BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – Commercial motorcyclists in Grand Bassa have received a newly constructed US$40,000 office from Sen. Jonathan Kaipay.
The office, which was personally funded by the Grand Bassa senator, was dedicated and presented to the motorcyclists by Kaipay in the presence of national and county officials last Saturday at Buchanan’s city hall.
The facility has five offices, one bathroom, and a conference room and is the first of such office for the 800-member Grand Bassa branch of the Liberia Motorcyclist Transport Union. The motorcyclists had previously been squatting at the intersection of Open Bible Road and Tubman Street.
Speaking during the dedication ceremony, Kaipay described the presentation of the office as a special honor for the motorcyclists because he once owned a motorcycle. He added that he later served as a taxi driver, which he said allowed him to understand the needs of the commercial motorcyclists.
Kaipay further described how he formed a bond with the motorcyclists: “Before my campaign, I received a communication from the motorcyclists that they wanted to build a motorcyclist head office, but what amazed me most was the motorcyclists’ chairman came to my house that morning when I was launching [my election] campaign and said to me, ‘We, the motorcyclists, we are with you.'”
He said the motorcyclists told his campaign team they did not want money from him, unlike what is usually the case. Kaipay said when he won the election, he promised to build the office for them.
He added that the motorcyclists made the land available for the construction and had already begun building a foundation.
Kaipay used the opportunity to discuss road safety concerns affecting the motorcyclists: “After this dedication, we will be planning a major workshop so that LNP [Liberia National Police] will collaborate with our office to talk more about safety and traffic measures.”
Grand Kru’s Sen. Peter Coleman also attended the program, where he said politics in Liberia has dramatically changed to a point where politicians no longer make speeches and promises without fulfillment.
Coleman also raised concerns about road safety, telling the motorcyclists that motorcyclist accidents were contributing to an increased number of disabled persons, which he said was creating a burden for the government and family members.
“Every week we will have five or six young men that [are] confined to a wheelchair for the rest of their lives,” said Coleman, who is a trained medical doctor. “I am painting this picture not to scare you, but I know what I see every day. So, you need to take the issue of safety very seriously. Your life and the lives of the people you are transporting are important.”
The chairman of the union, Eddie Henry, thanked Kaipay for the office. He called Liberians to avoid looking down upon motorcyclists as they are playing an important role in society by reducing the unemployment rate while providing essential transport services.
Henry also urged his colleagues to regularly observe traffic rules for their own safety and that of their passengers.
Apart from the office for the motorcyclists, the senator said construction of a US$160,000 bridge in Grand Bassa’s fourth electoral district had begun through the Legislative Support Projects. He added that a health center was also being built in Harmerville. Additionally, he disclosed that he would construct a terminal for the Federation of Road Transport Union of Liberia’s Grand Bassa branch. Kaipay did not say where the funds for the health center or the terminal would come from.
Featured photo by Sampson David