Friday, 6 May 2011

130 Acres of Land Too Much to Give to ELWA for Free

The Editor,

I have been listening to the different radio stations and reading some of the daily newspapers and have observed that we, the citizens of this country, are in the habit of politicizing issues without analyzing the merits and demerits at hand.
As one of the elders of this country, I am somewhat troubled over our behavior  and attitude and want to believe and conclude that we, Liberians, thrive better in violence, hatred, prejudice, castigation and malice. There is actually nothing pleasant and enjoyable to read about or listen to. Believe me, it is frustrating and disappointing.

Let us look at two issues that are being politicized negatively. The first is the land negotiation with the ELWA. My people let us be reasonable. The government granted one hundred and thirty acres(130 acres) of land or 520 lots to this establishment in 1955, fifty six years ago before many of you were born. What has ELWA done with the land? What major developments has this institution undertaken to benefit or improve the lot of our people over the years? Were they giving free medical care to citizens of this country? Have they constructed an up to standard hospital clinic or hospital? Have they constructed a decent school with facilities for our children? What really have they done? To be frank with you, I had no idea that the government had given all this land to ELWA without cost.
Now my people, if after fifty six years, the establishment has not utilized most of the land and the government is asking for fourteen acres, which is just a tip of the iceberg, not for personal use but for government purposes to construct government Ministries as other countries, then what is the big deal? What is all the talk about? It is a crime for government to reclaim unutilized land for the benefit of the country? Come on, let’s be reasonable.
Listen my people since I was a little girl in Elementary school now I am on my own at 82 years, our government has been paying  exorbitant and fabulous rents to families for their personal homes rented to government to be used for offices. Why can’t government construct its own ministries and use the huge rents from private homes to boost our economy, build schools, hospitals, fix our roads and streets, renovate our different infrastructures etc? Please my people, let us construct the complex to house our ministries on fourteen acres of land. ELWA will still have one hundred and sixteen acres or four hundred sixty four lots. The Christians who are protesting this proposal, how much land has the government given free of charge to their churches or radio stations? I am only wondering!
Secondly, I have read and heard over and over about the police brutality to MCSS students. MCSS is an Educational System that I helped to establish in the early 1960’s. What I know about the system is that there is a line of communication from the highest to the lowest. The questions which come to mind are, how was it possible for teachers to boycott classes for two weeks? What did the principals, Vice principals, Directors do to curtail this unwholesome behavior? After the first day of the boycott, did they take the teachers’ grievances to the superintendents of MCSS so as to find workable and amicable solutions to the problems? I am very sure that these authorities were aware of the teachers absences. What did they do? Did they call a meeting consisting of representatives of  Students-Teachers –Principal Association to dialogue and brainstorm to arrive at suitable solutions? Then there is the MCSS Council which is supposed to be the government  body to monitor and supervise the operations of the school system. What initiative did the members take to see that the teachers’ grievances were addressed so they could return to  their classes? Did they take the matter up with the Ministry of Education for redress on behalf of their teachers? Surprisingly, I have not heard any reaction from any of these authorities for this unpleasant happening which could have been avoided, “A stitch in time saves nine”.
When it comes to students, you and I are aware of the mentality of our people. We believe that the only way we can get redress is through mob justice or violence. Did the students obtain permission from the Ministry of Justice to demonstrate? If the answer is yes, did the Justice Ministry inform the police so as to give them protection to where ever they were going? If our students were concerned about the absence of their teachers from their classes and they were very anxious to learn, as time waits for no man, then why were they stoning cars, the police and people? What brought about the unruly behavior? I watched the scenario on television and saw the back glass of an ex-government official’s car smashed. I saw students throwing stones and some of them running in houses and to the GW Gibson School. I was really hurt over the alarming situation especially when they attacked near-by schools.
Is this attitude we should condone?
I am happy that the president has set up a committee to investigate the incident though some opposition leaders are blaming her. How absurd! Hope the committee will find the root causes of the situation and the nonchalant attitude of the administration. By the way, just as I was about to complete this article, I heard the students of Tubman High attacked their principal, broke up chairs and threatened to set the school building on fire because some students were suspended or expelled.

Can you imagine such indiscipline behavior on the part of the students? These are the same students who took to the streets, vandalizing properties few weeks ago. What have the opposition leaders to say now? Instead of us trying to discipline these students we are politicizing their behavior thus encouraging them to continue their unruly behavior, which is a reflection of our school system and country.
Liberians, please do not permit politics to divide us, because we are one people intertwinely connected one way or the other. After the elections, we will still be Liberians and will have to live together regardless of what. I know we are enjoying freedom of speech, and we are at liberty to criticize destructively, insult, abuse, accuse, castigate with no remorse of conscience as there is no respect for constituted authorities. All I can advise is for us to be at peace with each other and work together to make our country what it ought to be.

Mother Mary Brownell