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Rubber Product Manufacturing in Liberia in Sight at Last

first_imgLiberia, Africa’s first independent and sovereign Republic, has also been, since the early 1930s, the continent’s first rubber producing country, and yet in nearly 90 years has not yet been able to produce a single rubber band, glove or any other rubber product.That seems to have been the plot or scheme of Harvey S. Firestone who, in 1926, signed agreement with the administration of President Charles D.B. King for one million acres of land to grow natural rubber in Liberia.Mr. Firestone first attempted to grow rubber in the Philippines, but they turned him down for fear that if they allowed Firestone in, it would signal a death knell to Philippines’ quest for independence.Firestone’s next stop was Liberia, in his determination for the United States of America (USA) to grow her own rubber and break the British monopoly on rubber in the world.Mr. Firestone found Liberia’s rich soil, rainfall and climate to be, as he put it in his own words, the best place on the planet to grow rubber successfully. He immediately opened the Firestone plantation along the Farmington River in what is now Margibi County.Firestone did two things more to ensure that Liberian officialdom and Liberians were on his side: first, he encouraged most Liberian officials to grow rubber, which he bought, making many leading Liberians rich; second, he employed thousands of Liberians and became the country’s first major concession and largest employer besides the government.In the process, Harvey Firestone and his family became very rich—billionaires.Firestone was good for Liberia except for one thing: the company deemed Liberia fit only for a rubber plantation that produced ONLY raw material to feed American factories, and nothing else. That is why in Firestone’s nearly a century of operation in Liberia, it has manufactured absolutely nothing here, but rather, until this day, June 7, 2018, shipped every ounce of its rubber to the USA and other foreign parts. That is why we say that Firestone saw Liberia as simply fertile ground for producing raw materials— nothing else.Two questions arise: first, how was it possible for Firestone to treat Liberia, a country that has been so good to Firestone, so badly and so contemptuously? The second question is, how have Liberian officials and successive Liberian governments allowed Firestone to do this—treat Liberia so badly—for nearly a century—92 years to be exact?We can venture a third question: how was it possible for all these Liberian rubber planters, from James (Jimmy) Francis Cooper, the first Liberian rubber planter, to many other Coopers, Dennises, Shermans, Freemans, Jacksons, Tubmans, Tolberts and the biggest rubber planter of them all, Harry L. Morris of Kakata and Todee, yes, how did all of rubber planters to allow Firestone to get away with this—slaving after this company’s US dollars and remaining naked as purely producers of Firestone’s raw material—rubber, and nothing else?But as the saying goes, nothing lasts forever. Today, we have another Cooper, whose name was also James, from Sinoe County, son of Henry Cooper—Henry is a popular name among the Coopers, who hailed from Sinoe, built a several hundred acre rubber farm in Bomi County. Today, the son of this James E. Cooper, also called James the II, has decided to brave the century-old powerful current by dreaming a serious dream. Young James E. Cooper, Jr., son of a Sinoe Cooper and an American mother, is dreaming of adding value to Liberian rubber by manufacturing rubber gloves, boots, adhesives (glues, gums, pastes), solvents (thinners), gaskets, rubber roofing tiles, re-threaded automobile tires and later freshly manufactured automobile tires.This is nothing short of revolutionary and we appeal to the government of President George Manneh Weah to give its firm backing to this great and historic initiative.Mr. James E. Cooper, Jr., tells us that he is not alone. Several other rubber planters have already started constructing rubber processing facilities in various parts of the country, including Kakata, Margibi County, and Nimba County.Mr. James E. Cooper, II says not only will these rubber processing and manufacturing enterprises produce finished products; they will also cause thousands more people to be employed in the rubber sector. They will not just be tappers, but engineers and technicians working in manufacturing plants.Presently, Mr. Cooper’s processing plant is producing TSR 10 rubber for export to Malaysia and the USA where it is used to manufacture automobile tires. He also produces smoked sheets for export.Mr. Cooper is in negotiations with Sri Lankan manufacturers to come to Liberia and join him by bringing in their technology to start rethreading tires, and later the real thing—brand new automobile tires for export to the Mano River Union and ECOWAS markets.Mr. Cooper and his fellow rubber processors have an even bigger dream: the Free Trade Agreement, spearheaded by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, which was signed in Kigali last week by 48 of the 53 African nations.Cooper and his colleagues are on to creating Liberia’s industrial revolution. Let us all join in this great endeavor by giving Mr. Cooper and all his colleagues our fullest cooperation and support. The media must play their part, and so, we fervently pray, will the Liberian government.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Is Margaret the greatest Granny in Ireland?

first_imgA Letterkenny grandmother has been named as Ulster Grandparent of the Year 2016.  Margaret McConnell (56) was nominated by her grandchild Chloe Campbell (7) and beat off stiff competition from grandparents throughout the province to take the title. Margaret is one of four regional finalists who will compete to win the prestigious title of Specsavers Ireland’s Grandparent of the Year.  Margaret McConnell with her grandaughter Chloe Campbell There were great celebrations yesterday at Specsavers Letterkenny, where the team presented Margaret with her prize which comprised a framed certificate, bottle of champagne and a Specsavers voucher.Speaking at the prize-giving Margaret said, ‘I am absolutely delighted to be named Specsavers Ulster Grandparent of the Year and to be one step closer to winning the national title. It is a real honour and even more special because I was nominated by my granddaughter.’The Grandparent of the Year award was launched by Specsavers in association with Third Age to recognise the benefits of an ageing population and celebrate the special role that grandparents play in the lives of Irish families and the community. Grandchildren of all ages were asked to nominate their grandparents with a written entry on why they deserved the title. Margaret has a very close relationship with her granddaughter Chloe, who she sees almost every day.In her winning entry, Chloe said she always has fun when she is with her grandmother, knitting and baking together at Margaret’s house. Chloe loves her granny’s sense of humour and says they often play jokes on her granddad together.Margaret is an incredibly hard worker and helps look after the rest of Chloe’s family, including her husband Ronnie and Chloe’s mum Sonia when they were both sick. Chloe described how special Margaret is to her, hoping to be just like her when she grows up.Specsavers Director, Mr Paul O’Donoghue with Grandmother of the Year, Margaret McConnellSpecsavers Letterkenny store director Paul O’Donoghue commented, ‘Congratulations to Margaret on this much deserved achievement and her granddaughter Chloe for her fantastic entry which we were touched by. At Specsavers, we recognise that older people, and particularly those with hearing loss, are vulnerable to social isolation and these awards are an opportunity for younger generations to celebrate the many ways that grandparents and older people enrich our lives and communities. We wish Margaret the very best of luck in the final.’The overall winner will be chosen by a panel of judges, including campaign ambassador Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, at the end of November and will win a weekend away in Ireland, a Specsavers voucher and the Grandparent of the Year trophy. Plus, the grandchild who nominated the winning grandparent will receive an iPad Air. Is Margaret the greatest Granny in Ireland? was last modified: November 16th, 2016 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:competitiongrandparent of the yearletterkennySpecsaverslast_img read more

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