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This is what I am talking about

This is what I am talking about

This picture obtained from the news media is an insult, a slap in the face to all Sierra Leoneans, particularly those who hail from the Northern Province where the picture was taken whether you are in Sierra Leone or in the diaspora.  (Photo by Nina De Vries, 19 February 2014.  Human Rights Watch: Children play on plots of land to house families who were relocated to make room for mining)

The only exception is the local villagers who are displaced by the mining company.  Because they don’t know any better.  To those that know better, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.  To see our people, our parents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles being treated like this and don’t say a word about it, as if it does not concern us.  As Malcolm X would say, “You are a fool, because they will do it to them today and will do it to you tomorrow.”

If and when a mining company takes land from a local community by whatever means or process, be it the legal doctrine of Eminent Domain, Government lease contract, Paramount Chief lease contract, etc., etc., in exchange for relocation, the relocation must be accomplished with respect, dignity, planning, co-ordination and all the good trimmings that come along when a community is being relocated.  These are some of what our people deserve under the circumstances, not what we see on the above picture.

Such relocation should not be parallel, it should be a vertical relocation, meaning with improvements above and beyond what they left behind.  Since most of the country is now up for grab by foreign interest, we must demand that all such relocation must be endowed with some of the basic necessities and amenities of a community in the home country of the mining company.  Such as a network or paved roads, light, running water supply system, sanitary, recreational facilities, a school, to name just a few.

Less we forget, mining companies are there to make MONEY by taking our natural resources away.  They must be compelled to leave behind a fraction of what they are taking away for posterity.  To quote the late Rev. Hose Williams of Atlanta, “We are not asking for half a loaf of bread, we are not asking for even a slice of bread, we are only asking for the crumbs that come from the bread.”

At close inspection of the picture above, houses were simply constructed at random, no roads, no water line, no electricity, no sanitary facility, no planning as such.  For crying out loud, OUR PEOPLE DESERVE BETTER.  When a mining company, or any company for that matter, displaces a community in the name of making MONEY, our people should not be denied a piece of the pie.  They should be relocated into modern housing with all necessary amenities that are common in the home country of the mining company under similar circumstances.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Dr. Walcut B. Metzger, JD, author

Dr. Walcut B. Metzger, JD, author

This is one of many ways development will come to the provinces of Sierra Leone that will benefit and uplift the lives and living conditions of our people.  This issue of relocation becomes more complex with a system of communal ownership of land.  It becomes more favorable with a system of individual ownership in fee simple absolute.

My people, we must address land ownership in the provinces if Sierra Leoneans are to benefit from the “Agenda for Prosperity.”  Take note, Constitutional Review Committee.

by Dr. Walcut B. Metzger, JD, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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  • Thank you for your concen.I fully support your proposal for the development of the community.The present situation is poor and unhealthy.If it is for making money the mining company is to build a new location with all the necessary amenities such as power, water, roads, schools,and easy access to local markets for the people to relocate.Without that whatever steps are taken otherwise are inappropiate and unacceptable.But that’s wwhere we should come together as one Sierra Leoneans with one voice.Together we can defend and protect our country. Frederick Nabie

    10th April 2014

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