News that Liberia’s much awaited power plant project (Mount Coffee Hydro) destroyed during the civil war has finally been revamped to meet some of the country’s growing demands for energy use is not only a promise fulfilled by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s administration, but also one of the proudest moments for Liberia since the return of peace almost two decades ago. For so long, not entirely the fault of this Administration, Liberians have had to endure hardship associated with non-availability of electricity or where available, it has been largely inadequate or epileptically provided from whatever source it came.In post-war Liberia, petty traders have relied heavily on imported generators to sell cold water and other locally produced beverages with low returns on their sales as they had to spend some of the meager amounts accrued from the sales to purchase gasoline or pay for the locally supplied electricity from the neighborhood. At the end of the day, they always complained of low profit margins. It is also fair to point out that while there has not been any independent assessment to establish the health hazard associated with the use of some of those generators, such as fire incidents and the loss of property, there exists the probability that several people have suffered respiratory problems due to excessive exposure to carbon monoxide. That, not to talk of loud noise we hear from communities, made it impossible for any sound sleep. In today’s world, scientists and common people do agree that electricity is one of the key factors necessary for the rapid development of other sectors of the economy. Therefore, its absence or partial provision brings lots of discomfort not only to the city dwellers who have become accustomed to the use of electricity-based equipment such as television, cell phones, refrigerators, among others, but also hampers economic activities and slow down or deters investors. Cognizant of this reality, President Sirleaf’s administration has always emphasized the importance of resuscitating the energy sector as a gateway to economic revitalization. With the completion of this project, it has now become apparent that the saying frequently echoed by her administration “Small Light Today and Big Light Tomorrow,” which has been interpreted by many as one of those politically crafted slogans designed to appease the masses, has now hit home for real. The truth is that President Sirleaf believes in the methodical approach to tackling development challenges, something she has demonstrated over time and evidently, this has proven efficient as opposed to disjointed approach. The steady progress the country has witnessed in the last decade sprang from well thought out development initiatives rooted in the vision propounded by her administration since its inception. For instance, the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy (iPRS), as well as the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS), and most recently the Agenda for Transformation (AFT), all considered the energy sector as a critical component of the country’s development agenda. As a proponent of the Sustainable Development Goals, Vision 2030, Liberia is poised to maximize the use of electricity to accelerate its developmental goals. This is based on the scientific evidence that the use of electricity as a clean source of energy is more efficient and sustainable than other sources of energy that breed environmental problems. For instance, a study has revealed that “current projections estimating world population growth read in conjunction with corresponding projections of increased world energy consumption, point to electricity as the cleaner fuel of the future, especially because of its efficiency and low levels of pollution.” Clearly, the resuscitation of the Mount Coffee Dam is one of the many projects that this administration has undertaken with commitment and dedication. Indeed, the launching of the Mount Coffee hydro plant is a promise fulfilled. It is an affirmation, and it does reinforce to the people to never lose hope in the determination of a government that has proven ability to turn things around despite numerous obstacles, if only we care to reflect on the past. Emerging from the status of a Failed State to an internationally accepted player among the comity of nations speaks volume about the resolve of Madam Sirleaf’s leadership to the meet critical developmental needs of Liberia. In the next few months or so, we shall turn our searchlight on some of the achievements of this administration. At least not for the purpose of showering praises, but to inform that when discussions are held about the legacy of President Sirleaf, the record stands tall; and that there are more positive things to account than detractors will want us believe. It all boils down to simple appreciation of government’s efforts and the need to show a minimum respect for authority especially when the government has demonstrated over time, its readiness to meet its obligations to citizens despite the daunting challenges.About the author: Abu M. Kamara is Minister Counselor and the Deputy Chief of MissionEmbassy of Liberia in Riyadh- Saudi Arabia Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
