The head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Liberia, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, says it is not enough for the EU and other international partners to financially support Liberia’s infrastructural program. While maintenance remains an integral part, she said that it must, however, be carried out by Liberians.Ambassador Intelmann, expressing this concern last Friday at an interactive forum with the media in Monrovia, said: “We know that good things are going on in Liberia, while at the same time we are not ruling out the presence of corruption. Infrastructures have been built in the country, but why are Liberians not able to care for what they already have?”Ambassador Intelmann, expressing the need for updates on the statuses of infrastructures in the country, then urged the media to be proactive in their reportage; not only to follow political activities, but to report on the fate of the infrastructures and what approaches community members are taking to maintain them.As part of its projects in Liberia, the EU supports maintenance of the roads from the ELWA junction to Buchanan and the one beginning from the St. Paul Bridge to Bo Waterside, terminating at the Liberia-Sierra Leone border.The EU in this process will hire local contractors to brush the sides of the roads and clean the drainages.Other EU diplomats that joined the Ambassador said in separate but concurring views that government is not the only agent responsible for the upkeep of facilities erected around the country, and called on community members and local authorities clothed with the responsibilities to supervise the various functions to also play their part.One diplomat said, “For instance, schools have been built and the buildings are there. The government will not be in every part to supervise the maintenance work, but the DEOs, CEOs, principals, community leaders and members should take the initiative to maintain these facilities by providing oversight.”The EU also has budgetary allocations to design coastal highways in the southeastern counties including Sinoe, Rivercess and Maryland, and the northeast, including the road from Sanniquellie in Nimba County to Dananè in Ivory Coast.The head of the National Authorizing Office (NAO), Jerry Taylor, explaining this aspect of the EU’s projects, clarified that designing these roads is meant to exactly sketch out their future outlook and estimate their construction costs.Following that, Mr. Taylor said the EU can then help to seek funding which when received Liberia will be able to repay.Explaining the EU’s diplomatic mission in Liberia, the Charge d’Affairs, Emma Sundblad, outlined trade policy, foreign and security policy, development policy and political relations as key areas of concern.Besides development policy, including the maintenance of infrastructures and support to the health and education sectors, the EU’s trade link is in the forestry and fishery sectors in Liberia.Also, Liberia and the EU have the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) that governs exporting logs to Europe. Under the agreement, all logs leaving Liberia to the EU are identified with certain inscriptions and licenses before they can be allowed into the EU market.At the political level, the EU supports the National Elections Commission (NEC) in the process leading to the conduct of peaceful elections.According to its current forecast budget, the EU has €279 million (US$310 million) in its budget for Liberia, covering 2014 to 2020.Of this amount, allotments have been made to various sectors including energy, governance, agriculture and education. According to the EU, 107 million euros is set for governance; 100 million for energy; 32 million for education; 30 million for agriculture; and 10 million for the National Elections Commission (NEC).In response to a question about the pending 2017 elections, Charge d’Affairs Sundblad said the EU has no part to play in how Liberians decide, through the democratic process, who leads them after this government.She said the EU’s interest is to see leaders who have integrity, are sincere, honest, transparent and interested in the development of the country.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Former parliamentarian Harry Gill, along with other members of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), was on Monday attacked while erecting elections campaign flags at Number 10 Village, West Coast Berbice.PPP Executive Member Harry GillThe incident, which was captured on camera, shows persons verbally abusing and physically blocking the team as they attempted to place the flags on the utility poles.Gill, in an invited comment to Guyana Times, stated that a formal Police report will be filed and that the international community will be informed of the incident.This was only one instance where party members were verbally abused. Only recently, several PPP supporters were attacked and abused in Laing Avenue, Georgetown by residents as they were announcing the launch of its elections campaign.In light of the recent attacks, the Party had written to Police Commissioner Leslie James, asking for swift actions to be taken against supporters of the People’s National Congress (PNC)-led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) coalition, who attacked opposition members and destroyed the party’s impedimenta.AttackerThe letter was sent by Attorney-at-Law Anil Nandlall on behalf of the Party, which detailed that on January 2, a motor lorry carrying a music system and several party activists was driving through Sophia, Greater Georgetown.However, Nandlall noted that they were making public announcements regarding the launch of the PPP’s elections campaign set for today at Alexander Street, Kitty, Georgetown, when they were attacked.“While in Sophia, several known PNC/APNU activists led by Ms Laurene Nestor, blocked the streets and started to hurl missiles at the lorry and its occupants and threatening them with violence were they to continue these announcements within the locality of Sophia,” the letter stated.Meanwhile, Nandlall revealed that a report of that incident was made at the Prashad Nagar Police Outpost on the evening of the incident.