Liberia: ‘Flag Pole Dedication Not Intended to Mock My People’ – Rep. Matthew Joe Clarifies
Monrovia – Barely few days after being criticized by his constituents for dedicating a flag pole project in a flamboyant manner and form, Grand Bassa County district # 3 Representative Matthew Joe has clarified that the project was not intended to mock his people, but to demonstrate love and the significance of a true representation.
It can be recalled on Monday, November 8, Representative Joe a flag pole with basement to students of the Grand Bassa County High School System in his district.
Following the dedication of the project, scores of citizens of the district took to the social media terming the dedication of the flag pole project as a “complete mockery and a slap in the face” to the entire student populace and school authorities in the county.
They wondered while Representative Joe would chose to dedicate a mini project after receiving a whopping US$30,000 from the Government of Liberia (GOL) for Legislative Engagement.
The US$30,000, which came in twofold, was budgeted in the 2020/2021 Fiscal National Budget, for Representatives and Senators to engage their constituents.
Lawmakers were heavily criticized for receiving the money in the wake of numerous hardships and constraints confronting medical clinics and hospitals in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
But speaking in a chat with FrontPage Africa at his Capitol Building office in Monrovia on Thursday, November 11, Representative Joe pointed out that the decision taken to dedicate the project along with some of his office staffs was based upon consistent passionate pleas made by the students’ leadership.
He emphasized that though he sponsored the project up to its completion level, he felt reluctant to hand over the project to the school authorities in person in a bid to ensure that the gesture for the students at the school goes unnoticed.
He pointed out that the leaders of the student council government at the school remain consistent in their appeals to have him dedicate the project in person.
Following the intensity of the appeals being made by the passionate students, Representative Joe disclosed that he decided to be a part of the dedicatory ceremony for the flag pole and basement project at the institution.
“That project is close to L$90,000 and the students requested for it. I never wanted to go on the campus to dedicate that project but the students have been on my back to do so. As a true Representative of people of all classes regardless of whether you are small or big, poor or rich, I decided to honor their request to dedicate the project along with some of my staffs. I am not like other politicians who normally do something or a little project and will like to show out”.
“I have been doing things quietly for my people even before I became a Representative. The people are my employers and I am their employee, and therefore, nothing is going to stop me or serve as an obstacle for me to stop addressing the challenges and problems they are faced with”.
Representative Joe emphasized that the money used to erect the project did not come from the US$30,000 that was given to each member of both the House of Representatives and Senate by the government.
He maintained that the latest project carried out at the Grand Bassa High School System is not the first of its kind.
He named the provision of scholarship to scores of young people in the institution, grant to teachers during the heat of the Coronavirus pandemic in Liberia, among others as some of his contributions towards helping to alleviate multiple constraints faced by both parents and teachers.
Representative Joe added that hundreds of teachers from other public and private schools in the district also benefitted from the free grant initiative intended to ensure that they had something at home for them and their respective family members during the closure of normal working and academic activities as a result of the pandemic.
He added that anti COVID-19 messages, jingles and awareness as well as preventive materials including buckets and drums with faucets, detergents and hand sanitizers were distributed across the district.
He said medical centers, including the only government referral hospital in the county also benefitted from the initiative.
Representative Joe indicated that despite the negative campaign and propaganda being initiated against him by his political opponents, he remains fully prepared and committed to working in the interest of those who elected him at the National Legislature and others across not only his district but the entire county and Liberia in general.
He said he will not relent to execute his constitutional responsibilities of oversight, representation and lawmaking in an effective and efficient manner, and also go the extra mile for the benefit of all in his district and county.
“The people are the ones who elected me and I will always continue to seek their interest and wellbeing. Wherever there is a problem and they called me to come and help find solution, I will go there and help to make things better”.
Meanwhile, Representative Joe has urged residents of district # 3 in Grand Bassa and others not to be carried away by smear campaign and propaganda being instigated by some politicians in the county.
He said citizens must be very mindful and cognizant of the fact that as the 2023 general and presidential elections draw nearer, some politicians, who he did not name, will come to blindfold their eyes and say negative things against others who are far better than them.
He noted that citizens should not give ears or credence to anyone who intends to tear the county apart by engaging into unwholesome acts which have the propensity to stir confusion in the district and county at large.