‘McIntosh Village’ Accuses Hard Rock of Ignoring Social Responsibilities

first_imgResidents of “McIntosh Village” in Duazon, Lower Margibi County have accused the management of Hard Rock Crusher Company of not implementing its social responsibilities as specified in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on March 19, 2012 between them and the company.However, Hard Rock Crusher’s management rejects the community’s allegations and said they are misleading.According to the MOU, Hard Rock shall at its own cost and without any reimbursement from the community, erect an eight-bedroom clinic for the benefit of community-dwellers on an ideally situated parcel of land to be identified and given by the community.The (MOU) also indicated that Hard Rock shall, at its own cost and without any reimbursement from the residents and people of the community, open the alleys within the community to allow free and easy mobility, which the company, over the past years, has failed to do, according to residents.Hard Rock, as stated in the MOU, shall regularly maintain the main roads leading from the Monrovia Robertsfield Highway to the company’s site of operations; but Hard Rock failed to address the situation after staying 11 years, the residents of the community explained, again.In the MOU the community residents also told the Observer that Hard Rock has an extended operation in “McIntosh Village,” the construction of a bridge to link the community to said village and to facilitate Hard Rock’s easy ingress (entrance) and egress (exit) to and from the village.According to the (MOU), “To this end, Hard Rock shall construct, at its own cost and without any interference from the community, a steel bridge consistent with the Ministry of Public Work’s standards.”Speaking with one of the community’s heads recently in the Community, Mr. Othello B. Massaboi, a zonal head of Rock Crusher West, said the company has failed to meet the social responsibilities as signed by its Managing Director and was allegedly pulling out of the community to another site, somewhere in Grand Cape Mount County.Massaboi explained that the community leadership on February 14 invited the company’s owners to a meeting but they failed to meet with the leadership in “total disregard” of the community and later began allegedly taking away all of the company’s equipment and materials from the site.He then stated that the community on February 19 of this month took a decision to block the road to prevent Hard Rock Crusher from carrying away the equipment until the company delivers on its social responsibilities.Mr. Massaboi alleged that Mr. Marwan Eid, son of Mr. Ezza Eid, called the police during the blockage. According to him while in the process of putting it under control, one of the police officers pointed his gun at one Stephen Brown, who, trying to escape, fell in a pit and broke his foot.However, Hard Rock Crusher, which is owned by Lebanese businessman Ezza Eid and managed by his son, Marwan Eid, told the Observer that it has satisfied most of its social responsibilities and even added a very important component, which according to them is not included in the MOU. A copy of the MOU is also in our possession.He said they built on their own accord, a junior high school for the community.Hard Rock, which had at least 85 employees, since it began operations in 2007 and ceased 2012, said they had paid US$16,000 for at least 10 hand pumps to be constructed in the community. The Daily Observer team found out that only five of the 10 was constructed and community members said the five are no longer operating properly “because they were shadow dug.” Some even accused Mr. Wendell McIntosh of asking the Eids to hand the cash over to him and that he would contract the locals to construct the hand pumps.The Observer contacted the Eids, who said they had to lay off the 85 employees because at least three separate factions had been formed in the community and their company’s operations and staff were no longer safe.They said that each of the factions had “thugs” that constantly disturbed their operations and turned the community into the “Wild Wild West,” the name of a 1999 US blockbuster movie, starring Will Smith.“So I got fed up in 2012 and decided to cease operations until they can put their acts together before we can begin operations again,” Marwan Eid told the Observer, via mobile phone.Touching on pulling out of Duazon, he stated: “We have been in this country for over 45 years, how can we just leave all our investments and run away. Ok, assuming that we are pulling out of Duazon, are we leaving Liberia? All of those who are accusing us of pulling out have, on many occasions, been to our main office where we have had numerous meetings. They can sue us if we don’t honor the agreement.”He further disclosed that they have always maintained to the community members that they are “100 percent” willing to build the clinic, but the conditions of the MOU must be satisfied.That is for the community to provide the land free of crisis and other land related issues.“Since we signed the MOU in March, this has never been done by the community members. Even though we ceased operations more than a year ago, we are still waiting on them to provide this land,” Marwan further stated.He stated that they were not pulling out of the area as they have two lines of quarries to be mined in the area and was just on one so how could they pull out.He also disclosed that if they decided to leave the area, they were under obligation, based on an agreement they had signed with Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to refill every hole that they are going to make in the area by a technical mean.Marwan also stated that they had opened at least eight alleys in the community; and the Observer team found out that the lead road leading from the main RIA highway into the community, though not tarmac-paved, but is in good and passable condition for motor vehicles to ply even after a year of the company not operating.Marwan Eid stated that they were not in the position to construct the bridge because they had been duped of a property that they had purchased across the river. The Observer team learned that the community was embroiled in leadership crisis, which has probably made the Eids to hold back.They (Eids) said there had been no control in the community and so had to cease operations until there can be one leadership, through whom every community grievance can be channeled and which also can report back from the Eids to the larger community, instead of three different groups coming every time with their individual agendas.“We are only going to move back into the community to begin operations when the Government guaranteed our safety because each of the factions—the community leadership, Rep. Roland Opee Cooper and Wendell McIntosh—keep obstructing our operations,” he stressed. He, however, pointed out that he doesn’t have so much of problems with the community leadership, which he said has been used on many occasions by Mr. McIntosh.MCINTOSH’S RESPONSEHowever, when we contacted Mr. Wendell McIntosh, he refuted every allegation against him.He added that the Eids’ quarry in the community was being managed by one Suleiman, who he said had always ran to him in order for him to mediate whenever the community had issues with the company.“My brother, I am so surprised that the Eids will tell you things like this. You need to talk to Suleiman, he will tell you what’s happening here,” Mr. McIntosh stated.According to him, Suleiman had come to him and told him that because of the rain and that since the holes in the operational site in Duazon were now filled with water, they were moving out for three months and would be back.“I never saw them again until the community people came to tell me that they were pulling out and so they would block the road for the company to meet its social responsibilities before they could finally remove all of their equipment.”He also stated that Hard Rock’s management through Suleiman, had given the contract for the construction of hand pumps to one guy in the community called Moore and when they (Hard Rock) felt that Moore could not meet up with the contract, Suleiman asked his (McIntosh’s) wife to take up the contract.He stated that his wife was contracted to do four wells. Those wells, he said, were done and are still functional.             He also added that stated that Hard Rock met him in the area when they came in 2006 to begin operating in the community. “I was the first to move here in 2004. When I came, here there was hard forest around here where we used to hunt monkeys and deer before other people started to come here. This is why this place is name ‘McIntosh Village’.”Mr. McIntosh maintained that being a businessman himself, understands the difficulties business people go through and so has always try to mediate between the company and the community.MEDIATION Meanwhile, a mediation role brokered by Mr. Henry Costa, a radio talk show host, brought together Mr. Marwan Eid and the community leadership on Friday, February 28.Mr. Eid again told the community that Hard Rock Crusher has since been prepared to honor all of its portions of the MOU. A seven-person committee was put together find the land and come up with a plan for the clinic. Mr. Eid promised to pay for the land.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Facebook is creating a cryptocurrency to use on WhatsApp says report

