In fulfillment of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the people of Grand Cape Mount County, particularly residents of the gold mining town of Kinjor, the Bea Mountain Mining Corporation (BMMC) has turned over 200 housing units to the citizens.
The housing units, as well as a junior high school building and a well-furnished medical clinic, were presented at an elaborate ceremony over the weekend.
Attended by key stakeholders, including the chief medical officer of Liberia, Dr. Francis Ketteh; Grand Cape Mount County Superintendent Tenneh Kpalegba along with her entourage of local leaders; Accountability Lab through its executive director, Lawrence Yealue, among several others, the event was historic in that the 5,000 residents of Kinjor were treated to their first ever medical facility.
Making the presentation of the facilities as well as the town hall in which the event was held, the general manager of BMMC, Ozkah Umurhan, said the company is committed to making sure that all of its promises made to the national government and the local leadership of Grand Cape Mount County including the citizens of Kinjor are adequately accomplished.
“When we came here almost two years ago, we made a commitment to provide better living conditions for the people here. We promised that in time we were going to build for them better housing units, a health center, a school for the education of their children as well as a town hall where they could be able to meet and discuss issues pertinent to their well-being. Today we have come to demonstrate this by presenting the first phase of our promise,” Umurhan said.
He said a sum of US$10,000 has already been given for the purchase of Christmas gifts, and an additional US$10,000 will be given to ensure that each household receives something to celebrate Christmas Day.
“While our investment is providing employment opportunities for about 1,500 employees, with over 80 percent Liberian nationals, we are getting stronger on our corporate social responsibilities. Today, we are celebrating the fulfillment of major outstanding agreements in to our communities – housing. In section 10.4.2 of the Community Agreement which directly affected residents, we promised to build 322 units, comprising hydro-form bricks, two rooms, wooden doors and wooden windows, kitchen area, wash room, open porch, and zinc roof. Circumstances beyond our control affected our ability to fully deliver on the December 31, 2017 maturity date of our agreement with the community for housing.
“Notwithstanding this delay, I am pleased to announce the successful completion of 200 units that are ready for occupancy. And we found a creative way to resolve the turnover challenge. Single-unit beneficiaries were selected through a lottery system, while multiple unit-beneficiaries were each allowed to hold one unit for occupancy during this first phase distribution. All remaining beneficiaries entitled to the remaining 122 units will each receive US$30 monthly compensation until we have completed the construction of their units,” he said.
“We are taking on this responsibility so that the growing communities near our concession that have historically had difficulty attracting and accessing health professional services can enjoy a modicum of relief. And we are happy with the spirit of cooperation the Ministry of Health is showing with the first supply of drugs to the clinic yesterday.”
The manager of BMMC community and government relations, Sando Wayne, noted in an exclusive interview after the ceremony that the project cost is about US$27.37 million. He said the remaining 122 units will be built before the end of the dry season, and pointed out that BMC will pay health workers at the clinic for a year before the government takes over the facility.
“In the meantime, each household of Kinjor that did not get their own house today will receive US$30 each on a monthly basis until the remaining structures can be built,” he added.
Dr. Ketteh said the Ministry of Health is thankful that BMC was able to live up to its commitment.
“As we appreciate the little yet very important gift from this company let the citizens of this place also be grateful and look forward to a brighter future. Health, in particular, is the bedrock of a good workforce; and as such, BMMC has just done well by making available a healthcare center to all of you. We have already recruited a team of health practitioners who will take care of you here,” Dr. Ketteh noted.
Also making remarks, the representative-elect of Grand Cape Mount County Electoral District #2, Manbu Sonie, said he is impressed with BMMC’s efforts in ensuring that it lives up to its promise. Sonie, in whose district Kinjor is situated, noted that the current BMMC management has respect for local leadership.
Receiving the facilities on behalf of the residents of Kinjor, Yakpawullo Gbelee said he and his fellow residents are grateful and pray that more good things come to their settlement.