By: Rancy S. Teewia
Youth Advocate for Better Bomi (YAOBB) in collaboration with a cross-section of citizens of Bomi County, on Monday June 10, 2019, presented a joint resolution to petition President George M. Weah through their local government for the re-opening of the initiative of the Cooper Rubber Company (CRC) on in Tubmanburg Bomi County.
The CRC is claimed to be the only Liberian owned rubber processing company currently in the entire Republic. According to the petitioners, Mr. James E. Cooper, Chief Executive Officer of the company was taken to court in January 21, 2019, by Senator D. Sando Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Concessions and Investment on several charges and was adjudged not guilty of all the charges against him in the competent court of jurisdiction.
Reading the petition by the President of the Bomi County Student Union, Ms. Rebecca Davies on behalf of the youth, the Bomi youth said they were making the petition in order to buttress the Pro-Poor Agenda, coupled with the inaugural speech delivered by the President of the Republic of Liberia His Excellency Dr. George M. Weah in which he stated that Liberians will not be spectators in their own economy.
“We the citizens of Bomi County therefore petition the Government of Liberia to facilitate and support the re-opening of this developmental initiative in Bomi County for a number of key reasons including the high level of unemployment in Bomi County, the rubber industry being Liberia’s largest sector in agriculture in terms of employment and bringing in foreign exchange of the millions of United State dollars.
The youth intimated, “With the low level of employment throughout our county, we can’t idly sit by as citizens and allow the largest Liberian private sector employer goes out of business.”
Taken into consideration the current lack of job opportunities in the county that gives birth to the increase in the rate of crimes in the country and negative perceptions of government; the youths are concerned about the citizens of Liberia throughout the region, to expand revenue base for government through tax payment.
“Henceforth, we present our petition to H.E George M. Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia as citizens of Bomi County and hereby affixed our signatures to this petition as voices and direct representatives of the county for the re-opening of the Cooper Rubber Company,” the youths said.
Meanwhile, the Superintendent of Bomi County, Mr. Adana Robinson, said he will ensure that the Cooper Rubber Company re-opens in not a too distant future.
Mr. Robinson furthered that when he saw the level of investment on the Cooper’s farm, he burst into tears because the development was initiated by an eminent son of the county. He said it was disgusting to note that the Senator of Bomi County had to combat such a development. “I will get the Superintendent Council of Liberia involve into this issue and make sure that the company is reopens, and if my involvement gets anyone angry I don’t care.”
It can be recalled that during the first assembly of the Bomi Citizens at the Cooper Rubber Company in Clay District on the 1st day of June A.D 2019, the retired American Police Officer, Mr. James E. Cooper, CEO of CRC said Sen. Johnson of Bomi County asked him to give 1.4 Million USD before the construction of a manufacturing plant in Bomi County can be produce rubber related materials.
Mr. Cooper said he refused to provide the money, causing the Senator to later requested for five hundred thousand for which his refusal became a source of incriminating him to be sent to prison. He however noted that he defeated Senator Johnson through the legal aid of Cllr. Arthur Johnson.
A cross-section of Bomi citizens who visited the farm have expressed disappointment to see a son of Bomi County and a Senator who was elected by them to prevent another son of the county from bringing in development into their county.