In the wake of rumors that Golden Veroleum-Liberia’s (GVL) is not operating in the interest of rural people, some Liberians in the United States of America (USA) have launched an investigation into the operations of the company.
The aim of the investigation is to establish the facts regarding GVL activities in the country, and to also inform Liberians residing in the US about the company’s activities.
The Diaspora Liberians calling under the banner of “Tarjuowon United Development Association” (TUDA) raised the concerns through a mobile conversation with two top officials of the company on Monday, May 5, in Monrovia.
The officials are, Virgil Magee, Communication Specialist and Susanne Mulbah, Senior Manager for Community Affairs and Social Sustainability.
Some questions advanced during the conference included, criteria for representation of the indigenous people in decision-making, monitoring and verification committee put in place to verify the company’s activities; the stage at which GVL is in acquiring land; the establishment of permanent homes for GVL’s managerial staff in the concession areas, among others.
Representing the Liberians in the USA was the former president and member on the Board of Director of TUDA, James Barclay, who stated that their quest about GVL’s activities in Liberia was important to provide them a better understanding to encourage unity between the residents and GVL.
“When the issue of company’s investment was raised in Liberia earlier, we were part of the process to ensure the creation of economic activities for our fellow kinsmen. This is why we are anxiously in communication with the local people to see that the objectives of the company are clearly being carried out,” he explained.
According to Mr. Barclay, the interest of Liberians in theUnited States was to provide good pieces of advice to the citizens in Liberia.
“We intend to encourage our fellow citizens to embrace the development. The indigenous are major decision-making players, because they are the ones the development directly affects,” he mentioned.
He said, though there are some misleading pieces of information that have been circulated abroad, they are quite sure that GVL’s operation will eventually transform the lives of the people in the county.
“The indigenous people have the right to their land to allow GVL to operate. So the company must remain committed to fulfill its social responsibilities,” he stated.
The TUDA former president and Board member said, they are expected to stage a conference bringing together Liberians in the States in the coming month to address some critical national issues in Liberia.
He said that paramount on the agenda is the operation of GVL in Liberia.
Meanwhile, addressing the concerns of the Diaspora Liberians, Mr. Magee said that Liberians in the U.S.A were stakeholders to his company operation in the country.
“We have always convened series of meeting with people of Tarjuowon, and other places on how we intend to acquire land to develop oil palm.
These meetings, he said, have always been fruitful because it led to the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
“Today, we are proud that the local people have gained access to employment, health and education,” Mr. Magee.
According to him, with all that the GVL was doing in Sinoe, it was unfortunate that some citizens in the county were constantly involved in spreading misleading information about the company’s operation.
For her part, the Senior Manager for Community Affairs and Social Sustainability, Susanne Mulbah, said that GVL has gone as far as acquiring land and planting oil palm in some of the communities.
“We are putting into place all other mechanisms needed to ensure the transparency. Infact, a committee will be put in place to comprise the locals to follow up the implementation of the MOU to the letter,” she said.