President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf did not have to sign Executive Order 55 to bring joy to nearly 1,950 casual workers of the Liberia Maritime Authority’s Beaches & Waterways project. But after a meeting with representatives of the affected communities at her office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Monday, December 30, President Sirleaf told them that the project will resume next month and the celebrations began.
New Kru Town representative George A. Young told the Daily Observer in a telephone interview right after the meeting that it was the best news for the various communities.
Young, who represented New Kru Town along with Musu C. Jubor, said he considered the President’s announcement of the resumption of the project as her Christmas Gift.
Information from the meeting said before instructing for the resumption of the project, Maritime Commissioner Binyan Kesselly told the President the positive impact the project has made on the affected communities.
President Sirleaf was reported to have expressed concern about the closure of the project and directed that with the positive results coming out of the communities, the project should continue in January.
The Beaches & Waterways Project is part of the Government of Liberia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy and a priority of the Government’s Agenda for Transformation. It is also meant to provide employment opportunities for residents of the various slum communities around Monrovia to reduce their hardships.
The communities include West Point, New Kru Town, Mamba Point and ELWA.
Since the project began more than two years ago, the workers, including young and older women have been able to earn incomes to help their families.
“Young women are able to earn incomes to take care of themselves, and many have engaged in Susu to generate monthly payments to help their children’s education,” commented George Young of New Kru Town. “They have no temptation to be on the street.”
William Pajibo, 20, of New Kru Town told the Daily Observer, “I have been able to put my two brothers through school, working for the project.” Pajibo’s parents died several years ago, leaving him as the bread-winner for his two siblings.
Recently, West Point Commissioner Miatta Flowers expressed fear of a potential cholera outbreak, “if the Beaches & Waterways project is not resumed to protect the beach.” Several beneficiaries interviewed yesterday expressed appreciation for the resumption of the project.
S. Eric Outland, 35, of New Kru Town said, “I thank God first then President Sirleaf and then Commissioner Binyan Kessely for restoring our job.”
“I appreciate President Sirleaf’s effort to give us a chance to be able to make a living,” said Sylvester D. S. Gelegbeh, 36.
John Nyanti, ll, a freshman student at the AME Zion University said, “I’m happy for President Sirleaf to give us our jobs back.”
Representatives from the various communities who met with the president included Thomas Tweh, (West Point), Edwin G. B, Kanneh, Joseph Karnway, (Mamba Point) and Daniel Robert and Matthew G. Greave (ELWA).