The 6,000 Liberian breadwinners and their families at the Firestone rubber plantation company are being recourse like modern day captives by the Firestone money eating authorities. These Liberian wage earners are currently working under a calamitous and inhumane working condition who are being viewed as lesser humans in their native land Liberia—this cannot happen even in the United States.
Let it be comprehensibly said that the great United States of America doesn’t acquiesce any person or group of persons or a company or group of companies to affix their signatures to a butcher or a bitter cut-throat 99-years contract for a land in Margibi county for a least at 6 cents per acre or its renewal phase at 37-years, and 50 cents per acre. The US government doesn’t support such a diabolical and dangerous bad labor practices or would indulge the perseverance of any American company in Africa to manipulate Liberian workers in a fashion that is willfully poisoning underground waters and other reliable water sources that is killing marine life with the Firestone escaping a gross-impunity without justice being executed against the Firestone company.
This revealing and pathetic situation currently ruining the 6,000 strong workers in Firestone Margibi County cannot be buried quietly by the Firestone authorities. The Firestone company has numerous rubber plantation sites all over Liberia in the name of job creation and the improvement of a better living condition of the Firestone dying workers.
The below gross human rights abuses and modern day-slavery sanctioned by the Firestone company with the Weah’s government doing absolutely nothing about such a disastrous working condition in Margibi County is not only pathetic but politically deceptive. Though, President Weah did not help in pioneering the signing of the so-called 37-years contract with the payment of 6 cents per acre per land nor did he actively participate in such agreement in the past, President Weah is realistically to rescue the 6,000 Firestone’s workers from such a terrible menacing of a self-made death trap ugly situation that lies squarely at the doorsteps of those slowly dying 6.000 workers.
6,000 Firestone tippers enslaved conditions:
1. Facts gathered from ten workers who asked to be anonymous, disclosed that 4,600 out of the 6,000 workers are casual laborers with no fix salaries, no insurance, no medical benefit, no saving. They are three times subject to severe workplace abuses by Firestone plantation authorities.
2. The anonymous weary workers revealed how they are living in prison-like house cages, with prison windows, small prison doors and very small prison-like toilets in each apartment. The workers lived side-by-side with dangerous crawling creatures each night from the rubber plantation such as rats, raccoons, cockroaches, deer, bush pigs and crawling insects etc
3. The Liberia tippers are forced to be awake between 6: am to 5:30 am in the morning each day against their will. They are compelled to walk 2hrs., or would cover over 5-kilometers of distance while walking sleeping and talking to themselves. The workers will work from 6; am to 6: pm which is an abuse of their labor rights and bad labor practices. Most, especially the casual laborers are denied shelters when it is raining. They are forced to work under the torrential rain till night falls.
4. The Firestone workers walked between 10 to 15 miles each day sometimes barefooted to tip rubbers, some of them get exposed to dangerous chemicals with no compensation. They go blind and are asked by the Firestone company to vacate their prison-like houses in shame an in disgrace.
5. The source further disclosed that they are deprived of adequate electricity, pure drinking water, and ample night time security. Most of them relied heavily on contaminated and unsaved well-waters for their daily use which sometimes makes them very ill.
6. The sources revealed that most tippers sleep in darkness, no electricity. It was also revealed that the living condition at Firestone is appalling and deplorable. Most of the houses that they lived in (the workers) are either broken or are falling apart. Some of the prison-like houses do not have floors, some workers are forced to live a very, very and very dangerous living condition thus exposing them to more and more health risks in Firestone.
7. One tipper is compelled to tap about 1,500 rubber trees a day on a 750 tree which is direct enslavement and gross abuse of tipper rights in Firestone.
Exposing Firestone Dangerous Chemicals:
Thousands and thousands of Liberians living in Firestone are exposed to “dangerous “endocrine disruptor chemicals” This dangerous chemical affects tipper’s lunch where tippers are three times likely to develop a sudden nerve break down and subsequently develop early cancer disease.