first_img 0 See how much time you’re wasting on Facebook In May, news site Cheddar reported that Facebook was “very serious” about the possibility of building its own digital currency for secure online payments. Facebook said at the time it had a small team looking into applications for blockchain — the encryption technology behind cryptocurrencies like bitcoin — but didn’t offer specifics.Facebook still has a ways to go before its cryptocurrency is ready, according to Bloomberg. The company plans to develop a stablecoin that’s pegged to the US dollar, unnamed sources told Bloomberg, but is still working on strategy and ways to protect the value of its coin.Facebook bought encrypted messaging app WhatsApp back in 2014 for $22 billion. Bitcoin Facebook Cryptocurrency WhatsApp Post a comment Share your voice Now playing: Watch this: 1:31 Tags Facebook may be getting into the cryptocurrency game.The social network is reportedly developing a digital currency that will let users transfer money on its WhatsApp messaging service, according to a report Friday from Bloomberg. The effort will focus first on the remittances market in India, according to Bloomberg.Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Mobile Mobile Appslast_img read more

DLF pares GIC debt by Rs 3100 crore plans to clear all

first_imgDLF logoWikimedia CommonsReal estate giant DLF has repaid Rs 3100 crore of debt to its venture partner GIC by transferring Noida shopping mall and some land parcels. DLF owed about Rs 8,700 crore to DLF Cyber City Developers LTD (DCCDL), which is a joint venture between DLF and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC. With the latest transaction, DLF’s debt has come down to about Rs 5600 crore as of July 2019.In an investor presentation, DLF clarified that it has transferred the Mall of India project in Noida, worth Rs 2950 crore, to DCCDL. The Economic Times also reported that the company also added that it has transferred 3.05 acres of land parcel in Gurugram to the Singapore-based firm. Representational ImageINDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty ImagesThe joint venture between GIC and DLF was signed in December 2017 when DLF promoters sold 40 percent of their stake in DCCDL to GIC for about Rs 1,200 crore. The deal included the sale of DCCDL’s 33.34 percent stake to GIC for about Rs 9,000 crore and the remaining Rs 3m000 crore was acquired by DCCDL through buyback.DLF holds about 66.66 percent in the joint venture firm and the remaining 33.34 percent is with GIC. The Gurgaon-based real estate giant has plans to sell prime commercial project Horizon Central in Gurugram for about Rs 850 crore, to settle the remaining debt of Rs 5,600 crore. The company also plans to transfer its mall in Saket for a valuation of Rs 1,050 crore, reported ET. Real estateThe report also stated that DLF will transfer its commercial land in Chennai for about Rs 1,000 crore. Some parts of the monetary settlement to GIC will be done by transferring SEZs at Hyderabad and Chennai as per the contract with group firm DLF Assets Ltd. The leftover debt of about Rs 7,00 will be paid in cash.DLF has reported a two-fold growth in its profit at Rs 414.72 crore for the June quarter against Rs 172.77 crore last year. DCCDL holds about 30 million sqft of commercial real estate in Gurugram that yields an annual revenue of about Rs 3,000 crore.last_img read more

