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The Sime Darby company, which took over the formal Guthrie Plantations in Gbah Foboi, Grand Cape Mount County, is making headways in western Liberia.

The company has started the rehabilitation of roads leading to the three major housing estates, and refurbishing of the only Clinic in the area which now has an ambulance and a center catering to hundreds of Liberians on a daily basic.

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Following a tour of the plantations early this week, Correspondent Zinnah Cassel disclosed the roads leading to the three housing estates of Bomi, Lofa and Grand Cape Mount were undergoing pavement.

The rehabilitation of the roads will continue up to February for accessibility plantations and elsewhere. Despite these developments, according to him, some workers at the plantations accused the new company of discrepancies in its employment policies.

They alleged that top managerial positions at the company were being given to foreigners, instead of qualified Liberians, most especially those from Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties.

They made their displeasure known during a well-attended meeting held on 23 January in Gbah Foboi, Grand Cape Mount County.

However, a Senior Manager of SIME DARBY denied the existence of discrepancies in its employment policies, clarifying that more 1,600 -former Guthrie Plantation workers, representing sixty percent have already been employed by the company.

According to Mr. Boamah Sonii, the company inherited over 2, 225 former employees of Guthriem, dismissing reports that citizens of Bomi and Grand Grand Cape Mount Counties were not employed by the company.

He said sixty percent of the current workforce at SIME DARBY is from Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties, while the rest are other qualified Liberians.  Regarding foreigners occupying top positions, he acknowledged the presence of five expatriates with work and residence permits serving in managerial capacities.

He, however, assured that following the company’s expansion, more Liberians from the western region will be employed. “The company has started its nursery processing for the re-planting of rubber and oil palm”, he concluded.

By Zinnah Cassell, Grand Cape County

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