Representative Josiah Marvin Cole of Bong’s District Three has commenced the installations of solar streetlights across the district. The lawmaker inaugurated the installation of the solar streetlights project Saturday in Gbarnga with a charge on the benefiting communities, towns, and villages to judiciously use and protect the facilities.
Speaking at the flag-off of the solar street lights installations, the lawmaker said the idea behind the solar streetlights was borne out of his pledge to provide solar lights during the 2017 election for the people of the district. “This is the day destined by God. During the campaign in 2017, I promised to make available solar lights to make Gbarnga and District Three a beautiful place, especially at night and today that dream has come to pass,” he said.
But it took nearly two years for the lawmaker to make true his campaign promise to his constituents having failed to provide the solar lights in his first one hundred days he promised.
The total cost of the 200 pieces of solar lights is US$ 50,000, according to the lawmaker. The money was sourced from a US$50,000 oil exploration carried out in the district by Decco Oil and Gas Company. A section of lawmakers from the Bong legislative caucus led by District Four lawmakers argued that the money was a social development fund that should have been divided among all 13 districts in Bong as it is done to other funds sourced from concession companies operating in the county.
Rep. Womba sued five members of the caucus, claiming that the US$ 50,000 was unilaterally given to a district. Rep. Cole in his defense said citizens of District Three agreed through a resolution to procure the solar lights.
‘Solar lights should be maintained by citizens’
Commissioning the solar lights, Rep. Cole said all hands must be on deck to ensure that the project is maintained for maximum impact. “These lights should be maintained by everyone. These lights don’t belong to Marvin Cole, it is for District Three,” he said.
The lawmaker praised five members of the caucus, particularly Bong County Senator Henry Yallah who endorsed a resolution by citizens, adding that the senator’s decision to endorse the resolution showed commitment to the people of the district.
He then praised the role played by Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor in getting the lights to Gbarnga, saying: “Madam Vice President, the role you played in ensuring that we received the solar lights from the Freeport of Monrovia is worthy of commendation. Had it not been for your farsightedness it would have been impossible to get the lights this time.”
In his welcome address, the commissioner of Jorquelleh District Three, Washington Bonnah, commended the foresight of Representative Cole towards infrastructure development across the district. He equally assured the lawmaker of District Three’s readiness to protect the facility brought.
On her part, Vice President Howard-Taylor said that the project will enhance the security of lives and contribute to sustainable community development.
She explained that the lights last for 10-15 straight hours after an 8-hour charge and automatically turn-on at night and turn-off at daybreak.
“There will be a renewed sense of safety and security in District Three when the solar lights are installed, especially around Gbarnga which is the center of economic activities in the district. This will increase the number of business hours available to the people here and influenced positively their struggle against hunger and poverty,” said Vice President Howard-Taylor.