Firestone Pollutes Over 3,000 Liberians’ Lives;Endangers Thousands More Lives

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2009 by Nat Bayjay

 

By: Nat Nyuan-Bayjay, interlink2004@yahoo.com (231-6-402737) 

Once drinking water;'Ni-Pu'(Pure Water) now turns 'Ni-Kpee'(Black Water)

Once drinking water;'Ni-Pu'(Pure Water) now turns 'Ni-Kpee'(Black Water)

The Firestone Rubber Plantations, Liberia’s largest plantations and formerly the world’s largest rubber plantations, located in Margibi County is currently endangering the lives of over 3,000 residents of the Kparyah’s Town and its surrounding towns and villages as well as posing potential threats to thousands more Liberians who, in one way or another, are surviving by the Mesurrado River popularly known as the Du River.

This is because of the great hazardous and serious health problems that its newly constructed water treatment facility possesses which is causing the contamination of three creeks that supply drinking water to six towns and villages located within the Plantations. The six towns and villages are just within less than 10 minutes drive from Harbel—the location of Firestone main factories and offices—and they include Kparyah’s Town, Brown’s Town, Mazoe’s Town, Kongba’s Town, Yeatoe Brown’s Town & Victory Outreach Town . the six towns and villages are located between Divisions 44 and 45 of the Firestone Rubber Plantations Company.

During a recent visit to the affected region, I could  vividly see that the lives of the residents and villagers of the six affected towns and villages are at serious risks as the streams and creeks from which they obtained drinking water from have all turned black (as seen in the photos) and are no longer safe for human consumption. My tour of the creeks and streams show very clearly the dangers being posed by Firestone’s waste site which the Company constructed in August of last year.

For instance, the Vah Creek which supplied drinking water to the residents of Karnyah’s Town has not only become very black but gives out very offensive odor which upon approaching the creek makes one to feel like vomiting. The Ni-Pu Wein Creek was where the residents of Mazoe’s Town used to fetch drinking water from but now looks like a layer of ‘coal-tar’. As a matter of fact, the residents might just be forced now to rename ‘Ni-Pu’ (which means pure or clear water in the Bassa vernacular due to its crystal clearness and purity) to another name ‘Ni-Kpee’ (meaning dark or black water because of its current status).   

As a result of the contamination, the Ni-Pu, Vah and Yor Creeks which are all tributaries of the Du River (as the Mesurrado River is popularly called) are contaminated, thereby putting thousands more who live and survive by the lengthy banks of the Du River at risk as well. This simply means that both Margibi and Montserrado Counties are being infested since the Du River travels through the two counties before entering into the Atlantic Ocean in Monrovia.

“Firestone Is Making Our Lives Hard”

An artificial lake formed by the polluted water

An artificial lake formed by the polluted water

I was told by residents that Firestone is making their lives very difficult by the pollution or contamination of their creeks.  They spoke of traveling very long distances to get safe drinking water as the single hand-pump constructed by the Company is not doing any do. The residents also spoke of Firestone doing absolutely nothing about their plight but constructed just a single hand-pump in just one of the six affected towns and villages.

Choosing Kparyah’s Town to be the one that could get the hand-pump probably as an initial step, the other five towns and villages got none while the Kparyah’s Town residents complained of the hand-pump being very much extraneous to solving their problems.

“The hand-pump they built over there is not doing us any good”, said old man James Seetoe, an elder of Kparyah’s Town as he pointed towards the single hand-pump constructed by Firestone. “The water from it is very salty,” he continued.

“What hurts is Firestone wrote on the pump ‘Donated’ as if they were donating this hand-pump to us. This is not any donation because they have spoiled all of our drinking creeks around here”, lamented the youth leader of Kparyah’s Town Sam Gaye.

At the same time, some women in neighboring Mazoe’s Town spoke of traveling as far Carter Camp to get water which is about two miles away. “The well we dug here is not good for drinking anymore. It can taste like you drinking something fresh and it never used to taste like this before”, complained a lady. This may be an implication that the soils in all of the surrounding villages next to the contaminated creeks and rivers are being affected by what they fear might be from the chemicals in the rivers or creeks.

Residents also disclosed to me that one of their colleagues died as a result of the pollution. They claimed that Tango, a popular fisherman died after he complained of drinking from a contaminated creek not knowing that it had been tempered with. The residents later discovered, according to them, that the stream from which he drank had been heavily populated.

“Twenty-Nine Harmful Chemicals in Our Drinking Water”

One of the residents of Kparyah’s Town alleged that Firestone is infested their creeks and streams with 29 different, harmful chemicals which are used in the processing of the rubber at the company’s washing plant. Solomon Toe who claimed to have worked for the company for an unbroken 19 years and was later laid-off, there are 30 chemicals used but one of them is not harmful and can be consumed by humans. He listed them as follows: ammonium sulfate, sulfuric acid (98 %), potassium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, barium hydroxide, potassium hydnfen phtlfate, oxalic acid, benzoyl peroxide, zinc oxide, T.N.T.D, nitroxide, eltsrel, pommel red, yellow inmoxide, redomil, luric acid, formalin acid, D.A.P, beef extm, yeast extm, naclia, B-Pepton, B-B-L Cactoes, indsitol,  dextrose, sodium thiosulfate, iron citrate, and agar granulated.  

