Press Releases

Grand Kru Citizens Present Statements to TRC

February 22, 2008

BARCLAYVILLE (TRC)?The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC) on Friday February 22, 2008 received statements from various citizens' groups in Grand Kru County at the end of Public Hearings in Barclayville City.

The statements were presented during the county Thematic and Institutional Hearings which were the climax of public hearings in Grand Kru. The thematic and institutional hearings, the second of their kind since public hearings started in southeastern Liberia, brought together various civil society and institutional groups, including women, youth, the judiciary and local government which outlined peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction challenges and proposed ways forward for healing and reconciliation.

In separate presentations, the groups outlined atrocities committed by various warring factions that occupied the county during the Liberian civil conflict, and made recommendations on their development needs and how to achieve reconciliation in the county.

We carry below, as was presented to the TRC, the original (unedited) full texts of the statements by the various groups.

Statement by the Judiciary Presented by:
John M. NyanteeTheme:

"The Role of the Judiciary and Security System in Grand Kru County"

The judiciary is one of the main national institutions under which all courts fall, and its responsibility is to protect lives and property (ies) of the citizens and the state by way of impartially interpreting the original laws of the nation in court in both civil and criminal cases.

But the judicial functions, as performed by its personnel in the county, are extremely different from the other counties and can not effectively dispense justice as required by laws because of the continuous absence from the county of the resident circuit Judge, coupled with the non assignment of a judge by the Chief Justice of the supreme court of the republic of Liberia.

The usual action of the judge being absent during each time to unprofessionally try cases that are above their trial jurisdiction is a problem.

And as a result of these, the rule of law is not respected for the following:

1. No police station in the county (Police headquarter)

2. No court building (Circuit Court)

3. No correction centre (central prison) and

4. The habitual interference with judicial matters by members of the Executive Branch. See LLCLR pg. 5 section 14. Human Rights Violations
1.State authority failure to feed the incarcerated
inmates in the county

2. Brutality against the persons by state security;

3. Inhumane attitude of torturing accused person (s).
See Article 5 of the Declaration of Human Rights
adopted December 10, 1948 (Geneva Assembly)

Security, a protective organization of both able men and women whose function is to serve and protect life and property including the county, is relatively calm thru the tireless efforts of UNMIL military and UNPOL with the daily coordination of the Civil Experts.

Honorable Commissioners of the TRC Commission, the problem we are faced with is that because of the inadequacies of LNP officers only deployed in few areas leaving out the others, cause embarrassment for our police and as a result, when a case is reported by citizens of those areas the evidence in the case is destroyed. Giving no room to the police authority to book any perpetrator (s) to be brought before justice, couple with the following unprofessional behavior of the state security to wit:

1. The alleged raping of girls/women

2. The alleged raping of women by judicial personnel
(magistrate) and

3. Compromising criminal cases because of money

The presence of the police authority in the county is necessarily in place by the Liberian government but the function of some of them is not in the best interest of the citizens of Grand Kru and the state as
a whole.

In conclusion, Honorable Commissioners and your official entourage, on behalf of the Judiciary, security and in my own name, it is my opportune desire to humbly recommend the following proposed recommendations if accepted by you, to be established in the county for implementation.

1. A county or community based committee be established by the TRC Commissioners in each community or county to Investigate/amicably resolve personal tribal/state's conflicts; and b. Investigate domestic conflicts between family, husband/wife to avoid too much of court proceedings.

Statement by Educational Institutions

Presentation made by: Jacob Kortie Nyewon, District Education Officer(DEO)

Thematic Statement of Education made and presented to the honorable body of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) by the Grand Kru county educational system (ministry of Education)

Located in the auditorium of the Barclayville central high school, Barclayville, Grand Kru County.

The honorable superintendent, administrative assistant to the superintendent, local government bureaucrats/officials, energetic commissioners of theTRC, the United National UNMIL family, the local security apparatus, the press, observers, the elders, chiefs, witnesses, the student populace/body, women groups distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

In totality, we bring our warmest greetings from the minister of education Prof. Harry Doe and his deputies of the Grand Kru educational system.

We are cognizant of the fact that, this august occasion had opportune us to express our educational emotions or sentiments.

In view of the above mentioned supra, we wish at this juncture to sequentially present our mentioned sentiments into two main categories, pre-post war eras with composition materials resources/human resources academically.

Pre war era before the emergence of our Liberian civil crisis, the educational system at the time in terms of material resources, we had series and serious of impediments.

Infrastructural, most of our school buildings were makeshift, a minute number of concretized structures.

Schools in our academic arena at the time were incapacitated, meaning we never experienced or had.

Libraries, laboratories, research materials, recreational center, and teachers' quarters, except Barclayville central high and the sass town high schools that were concretized though vandalized or looted during the war.

Under this aspect of our usual educational ills, we never had furniture, mimeographing machine, photocopy machines, cabinets, file, folders, tables, desk chairs, staple machines, pins paper clips among other.

