US-based Bong Miners visit Liberia

Messages of commendation have been pouring in to members of a delegation of the Association of Bong Miners (ABM-USA), who recently returned to the United States following a nine-day (May 1-10) visit to Liberia, which included a three-day tour of Bong Mines and its surrounding.
The delegation, headed by Benedict Philips and M. Amadu Sirleaf, was met on arrival by the leadership of the sister-organization ABM Liberia, headed by Mr. Kla Allison.
One of the core objectives of the visit–signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ABM-USA and ABM-Liberia–could not be met, though.
The two groups “Agreed in Principle” to jointly implement projects, pending the signing of the MOU. ABM-Liberia cited the absence of its legal representative, but committed itself to the terms of the agreement.
The visit included, a tour of once-thriving facilities in the Bong Mines area such as the various schools, the sports arena (BRU Park), the BMC Hospital and, most importantly, identifying the site for a proposed vocational and technical institute.
The three-day tour also afforded the delegation an opportunity to directly interact with local authorities in area. They were received by top officials including: the Commissioner, City Mayor, the District Education Officer (DEO), the Chief of Security, as well as chiefs and elders.

Briefing the assembled officials at a well attended meeting, the interim head of ABM-USA, Mr. Benedict Philips thanked fellow Bong Miners for the warm reception, and promised to convey their concerns and aspirations to Bong Miners residing in the U.S.
He disclosed that the visit was one geared at identifying the needs of the inhabitants and how ABM might try to restore some basic facilities that were lost as a result of the long Liberian civil war.
“I cannot promise anything where I stand,” Mr. Philips told the gathering, “but rest assured that we are prepared to do everything within our powers to ‘GIVE BACK TO OUR COMMUNITY’; that is our commitment,” he stressed amid loud applause.

Also accompanying the ABM-USA visitors to the former BMC were prominent individuals who owe their education and achievements to the community. They included: Joseph Bainda, Paul Samuels, Reuben Carto, Lakpor Boandao, J. Ernest Lloyd, Stephen Guzeh, Morris Kamara, Mulbah Golanyon, among others.
Meanwhile, ABM-USA is preparing to host its first annual national convention, to be organized by the Delaware Valley Chapter, in Yeadon, Pennsylvania. It is expected to bring together a cross-section of individuals and organizations emanating from Bong Mines.
This year’s gathering, it is anticipated, will usher in ABM-USA’s first-ever elected national leadership. The newly inducted officers will lead the organization in accordance with a new draft constitution, which is expected to be adopted during the convention. The convention date has been set for July 7th thru 9th 2017.
According to the organizers, the primary objective, apart from rejuvenating the “Old Bong Mines Spirit,” Convention 2017 is aimed at raising substantial funds to enable ABM-USA undertake multiple projects in Bong Mines. “So, in anticipation, we are calling on our members to kindly prioritize payment of their annual due of $100.,” interim secretary M. Amadu Sirleaf recently told an emergency meeting.  

ABM-USA prides itself as the mother organization to all institutions representing the interests of the inhabitants of the former mining town. It is an offshoot of ABM-Liberia, founded in the 90s, in Monrovia, Liberia.