BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – Ahead of the Grand Bassa County Council Sitting today, county residents are making their development wishes known.
The county council sitting is an annual event where delegates from the nine administrative districts and the four cities across the county assemble to deliberate on how to spend the county’s social development funds. The delegates will also review the past projects resolved.
Speaking to The Bush Chicken in an interview, the president of the Bassa Youth Caucus, Othello Contowor, said he hopes young people can benefit from the outcomes of the meeting.
“Although we do not delegate, that does not stop us from pushing our plights,” Contowor said. “We already have a good relationship with our county leadership and they are aware of our concerns. We are going to be doing a presentation at the sitting to the Bassa Youth Caucus and the Grand Bassa University Student Union. We will use that time adequately to appeal to the conscience of the delegates that yes, indeed, the young people need some level of empowerment.”
He said his group’s presentation on Friday will call for a guest house project for the sustainability of the young people. He also urged the delegates to prioritize education, road building, and the plights of the youth.
The executive director of the Bassa Women Development Association, Martha Kangar, also added her voice, noting that delegates should resolve projects that will benefit the entire county and not individuals.
“I would agree that as much as we need development, I think we have too many eggs in the basket and the basket may not be able to hold them. And what I think is that we should prioritize what will benefit all the citizens,” she said.
“But what I would really want to see is the civil society – let a certain amount of money be allocated for civil society so that they can apply for it and when they pass the test, you give them the money and they work with it in order to empower them.”
Meanwhile, the secretary general of the Civil Society Council of Grand Bassa, Samuel Wilson, said the delegates should prioritize major developments in the county such as the damaged bridge leading to the Grand Bassa Community College, empowerment of market women and the business community, strengthening the agricultural sector of the county, and setting aside funds for the rehabilitation of feeder roads.
“The impact of the county and social development fund is very low,” Wilson said. “We cannot make any determination as to how the money has really impacted the lives of our people. So we hope and pray that there will be some change of our people – the way they make their decision or how they get involved with the expenditure of this money.”
He also drew attention to funds the central government owes the county: “Currently, we have been informed that the government owes the county the sum of US$4 million, and we don’t know why the central government is holding on to this money. The money is not meant for them – it is meant for the county.”
He said due to the government’s failure to make available the county portion of the national budget, development has been on the slow pace as projects resolved were not done.
The county council sitting was previously scheduled for November 30, but it was postponed to December 7 due to inadequate information dissemination across the county and a delay in raising funds to host the sitting. The county’s leaders raised US$9,010 to host the sitting and to be repaid when the county receives her portion of the national budget.
The postponement has since allowed the meeting to be publicized on various media outlets.
Eighty-two delegates have been selected from across the county to attend the sitting. Fifty are drawn from the nine administrative districts and one statutory district, while twenty will come from Grand Bassa’s four cities.
The three members of the Project Management Committee, the seven members of the Grand Bassa Legislative Caucus, and two persons from the office of the superintendent will form the remainder of delegates.
The delegates will decide on priority projects for the county if the central government makes available Grand Bassa’s share of the county and social development funds.
About US$1.1 million is allotted to the county in the national budget for the current fiscal year.
The 10th county council sitting is expected to be held for one day at the Fairground in the unification pavilion in Buchanan.
Featured photo by Sampson David