Liberia: ‘Invincible Park Built with Proper Drainage and Sewage System’ – Deputy Minister of State Discloses

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MONROVIA – Liberians woke up to news early Thursday morning that the famous and popular Invincible Park has been flooded as a result of the heavy downpour of rain in Monrovia for the past two days, partially delaying unhindered and unrestricted amusement and recreational activities at the facility.

The park which is located at the foot of the James Payne Spriggs Airport near the Tubman Boulevard and directly opposite the home of former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, comprises of a standard FIFA football pitch, two youth football practice pitches, two basketball courts, tennis and volleyball courts, a track and field stretch, mini children’s playground, parking space, VIP lounge, and a prayer house, among others.

Several housing units were also constructed around the park to give the area a facelift.

The project was supervised by the Minister of State Without Portfolio, Trokon Kpui, and funded by the National Port Authority (NPA), National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), and the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA).

It was dedicated by President George Manneh Weah, in fulfillment of his childhood dream, on Friday, April 15, 2018.

Since the dedication of the park, critics have been lambasting the government, claiming that the over US$3M reportedly spent on the project, should have been diverted to other initiatives to adequately benefit citizens across the country.

A video of the flooded park went viral on the social media last Wednesday evening with some members of the opposition community and critics terming the project as a “waste” of tax payers’ monies.

They claimed that the facility lacked a proper drainage system to guarantee its lifespan.

The overflowed water mainly at the children playground delayed amusement and leisure activities among the kids and adults during the early morning hours of yesterday.

Following the reports, FrontPage Africa launched an independent investigation to ascertain the facts.

Our investigation established the existence of several connections through PVC pipes and others to a sewage system which runs straight into the Atlantic Ocean.

A tanker belonging to the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) was also spotted along with some employees decongesting the three septic tanks at the park.

Speaking in an interview with FrontPage Africa, a contractor of the corporation, Emmanuel Diggs disclosed that they were deployed at the facility during the early morning hours to carry out their assigned tasks and responsibilities, including the decongestion of the septic tanks.

He dispelled rumors that the facility would be damaged as a result of the flood.

“We came to haul poopoo (feces) from the hole (septic tank). There are three septic tanks here. We have carried the first load already and we coming to carry the second one. People should stop thinking negative because even before we came here there were others out there saying people will not be to the park today. But when we came, we met people here”.

“I did not see anything like flood and the place was packed. Those that are saying such a thing outside should come and see for themselves”.

Though the weather condition was cloudy, over 200 children, including students and adults, were spotted at the park merrymaking, playing various sports, sitting or taking a stroll with their friends, relatives, wives, husbands or social concubines.

Following the flowing of the water back into the drainages, employees, especially those from the maintenance department, busy themselves by lowering the grass, cleaning and wiping tables, chairs and others in a bid to ensure that the park was neat and tidy for everyone.

Various supervisors were also present, giving instructions and monitoring the ongoing works.

Comical propaganda

In an interview with Reporters, the Minister for State Without Portfolio, Trokon Kpui described the recording and posting of the flooded park on the social media as a “comical propaganda”.

He observed that some propagandists are engaged into spreading falsehoods about the park to discredit the efforts and achievements of the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government of President George Manneh Weah.

“We put in a lot of time and resources into the drainage system here at the park because when we started the work which was intended for four months, the rain came. So, we were actually building to find a solution to flooding. That why when I receive the message and the video “of the flooded park), I look at it to be something that was comical because, it came from a propaganda end”.

“I know the kind of work we have done there and there is no way we can have water setting on any of the facilities for more than even two to three hours”.

He disclosed that a “5ft by 5ft” drainage system from the spot which was recorded in the video runs to another drainage of 100ft.

“We have no business of constructing a drainage system here because; it does not affect our elevation. We did it because this is where we collect all the waters from the entire community. There is an opening to allow the waters from the community to come in; if not, the water will stop in front of the fence and it will undermine the fence”.

He disclosed that a pool for kids is being constructed at the park and as such, the overflowing of the holes dug for the poll compels water to roll to other areas, “but once the rain stops, the water will be caught off”.

He emphasized that the current drainage system put in place at the park was also intended to “safeguard people’s properties outside” of the facility.

“Before we build this place, it was an open field. And because of that, anybody who has home here, the water flows directly in this area. But when we put a fence here, the water will go back to them and their homes will be flooded”.

Minister Kpui pointed out that as a result of this; an actual cost was done for the construction of the drainage system.

He said additional engineering methods have been put into place to discourage water from setting on the soccer pitches.

He stated that water comes with dirt and as such, the possibility of the blocking of the waterways at times cannot be ruled out.

 “Once it rains for a day or two-this is cement and if it (cement) is taking water for two, three, four or five days, water will be shown and sometimes it will dry and go into the drainage system. It’s normal”.

Minister Kpui emphasized that the water from outside of the park poses no threat to the facility.

“I don’t care how it rains for four or five days, no water will set on the playing pitches here because we have PVC and different layers of crushed rocks running under all of the soccer pitches”.

He stressed the need for the proper usage of the park, especially the soccer fields if the facility is to live up to its lifespan.

“If we maintain this facility well, the lifespan will be normal. People are talking about maintenance; but the maintenance of this place depends on how we treat it”.

Minister Kpui indicated that natural disasters are not unique to Liberia alone adding that, he does not intend to predict the future or lifespan of the park.

He said Liberia remains the “wettest capital in the world” and as such, the overflowing of the waters in the park cannot be prevented if a heavy downpour of rain persists for more than a week.

“You cannot control nature. The volume at which water flows, you can’t control it. This is normal science. The only way the flooding will stay is when the water has no way to drain out. It will be there for a couple of minutes, but there are pathways for it to drain out”.

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