By Rocheford T. Gardiner
HARPER, MARYLAND COUNTY – Following huge outcries from residents of Maryland County over the issue of the absence of a correction facility and police holding cells – the county may soon be able to use its central prison facility after close to two years of total disuse and ruin.
It can be recalled in late March of 2021, riotous youths from Harper and Pleebo destroyed the facility in their anger over the death of a motorcyclist Modecious Nyema, who was killed by a fellow motorcyclist aka “Open Zipper.”
Since then, the county has had to depend on neighboring River Gee for holding pretrial detainees – something that is putting an untold burden on the prison facility in that county, which in the past (as Grand Kru), depended on Maryland County for imprisoning convicts.
Now, former Senator H. Dan Morais started a personal intervention that has seen the rehabilitation of at least fourteen pretrial detention cells on the ground floor of the prison.
The former Senator told me during a walk-through video interview Tuesday, November 15, he is undertaking this project “for the pride of Maryland County” and that this was in no way intended to “shame” the government of Liberia.
Not putting a specific time frame on the handover of the rehabilitated portion of the facility to local officials, the former senator said he shall turn it over “soon.” He said he is in contact with Superintendent George Prowd who, according to him, has been very cooperative in the process.
He, however, said there has been no financial input from the government, nor Maryland County Legislative Caucus. He however added that at least one Marylander (Harriet Tubman who resides in the US) has pledged eight mattresses.
Dan Morais said some basic needs would include cooking utensils, dishes, buckets, etc, for soon-expected inmates. He stopped short of putting a handle on the project in terms of cost – saying simply – “I spent plenty money.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice in Monrovia (which failed to do anything about the facility on grounds that it was destroyed by Marylanders themselves) has reassigned all prison wardens from the Harper Central Prison to other counties, since the facility was destroyed close to two years ago and it remains to be seen when those wardens will be returned to take charge of security.