Despite the smooth sailing of President George Manneh Weah into the hinterland of the country, having spirited and cordial times with the rural populace, it has not been only for the pomp and pageantry of it. It has also been about what the President can do concretely and promptly to alleviate the sufferings and challenges of the people—sufferings and challenges that are not the making of the current regime but have come down from ages. And while the ordinary people overwhelm the President with streams of requests to improve their lot, government officials, mainly legislators, join in increasing the load for the President, as if the President is the sole source for national transformation and development. Leaders of Grand Cape, including the Superintendent and Senator Varney Sherman, joined the bandwagon of requesters, and when the President took the podium later, he did not sound happy at all with them; he did not mince words pounding the leaders and others who, knowing what is already in the offing for the people based on their vintage point, also make demands on the president as if he was careless. The Analyst reports.
Grand Cape Mount Senator Varney G. Sherman and other leaders of the county must be regretting now while they had to join ordinary citizens during Saturday’s town meeting in Robertsport to pester President Weah with endless stream of requests to develop their county. The citizens requested, amongst other things, the construction of roads, principally the Madina-Robertsport highway, the construction of hospitals, clinics, vocation and technical schools, libraries, midwifery facilities, market buildings, empowerment of women and youth, etc.
Citizens of other counties had made similar requests, and the President shared his perspectives on what was being done and what is possible to be done in the near and far futures. The difference between those citizens and their leaders and those of Grand Cape Mount County was that it appeared Senator Sherman and others knew what Government has been planning, but still chose to make the impressions from their remarks that nothing was being planned or done at all.
More so, for Senator Sherman, he sounded like he was out for taunting the President, particularly when he asked the President to help complete a failed presidential palace project in Robertsport so that “when you come here in Robertsport, Mr. President, you would not sleep in a Lodge on the beach, but that you will sleep in a decent palace for VIPs” in town center.
Cllr Sherman was also heard reechoing requests by other ordinary citizens in the meeting for the construction of the highway from Madina to the capital city of the county.
President George Weah, addressing the flood of concerns and requests from the citizens of Cape Mount, took particularly aim at Varney Sherman and leaders of the county who, according to him, know that, for instance, the Madina-Robertsport is amongst priority projects of Government out for bidding and could soon start but chose to join the innocent locals to raise the issue anyhow.
Perhaps in the view of the President, this was a mischief intended to deceive the locals into believing that Grand Cape and its people are not a priority of his administration.
“What Cllr Sherman, my former colleague, has just said here is not a good thing to say, given his stature,” President Weah said. “The Senator knows full well things that my government is doing, and he knows that Grand Cape County is factored those efforts. The Madina-Robertsport road he talked about is being tendered for pavement. He knows that, yet he’s joining you to request me pave it. How can some of these leaders do and say things like that?”
On the Senator’s mock relative lodging on the beach, the President retorted that Robertsport is one of the oldest cities in the country, whence come some of the country’s eminent leaders, including Senator Sherman, yet there are no infrastructures to accommodate quests.
He said: “I would have thought that the learned Senator would point to hospitality facilities in this city that would prevent VIP from sleeping in a Beach Lodge. Does he have some and yet I chose to go on the Beach? Cllr. Sherman, I would be pleased to come back here, even while working on your proposal to build a presidential palace, so that I or other guests spend a night at your home or a hotel that you have built in this county”.
The President divulged to the crowds of Robertsport residents in the town meeting Saturday, March 27, that Cllr. Sherman and all other lawmakers are the ones who make budgetary allocations for projects that impact the citizens and that they should bring pressure to bear on them to assist in developing Grand Cape Mount.
President Weah accepted all the requests made by the citizens, stating that as president elected by the popular suffrage, including Grand Cape Mount, he would not shy away from that responsibility nor make excuses.
“People of Grand Cape Mount, people of Robertsport, we have taken note of all you have said here today, including requests for transformation. That’s why you elected me, when others said I am a footballer, I knew nothing and that I would not bring development to the people and the country,” the Liberian leader said. “But just in three years, you can see all that I have done: the roads, free college tuition for public universities and colleges, spreading electricity to towns, villages and citizens, digitizing registration at the University of Liberia, building hospitals, markets, and you name it.”
He continued: “While we are having sleepless nights working on things to improve the lives of our people, we need the support of all, including your leaders. We have to drop the mentality of the Old Order that marginalized rural people and served with mere lip-service. I say this because many politicians, as you unfortunately heard some today at this meeting, put everything on the Executive Branch while they are the ones that have constitutional power to allot money for development. In many of the places we visited, there was not a single infrastructure or development seen in their name. We need to change and think and do things positively for our people.”
He said self-seeking politicians and leaders of counties, including Cape Mount, are and should be held responsible for the many woes and challenges the country and its people face.
If each of them was investing in their people and their communities, Liberia would go far in development, President Weah said, noting, “Let’s give back to our communities and people. Let’s fight and bring in investors so that our people will be employed; so our communities will develop.”
Also appearing to be out of touch was the Superintendent of the Grand Cape Mount, who catalogued several issues and made several requests for interventions that were nearly considered closed because Government had taken some steps. And he got some lashes from his appointer, the President.
“I feel very disappointed when some local officials speak. And it is unfortunate that the Superintendent would take the stage and misinform people or say things as if he had not following developments,” the President noted.
The President was particularly referring to assertions made by the Superintendent regarding the conflict in Kinjor between Bea Mountain, concessionaire and the citizens, and other developments taking place in Cape Mount.
He said further: “It is as if the Superintendent was not with us throughout this trip in Grand Cape Mount County. Or was he not listening. Right in Kinjor during a town hall meeting, a spokesman of the locals said all conflicts between the company and the people were resolved, and that the company has begun to do many things for the people. I also briefed the people on what the company told me, about the paving of the road, the building of vocational school for which I broke ground this morning, amongst other things. How can the Superintendent come out again, just few hours after the Kinjor meeting, to make requests for the same things already resolved or are projects in progress?”