The Informer (Monrovia)

16 July 2012

Liberia: Big Threat to Development - As Criminals Vandalize & Loot New Infrastructures

Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods Saturday morning lamented after he observed that criminals were repeatedly looting and destroying newly built infrastructure in and around Monrovia.

The saddened infrastructure Minister described the situation as a "big threat" to the country's development program and a waste of government's and donor's resources.

During the Minister's tour of the newly constructed Zoe Domah Bridge and the street light being installed on Bushrod Island, it was observed that unknown individuals have cut off wires of street lights and dug under street to pull out copper wires that provide electricity on both bridges that connect the capital with Bushrod Island.

Besides, it was also observed that individuals are removing crushed rocks from under the bridge, which the Minister said has the propensity to affect its abutment.

"I am disappointed," Woods, who doubles as Acting President of Liberia and Public Works Minister, continued. "This undermines our infrastructure development. It's a big setback; it's indeed a big setback to moving forward...and we need to move forward."

Minister Woods, touring along with a huge team of Public Works officials including his principal, and guarded by both police and presidential guards, said the damage and looting done will cost government scores of thousands of dollars to restore--monies that should be used for other development purposes.

"It will require us another money to restore them," he asserted, adding, "the greatest threat to our infrastructure is ourselves."

The Minister hinted that the Ministry will work with the police and community members to provide protection for these infrastructures which the country needs badly in promoting economic growth and development.

He warned that the law will take its course against those who would be caught causing drawbacks in the country's development efforts.

Minister Woods said it was disheartening that people who yearn for development would be the very one destroying the very development when it comes.

He said the reintroduction of traffic lights in the street of Monrovia and its environs is an important moment in the development process that people are trying to thwart.

Men have been installing traffic lights near the mouths of the old and new bridges on the Bushrod Island in recent days. Minister Woods said by Christmas these traffic lights would be visible at all major intersections in and around the capital including ELWA Junction, Freeport of Monrovia among others.

When installed, the lights will control vehicular and pedestrian movements, especially during the festive season when lack of traffic controls cause serious impediment to smooth movements in the tight over populated city.

The Minister also made a stop at the Jallah Town Road intersection at the Capitol Bye-pass and lauded men who were doing patching work on the road and urged them to speed up the exercise.

Deputy Public Works Ministers Steven Yekerson and Victor Smith, the Program Manager of the Infrastructure Implementation Unit Akedele Beckley as well as officials of the Chinese construction firm CICO formed part of the tour Minister Woods called a "field work" to inspect and monitor development initiatives.

Need Police Station

Many residents of the Bushrod Island community, closed to the two bridges, lamented the level of criminal activities in the area and called for a counter security measures.

Criminals, they claimed, cut the electric wires to cause darkness to enable them carry out their clandestine moves under the bridges, and terrorize peaceful citizens.

The Representative of the District, Vamuyan Konneh who expressed serious disappointment over the criminal activities called for the construction of a police deport in the area.

This, he said, would curtail the rampant criminal activities and protect public infrastructures.

He said he has already written Police Inspector General Chris Massaquoi, making the request, but no response has been returned.

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