to become one of our country’s fifteen political subdivisions under the administration of the Late President William V.S. Tubman-Liberia’s 18th President. As a county ideally situated in the heart of the Liberian nation, its greatest and most enjoyable moments were during the astute and progressive leadership of the late Superintendent James Y. Gbargbea, Sr.-the first Superintendent of Bong County after its establishment on January 18, 1964. Superintendent Gbargbea’s administration, backed by the lawmakers tehn, was not only characterized by openness, but tremendous progress towards the development of the country as evidenced by the construction of the Gbarnga administration building, the various streets of Gbarnga, as well as schools, among others for which he was admired by the late President.
But the same envy, deceit, hatred, as well as undermining, lies among other hindrances to unity among us and our leaders currently, rendered Gbargbea as a political casualty of Tubman’s authoritarianism to the amusement of a few senior Bong County citizens and officials, who later succeeded him.
Development further became more progressive in Bong County under the late Superintend Joseph Kolleh Yorwateh during the administration of Liberia’s most progressive President, the Rev. Dr. William Richard Tolbert, Jr.-with improvements of the streets of Gbarnga, construction of farm-to-market roads, the establishment of the Bong County Agriculture development project or BCADP, Small Holders Rice Seed Project, the ‘Native Mansion (Presidential palace), Gboveh Multipage High School, as well as the Gbarnga Sports Stadium, full-time electricity, among others. These were all major infrastructural growth and developments achieved under Superintendents Gbargbea and Yorwateh as the direct result of their high leadership qualities/characteristics supported by the will power of Bongese who believed in togetherness without vices as the way forward for the county’s development.
While a few of us-Bong County citizens, still hold the administrations of James Y. Gbargbea, Sr. and Joseph Kolleh Yorwateh, as well as the Legislators who coordinated well with them at the time, at the highest esteem for their achievements with all of the gratitude, we can only say “that was then; what about now, with BONG COUNTY @ 50?” To be continued. By George K. Barpeen, Jr. of Bong County.