 

Futile Efforts

Residents of the six towns and villages said all efforts exhausted by them to have the management of Firestone engaged constructively have proven futile. “Besides telling Firestone about our plight which is being ignored, we got to our law makers and superintendent. They have come here and promised to do something about this. But up to now, we continue to suffer from this”, explained Sam Gaye, youth leader of Kparyah’s Town.

Residents spoke of numerous visitations from various groupings including the Environmental Protective Agency (EPA), the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), among others. “But when they leave, we see nothing happening”, said an angry Levi Gaye who is regarded as the secretary of Kparyah’s Town.

“If it was not for Oxfam GB who built the other hand-pump for us, then we were going to be suffering even more than this or like the people in Ma Zoe Town who can go to Carter Camp to get drinking water”, noted Solomon Toe who is  also an advisor in town.

 

Firestone’s “State-of-The-Art” Multimillion Dollar Water Treatment Site

Some of the six pipes with openings out of which black liquid pours continually

Some of the six pipes with openings out of which black liquid pours continually

Having accessed the affected towns and villages and their immediate damaged and contaminated creeks and rivers, I  continued my toure as guided by some villagers deep into the rubber plantations where the source of the pollution and contamination come from. One can hardly reach within a few feet of the site when very offensive and humiliating odor that engulfs the vicinity begins to hit the nostril of any approaching person very hard to the extent that he or she becomes compel to ‘hold his or her nose’ in order to at least reduce the awful smell that emanates out of the site. This was exactly the case as I approached the site where the multi-million dollar rubber company installed what it referred to as its new “state-of-the-art” water treatment facility—a cost Firestone puts at millions of dollars according to a press release.

There are six pipes with openings out of which black liquid pours continually. The six pipes are being supplied by a long pipe that surfaces from beneath the earth and has several openings, thus leading to a large pool of water being formed in the form of a lake. It was reliably learnt that the constructors of the pipeline dug out the ‘artificial’ lake that contains the polluted and contaminated liquid which oozes out of the pipe, forms into the lake, and subsequently supplied via the six pipes to the Ni-Pu Wein Creek which in return supplies the rest of the surrounding rivers and creeks from which over 3,000 residents drank, bathed and found other forms of livelihoods such as fishing, among others.

Firestone’s Tactics To Avoid Interview

All sacrificial efforts  to get the management of Firestone’s comment on the matter were all wasted, as all I could get was a two-paragraph press release from the Company despite a continued, patient and persistent effort of being granted an interview. Having spent over four hours in the office of the public relations officer who employed all necessary tactics to avoid a one-on-one interview, the press release was later given to at least ‘compliment’ for the over four hours spent.

Mr. Rufus Karmoh refused to further comment on any question pertaining to the environmental issue at stake that endangers the lives of thousands of Liberians. All he could say was: “Nat, please just take the Company’s position on the matter from what is written on that press release. That is Firestone’s position on the matter. I reserve all other comments”, much to my annoyance after I had sat in his office from 8:30 Am to 11:30 Am on Friday morning May 15, awaiting for what seems to be an endless meeting to come to an end after with hope of getting answers or if possible, being transferred to talk directly with Firestone Management.

With the title “Statement on Firestone Liberia’s Environmental Practices”, Firestone boosted of what she described as modern new “state-of-the-art” water treatment facility in its press release that processes water from its factory through equalization and clarification tanks and into constructed wetlands on the Company’s property for “natural and biological treatment”. Firestone further describes its water facility site as “unparalleled in Liberia”, stating that one Dr. Robert Knight who is regarded as a foremost environmental wetland expert in the world and the EPA contributing towards the development of the water facility.

But what is worth pondering over is whether the identical water treatment site that was seen and accessed by my trip is what Firestone refers to as  modern “state-of-the-art” water treatment facility.

 

Funds Diverted For Recycling Plant?

An employee who chose anonymity and claimed to work within the factory revealed to me that millions of dollars were indeed allotted for a modern water treatment installation to be built that could recycle the liquid used for the processing of rubber from the factory. But according to our source, some group of technicians and engineers within the employ of Firestone decided to build a cheaper one without any regard to the health of others for their own personal selfish reasons.

“We work in that technical area. The initial plan for that water facility was for it to be recycled, as is being done in the States. The money came but they ate all. According to the plan the water was to come from the plant, goes through the pipe to be treated and it comes back to the plant. But my brother the people here feel that they can do anything at anytime in this country and nothing can come out of it. That plant was to be a recycling plant but they feel that they can take it and send it to another group of people”, our source continued. “You think why they took it from Farmington? It is because the people there caused so much noise and thank God for you people from the media who were always publishing it in the various newspapers and on the various radio stations”.

There had been public outcry by people in the Owensgrove area where Firestone initially had these water facilities that were affected both the marine lives of the Farmington River and the immediate inhabitants of the river. But while relief was being provided residents of the then affected people in the Owensgrove area along the Farmington River, another group of people, this time in the Divisions 44 and 43 of the Firestone Plantations itself, are being burdened by the pollution.

EPA’s Reaction

Mr. Jerome Nyenka, Assistant Executive Director of the Environmental Protective Agency (EPA) via mobile phone told me that  after several complains to the Agency, it is investigating the issue of pollution as “allegedly caused” by Firestone.

“When the complaints came last August, at which time the pollution was not too bad we asked Firestone to provide quality control analysis data for their waste. We also asked the Company to provide pesticide for surrounding villages, but Firestone did not do any of what we asked up to the time of the second complaint reaching us.  When the second complaint came in the second week of last month, EPA and Water and Sewer experts as well as environmentalists from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) took sample of the water for testing and once our investigation is completed, we are going to take firm action against Firestone”, Mr. Nyenka said.

