The former President Pro-tempore of the Liberian Senate, Mr. Gbehzohngar M. Findley, has called on the Liberian Agriculture Company (LAC) to improve on its safety measures for employees and all others working on the plantation.
Findley, a former Senator of Grand Bassa County where LAC is located, made the comments over the weekend when he visited with bereaved families of at least six persons who died as a result of the recent explosion at the LAC factory.
Senator Findley used the visit to call on all other concessions to improve safety for workers in their concessions.
The former Bassa lawmaker’s visit followed a recent industrial disaster where six persons have been confirmed dead so far and several wounded at LAC.
He said he was “deeply troubled and saddened” when the news broke out about the chemical explosion in LAC and that people had died as a result.
He stressed that setting up of an advanced safety mechanism for workers in concession areas will help to address some of the growing fears at job sites as well as prevent the recurrence of such accidents.
The Grand Bassa stalwart maintained that the safety of employees in concession areas should not be treated lightly as it would project a better picture for an enabling working environment if the people are assured of care when performing their duties.
The Pro-tempore emeritus expressed regret over the incident and acknowledged how painful it is when a family loses its bread-winner.
Sen. Findley assured the citizens of Gorblee District that he remains a loyal servant to them and will not hesitate in responding to their needs. He told his fellow Bassonians that his doors remain open to them; adding that whosoever will need his assistance should call upon him without hesitation.
Findley, who was senator for nine years, further stated that he was touched upon hearing the news of the tragedy but could not go there immediately following the disaster because he was out of the country.
“You people have always been close to my heart. I am deeply sorry for the incident,” he added.
He also told the people that he was interested in knowing the outcome of the investigation into the explosion. Mr. Findley appealed to the Ministries of Labor and Internal Affairs, the LAC management and the LAC Workers’ Union to work together to ensure that affected employees get indispensable attention ranging from medical to job injury benefits that are duly required.
He stressed that by so doing it would tackle the increased fear and concern about the lack of interest in the wellbeing of the affected employees.
At the same time, the former lawmaker presented a purse of L$60,000 (US$723) intended for the six bereaved families. He said the amount was intended to assist the bereaved families to purchase food items during their period of mourning.
The bereaved Family members attending the brief ceremony held in Gorblee District expressed gratitude to their former senator. They considered the incident as very unfortunate stressing that they are hopeful that an investigation can be conducted soon in order to establish the root cause of the explosion.
Mr. Abel Nyabol, District Superintendent of Gorblee District, on behalf of the people of Gorblee lauded the former Senate Pro-tempore for his concern.
At least 17 persons on the night of January 19, became victims of an explosion which occurred at LAC in District #3, Grand Bassa County. The cause of the incident has not been fully established. However, unconfirmed reports say that a “huge boiler” over heated and exploded at around midnight while workers assigned at the processing plant were on their regular night shift.
Meanwhile, Labor Minister Neto Z. Lighe, speaking at the Ministry of Information daily press briefing last Monday, said the cause of the accident is complex and would be difficult to establish unless the investigation is done professionally and technically.
He assured citizens of Grand Bassa County that the government is committed to an impartial investigation into the incident.