The president/CEO of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI), John B. S. Davies III, has announced a loan amount of US$500,000 to be given to Ganta businessman, Prince Howard, whose Hotel Alvino was set ablaze by an angry mob in September 2015.
The decision, according to Mr. Davies, was taken by the LBDI Board after several months of consultative meetings with some government officials to help Howard restart his business.
It may be recalled that on September 30, 2015, Howard was accused of being behind the brutal killing of a motorcyclist in Ganta, and his newly erected hotel subsequently suffered arson attack by an angry crowd.
Mr. Howard, however, denied the allegation and challenged his accusers to go to court with any evidence that can connect him to the crime.
Making the disclosure at the third annual National Convention of the Liberian Business Association (LIBA), where he served as keynote speaker, the LBDI president said Howard deserves the loan.
Mr. Davies said what happened to Howard in the past months was a complete disaster to the Liberian economy; and as such, he needs assistance to recover.
He said Howard is helping the Liberian economy by creating job opportunities for Liberians in his area.
“We need to put hands under each other. By that the economic empowerment that we talk about will help every one of us. This is why for us it was a personal loss and disappointment where more than half a million dollar worth of assets—banks, money, shoe-shine boys’ money, marketers’ money all went in the flame, just because his name was called Prince,” he said.
He said the issue of economic empowerment for Liberians to take over their economy will derive from Liberians themselves.
“In so doing, Liberians need to help one another in pursuit of this dream and not to destroy.”
Mr. Davies added, “If envy continues to overshadow our activities, we wouldn’t realize our dream.”
He then warned the perpetrators that their actions against Mr. Howard will not go in vain.
He then called on government through the Ministry of Justice to provide protection for local businesses, not only foreign investors, since much of the taxes collected in the country are from citizens.