Atty. Woods Addresses FAWUL
-Calls For Love Amongst Officials
Former Minister of Labour and Public Works, Attorney Samuel Kofi Woods, II has called on the newly elected leadership of the Firestone Agricultural Workers’ Union of Liberia (FAWUL) to show love for fellow workers of the plantations.
Atty. Woods said, leaders who demonstrate love for their people will not steal from them, buy expensive cars, build big houses and leave themin poverty, pains and suffering.Addressing the group over the weekend when he served as Keynote Speaker at program marking the induction of FAWU new leadership in Harbel City, Margibi County, the human rights lawyer added, “So today I have come to you to speak on two important things in our society “Love and Service”
“The first thing is Love. The Bible says that the greatest of all is Love. It also said, love thy neighbor as thyself. But, too many times leaders don’t understand these biblical verses; too many times, they see one another and pretend to be in love, but loving thy neighbor is more than romantic love we show to one another. It is deeper than we understand it,” he declared.
The Human Rights Advocate said, people who are elected to serve need to understand the real meaning of love for the people they serve.
“If you are elected and you understand that you are called upon to love thy neighbor as thyself, than you will not steal from them. When you are called to love thy neighbor as thyself; you will not prioritize buying your own cars or building your own houses and leave your neighbors in poverty, pains and suffering.”
Atty. Woods further noted that if one is called to love his neighbor as himself, he must realize that their progress must be linked to the progress of their neighbors and they will realize that they don’t have to be rich at the determent of the suffering and agony of their neighbors.
“Too many times, we think that we must exploit people and fail to realize that we can do well and by doing good, we do well to ourselves. We must realize that we must do good and by doing so we will give life a purpose of living. That is why in our world today, we see the pains of people begging; we see the difficulties of the challenges to put bread on the table of people because we fail to love each other.”
“We fail to love each other because we feel that to exploit others is good. Love does not mean to be better off than your friends. When friends and brothers combine their love for one another, their lives can be better off. So, my friends of FAWUL, my brothers and sisters, I have being on this road for a very long time with you and I have come knowing the workers in different ways and appreciate not only their suffering, but their dignity and perseverance.”
The Former Minister used the occasion to call on the FAWUL new leadership to show love to the workers by ensuring that the next Collective Bargain Agreement between the Workers and the Firestone Management will improve the lives of workers of the planation who are living beyond the trees and crying for justice.
Speaking of service, Atty. Woods again made a reference to the Holy Bible “the bible says, the greatest among you shall be your servant.”
“Too many times, we misinterpret leadership; we think we have to be served. Some believe as leaders, we must take charge of everything, but we are called to serve.”
He said, those in position today must reflect on the time that they will be on the other side of the table.
“As a Minister of Labour, you must enact laws and policies, so that when you are no longer a minister and you are now employer or employee, you must respect those same policies and laws; you will recognize them to be just and fair. So when you are a minister or leader, you must see your policies and actions from the other end of the table. You must also see service as a possibility to lead honestly and walk the street with dignity. This is the importance of public service.”
He however noted that too many times, Liberians think that service is about getting rich; “ we see service to mean getting our children better off than those of your neighbors. “This is not service. We see public service from different perspective.”
The Rights lawyer blamed Liberians for giving bad definition of public service, noting that “if you don’t steal, we don’t honor you. If you don’t corrupt, we don’t love you. We appreciate those who corrupt and steal from us. Those who abuse us are those we honor. We need to change our value of service because; how we define it is wrong. So, we as a people have problem and we should change our mentality of how we see public service.”
He called on the workers of FAWUL to encourage their leaders not to steal from them, but to help them become accountable and better stewards, adding that workers of Firestone have a lot to offer not only to the planation, but to Liberia.
He admonished the new FAWUL leadership to continue with the conversation with the management, noting that they too understand the benefits it brings. “Today, working along with workers, management and government, we have a High School to be proud of and this is a success story for all.”
For his part, the Chairman of FAWUL, Mr. Abel Fallah Ngigie said, Liberia is rich, but under developed and its citizens are poor and suffering due to bourgeois concessional agreements signed by past and present leaders and as such, foreigners are exploiting the country’s natural resources on daily bases, while other Liberians are fronting for these “so Called foreign investors”.
MrNgigie added that such unwholesome practices that benefits the few and punish the majority must be brought to book, especially under the Agenda of the Pro-Poor Government.
“It is therefore our fervent hope that the Management, the union and the Government will co-exist in fostering industrial peace and harmony on this plantation, while at the same time ensuring that our members are treated with dignity.”Contributed by J. KortuNyandibo