Monrovia - The Standard Bearer of the All Liberian Party Benoni Urey has accused the Unity Party-led administration of mortgaging Liberia’s resources in a rush, to what he terms as “handbags companies”.
He also expressed his dissatisfaction over the demolition of the Palm Grove Cemetery on Gurley and Center Streets.
“Our attention has been drawn to what is regarded as an underground program by the Sirleaf administration in its last remaining days to embark upon a plan to wantonly mortgage Liberia’s resources, including oil blocks and minerals,” Urey told a news conference on Wednesday.
“This plan has been dubbed the ‘last rush’.
The All Liberian Party (ALP) calls upon the Administration to seriously think about the consequences of granting Liberian natural resources without a strategic plan. ”
While addressing the recent press conference at his Congo Town Office of the Lone Star MTN Corporation, Urey pointed to the fact that the Sirleaf –led government had overseen the granting of oil blocks, iron ore deposits, and during the private use permit scandal, more than 25 percent of the forest area of Liberia.
He stressed that no other administration had overseen such wholesale and irresponsible granting of concessions, but even worse, without a strategic plan to ensure sustainable development.
Urey said that the administration must not be allowed to continue the “mortgaging “of Liberia’s non-renewable resources as it had done in the past, to “hand bag companies” such as Elenilto, Delta Mining and China Union, in what is generally considered an “opaque process” of granting mineral concessions.
“Our information is that the government is in a big hurry to sell out our last oil blocks in the shallow waters - blocks 6 and 7 - previously granted to Tong Tai, and blocks 1-5, which were never [leased], but are in the Harper Basin, an area with the highest probability of oil discovery due to its proximity to producing fields in La Cote d’Ivoire."
"The granting of oil blocks under current global conditions, with falling prices and uncertainties in the petroleum industry would be irresponsible, unpatriotic and a blatant demonstration of callous disregard for the future of Liberia,” said the ALP standard bearer.
He added that the Liberian economy was stuck in a zero or slow-growth pattern for the intermediate period due to incompetent economic governance of the present administration, which he said was in its last days. “Clearly, what they did not accomplish over 11 years cannot be done in a month,” he slammed.
Donation of 30 acres of Land for memorial site
Mr. Urey expressed disgust of the ongoing demolition exercise by the government of the Palm Grove Cemetery. He sees it as compelling to address the issue of the ongoing demolition by having his family donate 30 acres of Land in Careysburg to the people of Liberia so that families can relocate the remains of the loved ones.
“In this moment of sadness when the graves are being desecrated, the ALP has deemed it a national enterprise and worthy undertaking, to bring solace to the many afflicted hearts and our political machinery have appealed to me to address this lamentable matter.
Because of this, Mrs. Urey and I have decided to donate 30 acres of land towards this rehabilitative effort, and we call upon the government, should it insist on the demolition of our sacred ground, to join our effort in exhuming the remains of our dearly departed and transporting same to the new burial site in Careysburg,” Urey noted.
According to Mr. Urey, the purpose of the donation is to lessen the anxieties of the families and assuage the hearts of all who have been troubled by the recent development. Accordingly, the desire is not to bring embarrassment upon the heads of the executors of this exercise but rather through collaboration to assist in the preservation of the remains our heroes and heroines and the maintenance of respect for all.
“Nearly two centuries, the Palm Grove Cemetery, where the founders of Liberia – from the 19th to the 21st Century, from Sao Bosoe, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, Hiliary Teage, Elijah Johnson and other notable men and women of distinct heavenly bearing - their earthly remains have rested in peace, safe for the period of the past decade when the drug-demented victims of our self-inflicted civil war – the Zogos - have sought sanctuary in the abodes of the Cemetery,” he said.
When asked about his party’s opinion on the on-going demolition of the new Defense Ministry in Congo Town, Urey said he was totally against the demolishing of the building in that Liberia has lots of lands that could have been used to house the ministerial complex, rather than the new Defense Ministry building.
“We do not have scarcity of land in this country. Even if the ministerial complex is good for Liberia, does it have to be placed at that same location?
Are you telling me that we could not find any suitable land in Monrovia other than that spot?
Personally, I would have loved to see that building completed because it was started by the late President Samuel K. Doe, which was a good initiative."
"So, we believe that it should have been completed and used. We have so little to be destroying structures that cost millions of dollars of our money,” Urey added.
Urey said he was joining all of the groups and other Liberians in criticizing the government for the demolition of the new Defense Ministry building because he knew that it was a challenge to the government to bring the document that proves that the building was not structurally adequate to remain.
“We have not seen any such document and personally, I do not believe it exists. Millions of dollars of the people’s money was invested in that building and the decision should not have been left to one group of people.
"The government should have listened to the cries of the Liberian people and ceased the demolition. "
“Again the government constructed that fence around the graveyard and probably took another one or two millions of the Liberian people’s money to construct the fence that they have demolished again, that is poor planning,” said Urey.
As to whether he has heard of any plans to lease or sell the sacred grounds of the grave yard, Urey said he had not heard of such plans but if the government was thinking in the direction, it would be a big mistake.
“I have not heard that the graveyard will be sold or lease, but I pray that it never happens because we will demonstrate against it, because you cannot sell a sacred place,” he concluded.