Special Statement By the Government of Liberia On the Violent Disturbances in Butaw, Sinoe County

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The Government of Liberia regrets the mayhem, looting and destruction which occurred on the Golden Veroleum Oil Plantation in Butaw, Sinoe County, on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.As expected, this act of violence, looting and the wanton destruction of properties will not go unpunished.
The violence in Butaw does not only threaten our peace and security, it undermines our collective livelihood, and unfairly portrays our country as an unsafe destination for foreign investment. Together, we have all worked too hard to return our country to an enviable place for foreign and domestic investmentsin order to create much-needed jobs and improve the living conditions of our people. Accordingly, we will decisively and effectively resist any effort by anyone or any group to either alter our course or reverse our collective progress.
As such, the Ministry of Justice through the Liberia National Police has begun a thorough search and seizure operation in Butaw for the looted properties of the GVL. Wherever they are properly identified and found, the homeowners will be arrested and the looted properties retrieved, logged and returned to the company. All personssaid to be responsible for the Butaw Mayhem are being arrested and willbe prosecuted in keeping with the law. The Justice Ministry has also been instructed to pursue the additional charge of economic sabotage against such persons wherever applicable.
The relevant authorities have also been directed to work with GVL in a full assessment of the damage to the concession. Consistent with the practice of this administration, when determined and agreed, the cost of the assessed damage will be offset by the social and or county development funds of Sinoe.
Let it also be known that the Liberian Government takes seriously its commitments to all international protocols, as well as acceptable procedures and practices. However, this Government will not accept the misuse or abuse of international protocolsto undermine its sovereign duties and responsibilities thereby making it difficult, if not impossible,for the Government to meet the needs and fulfill the expectations of its people.Especially in this regard, we reject the creeping abuseof well-intentioned international protocols such as those provided for by the Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)by individuals or groups of individuals whose intentions are wholly selfish and seeks to undermine the economic wellbeing of our country and its people.
Meanwhile, the Vice President, Ambassador Joseph NyumaBoakai will remain actively seized of this matter.

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