Klay District, Bomi County – For being generous and going beyond scope of operations, the management of Sime Darby Plantation in Liberia (SDPL) has been commended by the youth of Klay District, Bomi County.
The young people of the district under the banner ‘Goblah Youth for Development and Advocacy (GOYDA) in a release said they have carefully monitored, investigated and analyzed the activities and work of Sime Darby for the past six years, and as such, the company deserves commendation.
The exuberant youth organization lauded the company for choosing to invest in Liberia particularly in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties, saying the company’s investment has brought some economic improvement to the citizens in the concession areas.
Members of the group said as civil society organization, they have to speak on issues of the County and the wellbeing of the people as well as commend what is commendable and condemn what is condemnable.
“After divulging religiously in the operations of Sime Darby plantation, since their inception in Bomi and Cape Mount Counties in 2010, we have witness the creation of thousands of jobs for our people and other Liberians,” the group said in a release.
It can be recalled in 2010, Sime Darby Plantation signed a 63 year concession agreement with the Liberian Government to operate in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties in areas that were previously operated by B F Goodrich and Guthrie Rubber Plantations.
GOYDA further said it has observed over the short period of time, the improvement in the lives of citizens since the investment of Sime Darby in these counties.
“While it is true that all has not been gold and silver, it is also good to be thankful to the management of Sime Darby for their investment and the development that follows including the many good things that the company has started to do, in the area of road, Education, Health, employment opportunity and Infrastructure development,” GOYDA further noted.
The group recounted that before the coming of Sime Darby to Liberia, B F Goodridge and Guthrie Plantations operated these areas for so many years, but never experienced the rapid economic improvement that they are experiencing today.
“In the past, students completing junior high school had to move to Tubmanburg or Monrovia only if one had relatives in those places to get high school education.
Today, we can proudly boast of over five hundred students who have graduated from the Sime Darby High School both employees and non-employees children which worth commending, we say thanks to Sime Darby Plantation Liberia.
As we all know, Liberians stable food is rice. Our people in the plantation and its environ are able to afford a Cup or bag of rice now for a lower cost due to the rice supply by Sime Darby to its employees,” the release quoted the group.
The release signed by the group’s Secretary General Francis B. Moore and chairman Clarence G. Boimah said economically their communities are improving gradually due to the presence of Sime Darby.
According to them, villages and towns that were once seen with palm thatches on top of houses are today changed or changing to Zinc roofing. They added that many citizens can now afford to construct their own houses in various towns and the use of generators for electricity has improved rapidly.
“Some villages and towns that were not accessible due to bad roads conditions or no road are now accessible and reachable. The provision of goods and services including sale of goods has also improved due to the increase in population within our areas.
The hunger rate of our people has also reduced because most of our citizens are employed and can take home few bags of rice monthly. Our people’s lives are improving economically due to the employment of Sime Darby,” they added.
The group further indicated that over the last five (5) years, they have noticed that the standard of living of their people had taken a shape in its real direction.
They however said it is true that there are challenges in other areas of concession, but vowed that together, they can handle those challenges in an amicable way so as to have a cohesive understanding for the forward match of their counties.
“We want to use this medium to call on our fellow compatriots to channel their grievances through the proper means by using dialogue. While it is true that national government is responsible for providing jobs for its citizens, if jobs are provided through concessionaires, it is incumbent upon us Citizens to create friendly working environment for these companies so that they will relax on us for protection, and we also relax on them for jobs provision,” they appealed.
“We are therefore in strong solidarity with our brothers and sisters who have been victimized in anyway by actions of Sime Darby, but we are pleading to everyone affected to remain resolute and use the proper procedures in settling those issues, because dissatisfactions will jeopardize the operations of the company whereas all of us will be affected by this in that it will slow down the operations of the company.
We want to call on the management of Sime Darby to always be willing, friendly and ready to dialogue with the people in settling dispute and also give keen attention to issues raised by some aggrieved citizens and workers so that we all will have a harmonium working relationship because we both need each other and we are going to live as a big family for the next two to three decades,” they concluded.