“But we need to know the extent of the pollution in order to act because according to Article 51.5 of the environmental laws anyone who contaminates any water body that is unhealthy will be fined US$ 50,000.00 and a jail sentence of not less than twenty years”, he continued.

When asked as to whether the polluted water has the propensity of affecting wells and hand pumps, he answered: “This is why we have taken sample of the water to the laboratory for testing because it is most likely to affect wells and hand pumps”.  

Mr. Nyenka stressed that EPA is concerned, troubled and worried over the lives of citizens dwelling in the six surrounding villages that are affected from the pollution. “We are coming up with our findings in the shortest possible time”. But the Assistant Executive Director who is also acting could not be specified as to how soon the public should expect the findings.

Commenting on if Firestone would be jailed if they are found guilty, he said “Oh, yes Firestone will be jailed if found guilty. That’s why we are taking our own time in dealing with this situation.”

The Acting Director made this statement in response to a question posed by Front Page Africa as to whether the EPA would follow directly the Agency’s regulatory rule of Part Five, Section 51-1 which stipulates that if an individual or any entity is found guilty of polluting an environment that endangers the health of a group of people as well as destroying the inhabitants of marine co-system. This section mentions that there shall be no impunity, stating that whoever is found guilty shall be convicted and fined an amount not exceeding US$50,000 and a jail sentence not exceeding 20 years or both. Part Five, Section 51-1 further stresses that said affected or polluted environment should be restored to an appreciable level to be approved by the EPA.

But what many pundits and ordinary Liberians are doubting is whether indeed this law will be applied if and only if the multi-million dollar rubber company that has been reported to be so influential in a country that she signed 99 years of contract with will ever made to face this fine and penalty if found ever guilty.

“We Can’t Beat Firestone’s Butt”—Authorities’ Response

When authorities from those representing the people of the affected region were contacted for comments on the matter, they all responded in a manner that suggestive of them being “fed up” with the entire episode. As a matter of fact, Representative Saah Gbollie in whose area the affected towns and villages are directly situated answered in a rather angry mood: “My brother, everything the people in that area told you is true. We have talked with Firestone and are getting tired”.

Asked as to what strategies he may be anticipating to help alleviate his people off this serious health problem, he said: “We can’t beat Firestone’s butt. They are seriously affecting our people”.

The Single Hand-Pump from Firestone

The Single Hand-Pump from Firestone

As for Superintendent Levi Piah, superintendent of Margibi County, the issue had been put before Firestone Management but with nothing being done he was left with no other option rather than invite the EPA into the matter.

Threatened Action

Meanwhile, the affected residents of the six towns and villages have threatened to do anything they feel will bring relief to them from this pollution and contamination which they said have disrupted their every form of livelihood obtained initially from the now infested creeks, streams and rivers. “If no one can come to our aid, we will just do anything we can to help ourselves out of this condition because everyday some people will come here to see the problem but we are getting no help. It looks like everyone is afraid of Firestone. But we are not scared of them,” threatened some youths of Kparyah’s and Mazoe’s Towns.

In 1926, the then Firestone Tire & Rubber Company leased 1,600 square miles of jungle in Liberia, with the goal of producing its own rubber. Today, Firestone Liberia operates on an area of land with close to 8 million rubber trees planted on 200 square miles at its Harbel location, some 40 miles from the Liberian capital Monrovia.

-END-

 

 

The main supply pipe from the factory

The main supply pipe from the factory

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MISS GRAND BASSA BECOMES MISS LIBERIA ’09

Posted in Uncategorized on May 13, 2009 by Nat Bayjay
 

Beautiful Shu-rina Wiah cries tears of joy when she was announced a Miss Liberia '09

Beautiful Shu-rina Wiah cries tears of joy when she was announced a Miss Liberia '09

Monrovia –  

It was a night of grief, sorrow and pain-swallowing as well as a joys, excitements and celebrations when six gorgeous Liberian women showed their beauties, talents and amused hundreds of people on Saturday competing for a single crown, to be named Miss Liberia 2009 and after a whole night pageantry only one of the six laughed the best walking away with the prestigious crown.

They were six, representing six counties including Bong, Maryland, Grand Bassa, Grand Kru, Margibi and Lofa and all performed to be crowned but there is always just one winner and the best of the night in the eyes of four judges at the competition was Miss Shu-rina Wiah of the coastal county of Grand Bassa.

 

 

 

 

The Miss Liberia Beauty Pageant is an annual event which brings face to face the very best of young, beautiful and most of all intelligent Liberian ladies from a cross-section of the country’s 15 political subdivisions.

The six contestants included:  Grand Bassa (Shu-rina Wiah); Bong (Layal Kazouh); Maryland (Warti Robinson); Grand Kru (Christine Doe); Lofa (Beteyea Evans) and Margibi (Tina Bargaye) counties after three others had withdrawn initially due to what the event’s organizers termed as personal reasons.

Beautiful Shu-rina Wiah cried tears of joy following her pronouncement as winner after failing out in the 2007 contest and is now set to represent Liberia at international beauty pageants, possibly Miss World Beauty Pageant.

Miss Bong County (Layal Kazouh) and Miss Maryland (Warti Robinson) finished as the first and second runners-up respectively.

