Margibi County Sr. Senator, Clarice Jah
Residents Demand Compensation for Damaged Crops
By Richard D. Baysah, Margibi County Correspondent
KAKATA, Feb 27 (LINA) –Residents of several villages in Margibi County have embarked on a strike action in demand of compensation from the Salala Rubber Corporation for their damaged crops.
The striking residents said their crops have been damaged while their drinking water sources have been contaminated as a result of the expansion of the Salala Rubber plantation in the area.
The spokesman of the residents, Abraham Penneh told the Liberia News Agency Wednesday evening that they will not stop the strike action until the management of the Salala Rubber Corporation compensates them for their damaged crops.
He said their strike action was prompted by the flogging upon the orders of the Salala Rubber Corporation Management of many villagers who were protesting the destruction of their crops.
Mr. Penneh explained that two clans have been damaged and that all of their ancestral inheritance was not spared by the company in its expansion exercise.
According to the Liberia News Agency correspondent in Margibi County, the situation has led to the partial shutdown of normal activities of the Salala Rubber Corporation, as most of its newly planted rubber has been burnt by protesting community dwellers.
He said the situation is affecting over two thousand inhabitants in the area.
Meanwhile, Margibi County Superintendent John Zubah Buway is calling on stakeholders in the process to prevail on their people to seek dialogue or resort to legal means in seeking redress.
He said whatever their claims, it was wrong on the part of the residents to harass and intimidate concessions that are providing employment and paying taxes for the country’s development.
Superintendent Buway called on them to stop the violence and seek legal remedy in any issue confronting them.
At the same time, the management of the Salala Rubber Corporation has said that it has made payments to several local farmers for their damaged crops.
The Management told the Liberia News Agency that since the inception of its expansion activities in 2010, it has paid all of the farmers within its concession areas the sum of one hundred and sixty five thousand United States Dollars for their damaged crops.
However, the head of a local environmental advocacy group, Green Advocate, has threatened legal action against the Management of the Salala Rubber Corporation.
Counselor Alfred Brownell said as a lawyer representing the legal interest of affected villagers within the Salala Rubber Corporation concession area, he will ensure that the rights of the locals are protected.
He said the destruction of crops by the Salala Rubber Corporation as a result of the expansion of their plantation was not done in accordance with law.
Counselor Brownell told the villagers late Wednesday evening in Gorgbor Town in Gibi District that if the company had not violated their rights, they would have had no reason to strike against the company in demand of payment for their damaged crops.
He, however, warned them to remain calm and not to engage in any violent acts that will jeopardize the matter.
He assured the villagers that he was going to ensure that the right thing is done adding, “this is the reason why the government through the President has asked me to help in resolving the matter”.