He emphasized that moving these people would be a “sociopolitical” problem. Mr. Tolbert expressed that to move these people would be “almost impossible”; hence, he saw the priority as being the need to look into the creation of another Industrial park.
My reaction to this response is that, Mr. Tolbert could do better.
In order for Liberia to move from its decay, and emerge into a wholesome functioning society; it is essential that the current priority should be for government to assist Liberians in meeting their fundamental needs as human beings.
As Maslow had espoused in his hierarchy of needs theory, the instinctoid need of a human to make the most of their unique abilities can not come to play until their basic physiological needs are met.
In Liberia today, many Liberians have been forced to become squatters and build shacks in unsanitary areas, such as swamps leading to congestion, serious environmental and hygiene problems and the creation of active mosquito breeding grounds.
This issue is highlighted by the fact that malaria continues to kill nearly 4,500 Liberian children every year (LIHEDE, http://www.liberianforum.com/release/lihede009.htm).
It is essential that Liberians be raised from “mat to mattresses”.
This is achievable by the re-establishing of a national housing and savings bank scheme, and the undertaking of construction in places such as Bushrod Island , Gardenersville, Paynesville and also some parts of downtown Monrovia . Areas like WestPoint, in Monrovia , could provide excellent areas for building warehouses, which could in turn generate revenue for the city. This construction could be carried out by the disaffected youth, who have resorted to criminal activities due to the high unemployment rates in Liberia .
Returning Liberians could be given the opportunity to lease some of these houses. This would facilitate the return of exiled Liberians, and Liberian refuges after all these years of strife in Liberia .
In order for Liberia to emerge as a problem-solving nation, as opposed to being part of the global problem; it is essential that policing and fighting global terror be put on the spotlight in Liberia .
Urban design and national identification cards must be considered; and the integrity of the boarders should be guarded. These simple steps can help law enforcement carry out speedy investigations.
Proper urban planning should be enforced and people should not be left to build indiscriminately without proper permits. Property should be assigned proper spacing, lay-out and labelling.
Government should build their own office space and should not be paying rent to former government officials and their families. Rent control must be enforced to ensure every Liberian can afford a decent abode.
Government should come to the realization that the “soil is a bank” that must be invested in. Agriculture could create massive employment and will lead to Liberians being able to feed themselves. A nation that can feed itself is a strong nation.
I salute President Bush and President Obasanjo for giving Liberians a second chance at life, and giving unborn Liberians a shot at a better day.
Yes! In wake of these developments Liberians have spoken, and chosen Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as our Leader.
America has proven, under the administration of President Bush, that they are an anchor to Liberia . Not only in the good times, but also in it’s dying days.
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
The torch has been passed on to Liberians, to now seize the opportunity given to us by these two vigilant nations.
From where I sit...
Solomon Myers, is a Political Historian. He is also the founder of Liberianforum.com and DOVA, Developing Opportunities for the vulnerable in Africa.