Bad Labor Practice Triggers Deadly Tension -As 3 Reportedly Dead, Several Wounded at Kinjor

MONROVIA: Amidst the violent clashes between the workers of the Bea Mountain Mining Company and residents of Kinjor, Grand Cape Mount County on the one hand and the security forces on the other hand, correspondents’ reports have it that the incident occurred as the result of the failure on the management to execute their 31 count request.

It can be recalled that some time ago, the workers and residents met with the management of Bea Mountain and handed over a 31-point request which expired on February 12, 2024 and as a consequence of the failure, the aggrieved parties being the workers and residents decided to react to the refusal of Bea Mountain to address their grievances.

Key amongst some of their demands was the replacement of “seasonal employment with permanent employment”, emphasizing that their demands require immediate action by the company within two-week to guarantee the mine’s continued operations.

Why Protest?

True to their promise, the workers and residents rendered Grand Cape Mount heated as the Kinjor Community finds itself enmeshed in a conflict between locals and the Bea Mountain Mining Company and rendered the area a chaotic scene of protests and alleged brutality which reportedly left at least three persons dead and several others wounded.

According to reports from the region, live bullets and teargas were reportedly fire amongst the protesters who were said to have been setting corporate assets, mainly ground equipment ablaze as a way of calling attention to their long standing grievances over bad labor practices, land rights, environmental concerns, and perceived exploitation of the workers by the mining company.

The Bea Mountain Mining Company, the protesters alleged, has also neglected the welfare of the local people in violation of the MDA the BMMC signed with the Government and people of Liberia

Eyewitnesses claim that the escalating violence is traced to the intervention of law enforcement officers, specifically units from the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) and the Police Support Unit (PSU), who allegedly resorted to the use of live ammunition against the protesters.

Other reports claimed that a unit of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) were deployed and stationed in the area, while yet another accounts have it that the security intervention was triggered after the protesters started to burn ground equipment of the management.

According to reports, the workers and residents were protesting bad Labor practices and poor working conditions with Bea Mountain Company when they were shot at by state security as the use of force by the authorities has sparked outrage, intensified the workers resolve to sustain their protest and triggered condemnation from human rights groups and community leaders alike. Many residents of Grand Cape Mount County have voiced their dismay over what they perceive as a disproportionate and unjust response to their peaceful demonstrations.

Petition by Protesters

At the pinnacle of the protest, the aggrieved citizens and workers petitioned the government to address various concerns, including the removal of Mr. Debar Allen, the Company’s Country General Manager from BMMC operations in Liberia, and to establish a new Country Management Team to be headed by a qualified Cape Mountainian whom the  protesters, residents and workers named as Sando Wayne, Henry Vincent and other Liberians who they believe will ensure compliance with the Decent Work Act and obligations under the Mineral Development Agreement (MDA).

The demands outlined in their petition require immediate action by the company, issuing a two-week ultimatum to guarantee the mine’s continued operations.

Amongst the counts listed in the petition include, also called for the reservation of positions for Liberians in accordance with labor regulations, while requesting membership in the World Gold Council (WGC) for operations in Liberia.

They are further demanding the company to demonstrate its corporate social responsibility to the people by providing essential services to project-affected communities, and to replace seasonal employment with permanent positions.

According to the protesters’ petition, they are calling for several other services including provision of life insurance benefits for mineworkers; regular supply of safety gear and training for employees; the development of a plan to safeguard water sources and reduce environmental impact; the implementation of recommendations within agreed timelines and the construction and maintenance of health facilities in operational areas.

Also requested in their petition are establishment of a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program; provision of local and international scholarships; transportation assistance for students living in production areas; appointment of a General Manager from Grand Cape Mount County; appointment of the former Community Relations Superintendent as Government Relations, transfer of Community Relations positions to affected communities and reinstatement of the worker’s union chairman.

Furthermore, the workers and residents want improvement of tailings storage facilities; ensuring safety measures and emergency preparedness at all sites; sharing electricity with project-affected communities; completion of community relocation processes; establishment of qualified inspectors to monitor operations; training and certification of blasting activities for Liberians and provision of alternative livelihood activities.