Kamal for replacement of CEC Nurul Huda

first_imgDr Kamal HossainGano forum president Kamal Hossain on Sunday demanded the replacement of chief election commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda with a credible person for holding a free and fair national election.”We couldn’t be happy after talking to the CEC. We demand that he be replaced with a credible person,” Kamal said while briefing journalists about the country’s overall political situation and election atmosphere at the National Press Club.He further said, “He (Huda) should be replaced not removed. I would like to tell the CEC again we’re not happy with over you. We may change our opinion reviewing your activities. We want you to work neutrally from today, no matter what you did in the past.”As per the constitution, the Gano Forum chief said the CEC should work neutrally and independently without being directed by any one. “But, we’re forced to say you’ve so far failed to demonstrate your impartiality.””I sincerely request the CEC to ask his conscience whether he is working spontaneously as per his own understanding or at the behest of anybody. Acting as per anybody’s directives by the CEC is not only a crime, but also a violation of the constitution. If you continue to do that you’ll be considered as a violator of the constitution in history,” he added.Referring to the CEC’s comment that all the arrests are being made as per his directives, Kamal asked Nurul Huda to explain with documents as to why he is issuing orders to arrest people. “Your explanation will help us examine whether your actions are justified or you’re doing those as an abettor of the government.”He also warned that they may move the court seeking remedy if the commission does not change its current attitude towards opposition.The Gano Forum chief said the wholesale arrest of leaders and activists of opposition parties is still going on which is not conducive to creating a congenial election atmosphere. “This wholesale arrest should be stopped.”Kamal said, “Police are the force of the state…they aren’t the government force. Police have to work for creating a proper election atmosphere. They must provide legal protection to opposition parties.”The eminent jurist urged the CEC to tell the police to help create a proper election atmosphere so that all candidates can reach out to their supporters and carry out their election campaigns with equal opportunities.He said the government is making it impossible to hold a neutral and credible election with its ‘undemocratic’ activities and ‘wholesale’ arrest of opposition leaders and activists.Kamal said they are waiting with eagerness to witness a fair and acceptable election where people, the country’s owners, will get a chance to exercise their right to franchise freely.Showing a photograph, he strongly criticised the police for the way they arrested BNP nomination hopeful Monirul Haque Chowdhury.The Gano Forum president called upon media to neutrally play their role and depict the real scenario of the country as it will help create a healthy atmosphere for a fair election.He also opposed the EC’s decision on using the EVM in six constituencies and said most parties are against it.Replying to a question on seat sharing with BNP, Kamal said there is a possibility of both creating a distance and reaching a consensus over the issue. “We forged the unity for uniting people, and we all parties will field the candidates who will be acceptable to people, responsible and can play a good role in restoring democracy.”He said they will finalise the candidates of their alliance by two or three days.Earlier, in a written speech, Gano Forum executive president Subrata Chowdhury alleged that Ganobhaban, the ministers’ residences and government offices are being used for political activities by violating the electoral code of conduct. “But the election commission is playing a silent role.”He also alleged that though the administration and the law enforcers remain under the jurisdiction of the commission during the election, the opposition leaders and activists are being constantly arrested and harassed. “Even, the possible candidates are being arrested and implicated in various cases at the behest of the government high-ups. The judiciary is also being used so that the arrested people can’t get bail within a short time.”Besides, Subrata said, the ruling party candidates are carrying out election campaigns and with assistance and protocol of law enforcers and administration while law enforcers are creating obstacles to opposition candidates’ electioneering and meetings.At the beginning of the press meet, Kamal introduced slain former Awami League finance minister Shah AMS Kibria’s son Reza Kibria and former Kurigram Awami League leader retired major general AMSA Amin who recently joined Gano Forum.The duo said they joined Gano Forum to work for the country under the leadership of Kamal.At the end of the press conference, private TV channel ETV’s ex-chairman Abuds Salam joined Gano Forum.Krishak Sramik Janata League president Abdul Kader Siddiqui, Gano Forum general secretary Mostafa Mohsin Montu and Jatiya Oikya Prokriya leader Sultan Mansur were, among others, present.last_img read more

WATCH Students Rallying Around The Country Talk With PBS Newshour

first_img Share PBS Newshour  interviewed students who took part in rallies around the country, got perspectives from a teacher and examined the darker side of the response to the school shooting in Parkland.Here is their conversation: last_img