River Cess County Service Center Begins Operations

CESTOS, River Cess – The Ministry of Internal Affairs and its partners have dedicated the River Cess County Service Center in Cestos City, allowing the county’s residents to access government services such as marriage and driver licenses, birth and health certificates, and other key documents.

Prior to its establishment, residents of River Cess would have to travel to Grand Bassa or Monrovia to acquire those documents from the respective agencies and ministries.

According to Isaac Williams, the county information officer, the project, which was dedicated on December 8, was funded under the umbrella of the UNMIL Quick Impact Projects.

“The cost of the project is US$50,000, of which the Government of Liberia through the ministry of Internal Affairs should have contributed US$10,000,” Williams said. “But due to budgetary constraints on the part of MIA, UNMIL funded it.”

In his special statement during the presentation of the service center, Acting Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf urged residents and citizens of the county to take ownership of the facility.

“This center is for the people of this county,” Sirleaf said, “and you need to embrace it and own it.”

He noted that the service center was a fulfillment of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s commitment to having government services decentralized across the 15 counties before the end of her administration.

Acting Internal Affairs Minister Varney A. Sirleaf. Photo: Eric Opa Doue.

According to the coordinator of the service center, Eric Peterson, 16 different types of services will be offered at the center for now.

“Some of the services we will be offering here are business registration, birth registration, and deeds registration,” Peterson said.

River Cess Superintendent Matthew Daniels called on the people of the county to appreciate the president for the level of development in the county. He alluded to the fact that River Cess had received much less development than most counties. In fact, by December of last year, River Cess had not benefitted from any completed government-funded project under the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration. Daniels said while River Cess had been “left behind” in the past, residents of the county should recognize that she “is a strong woman who wants to see every part of Liberia developed.”

River Cess’ Superintendent Matthew Z. Daniels. Photo: Eric Opa Doue.

At the dedication program, the European Union’s head of cooperation for political and economic Governance, Hans Lambrecht, called on the government to stick to its commitment to the decentralization process.

“The European Union is very proud to be a part or the decentralization process of Liberia,” Lambracht said.

The River Cess County Service Center began full operation on Monday, December 10. It joins other centers in Grand Bassa, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu, BongMargibi, Maryland, Sinoe, and Grand Gedeh.

Featured photo by Eric Opa Doue

Eric Doue

Eric Opa Doue is a co-founder of Echo Radio Station, which does a series of programs in Bassa, Kru, and simple Liberian English. Under his leadership, Echo Radio was selected as one of the Moody Radio global partners for training opportunities in 2013 and 2014. Eric was one of a handful of reporters who received training from Internews in 2015 on humanitarian reporting during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. He holds a diploma in Journalism, from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

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