Monrovia, August 13, 2019

LLA and NBC hold talks with Project Affected Communities (PAC) in Sime Darby, Grand Cape Mount County

The Liberia Land Authority (LLA) along with the National Bureau of Concessions (NBC) on August 07, 2019, held a (SAPAD) MSP meeting with residents of Project Affected Communities within the Sime Darby Plantation in Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia.

The Three-Day Mediation Meeting, led by the Acting Chairman of the LLA, Atty. J. Adams Manobah, brought together chiefs, women, youths, civil society organizations (CSOs), and concerned residents of the county, including members of the PAC.

Speaking on behalf of residents of the Project Affected Communities, Mr. Abraham D. Kamara, chairman of PAC, firstly thanked and appreciated Hon. Atty. J Adams Monabah, Sr. for his continuous support and commitment to Grand Cape Mount County.

He expressed the hope that the presence of Hon. Manobah, Sr. will bring relief to the residents of the PAC. He further stated that though it is true that the leadership of His Excellency, Dr. George Manneh Weah is working very hard towards making Liberia a peaceful country in the sub-region, it is also important that the GOL take seriously issues affecting residents of the PAC. Mr. Kamara expressed his gratitude and optimism that the presence of Atty. J. Adams Monabah, Sr., in their community is a demonstration that the GOL is in readiness to listen to their cry.

In addition, Mr. Kamara affirmed that residents of the PAC remain grateful to Sime Darby Plantation for the construction of a twelve -classroom building in their county, and cautioned that Sime Darby’s statement to withdraw support from the school remains unacceptable.

He added that the company has failed to meet up with some of their social responsibility issues in terms of constructing a vocational school for capacity building, the construction of clinics to take care of the community residents’ health needs, program to empower women and youth, the construction of public latrines in affected communities, the training of workers from affected communities, and as well as the management’s failure to employ qualified residents of the PAC in 2013.

He also warned that residents of the affected communities are getting out of patience and that it would be expedient for Sime Darby to quickly address some of those major problems, especially in the areas of youth and women empowerment, through leadership training, office management and training in secretarial science, among others. Mr. Kamara specified in an angry tone that they will not accept anything as redundancy from Sime Darby and that if such thing happens the county will go into disarray.

Mr. Kamara asserted in quotation, “To keep our people working, the Government of Liberia (GOL) is prepared to give to Sime Darby any amount of land and as such the GOL will not accept the laying off of its people again.”

He however used the occasion to call on the Liberia Land Authority to simplify the Land Rights Act (LRA) and insisted that the simplification of the Land Rights Act will not only inform the people in rural areas but it will also enable them understand and know the role and limitations of concession companies operating in the country at large.

In his remarks, the Acting LLA Chairman, Hon. Atty. J. Adams Monabah, Sr. who is also Commissioner of Administration and Customers Service, thanked and appreciated the chiefs and residents for their patience at the meeting. He said patience is a virtue and it is important in such a matter since it allows the right things to be done.

He assured residents of the affected communities that he will work with the National Bureau of Concessions (NBC) to ensure that the disenchantment of the people reach the Government of Liberia (GOL) and that the ongoing awareness of the Land Rights Act will be more effective during the dry season throughout the fifteen (15) counties beginning with concession communities.

He further informed residents of the PAC that it is important to note that the same law that comes with so much benefits also comes with responsibilities, therefore, he asked residents of the affected communities to take seriously the aftermath of any negative steps they intend to undertake.

He added that through his office, the LLA will inform members of the Inter-Ministerial Concession Committee (IMCC) on the prevailing situation and appealed to residents of the PAC that demonstration in the streets is never the best way forward and asked them to remain patient and allow the GOL to work on their behalf.

He noted that even though it is true that the GOL is confronted with numerous challenges but those prevailing challenges will soon be things of the past.

Hon. Atty. Monabah, Sr. however cautioned residents of the PAC that if they choose the trail of demonstration as their best option, it will not only impede the development of their county but that such action has the proclivity to obstruct government’s mediation efforts and prevent employment opportunities.

In closing Ms. Manu Kamara, Assistant Director General for Concessions, National Bureau of Concessions (NBC) firstly thanked and appreciated Hon. Atty. J. Adams Manobah, Sr. for his remarks that brought smiles on the faces of community residents.

She said in quotation, “I am overwhelmed by Mr. Manobah’s approach. I am thankful to all of you (residents of the PAC) for your commitment towards ensuring the success of this meeting, therefore, I am encouraging you to get your Committee Form and register legally.”

She further encouraged residents of the PAC to remain calm and asked them through its established Committee to provide her office with monthly reports.

Also, Ms. Kamara said mutual understanding brings progress, therefore, it is important that all parties concerned should work toward one understanding for the betterment of the county.

At the end of the meeting, Mr. Abraham D. Kamara said residents of the PAC will hold restraint until those challenges and recommendations are met. He also used the occasion to appeal to the leadership of the Liberia Land Authority to ensure that the Land Rights Act reaches all parts of the country.

 

Reported By: Emmanuel Chedeh Davis