County Inspector Tarr N. Sackie
Hundreds of protestors in Weala, Margibi County demanding compensation from the China International Company or CICO for alleged damages have agreed to have a round table with the management of the company to have their demands addressed.
CICO is the Chinese company rehabilitating the Redlight-Gbarnga highway, a major route that leads to the Liberian Capital, Monrovia. But hundreds of residents have claimed their houses were affected by heavy explosion in the earth from company’s machines, and therefore are demanding US$1.5 million in damages.
Chairing a meeting with the aggrieved residents Wednesday, 18 May Margibi County Inspector Tarr N. Sackie denied claims by residents that he and other county officials have received bribe from the company to compromise their interest.
“CICO, the Chinese people are not correct. They have communist form of government. They are not used to our culture. You people attest to it that they have to abuse the commissioner; that’s rudeness. But the next time commissioner, flog some of them. Once any of them curses you, slap him; we will talk it. I mean in China, when a leader stands, everybody bows down. But what the hell you will come to abuse a leader here. For what?” Inspector Sackie said.
Wednesday’s meeting was attended by Township Commissioner William B. S. Julye, a representative of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, who also observed a test blast earlier carried out by CICO, and Margibi Police Superintendent along with some police officers and aggrieved residents. No representative from CICO attended the meeting.
The company’s spokesperson Clarke, early this week, barred reporters from entering its premises, saying that management was not prepared to comment. During deliberation, a report from the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, highlighting a test blast executed by the company, was condemned and thrown out by the aggrieved residents.
The meeting was convened in furtherance of a May 17, 2016 meeting held in Kakata with the Ministry of Public Works, the Margibi County Administration, police and the aggrieved party. At the end of discussion, another meeting was scheduled for May 24, 2016.
After several protests characterized by sit-ins before the main entrances of the company’s compound in the county, the protestors, predominantly women took country devil or a traditional priest Tuesday on the premises, forcing shutdown of normal operations as the area became no-go zone for none traditional members.
By Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr. in Margibi-Editing by Jonathan Browne