By: KAMAL M BARRIE (KENEMA)
In an exclusive interview with the Mayor of the Kenema City Council on the construction of a 64 stores story building which the council is undertaking, His Lordship Thomas Baio says councils should be the hub for development.
Responding to questions posed to him on where the council raises the money for the construction of the 64 stores building, Mayor Thomas Karimu Baio revealed to this medium that council is constructing this building from its own resource, the revenue generated despite the economic ravage the corona virus has caused to the economy of the country.
He further stated that he went through series of media and public castigation when he asked Tailors who were occupying the Dakiyai Street Space.
He said they conspired with bad Politicians to discourage him from not undertaking such a project but since he owns the general public an agenda for constructive enjoyment, he was not distracted on his plans and now the construction project has started. He said the down stair contract duration is 90 days.
Mayor Baio further revealed that the initial project was 32 stores but since council is not undertaking such venture on a business aspect but on a cost recovery basis they have increased the number to 64 so that many business people will be accommodated.
“Since I faced a lot of criticism, during the time council wanted to relocate those initial business occupants it is high time I wanted to tell the people of Kenema that my focus is not self-centered like other politicians but to leave a legacy when I shall have left the Council. I wander if private stores are rented at the cost of 10 Million Leones council will allocate these ones to 5 million Leones because we work on a cost recovery basis,” Mayor Thomas Baio stated.
“When we took over power we met liability in the council and most of those issues we have resolved. We completed the Kenema City field pavilion at a cost of Le730, 000,000 debts with the contractor. We have renovated the Gbongbontor Market, Kingsway Market; we are now at the council Administrative Building as well as the Metro Police Office which are to be completed pretty soon.”
All these are tangible development pointers despite the Corona Virus disturbance in the local revenue collection”, he ended.
He appealed to business people as well as property owners to pay their taxes so that council can undertake manifold developments.
Speaking in the area of the Maxwell Khobe street and the Fishery Market Mayor Baio says the Maxwell Khobe Street will be one of the finest streets in Kenema City as the Pavi Fort Construction Company has started a perfect road work in Kenema.
He again informed this medium that council has won the resilience project to construct an ultra-modern market at the fishery market.
“Council should have started the fishery Market project but we have not yet relocated the traders… council and the Traders Union has put modalities in place to relocate those fisheries traders to difference market places as a temporary measure so that we can undertake such a mighty project. Our Paopa party is in power and I told the people of Kenema that when president Bio comes into power I will leave a good development legacy. Kenema has been behind for far too long in the area of development as previous council leaders did not work with former president Koroma who wanted to develop Kenema,” he indicated.
He called the attention of all Kenema People to apply the method of the Northerners who embraced any development coming their ways.
He noted that the north doesn’t reject development as Kenema did.
The mayor explained that the previous president developed Bo, Kono and the North with an intention to make Kenema but he was frustrated.
He decried what he called bad heart syndrome in politics.
“Political bad heart is something that put a nation behind and makes the masses suffer for their basic amenities. Kenema should be united and I am appealing to all Kenematonians to come to my aid to develop this city as we now have much political appointees. President Bio loves Kenema and we should make good use of this big opportunity” Mayor Baio made a clarion call and passionate appeal.
Speaking to the Contractor of the Project Mr. Abu Bakarr Barrie (Barrie Duth) he explained that he has started the foundation of the building and assured the council and the people of Kenema of working within the stipulated period with quality assurance.
He said he is a native born of Kenema and always want to see durable and quality work for the city of Kenema. He asked the people of Kenema and the City Council to continue giving him time and patience.