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Prez. Sirleaf tours Western Liberia, dedicates projects

By Jacob Parley
The Liberian Leader, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
The Liberian Leader, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf

(lbsonline/liberia)-President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has formally begun her nationwide tour.

The President’s 2013 maiden nation-wide tour took her and delegation to Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount and Bomi Counties.

The three counties are  located in the Western Region of Liberia.

The tour was characterized by the dedication and inspection of several development projects.

“The essence of the county tour is to dedicate development projects, to inspect others and to interact with the citizens of those areas in the spirit of decentralization”, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said.

The President added: “The other side of the nationwide tour is to access progress being made by the Liberian Government, including challenges, to address the lack at basic social services, and infrastructural development.”

In Gbarpolu County, the Liberian leader dedicated the Labor Ministry's sub-office, a learning and resource center constructed by the Education Ministry, and a drug depot for the Gbarpolu County Branch of the Health Ministry.

Earlier, while on her way to Bopolu City, the Liberian Leader visited the Bambu-Ta Community   Clinic.

Upon her arrival in Bopolu City, Thursday afternoon, Madam Johnson-Sirleaf was received by Gbarpolu citizens and later led to the Bopolu City Hall for an indoor program which almost went out of track as citizens traded accusations and counter-accusations.

The bone of contention was the halting of Bopolu City lay-out project reportedly being implemented by the City Mayor.

Gbarpolu Senator, Armah Jallah, said: "We put a halt to the lay-out process, because there was no indication of benefits for citizens whose structures will be affected as a result of the exercise."

Senator Jallah made the statements when he spoke on behalf of the Gbarpolu Legislative Caucus at the indoor progra.”

“Besides, the legislative caucus and the Bopolu City Council were not consulted”, he said.

However, sensing the danger the matter was posing to the well -coordinated program, especially as it relates to the pending 2013 Independence Day celebration, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf appealed for calm.

Gbarpolu is one of the three counties seconded by the President to host the July 26, 2013 Independence Day celebration.

The Liberian then leader invited the contending parties to the podium and asked them to eat, in unison, several kola nuts earlier presented to her by traditional leaders of the County, upon her arrival in Bopolu City.

One after the other, members of the Gbarpolu Legislative Caucus and the local administration were seen biting the kola nuts as other citizens welcomed the initiative by give a round of applause in the back ground.

But, what remains yet unclear is whether the eating of the kola nuts in the spirit of putting aside their bitterness, arose from the city lay-out out exercise was done in good faith.

Meanwhile, the dedication and inspection of projects in Grand Cape Mount and Bomi counties were also held Friday and Saturday (February 15 and 16), respectively after the President’s departure from Bopolu City Thursday evening, February 14, 2013.

In Grand Cape Mount County, the President inaugurated the Immediate Water Services Improvement Project to secure pipe-born water for the residents of Robertsport.
For the first time in 20-years, the water, being processed from a creek, is now providing pipe-born water for residents of the City.

The President also dedicated a learning and resource center, built in the county by the Education Ministry. She toured the Sembehun beach and a river known as,  "Miracle River" in Sembehun Town.

In Bomi County, the Liberian Leader performed the dedication of Radio Bomi 98.9 FM, annexed to the Gertrude Yancy Public School in Klay Town, Klay District, the Beakini Community School, and another training and resource center, constructed in the area by the Education Ministry.

President Johnson-Sirleaf also inspected Bomi County superintendent compound, Klay District guest house and another compound to be used by traditional chiefs in the county.

During the tour of the three counties, President Johnson-Sirleaf held seperate discussions with the citizens and reechoed the Government’s commitment to running a people-driven administration in the spirit of decentralization.

Meanwhile, House Speaker, Alex Tyler, has described the divergence of opinions as one of the basic ingredients of democracy.

Speaker Tyler hails from Bomi County. He said: "While Bomi citizens disagree at times on issues relative to the future of the county, such disagreement should not make them enemies.”

“Disagreeing to agree strengthens democracy in any well-meaning society,” the Bomi County Representative concluded.


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