The construction of modern housing for workers, increase in school fees support to workers’ dependents, audit of community social development funds, transfer of mineral water production to affected communities, and withdrawal of armed forces from the mine, as well as review of the mineral agreement and transfer of catering services to women in affected communities among others were part of the protesters’ demands.

Condemnations

However, the in the wake of escalating tensions, there are mounting calls for dialogue and mediation have been issued by concerned parties, urging both the Bea Mountain Mining Company and the local community to engage in constructive negotiations to address the underlying issues fueling the unrest as the government has pledged to investigate the reports of excessive use of force by law enforcement officers and ensure accountability for any wrongdoing.

The Minister of Justice has assured the public that a thorough inquiry will be conducted to ascertain the facts surrounding the incident and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

As the situation in Grand Cape Mount County remains volatile, with tensions running high and mistrust prevailing between the local population and the authorities, there is a pressing need for calm and concerted efforts to resolve the underlying grievances through peaceful means. The eyes of the nation are now fixed on this troubled region, hoping for a swift and just resolution to the unfolding crisis.

In a related development, a group of advocated, Diaspora Alert (DA) condemns Violent Protest in Grand Cape Mount and calls for the immediate Dismissal of Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman

In a release issued yesterday, the Diaspora Alert in their condemnation noted that the violent protest resulted in tragic loss of lives and injury to dozens.

“This senseless act is a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of unchecked aggression by a police state led by Joe Boakai. We demand the immediate dismissal of Police Inspector General Gregory Coleman for failing to contain the situation and prevent unnecessary force. The people of Grand Cape Mount County deserve better protection from their national government, not terror,” the DA said in its release.

The group said it is appalled by the Joe Boakai-led government’s silence and lack of empathy towards grieving families and loved ones, adding that the President’s refusal to order both para and non-para military personnel to cease fire on unarmed citizens of Cape County is worrisome.

The citizens gathered peacefully to petition their government regarding labor practices and working conditions with Bea Mountain Company when they were shot at point-blank range by state security, the Diaspora Alert disclosed, calling on the international community to pressure the Liberian Government to stop using deadly force on peaceful protesters and hold them accountable for their actions and inactions.

The group, in its release signed by its Chairman, Eric Pervist, then extended empathy and sympathy to all affected by this tragic incident, which could have been avoided with a responsible government, and urges all parties to engage in peaceful dialogue to address grievances. Justice and accountability must prevail for a safer future.

Senate Poised to Intervene 

Meanwhile The Liberian senate has taken immediate actions to intervene in the ongoing protest in Kinjor, Grand Cape-Mount County by inviting the Justice Minister and the Inspector General of the Liberian Police.

President Pro-Tempore Karnga-Lawrence said the Senate wants Update from Securities heads on the ongoing Kinjor Protest in Grand Cape Mount County, saying that as a means of swift intervention into the current protestations and violence in the western part of Liberia, particularly Grand Cape Mount County, the  Pro-Tempore of the Liberian senate has instructed the immediate presence of  the officials  on February 29, 2024.

According to Pro-Tempore Karnga Lawrence, the committee along with other Senators will listen to the updates from both security heads and take immediate steps to address the situation and find a way forward.

Similarly, the House of Representatives recently ordered the withdrawal of armed security units from the conflict prone Kinjor where the BMMC is located, but the riot Police units were not withdrawn leading to the clashes that involved lives and injuries. Investigation continues.

3 Comments
  1. Jake Doe says

    “This senseless act is a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of unchecked aggression by a police state led by Joe Boakai THE BUTCHER OF LIBERIA. The Puppet Boakai and their business masquerading as government, simply do not value human life. The most appropriate solution is to impeach Boakai, remove him from office, and send him packing to a maximum prison.

  2. LeonApkKi says

    Привет. Не работает приложение бк леон и с чем связана данная проблема я не знаю. Но лучше поискать другой источник для скачивания данной программы. Тут тратить свое время не советую.

  3. ApkLeonKi says

    Привет. Почему не работает бк леон сегодня и с чем связана данная проблема я не знаю. Но лучше поискать другой источник для скачивания данной программы. Тут тратить свое время не советую.

Comments are closed.