In an interview with The Perspective recently in Monrovia, Mr. Arthur Watson, President of ULAA, who recently concluded his visit to the country, noted that following the donation of the buses to Monrovia, ULAA appealed to the government to act in ensuring that the buses are transported to the country.
Though the Chairman, during his visit to America in 2004, promised to have the buses transported to Monrovia following repeated calls, the buses are still languishing in a parking lot in Dayton.
He said the continued inaction of the government to make good on her promises, has left the donor with no alternative but to decide to turn the buses over to another African country. He told The Perspective that while in Liberia he met with Chairman Bryant and again raised the issues concerning the shipment of the buses, adding that again, the transitional leader repeated government’s commitment to bring the buses home.
Mr. Watson said the cost of transporting one of the 12 buses is put at US$7,000, but the State of Dayton has promised to provide training for operators and mechanics of the buses in Liberia.
The state, he said, has also pledged to provide additional buses, which will be used as spare parts for the 12 buses.
With the Liberian government’s lukewarm response towards the gesture, the ULAA president is calling for the public to bring pressure to bear on the government so it will do everything to bring in the 12 buses so as to ease the transportation problems in the country.
ULAA has raised the issues surrounding the transportation of the buses to Liberia with Chairman Bryant on two occasions in addition to written communications.
ULAA termed the attitude of government as regrettable.
The union has therefore described the behavior of the government as very unconscionable, especially at the time when the same government was very quick in allocating millions of United States Dollars for the purchase of hundreds of luxurious vehicles for its officials.
The Union has expressed its dissatisfaction over the Chairman’s purchase of US$366,000 bulletproof Mercedes Benz, and US$37,000 each for 25 buses, while at the same time refusing to transport free buses to ease the transportation problem in the country.
ULAA has taken several steps to get the buses to Monrovia. Chapters’ officials and members of ULAA have agreed to raise money to assist in transporting at least two of the buses to Liberia, while it has entered discussions with Firestone Plantation Company requesting assistance for the transportation of the buses.
At the moment the buses are parked on municipal grounds in the State of Ohio, awaiting shipment to Monrovia.