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Thursday, May 23, 2024

PRESIDENT BOAKAI RESOLVES TO SHUT DOWN WESTERN CLUSTER IN BOMI COUNTY FOR EXPLOITING RESOURCES

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MONROVIA, LIBERIA – Pres. Joseph N. Boakai has made a decisive move to close down Western Cluster in Bomi County, citing the company’s exploitation of the county’s resources without benefit to its citizens and the potential damage to bridges from the company’s trucks. Ojuku Silver-tongue Kangar, Jr. reports on the President’s firm stance in fulfilling the Unity Party-led administration’s commitment to rescue Liberians.

“I just met with the lawyer of Western Cluster this morning. I told him that we are going to close them down,” President Boakai stated emphatically during an inspection of the ongoing Suehn Mecca road rehabilitation. He expressed concern about the bridges’ potential deterioration due to the company’s activities, stating, “Minister (Minister of Public Works), let me tell you, if we don’t close Western Cluster down we will lose those bridges, and it going to be disastrous.”

President Boakai stressed that resources should benefit citizens, but his investigation revealed that Western Cluster was not benefiting the county’s residents. “I went up to the hill (where the company is mining) the last time; Western Cluster is not mining. They are just taking our resources [and we are] getting no reward for it,” he lamented, emphasizing his seriousness about shutting down the company.

“We will not sit here while people take our resources. If they want to invest, let them build their railway. I am serious, I met the counselor this morning,” President Boakai added.

The President’s decision follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Western Cluster Liberia Limited and the Government of Liberia (GOL) in 2022 to resume operations in the Bomi Hills Mines. However, the agreement has been criticized as one of the worst deals signed during the George M. Weah administration, leading the lead negotiator and Senator of Bomi County, Edwin Melvin Snowe, to withdraw from the bargaining.

A recent Hot Pepper fact-finding tour to Tubmanburg, Bomi County, revealed significant road damage caused by Western Cluster’s heavy-duty trucks. Residents also reported incidents involving the company’s trucks, including a collision with a motorcycle carrying three students, which resulted in severe injuries. The company allegedly refused to identify with the victims, leaving them without proper medical care.

Furthermore, residents have complained of not benefiting from the company’s social corporate responsibility, with affected communities lacking essential infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, safe drinking water, and paved roads.

Residents expressed frustration with Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe, accusing him of enriching himself at the expense of the county’s development. They hinted at a possible uprising against the company if the situation does not improve.

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