Residents of District 4 in Grand Bassa County have hailed Equatorial Palm Oil (EPO) for rehabilitation of an 11-mile road, which runs from the company’s estate to Gbar Town and ends at Timbo River – the river which separates Grand Bassa County from Rivercess County.
At a special ceremony held in Gbar over the weekend to appreciate the company, the residents, most of whom have been affected by EPO’s operations in the area, said the rehabilitation of the road would positively and economically impact their lives.
Speaking to more a 1000 attendants at the ceremony, Gbar Town Chief Daniel W. Henries said the program was purposely organized to show appreciation to EPO for the rehabilitation of the road which had been in a dilapidated stated for years.
Also speaking at the ceremony, the district’s spokesman, Charles Chadegar, said it was in the best interest of Compounds three and four that the government allowed EPO to operate in the area. He called on all residents of the district to allow the concession company extend its operations, which according to him, would be in the best interest of the county, development-wise.
An elder of the district, Glaybo Paul, told the gathering that development in the area would be at the slowest pace unless a concession company like EPO is allowed to operate within the district to foster development.
Elder Paul, on behalf of the district, presented a goat to the district’s representative, Rep. Robertson N. Siahway, who in turn gave the goat to EPO, as a sign of appreciation from the people to the company.
Presenting the goat, Rep. Siahway said though he does not feel comfortable giving tokens of appreciation as a representative, he had no option as the people he represents had mandated him to do so. According to him, it was a sign that the people really appreciated the work of EPO.
On behalf of EPO, the Government Liaison Officer, Weah Wesseh, expressed the company’s gratitude and thanked the people of Gbar District for the special recognition.
“If I am with you to witness this occasion, this means that we have lived to see our prayers and wishes being answered, thank God we live to tell the story,” Mr. Wesseh said.
He said EPO rehabilitated the road not because it wants favor from the people of the district, but they rather deemed it expedient to do so.
He clarified to the people of the district that resurvey of lands in the district does not mean that their lands would be taken forcefully from them, but it is rather intended to know all those who would be affected in case of an expansion so that proper preparations can be made for their convenient relocation.
He noted that the company is still in its embryonic state and that there is more development to be carried out by the company.
He assured citizens that no town or village will be invaded, but will remain and be developed by EPO.
Also commending EPO, some citizens from across the Timbo River in Rivercess County said the construction of the road project by EPO represents the beginning of prosperity and self-development in their lives. They called on Government and the company to help construct a bridge that will link Rivercess to Bassa, so that local produce can easily be marketed.
President of the Grand Bassa County Association in the Americas (GBCAA) was at the program, and stressed the need for children of the village to be educated. “The world that we see today, if we do not send our children to school, their future will be affected,” he said.
Mr. Jerome Gayman on behalf of the GBCAA promised to work collaboratively with the company to ensure that the lives of citizens are developed.