Residents are worried about their respective properties and the condition of the three-leg bridge under which the sand mining is ongoing The only two-lane bridge over the Junk River that connects the Roberts International Airport (RIA) with Monrovia is now in danger as a result of alleged sand mining in the river, residents have informed the Daily Observer.The leadership of the community, represented by Atty. George Kailondo told a team of investigative reporters over the weekend that sand mining is threatening the life-span of the bridge, his multi-million dollars residential area, the Baracuda entertainment center and other facilities in the area.Atty. Kailondo has meanwhile expressed frustration over the situation, adding, “This has to stop or else the ELWA/RIA highway will eventually encounter a sudden closure when the bridge over this Junk River collapses.”While pointing in the direction of the many cracks on the wall of his house and the foundation of the fence around the house, Atty. Kailondo said the sand mining has continued to the extent that even the habitat of crocodiles may have been destroyed, exposing them and the fish to extreme danger.“The sand is so much under the river so the Chinese-owned company involved in the exercise uses many other sand compressors to navigate the river as a means to suck mostly the rich portion of it,” said an ‘environmentalist’ who did not want to be identified, but was hired by Kailondo and the other residents who claimed that their properties are being affected by the exercise.Mr. Prince Johnson (the son of the late D. Roosevelt Johnson) the general manager of the Goodrich Incorporated, a company that is at the center of the alleged sand mining, denied reports of the danger affecting the river and the neighborhood.He said “We gave the Chinese company the legal right to mine sand in the Junk River and their mining sand is not putting any property as well as the bridge as risk.”He told the Daily Observer via mobile phone that his company obtained a permit from three concerned government agencies including the Liberia Environmental Agency (EPA).“I can’t respond to whatever claims an individual may have against my company for mining, because I was duly licensed. So whatever issue Mr. Kailondo and his people have, let them take it to the government and those agencies including the EPA, but not to me,” Mr. Johnson said and hung up.Kailondo claimed he has earlier complained to the authorities of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME).His claim could not be confirmed by the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy Public Relations Director, Joseph Matadly. Mr. Matadly said since reporters called him to confirm the report he would take up the issue this week.However, he said companies doing river sand mining are duly registered with the government, except for those doing beach mining.“As of the bridge or properties being affected, I cannot speak to that, but will take up the issue Monday, to the director of mines at the ministry,” Mr. Matadly assured the Daily Observer yesterday.Aloysius K. Kotee, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Manager for Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Unit, could not be reached as his phone was switched off throughout the weekend, but an official in his office promised to provide appropriate response on the issue.“I will inform Mr. Kotee to launch immediate investigation into the concerns of the residents,” the EPA source said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Last year, Kerwyn Clarke had his pet title snatched from him after reigning as the Senior Bodybuilding Champion and Mr Guyana for four years. However, on Sunday evening, the senior bodybuilder made sure that he would take home the accolade once again. On stage with four other successful bodybuilders, Clarke came out flexing his biceps and triceps with one goal on his mind, winning.With last year’s Mr Guyana, Bruce Whatley absent, it was a no-brainer for Clarke who flexed his way to the top. Speaking on the win, he noted that he was grateful to everyone who has been a part of his journey. “First and foremost, I’d like to give thanks to the Almighty; I’d also like to extend sincere gratitude to Mr Ross, my training team, my family, and Fitness Express,” he stated.The well-decorated bodybuilder went on to share a little about the expectations heKerwyn Clarke receives his prize after copping the coveted titlehad for the competition. “This year’s competition wasn’t as expected, I was most disappointed in the turnout, I was expecting a higher intensity of competition on the stage from my fellow counterparts. And I was expecting also the reigning Mr Guyana, Mr Whatley to be here on stage so that I could have taken it from him rightfully.”Nevertheless, Clarke noted that he was now focused on his Central American and Caribbean (CAC) championships campaign, stating, “It didn’t happen that way, but I am still very thankful and I’ll just set out to CAC, which is my next venture.”In another instance, another bodybuilding crown was snatched back by its previous owner. Emmerson Campbell reclaimed his title of Mr Physique after showcasing a well-oiled body and flashy smile. The title was stolen in the 2017 competition by Yannick Grimes.Guyana Amateur Bodybuilding Federation President Coel Marks highlighted that the event was a success despite a few hiccups along the way. “In terms of attendance, we did see that we as per normal had great numbers at the show. We had a few hiccups in terms of the hosting and venue and technical difficulties with the audio, but the show must go on and we were able to host another successful bodybuilding event in Guyana,” he stated.The President of the Federation also disclosed that his team will work harder to improve the competition in the coming years, stating: “We hope that we are able to continue doing so, going forward next year and make it more robust and make sure that we continue to fulfil our mandate as bodybuilders in Guyana.”The winners at Sunday evening’s competition will now set their sights on the CAC championship, which is scheduled for July 27-29 in Mexico.