Shipping/Stevedoring Association Seeks Justice Ministry’s Intervention

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted May 10, 2004

The Shipping & Stevedoring Association of Liberia is calling on the Justice Ministry to provide protection for its members who are being threatened by certain individuals who he said are claiming to be members of the association.

The president of the association, Mr. Cecil Barnes said the appeal of the organization to the Ministry is based on an incident last week, when a group of individuals led by one Joseph Roberts went to the association’s office in the Mesurado Compound on Bushrod Island and manhandled his special assistant Roland Giddings and also threatened his(Cecil) life.

He said the men went to his office under the guise that the association that he heads, has some funds for them in escrow and demanded that the money be made available. He said although they did not see him, they made threatening remarks against his life and manhandled his office staffer.

Mr. Barnes said it was the timely intervention of UNMIL peacekeepers that saved the day. He said he was grateful to UNMIL for their speedy intervention. “If they had not come, those guys would have killed my manager, “ he said.
Explaining further, Mr. Barnes said Mr. Roberts’ claims that the Shipping & Stevedoring Association founded about two years ago, owes some money to the stevedoring section of the United Seamen Port & Workers Union. He said the fact of the matter is that Mr. Roberts is not even the head of that body as it is headed by Mr. Nimely Davies. Mr. Barnes said there is “no contractual agreement” between his organization and Mr. Roberts.

Mr. Barnes said prior to the establishment of the Shipping & Stevedoring Association of Liberia, which was incorporated in November 2002, there was an association known as Shipping Association of Liberia headed by the late Eugene Cooper. He said that association was never incorporated and that he never inherited “any cent.”

“I challenge Mr. Roberts to provide evidence of any contractual agreement he has with our association,” he said. Mr. Barnes said he was of the view that those who went with Mr. Roberts to his officer may have been misled to believe that the association has some money for them. “This is not true,” he maintained.

Meanwhile, the lawyer of the association has formally written the Justice Ministry, complaining about the incident. The lawyer is seeking the intervention of the Ministry to avoid what he calls, “the wicked and diabolical plan of Mr. Roberts and his collaborators.”

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.