Government Failure Puts Own and Citizens’ Investments at Risk

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Ever since the Tubman era there has been a Bureau of Mines and Geology, situated right near the foot of Camp Johnson Road, where now stands the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, created by President William R. Tolbert in 1972.

It is this office that is clothed with the responsibility of protecting Liberia’s lands, everywhere in the country.

Having said that, it would seem superfluous (unnecessary) to raise the question, what is this office for? But we find ourselves compelled to ask this urgent question anyway because clearly, this office is not doing its job.

It is most unfortunate, even painful and tragic, to see what has happened right here in Monrovia, the nation’s capital, under the Ministry’s own eyes. Look what has happened to one of our leading high schools, D. Twe. What is the point in naming an institution after one of the nation’s best known citizens, veteran politician Didwo Twe, only to abandon it to ruin by the Atlantic Ocean?

Look at what has happened to New Kru Town, being washed away by the same ocean.

Look what is happening to West Point! To Hotel Africa, which the Tolbert administration in the mid-1970s built beautifully with millions of dollars to host the summit conference of the Organization of African Unity (OAU—now African Union)!

Look, too, at what has happened to the Unity Conference Center and its cabanas, built to house the conference delegates and also to boost tourism in Liberia along the picturesque Atlantic Ocean! Who ever heard of a government leaving such expensive and glorious assets to waste?

Our Diplomatic Correspondent Joaquin Sendolo went outside his assignment area last Wednesday to report on yet another painful land fiasco that our Lands, Mines and Energy Ministry is totally ignoring, at the investment peril of citizens. Sendolo’s story revealed that many citizens risk losing their property in the Duazon community on the
Robertsfield Highway because a ruthless band of sand miners are undermining these citizens’ expensive home structures, and doing so with absolute impunity—why? Because the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (LME) is sound asleep, saying or doing nothing to arrest this dangerous environmental encroachment.

The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs should be the government’s chief coordinator. Also in that Ministry are the Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs and the Minister Without Portfolio, which the Sierra Leoneans call “Minister wey nor get work for do.” In a backward developing country like ours, there can never be “no work” for any government Minister to do.

Yet, all of these Ministers, in State and LME, and even the Ministers at Public Works are sitting supinely and permitting so many things to go wrong in our country, such as the blasting away of our vital infrastructures by waves from the ocean.

Look what is happening to Buchanan, our second oldest county capital, being washed away by the ocean! What has happened to all of Grand Bassa’s prominent daughters and sons—Senator Nyonblee Kanrga-Lawrence, Gender and Social Protection Minister Julia Duncan Cassell, former Senate President Pro-temp Gbezongar Findley (now Chair of the Liberian Airport Authority), Deputy House Speaker Hans Barchue, the former Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC), T. Nelson Williams, the President of the Liberia Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), John Davies, and the man who has for the past 12 years sought and is still seeking the Liberian
presidency, Counselor Charles Walker Brumskine? Must we wait until he is elected President before he can do something to arrest the oceanic destruction of his own hometown? By that time there may be no more Buchanan—Upper, which he calls home, and Lower.

But the government office primarily responsible for protecting our lands and even our ocean and its beaches is the LME. And yet, why, day after day and year after year this Ministry and its officials see this destruction occurring and say and do nothing? We are compelled to ask, what are they there for? Just to sit in their leather seats, be called
“Honorable” and attend Cabinet meetings? Do the Cabinet meetings, convened by the President every Wednesday, not take notice of this wanton destruction of these valuable national assets, those of our people and their lives and livelihood?

We pause for answer and, far more importantly, for ACTION.

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