The affected citizens prevailed on government to redirect the projected railway construction efforts to be undertaken by Western Cluster and other companies to Grand cape Mount, a county that is strategically located on the sea coast to handle cargo from Bomi, parts of Montserrado County, Lofa and Gbarpolu County. The petitioners are arguing that the construction of such a port in Grand Cape Mount County will in the short and long run help boost economic activities in the western part of Liberia.
The argument fanned out by the petitioners is that the removal order is highly illegal and wrongful because more than 60 percent of the properties in question are privately owned. They cited that as defined within the due process of law the removal of private properties require just compensation and the due process of law.
It is alleged that the Ministry of Public Works issued a thirty days notice. Residents of the affected communities are mostly squatters who are also tax payers to government. Who allowed these squatters to construct valuable properties to the tune of US$50million, leaving 150,000 jobless, 75,000 school going children without schools.
“If the government of Liberia decides to use Cape Mount, it may use a very less amount of the US$400 million intended for the construction of the railway through Monrovia. But if at most a million US dollars is used to construct the railroad to cape mount, the rest of the amount will be used to construct the dock in Cape Mount County,” Lawrence A. Siryon disclosed to the press.
What the affected property owners are pinpointing to government through the National Legislature is that. Now that there are bright prospects for economic recovery evidenced by the discovery of new valuable mineral resources that will make Liberia a prosperous nation, it is hoped that government should rather strive to engage in seeking humanistic values.
This is why we view that if government takes the option of expanding the Free-port and bringing the railway from Bomi to Monrovia, it is our ardent hope that the effected property owners will be adequately compensated and that a reasonable time be given them to relocate, rather than the one month period ultimatum that was given to them by the Ministry of Public Works.