In short, our Grand Kru educational system prior to the civil war was highly incapacitated infrastructural, instructional materials, furniture, laboratories, apparatus, etc.

Second, another crucial and burning academic issue that had been concomitantly with the infrastructural problem is the human resources. This is where teachers were to be trained annually on the basis of qualification.

Fortunately and partially, teachers were sent tot eh TTIs for "C", "B" and "AAs" but were not
given the opportunity for degree programs. Hence, we had the problem of degrees holders who would man our senior schools at the time. Notwithstanding, there were some academic successes in our various schools and minor failures.

Therefore, we had quantitative teachers not qualitative teachers at the time, that which resulted to academic complacency.

The only good aspect of the system is that of the establishment compulsory free educations couple with qualifying teachers.

Post war era: Subsequently, we have entered in the post war era, where they had left behind the scars such as the ruins both infrastructural and humanly, to the degree that our educational system had completely depleted and diminished that resulted to numerous of student mass failures within the war-torn days and this post war time now.

This situation necessitated the reduction in our student populations or teachers.

Further, the devastated civil war had created serious academic vacuum, where the limited infrastructures/human resources were destroyed that we had prior to the same (war).

The war had added insult to injury, where academic malpractices, such as bribery of students, trading with grades by teachers, the philosophy of teach one, eat one, teachers help students to public tests/exams.

This school of though is then, considered to be promoting spoil-system instead of merit system.

Before we conclude we want to strongly recommend to the Liberian government though the ministry of educational and our august body TRC that:

1. We need capacity building of the educational system infrastructural humanly, in order effect effectiveness/ qualitativeness.

2. That medical college is constructed in Grand Kru County, in order to maintain or contain students in
Grand Kru and the region (southeastern) in totality so as to promote emulation and interaction.

3. We also want to recommend to you as our emissary to convey to the Liberian government that they should prioritize the road network ensure development to the county.

Governance and Reform Presentation made by: Benedict S. Sayeh (Forth institution). Governance ,according to random house Webster's college dictionary, is the exercise of authority or control.

In order to conceptualize Governance, let us refer to it as the mechanisms, institution and process
through which authority and control is exercised in the conduct o f public affairs.

The concept of good governance emerged in the late 1980s as a result of failures in development policies due to issues of governance concern including but not limited to the failure of the respect for the universal principles of human right. These two concepts of good governance and human rights are mutually intertwined based on the core values of decentralization, participation, accountability, state and individual responsibilities.

However political actors and researchers have come to the conclusion that there is no single model for the practice of governance. Institutions and process evolve over time.

Good governance frameworks requires: promoting checks and balances between formal and informal institutions of governance; effecting the necessary social changes.

Particularly regarding gender equality and cultural diversity; generating political will and public and participation and awareness; and responding to the key challenges of corruption, mismanagement of national wealth, social and economic disparity, injustice and violent conflict.

In Grand Kru County, our conflicts have primary centered on land and boundary dispute, which in some cases have resulted to tribal conflict.

As the TRC seeks to investigate the root cause of our national nightmare, it is but prudent to catalogue some of the various disputes of the past and present...

1. In the 1970s boundary disputes between Sass town and Barclayville -resolved by the Tolbert Administration.

2. In1987, boundary dispute between Wedabo and Suehn resulted in the lost of lives.

3. In 2006, boundary dispute between Wedabo and Gblebo resulted into the burning of houses.

4. In 2007, the 1987 dispute resurrected between Wedabo and Suehn.

5. In 2008, boundary dispute between Wedabo and Gbalakpo clan.

Additionally, there are cross - county land dispute, such as. 1. In 2007, land dispute between

Nemiah, Grand Kru and Nyanbo, Maryland.

2. In 2007 land dispute between Neroy in Grand Kru and King Williams Town in Sinoe

All of these disputes were investigated, finding and recommendation submitted to central government through the ministry of Internal Affairs for subsequent actions. Grave governance concern in Grand Kru County is the proliferation of cities, districts, chiefdoms, clans and townships.

Grand Kru County has 6 Statutory Districts, 18 Administration Districts, 23 chiefdoms, 60 clans' 26 Townships, and 32 cities. Good governance as it relates to decentralization requires an effective system of government.

Under our current governance structure, there is confusion and conflict over who controls and exercises authority over a given sub national level of government.

Inaccessibility confinues to be our common enemy in Grand Kru County, This eventually hinders smooth functions of governance institution to most part of the county...See expansion...women participation in local governance is encouraging.

In the administration, we have three (3) leaders 1 clan chief in Dorboh, two (2) female chiefs in Forpoh and Buah, more women in the class room and the clinics.

The form of decentralization that underpins good governance includes Political Decentralization, fiscal Decentralization and Administration Decentralization; It discourages overlapping of functions, conflict of interest and duplication of functions.

