By Bridgett Milton
Residents within the concession area of Bea Mountain Mining Corporation in Grand Cape Mount County have decried the bad road condition and the lack of health care, safe drinking water and education facilities.
Speaking to a team of lawmakers who went on a fact-finding mission in Grand Cape Mount County over the weekend, the Youth Chair of Gold Camp, James P. Fombah said the company is causing serious problems for the residents.
According to Fombah, the company’s operation damages all their houses and water sources, blaming it on the chemical that Bea Mountain uses.
He explained that this has also resulted in some residents getting sick as well.
Fombah narrated that if care is not taken, there could be a repeat of a situation which he said, occurred in the Mano River years back because Bea Mountain is doing underground mining.
Fombah claimed that there is no single development undertaken by the company in the gold camp community, adding that when someone is sick, they have to be taken to as far as Lofa Bridge for treatment.
Sometimes, he said, before reaching Lofa Bridge the patient can die on the way.
And on many occasions, Fombah continues, pregnant women give birth on the road before getting to the hospital.
“When you look at the school here, it is in a very bad condition. In this whole community, we only have one school building and that school building only has three classrooms and our children are sitting on the floor,” he narrated.
Also Speaking, the Chairlady of the Gold Camp Community Madam Tenneh Scott said the company is of no use to the people of Grand Cape Mount County.
She claimed that the company has not employed any resident of the community, but it brings Turkish nationals to occupy positions that Librarians should be occupying.
Lofa County Representative Clarence Massaquoi who heads the specialized committee set up to probe the alleged violation of the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) of Bea Mountain Mining Corporation told the citizens that they were asked by the House of Representatives to go and see for themselves what is happening in that part of the country.
Also Speaking, Montserrado County District #8 Representative and Chair on Executive at the House of Representatives Moses Acarus Gray said they empathized with the residents that’s why they went there.
Rep. Gray called on the citizens to remain calm and look up to the lawmakers. He said it will be a sad day if they cannot stand with their people today.
The lawmakers’ visit was prompted by a communication to Plenary from Representative Bob Sheriff who claimed that the company continues to hire Turkish nationals to occupy positions including unskilled labor positions meant for Liberians.
He argued that Section 36.1 of the MDA states that the parties agreed that the agreement shall be subject to periodic review once every five years after the commencement of production for the purpose of good faith discussions to effect such modifications to the agreement as may be necessary.
However, Representative Sheriff said since the company began operation and production, it has been more than eight years. Yet, he said, the MDA has not been reviewed.
For his part, the General Manager of Bea Mountain Mining Corporation Debar Allen said they have built clinics, markets and schools in some parts of their concession area and they also have a scholarship drive.