Blue Lake, a mineral water company established in 2005 but began full operation in 2006 in Tubmanburg, Bomi County is now packing its equipment to get out of the county. According to its Managing Director Haja Washington, the company will be relocated in Montserrado County near the St. Paul Bridge.
At a well attended ceremony marking the departure of Blue Lake in Tubmanburg on April 13, county authorities and locals who claimed that they were in a happy-sad day, expressed gratitude to the company for its services to people of Bomi over the years. Bomi County Superintendent Samuel F. Brown who also served as a guest speaker
for the occasion stressed in his keynote address ‘The happy part about the departure of Blue Lake is that it gave the just benefits for employees and most of our people who worked here are left with funds to start new life.’
However, Superintendent Brown indicated that the sad side of the departure of Blue Lake is many have lost jobs and salaries will no longer roll as it has been the case.
In addition, the keynote speaker said Blue Lake’s presence in Bomi has afforded them the opportunity to getting safe drinking water and free water to the county authority during occasions. He furthered that the company has been instrumental in meeting up with its social responsibility to communities and paying taxes that boosted the economy.
According to Mr. Brown, the presence of the company in Bomi County tremendously reduced insecurity on ground that more young people who were, and would engage in criminal activities were employed and attentive to their job; something he said as Blue departs they worry as to how the security situation would be.
Superintendent Brown urged former employees to make maximum use of the amounts they received and do what will create peace and stability in Bomi and not misuse it to sit and complain from poverty.
He also called on the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Zein Jaffah to always be reminded of Bomi and seek another company that will go there to provide similar opportunities Blue Lake has provided for people of that county.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with journalists at the occasion, the Managing Director, Haja Washington who previously served as Superintendent of Bomi said besides the US$4,000 each of the 75 employees hailing from Bomi received, the company provided a resource center comprising computers and internet café where young people can go and have computer knowledge and browse the internet for information.
She acknowledged that the Blue Lake Company is also going to make three-year payment for the internet services. Madam Washington said as they leave, they are leaving behind them streetlight for Tubmanburg and water plant that former workers can use to produce water.
Also, Madam Washington disclosed that the company is leaving the former employees with a five-bedroom guest house that they can use to generate funds and to serve as a source of employment for some.
Earlier, the CEO Zein Jaffah told the people of Bomi that his stay in the county was greatly marred by joy and cooperation from the citizens which he believes will go with him a long way. He said cooperation the company received was not expected as the first impression he got when they decided on going to Bomi was not encouraging.
Meanwhile, the departure of Blue Lake from Bomi came when Western Cluster, a mineral mining company won the bid to operate in the Bomi Hills. Even though it is expected that some citizens of Bomi will be employed, there were views from mixed multitude that attended the departure ceremony that the company’s (Blue Lake) absence will continue to keep them sad.
According to them, clean, safe drinking water and employment opportunity the company provided for them will no longer be felt and the struggling county will not have the necessary social and discretionary responsibilities it enjoyed from the company.
Though a home county of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and House Speaker Alex Tyler, Bomi County remains one of the poorest and less populated counties in Liberia where many of the citizens live by making and selling charcoal.
On the basis of the status of this county, the United Nations Development Program and other international partners through the government has been providing cash transfer to the most impoverished people of the county to elate them.