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Lawmakers divided over demolition

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Capitol Building Doom Members of the House Representatives are seriously divided over a recommendation by the House’s Committee on Public Works requesting Legislative support to enable the Ministry of Public Works demolish structures built in alleys and waterways across the country.

The recommendation is attended to find solution to the problem of flooding confronting Monrovia and its environs annually. The House’s Committee on Public Works chaired by Montserrado County Representative Edward Forh, yesterday, submitted its report to Plenary, recommending, among others, that Lawmakers support the Ministry in executing its planned demolition exercise.

Plenary, two weeks ago, mandated the Committee to liaise with the ministry in putting in place measures aimed at addressing the zoning problems resulting to flooding, destroying properties and obstructing free movement of goods and services. The mandate was given following a lengthy debate on a communication written by Montserrado County Representatives Munah Youngblood and Acarious Gray to Speaker J. Alex Tyler calling for collaboration with the Executive Branch in considering prompt interventions to address the flood situation.

Opposing the recommendation, Representatives Gabriel Smith of Grand Bassa County and Solomon George of Montserrado County, among others, argued that any attempt to displace people by means of demolition will negatively impact the lives of ordinary Liberians.

The two Representatives maintained that though the Public Works Ministry has the legal authority to enforce the Zoning Laws, it was not prudent to exercise such authority in the absence of a relocation program. But Representatives Clarence Massaquoi of Lofa County and Haja Siryon of Bomi County opined that it was in the interest of the country and even those to be affected that the demolition exercise be executed because life for the ordinary Liberia was always difficult during the heavy rains.

They added a holistic approach was necessary and important to put such unfortunate the situation to an end once and for all  ithe interest of the people. Meanwhile, Plenary has directed the Committee on Public Works to ensure the best way possible for the Ministry to execute its official functions with a sense of human.

By Ben P. Wesee -Edited by George Barpeen

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