Truly a bumpy ride in which the creation of a leveled-ground for smooth ride cannot easily be obtained particularly within the under-developed and developing setting, the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), currently steered by Attorney-At-Law Hon. Samuel Kofi Woods, has come to be battled by citizens from various political sub-divisions of the country.
Recalling the early period of the Unity Party-led administration when cumbersome appeals were made to government in either reconstructing or constructing roads, bridges or identifying manholes in city centers as measure to safely have vehicles ply roads and streets, much could not have been done in the face of inadequate budgetary support.
Gradually receiving the assistance of the United States government that provided equipment, as well as financial and logistical support, buttressed by other institutions including the World Bank, the MPW has since continued to make appreciable level of progress howbeit continuing appeals from citizens to improve their communities.
Common knowledge providing answers to the setbacks that have had to be faced by the MPW, with former Minister Lusine Donzo taking a brilliant kick-off under the UP leadership that witnessed the construction and reconstruction of few in-roads or feeder roads, coupled with the repairs of few bridges and public buildings, much has since been accomplished quantitatively and qualitatively, no matter the continuing condemnation of some sub-contractors without thorough monitoring and evaluation, amidst the building of human resource capacity during the period out of flight by many for greener pastures.
Very resilient as Public Works Minister Woods has however been, although with pessimistic views initially expressed upon his appointment thereto, having earlier served as Executive Director of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), Executive Director of the Foundation for International Dignity (FIND) and Minister of Labor, the many hues and cries of the Liberian people for easy access to markets are being strategically handled with precision.
Whilst the dry season has most often been used as period to hail the work of the MPW, with continuous grading of primary and lateral roads systematically embarked upon and now visibly witnessing motor graders, excavators, D8s, D7s, D6s, D5s, Massey Fergusson tractors and even traxcavators reappearing, with more expected in the coming years, it however cannot be hastily generalized that the periods ahead under the pragmatic UP leadership will experience tremendous upturn in the socio-economic development processes of the nation but can only be assumed that as a result of the unfolding progress, little by little will indeed fill the bucket, ungratifying it may appear to some die-hard trouble-makers whose identifications will surely come light some day soon, though momentarily remaining unfamiliar by actions.
Considering the capital, Monrovia as the capital city of the Republic, one needs to only clearly look back at how it had been prior to the past debacle in which no one can claim to become winner but losers.
The late MPW Minister Gabriel Tucker becoming creating public enlightenment on the roles and responsibilities of the governmental agency, it only appears quite bedeviling to discredit the many efforts made during his administration at infrastructural development, since the visible presence of most of his achievements are still been enjoyed today by citizens across the country.
Not in the least prepared to delve into the history of the ministry, at least the current period in which a very brilliant and young minister thereat continue to steer its activities ought not to be easily undermined, gravely anxious as many citizens may be in experiencing lives once condemned.
The Japanese Road Construction Format
Granted past formats laid by many road construction and infrastructural development firms throughout the country over the decades, with the 1970s witnessing a Liberian-owned Mensah Construction Company (MCC) measuring up to even Stanley Steel Construction, an internationally-recognized, with Bucamazzi, Porto de la Torre and China Construction (CHICO) appearing in latest years, the roads of Liberia have continued to remain very narrow, with most becoming purely two lanes in spite the quality of construction.
Whilst many may have chosen the two to mean four lanes, ongoing developments to have had the Government of Japan reconstruct the Somalia Drive, following surveys conducted in recent months by few of its engineers, may just become the beginning of Liberians witnessing true road building.
With anxiety seen in the faces of residents along the route which this columnist has had to trek for many years, to and fro and becoming quite familiar to those alongside the Drive, the MPW needs not waste much time in beginning the project exemplary of what Liberians truly need throughout the country.
Lest it be forgotten that CHICO has been instrumental in the construction of the old Tubman Bridge linking Vai Town with Waterside, and no matter how the construction of streets in the capital may be considered fast-depleting, at least efforts applied thereat must be appreciated in view of having just emerged from internal crisis situations.
Currently, the UP-led administration, through a sub-contracture agreement, has embarked upon the paving of the Cotton Tree-Buchanan highway, with travelers hailing the efforts but are likely to reign insults later as soon as it begins to break apart. This is money at work, ladies and gentlemen!
With the rains having begun, rendering most communities flooded out of dirt and other particles blocking holes since constructed by previous construction firms for easy-flow, MPW Minister Woods may just have to bear the pains in at least meaningfully contributing to the finishing of the unfinished business which many have sought to detrimentally crown others without achieving in the least over the decades.
Awaited as the Japanese assistance has become, anticipated to become the way forward in truly reconstructing the Liberian nation infrastructurally, it is hoped that the Minister of Public Works will do all he can to ensure that the rainy season that has begun will be used as period in truly identifying very bad areas to repel when the project shall have kicked off.