The Commissioner of Cinta Township in Gibi District, Upper Margibi County, William Julye, has commended the management of the Salala Rubber Corporation (SRC) for living up to its corporate social responsibility.
According to him, in the face of the numerous challenges, the SRC is honoring its “Corporate Social Responsibility by undertaking development initiatives, such as the construction of roads, bridges, schools, community latrines, hand pumps, renovation and furnishing of public schools, distribution of rice and cash as gifts to community members within the concession area.
He also condemned in the strongest term, the most recent violent activity carried out against the SRC allegedly by some unnamed citizens, which he described as “uncivilized to instill fear in the minds of investors.”
He said it was not right, and as such, has the propensity to scare away investors in the country.
Commissioner Julye said as Commissioner of Cinta Township, he plays the role of a “mother of twins” and as such will not say or do anything that will exacerbate or sour the relationship between his citizens and the management of the SRC.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Juyle has denied recent media reports linking him to a purported statement that accuses SRC Management of “harassing and intimidating residents of the township over land issues in his area.”
According to Commissioner Julye, although he granted an interview to a reporter, he vehemently denied telling any reporter that the SRC does not have a genuine concession agreement with the Government of Liberia.
His SRC’s denial was contained in a statement he issued over the weekend, and quoted by Liberia News Agency (LINA) Margibi County correspondent, Richard Baysah.
“I did not say the SRC Management used any law enforcement officer, or court constables to harass, and intimidate citizens under my administration, or used bulldozers to clear their farm land to expand the plantation,” he said.
It may be recalled that on March 5, two local dailies reported that “Citizens Demand Proof for Land, as SRC expands plantation,” quoting Commissioner Julye accusing the SRC of using bulldozers to clear farm lands belonging to locals and plant rubber under its expansion program.
Commissioner Juyle categorically denied the accusation during an interview with reporters over the weekend and said there has been an existing concession agreement dating as far back as the mid-1950s between the management and the Liberian Government.
He remembered how his parents had worked with the SRC since the agreement came into being and up to present his mother receives a pension from the management.
For its part, SRC management maintained that it has operated within the confines of its August 1, 1959, concession agreement with the Liberian Government.
According to the management, it has paid due compensation for crops destroyed over the years in the process of developing the undeveloped portion of its concession land granted by the government.
It denied ever acquiring additional lands from private individuals, or groups, and that the entire surface area of its concession granted by the GOL is 21,080 acres.
SRC management further maintained that in view of the Ministry of Agriculture’s August 20, 2012, price list for economic crop damaged during development projects, and such damage to crops being inherent in its new development operations in undeveloped portions of its concession area encroached on by local residents, it is constrained to halt all of its intended new development activities until such matter is peacefully settled.
At the moment, SRC is only felling non-productive rubber trees and replanting on the same land, and emphatically rejected contrary allegations of encroachment.