COTTON TREE, Margibi – Citizens in Lower Margibi foresee another failed project due to the irregularities in the ongoing construction of Cotton Tree town hall.
On June 14, Emmanuel Stephen, a youth leader told The Bush Chicken that it had been over a month since the town hall construction began in Cotton Tree. The project was due to be completed in three months, but thus far it is way behind schedule, with the foundation not even completed. “The commitment made to us that the construction will be completed in three months is a failed promise,” Stephen said.
Stephen is mobilizing some young people to institute sit-ins at the home of county officials to draw their awareness to the issue. As a youth leader in Cotton Tree, Stephen said he will ensure that the community town hall project does not get stalled as in the case of Dolo Town and Unification City.
In 2010, citizens of Margibi agreed in a resolution at a county sitting to the construction of a town hall in Unification City. Five years later, the town hall is far from being completed. Although land was allocated for the project, it is currently overrun by grass. The project was estimated at over US$54,000, over fifty percent of which was paid to a private contractor to commence the construction. .
Dolo Town is in a similar prediction. Nearly five years ago, its Town Hall construction began, but up until now it has not been fully completed. Citizens of the town have complained that the roof of the building has several leakages.
According to the bill of quantity, Cotton Tree’s project cost a little over US$143,800. It is about 100 by 50 feet in size. John
John Buway, Margibi’s Superintendant, said the agreement between the county and the contractor provided that the construction should be completed in three months.
Mark Francis, a member of the project management committee, said the construction was going very slowly and that it might not meet the three months deadline.
“If the project continues on its current pace, it may not be successful in three months,” he said.
On May 8, the county authorities broke grounds for the construction of the Town Hall. During the ceremony, David Kamara, the Project Supervisor from the Zaf Construction and Maintenance Services, assured that the construction would be completed in three months from the day of the groundbreaking. Zaf Construction is the main company carrying the responsibility for the construction.
Stephen also accused authorities of refusing to publish the project details. The public has not seen the building schematics or financial data.
“The public needs to have access to all the information because it is financed by public money,” he said.
Buway said any decision to publish the project details on a billboard could only be determined at the county’s citizens meeting. The billboard would cost additional money from the county’s office and he does not have the power to expend money.
“To do a billboard here with drawing is a fine thing to do but it would require [the decision to spend] additional money, which I can’t decide on my own,” Buway said.
Buway has accused residents of Cotton Tree and Barclay Farm of selling construction materials intended for the project. The contractor has reported the matter to the Liberia National Police and they are monitoring the equipment.
However, Francis has denied the allegation. Francis told The Bush Chicken that the claim was misleading. He said residents of the two communities are concerned about the success of the project and would not get involved with any act to impede its completion.
Kamara told the county authorities that his company would work with citizens of the community to ensure that the project follows the terms contract and Bill of Quantity.
Featured image courtesy of Gbatemah Senah