Lawmaker leads protestors at BMMC …says information minister

The minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism Minister Jerolinmek Piah told a news conference late Thursday at the Executive Mansion that a lawmaker spearheaded the protest which led to the death of one person and several properties destroyed.

Minister Piah did not disclose the name of the lawmaker, but said after their final investigation, the name will be released.

It  can be recalled that Hon. Mohammed Dosi, newly elected lawmaker of district number two Grand Cape Mount County told reporters on Wednesday in Cape Mount that he supports protest against the company because they deployed armed men in the operation area.

The protest led to the death of one person and nine police officers wounded. He said, from their preliminary investigation, some of the protestors carried weapons.  He did not say how many persons had the locally made guns.

On Wednesday several persons in Kinjnor Grand Cape Mount County went on continuous protest against Bea Mountain Mining Company for what they termed as bad Labor practice and their failure to adhere to their 31-count petition.

Some of their counts are the appointment of a General Manager from Grand Cape Mount County, the appointment of the former Community Relations Superintendent as Government Relations(he was fired by eh company due to his support for the protest against the company as well as alleged theft of property), reinstatement of the worker’s union chairman(he resigned based on mutual agreement with the company), establishment of a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program(the school was established but destroyed during Thursdays’ protest) reservation of positions for Liberians by labor regulations(there are several top managerial positions being occupied by Liberians at the Mines) and  Withdrawal of armed forces from the mine( But Section 12.b of the Mineral Development Agreement, calls for the deployment of armed men at the mines.  section b, states:  “In the event the Company deems it necessary to have armed guards for protecting assets in the Production Area and in the immediate vicinity of other locations at which Company has or maintains property and assets, the Company shall make a written request to the Government. The Government shall provide armed guards as needed, which expense shall be borne by the Company.”

The minister said, “Individuals who were protesting were armed. “The government has security forces there. The individuals who were protesting were also armed.  As a result of that, the situation escalated. One citizen got killed,” he said.

He added that nine police officers were injured, one Emergency Response Unit (ERU) was injured in the head, other on the leg. About 18 protestors were arrested.”

Minister Piah continued: “It will interest you to know that the police station that is attached there, was destroyed, Technical and vocational school was also completely vandalized by protesters.”

He assured the public that all would be done to restore calm. According to him, Kinjor is calm but still fluid.

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