Decentralization enables local needs and priorities to be exacted and reflect in the planning implementations of local development programs. It underscores the best framework for sustainable peace and national healing.

We, the administration and people of Grand Kru County uphold the basic principles of decentralization as it relates to good governance and supports a lean and effective government system.

Consequently, the following recommendations are hereby advanced to the Government of Liberia through the TRC for consideration into our national agenda.

1. That the Central Government through the Ministries of Internal Affairs and land, Mines and Energy take prompt actions to quell current land dispute in Grand Kru as we all participate in the ongoing national boundary delimitation, demarcation and harmonization exercises.

2.That the Central Government empowers the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy and assign resident Land Surveyor(s) to Grand Kru county to legalize land ownership in the county.

3. That as an outcome of the ongoing boundary delimitation, demarcations, clans and townships in Grand Kru County be reduced to reflect modern realities as supported by legal requirements which in turn discourage political fragmentation and accelerates economic growth and development.

4. That appointment of superintendent by the President be upheld.
That the City Mayors, Paramount, clan and General town chiefs be elected.

And that District Commissioners and other county officials be appointed
by the superintendent to ensure political decentralization.

5.That in order to promote Administration decentralization, administrative service such as the production of identification cards for civil servants be done on the county level, and that the disbursement of GOL salary checks be further centralized at the district level.

6. That about 40% of the revenue generated in the county be deposited in the county's development account in addition to its share of the national pie and other investment initiative.

This will enable the county authority to put in place some basic social services to attract private sector investment and ensure fiscal decentralization.

7. That the teaching of civics and the Constitution of Liberia be re-introduced and re-enforced in the Liberian school system. This will enable citizens know the responsibilities of the state and their (citizens) civic duties, which eventually prevents the reoccurrence of our ugly past.


In conclusion of the this presentation, may I note the words of His Grace Archbishop Michel Kpakala Francis as he opined in proposition 12 for Decentralized Government in Liberia, I quote "good Governance has been historically one of Liberia's main problems.

How can we build and sustain the practices of good governance, rule of Law, transparency, accountability, tolerance, merit, equity, and decentralization? We must address ourselves to the serious problems we have when it comes to governance...It is in a mess"

We must commend the TRC on behalf of the county Authority for this national endeavor and a heroic task. Your names, commissioners will be engraved on the stones of history, posterity shall praise you and providence your reward.

I thank you.

Grand Kru Youth Statement to the Public Hearings of the TRC in Barclayville City.

Presentation made by: Isaac Tisuduail February 22, 2008

Mr. Chairman and his counterparts of the TRC, County Coordinator, TRC, Grand Kru, Hon. Rosaline Sneh Superintendent Grand Kru County, all our important guests, ladies and gentlemen.

We first of all extend our heart felt gratitude to God almighty for having spare you through these days and for your safe arrival in the county. As youths, we are proud to have a branch of the TRC in the county.

However, we the youth of Grand Kru want to use this occasion to express the numerous hindrances against the development of the youth.

These hindrances are: the youth of this county lack play grounds, recreation centers, vocational learning institutes, scholarship in various disciplines, computers schools and our girls have been raped.

Every good thing that come in this country for the young people, our county is always left out, so there is a question if Grand Kru is not part of this country.

Additionally, we are disappointed at the disunity between the county Administration and the Legislative Caucus, also amongst the County Administrators themselves.

Similarly, the lack of visitation and consultative meeting by our county legislative caucus with the people of the county, is another problem .

The county administration themselves do not hold consultative meetings. Our caucus does not spend their agriculture break in the county. In this light, the youth is not taking part in decision making.

This added to our disappointment and hindrance against the development of the youth.

Also there is lot of land dispute within the county between towns, these and more as a basic function of the democratic society have setback to the development of the youth and the county as a whole and thereby making our county to remain "Grand Walking County.".


In order to achieve better Grand Kru as a youth, we recommend the following to TRC:

That TRC make sure through the central government that the youth of this county have vocational learning institutes, recreation centers; children play ground and scholarship in various disciplines.

That the county administration and the county legislative caucus find reason to liaise with one another for better future of the youth.

That all members of the legislative caucus spend their agriculture break in the county to acquaint themselves with problems facing the county.

That judges assigned in the county every term of court to reduce crime rate in the county.

That all NGO that will come to Grand Kru take their workers from Grand Kru.

That surveyors come in the county to reduce the problems of land dispute between towns in the county.


To conclude, we promise to stand by the TRC as youth of this county by giving our fullest cooperation to the improvement of the activities of TRC in the county.

We hope with the Cooperation of the Caucus and the County Administration and with the fullest participation of the youth, the development of the youth will improve then our county will become Second to none in the country.
In Jesus Name Amen.

The public hearings, under the theme: "Confronting Our Difficult Past For A Better Future," will Monday move to the south eastern county of River Gee before Grand Gedeh and Sinoe Counties.

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