5 February 2013

Liberia: 'West Pointers' Will Resist Relocation If

Montserrado County District # 7 Representative, Solomon George, has said the residents of the Township of West Point will strongly resist any attempt by the Government of Liberia (GoL) to "disrespectfully" relocate them from the township. West Point is a slum community in Monrovia. The population of the slum community is estimated at over 75,000.

However, Rep. George was quick to point that the residents will do it peacefully and not violently. Lawmaker George, who represents Montserrado County District # 7 on the ticket of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) in the Legislature, made the disclosure over the weekend following a mass meeting with his constituents.

The meeting, which was held at the M.V. Massaquoi School in the township, brought together elders, marketers, youth leaders and students, amongst others. Speaking further, the CDC's lawmaker alleged that the GoL has "mortgaged" the township of West Point to South African and European companies to carry on resort activities.

But his allegation is yet to be independently verified by The Heritage. He told reporters that the residents of township have been residing within the township for several decades, and as such, they(residents) will not accept any relocation that will be done in a "disrespectful" manner. He pointed out that majority of the residents of in the township rely on commercial fishing in order to survive, stating that government must adequately discuss its alleged demolition plan with his constituents.

"If this government wants to move us from this place, they must tell us how we will move and where. We want the government to also know that 80% of us here depend on fishing. So if they are moving us from this place, they must take us to a land where we will have access to water," he further stated.

The CDC lawmaker continued: "This land was filled in by our people. They did doping and filling. This place was all sea and most of where we stand was dirt. Whether it is squatters' rights or what, we have been living here for many, many years. You cannot take us out with disrespect. We will not accept it from anybody even George Weah, who is Liberia's Peace Ambassador. Any attempt to move us from West Point disrespectfully, we will fight. We are saying that if our people are treated with disrespect, we will disrespect those who will do it to us."

However, Rep. George recommended the construction of better housing facilities by the seaside by government as the first step forward if residents of the township should be relocated.

Meanwhile, Rep. George called on residents of West Point to stand firm and remain focused in their resistance in order to ensure that their homes and business centers are not demolished. He added that plans are underway for the presentation of a position statement to the Legislature and office of the president respectively regarding the alleged relocation exercise.

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