River Cess officials have received L$650,000 (US$3,250) in bribes and gratuities from illegal miners operating in the south-central county. The situation is a typical example of how local and county officials meddle in mining administration—a major challenge in the mining sector for decades.
River Cess is experiencing one of its worst economic periods since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Liberia. Small businesses are struggling as a surge in new cases is creating uncertainty.
Barely two weeks after River Cess recorded its first confirmed COVID-19 case, the county health officer has announced three additional cases.
After going without a confirmed COVID-19 case for months, River Cess has registered its first case. A now-deceased 21-year-old woman tested positive of the Coronavirus.
Built in remote places with no presence of county authorities and law enforcement officers and plagued by crimes, including prostitution, and illegal drug smuggling, many artisanal mines in River Cess run quasi governments to maintain law and order.
The first person to be suspected of COVID-19 in River Cess has died hours after he was taken to the St. Francis Hospital for observation.Â
After Pres. George Weah declared a state of emergency, many counties have struggled to interpret the measures instituted due to a lack of clarity from the Executive Branch.
With only about two months left in the dry season, River Cess citizens are calling on their leaders to rehabilitate a 17-mile stretch of road leading from Palm Bush Junction to Cestos, the county capital.