Thursday’s Congo Town-Paynesville Traffic Paralysis: A Sign of Things to Come?

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Motorists and the public were Thursday, December 15, 2016 trapped for several hours for only one reason: Winners Chapel’s hosting of the Smythe Institute graduation.

We commend the graduates for their achievements, but at the same time feel compelled to raise the serious question, why did the public and the national economy have to pay such a heavy price?

But the more important question is, why does the Liberian National

Police (LNP) allow such a thing to happen? What kind of country are we living in where there seems to be no coordination?

Did the LNP Commissioner, Gregory Coleman, know that a graduation was to take place at Winners Chapel on that day? If so, what contingency plans did LNP put into place to avoid not only the frustration of commuters, but the terrible economic costs to the nation?

People may ask, “What economic costs?” Well, think of the businesspeople trying to get from point A to point B on that Thursday.

Think also of the parents trying to pick up their children from school and the anxiety of the children themselves and the various school authorities.

But even more costly economically, think of the inability of passengers to catch their flights and international connections and appointments abroad. How does this encourage more international airlines to choose Liberia as one of their destinations? Which airline wishes to return from the Roberts International Airport (RIA) empty, for reasons that are totally unnecessary? This amounts to huge losses because of an inefficient Police Force, and an inept city administration that fail to plan what is happening in their city.

Is this a sign of things to come? Do we or can we imagine what is going to happen when the ministerial complex is completed? Has the Liberian government undertaken a study of the traffic flow or congestion that complex will create on Tubman Boulevard?

What plans has the Public Works Ministry designed to mitigate the looming traffic congestion? And the Ministry of State for Presidential

Affairs which gave the order to tear down the new Defense Ministry building to erect the complex there? That Ministry is the chief coordinator of all that happens in the country. And what of the office of the National Security Advisor? Did Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh have a say in the decision to put the ministerial complex at the area called 540? If perchance he had advised against it, why was he not listened to?

The presidency was about to make the same mistake in the beginning, when they first decided to put the complex on ELWA’s broadcasting, evangelistic and medical campus. That was until the Daily Observer vigorously opposed it on two counts: first, we said the GOL was picking fuss with God by usurping land that the Tubman administration had given to the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) for broadcasting, evangelistic and medical purposes.

Second, this newspaper raised the very serious question of the looming traffic catastrophe if there occurred on any business day a major sports event at the S.K.D. Stadium. How would ministerial employees and visitors be able to get home to other parts of Paynesville or Monrovia, or travel to the RIA to catch international flights?

The GOL, which arbitrarily tore down the ELWA fence, hurriedly rebuilt it at night and left the site. Then the GOL, for a while, considered this newspaper’s pleading that it transform the Buzzi Quarter slum, the embarrassing, filthy sore eye beneath the nation’s center of power—the Executive Mansion, the Temple of Justice and the Capitol Building—into a beautiful, modern, tree-lined metropolis.

For a struggling economy like ours to instead demolish a costly tax payer funded structure that could have been converted to an academic, medical or multi-business center in order to locate the ministerial complex at 540 is astonishing.

Alas! The Administration that, to its own peril, often fails to listen to good advice, stubbornly rejected the Buzzi Quarter option and tore down the solidly built Defense Ministry structure, to put the ministerial complex right across from Winners Chapel. The public has to date not been given an explanation for this hard to swallow action by the administration or any answers to the questions spinning in the public domain especially during the demolition when many people expressed their deep vexation and misgivings as the building crumbled under the assault of bulldozers.

Meanwhile, we ask again, what plans has the GOL, in particular Public Works and the Joint Security, put into place to avoid a similar catastrophic traffic conundrum (problem) as the public suffered on Thursday, December 15?

The public is waiting for an answer but wonders if it will continue to be ignored and denied one.

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