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Bong Town residents cry neglect

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Bong Town residents NDA once well-developed area in the Fuamah District of Bong County, historically known as Bong Town is fast becoming a forest despite the presence of China Union, a multi-billion dollars company. 

Residents of Bong Town are accusing Fumah District Representative Corpu Barclay, and other local leaders of abandoning the area, which is littered with dilapidated structures due to prolonged neglect, the lawmaker has argued that she executed several school projects in the district, including community centers and hand pumps.

The area was initially constructed by a German Company called Delanco that started similar operations like China Union in 1967 in Bong County. But Delanco later changed its nomenclature to Bong Mining Company or BMC and subsequently folded and left because of the Liberian Civil war, which started in 1989.

In 2008, the company pronounced a US$2.6 billion dollar project to renovate Bong Mines, located 150km north of Monrovia. The formal agreement was signed on January 9, 2009 and the initial stages of the project began in 2010, including geological surveys which were completed in July 2013.

More than 1,000 citizens were reportedly evicted from the camp houses by China Union with the hope of quickly renovating those structures to accommodate employees and their families, but to no avail.
Occupants of each apartment, according to a NewDawn’s investigation, were given US$500 as resettlement benefit, which many say was insufficient to resettle the people.

Speaking to reporters recently, an eminent citizen of the area Roland B.B. Enders accused Representative Corpu G. Barclay of being behind the eviction of occupants from structures left behind by the former BMC.
He alleged that the residents were evicted on political reason, adding many had thought by relocating the people, they could get direct benefit from the company.

He criticized the lawmaker for not being fast-sighted in the eviction of her citizens when the company is unable to restore Bong Town to pre-war status. But Representative Barclay specifically referred this paper to Sonoyea where she several school buildings have been erected besides mosque and others. She also pointed to Fuamah where she has constructed school blocks on her own, adding “I have also put up several community centers in Fuamah. Not to talk about several hand pumps constructed and many others. So if he says I am not doing anything for the people I represent, than ask yourself, which people are benefiting from all the above mentioned projects?”

Mr. Enders explained that if the local leaders had the interest of the people, they should have sat down and prioritized their welfare instead of just evicting them. He at the same time accused Rep. Barclay of doing nothing to improve the lives of the citizens of District #7 in Bong County, adding that Rep. Barclay has not undertaken any tangible development that she could point to in her 10 years at the Liberian Legislature.

He cautioned that Bong Mines risks collapse soon if nothing were done to address some of the enormous problems emanating from the area.
However, Fuamah District Representative Corpu G. Barclay, has refuted claims made by Mr. Enders referring this writer to the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy to get clarity on the eviction. Representative Barclay clarified that she has undertaken several projects in her district and threatened to take legal action against this writer if he published anything negative against her.

Representative Barclay was contacted via text message on November 3, 2015 at about 4:32 pm, and she replied with series of text messages beginning 8:6 pm the same day.
The NewDawn Margibi correspondent, who also works for Gbaisue FM in Weala, texted the lawmaker: “Hello Representative Barclay, this is Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr. of Gbaisue FM in Weala, Margibi County. You are accused of being behind the eviction of occupants of the structures left behind by the BMC and that you have done nothing for those you represent. You are also accused of receiving brown envelope from the company for the eviction. All of these were said by Mr. Roland B.B. Enders, an eminent citizen of Fuamah. I need your response cause I am preparing for publication”.

Representative Barclay responded through several text messages: “Thank you. You are a journalist, seeking information. So I will direct you to the LANDS and MINES, that’s where you will get the full information about who did that eviction there okay? Again, you said I have been accessed of not doing anything for the people I represent. Let’s start with these few;- go to Sonoyea and check the school blocks that I have put up for them , besides their mosque and others. That aside, go to Fuamah, I have constructed school blocks on my own. I have also put up several community centers in Fuamah. Not to talk about several hand pumps constructed and many others. So if he says am not doing anything for the people I represent, then ask yourself which people are benefiting from all the above mentioned projects? In that case, if you should publish anything negative against me, you will leave me with no other option but to take legal action against you. So seek information. Thank you”!!!

By Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr. in Margibi-Edited by Jonathan Browne

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