Reported by: Mark G. Gray (Correspondent Sinoe County)
The Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), has completed a day Landscape dialogue on forest and Land in Greenville, Sinoe County on September 8,2020.
According to Mr. Sampson S. Williams, National Programs Assistant, the dialogue was intended to get the opinions of communities members that are affected by concessions operations in their various localities and finding a way forward to address some of their concerns.
Mr. Williams said, during the course of the discussion, lots of complains were made by community residents relating to the operations of concession companies.
He said residents informed him that companies are not living up to their promises in the memorandum of understanding and engaging in some other unlawful practices.
He added that communities affected by Companies operations have pleaded with the SDI for legal assistant to help make their MOU stronger and mapping of their land so as to know the amount of haters in use by companies inorder to determine the number of citizens that should be employed.
“They actually complained a lot of those concession companies operating in their area especially Golden Veroleum Liberia, they told us those challenges they are faced with.
Although they talk about some opportunity they have now, but their challenges and difficulties they are faced with are numerous.
Talking about company non-compliance with MOU signed and they are calling on us SDI to give them legal assistant and mapped their land” He said.
Mr. Williams further explained that the SDI is going to provide all the necessary support needed to affected communities in making sure they understand their basics rights in protecting their land and forest.
Mr. Terry Payonnoh, one of the participant praised the work of SDI for their constant support in making communities understands the important of their land and forest, giving tips on how their land can be manage sustainably.
Mr. Panyonnoh said, for over the years companies have used community forest and land without the community benefitting basic infrastructure development and employment and not adhering to MOU.
“They only come and used our land, damage our forest without we the community people getting the necessary benefit, also failing to comply with the memorandum of understanding signed with communities” Mr. Panyonnah Lamented.
Mr. Panyonnoh added that they have asked the SDI to give them the legal assistant and help mapped their land, because the companies keep taking advantage of them.
Lucy Jerboe a participant from the Kabada community, one of the communities affected by the operation of GVL said, she regret the entrance of GVL into their community, because the company have not been able to live to their expectations
Madam Jerboe named the constant redundancy of employee and the company failure to fulfill it promised to the community.
“The take our land and forest, now no where for us to go do fishing and farming. They promised us and our children, that they will build hospitals and schools and give us work, but now they keep putting us and our children down from work.” She said .
Madam Jerboe said life is becomig unberable for them as they are unable to farm because they company has taken over their farm land.