Weah Cascades Heartfelt Projects to Bomi -McGill Turns Over Housing Units For Medical Staff, New Bomi College Home Underway

MONROVIA – Despite grim economic realities largely caused by international factors, coupled with competing priorities facing the Coalition for Democratic Change administration, President George Weah appears to be factoring every political division of the country onto the dinner table of the national cake. And Bomi County is just one of those on the priority list. During the President’s nationwide tour in that county, at which time major streets there were solar-lighted, the people of the county pleaded with the President for a number of development projects, including health workers’ living quarters. Last weekend, the President’s Chief of Office Staff dedicated and turned over the housing units for the health workers and promised that he or the President will soon be back in a few months to unveil a new home of the county’s premier college, the Bomi Community College. The Analyst reports.    

The state of underdevelopment in Bomi County may soon be an issue of the past if the quantum of projects outlined by the government to be executed in the county come to fruition. This is evidenced by the fact that President George Weah over the weekend fulfilled his promise to the medical staff working in the county. The Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel Falo McGill, behalf of the President, turned over 10 housing units for their comfort, convenience and reward for their “patience, resilience, endurance and hard-work in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country”.

Presidential Affairs Minister Nathaniel Falo McGill, who represented President Weah at the historic occasion held on the Campus of the Bomi County Community College on Friday, August 12, 2022, said that the housing units represent the government’s commitment to revamping the health sector by providing conducive living condition and other incentives for the medical workers.

He said the government was under obligation to acknowledge the enormous sacrifices that the health workers made during the outbreak of the pandemic which made it possible to defeat Covid-19 in the country as Liberia makes strides to eliminate the threats of the disease. He added that an additional 10 housing units will be constructed to further boost the morale of the health professionals in the county.

Speaking at the program, Minister McGill who was smarting from what he called a misunderstanding of his utterance in Bong County when he addressed a women group, which went viral with claims that he was justifying corruption, signaled a disclaimer if he was once again misunderstood or taken out of context.

“Let me say it to you; wherever I appear, things I say are mine. When I say good things, then that is from the President; but if I say things that are not good, of course it is not the President’s message because the President never told me to say anything wrong. So, I take responsibility for anything I did wrong because he did not give me instruction to do wrong,” McGill said amid cheers.

While counting himself not just from Gbarpolu County but from the Western Region that comprises, Grand Cape Mount , Gbarpolu and Bomi Counties, Minister McGill said he has had the opportunity to share the idea of a synergy among key stakeholders from the region, some of whom were at the gathering including Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe, Representatives Hajia Siryon and Finda Lassanah, former Speaker Alex Tyler, among others, to strategize and bring development to the region for the benefit of the citizens.

He added that that the leaders including himself will be blamed if the region remains underdeveloped when they leave power.

The President’s chief of office staff continued: “God has given the Western Region an opportunity, and if we don’t take advantage of the opportunity God has given us, you have us to blame; correct? You are our brothers and sisters. God has chosen some members of your family to be in a position of trust to be able to bring development to the region. It is sad and shameful that when you are driving from Monrovia to Tubmanburg, the road is that terrible. I know the majority of you are not happy about the road.  So that is the reason why when we meet as leaders of this region, we are deeply concerned.”

He said the government is poised to change the narrative of the level of underdevelopment in the area, and needs the cooperation of all citizens in the region to support the government achieve the feat.

In apparent reference to the 12-year rule of the Unity Party which impacts, according to him, cannot be seen in the area, Mr. McGill said, “sadly enough was not done for the people to see in 12 years, yet they (opposition) are drumming up campaigns to return to power within just 4 and a half year of the Weah’s administration.”

He said the Weah administration has done exceptionally well for the people and will do more for the people.

Minister McGill who is considered as one the President’s main confidante in handling key official affairs, sent the gathering in celebration and jubilation mode when he announced that the government will build a befitting edifice for the Bomi Community College which is about to be transitioned to a full degree granting institution.

He said from the estimates, it would require $1.5M and that the Legislative caucus of the county and leaders have consented that half of the $1M accruable to the county as benefit from the signing of the Western Custer deal which is $500k will be spent towards the construction of the structures, while the balance $1m will be sourced from the national budget as the government’s contribution.

He had earlier told the people that the plan of building a new university was conceived after he told President Weah about the state of the only community college in the region as not being representative of the status of a high institution of learning.

He said he told the President that the region deserves better college building that when anyone sees it, they will develop an appetite to learn.

Mr. McGill said he sees the planned project as a plus to the re-election bid of the President.

He lamented: “Aye yah, I can feel sorry for those who want to run against the President. I hope they are seeing and hearing it, we are going to build a new university”, he said, as he received a standing ovation.”

Minister McGill also said he would mobilize funds from spirited Liberians and friends of Liberia who have keen interest in education to raise LD$10m towards the payment of school fees in Bomi County.

He said LD$5m will be used to offset tuition for college students in the county, while the other LD$5m will go towards tuition payment for senior students at secondary level.

The Presidential Chief of Office Staff laid more emphasis on the source of the money for the construction of the new structures, stating that the citizens have legitimate claims to the money as it is theirs and must be used for them as well as the money for tuitions for students which he said will be sourced outside the budget, accrued through contributions from private individuals and institutions.

“We are going to use the money to build the University and I know the opposition will get vexed. Let them go and do what they will do with that. Look, I am one of those against corruption. When we go around and beg people to give us money to give scholarships, they say that is corruption, but we will not get tired. Once we know we are not doing the wrong thing, once we know we are not stealing the government’s money, once we know we are going around begging for money for our people, we will not be deterred.

“So, I want the press to hear me clearly so that they don’t misinterpret my statement. We are going to go around and raise that money. We are not going to go into the Ministry of State’s budget and we are not going to the Ministry of Finance and take tax payers’ money. So let it be clear so that they can’t say we are taking the government’s money.

