Concessionary agreements, since the 1960s up till now, have often been enthralled by interpretative dictions tending to besmear administrations as soon as they shall have phased out, creating very dismal scenarios as though the past had been an omnipotent or self-seeking leadership in conducting the affairs of state.
Wrongly conceptualized particularly amongst groups and institutions, using various unregulated modes in pursuit of their quests, periods of the reign of the late 18th President of the Republic, Dr. William Vacanarat Shadrach Tubman, during which various concessionary agreements were entered with foreign investors, culminating to the establishment of many concessions including the erstwhile Liberia Mining Company (LMC) of Bomi Hills in now Tubmanburg, the Liberia-American Mining Company (LAMCO) of Yekepa, Nimba County, the Bong Mining Company (BMC) of Margibi County had come to the socio-economic fore of the country, whatever has obtained thereafter out of individual’s participation, though with representations made provide classic lessons.
Delving into the nitty-gritty, however, beginning with the LMC which until now has come to be described as “Bomi Hole,” instead of “Bomi Hills,” inappreciably annulling the enormous efforts made by the Tubman administration in negotiating and re-negotiating with foreign firms as steps to removing thousands of citizens from their state of appalling unemployment, un-education and poverty states to gradually achieving their aspirations as human persons within the vocational and technical areas that became near non-existent, unfolding of these developments subsequently culminated to the attraction of similar investments in Yekepa, Nimba County and Bong Mines, Margibi County are worth sober reflection.
Capitalized upon over the decades, since the folding-up of the LMC in Bomi Hills, apparently with roads leading thereto not having been fully constructed and paved out of not having formed part of the agreement entered into with government, not out of deviant orchestrations but as a result of existing realities far from been an oversight, it has only served as lessons to Liberians who remain eagerly desirous in transforming their respective communities.
Interestingly, however, whilst the Liberian American Company (LAMCO) may have graduated from the initial experiences gained from the LMC by graduating its mode in operationalizing the Mount Nimba and nearby Mount Tokeda, the latter which did not fruitfully unfold prior to the Liberian civil crisis, howbeit the richest of ore (black) discovered and had been mined before the past Liberian civil crisis at Mount Nimba. Credit must be given to Liberian Mining Engineer Moses Vesselee who had at the time been on top of issues in behalf of government.
On the other extreme, howbeit the operation of the BMC by what popularly became known as Germans, with considerable amount of ore exploited therefrom prior to the debacle, the inclusion of knowledgeable Liberians and experts therein, including former Minister of Foreign Affairs, the late Ambassador T. Ernest Eastman, was not an inexactitude but one meant to ensure that the nation reap its just reward.
In the rubber and other sectors, something that ought not to be amplified any longer, it is an established fact that the Firestone Plantations Company, now Firestone Liberia, is credited for having been the oldest in entering into a 99 years concessionary agreement with Liberia.
Difficult it may have been over the years, beginning with 1926, Firestone Liberia, in its true quest to fulfilling not only its institutional objectives but helping to remove Liberians from scourge of poverty, has had its own ups and downs with seeming unappreciativeness expressed over the decades out of living conditions of those employed thereat but is now being improved at the extreme unexpectation of many thereat, as is continuously being demonstrated by the heightening wave of residential, school and other constructions, including other basic incentives.
Unprepared to mention other progress been made at other rubber plantations, including the Liberia Agricultural Company (LAC), the Weala Rubber Corporation (WRC) and others around the country, evolving from the pace that Firestone Liberia continues to set, concessionary agreements by the present Unity Party leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai have had to be set in meeting demands of current realities.
Thus and precisely in consonance with the democratic dictates that continue to be forged by the leadership, the revision of concessionary agreements have over the weeks taken precedence, largely emanating from the critical review of contracts and concessions entered into with government during tenure of the 52nd Legislature.
Unmistakably true that the National Legislature, having been headed by Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai as President of the Liberian Senate, with Honorable Alex Tyler at the chore of the National Legislature, a chore he still honorably maintains, revision of instruments meant to benefit the population and not only segments become quite fascinating.
Viewed, though, in very minute quarters to appear giving the current leadership space in addressing itself to the herculean challenges faced since assuming power, achievements made particularly in the external banking sector by President Sirleaf should remain atypical of how good governance approaches should be pursued.
To have therefore had President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to continuously pursue practicable steps aimed at simply telling Liberians that this is good governance checkpoint cannot and should not be misconstrued within the political context as clamoring to stay in power. After all and with the bitter experiences of the past, notwithstanding constitutional provision that allows for two terms of the Presidency, it is possible within the African context that her term, could be extended for the third term in preservation of the democracy, peace and stability restored that have begun reaping enormous and unquestionable returns.
Do Liberians truly have many on mind to lead them? Preferably, those who have truly labored for the country, amongst who reign Drs. Togba Nah Tipoteh, Amos Claudius Sawyer, Messrs William Richard Tolbert, III, former National Security Agency (NSA) Director Mr. Flomo B. Washington or Rev. Evelyn Thompson of the First United Methodist Church could just be the right choice, since citizens can no longer afford to eat portor-portor rice.
President Sirleaf, in the face of the reviewal of concessionary agreements, through making the country appear as though the next-coming may do likewise out of the performances of the previous, can no longer afford to witness neophytes coming to power in the nation, especially those with autocratic and dictatorial tendencies at the extreme detriment of the vast majority now seeking to rebuilding lives out of honesty and dedication through reconciliatory approaches.