Land Rights Act Creates Uneasy Feeling For Maryland Superintendent
Harper, Maryland County – The Land Rights Act continues to die slowly in the Legislature despite incessant pressure for its passage.
Report by Gerald C. Koinyeneh – [email protected]
Many believe that the Act, when passed, will grant communities the right to own the land which they have occupied.
The Superintendent of Maryland County, Besty T. Kuoh-Toe is the latest government official to entreat the Legislature for the passage of the Act.
Speaking to FrontPage Africa in Harper recently, Madam Toe asserted that land dispute is creating division among the people within the county and neighboring Grand Kru and River Gee Counties.
She said the double sale of land within the county is the main cause of land conflict; while neighboring towns in Grand Kru and Maryland on one hand, and Maryland and River Gee Counties, on the other hand, are embroiled in boundary disputes.
She noted that with the help of Hon. Varney Sirleaf, Deputy Minister of Administration at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the authorities of the counties involved, the situation has been eased temporarily.
She added that a buffer zone was set up between Maryland and Grand Kru to quiet the tension and it is being observed for now.
“The dispute was hampering the peaceful co-existence of the peoples of River Gee and Maryland residing in River Gee because River Gee citizens were putting stop to the Marylanders not to use their land for farming.”
“We hope that the Land Rights Act will be passed to bring the entire situation to rest,” Superintendent Toe intoned.
The Maryland County Superintendent, speaking on a wide range of issues within the county lauded the administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for resuscitating and upgrading the William V.S. Tubman University (TU) in the county.
She lauded the administration of the University and called on Marylanders to join in hands and render their support.
“TU is an asset not only to Maryland County but Liberia at large. It has students from across the country, but we got to take the politics out of the education sector because education is technical. If we must transform our children, we need to take the political aspect from the sector,” she urged.
Madam Toe comments came in the wake of talk from some quarters of the county that the current TU President Dr. Edward Lama Wonkeryor was “handpicked” by the former President Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell, something they termed as a breach of protocol.
The administration of TU has since rubbished the allegation, terming it as false and misleading.
Others said that the Dr. Wonkeryor should not have been awarded the job because he is not a native of the county.
Madam Toe also disclosed that the renovation work on the Cape Palmas High School in Harper has resumed following the intervention of the government of Liberia after it was stalled because the previous contractor, Musa Kanneh allegedly squandered the money in the tune of US$94,000.
She thanked the new contractor, Gabmark, a local construction company in the county for the level of commitment so far.
She, however, called on the Ministry of Justice to transfer Kanneh to Maryland for prosecution and called on Central Government to involve the local authorities in awarding contracts that would be implemented in the counties to avoid future recurrence.
“Musa Kanneh and his company have done a lot of damage to us. He has embarrassed the Government so he needs to come right here for prosecution.
“He’s got to produce that money. He’s indebted to a lot of people here.”
They say they are prosecuting him in Monrovia, but nobody knows where he is being prosecuted,” Madam Toe averred.
It can be recalled that the Cape Palmas High school was hit by natural disaster in 2015 which led authorities to relocate over 1,000 students to a facility belonging to the Tubman University in Harper.