Stealing Crushed Rocks at Somalia Drive Project: Do These People and Liberians Want Development?

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This question is put directly to the people of Gardnersville and the surrounding estates as well as to those who live along or near Somalia Drive.

Do these people want development?

We think NOT. Otherwise they would not be engaged, as The Inquirer reported last Tuesday, in the despicable (disgraceful, wicked) act of stealing the crushed rocks purchased for the construction of the four-lane highway, which the friendly government and people of Japan have generously undertaken in further assistance to Liberia’s development efforts.

This is one of the definite positives of the Ellen administration. The government several years ago requested Japan to build the highway from the Free Port of Monrovia to the Paynesville-Kakata thoroughfare. At first it was a two-lane project, but this newspaper, the Daily Observer, vigorously supported the

GOL’s request that it be expanded to four lanes. We argued that not only would four lanes dramatically ease traffic congestion on that route, it would facilitate the speedier transit of imports from the Free Port of Monrovia to the Red Light market, the nation’s largest commercial center, and on to Kakata, another major commercial hub, and far into Liberia’s vast interior—Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh and all the southeastern counties. The four lanes would also speed the transport to the Free Port of exports from up country, such as palm kernels, palm oil, rubber and timber.

Thankfully, the friendly Japanese government blinked, and quickly the request for four lanes was approved.

What more do the people of Gardnersville, the surrounding estates and Somalia Drive itself want the government and people of Japan to do for them? Should the Japanese, in addition to giving us this critical economic lifeline, also bring security forces to stop Liberians from stealing from themselves and wickedly frustrating, retarding and undermining their own development?

The world and the Japanese people themselves would be asking: What kind of people are these Liberians – corrupt, irresponsible, utterly and perpetually dependent and wicked to themselves?

Where is the leadership of Gardnersville, all the surrounding estates and Somalia Drive itself? Have they all no shame? Why can they not mount a night watch team to help secure this major development, which the GOL and its Japanese partners are bringing to these people’s doorsteps?

Here again we ask the perennial question: What kind of people are we Liberians?

This is not the first time we have slapped our Japanese friends in the face. Right now there is a case in court in which several former officials have been charged with the crime of economic sabotage, criminal facilitation and conspiracy and theft of property relating to a US$5 million petroleum grant the Japanese government gave to Liberia about two years ago.

We hope that the court case will result in every cent of that money being fully accounted for, so that it does not appear that Japan’s hard earned money was stolen by Liberian officials to whom it was entrusted.

Liberians must stop misusing the aid other people, using their hard earned taxes, are lending to us to help us develop our country. Here we extend once again the question: Do we Liberians want development? If we do then why do we always try to shortchange our government, our poor people and ourselves? Have we forgotten that we are the oldest independent African republic, and still at the bottom of the development ladder?

Now we see why October 2017 is so critical to our future.

We call on the people of Gardnersville, all the surrounding estates and Somalia Drive, the first direct beneficiaries of the four-lane highway, to immediately mount a night watch team to protect the construction site.

We further call on the Liberia National Police (LNP) to deploy a contingent at Somalia Drive every night to protect the equipment and materials. This will save Liberians from shame and disgrace and keep the project on track until completion.

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