All Africa is reporting on the suit being filed against Firestone for the mistreatment of the locals in the extraction of rubber from rubber plants.
Three human rights groups have threatened legal action against the American-owned Firestone Rubber Plantation Company for alleged human rights violations and gross abuses of Labor Law on the plantation in Harbel, Margibi County.
The three human rights institutions, the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC) headed by Attorney Augustine Toe, the Liberia Democracy Watch (LDW) of Jerome Verdier and the Foundation for International Dignity (FIND) of Kofi Woods have alleged that the American-run company was mistreating workers at the plantation...
The disclosure was made to newsmen in Monrovia by the Executive Director of JPC, Augustine Toe who recently returned from the United States. The JPC Boss said the three human rights institutions met in Washington DC in the United States of America with their human rights counterparts to finalize the lawsuit against the Firestone Rubber Plantation Company.
According to the human rights groups, the Firestone Company is using the workers on the plantation as slaves, forcing them to tap 700 rubber trees per day, something they consider as Labor abuse as well as forced labor.
The rights groups further said due to the heavy workload, the tapers were compelled to use their wives and children to help them, claiming this to be normal practice by the company's authority on the plantation...
Besides the human rights institutions, residents of Harbel in Margibi County told team of journalists that the company was using its waste products to pollute the Farmington River, which the residents claimed has been used as a safe drinking water and at the same time as bathing water.
Information have it that the residents most of whom are workers of the plantation have begun getting blind, and many are already developing stomach problems due to pollution of the water with chemicals.
We will remind the reader of the words of Marcus Garvey:
"We also beg to draw to the attention of your honorable body the great danger that lurks in the future through the granting of Firestone Rubber and Tire Company of certain concessions, which we do hope have not yet been ratified by you. Whilst it is not in out province to interfere with your legislation, we beg to point out to you the motives generally underlying white capitalists when they seek entry into the countries of weaker peoples. It is our firm belief that the Firestone concessions in Liberia will lead them ultimately to seek the usurpation of the government, even has been done with the black Republic of Haiti after similar white companies entered there under the pretense of developing the country."
Also said by Garvey:
The selfish and heartless capitalist of the white race conspires to rob Negroes of their land and values in many instances by employing and using the conscienceless and disloyal members of the race who happen to be removed from the majority by intelligence, to betray the people into a false sense of feeling security. In some instances , entire countries are thus stolen with their mineral, agricultural and other wealth; in others the people's investments and interests in banks, insurance companies, real estate holdings, including private dwellings, churches, corporation stocks and allied financial undertakings are pilfered with the concurrent and conniving consent of these so called "intellectual" Negroes..."
To this wisdom the then" Minister Plenipotentiary" of Liberia; the "Honorable" Edwin Barklay was quoted by the New York Times:
My mission in this, my first visit to America, is to endeavor to cement the friendship between the two countries."
"Labor is very cheap in Liberia and strong healthy men work for 25 cents a day...It is a country for young men, and any of the colored people who wish to go there from America to live will be heartily welcomed, and given grants of land to cultivate"
"No, Neither Garvey nor any of those who have been identified with him would be received in Liberia."
So when we see that instead of inviting Garveyites who were looking to modernize Liberia, the "Minister Plenipotentiary" was more interested in 25 cents a day and inviting people to cultivate the land. So now we see the fruits of that decision: wars, child soldiers and continued slavery.
When will we take Garveyites seriously?