“I will pray he was sincere,” John March said. Barbara March said she knows her son’s heart and that he would forgive his killer. “This day is very sad for me because the man over there chose to do evil with his life,” she said. March was killed April 29, 2002, after he pulled over Garcia on Live Oak Avenue in Irwindale on a traffic stop. Garcia told friends if he ever got pulled over by an officer he won’t hesitate to use a gun, said sheriff’s Homicide Capt. Ray Peavy, who was the original homicide lieutenant on the case. March started walking toward the car and Garcia walked toward him. Peavy said detectives believe the deputy told Garcia to turn around so he could pat him down. He thinks Garcia turned, reached for his gun, turned back and shot March. He said Garcia then stood over March as he lay on the street and shot him again. “People driving by saw part of this which made it even more of a horrendous crime. They were shocked,” Peavy said. Using a translator, Garcia read a statement apologizing to March’s relatives, friends and colleagues who filled the courtroom. Garcia never looked at the family. “I know they don’t want to see my face,” he said. “I know this will not take the hatred you feel for me. I know when I ask for forgiveness for what I have done I know the hatred is going to \ but I know someday you will forgive me.” March’s parents; his sister, Erin Hildreth; and his widow, Teri, spoke in court about their loss, what March meant to them and addressed Garcia. Hildreth said there was a time when he was sweet like all of God’s children. Now he’s a murderer and has to pay for what he did, but she will be praying for him. Teri March said she will learn and pray to forgive Garcia. She said that she doesn’t have hate for him anymore because it took too much energy. Detectives said Garcia fled to Mexico within 24 hours of the killing. He remained on the run until Feb. 23, 2006, when Mexican authorities arrested him at a relative’s house in Jalisco. The delay was due in part to a 2001 ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court that said life in prison without the possibility of parole was cruel and unusual punishment. Because of the court decision, suspects who faced a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole couldn’t be extradited. Mexico already doesn’t send back suspects who could get the death penalty in the U.S. The March case became a national example of the problem. The deputy’s family kept the issue on the forefront for years, going to events, lobbying legislators, pushing for change to the treaty. In November 2005, the Mexican Supreme Court reversed the ruling which paved the way for Garcia and other suspects to be extradited. “He will spend the rest of his days in prison until he is dead. This is a very proud day for the justice system,” District Attorney Steve Cooley said, adding that a lot of credit has to go to the March family. “When it comes to murder, there is no justice. However, there is accountability. Today Garcia accounted for his crime,” said Sheriff Lee Baca. He called March a good man and said the deputy will forever be a hero in the eyes of his family and the Sheriff’s Department. “Armando Garcia does not deserve to live, but the justice system has made its decision and the decision is guilty,” Baca said. Teri March said the way her husband died by himself on that street was more than they could bear and then to find out his killer fled as well. She said Garcia hid behind a system that was broken. She vowed to finish her husband’s work that day even if it took her entire life. “It’s over. The fight is finally over,” she said. “Dave lives on in my heart. I think a lot of good came out of something so awful.” email@example.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2718160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! As part of the plea bargain, two counts of attempted murder and three counts of being a felon in possession of a weapon were dismissed. The attempted-murder charges stemmed from incidents that occurred in Baldwin Park on Feb. 16, 2002, and Nov. 18, 2001. Garcia, also known as Armando Garcia, asked the deputy’s family to forgive him. “I only want to ask forgiveness for what I have done and I know you will forgive me,” he said through a translator. John March, David March’s father, said it was a bittersweet day. He said Garcia apologized but only God knows if that apology was sincere or that of a sociopath trying to get off the hook. • Photo Gallery: Garcia pleads guilty • Video: Garcia pleads guilty POMONA – A man who tried to escape prosecution by hiding in Mexico pleaded guilty Friday to killing Deputy David March during a 2002 traffic stop and will spend the rest of his life in prison. At what was supposed to be a routine preliminary hearing, Jorge Arroyo Garcia agreed to plead guilty to one count of second-degree murder with special allegations for using a gun to commit the murder, and intentionally killing a peace officer in the line of duty. Pomona Superior Court Judge Charles Horan immediately sentenced Garcia to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Garcia will be sent to Calipatria State Prison.