The Firestone’s authorities are secretly using another strange dangerous chemical unknown to the government of Liberia that poses health-danger to the 6,000-workforce in Firestone. For example, the use of Arsenic, Perchlorate, Dioxins DDT (Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane, HCB, Dacthal (dimethyl tetrachloro terephthalate), or DCPA and MtBE. These chemicals are used secretly and dumped in Liberian water bodies in Margibi county that would continue to affect the health of other Liberians downstream of other water sources.
Mercury chemical is extremely toxic. This chemical can cause brain damage, blindness, nerve damage, cognitive disability, impairment of motor functions, headaches, weakness, muscle atrophy, tremors, mood swings, memory loss, and skin rashes, and the people of Firestone are being exposed to this dangerous chemical. PCBs is also another dangerous chemical that destroys the central nervous system of children and elderly people and the workforce of Firestone are exposed to this chemical.
The Firestone Company is willfully destroying the Liberian soil by creating environmental danger, poisoning of marine life and making water unsaved due to the use of hazardous and unguided disposal of hundreds of dangerous chemicals. These chemicals also leave behind the lead in drinking large drinking water for the population of Margibi County and Firestone. The poisoning of the water bodies/Soils is killing Liberian marine three times each day.
The water bodies, creeks, and streams are seriously contaminated by the hazardous chemical used by Firestone Company, for example, the chemicals named Dimethylamine, Tetramethyl thiuram is very dangerous to fish and crab. The residue of these chemicals is often dumped in Liberian water which has continued to kill marine life like frogs etc., and other living marines in those water bodies.
The soils in Firestone is also contaminated with dangerous chemicals, which has continued to affect safe underground water. Liberian women do not go finishing any longer in Firestone. They do not fetch water from their wells and creeks and stream any longer, because the water is contaminated by Firestone rubber production chemicals. Another secret money-making venture of Firestone includes the production of furniture, timbers, intercropping, mining of diamond, gold logging that violates the terms and agreements in the MDA coupled with very bad labor practices, poor living conditions among others.
But here is the true political puzzle. President Weah did witness the signing of the 37-years Firestone contracts when he served as Montserrat County’s Senator that is the reason why the ball is currently in his court. Will President Weah join the Firestone’s company morally corrupt hegemony to slaughter the 6,000 workers, or will the president join the 6,000 workers in Firestone to fight against the deplorable that has existed from generation to generation in Firestone? Or is President Weah going to receive the usual normal cuts and tips from the Firestone authorities at the detriment of the 6,000 workers who are dying slowly at the endangerment of the Firestone land that is being poised every day with Firestone dangerous rubbers’ chemicals and hundreds and hundreds of Firestone tippers are sick and dying regularly from the dangerous chemicals that are produced slowly by the Firestone authorities?
Does President Weah know the facts surrounding the potential enslavement of the 6,000 strong Firestone tippers who are dying slowly in Margibi? Firestone has 6.000 employees who are virtually the Whiteman’s modern slaves on their own land in a number of painful ways: Firestone was formed by the late Harvey Firestone (An American) on August 3rd, 1900; it is a 119-years old company at present. Firestone has 6,000 workers, 4,500 are casual laborers.
The Firestone Company in 2004 worth 2.09 billion dollars in the US at the expense of Liberians tippers. The 1,500 gets an hourly wage of between $8.50 and $12.50. Firestone six top management team make over 350,000 annually while Liberian tippers get peanuts of between $8 and $ 12.50. Rubber processed in the US yield multiples’ different produce that the agreement doesn’t cover. Firestone has created over 40,000 well-paid jobs in the US for over 40,000 personnel and not even a single American makes $8 or $12.50 an hour at Firestone offices in the US, not even the cleaners or the janitors. Firestone uses the income of the rubber to reinvest in the multi-billion dollars project other than rubber. Firestone produced 10 million tires each year, which represents 25 percent of America total output.
Six (6) Familia Constraints Ahead of Public Work Min. Nyenpan’s Road Networks
Honorable Mabutu Vlah Nyenpan’s ambitious and costly intercounty-road network project is a key component of President Weah’s pro-poor’ government’s initiatives which cannot be overemphasized because Liberia indeed needs a feeder, primary, secondary, and major high ways have not been implemented due to systemic constructional neglect. Road construction in Liberia had been an embattled issue since Liberia gained its independence July 26, 1847.
