— Electrify Bo Waterside
By Lincoln G Peters
The United Nation Development Program (UNDP) and the Mano River Union (MRU) have jointly installed and turned over 96 pieces of modernized state–of–the–art solar panels to the joint security border patrol at the Liberia and Sierra Leone Bo Waterside border in Grand Cape Mouth County.
The implementation and partnership of the program were successful based on the intervention of MRU Secretary General Amb. Medina A. Wesseh, Esq, negotiated with the United Nations Development Programs in order to increase joint security operation and vigilance in the area.
The installation and commissioning of modern solar power will help boost security patrol, mitigate long-standing security threats, and human and drug trafficking at the Bo Waterside border in Grand Cape Mount County.
Several prominent officials including Amb. Wesseh; UNDP Resident Representative to Liberia Madam Violet Baffour; Major Saxon Tambo, Bo Waterside Commander and Chief of Joint Security; and Commissioner Lawrence Karnely of the Liberia Immigration Service, graced the program.
West Coast Energy, Inc. carried out the installation process and restored 24 hours of electricity at the border and its surroundings to deter illegal migration between the four Mano River countries, especially during nighttime.
Electricity has been provided for the Liberia Immigration Service, Liberia National police assigned at the border and immediate surrounding areas of the border, and all other government ministries and agencies at Sierra Leone – Liberia border.
UNDP support Liberia National development agenda within the framework of the Social Development Goals (SDGs.)
As a trusted and reliable development partner, UNDP also helps countries like Liberia to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and exclusion and build resilience to sustain progress and achieve the SDGs.
Officially commissioning the solar power, UNDP Resident Representative Madam Violet Baffour said it is a joint effort initiated following the intervention of Amb. Wesseh, who is very passionate about mitigating border security threats.
“This joint project by both institutions, is very crucial for strengthening Security by enabling 24 hours control and surveillance of the movement of people between both countries,” said Madam Baffour.
She said when solar power is properly managed and maintained, it will go a long way in boosting security operations and reducing threats.
For her part, MRU Secretary General Amb. Medina A. Wesseh, Esq, thanked the UNDP for the partnership and called on the joint security to properly manage the project.
“We have many programs and projects coming up. However, we can’t have sustainable development when we don’t manage and protect the little we have,” she warned.
In further remarks, Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) Commissioner Lawrence Karnely, extolled the joint effort of UNDP and MRU.
“We want to thank the UNDP for its long-standing support in areas of security, personnel training, and joint border patrol. I can assure you that we will properly manage and maintain this project as instructed because this project means a lot to us,” said Commissioner Karnley who proxy for LIS chief, Col. Robert Budy during the program.
“We also want to tell our Ma thanks, Amb. Mrs. Medina A. Wesseh, Esq, for the support toward us. We are grateful and we pray that God multiply all her efforts toward this border guard,” Commissioner Karnely added.
Also speaking, the Chief of Joint security at the border, Major Saxon Tambo said that the presence of the light will make their job simple and easy.
He described Amb. Wesseh as a good leader, thanking her for the intervention. He also thanked UNDP for the project.
“The border closes at 6:00 pm but at times we open [during] midnight when government officials and other important guests are coming into the country. Because of no light, we had been finding it difficult to have recorded at night,” he said.
“Most times we used touch light to record and carry out patrol. Now we are happy for this because we will see everywhere and do our job properly,” Major Saxon Tambo indicated.
Before the commissioning of the project, UNDP Resident Representative Stephen Rodriques recently remarked, “The COVID-19 pandemic, which has harshly impacted the economies of the Mano River Union countries, highlighted the need to strengthen border surveillance, security, and management to curb the cross-border spread of the disease.”
He praised the Mano River Union Secretary General Amb. Wesseh for the level of collaboration and partnership she has mobilized from the two governments, their security forces, and immigration services to keep the borders safe while strengthening a sub-regional response to COVID-19.
Rodriques urged the Government of Liberia to allocate adequate budgetary resources for the maintenance and sustainability of the solar lighting initiative.—Edited by Winston W. Parley