The Ministry of Public Works has come under serious criticisms by the House of Representatives for its continuing indulgence in sub-contracting firms to undertake infrastructural development but often fall short of their full implementation.
The observation by the Honorable body came to light yesterday during plenary, presided over by Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, following a strongly-worded letter submitted to it through the offices of the Speaker, Hon. Alex Tyler, currently accompanying President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on a tour of Texas, the United States of America, by Rivercess County District #2 Representative, Hon. Francis S. Paye.
In the letter, Honorable Paye disclosed that having recently held a Town Meeting with chiefs, elders and prominent citizens of Fehn Town, Little Liberia in Rivercess County during the Easter Break, he was informed about the non-implementation of the construction of a bridge linking Timbo Beach in Timbo City, a project reported to have been part of a 100-day deliverables during the first term of Her Excellency, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as President of Liberia.
Noting that following construction of the bridge, it became damaged, thus necessitating the Ministry of Public Works to have later sub-contracted a firm for full reconstruction, Hon. Paye regretted that to date, rebuilding of the bridge has since not been undertaken for unexplained reasons, thus posing serious problems to its people who are known to be involved into fishery and coconut production.
Emphasizing that “citizens and residents of Timbo District are feeling quite uneasy over the delay in implementation of the bridge reconstruction,” the Rivercess County District #2 Representative indicated that the community has been left disconnected to other nearby communities, thus posing serious problems in the delivery of goods and services that contribute to the socio-economic growth and development of not only the area but the country at large.
Against this backdrop and given the momentum with which our people of Timbo District have begun greeting “Vision 2030,” a national exercise launched in recent months by government and intended to have the citizenry fully participate in the process, Hon. Paye noted, it was imperative that the Minister of Public Works, Hon. Samuel Kofi Woods, appear before Plenary to provide reasons for the delay in implementing the bridge project, moreso with such alleged arrangement between the Ministry and the firm requiring proper accountability and transparency whatever expenditure may have been made.
Upon reading of the letter by Chief Clerk Ms. Mildred Sayon in plenary, there arose outbursts of series of observations regarding the implementation of several projects in the 15 political sub-divisions by several honorable members of the august body, among who became Hon. Jeh Byron Brown, Chairman on the House Standing Committee on Ways, Means and Finance, Hon. Richard Tingban of Nimba County, Hon. Edwin Melvin Snowe of District #6, Montserrado County and Hon. Eugene Fallah Kpaka of Lofa County who described the issue as “salient,” however suggesting that the matter be referred to the Standing Committee on Public Works for proper redress, with reports to be presented to plenary in a week’s time.
To this, the honorable members, in the majority, rejected the suggestion on grounds that series of complaints have since evolved from citizens regarding the non-implementation of projects sub-contracted by the Ministry of Public Works to various firms but must now warrant the appearance of Minister Woods before plenary to provide reasons for such unhealthy development at a time that infrastructural development has been prioritized by government to help improve the lives of citizens.
Similarly suggested by Honorables Edward Forh of District # 16, Montserrado County and Matthew Zarzar who recently won the by-election in Sinoe County that the matter be referred to the House’s Standing Committee on Public Works, since the ministry has been cited to attend a meeting on next Wednesday, coupled with experiences in the Executive, something that invited laughable comments in plenary, with some describing the latter as “new entrant,” their candid opinions were however brushed aside.
Resulting to a vote on the matter in which 11 voted for the above suggestion, 22 against and one abstention, the Presiding Officer, Hon. Barchue, ordered the Chief Clerk to prepare a letter inviting Minister Samuel Kofi Woods to appear before plenary at an undisclosed date, thus giving Rivercess County Representative Hon. Francis S. Paye the day.