There are accusations and counter-accusations as to why Liberia road network had continued to be a nightmare or unfulfilled dreams under most Liberian governments. In the perspective of Hon. Nyenpan, “the lack of roads networks in Liberia had been due to what he termed “neglect.” Though the Minister would be right, the road network issue can be associated with other more serious factors. Several of those factors will include but not limited to trust, corruption, lack of patriotism, lack of interest, lack of commitments on the part of a government, lack of initiatives by the benefactors of the roads itself and finally the issue of the misappropriation and the misapplication of road funds by a government over time.
Every Liberian government aside from the then Charles Taylor government included Liberia road network in their future deliverable but to no avail. But during President Weah’s inaugural speech he characterized his entire utterance with the concept of a huge inter-county road network as his government’s first and paramount priority.
It is due to this huge ambitious road network project, President Weah and his government may have entered into an agreement with International Monetary Institutions to secure almost a 1 billion-dollar loan agreement to fulfill his road network project at all cost. But road construction project, especially in Africa, is often susceptible to acute corruption, briberies, and persistent frauds.
These types of problems are three times prevalence in Africa where construction companies compete for road contracts from government and government in turn demands the usual 10% of the total road construction budget as bribe before contracts are awarded in earnest which is one acute problem that affects ongoing road construction in Africa with Liberia being no exception to rampant and corrupt business rules.
However, there exists (6) familiar acute manmade hurdles that lied ahead of Min. Nyenpan’s ambitious road network project which could easily undermine his ability to fulfill President Weah’s road construction dreams projects thus making the president a phytological liar in the next elections.
The most familiar Hurdles to road construction in Liberia
1. The will of the people is a big problem: The citizenry of the various counties who should benefit from these road networks should have the will to welcome these projects and provide their own support mechanism by providing free labor and protecting all the road equipment from a number of thieves.
b. In some areas, the practice of witchcraft can serve as a serious roadblock to the construction of road projects, where witchcrafts are known for demolishing pavement and or breaking time down bridges which would affect the road projects.
c. Road construction can affect a stubborn demon’s in some towns and villages, to the extent that constrictors will begin to die prematurely and the road equipment will remain unmovable
Undivided minds: If all of Minister’s Nyenpan’s principle deputies and construction engineers have divided minds about the road network, it will destroy the road dream before it begins in earnest under the minister. The minister and his deputies will need to have one word and rally behind the minister proper
3.President Dr. Weah’s support:
a. The full support of President Weah will be key to the road network project if the Minister of Public Work should succeed to connect the various counties
b. President Weah can support the Minister by throwing officials in jail for corrupting and the laundering of road construction funds.
c. President Weah can support the Minister by not reallocating the road construction fund to other governmental projects.
d. President Weah can support the minister by not undermining his efforts but rather agrees with the implementation of the road’s agenda.
e. President Weah can support the minister by warning other government officials not to interfere with the public work road construction projects and funds
f. President Weah can support the minister by not having any special interest in any construction companies that will build the road network
g. President Weah shouldn’t entertain gossips from the minister principle deputies that will undermine the road project.
h. President Weah should insist reviewing contracts awarded by the minister to the detrimental of the road project, because the president will likely develop an interest in other companies that are dealing directly with him, thus undamming the minister which could affect the road construction projects
4. Transferring of the minister of public work
a. Political seats are musical seats. Ministers can be transferred at any time at the will and pleasure of the president who appointed him/her for no cause
b. The minister could also be transferred as soon the road funds hit the ground which often affects the entire planning process from scratch by the incoming minister who will want to renegotiable the contracts all over for his own aggrandizement
5. Corruption, corruption
a. Road work always attracts corruption from the government, the contractors and even from an official of the public work ministry. Other government officials will demand tips, bribes from multiple construction companies to be awarded a contract in the form of 10 percent which can lead to shadow work, poor construction and abandonment of contracts
6. Non-payment of contracts’ funding
a. The government withholding contractors’ funds and nonpayment or delay in payment can be serious hurdles in the road construction business, where the contractors can also begin to undermine the project indirectly.