What Happened to Maryland County… and Its Most Powerful Families—the Andersons and Tubmans?

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The Holy Bible constantly warns us all to beware what we do and how we do it, for it could come back to haunt us. The good Book clearly warns, “Whatsoever [a person] soweth, that shall [he/she] surely reap.”

When W.V.S. Tubman became President of Liberia in 1944, he proceeded to deplete three of the four original counties—Grand Bassa, Sinoe and Grand Cape Mount—of their intelligentsia and their most promising families and gave them fat jobs in Monrovia.

Take, for example, Grand Bassa, our second county. Its most powerful families included the Brumskines, Diggses, Harmons, Morgans, Shermans, Reeves from Fortesville, Bensons from Edina. Some, including Senator James A. Morgan, were elected to the Legislature; but most others got good jobs in the Executive and Judicial branches of government and most never returned to engage in any serious development, with few exceptions, including Mrs. Louisa Sherman, wife of Ambassador G. Flamma
Sherman, who built Hotel Louisa in Buchanan.

We then have the prominent families from Sinoe County, including the Bings, Craytons, Drapers, Gibsons, Greenes, Grigsbies, Lewises, Madisons, Majors, Raileys and Togbas.

Then Grand Cape Mount County, from which hail the Jones, Shermans, Fahnbullehs and Freemans, Davids and Williamses. Some became legislators, but most got fat jobs in the Executive branch. Only few returned to invest, including Charles D. Sherman, Tubman’s Economic Advisor and later Treasury Secretary, who built a Chinese-styled home on the Cape Mount mountain and a major oil palm plantation in Wangakor. The plantation employed hundreds of people.

Why are we singling out Tubman? Because he captured the cream of these counties, and despite the riches of the nation, especially in iron ore, rubber and other minerals, he never looked back at these counties in terms of development. Yes, Tubman built
the Ports of Buchanan, Greenville and Harper. And during his 75th birthday celebration in Harper, several projects were completed, most especially the library and museum.

But what else did he, in 27 years of rule, do for Grand Bassa, Sinoe and Cape Mount? It was his successor, President Tolbert, who built the road to Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County.

Now, the exact same thing is happening to Tubman’s own hometown, Maryland County. The county is being abandoned not only by the central government, but even more pathetically, by its own highly educated sons and daughters.

Our Nimba correspondent Ishmael Menkor recently reported that Maryland’s development projects were “in ruins.” What is happening to Maryland and where are the Andersons and Tubmans, the Yancys, Tuckers, Itokas, Gedegbakus, Brownes, Brownells, Chambers, Irelands, Gibsons, Neals, etc.?

And yes, one of the Tubmans, Winston, has been running and continues to run for president of Liberia. What, we ask, can he do for Liberia that he has not done for Maryland?

One of the prominent Bassonians, too, Charles Walker Brumskine, has been running and continues to run for president of Liberia. What can he do for Liberia that he has not done for Grand Bassa? We all see how Buchanan, Brumskine’s own hometown,
is being washed away by the sea, with absolutely no intervention from him.

The Holy Bible says “To whom much is given, much is expected.” All of these prominent statesmen from Grand Bassa, Sinoe, Grand Cape Mount and Maryland spent money educating their offspring. So why have they, these privileged offspring, not returned and spearheaded development in their home counties but rather parked themselves in Monrovia or abroad while their hometowns and people languish in poverty, ignorance, disease and backwardness?

The identical question can be asked about the sons and daughters of Monrovia’s most prominent families, especially the Coopers, Dennises and others. These wealthy and powerful parents sent their children abroad to school from the ages of five to ten.

They are indisputably among the nation’s most privileged generation. Where are they today?

Alas, unlike the less privileged children of Nimba County, these privileged Monrovia children have abdicated their entrepreneurial heritage to the Lebanese, Indians and Fulas, who have now become the captains of Liberia’s industry and commerce.

Yes, the people of Nimba have been among the most exploited in the country. So many foreign nationals, including the Americans, Canadians and Swedes (LAMCO), and the Lebanese and Guineans, etc., have raped Nimba of its resources and left nothing behind except poverty, ignorance and backwardness.

Yet, the Nimba people have begun pulling up themselves by their bootstraps and are singlehandedly building their county through their entrepreneurial prowess.

We hope that all Liberia’s other counties, most especially Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Sinoe and Grand Cape Mount, will emulate the example of Nimbaians and start taking charge and develop their home counties.

The Nimbaians, as we shall see in the coming editions of the Daily Observer, are seriously demonstrating the CAN DO spirit. All of us everywhere in Liberia should start doing the same thing.

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