I am writing to request the Ministry of Youth & Sports to address the issue of the fate of the Beaches & Waterways Project, with over 900 Liberians working on the beaches from New Kru Town to ELWA. I am told that the Liberian government finally turned over the management of the beaches to the Ministry of Youth & Sports.
To date, two months’ arrears are expected, but no one knows when the money will be paid. It is a wonder how ‘little things’ can beat the competency of those responsible to manage national assets. I say that because it was the brainchild of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s administration to provide jobs, no matter how much they are paid, to young people and others who live in slum communities. These communities are beset with problems ranging from prostitution to unemployment, to people who are unskilled but coupled with lack of opportunities, whatever they are.
So, it was highly appreciated when President Sirleaf, through maritime boss, Binyah Kesselly, set up the Beaches and Waterways Project to reclaim ‘one beach at a time,’ as it was said, to create jobs for people who did not know where the next meal would come from.
The project had gone for several years; and in all reality, beaches in West Point, New Kru Town, Popo Beach and others that were once used by residents to ‘ease’ themselves have become a thing of the past. That development has helped reduce many of the diseases that killed babies and older people. The Beaches & Waterways Project has helped to improve the beaches; and today, many people are able to visit any of the beaches in Monrovia to enjoy what nature has to offer.
And yet, the lot of the people who are cleaners or contract workers are not better. As I write, their two months arrears have not been paid, and they don’t know when the money is coming. As a resident of a community close to one of these slums communities, I sometimes wonder why we are the way we are. Why do we neglect what we need to do for each other? Why is it that, in Liberia, what affects others does not affect us all? I have heard Mr. Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Youth & Sports, talk about the youths, but sometimes I wonder what ‘youths’ he has in mind.