19 October 2012

Liberia: Gov't Searches for New Site

Following two unsuccessful attempts to secure a site for the construction of a Ministerial Complex, the Government of Liberia appears to have embarked on another search for a new site where the People's Republic of China will construct the US$60m Ministerial Complex.

This followed stiff opposition by citizens of previous plan by the government to demolish the proposed Defense Ministry building in Oldest Congo Town near Peace Island.

Over a week ago after the government told the Supreme Court of Liberia that it had no plans to demolish the unfinished defense ministry building, Deputy Information Minister Norris Tweah also told a news conference Thursday regarding the discovery of another possible site, "I can say the absolute search of the... (Site) is that a technical committee has been constituted..."

On the technical committee, Minister Tweh listed the ministries of Information, Public Works, Lands and Mines, saying "they are working" and will be providing updates in the next press briefing.

Besides, the Liberian Government reaffirmed its earlier comment that it only identified the defense ministry as a possible site, with several alternative areas.

Following intense public opposition to government's announced plans to spend US$4m to demolish the Israelite built bullet-proof new Defense Ministry, human rights lawyer T. Dempster Brown took the government before the Supreme Court of Liberia where the lawyer was mandated by the high court to return with the matter if there is any attempt by government to touch the defense ministry.

The government had earlier announced that excluding squatters, all legitimate residents within the New Defense Ministry vicinity, including those on the Peace Island produce their property deeds to be evaluated for compensation and subsequent relocation.

But all residents of Peace Island said the land was given to them by government without deeds, therefore, they have nothing to present for relocation.

The worrying pronouncement by the government however met wide public condemnation, on grounds that the authorities could find some possible vacant sites around Montserrado County other than delaying the Chinese Ministerial Complex Project by seeking to evict thousands of people from the Peace Island.

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