Community residents of the Kulu Shaw Boe District, Sinoe County have expressed serious reservation about the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Golden Veloreum Liberia without their consent.
According to a release, on November 8-9, the Kulu United Development Association held a meeting with community residents within the district to discuss GVL’ s proposed palm oil operations on their land.
But the release added that while the meeting was occurring, the company took citizens from the meeting venue in Jacksonville in Kulu Shaw Boe district to a parallel meeting in the Unification City in Nyam, Plahn- Nyam district to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for GVL to use the Kulu people’s land for its operations.
It noted that as a result of discussions held during the meeting, the people of Kulu resolved that they do not want to give their land to GVL to use for palm oil plantation.
“The people of Kulu oppose several provisions within the concession agreement between GVL and the Government of Liberia as they believe they are not in the interest of the communities; for example, clauses which allow for involuntary settlement” said Sampson Toby, National Chairman of Kulu United Development Association(KUDA).
“we have tried to engage constructively with GVL and to discuss our concerns but the process leading to the signing of the MOU has been characterized by outright disregard and violation of the Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC) process”, Toby Sampson said, and added, “GVL and the county and local officials have engaged in divide- and rule tactics and deception.”
“The process has been marred by pervasive undue influence by county and local government officials and elites who have carried out intimidation, harassment and threats of dismissing Ministry of Internal Affairs and other local government employees, who question the process and or express dissenting opinion”, said Russell W. Kumon, local Chairman of the Kulu United Development Association.
Meanwhile, the KUDA is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency not to “issue permit to GVL to expand its palm oil plantation into Kulu.