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Editorial: Reinvigorating Site-Searching

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Efforts by the Government of Liberia to ensure a site for the construction of  a Sixty-Million Dollar a ministerial complex under the auspices of the Government of the People’s Republic of China may just be moving at a ‘snail pace’. For weeks now following two unsuccessful attempts to secure a site, the government is still giving the public the impression that it is still in search for another site for the construction while the Chinese continue to wait impatiently.

Its attempt to demolish the incomplete Israeli-built Defense Ministry building in Congo Town, outside Monrovia following its previous decision not to utilize the ELWA land on the Robertsfield Road for the project, met stiff resistance from Liberians across the country. The government had planned the demolition exercise at the cost of Four-Million United States Dollars, while at the same time requesting all legitimate residents, excluding squatters  of the community and Peace Island to proceed to the Ministry of Public Works with their property deeds for evaluation, compensation and relocation. It rescinded its decision on the demolition and eviction exercises following a court action by Human rights Lawyer Dempster Brown more than a week ago, submitting before the Supreme Court of Liberia that it had no plans to pursue to action for which it was dragged to court by the Human Rights Lawyer.

Quite earnestly, there should be absolutely no reason or whatsoever for the Government of Liberia to justify the delays in identifying a land space for the construction of such multipurpose ministerial complex amidst imminent domain power and the vast and vacant land mass in and around Monrovia. With all of the legal opportunities, the issue of the search of several alternative sites as advanced by the government through the Ministry of Information must not be an escape path for its inability to exert itself.

Other than the government’s initial policy and rough approach to the issue of the incomplete Defense Ministry Building, it would have been most appropriate and acceptable to many had the Government constructively engaged residents of the Peace Island Community on compensation and relocation for easy access. To have fast-tracked the process, it was incumbent on the government to expend some of the Four Million United States Dollars it publicly said it would use to demolish the Defense Ministry Building, to facilitate the compensation and relocation of the Peace Island residents, creating the enabling environment for the implementation of such multi-million dollar project for the nation.

The presence of the ministerial complex on Peace Island could also serve as a motivation for the government and its partners for the construction of a boulevard to link the Township of Gardinersville with Oldest Congest, further giving our city a good outlook. And then, the incomplete Defense Ministry Building could be fully done to house the Ministry of Justice, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and National Fire Service Bureau owing to its security linkage. Again, it may still not be late to return to the ‘drawing board’ to adopt approach that would fast track the construction of the ministerial complex.

From all indications, residents of the Peace Island Community may appreciate a process of constructive engagements wherein the issues of compensation for relocation and resettlement would take precedence, paving the way for the development of Peace Island, including the construction of the ministerial complex.

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