COTTON TREE, Margibi – When he was campaigning a year ago, Rep. Ivar Jones vowed to construct a district office in his first 100 days in office. Though the amount of time has elapsed, Jones recently broke grounds for the construction of a facility that will contain his office and that of the district development council.
The Margibi second district office is valued at US$60,000 and is expected to be completed within 120 days.
Joseph Charlie, the chair of the district council, said after a tough vetting process, MOSCOM, a firm in the district, had won the bid to build the project.
“In order for you all to know that we are serious to bring development at the doorsteps of our citizens, under your watchful eyes, we will spearhead a project that will be the first of its kind in the history of this district,” he added.
Charlie said the contractors were required to pre-finance the project and they will only start receiving payment when it reaches a previously agreed upon level. He assured district residents that the council would be prudent stewards of their funds.
At the groundbreaking ceremony for the office in Cotton Tree, Rep. Jones boasted that his district was the first to set up a district council across the country’s 73 electoral districts since the 2017 elections.
He reiterated previous statements that he has come to serve and not to acquire wealth at the expense of the people he represents.
“As part of my campaign promise to decentralize my representation, the district office, once completed, will provide a space where we can ably address the many concerns of hundreds of others who just can’t make their way to the Capitol Building,” he added.
On March 23, 2018, an election was held to elect individuals to serve on the district council.
Jones said his district is also credited for being the first district council in the country to have a constitution amended and endorsed by the citizens.
“At the beginning, it was indeed challenging, but we are grateful that we have reached this far in ensuring that an accountable process has come into being to develop our district,” he said.
The former lawmaker of the district, Ballah Zayzay, was heavily criticized for failing to build a district office during his tenure.
However, although Jones has been lauded by many for the step taken to build a district office, one of his strong supporters and a former representative candidate, John Stanley Nyumah, said the office has no direct impact on the lives of the people.
Nyumah said those kinds of offices are only active during campaigns. Afterward, he said they become “ghost camps.” Instead, he had previously recommended that the money for the office be redirected to building a footbridge on the Gbehn River between Unification City and Dolo Town.
Nyumah’s call was triggered by a recent canoe that capsized, leading to the deaths of five persons.
Featured photo by Jefferson Daryoue