A 50 man delegation representing different groups has presented a complaint to President George Manneh Weah over the status of their forest.
The group presented the complaint to President Weah on 29 January against the elected leadership of the Bassa Forest Management Team.
The group comprising aggrieved chiefs, elders and pro-democracy groups are accusing the leadership team of allegedly refusing to update the citizens on the present status of their forest.
The outcome of the delegation’s meeting with President Weah at his residence on the Robertsfield Highway was not known up to press time as effort to contact the forest management team via mobile phone proved fruitless.
A member of the delegation Mr. James Gargar told this paper that the leadership has for the past four years now declined to honor several invitations and citations to appear and provide a clearer picture to the people regarding the forest.
According to him, they have been finding difficulties to negotiate with interested foreign investors desirous of investing in the rich forest of the county simply because the management team has suspended them.
Mr. Gargar narrates that the forest management team was also invited by the County Superintendent, youth and pro-democracy groupings in the county to discuss the issue relevant to the forest.
But he claims that the team ignored the invitation, noting that the citizens of the county who are the owners of the forest are being denied the opportunity to negotiate with foreign partners interested in doing forest business in Liberia.
According to them, the elected forest management team has also allegedly refused to turn over the forest document from the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) that authorizes the citizens to seek investors for the forest.
Mr. Gargar complains that because of the unprofessional manner in which the forest management team was proceeding, they decided to make their position known to the government to avoid conflict in the area.
The alleged non – cooperative attitude being displayed by the management team is said to leave citizens with mixed feelings among the Bassa people who have interest in giving the forest out to potential foreign investor.
The citizens are saying giving out the forest to investors would create job opportunity for the people, especially the youthful population.
Mr. Gargar adds that they find difficulties to benefit from the forest because those who were elected to manage the affairs of the forest have allegedly shown no interest to update them about progress being made to have investors to manage the forest.
The aggrieved residents say they are not benefiting from any development initiative including school, clinic, safe drinking water, recreation center and farm to market road since the team was elected by the people.
However, when the head of the forest management team was contacted via mobile phone to ascertain circumstances surrounding the forest, the official’s number rang endlessly with no response.
By Emmanuel Mondaye –Edited by Winston W. Parley