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On Bea Mountain Protest: Religious Leaders Crave Impartial Probe

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MONROVIA: Liberia Council of Churches (LCC) and the Inter-religious Council of Liberia want President Joseph Nyuma Boakai to constitute an independent committee to probe the recent protest incident in Bea Mountain in Grand Cape Mount County that led to the death of ‘two persons.’

The LCC and the IRCL also asked President Boakai to ensue enquiry into other Concessions to prevent similar occurrences.

The LCC and IRCL believe that such an impartial Body will be objective and ensure transparency in its findings and recommendations, aimed at seeking lasting solutions to the concerns of workers of Concession Companies.

“We also believe that the Independent Committee, when setup, would dig deeper to unearth the contending concerns of the people in the Concession areas, which we pray would further help to avoid future disturbances at other Concessions around the Country,” a joint statement issued by both religious organizations said.

The statement, signed by Dr. Samuel B. Reeves, Jr., Bishop Samuel J. Quire, Jr. Moderator Sanjee A. Stepter, Rev. Christopher W. Toe, Emmanuel Howe President, 1st Vice President 2nd Vice President, General Secretary and Treasurer, stated that the Police who are a key participant in the protest should not be the ones investigating the very incident they are conflicted in; hence, the Council and IRCI believe the Police participation would undermine the true essence of transparency and fair probe.

The LCC & IRCL noted that the very Police have been accused of firing live bullets on the Protesters, stressing, it is for this and other reasons that they believe, “the Police should not be player and referee in this matter.”

LCC & IRCL, said, without police involvement, the credibility of the Committee would be enhanced.

The Religious groups said that part of the Terms of Reference of the Independent Committee should be to investigate the operations of Bea Mountain, following reports and allegations that the Company has reneged on several provisions of their Concession Agreement signed over a decade ago.

The Liberia Council of Churches and the Inter-religious Council of Liberia want Citizens of of counties in Western Liberia; Grand Cape Mount and Bomi to remain calm as the Government exercises all efforts to bring the situation under control.

On Monday, March 18, 2024, Justice Minister, Cllr. N. Oswald Tweh disclosed that Bea Mountain Mining Company (BMMC) has resumed operations in Kinjor, Grand Cape Mount County.

The Attorney-General and Justice Minister Tweh stated that the resumption of normal operations came at the result of an intervention by the government through a Ministerial Delegation recently sent to the area to resolve the Bea Mountain debacle involving residents of the community and workers.

The Ministerial delegation was dispatched to Kinjor in the wake of persistent protest by people believed to workers and residents of the community against allegations of bad labor practices, poor facilities and demand for Liberians to serve in managerial positions and among other demands to the BMMC.

Addressing the regular press briefing at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), Justice Minister Tweh said the Ministerial Delegation’s visit to Kinjor was intended to reunite the company and community dwellers.

Cllr. Tweh indicated that the Ministerial Delegation, which comprised the Ministries of Justice, Labor, Internal Affairs, Information as well as National Bureau of Concession and the Director General of the Cabinet pleaded with citizens to address issues through lawful means.

According to Cllr. Tweh, the delegation held a fruitful conversation with the community dwellers and Executives of the Bea Mountain Mining Company in the interest of peace to avoid a recurrence of the recent situation characterizing mass protests by the residents including workers of the company.

From the intervention of the government, Cllr. Tweh added, all is now calm in the area, as the people of Kinjor and Bea Mountain Mining Company Management have begun to coexist and that the protest has ceased, resulting in the commencement of normal activities at the company site.

Accordingly, the Justice Minister has cautioned Liberians to address issues within the confines of law, noting that it is the government’s obligation to protect its citizens, as well as companies who are investing in the country’s economy.

“People have to understand that the government is like a twin mother [who] cannot overlook any of the children who are breastfeeding; therefore, we are working to ensure that the government resolves the impasse, but it is an ongoing process we will continue to engage,” Minister Tweh asserted.

He averred that it is the hope of the government to maintain an environment of law in every spectrum of the Liberian society, calling on every citizen to remain law-abiding to ensure a peaceful state.

He further asserted that the government has listened to the forty-eight counts petition submitted by residents of the county, and that the government is looking into it to find an amicable solution to the mutual benefit of both parties.

It can be recalled that Cape Mountaineans in Monrovia recently launched a protest against the retention of Debar W. Allen as the Country Manager of the Bea Mountain Mining Company (BMMC), in which they vehemently opposed Mr. Allen’s leadership of the mining company in their county, Grand Cape Mount.

The citizens carried placards and chanted slogans protest in which they said, they did not want Debar Allen in the county as Country Manager of BMMC.

They added that their lawmakers have been sacrificing citizens’ interest for money.

The Protesters at the time threatened to vote against those lawmakers who they accused of having sacrificed their interest to the BMMC for money in 2029, saying that, they will not rest to protest unless their demands were heeded.

Amidst these exchanges, the government has been making efforts to resolve the impasse, and the Attorney General of the Republic, Justice Minister Tweh announced at the Ministry of Information that calm has returned to the area, and that the BMMC has resumed operations.

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