Miss Shu-rina Wiah under the watchful eyes of a four-member panel of judges comprising  Mrs. Sharon Cooper, Mrs. Precious Andrews Greaves, Mrs. Veronica Adepuju and Mr. Akin Okoplu, emerged victorious over her five other fellow contestants  during a closely contested competition that saw the historic Centennial Memorial Pavilion probably experiencing for the first time in recent months an event characterized by charm, real modeling, talents display, intelligence exhibition by the contestants, song and dance performances by some of  Liberia’s best local artists during an exciting night.

The pageant organized by the Miss Boss Lady International and sponsored by Comium-Liberia, one of the four GSM companies in Liberia saw a low turnout unlike previous Miss Liberia pageants.

Miss Liberia 2009 Shu-rina Wiah could not speak to FrontPageAfrica and other media institutions as a crowd believed to be made of people mostly from Grand Bassa took over the stage and surrounded the winner who was later taken away by officers of the Liberian National police.

Contestants at the Pageant

Contestants at the Pageant

Colorful event

The ceremony began with a red carpet event although about three hours behind schedule and continued with the contestants’ first appearing in their culture costumes. 

Held under the theme “Women of Substance”, each contesting queen presented a potential Liberian woman as her “woman of substance”, further providing brief explanations of their choices.

Miss Grand Bassa County told the audience that Liberian veteran musician Miatta Fahnbulleh is her woman of substance while Miss Bong County chose Madame Suakoko and Miss Maryland picking Madame Mary Brownell as hers.

The committed educator Hester Williams, Sister Lauren Brown and Cllr. Janet Davidson were praised by Miss Margibi, Miss Grand Kru and Miss Lofa Counties respectively as their Women of Substance.

Thereafter, they made four appearances to include appearing in swimming suits, African designed costumes, the talent section and evening wears as the female-dominated panel of judges watched keenly and took notes.

 Intriguing and notably among these appearances were the Talent and Evening aspects with the contestants displaying individual talents depicting varying messages which were dramatized.

Many observers in attendance strongly believed that it was this section that really enhanced the chances of the eventual winner who was so outstanding during hers. Dramatizing a stop-rape campaign by using the much-loved and ever-popular Kanvee Gains’ “You Will Carry My Load” gospel music, Miss Grand Bassa County emerged from behind the curtains with a load on her head bearing inscriptions “Stop Rape and Stop Sexual Abuse” as she spoke on gender equality.

“What men can do, women can also do”, she cautioned fellow ladies while underscoring the essence of female independence.

First and Second Runners-up Miss Bong and Miss Maryland Counties both demonstrated dramas that contained patriotic and nationalistic messages. Other exhibited talents including dramas cautioning against the deadly AIDS virus and education, as well as the courage to be persistent regardless of physical disabilities as demonstrated by the contestants of Lofa, Margibi and Grand Kru respectively.

Then came another important and nerve breaking aspect of the night when contestants had to decide from among series of questions, two each.

 All the queens performed well in answering the questions to the best of their abilities and to the delight of the audience, though there were some murmurs during this stage from one or two directions of the audience which is a usual happening at events of such nature.

Answering the question “What was your most life-challenging and changing moment?” Miss Margibi replied: “Honestly, this Miss Liberia Contest was my most life-challenging and changing moment”.

For her part, the soon-to-be queen, Miss Grand Bassa said contributing her quota to the rebuilding process of war-torn Liberia is her major aim in response to the question: “What does winning the Crown mean to the Liberian youths?” Other questions included what change entitles them as contestants to the much used word ‘role model’, what was their thoughts about UNMIL’s scaling down her troops and what does Miss Liberia mean to them.

Miss Lib '09 (4)

The Event was organized by the Miss Boss Lady International Incorporated. Its founder Miss Barkue Tubman, widely known as Miss Boss Lady thanked all those who helped to make the Competition a success, adding: “Quitting was not an option for me”.

Miss Tubman cautioned whoever that was to be crowned to devote a whole lot of work towards the Crown and warned that being Miss Liberia goes beyond the ordinary.

Acting Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Cletus Sieh on behalf of the government expressed delight over the successful staging of the Event and said he hoped that the Queen will ably represent Liberia.

Winning the Crown means Miss Grand Bassa now owns a 2009 Renault car plus other prizes like trips to London and South Africa where she will represent Liberia at the Miss World Beauty Pageant, scholarships, shopping spree from Siata Styles Boutique, an Ecobank account with US$500 and has become the face of Comium-Liberia.

About the winner

Miss Shu-rina Wiah (Miss Grand Bassa) is a 21-year old student studying Public Administration at the African Methodist Episcopal University (AMEU) located on Camp Johnson Road in Monrovia.

 She desires to become a lawyer, with focus on defending the rights of women and children.

 In the future, she would like to use her voice as a concerned citizen to serve as ambassador on behalf of young women.

Shu-rina participated in 2007 Miss Liberia Pageant and was unsuccessful; however, Ms Wiah said she had a whole year to develop her negatives and build her skills which made her sure of winning this year’s crown.

She believes it is important to not give up on herself as she added: “If you don’t succeed try and try again”. Her hobbies are modeling, singing, reading and going to church.

 

 Nat Nyuan-Bayjay can be reached at interlink2004@yahoo.com or 231-6-402737;

In Monrovia Prostitution Increases – Census Reveals More Women than Men In The Capital

Posted in Uncategorized on May 13, 2009 by Nat Bayjay
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
Females dominated the audience at Miss Liberia '09

Females dominated the audience at Miss Liberia '09

Monrovia –

The streets of Liberia’s capital City, Monrovia are busy during the day with commercial vehicles and mixed sexes but at night women and girls as young as 14 to 20 years dominate as they roam in such of what is commonly known in Monrovia as “customers”.