“The problem with some people is that when you are holding these positions, they say you should not do good for the citizens. So how do we raise the money? Are we not going to talk to other people? Because when they were there and didn’t do it, when I make these statements, the people say oh, he is justifying corruption,” Minister McGill said.

Touching on other development packages for the county, he said the recent deal signed between the government and the Western Cluster will see the development landscape changing in the county and in the region, mentioning about the deplorable Monrovia –Bomi Highway which he said will be reconstructed by Western Cluster and will also extend to Gbarpolu County. The project, he said, will give top priority to workers that will be recruited in the employ of the company.

“When Western Cluster comes back, it is going to create jobs. When they come back, we are saying they are not coming back and to leave Bomi the same way they left it the last time. We told them not to bring containers here for our people. You have to build and ensure that our people live in something good. If you bring containers here, you will carry your container back.

“That road there has to be fixed, we are not making any compromises that will harm our citizens. And that road I can guarantee you that in the near future if you are coming to Bomi County, you will know you are coming to the city,” he said.

On other matters, the Chief of Office Staff took some time to comment on the recent arson attack on the residence of the Chairman of Unity Party, Rev Luther Tarpeh and vowed that the security agencies will definitely investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to book.  While exonerating the government from part of the incident, McGill blamed the opposition because they are losing and decided to engage in violence to make the county appear as if it is not safe, boasting of the country’s human rights record that allows the citizens to go about their normal business activities without hindrance.

“This country is the only country in the whole region that you visit and you do not find any army in the street. We should ask our neighbors. That is why I cannot understand some people when they say we want our country back. Back from who? From the country people? This is unacceptable”, he said.

He thanked the people of Bomi County, including the students for keeping the peace, which according to him is paramount in bringing development to the people.

Earlier, a staff at the College in his welcome remarks, thanked Minister McGill and entourage for the visit and the historic groundbreaking for the new structures at the College preparatory to being granted a full degree awarding institution. He also spoke of the challenges facing the institution in terms of facilities to ease learning and mobility for the staff and students.

His statement was also buttressed by another member of the teaching staff who while thanking the government for what it has been doing for the college also appealed for scholarships to the staff for them to further their education up to Master’s degree so as to be prepared for full degree granting activities. He said at present about 80% of the instructional staff at the college are holders of Bachelor’s degrees and it will not augur well if the college is elevated and there are no lecturers with the relevant qualifications.

The Chief Education Officer for the County, used the occasion to thank the government for the provision of 1,000 chairs for schools in the county and looked forward to more interventions so as to reposition the education sector.

Speaking on behalf of the Bomi County Legislative Caucus and the County leadership, Bomi County Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe commended President Weah and the Government of Liberia for making Bomi County a priority in terms of bridging the development gap.

He disclosed that President Weah has directed for the housing units to be electrified by the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) with immediate effect.

The activities of McGill’s entourage which also included the Minister of Health, Mrs. Wilmena Jallah, were highlighted by the presence of traditional singers and dancers, and the presence of huge number of citizens bearing placards with inscriptions expressing support to President Weah’ s reelection bid as well as expression of appreciation for what the President has been doing for the county since his ascendency to power.

Meanwhile, Minister McGill after the program granted an interview with a local radio station in Tubmanburg to provide an overview of his visit and what was achieved from it for the benefit of those who may not have been fortunate to be physically present at events he attended.

He began by reiterating the significance of the housing units built for the medical staff in the county as it relates to the President’s promise to them during the nationwide tour in 2021.

He said in the interview: “To be honest with you, thanks go to the health workers. Before I came, the President asked me to deliver a special message on his behalf that he wanted to thank the health workers for their patience, endurance, they made a lot of sacrifices. You are quite aware that for some part of last year beginning from 2019, we had a pandemic which is COVID, the health workers stood up strongly, they fought as heroes and we defeated COVID. COVID has been reduced considerably around the world and records show Liberia is making tremendous gains. And so the program went very well and see how excited the health workers were and you can see that the President came here the last time and made a commitment that he was going to build special housing units and my understanding here is that an additional 10 units are going to be built. But this is just a piece of the iceberg; more needs to be done and the President is willing to do more. I know there are many competing priorities but whatever commitment that has been made must be delivered.”

McGill confirmed that additional requests were made from the health workers, among them was the challenge they go through with mobility.

He told the interview further: “That is true. The Health Minister was present, we will take into consideration various requests and we are going to act on them. Like I said, there are a lot of projects and you cannot deal with all of them that is impossible. If anybody tells you that you can solve all of the problems in one day, it is not possible. But the major priority programs will be solved. So we are looking into the issue of transportation.”

He also commented on the proposed new university that will be built to graduate the present Bomi County Community College to a full degree granting institution. “We also had a meeting with the College and that was interesting. The Caucus and I have agreed that we need to build a new university. The Bomi County Community College is going to be transformed into a full university. The good news that came from that meeting is that out of the $1m that has been given to the county by Western Clusters, 50% which is $500k will be set aside for the project and the Government of Liberia with the support of the President will match the fund to make it $1.5m. The $500k is already available and the additional $1m will be available that will be given through the budget process”, he said.

The former Chairman of the ruling party also used the occasion to re-emphasize the resolve of the leaders from Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu to approach development in those counties from a regional perspective, stressing that what affects one county should also affect the others.

“It is my pleasure to be in Bomi. As you are aware, not only am I the Minister of State and representing the President in handing over the structures that have been built for the health workers, I am also a citizen of the region, precisely Gbarpolu County. But as Senator Snowe has said, we want to operate as a region so that whatever affects Gbarpolu affects Bomi and Grand Cape Mount,” the noted further.

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