Liberia: Grand Bassa Residents Name Injustice, Poor Health and Education Amongst Challenges
Buchanan– Residents of Grand Bassa County over the weekend at a county’s peace and reconciliation dialogue outlined several issues affecting them in the county.
They named injustice, poor health systems, poor education systems, insecurity, bad roads condition, economic hardship among other things as issues of concern in the county.
The reconciliation dialogue was organized by the National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (NAYMOTE) in partnership with the Ministry of Internal Affairs with funding from UNDP to path a way for the county five years action plan.
The reconciliation dialogue was held in three separate locations, Compound #1 Administrative Building, Harlandsville Town Hall with the official closing ceremony at the County’s city hall. Under the theme: “Advancing Reconciliation through Legislative Reforms and Civil Engagements.”
“One of the challenges we have in our district right now is that people taking their children from the school and sending them to the traditional bush. While schools are in session people come and take their children and send them in the Sande or Poro Bush,” said Charles w. Autridge, a resident of Compund #1, Garnd Bassa County.
He said there are some teachers in the various schools that don’t have passion for the job and others are not qualify.
“So, the Ministry of Education needs to conduct a survey in our county to evaluate those teachers to know the rightful teachers that supposed to be in the classroom.”
Several others said injustice is one of the factors responsible for the backwardness of the county.
“The court system in Grand Bassa is based on who know you. it also border on society and is damaging the justice system. If you take someone to court you will see the person showing signs to the judge and later you will see the person walking away,” says Ruth G. Kennedy.
For Promise Lloyd, the issue of drugs importation in the county is another issue that is seriously affecting locals.
She said the county is gradually becoming a commercial hub for countraband as drug users increased in the county.
“The issue of drugs in the county is seriously causing embarrassment for us, because when those boys take in their drugs, it make them brave and make them feel superior to do anything,” she noted.
Solo O. Gee, another prominent citizen said the poor health system in the county is alarming and need central government attention.
Gee said government -run ealth facilities in the county are lack of drugs, ambulance and other basic health services.
He noted that patients are often sent to other local clinics or pharmacies to buy medications. Gee also added that accessing health facilities is also a major challenge for patients, especially pregnant women due to bad roads condition.
“The health system in Bassa is scattered, no access to health facilities, no regular electricity, bad roads condition and no safe drinking water in some of the communities,” Gee said.
“Right now because of the current economic system, things are very high in Bassa. The purchasing rate is very high, things prices are very high since this new government took over, so things are very difficult now for us,” Ruth G. Kennedy, a resident.
The reconciliation dialogue was implemented in seven counties including, Montserrado, Bomi, Gbarpolu, Rivergee, Maryland, Grand Kru and Grand Bassa Counties.
The aim of the dialogue is to provide a platform for citizens to voice their concerns in relation to peace and reconciliation and to find a strategic way forward in strengthening community driven peace and reconciliation efforts.
NAYMOTE has completed 32 communities reconciliation dialogue across the seven counties and has also completed five of the counties reconciliation.
Land crisis, illicit drugs, illicit mining, rape, and mismanagement of the county social development funds, corrupt practices of security officers, poor healthcare system, poor education system, poor justice system were some of the issued raised.
Majority of the participants pledged support to the establishment of war and economic crimes court in Liberia because they believe it will reduce corruption, improve governance, sustain the peace and hold duty bearer accountable for wrongful deeds.