Days after protesters stormed and vandalized the premises of Golden Veroleum Liberia in Butaw, Sinoe County the company said it has commenced assessing damages and will complete its work in the coming days. GVL renewed its commitment to local communities in Sinoe and Grand Kru counties.
“A team of technicians have been dispatched to Sinoe to assess the level of damages caused,” GVL spokesman Stephen Binda said in a statement. In addition, the company said it has commenced discussions with the Sinoe and Grand Kru Legislative Caucuses, the Liberian National Police in a bid to resolve the matter. With the assessment, Binda said the company’s monthly payroll for employees would be conducted as usual. The company described the violence and looting as a great loss to both GVL and its Butaw community.
Binda said while it acknowledges the intervention of government in the matter, GVL has not been officially offered the use of the Sinoe County Development Fund. “It is not our intent to use the county development fund to repair damages,” Binda said. “We absolutely would not accept these funds for any repairs whatsoever. If we are asked to use these funds for damage repair, we would utilize the CDF to the desire of Sinoe citizens and use it directly for urgent county purposes, such as schools, clinics and road building and repair. We will not under any circumstance use the county development fund for any damage repair. Our thought and belief is the county development funds are strictly for the people of Sinoe and not GVL.”
On Tuesday of last week, members of the Butaw Youth Association staged a violent protest demanding an immediate meeting with a top GVL official. The company management requested to schedule the meeting for an appropriate time, as it was in the midst of a management coordination meeting.
Entrances were later blocked by the Butaw Youth, preventing vehicles and employees’ movement, while stones were thrown at managers and facilities. Several company vehicles were damaged, while others sustained body injuries and properties were looted, causing dozens of GVL employees to flee into nearby bushes for safety.
The genesis of the complaint by the Butaw Youth stemmed from an ongoing boundary dispute between Butaw and the neighboring community of Murrysville. GVL indicated in a previous statement that its corporate policy and international standards dictate that the company will not expand into areas with boundary disputes.
“Due to the boundary dispute we do understand the frustration with the slow progress in Butaw,” said Binda. “We too have been frustrated by this, however, we have a very clear policy of not entering in disputed areas and this will not change.”