As last, the new leadership of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) over the weekend officially broke ground for the construction of the Union’s headquarters in Monrovia.
PUL president Charles Coffey, at the ceremony underscored the importance to build something that will fully represent the union.
Coffey said elections were over and called on members of the union to unite efforts to build a decent headquarters for the Press Union.
“PUL remains the mother umbrella of all media institutions in the country and must take the lead to ensure stability in the union. This is not about Coffey’s leadership, because this administration will leave as others have left. The completion of the headquarters will dignify members of the union,” Mr. Coffey said.
“This union has never had headquarters like our colleagues in West Africa, including Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Ghana. We cannot continue to operate without a place or headquarters, because this is a noble profession,” Coffey noted.
“I am happy today, because we have some of the senior men and women of the media here to support this initiative,” he said.
Mr. Coffey also lauded all past leaders of the Union, including Abdullai Kamara for maintaining the movement and ensuring that its image is well maintained.
The political leader of the Alternative National Congress, (ANC) Alexander B. Cummings made a cash donation of LD100,000, Mr. Kerkula Kamara, of Malawala, Balawala Cultural Group, made a cash donation of LD10,000 and Police spokesman Sam Collins, also made a cash donation of LD5,000.
The Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL), headed by Roland Mulbah, pledged LD100,000, the Female Journalists Association of Liberia (FEJAL), pledged LD15,000, the current PUL leadership pledged USD1,000 and past leadership pledged USD500.
Mr. Zoom Dosso, chairman on the special projects committee of PUL, said the committee first withdrew from court a case involving the PUL that affected the progress of the Union.
Chairman Dosso said Arno Construction’s report revealed that the company had already purchased materials with money belonging to the Union, when the construction was halted due to legal issues.
He said the company still had US$35,000 worth of materials purchased, adding that “This is what we are going to start the work with.”
In 2008 the PUL, under the leadership of George K. Barpeen, asked the President of Liberia to help build the union’s headquarters for the Liberian media as it has been done in several countries. President Sirleaf responded positively by giving an initial amount of USD100,000.
This amount, Mr. Dosso said, was placed in an escrow account at IB Bank in late October in 2008. The leadership at the time, headed by George Barpeen, received one hundred bags of cement from Cemenco and made about three thousand eight hundred 8” inch blocks. It also bought three loads of sand and two loads of crushed rocks that were left on the site.
A Liberian owned construction company is expected to build the union’s headquarters.