Effort to renovate the Cape Palmas High School in Maryland County has suffered another setback. The school was hit by natural disaster in 2015 and since then, there has been no attempt by local authority to renovate the building.
Students of Cape Palmers High are currently squatting in a facility that belongs to the William V.S. Tubman University in Harper City, which currently has huge enrollment.
Education Minister George Werner visited the school campus a year ago and promised government’s quick intervention, but up to now, the building is still in deplorable conditions and even getting worse.
Many officials of government graduated from Cape Palmas High, but the institution seems to be receiving less attention, despite many calls by the acting alumni President Mr. Edward Stemn.
The situation led some frustrated students of the school to stage a peaceful demonstration last year, calling on the Ministry of Education through the office of the County Superintendent Betsy Kuoh Toe to do something.
With over 10 meetings held with the students by the MOE local office in Harper and former County Education Officer Nathaniel Johnson, all proved fruitless thus, leaving the students now learning under strenuous condition.
County authorities relocated the student population totaling about 1000 to the former level 2 hospital compound along the sports stadium road earlier occupied by the Pakistani Contingent of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) prior to the Mission’s drawdown.
Speaking in an interview recently in Harper, cross section of students complained that current building being used as school lacks doors, so they have to clean feces on a daily basis, and remove used condoms from the classrooms before sitting for lecture.
According to them, the building also lacks toilets, water and other basic facilities that a school campus should have, and are calling on government to come to their aid by renovating their main campus, the Cape Palmas High School.
The Principal of Cape Palmas High school Mr. Babayon Bartue said misused of government facility by unknown persons for latrine and mini motel is something that remains a serious challenge in the county.
He joined the students and alumni President in calling on government to renovate the school. Superintendent Betsy Kuoh Toe explained to this paper that the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Education allocated US$250,000.00 for full renovation of the building.
Madam Toe said, the contract was awarded to KAHA International Construction Company with over 50 percent of said amount disbursed, but the contractor has allegedly failed to execute the project.
She expressed dissatisfaction over the manner in which the contract was awarded to KAHA International Construction Company. “I think the contract should have been awarded to a county- based construction firm rather than a Monrovia based firm that does not understand or know the unfolding development”, she lament.
Several prominent persons have reportedly promised to intervene, with the latest coming from Deputy Education Minister for Administration Aigon Tengbah. Minister Tengbah during a recent visit to Maryland toured the facilities and promised government’s speedy intervention, bringing to six the number promises by prominent individuals to help rescue Cape Palmas High, but no tangible action on the grounds yet.
The Deputy Education Minister also disclosed that MOE authorities have complained Mr. Sekou Kanneh, CEO of KAHA International Construction Company to the Liberia National Police to get him to explain how he used taxpayers’ money allegedly disbursed to him for a project.
Meanwhile, he said since the company has proven to be unable to carry on the project, the Ministry is left with no alternative but to award the contract to another firm.
By George K. Momo from Maryland -Editing by Jonathan Browne