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Lawmakers hijack development funds?

The Eecutive Director of Grand Bassa Youth for Development, Reconstruction and Reconciliation (GBYDRR) Rogers N. Walker, has accused the entire Grand Bassa County Legislative Caucus of stalling development and initiatives intended to improve the economic status of citizens in the county.

Addressing a press conference in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County on Thursday, 14 May 2015, Walker cited the lawmakers’ alleged deliberate refusal to execute their oversight responsibility by ensuring that their people get direct budgetary appropriation to improve their living standards.

 He disclosed that his group will shortly embark on a campaign against the re-election of members of the sitting 53rd Liberian Legislature, if they do not prioritize initiatives that would directly benefit their constituencies.

GBYDRR Executive Director also vows to lead anti re-election campaign against any particular lawmaker, who will not undertake any substantial initiative beneficial to his or her constituency until 2017 general elections.

The Grand Bassa Youth group said, while it is true that members of the Legislative Caucus might be looking at a bigger picture called Liberia, it is equally important to note that the Bassa people elected them (lawmakers) to protect their interest and they would not have been known in the absence of a county called Grand Bassa.

“Although these honorable people were born here and have deep roots in Bassa, they have refused to be a part of development oriented initiatives, only because the current county Superintendent is aligned  with different political establishment, instead of Liberty Party”,  Walker added.

It can be recalled, members of Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties Legislative caucuses exhibited similar attitude which resulted to the deferment of Liberia’s 167th Independence celebration from 2014 to 2015.  GBYDRR says it does not want a reoccurrence of such ugly history in Bassa.

The group said it is time for lawmakers to concentrate on activities that will benefit the people of Bassa. “For how long will our parents and grandparents continue earning between US$100.00 and US$150.00 as legitimate focal persons/representatives of line ministries and agencies in the county.”

Meanwhile, GBYDRR is calling on senators and representatives to establish and harness developmental oriented relationships with their respective county superintendents, to improve the lives of their people. Walker expressed optimism that such union will serve as a platform on which the problems of citizens shall be made known and possible means of solution worked out.

As part of efforts to ensure lawmakers initiate and implement direct district developments, GBYDRR is currently engaging superintendents, representatives and senators and will not rest until every citizen taste the God given wealth of Liberia.

It said not many citizens have the opportunity to live, visit or work in towns and villages across Liberia, but those who are fortunate to work in Grand Kru, Sinoe and Grand Bassa counties are very grateful to Golden Veroleum Liberia or GVL for going beyond its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) bound to provide basic social services for locals, saying, “How long should we sit and allow GVL and others continue to provide basic social services for poor and under-privilege people without the knowledge or involvement of our honorable representatives and senators?”

“Our compatriots in Debah Town, Gbanken, Fusibu, Gbapa and other villages are tired of mountaineering to communicate with business associates, friends and family members”, Mr. Walker said.

“Our lawmakers must be reminded that part of their oversight Legislative duty should include [insuring] line items in national budget for direct district development. The issues of healthcare, communication, education and road connectivity must not be forgotten. If the livelihood of our grandparents, parents, brothers and sisters have never been elevated economically, now is the time, beginning with fiscal year 2015/2016 national budget”.

GBYDRR emphasizes the importance of collaboration between lawmakers and county superintendents to achieving such goal. “As the 31st May deadline draws near for the Executive to submit fiscal year 2015/2016 budget to the 53rd legislature for scrutiny and subsequent passage, we strongly believe now is the time for honorable members of that August body to visit their respective constituencies’ and ascertain needs of constituents relative to their share of the national cake.”

“We are aware of the existence of CDF, SDF and incoming direct district development funds, but our lawmakers, especially representatives must go all out, opt and ensure the existence of something capable of giving them another term to serve Liberia at the Legislature”, the youth group challenged.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor - Edited by Jonathan Browne

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