Home Economy G/Bassa Unhappy With AML Operation

G/Bassa Unhappy With AML Operation

by News Manager

By: Varney Dukuly

BUCHANAN-GRAND BASSA: With low level of unemployment and increased inflation in Liberia, the leaders and ordinary citizens of Grand Bassa County have criticized steel giant, ArcelorMittal-Liberia, for its reported decision to relocate the construction of its Steel Plant from Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, to Yekepa, Nimba County.

The AML’s Mineral Development Agreement, calls for, among other things, the construction of concentrator to be in the port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

“AML has violated the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) and to add insult to injury, it has decided to relocate the construction of the concentrator from Buchanan to Yekepa,” said Grand Bassa County’s Representative, Thomas Goshua, of Electoral District #5.

The citizens’ agitations come on the heels of the company’s reported failure to live up to the letters of the agreement signed between company and the locals.

In recent weeks, workers of ArcelorMittal have been staging protests in both Nimba and Grand Bassa Counties amid accusation that politicians are siding with the company against the people’s interest.

Panicked residents some of whom accused prominent people in the county of double-dipping expressed their dissatisfaction for the absence of some lawmakers in crucial meetings with the company, coupled with the disrespect of AML.

Those who are perceived to be meddling against the people’s interest in Grand Bassa were Representative Matthew Joe of District #3, Representative Thomas Goshua of District #5, Cllr. Charlyne Brumskine, daughter of the late Cllr. Charles Brumskine, who is reported to be the Lawyer of the company.

But, Cllr. Charlyne Brumskine who was picked as running mate to CPP Collaborating Political Parties (CPP’s) Presidential Aspirant, Alexander Benedict Cumming alias, ‘ABC’ debunked the allegations, saying that the information that she is working for AML and served as a member of a team that crafted the third amendment is untrue.

“As a daughter of Grand Bassa, and to reinforce my earlier position, I promised to lend my support at every level of the advocacy and prepared to form part of the legal representation to disprove their lies. At no time, I have ever worked for AML,” she concluded.

Speaking also on the issue, Representative Joe, among many things, said that the Plant is still in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, because the law provides for it.

He said rumors which have been spreading like a wildfire in street corners by some people that the Bassa Lawmakers have received bribes for the concentrator to be relocated is untrue.

For his part, Representative Goshua, thanked the civil society for reaching this far. This process of engagement on this matter started since 2019, he added.

He mentioned that AML’s “disrespect” to the people of Grand Bassa should not be tolerated. He calls on AML to “use helicopter” as a means to transporting their ores.

In the face of the clarities, the people pledged their support to the civil society council of the county as the lead advocate on these issues.

“That the civil society should drive these action points mentioned above to their logical conclusion,” one Bassa citizen said.

The two lawmakers buttressed the citizens’ view by saying, on this matter, we will lend our full support.

The Lawmakers vowed to keep away from the matter, because, by not during so, the good intent of the Bassa people could be beclouded by politics.

“We, the lawmakers, are politicians and these are political times. Therefore, it will be good that the council runs the advocacy,” they concluded.

Since May 8, the council has been holding meetings with all stakeholders, in the City of Buchanan concerning these issues and all spoke with the same voice on these matters.

The team has been visiting communities in Buchanan and Wee Statutory District, a place that is hugely being affected by AML’s operations as a way of soliciting their views before any action.

The Council has spoken with several legal people, especially with firms that have track records in handling such matters.

The CSO council also said it will inform the citizens on its next course of action as it relates to these action points.

The Citizens: “We are aware that the battle lines are drawn between the people of Grand Bassa County and AML On the legal front. In our advocacy, the followings would be considered: The violations of the MDA has caused the people of Grand Bassa pains in every aspect of our daily living.”

“For instance,” they said, the “failure to revamp the Stephen Allen Tolbert Hospital with modern equipment and their refusal to have the hospital opened to the public Schools that were to be built in the county by AML which have not been done is causing pains for the people of Grand Bassa.

“Who should pay for these pains? Remember that these pains are human rights violations. Now is the time to tell AML that enough is enough! Please be informed that the two action points will be implemented concomitantly, absolutely, no turning back,” the Council stressed.

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