Observer Roving Correspondent Leroy Sonpon yesterday gave a dismal (depressing) report on the terrible road conditions in Sinoe County only days before it is to host our 168th Independence Anniversary.
But Liberians are made of sterner stuff and we cannot, will not allow mud to mar our 26th. The first thing we should do is to pray to the Almighty, beseeching Him to hold back the rains for the rest of this week, to allow our road engineers to complete the job for easy access into Greenville, the Sinoe capital.
Next, government should speedily make available all the financial and other resources that will empower the contractors to overpower the mud and make the roads passable by all vehicles. Of course, the heavy machines should be on hand on the highways just in case there are last minute emergencies.
Just as Shakespeare says—“Sweet are the uses of adversity . . .”—this gruesome experience in Sinoe can be turned into something good. It should lead us to greater determination to turn all our roads into all weather roads, paved or concrete, with a proper, nationwide drainage system that will, at every turn, contain and manage this exceedingly abundant rainfall and water that the good Lord has given us. With thick, well constructed paved or concrete roads and well built and reliable drainages, Liberia would, at long last, be ready to boast of roads and highways throughout the country that will make it a joy to travel through this land of liberty.
Good, all-weather roads and highways will also prepare us for tourism, the opportunities for which those very southeastern shores—Sinoe and Maryland—are bountifully endowed.
Remember Sinoe’s beaches that can be cleaned up and made tourism ready. Remember, too, that there are spectacular sceneries in Sasstown, which one of its eminent sons, Dr. Joseph Nagbe Togba, wrote about in his yet unpublished autobiography. Dr. Togba was the first Director General of the National Public Health Service (now Ministry of Health) and first black President of the World Health Organization (WHO) Assembly. He was one of two Africans to sign the Charter creating the WHO. Dr. Togba wrote in his autobiography that if as a younger man he had had the money, he would have turned his native Sasstown into a West African tourist paradise, as there are so many scenic spots in the area.
There is, next door to Greenville, Baffu Bay in Rivercess County, another major waterway with great tourist potential. It was American Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield who before the end of her tour of duty declared Rivercess “the most beautiful spot in Liberia.”
Farther south is Cape Palmas, Maryland County, which has not only its share of beautiful beaches but also Lake Shepherd, all ripe for tourism. We have no idea when the eminent and well placed sons of Maryland, all of whom live in Monrovia, will return home and help develop tourism there.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has embarked upon the bold initiative of constructing the highways throughout Liberia—from Paynesville Red Light to Gbarnga, on to Ganta and through the southeast beginning with Zwedru and on to Fishtown, Barclayville, Pleebo to Harper.
Now under construction are the highways through Bomi County to Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, Gbarpolu and on to Belle Yellah and to Vahun in Lofa County. As we said in an earlier editorial, the highway from Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Cape Mount to Vahun will cut by more than one half the travel time to Lofa County. There will remain the paved road from Vahun to Kolahun and Voinjama, Zorzor, Salayea, linking up with Belefanai in Bong County.
The paved road to Buchanan is already completed. Now left is the most urgent challenge, the highway through Rivercess to Butaw and on to Greenville, Sinoe County. If somehow the Engineering Battalion of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and those of Public Works can be empowered to finish the job, backed by the good Lord holding up the rain, the 26th will be successfully celebrated in Greenville and Barclayville.
All Liberians should rally behind the President to complete if no more than 50 to 75 percent of the highway and feeder roads projects throughout the country, putting Liberia much further ahead than we were at the end of the civil war.