Harper City, Maryland County – The City Mayor of Harper in Maryland County, Gyude Brown says the City Corporation under his watch is doing everything possible to bring back the city to its pre-war status.
In an exclusive interview with FrontPage Africa in Harper recently, Mr. Brown named the ongoing renovation work on the City Hall and the settling of employees’ salaries as some of his major achievements within the six months he has been in office.
“When I took over, I inherited the problem of salary, but we have dealt with that issue and now that it is over, we are shifting our focus to other areas."
"Even though it is small, but for the fact that they are getting their pay on time, they are motivated to work. No matter how small the pay is, as far as they can receive it on time, they can appreciate it.
When I came to the City Hall, we had a lot of problems; the plumbing system, the electrical system, and many things were not in good working condition, but now people are renting the City Hall and now we can boast of having programs at the city hall again,” Mayor Brown averred.
He, however, conceded that there remains a lot of challenges to overcome in order to get there; citing waste management as one of the main challenges the City Corporation is faced with.
“My main challenge is waste management. Because the Harper City Corporation does not have vehicles, we find it difficult to remove garbage from the city. We set up a dump site in the city not too far from the market."
"But that is not safe. The main dump site that was used by UNMIL is in Philadelphia, on the outskirt of Harper. But because we don’t have vehicles, we find it difficult to dispose of garbage there,” he intoned.
He noted that the City Corporation is working with the County Authorities, the Environmental Protection Agency; the Liberia Marketing Association, and other Line Ministries and Local and International Organizations operating in the county to ensure the city is clean.
When asked what his administration is doing to tackle the situation, Mr. Brown disclosed that the corporation is putting mechanisms in place to purchase some pickup kehkeh (tricycle) to augment the effort of the employees and contractors who are cleaning the city manually; and called on all well-meaning citizens of Maryland in Liberia and the Diaspora to join his team in ensuring that Harper City regain its pre-war status.
“We have been trying to vigorously clean the city on a daily basis. I get my people in the streets, sweeping and taking off garbage. And within the next months, we will try to get some pickup Kekkeh that will ease the burden of waste management in Harper.
The challenges will always be there, for the fact that we are coming from war, but as time goes by, we hope to overcome it as a county and city,” Mayor Brown asserted.
He intimated that 70 percent of the current budget of US$30,000 is spent on salary and the balance goes towards the city hall renovation project; something he said is impeding the city corporation from purchasing major logistical equipment for the city.
He stressed that his leadership is contemplating on partnering with some foreign cities in promote knowledge sharing and developments.
He outlined a series of developmental projects being initiated in the city and expressed hope that within the next few years, Harper will be transformed into a modern city.
“The West Africa power Pool project is benefiting us with electricity; TU (Tubman University) is providing higher education for our children, not only in Maryland but the entire country.
The Cape Palmas High School that can boast of the likes of Dr. Amos C. Sawyer as one of its illustrious alumni is expected to be completed before the next school year begins; and the JJ Dossen Hospital is expected to get another modern facility within the next two years, thanks to Partners in Health.
The World Bank sponsored pipe borne water project is expected to extend here soon. I believe when these projects are all completed, we as citizens of Harper will be proud of our city,” Mr. Brown averred.