On leading streets such as Carey, Gurley, Center, Broad and Randall, prostitution is conspicuous as girls are seen almost completely naked moving their bodies in a manner that exposes them to attract passing men.

In some instances, these young girls some of whom are secondary school students   virtually fight over men who may attempt to call their attention with some saying “come I will not charge you much money, I can spend the whole night with you” and other encouraging words to men seen in their sight.

International nongovernmental organizations have reported that the increase in prostitution is due to poverty which has resulted in to many young girls becoming breadwinners for their unemployed parents.

Women between the ages of 20 to 40 years are also seen competing with young girls on main streets and in other parts of Monrovia and nowadays some entertainment centers are known for convergence of prostitutes in chase of “customers”.

The females’ action might not only be a result of poverty but perhaps the quest to have access to men as ratio of men to women in Monrovia according a recent census shows more men than women.

Recent census released by the Liberia Institute for Geo Information Service (LISGIS) shows the poverty rate in Liberia stands at an alarming 68% but according to the report, the poverty rate is mainly focused in about six counties including Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, River cess, Grand Kru, River Gee and Grand Gedeh counties.

The census also shows that there are 18,000 more women than men in Monrovia and more women in the four counties that have commercial activities and avenues for employment.

There is little over 3,000 (3,282) males over the females nationwide but the females population dominate the male populations in the four counties with the highest populations, while the male hold a slight lead over them in the other counties that fall in the other five counties that come next as far as highly populated counties are concerned.

When Planning Economic Affairs Minister Amara Konneh disclosed that 68% of Liberians are living in very extreme conditions which make them to live on less than US$ 1 day as a result of other harsh economic existing situations in the country, it was revealed that Western Liberia and South-Eastern Liberia are the parts that account for what was described as counties whose populations are living in abject poverty.

The census which result shows the population of Liberia being focused in five main counties including Montserrado, Nimba, Bong, Lofa and Grand Bassa also shows that the Liberian female population dominates in these counties which are economically rated over others.

According to the much-awaited final Census report female population in Montserrado the county with the highest population of 1.1 million people stands at 568,508 while the males are 549,733. This means a massive difference of 18,775.

Montserrado County, though one of the smallest counties in Liberia hosts almost 50% of the country’s total population is where the seat of government is situated and other major economic activities, including industrial, commercial among others are concentrated.

This means that life is relatively preferred in the Capital and its environs which constitute Montserrado and the inevitable pull factor that continues to have an effect on urbanization will be continually experienced in this region.

Therefore, if the female population of this highly economical and highly commercial county constitutes over fifty-five per cent then the writing on the wall is very clear that Liberian females will do anything to be in places where there will be ‘grease’.

Whether they themselves are working or involved in business or not, the fact of the matter is they will feel and benefit from the economic breeze that will blow as a result of the commercial and economic nature of the Capital.

As one walks around the streets of Monrovia and parts adjacent, the presence, and most often the dominance of females in vitally every market, school, street, work places or simply every gathering or any form of activity.

Mawah Sherif, a middle-aged lady who sells in the Waterside Market feels that the women are sensitive to hardship and will therefore vacate places where hardship might just be making its way.

“When na man, they can bear any hard time but for us women we can be the first to run away by the time we hear or get to know that hard time is coming. We will go to where hard time is not too much”, she said.

Another county where the female population dominates is the northern county of Lofa where the economic situation is said to be better than other counties.

This is due to the county being one of the hardest-hit counties during the war; thus, leading to the large influx of many humanitarian and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) as well as other economical projects to the county.  It is the fourth most populated county which sees the females accounting for over half of the county’s total population. They are in excess of more than 9,000 circulating the difference of 143,253 females and 133,611 males.  

Bong County, the third most populous county is another county where the females are more than the males who are in excess of 3,763-though a slight difference.

Bong County may not be much economically viable but its central location is very ideal and has in one way or another helped in bringing about an economic sanity.

 It is county noted for innovation that has been very instrumental in making it to attract these females apparently.

One form of business that might be a major source of livelihood to the County is its very strong commercial motorcycling, otherwise known as ‘pehn-pehn’ which is contributing to the county’s  economy as one lady who preferred not to be named told Front Page Africa during a recent visit there: “Don’t overlook this pehn-pehn business in this county. It is really helping us in Gbarnga here economically.

For instance, we who are selling somehow benefit because a pehn-pehn rider’s wife can stand on a spot and buy enough from you that could make your day; not to even mention when they themselves come to your business site”

Nimba County in the north-eastern part of the country is the second most populous county which is also noted for its economic or commercial activities. Here again, the final Census shows Liberian females living in larger number than their male counterparts. Out of 462,026 which is the County’s total population, the females are 231,913 while the males are 230,113—a difference of 1,800.

Even in the other counties where the male population tops that of the females, there is a slight lead maintained, again, in these counties especially counties with high populations. The fifth most populous county Grand Bassa County, for instance, which has a total of 221,693 persons shows a male population of 110,913 and a female population of 110,780. This means a difference of 133 males.

The final results of the census, according to the Planning Minister are within acceptable statistical limits by international standards and revealed that the growth rate of Liberia is 2.1% per annuan.  

One could then project that given the little difference of male to female for the overall population and the growth rate of the country,  the population of Liberian females shall in the not too distant future not only surpass the male population but could double in the economic and commercial counties especially as the country seems to be an exception during this economic meltdown as evidenced by the regular signings of  big investment agreements and expressions of interests by other bigger potential investors.

