...As President Weah switched on electricity
The Peace Island Community in Congo town, was a scene of jubilations shortly after President George Weah symbolically switched on lights in that community for the first time since the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) began restoring current in the post-war era.
It is expected that scores of residents of the community will be connected to give them the economic leverage in the cold water and frozen meat business that many women are mostly involved in.
Peace Island Community was opened in the early 2000s and has attracted a huge segment of the population in Monrovia with over 10,000 people living therein. Unlike other parts of Monrovia that have received electricity, Peace Island that sits right near Congo Town along the Tubman Boulevard has been in darkness since its formation as a community.
The project that is enabling the lighting of Peace Island is the ‘Light Up Monrovia.’ Under the “Light Up Monrovia” project, over 38,000 homes are expected to be electrified including the installation of 2,100 streetlights.
Addressing a huge crowd during the ceremony marking the switch-on of light at Peace Island, President Weah described the European Union that is providing transformers and other appliances as a key and strategic partner to Liberia’s development.
“I want to thank you, our partners, and the European Union for your continuous support to the Government and people of this great nation,” said President Weah.
“By working together, we continue to forge ahead in delivering on the promise of the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and positively changing the lives of the Liberian People,” the President noted.
President Weah also clarified that electricity is not a luxury but a necessity; something he said is essential for the improvement and the movement of people. “Light provides a sense of security and brings together family and communities,” President Weah said.
President Weah also pleaded with the residents of Peace Island to prevent power theft, protect light poles and other installations in their communities. “To whom much is given, much is expected. To my people of Peace Island, please pay your bills and avoid power theft.”
The President, known nowadays as “Bad Road Medicine,” also instructed the Minister of Finance and Development Planning to make funds available to the Ministry of Public Works for the pavement of the road leading from the Tubman Boulevard to Peace Island. Paving this stretch of road will also help to reduce the dust that has set on the walls of the Ministerial Complex right by.
“To the Acting Minister of Public Works and the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, let the roads leading to this community be in line with unfolding new conditions,” President Weah said.
The “Light Up Monrovia” is a Government of Liberia project funded by the 11th European Union Development Fund and the Monrovia Consolidation of Electricity Transmission and Distribution Project.
Abraham Barclay, 51, told the Daily Observer that the lighting of Peace Island Community was the first of its kind, and it was like leaving from the belly of the devil. Mr. Barclay who has lived in the Peace Island Community for over 22years also indicated that over the years Peace Island community has been in darkness.
“Imagine my son; some of us here at about 7: 30 to 8 Pm we can go to bed, but today the President brought us to light and I am grateful for that,” he said.
Mary Jackson 46, also expressed delight for electrifying the Peace Island community. Madam Jackson sells dry bonnie in the community but left her business to attend the lighting ceremony as the development amazes her a lot.
Also speaking during the program, Ambassador Laurent Delahousses, Head of Delegation of the European Union, told the community members to take ownership of the project. “Don’t steal the electricity and don’t buy a stolen meter; stealing electricity is a crime.”
According to the Ambassador, the EU is contributing $63 million to the project to connect everyone to the grid. He thanked President Weah for the level of work done so far in electrifying the streets of Monrovia.