At a meeting she convened on Tuesday, March 5, to discuss the Omega Village Project, President Ellen Johnson named former Acting City Mayor, Madam Mary T. Broh, to head the Project Implementation Unit that will manage the project, with the Ministry of Public Works taking the lead.
President Sirleaf said that Madam Broh's job would be to coordinate, working with the Minister of Public Works, to get the project done. She believed that Madam Broh would bring the same dynamism to the project as she brought to the City of Monrovia.
Madam Broh, in thanking the President, said: "I will not disappoint you." A budget will be prepared and office space identified for the new PIU secretariat.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf brought together the various stakeholders to discuss the Omega Project, which she said was now much more than just the Omega Market, but a Government project that was being expanded into the Omega Village. The President recalled that the Omega Market Project had started with support from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, with a US$500,000 donation; that the first drawing was done by Deputy Minister of Public Works, Edsel Smith, and that some construction had taken place.
But we now want to expand this, the President said, to go beyond just the Omega Market, and to call it the Omega Village, because there were other buy-ins, such as housing, warehouses, transport, and the project had grown larger. A survey had been done by the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy, but the proposal now required a master plan showing a full community with all of the amenities – schools, clinics, housing, playgrounds, and more. Once Public Works completed its study, the land would be divided among the various stakeholders. She hoped that with the planning commencing now, and doing it the right way, the work could start in the next dry season.
For his part, Public Works Minister Samuel Kofi Woods said that the utilization plan of the different components would determine the acreage that would be assigned to each. It was important to first determine the full land mass, that there should be no assumptions, and that there should be no construction not approved by the leadership. He called for a modern, evolving vision for the Omega Village Project.
In a presentation, the Managing Director of the National Housing Authority, Mr. Samuel Thompson, described how the NHA envisaged use of some of the 452.93 acres of land for housing units and other services. The President clarified that NHA was not controlling the project, but would be given a portion of the land to develop with housing. Public Works architects, engineers and urban planners would prepare a master plan.
Among those taking part in the discussion were Mrs. Clavenda Bright Parker, representing the AKA Sorority, who said that AKA looked forward to cooperating in the expanded project; and Mrs. Lusu Sloan, President of the Liberia Marketing Association, who commented on the survey that was done of the land and the need for the construction of 12 warehouses for the market women, funded by donors, to go forward.
Also attending the meeting were the following persons: Deputy Public Works Minister Edsel Smith; Mr. George Miller of the Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy; Ms. Olivia Shannon and Mrs. Margretta Sawo General of the Sirleaf Market Women's Fund; Ms. Jennah Scott, of the Liberia Philanthropy Secretariat; Mr. Laurence Paye, Mr. Moses Tehswen, Ms. Deddeh Beyan, Mrs. Dawn Cooper Barnes and Mrs. Jennie Bernard.