 Nat Nyuan-Bayjay can be reached at interlink2004@yahoo.com  or 231-6-402737

50K Scandal Hits Grand Bassa: Supt.., City Mayor and Senior Senator Linked

Posted in Uncategorized on May 13, 2009 by Nat Bayjay
Sen Findley of Grand Bassa--what's his role?

Sen Findley of Grand Bassa--what's his role?

By: Nat Nyuan- Bayjay (231-6-402737)

Buchana, Grand Bassa County –

 

 

Grand Bassa County, one of the three founding counties of Liberia noted for its industrial attraction due to the presence of the second largest seaport in Liberia continues to enjoy the influx of industries in the midst of the global economic crisis.

The presence the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE), and Arcelor Mittal plus possible incoming ones are indications that the county is benefiting compensation packages from these many companies for development purpose.

 
 

The many companies make huge contributions to local county officials as benefit for the local citizenry but an investigation conducted by me has gathered that the funds provided to the county are making no impact due to acts of corruption on the part of county officials.

Superintendent Duncan Cassell--She said $50,00 was given to City Council but Major said $25,000

Superintendent Duncan Cassell--She said $50,00 was given to City Council but Major said $25,000 Three officials from the county have been accused by the citizens of the misapplication of US$50,000 provided the county by a Spanish Company as well as County Development Funds provided by Arcelor Mittal.Reports gathered by me from citizens during a recent visit to the county suggest that the funds have been diverted into personal use by three of officials including City Major Obadiah Zangar who is alleged to have bought a gray brand new Nissan X Terra jeep with his share of the US$50,000.Superintendent Julia Duncan Cassell and Senator Gbezongar Findley according to the citizens also got some portion of the money.According to Bassa citizens, the amount of US$50,000 was given to the county officials by a Spanish recycling company that is expected to begin operations in the County.The Liberia General Recycling Plant (LGRP) is said to have reached an agreement with Grand Bassa county officials to carry out the scraping of old metals.With an identified spot located within the Wellingburg Training Center that carried out various vocational and industrial trainings prior to the Civil War, LGRP recently concluded agreement with the county leadership and accordingly paid the sum of $50,000 specifically for the City of Buchanan.Superintendent Julia Duncan Cassell confirmed to me that the $50,000 was given to the City Major and City Council representatives.Superintendent Cassell refused to state how much she received from the US$50,000 and laughingly said: “I just told you that the money was received by the City Major and the Council representatives. But I am aware. As a matter of fact, Senator Findley was instrumental in the bringing in of this Company”.Superintendent Cassell described as untrue allegation that she, City Major Zangar and Senator Findley shared the US$50,000.“You know people just have the notion that officials will always eat money. But it is not true that we shared the money. There are even some social benefits attached that will be given to the Bassa citizens”, Superintendent Cassell told me in a cellphone interview.But during a recent trip to the Buchanan, I gathered from some citizens that the County leadership has not formally met them to explain the whereabouts of the amount in question.“We only see the City Major riding big car around here that cost so much money. Obadiah cannot afford that car on his own. So this tells us that they have already shared this money among themselves while the city remains dirty like this”, Oldpa Weayeh, referring to himself as a concerned citizen told me.Grand Bassa Flag

Moses Gborgar, Grand Bassa Youth Representative to the Mano River Youth Parliament told FrontPageAfrica that the Liberia General Recycling Plant conducted a preliminary recruitment exercise at the county office of Senator Findley, promising to short-list potential employees but is yet to begin full operations.

Most citizens of the county squarely blamed the Superintendent for prioritizing national issues over local issues which they said should matter the most to her.

They accused Superintendent Cassell of wanting to be almost everywhere President Sirleaf goes describing her action as sacrificing the interests of Grand Bassa County in the process.

Superintendent Cassell admitted that she is on many occasions busy and is usually out of the country, travelling with President Sirleaf and also performing extra duties outside her function as Grand Bassa Superintendent.

“O yes that is true; I am always busy, just imagine I just concluded this women colloquium thing, I had to travel with the President to the States”, Superintendent Cassell admitted to what the citizens considered neglect of the county.

County Officials Contradict US$50,000

What makes the issue of the Spanish company’s ‘good will’ gesture to Grand Bassa county to appear fishy is confusing statements from both Superintendent Cassel and City-Major Zangar on the actual amount received in which two different figures have been mentioned.

Superintendent Cassell told me the amount given Grand Bassa by the Spanish Company is US$50,000 while City Mayor said the county only received is $25,000.

The contradicting statements by the two Grand Bassa officials have sparked more questions than answers.

City Mayor Zangar appearing recently on a live local radio talk-show in Buchanan according to Bassa citizens publicly announced that the City government was given US$25,000 out of which he bought himself a vehicle in order to enhance his work as a Mayor.

According to reports from Buchanan, the major stated that the amount in question was given to the City Council and as such he could choose to do anything with it in as much it is in the interest of the City of Buchanan.

But what remains unanswered is the conflicting information regarding the actual money given by the Spanish company with the Superintendent saying it was $50,000 while the City Mayor is saying $25,000.

When contacted, the City Major Zangar could neither confirm nor deny the allegation but said he was unable to talk to FrontPageAfrica because he is attending a Good Governance Conference in Gbargna, Bong County.

Mittal US$ 1 million Not Forth Coming

It has also been also gathered that the annual Social Development Fund provided by Mittal to the county through the Liberian Government has not been received in full by the County leadership.

