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Opinion

LOOKIN INSIDE FROM OUTSIDE – The Urey $4m House Deal

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Probably out of hatred or “name-making” for self initiatives, many meaningful national projects undertaken by past Liberian administrations continue to be untouched by incumbents. One instance already identified has to with projects initiated and untaken, but not completed by the administration of Late President Samuel Kanyon Doe, Liberia’s second most progressive leader.

These national projects include: 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 Defence in Congo Town, Liberia Broadcasting System, just opposite the former Omega Navigation Station and the Forestry Development Authority in Wein Town, Paynesville.

There are other national projects, including the Tappei Memorial Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County, constructed by the administration of the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr. that are still not cared-for by the current administration of Liberia, despite the huge international good will or financial support.

Whether it is the lack of cash or political will, the administration of President Sirleaf is yet to present to the people justifiable reason(s) for its inability to complete these projects. Even though the government had earlier ordered the eviction of individuals displaced in these structures erected out of the taxes of the people of Liberia, they continue to remain abandoned.

But one thing which continues to remain very clear may be that the current Liberian Leadership may only want to do projects initiated and completed by it in preparedness for campaign activities for the 2011 general and presidential elections.

Despite 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 past government officials or the relatives and friends of past government officials of the sixties and seventies, many of us strongly believe in the ability and capacity of the Ellen administration to complete and occupy these unfinished buildings.

Another reason suggested by some Liberians for the abandonment of the projects could be personal hatred for the Doe regime, considering what current President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf claimed to have undergone, following the 1985 general and presidential elections, in which she stood and won as senator for Montserrado County on the ticket of the Liberia Action Party, but rejected later.

But again, we must understand that the projects were not President Doe’s personal properties, but undertaken by the taxes of the people of Liberia, and so there should be no excuse by this government to complete them. With such an  unfinished business on hand, the issue of the purchase of a house built and owned by Former maritime Commissioner, now Acting City Mayor of Careysburg in Montserrado County, Benoni Urey by the Government of Liberia for the Ministry of education took the front pages of a number of newspapers in Monrovia.

The main argument raised by these newspapers was the essence of purchasing a private property for Four Million United States dollars amidst incomplete government buildings. Such an amount, in my mind, could even be used to complete two or three of those unfinished buildings for some agencies, including the Ministry of Education to finally move in.

Even though Benoni has denied any arrangements for the sale of his house and that the authorities of the Ministry of Education are yet to speak on the matter, I am aware of the fact that deniability and silence are diplomatic actions, especially so when the parties involved, see such  public exposure as very embarrassing.

What those in the current administration must understand is that government is continuity- wherever a government stops, the other continues from there. To know how he or she will be positioned in the grave, a person with a hunch-back must always attend the funeral of an individual with similar disability. A hint to the wise is quite sufficient.

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