HARBEL, Margibi – Margibi’s second district lawmaker, Ivar Jones, has dedicated a new building in Cotton Tree to house the district’s office.
The construction of a district office was one of several campaign promises Jones said he would achieve during his first 100 days in office.
His commitment aimed to address complaints that his predecessor, Ballah Zayzay, used his home to meet with and address issues of constituents. Many district residents voiced their opinion that the home of the lawmaker was not an ideal meeting place.
However, Jones’ dedication of the project came after more than a year in office – much longer than the 100 days he promised. He officially broke grounds for construction in October 2018 and promised that the construction would be completed in 120 days. That process again took longer than his promised timeframe, with more than four months elapsing before Jones turned over the building to citizens of the district.
While campaigning to become representative in 2017, Jones also promised voters that he would remit 50 percent of his salary to the district each month to be used for development. Some of the US$70,000 used for the construction came from the lawmaker’s remittances to the district, which is being managed by the District Development Council. Up to December 2018, Rep. Jones reported that he had given the district up to US$37,870 and over L$1,464,160 (US$9,267), totaling US$47,137.
He disclosed at the dedicatory ceremony on Sunday, March 3 that the building was not his personal property, but that it belongs to the people of the district.
“Let me make it clear here today that the deeds of the land that hosts this office is not in my name. This office belongs to the people of district two, and it will be managed by the district council,” he said.
He offered to share the office with officials of the Mboo Statutory District, who are currently in a rented space paid for by former House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay, after they were evicted by property owners for failing to pay the rent for a space they used previously. Jones had also provided US$2,000 to the previous leadership of Mboo Statutory for office space while he was campaigning for his election in 2017.
Jones also told his constituents that they did not need to travel as far as the Capitol Building in Monrovia to follow up on his activities at the legislature or to discuss issues that affected them. Instead, he said the office would provide a space for them to directly interact with him. He praised the District Development Council and its chairman, Joseph Charlie, and individual citizens for their support in leading the project to completion.
During the dedication ceremony last weekend, Jones used the medium to announce several upcoming developments in the district, including the US$31,456 placed in the 2018-2019 national budget for each district to fund legislative support projects. He said citizens had agreed through consultations to use the district’s allotment to construct a laboratory at the Cotton Tree Health Center.
He said at the last county council sitting, delegates had voted to distribute US$150,000 of the county social development funds among the five electoral districts – US$30,000 of which would go to the second district to improve road conditions in Unification City. Jones encouraged critics to put aside their differences and support development in the district.
Margibi’s first district representative, Tibelrosa Tarponweh, and the representative of Montserrado’s first district, Adolph Lawrence, also attended the dedicatory ceremony. The two lawmakers praised their colleague for constructing the office.
“I spend over US$2,000 each year just to rent an office for my district,” Tarponweh said, noting that Jones’ decision to build the office was farsighted.
Featured photo by Jefferson Daryoue