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Editorial

Welcome, Madam President, But Your Intervention

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Is Needed in the “Slavery at China Union

As we welcome President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf back to the country from abroad, the urgent need for her intervention in the China Union crisis cannot be over-emphasized. Even though President Sirleaf may be fully abreast of the unfortunate situation confronting workers of China Union and the people of Fuamah District in Bong County, briefings on the matter from Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf to her will further accelerate the process of restoring hope to Bong Mines.

China Union may just be practicing “modern-day slavery” in its mining operations, in total contraction of the Mineral Development Agreement or MDA between it and the Government of Liberia, as evidenced by the unfolding events in recent times, culminating into the series of violent protest.

“This is a new form of modern slavery we are going through here; I am a heavy-duty operator, and I am paid US$ 90.00 for the month and given L$45.00(Liberian dollars) as lunch a day; We drink from dirty water that the Chinese do not even drink from. They have their toilets next to it,” a worker told a group of reporters who visited Bong Mines last weekend.

While we may not be in agreement with the aggrieved workers of China Union about ‘how the company’ was selected by the Liberian Government for the operation of Bong Mines, we think there’s an urgent need to re-assess its operations up to date considering the admission by the company’s Deputy Managing recently that his company has done far less than enough to meet up with its social development obligations to the people of its concession area.

Perhaps, Her Excellency, the President could commission an independent body of more patriotic individuals to actually determine why China Union has miserably failed in Bong County.

It is even more discouraging and wicked for leaders of Bong County, most especially the Chairman and Members of the Bong Legislative Caucus to have initially and continuously exhibited attitudes against the general interest of those they claim to be representing at the Liberian Legislature. Because they may have traded with China Union in their personal interest, that’s why the company continues to misbehave towards the Government and people of Liberia, especially those in the Bong Mines-Fuamah community.

More annoying and frustrating is the deceit by the Bong County Lawmakers against the people of Fuamah District, in terms of their conspicuous silence on the issue of the employment of unskilled Liberian workers instead of the unskilled Chinese workers currently in the employ of the company against the MDA. Why would these so-called representatives of the people allow China Union to have its own way without placing it in check at the start of its operations?

Or did China Union employ unskilled Chinese workers without the knowledge of Chairman George Mulbah, Representative Gorpo Barclay of Fuamah District and other members of the Legislative Caucus? Granted they may not have been aware, what did they do upon receiving the news of the employment of unskilled Chinese workers brought into the country by China Union?

On the current slavery mentality adopted by the management of the company, wherein the conditions and environment for work for the Chinese are very conducive, while those of their Liberian counterparts are unexplainable and unbearable, the need for the urgent concern and attention of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is a serious necessity.

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