GRAND KRU COUNTY, Liberia — Golden Veroleum Liberia on Friday, 15 August 2014 signed two separate Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with citizens of Beloken, Ylatwen and Gbanken, Wedabo-Grand Cess District, Grand Kru County. By signing the MOU, the people expressed their willingness to work with GVL for developing approximately 5,110 acres for Oil Palm development. To this end, Gbanken is contributing 1,743 acres, Ylatwen 1,923 acres and Beloken 1,446 acres.
As enshrined in the MOU, GVL is committed to building schools, bridges, clinics, rehabilitate roads, provide safe drinking water facilities and long-term employment opportunities for citizens of the three communities.
Speaking during the ceremony, Grand Kru County Superintendent Elizabeth Dempster, described the event as historical, in that it will long be discuss in years to come. “I still remember, when I was newly appointed, I received a large delegation of Wedabo citizens when GVL was preparing to come. That delegation asked GVL through me to come to Grand Kru instead of other counties,” said Dempster. “You have fought the good fight in getting GVL into your communities. good fight. No one forced you to do it and you have welcome a major investment into your communities. I applaud you.
Making remarks earlier, District Commissioner Nathaniel Nyanneh expressed heartfelt joy to have been a part of the MOU signing, which met the approval of local residents. “The coming of GVL is for the good of all of us here today and the generation unborn and the beginning of a much-needed economic transformation, the district commissioner mentioned”
In an overview of the MOU, GVL Senior Manager for Community Affairs and Social Sustainability, Ofori Lartey said GVL and communities have agreed to jointly collaborate through mutual participatory mapping and agreed on the planned development. “Additional 1,023 acres of land will also be identified by the communities and GVL will establish Community Oil Palm program for local farmers,” according to Lartey.
Lartey further assured citizens of the three communities of GVL’s commitment to providing basic social services under the signed agreement.
The signing events were held at the Jlatwen Episcopal Church and Gbanken Public schooll respectively. Prior to the signing ceremony, GVL Safety Officer Amelia Wrobeh and Superintendent Dempster held an informal briefing on the current Ebola outbreak and preventative measures. Despite a huge attendance by the people, the traditional rituals of feasting which usually characterized such event was not perform due the current outbreak.
The August 15th signing brings to an end a period of nearly two years of intense community engagements and development discussions done in line with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process.