A dedicated committee was set up by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf comprising the Ministries of Finance, Lands, Mines and Energy and Internal Affairs to manage the fund.

Reports speak of complete dissatisfaction among the citizens of Grand Bassa who are said to be planning to stage demonstration.

It has been reliably learnt that only US$400,000 of the 1 million United States dollars given by Mittal to the County has been received and has been allotted towards the construction of a college.

Senator Nathaniel Innis Chairman of Grand Bassa County Legislative Caucus confirmed  that the remaining $600,000 of the US$1 million is still in the hands of the Dedicated Committee.

The Dedicated Committee comprises of the Ministries of Finance, Lands, Mines and Energies and Internal Affairs and one of the County’s representatives Gabriel Smith with the sole purpose of managing the Mittal Social and Community Development Fund—a composition that has not gone down well with both the citizens and some of the county leadership.

Meanwhile, FPA continues investigation on this matter that involves in the concerned ministries in its subsequent publications.

Investigation continues.

NO IMPACT FOR GRAND BASSA’S INDUSTRIAL BENEFITS; CITY-MAJOR, SUPERINTENDENT, & SENATOR LINKED TO $50,000

Posted in Uncategorized on May 8, 2009 by Nat Bayjay
Grand Bassa Superintendent Julius Cassell

Grand Bassa Superintendent Julius Cassell

By: Nat Nyuan-Bayjay (231-6-402737) 

Grand Bassa County, one of the three founding counties of the Republic of Liberia which has been noted for its industrial attraction due to having the nation’s second largest seaport is one county that continues to enjoy, to some extent, the influx of industries in the midst of a global industrial unrest. The likes of the Liberia Agriculture Company (LAC), Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE), and Arcelor Mittal plus some likely incoming ones are strategically located within the vicinity of the port City—indications that the County is indeed benefiting from compensation packages from the above companies.

But this does not seem to be the case despite the fact that financial benefits are being given; there is no impact from the funds. The County is currently entangled in a web of scam that involves the City Major of its provincial capital (Buchanan), the county superintendent and its senior senator regarding USD$50,000 intended for the County as well as County Development Funds as provided by Arcelor Mittal.

Reports gathered by Front Page Africa (FPA) during a recent visit by one of its reporter suggest the diverting of county benefits to personal uses by three of its leadership in persons of Buchanan City Major Obadiah Zangar who is alleged to have bought a gray brand new Nissan X Terra jeep, Superintendent Julie Duncan Cassell and Senator Gbezongar Findley.

According to our reporter, the amount of USD$50,000 was given to them by a Spanish recycling company that is expected to resume operations in the County. The Liberia General Recycling Plant (LGRP) is said to have reached an agreement with the county officials to carryout scrape business; thereby providing employment opportunities for citizens of Grand Bassa County. With an already identified spot located within the Wellingburg Training Center that carried out various vocational and industrial trainings prior to the Civil War LGRP recently concluded agreement with the county leadership and left behind the sum of $50,000 specifically for the City of Buchanan.

Confirming it to FPA, Superintendent Cassell said the $50,000 was indeed given to the Major and City Council representatives. Asked as to how much was received by her as superintendent, she laughingly replied: “I just told you that the money was received by the City Major and the Council representatives. But I am aware. As a matter of fact, Senator Findley was instrumental in the bringing in of this Company”.

She however described as untrue allegation that she, City Major Zangar and Senator Findley shared up the money among them. “You know people just have the notion that officials will always eat money. But it is not true that we shared the money. There are even some social benefits attached that will be given to the Bassa citizens”, she said as she spoke via a telephone interview recently.

But during a recent trip to the county capital, FPA was informed by some citizens that the County leadership has not formally met them to clarify the amount in question. “Instead, we only see the Major riding big car around here that cost so much money. Obadiah cannot afford that car on his own. So this tells us that they have already shared this money among themselves while the County remains bad off like this,” Oldpa Weayeh who calls himself a concerned citizen told FPA. Moses Gborgar, a Grand Bassa Youth Representative to the Mano River Youth Parliament told this reporter the Liberia General Recycling Plant conducted a preliminary recruiting exercise at the county office of Senator Findley, promising to short-list potential employees. Gborgar’s statement signified the massive awareness of the scrape company among citizens from which they might have gathered this clue.

Most of the citizens of the County squarely blamed the Superintendent for prioritizing national issues over local issues that should matter the most to her. They accused her of wanting to be almost everywhere the President is thereby sacrificing the interests of Grand Bassa County in the process.

Superintendent Cassell admitted to this and noted that the Bassa citizens had not been met due to her recent busy schedule which had included the just ended International Women’s Colloquium and the her trip with the President that have prevented her from staying in the County. She however promised to address the issue now that she has returned to the County.  

MITTAL’S $1 MILLION NOT FORTH COMING

It was also gathered by our reporter that the annual social development fund as provided by Mittal to the county via the Liberian Government is not being received in full by the County leadership. As a matter of fact, a dedicated committee was set up by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf that comprises of the Ministries of Finance, Lands, Mines and Energies and Internal Affairs to manage the fund. The report speaks of complete dissatisfaction and an imminent disgruntle- situation rests among the citizens of that county who are noted for staging demonstrations that are not terminated until they see fruitful results. It was reliably learnt that only USD$400,000 of the one million United States dollars given by Mittal to the County has been received which has been allotted towards the construction of the County’s first college.

