Following years of bitterness and distrust between the management of the Salala Rubber Corporation, (SRC) and members of local communities within the concession of the company, both sides have resolved to put the pass behind them and open a new page.
Community members note that the Salala Rubber Corporation was never their enemy, but a very good friend and security. The citizens made the call recently in Gleegbah Town, Gibi District, Upper Margibi County during the second stakeholders meeting organized by the management of the SRC, according to the Liberia News Agency.
The stakeholders’ meeting is an engagement process initiated by the General Manager of the Salala Rubber Corporation, Mr. Shanid Allupy.He says the engagement meeting is intended to bring about peaceful coexistence between members of local communities located within the concession of the company and management.
Speaking through their local leaders, Commissioner of Cinta Township, William Julye says it was a very difficult task for him to have initiated the process leading to brokering a peace deal with the company and the citizens.
There has been years of sweeping allegations ranging from damaged crops, water pollution, land grapping among others by members of various towns and villages within the concession areas.
Speaking further, the citizens note they will be the best security for the company further, assuring that not one of their rubber crops, cups and other materials will ever be taken from the trees or the destruction of the company’s infrastructures.
They were alluding to the January 9, 2018 killing of one William Siafa by some unknown persons in the plantation of the company that led to some citizens vandalizing the company’s houses in camps 8 and 9.
They however regretted the situation and apologized to the management of the Salala Rubber Corporation for the wrongful act meted out against the company by some of their citizens.
“We will not support any of our citizens who will get involve with perpetrating lawlessness in their respective communities against the company, something which will cause serious problem for them”, they further assured the company during the meeting.
“In the face of such unacceptable act carried out by some of our citizens, we cannot shift blame on the company for taking any legal action on those engaged in such unlawfulness”, they further intimated.
Responding on behalf of the company, Public Relations Manager, Lewis Shilling, thanks the citizens for accepting their initiatives.Mr. Shilling expresses that it was a very tedious work to have embarked on the stakeholders meeting amid the stormy situation that existed between the company and locals in the immediate past.
He further narrates that over the years, it has never been the intension of the management of SRC to be at loggerhead with citizens living within the concession areas of the company, but to rather live in peace and harmony with them at all times.
He reveals that the company was granted a concession right by the Government of Liberia in August 1959 to invest in agricultural activities especially, production of natural rubber, not to get in confrontation with anyone or host communities.
“I like to take this time to urge all of you to see this company as yours and you should jealously protect it as you are the host”, Mr. Shilling says.