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Row Over Independence Cancellation

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HouseThe cancellation of this year’s celebrations of the 169th Independence Day of Liberia earlier scheduled to be hosted by Grand Gedeh, Maryland and River Gee Counties in the southeastern region.

Earlier, Maryland County Senator Gble-bo Brown told this paper that the celebrations had been cancelled following consultations with the three Legislative Caucuses of Maryland, Grand Gedeh and River Gee Counties, but President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told reporters recently at her office that discussions were ongoing on the cancellation.

However, River Gee County Senator Conmany Wesseh said, the celebrations had been cancelled – something he attributed to pronouncements by President Sirleaf that the country was facing serious economic constraints.

As a result, according to him, it became very challenging for the government to live up to its commitment to the celebrations in the southeastern region of the country. President Sirleaf, in an apparant angry tone, rubbished Senator Gble-bo Brown of Maryland County for being too fast on the issue when he had little or no information at all.

“… Some people talk without getting proper information from somebody,” President Sirleaf told journalists upon arrival on Monday, January 18, from neighboring Ivory Coast. Her reaction was against claims of the cancellation of this year’s July 26 Independence Day Celebrations, attributed to Maryland County Senator Gble-bo Brown.

Last Friday, Senator Brown claimed that the President’s decision was predicated on the prevailing economic situation facing the country. Another factor, he indicated, responsible for the cancellation is the bad road connections between the host counties and Monrovia. He also quoted the President as saying that budgetary constraints currently faced by the government this fiscal year was seriously affecting every project planned by her administration.

He expressed disappointment about the change of plan on grounds that many of the projects earmarked by the Maryland County administration may not be completed due to the cancellation.
The Senator, however, expressed the hope that the local authorities of his county will maintain close contacts with the Legislative Caucus to consider completing some of the projects already targeted for the Independence celebrations.

“This is an issue that is being considered in terms of resources. I met with the three caucuses of the three counties concerned; Mr. Brown was not there, so he should not be talking,” the President said.
Senator Wesseh – a stalwart of the ruling Unity Party also noted that the decision had brought some disappointments to the people of River Gee County and the entire southeastern region.

He asserted that many residents had anticipated encountering officials of government and other diplomats accredited here during the celebrations.
He also claimed that people were also yearning for the completion of the projects highlighted by the Steering Committee for dedication, however, noting that despite the disappointment, the people of River Gee County understood reasons for the cancellation. Wesseh added that taking into account the strenuous economic state of the country, it made a lot of sense for the decision, stressing that such decision was not only presidential, but a result of consultations with the Legislative Caucuses of the three counties.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by George Barpeen

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