Senator Nathaniel Innis who chairs the County Legislative Caucus confirmed to FPA that the balance of $600,000 remains stuck in the hands of the Dedicated Committee. The Dedicated Committee comprises of the Ministries of Finance, Lands, Mines and Energies and Internal Affairs and one of the County’s representatives Gabriel Smith with the sole purpose of managing the Mittal Social and Community Development Fund—a composition that has not gone down well with both the citizens and some of the county leadership.

GIVING HIM HIS FLOWERS: THE EVER-ZEOLOUS NAT NYUAN-BAYJAY

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2009 by Nat Bayjay

 

nat-bayjay-during-baccaulereate-serivce1

nat-bayjay-during-baccaulereate-serivce1

Nothing  can be more rewarding and satisfying than giving a man his merited flowers while he is not just still alive but young with a more promising future. He in return feels the urge to move on with more accolades, knowing that he gets appreciated every time he achieves. This is exactly why the young, talented and brilliant man in the persona of Mr. Nat Nyuan-Bayjay is worth all of the commendations in the world for his academic sojourn which takes a very important mile-stone/step today as he walks away with a degree in Bachelor of Public Administration (B.PA) and Mass Communications from the nation’s highest institution of learning, the University of Liberia. One needs not to be told what it entails to go through that identical “Wall” commonly known as LU, given all of the frustrations, headaches, disappointments and worst of all, the unnecessary prolonged years of obtaining just an undergraduate degree. A brief but sweet look at Nat’s struggles and subsequent conquest in his academic endeavor is enough to tell us what kind of character and potential this personality possesses.

 

 

Early life and SCHOOLING: Nat Nyuan-Bayjay, the third born and first son of nine children, was born in the port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County where he obtained his elementary education from one of the best learning facilities in that county—the St. Peter Claver’s Catholic School—after which he moved permanently to the Capital in furtherance of a scholarship his exhibited brilliancy at St. Peter earned him. Upon entry at the Don Bosco Technical (Catholic) High School in Monrovia, he again showed not only academic brilliance but innovation as he formed, for the first time in the history of the school a press club named the Don Bosco News Agency (DOBONA) which was to later become a very functional news arm of the Catholic-run institution. Throughout primary and secondary (elementary and high) school, Nat finished first in his class –though once in a while was second. His entry into the University of Liberia was met with various ‘mountains’ to climb, including a severe ulcer stomach coupled immense financial constraints. Counting and equating these challenges to those that a great man normally endures while en route to achieving whatever destined greatness, he however managed to overcome them and can now finally be counted among Liberia’s minute group of literate people. Blending public administration with mass communication is certainly one of the best discussions ever as he carries with him qualities of these disciplines.

 

Nat & MC of his occasion(Myer Saye)

Nat & MC of his occasion(Myer Saye)

Experiences & ambitions: he may be young but Nat has experiences in both the print and electronic media where he has shown real class of professionalism in spite of not even obtaining a degree in this area yet. He professionally served as host of one of the best and popular talk-shows on Lux FM, the University of Liberia owned radio station. Additionally, he served as one of the most real reliable means of aiding some print entities (newspapers) with vital stories to include the In Profile Daily. Currently, he is the columnist of the entertainment sections of Monrovia’s best sports/entertaining twin-newspapers the Champions Sports and SportsDay newspapers that covers eight of Liberia’s 15 counties and has the largest sports reading audience. Additionally, he is a staff reporter for the Liberia’s foremost online and most dependable magazine FrontPageAfrica (www) More to these is that he operates two separate websites with two distinct categories of news information. Logging unto: www.natlyn.wordpress.com, you will get the latest news events happening in Liberia both political and of human interests while www.entertainmentlib.wordpress.com gives you and the international audience unfolding events in the world of LIB entertainment where Liberian artists (be them musical or movie stars) and other entertaining and social events are exclusively sold to the outside world. Watch out for the nation’s first all-youth radio station as his dream for bringing broadcasting to Liberia’s ambitious, yet inopportune upcoming journalists in a few years’ time..frontpageafrica.com

Nat Bayjay (with glasses) Augustine Hamelburg(with medal)Smith with bottle Muka during Baccaulereate serivce

Nat Bayjay (with glasses) Augustine Hamelburg(with medal)Smith with bottle Muka during Baccaulereate serivce Comrade Edwin Snowe (of the Liberian National Legislator) & Nat

So, given this kind of charisma and highly ambitious young individual, friends, families and loved-ones gathered at his residence in Clara Town on Sunday, May 3, 2009 to celebrate this joyous time in the life of this young man whose life promises to be a very successful one. They though it very befitting to have him showered with his deserved gifts while he lives on to achieve more. Bravo!!! Nat Nyuan-Bayjay.

MORE UPDATES LATER!!! 

Nat Bayjay during Baccaulereate Serivce

MINI-SHIP WRECK IN BUCHANAN (LIBERIA) LEAVES 1 DEAD; ANOTHER MISSING & DOUBLE STRATEGIES

Posted in Uncategorized on April 26, 2009 by Nat Bayjay
Looted goods at ship wreck

Looted goods at ship wreck

By: Nat Nyuan-Bayjay (231-6-402737)

 A mini-fishing ship in the port city of Buchanan accidently appeared on-shore that left one person dead, one missing and another tragic motor accident occurring subsequently as the corpse was being taken to the hospital which left a commercial motorcyclist dead instantly upon collision of the ambulance and a motorcycle. DETAILS TO FOLLOW