More than 60 citizens from Sinoe County gathered to cheer and inform visiting members of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) on their desire for increased developmental investment from Golden Veroleum in Tarjuowon Statutory District, Sinoe County.
“We see this as an important step in reducing poverty in the area,” said Patrick Saydee, Chairman of the Tarjuowon National Congress, and others who had gathered Friday, June 13th in Congo Town.
“In November last year, we all gathered and decided as a people that this was what we wanted, and in February we reaffirmed that vote. So we now want GVL to continue proceeding,” Chairman Saydee said.
RSPO is designed to transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm. They are to engage all stakeholders in their members supply chains, to include governments, consumers, suppliers, and local citizens on the development of oil palm industries.
The Sinoe citizens under the banners of the Tarjuowon National Congress (TNC) and the Kulu United Development Association (KUDA) took the opportunity to not just welcome the RSPO delegation, but to also sing and dance their feelings toward the potential for improved livelihoods.
KUDA Co-Chairman Samuel Wleh said we look forward to GVL fulfilling promises made to bring development in the county. He mentioned that his county was lacking opportunity to enable the citizens to live decent lives.
“We are lacking good roads, electricity and health facilities, so the coming of this company is indeed significant,” he said. “Can you imagine that in some parts of Sinoe, residents can now see cars because of the company’s operations there?”
“We want RSPO to understand that there are a few people in Monrovia who claim to speak for us, I can assure you that they do not speak for us and that 99 percent of our people in the county need and want this investment. We want jobs and good healthcare to make our county one of the most developed counties in Liberia,” said Saydee.
Saydee, however mentioned that it was unfortunate that some citizens, in Monrovia, were still doubtful regarding the company’s operation.
“There are very few of our citizens who do not understand much about how international investments work. This is why, we continue to provide education that the land still belongs to the people,” he explained.
According to him GVL continues to collaborate with the people in order to get their consent before they can expand their operations. “We have always had the opportunity to say no to GVL and to anybody else for that matter. But we found that GVL is the first company in the history of our county that involved the people and consulted the people all along the way. This never happened in the past, from the time since before I was a child until now, so we have great hope for our partnership.”
“As you can see there are some who came here today from Sinoe County, using their own money. We informed them of the importance of this meeting and they wanted to come, they spent hours on the road to get here, this is how important this development is for them,” mentioned Wleh.
The visiting delegation of the RSPO while in the country will assess the contributions of oil palm companies in improving the Liberian economy.