FOLLOWING PUBLIC PRESSURE
Bomi County- Following public pressure, Bomi County Senator Edwin Melvin Snowe has finally resigned from the contentious “Western Cluster Deal,” as the corporation’s destiny is still in doubt. After a series of protests from several county residents, the Bomi County Senator, who served as the Western Cluster deal’s principal negotiator, has resigned from his position. Senator Snowe told the Bomi County Legislative Caucus through its Chairman Senator Morris Saytumah that he no longer wants to have anything to do with the Western Cluster Deal.
The county’s residents said the agreement was not in their best interests and that service providers were gaining access to the county resources instead of the citizens. In contrast, the county residents continued to live in abject poverty, while the company enjoys its resources. They also noted that members of the parliamentary caucus were silent on the issue.
On January 11, 2023, Senator Snowe stated during a town hall meeting in Bomi that he believes his reputation is being harmed by local residents and others as a result of his efforts to bring back the Western Cluster, which would have provided jobs for those living in Bomi and surrounding counties.
The Bomi County Senator insisted that he no longer has any involvement with Western Cluster and that he is leaving the matter in the hands of the Liberian government and the Bomi community. It can be recorded that a number of Bomi residents who have emigrated cautioned the county Legislative Caucus to act quickly to settle a dispute between locals and the Western Cluster management over the conduct of the company’s operation in that county.
The inhabitants of Diaspora Bomi stated in a letter to the Legislative Caucus on January 9, 2023, that Western Cluster must stop delivering iron ore until the contentious Memorandum of Understanding is handled. The MOU and the permit were entered into between the Liberian government through the Ministry of Public Works on behalf of Bomi county and Western Cluster in June 2022, according to Miss. Bendu Washington, who read the communication on behalf of the team of Diaspora citizens, did not clearly communicate the true interest of the county.
She requested the county legislative caucus to look into the situation so that it might be safely steered and pushed in the county’s interest rather than just the company’s. According to Musa Willie, president of the National Bomi County Citizens Association, the firm must halt all mineral transportation until all bridges on the Bomi Highway have been completed in compliance with the MOU permit that was signed before Western Cluster’s return to the county.
Reported by: Joseph N. Kerkula