Grand Gedeh County’s District #3 Representative Alex Grant has rejected recent call by Superintendent Peter Solo for Ivoirian refugees in the county to be relocated to another county to save Grand Gedeh from military attacks.
Grant said the relocation of refugees from the county is tantamount to recommending joblessness for those Grand Gedeans working with refugee commissions and other NGOs implementing refugees’ related programs in Grand Gedeh.
Grand Gedeans and other Liberians have been calling on the county leadership to issue a statement on the matter as the Superintendent’s campaign could have far-reaching effect on the people of Grand Gedeh and the Republic of Liberia as a whole.
Grant said the statement by Supt. Solo was emotional, un-scrutinized and lacks the collective opinion of leaders in the county, which tends to undermine the 1951 Geneva Convention of the United Nations as well as the 1967 OUA Convention Relating to the Specific Aspect of Refugees’ Problem in Africa to which Liberia is a signatory.
He reminded the Superintendent that Liberians were in the same position during the civil war and many are still in refugee camps.
Though, Grant continued: “Grand Gedeh borders Ivory Coast and there have been incidents unfavorable to the county nevertheless, extreme measures which could have adverse effects on other citizens’ livelihood cannot be the best solution to what the Superintendent desires.”
“I wish to caution the Superintendent to cease from making rush statements without coordinating security information he receive with leaders of the county and the National Security Agency,” Grant noted.
The lawmaker said because such statement could cause panic and create tension among the refugee population, which could also de-motivate their efforts to positively interact with the citizens.
Grant noted the comments, which have propensity of undermining integration and positive economic and social interactions between Grand Gedeans and the refugee population should be avoided as much as possible.
“Supt. Solo should refrain from inhospitable statement and focus on how to help create more employment opportunities for his people, boost development and economic activities in the county,” he noted.
The House Chair on the Liberia Refugee, Repatriation, and Resettlement Commission then assured the refugees of continued hospitality and appealed to them to desist from activities that would undermine their status.
“I wish to call on the refugees and asylum seekers in Grand Gedeh to remain law abiding, productive and to continue to contribute positively to the communities in which they reside,” Grant noted.