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EDITORIAL – Our Position On the US$4M House Deal

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The week of May 31-June 4 occasioned a serious debate introduced by a few newspapers in Monrovia among Liberians about the purchase of a building for the Ministry of Education by the Government of Liberia. Among the publications was that of ours (the New Dawn’s).

In the Friday, June 4, 2010 edition under the front page lead headline: Wasteful or Economical? We tried to challenge the general public to wonder as to why would the Government of Liberia want to buy a building at the cost of US$4million dollars (Four Million U.S. Dollars) at the time dozens of unfinished state buildings were scattered all over the place.

We do join other well-meaning Liberians who continue to harbor the belief that government is continuity, i.e. where a government ends is the beginning of the other. For now, it’s a different ball game. A very clear example is what we’ve seen and continue to see for the past ten years, including now, which is even worst.

Probably out of hatred or “name-making” for new initiatives, many meaningful national projects undertaken by past Liberian Leaders continue to remain untouched by incumbents. A situational case-in-point as identified by the New Dawn has to do with state projects initiated and untaken, but not completed by the Late President Sanuel Kanyon Doe, believed to be Liberia’s second most progressive Leader, during his years in office.

Among these national projects are the new national Housing and Savings Bank and Central Bank of Liberia on Ashmun Street, as well as the new Ministries of health and Social Welfare and Defense in Congo Town and Liberia Broadcasting System, just opposite the former Omega Navigation Station in Paynesville.

Other structures apparently being ignored are the abandoned compound of the Forestry Development Authority in Wein Town and the Tappei Memorial Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County by the current administration of Liberia, despite the huge international financial support.

Whether it is the lack of cash or political will, the administration of President Sirleaf is yet to present to the people convincing justifications for its inability to complete these national projects, even though it had earlier ordered the eviction of displaced individuals in these structures erected out of the taxes of the people of Liberia.

While we do welcome and commend the Ellen Administration for the transfer of a very few government ministries, including the Ministries of Planning and Economic Affairs, Internal Affairs, Labor and Defense from private structures (owned by relatives and friends of past and present government officials) to government owned compounds, may we challenge it to complete some of these unfinished state projects, other than economically empowering one of their kinds.

Whether factual or not, we think purchasing such a building from a former Maritime Commissioner and Acting City Mayor of Careysburg, Benoni Urey for the Ministry of Education at the cost of US$4 million Dollars by the Liberian Government without reference to either of the unfinished national projects is a total disservice to Liberian tax payers and citizens.

Even if there was a another argument, probably from a sentimental perspective, that the Urey building in Congo Town, just opposite the Bethel Cathedral on the Tubman boulevard costs more than US$4 million dollars, we still insist that such an amount could either be used to complete the Health Ministry Project in Congo Town and the National Housing and Savings Bank on Ashmun Street or even the Defense Ministry complex for use by the Education Ministry since the ministry is already at the Barclay Training Center or BTC.

Again, that’s how the government is. Someone somewhere has to benefit or be empowered financially someway, most especially when some people are amassing more cash in preparation for the 2011 general and presidential elections.

Many a time when these publications are done, those reported to be at the core of such transactions misconstrue the primary objective(s) and brand the publishers or authors negatively. But we at the New Dawn will continue to assure our audience that we will never despair, but continue to persevere, as far as the general good of our country is concerned.

However, Davies denied claims that he is indebted to his sacked drive. “If he feels that I owe him, let him take me to court, instead of running to the press. If I lay eyes on him again, I will jail him for taking my office matters to the media,” he threatened.

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