River Cess County Service Center Faces Lack of Power Supply and Trained Personnel

CESTOS, River Cess—Since opening on December 8, 2017, the River Cess County Service Center has not yet been able to run on constant power. The center, which is part of the government’s move to decentralize services and activities, continues to host 12 ministries, agencies, and commissions.

The center’s coordinator, Eric Peterson, has told The Bush Chicken that numerous challenges are hindering the center’s operations.

“The running of the generator, which is electricity, is not constant,” Peterson said. “This has been a very serious problem here. When you come to the service center to process any document, it cannot be done in the absence of electricity.”

Peterson further noted that the center could not supply power on a 24-hour basis because they have not received financial and logistical support. He said it makes operating the center “challenging.”

The lack of proper support means that officials at the center often travel to Buchanan, in nearby Grand Bassa, to get some of their work completed because of the lack of logistics and trained manpower.

“Even to issue marriage certificates, we have to go to the nearby county like Buchanan to do it because we don’t have the software here and we want to generate revenue for the government,” Peterson said. “Even the Ministry of Labour, where they should be doing ECOWAS biometric ID card, it has not been done here but we have all of the equipment, but there has been no trained manpower.”

“We have been flagging these challenges in our reports, and we are told the government is working out things,” Peterson added.

Eric Peterson is River Cess County Service Center’s coordinator. Photo: Eric Opa Doue

According to Peterson, even amidst the challenges, the center has raised L$234,800 and USD$ 540.00 over the period of nine months (Dec 2017-Aug 2018), the equivalent of US$2,100, through the Ministry of Commerce’s business registration.

Government workers in River Cess have been struggling with accessing electricity. The county’s power plant was looted during the civil war, and officials have not managed to replace it yet.

The current superintendent of River Cess, Bismark Karbiah, promised to have Cestos City electrified before his May 12 induction, but that did not happen.

Besides business owners who run their private generators in Cestos, the St. Francis Hospital is the only government entity that runs on 24-hour electricity.

Featured photo by Eric Opa Doue

Eric Doue

Eric Opa Doue is a co-founder of Echo Radio Station, which does a series of programs in Bassa, Kru, and simple Liberian English. Under his leadership, Echo Radio was selected as one of the Moody Radio global partners for training opportunities in 2013 and 2014. Eric was one of a handful of reporters who received training from Internews in 2015 on humanitarian reporting during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. He holds a diploma in Journalism, from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

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