Gbeleyee, Nimba County: – It was an exciting welcome in Gbeleyee as citizens and traditional leaders accompanied by mask dancers turned out in grand-style for a community engagement on ArcelorMittal’s Phase Two Expansion.
Women Empowerment Forum Liberia-WEFL -a local non-for-profit is creating awareness about ArcelorMittal-Liberia second expansion and benefits attending to.
The General Town Chief for Gbeleyee James Gono and Yarmein Administrative District Commissioner Thomas N. Gonotee received the team and said the towns are committed to supporting the AML expansion to the best of their abilities.
“As you may record, Yarmein Administrative District is the host of ArcelorMittal-Liberia iron ore mines in Nimba and welcoming you in this manner shows how much ready we are to working with ArcelorMittal-Liberia”, “but” he added “our showing up here is to alos make sure they (ArcelorMittal) continue to live up to its corporate social responsibilities as they have been doing’ he added.
District Commissioner Thomas Gonotee committed that the host community will continue to support AML’s effort adding “we will do all our traditional welcomes because we are the host community of ArcelorMittal-Liberia and receiving you must show to anyone that we are prepared in having this very important town hall meeting to support and protect the company”
Stakeholders of the eight towns namely including host town Gbeleyee, Karnlah, Bololewee, Gbonnie, Baintonwin, Gbain, Kinnon and Lugbeyee were all present at the engagement’.
Thrilled by the warm welcome and display of traditional cultural dances WEFL Executive Director Laura Bee Kiekpo, said: “this is the very first huge traditional welcome since we started this project, and we are very thankful and pleased to the people of Nimba and mainly the citizens of Yarmein.
According to her, the engagement with the local leaders is focused on cultivating the culture of frank community dialogue and conversation with the spirit and intent of understanding what ArcelorMittal’s investment in Liberia is about.
Laura said the AML Phase Two expansion will see additional jobs created the construction of an iron ore processing plant as well as new investment in rail, and port to the benefit of Liberia.
She told the residents of Yarmein Administrative District that ArcelorMittal has demonstrated consistency in the payment of all its obligations to the government and people of Liberia with no outstanding obligation.
According to the WEFL executive, the month-long community awareness runs across five major areas in Nimba County that are affected by AML’s operation.
Robert Y. Paye, WEFL Project Assistant gave an overview of the activities and benefits of ArcelorMittal-Liberia Phase-II Expansion.
At the close of his presentation, the citizens testified about ArcelorMittal-Liberia’s community development initiatives which they say has greatly impacted them.
Susanna Wuakah explained how her nephew Oliver Dore Suah benefited from ArcelorMittal-Liberia scholarship while Amelia Y. Bullah a resident from Gbapa said her daughter Ruth Bullah is a recipient of ArcelorMittal-Liberia scholarship as well.
For her part, Oretha Larkpor disclosed that her son who was a cyclist is now a full employee of ArcelorMittal-Liberia.
“My son gave a ride to a ride to a senior staff that didn’t pay him at the time, but he was just testing him. His patience moved the man to employed him and he is now a staff of ArcelorMittal-Liberia” Madame Lakpor added.
Mr. Patrick Dolo from Bololewee also said ArcelorMittal-Liberia Biodiversity Conservation Program implemented by ARS Project in the community has and continues to be a blessing for his family.
The Paramount Chief of Yarmein Administrative District Richard Gbanteh noted that ArcelorMittal-Liberia constructed a school in Gbain, Kinnon and Bololewee and even stated that the company contributed one thousand four hundred (1,144) gallons of fuel oil to rehabilitate feeder roads in the community.
ArcelorMittal’s community Land Crop Compensation program was recognized as “outstanding” by Milton Gono, a visually impaired who spoke at the event.
Representatives of two women groups also admitted ArcelorMittal-Liberia’s help to survey a low land on which they have since started farming.
The Empowerment Forum Liberia-WEFL public sensitization on ArcelorMittal’s Phase-II Expansion ended with call from the citizens that such engagement continues as a way of strengthening citizens-company relationship.