MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF THE PUBLIC UTILITIES AUTHORITY DISTINGUISHED GUESTS
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN
We are gathered on this exhilarating occasion to witness another of our dreams that was latent and intangible unfold into a tangible reality. Today we can see, we can feel and we can hear the magnetic power and force which will generate electric current throughout a large portion of the country.
This facility, one of the most essential public services of the nation and the largest single and most costly public utility is conclusive evidence of the engineering efficiency and ingenuity of United States technicians represented by Raymond-Utah, a Joint Venture, Irby Construction Company, Stanley Engineering Company of Africa, Scbulman-Mass-Gens, Chalmers International and International General Electric Company, all of whom participated in this construction that has harnessed a portion of the waters from the river bed of the Saint Paul.
I knew an old man in my home town, Cape Palmas, who used to say, “Knowledge, water and money can lift up any heavy thing” and this Hydro Electric Dam, verifies the truth of his anecdote.
The Government and people of the United States in pursuance of their policy of international cooperation and assistance, their interest in the welfare of developing nations and people and their understanding of our people’s needs, granted to the Liberian Government for the benefit of its people a loan to the extent of 24.3 million dollars on easy payment terms such as a ten year grace period before payment of interest and principal begins and forty years for total amortization of the loan, which has proven what money can do.
This, together with the utilization of knowledge and know-how represented by the efficiency and skill of United States experts and engineers have brought into being, by mathematical calculations and formulae, and the work of their hands, this monumental feat, an accomplishment that shall remain a testimonial to the close friendly ties and relationship between the Government and people of the United States and the Government and people of Liberia.
Present and future generations of Liberians shall benefit from and enjoy the outflow of energy from this power complex and participate in the payment of its cost which is in harmony with the rules of political economy.
The production of cheap electric power was one of the first projects that we conceived and sought to implement, but for several reasons this encountered many difficulties and has taken us more than twenty-two years to realize.
The successful completion of this Hydro Electric System, which took three years from the date of the Groundbreaking to this day of Dedication, is further evidence of our determination to continue the development of our natural resources and their conversion into utilities that will benefit the people of the country and promote the development growth and modernization.
With this new source of power we hope to be able to obtain current at cheaper rates, we expect that industrialization will take on new dimension and will tend to increase the development of basic industries within the country and encourage the expansion of those already in operation.
We expect that this Power System will serve as a stimulus to modern and scientific methods of farming thereby boosting the nation’s agricultural production and raising the Priority Number One Program – Operation Production – to a higher level of efficiency, thus justifying the economics of the increase in power supply.
When we attended the Groundbreaking ceremony for this project, we announced that this Hydro Electric System would be denominated the Walter F. Walker Hydro Electric Power Plant, but reflecting since then on the works of the late Thomas J. R. Faulkner, we decided that it should serve as a tribute to the life work, technological competence and contributions of one of the nation’s most outstanding technicians and industrialists.
This man, Thomas J. R. Faulkner, was the first to introduce the facilities of electric power generation in Liberia on his own initiative and at his own expense under agreement with the Liberian Government. Mr. Faulkner was also the first to inaugurate the telephone system in this country and erected and successfully operated the first ice-making plant in Liberia.
The late Walter F. Walker was the first Secretary of Public Works and Utilities in this administration and gave consistent and persistent support to our efforts to get this project going. He strongly maintained that cheap power was essential to the development of any nation and strove zealously to effect financial and technical arrangement for the construction of a Hydro Electric Dam for the generation of cheap current but died without seeing this accomplished.
In consideration of these contributions and as an expression of recognition of the creative genius of these two patriotic and outstanding sons of Liberia, both of whom were engineers, we hereby name this modern and imposing Hydro Electric Complex, T. J. R FAULKNER AND WALTER F. WALKER HYDRO ELECTRIC POWER STATION.
As we launch out today in this significant direction of economic development by the dedication of THE T. J. R. FAULKNER AND WALTER FALKER HYDRO ELECTRIC POWER STATION, let us do so with the anticipation that the tremendous electric energy that will flow from these gigantic turbines into the mainstream of our economy will add immeasurably to the nation’s economic advancement and to the improvement of the living condition of the people. While we rejoice on this site, we must bear in mind that it is not enough to content ourselves with adequate and cheap power only for a portion of the country.
We must include in our program definite plan for the electrification of all areas of the country at rates equivalent to those provided by this plant so as to bring the benefits of cheap electricity and power to all sections of the country.
In pursuance of our propensity to be grateful for kindness and benefits extended to us, we express in this public manner to the Government of the United States and its Agency for International Development, our gratefulness for their help so generously extended in assisting with the construction of this outstanding project.
To us it is always an inspiration to feel that we have friends upon whose cooperation and assistance we can rely, particularly one who has consistently manifest especial interest and rendered assistance for more than a century, a friend that has been constant and a friend to whom the Liberian Government and people have also tried to be faithful.
To our own Taylor Major, Chairman of the Public Utilities Authority and his Assistants, we express appreciation and satisfaction for the continuing role nine of effective and efficient operation demonstrated by their performance during the construction of this Plant and in the general management of the Public Utilities Authority of the country. Not only have they portrayed examples of efficiency and effectiveness but also of reliability, courage, impartiality and decisiveness in the discharge of their duty.
All of these have won for them the admiration and pride of the Government and people of Liberia and I congratulate them. We recognize the presence at these ceremonies of United States Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Mr. Joseph Palmer II, whose Government under its Aid Program financed this project. We welcome Mr. Palmer, who is a career diplomat, and are happy that he is present to see the turbines make their first official revolution, they being the handiwork of United States engineers and technicians, and we wish that his travel back to his homeland will be safe and pleasant.
Also represented at these ceremonies are delegations from our Sister States of the Ivory Coast, led by b the Minister of Public Works, Mr. Alcide Kacou, of – Guinea, represented by the Minister of Transport, Mr. R. Accar and of Sierra Leone, represented by Mr. C. H. J. Demeh.
We extend to these our brothers of Africa a warm and cordial welcome and prophetically see the day when all of West Africa will be linked together by a great combine of roads, power and sea and air transportation.
We salute all of these distinguished friends who have come to rejoice with us on this occasion and hope that the friendly ties subsisting between our five nations and peoples will be further strengthened and prosper.
It is our request that you be good enough to convey to your respective Chiefs of State the felicitations and gratitude of the people of Liberia and me for this gesture of friendship and brotherhood. And now, Fellow Citizens, let me leave with you these simple but pertinent words as a line of national policy:
“Remember well and bear in mind
A constant friend is hard to find;
And should you find one just and true,
Change not the old for the new.”
We congratulate and thank everyone who assisted in the construction of this Project and hope that you have derived personal satisfaction from the culmination of a job well done.
HARRISBURG, JANUARY 29, 1967