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Where’s the bill to save D-Twe High School, and Liberia’s eroded coastlines?

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh              D-Twe High School New Kru Town Liberia


House Speaker Alex Tyler and Senate Pro-Temp Gbehzohngar Findley were tag team partners recently when the two powerful legislators jumped on the same bandwagon to pass a new law that prohibits Board of Governors of the Central Bank of Liberia from contesting political office, three years after a member leaves office.

The unpopular bill played into the narrative that current Governor of the Central Bank, J. Mills Jones, whom some believe is heir apparent to the presidency when the tenure of the current president expires in 2017, is campaigning quietly by giving out micro loans to struggling businesses.

True enough, Tyler and Findley were united in their message that demonized Jones as trying to influence his unannounced candidacy by loaning out money to businesses. With the assistance and cooperation of other like-minded legislators, the duo were able to successfully make their case that the oft-reluctant Madam Sirleaf was able to sign it into law.

The aggressive tactics and unified efforts of the two legislators pushed their bill into the national public sphere. However, no matter how polarizing the bill was their effort was a laudable one that shouldn’t be ignored by their colleagues and the public.

Now that the CBL bill is out of the way, I wish Tyler and Findley could also garner the same courage and passion they had with that bill to aggressively unite and introduce other equally important bills that will make Liberia safe, prosperous, progressive and a law-abiding place to live and raise a family.

In coastal Liberia right now, beaches, homes, streets and a high school are sinking, or are about to go under water due to sea erosion.

I have written constantly about the erosion crisis facing coastal Liberian counties. However, it seems the Liberian government and lawmakers are not listening or willing to introduce bills that could possibly put money into repairing and restoring beaches in those communities.

In 2013, 2000 residents in the New Kru Town and Porpor Beach communities were left homeless when their homes were overtaken by sea erosion.

D-Twe High School could be next if nothing is done to ease or solve the sea erosion crisis.

A recent news story brought the issue close to home when it was reported that D. Twe High School in New Kru Town is on the brink of going under water due to sea erosion.

According to reports, the sea is no longer near the concrete fence surrounding the building, but is near the entrance of the high school.

If the sea finally destroys D-Twe High School, the next facility in line to eventually go under water could be nearby Redemption Hospital, the nation’s second leading referral hospital situated right behind or in front of D-Twe High, depending on one’s direction of travel.

These are two outstanding public institutions – D-Twe High School and Redemption Hospital that serve a cross section of the population. Those two institutions deserve to be protected from the Atlantic Ocean. And the beach needs to be restored and protected as well.

Is it fair for our nation’s lawmakers, who were once unified in passing a CBL bill because of the CBL’s Governor’s unannounced presidential bid, sit back and ignored the eventual destruction of a high school that serves the communities of New Kru Town, Porpor Beach/Point 4, and surrounding communities in the region?

So why not Speaker Tyler and Senate President Pro Temp Findley and the area’s Representative Edward Forh, do the right thing by finding the money; and getting with others as they once did with the CBL bill, to pass a Beach Restoration bill/Act to save D. Twe High School?

It will be disastrous for the entire region if D-Twe High School finally goes under water. However, I don’t want to believe the Liberian government and those lawmakers are waiting for D-Twe High School to go under water before they react to what they should have done, or could have done to save D-Twe High.

The sea erosion crisis is a problem for the area. The area is also struggling and needs economic development. Something has to be done to end the cycle of poverty and neglect.

As a result of poverty and the obvious lack of jobs, beachfront communities such as New Kru Town and Porpor Beach/Point 4 that are capable of generating their own revenues from tourism are sadly seeing their areas shrink, as young people and some adults continued to leave in record numbers.

Once upon a time, New Kru Town and the nearby areas were once great areas to live i.e., great ocean view, thriving (entertainment) nightlife, rival football teams, great neighborhoods, dedicated teachers and schools/churches, and decent beaches to swim with friends.

Those of us who grew up in the area or once lived there (before D-Twe High School and the struggling Plaza Cinema were ever built), can say without hesitation that the Atlantic Ocean was once miles and miles away from the mainland.

Today, the Atlantic Ocean is up close and has taken away almost half of the Borough of New Kru Town. Truth is, New Kru Town has shrunk tremendously.

Before the erosion crisis ever hit the area, we (residents of the area) cherished every bit of it. We were also happy to see those foreign visitors pass through New Kru Town, Porpor Beach and Point 4 in the 1960s and 1970s.

During those days, the Germans, the Filipinos and the Americans would gather on the beach to engage in water sports, and would also ride their water mobiles as we (kids and adults) watched in amazement, or find ourselves swimming on the other side of the beach.

That was New Kru Town, Porpor Beach and Point 4, then. Today, the area is a run down shantytown with one of the highest rates of poverty, armed robberies, unemployment and illiteracy.

It is not sound policy for a government to build a structure only to see it destroyed by the ocean, because there is a lack of interest to maintain it.

The area needs a beach Restoration Act to save what is left from the destruction of the Atlantic Ocean.

New Kru Town, Porpor Beach and Point 4  needs help now!

Save D-Twe High School before it is too late.
















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