Some citizens of Bomi County said they will miss the presence of SDPL after they have established cordial relationship with them.
“Even though there were some times when we used harsh words at one another, the spirit of one family still remains,” Gorblah Clan, Chief Sakamud Samukai remarked.
Chief Samukai who served as representative for the people of Gorblah Clan said, “we will miss Sime Darby very much. We have built a good relationship with. Look, the GM, here, AliKamal, when we call on him anytime, he is prepared to listen to us. Now, he is leaving, we will miss him and the company,” he said.
They spoke when the outgoing SDPL manager, Ali Kamal Hassan went to introduce MPOI CEO, Mr. Asaad Fidel to the citizens of the clan.
He added, “we take Sime Darby as part of us here. We have been living with them for many years. Sometime, we can disagree to agree on some matters. When is over, we come back stronger with the friendship.”
Chief Samukai said we are very sad that Sime Darby is leaving Liberia, but ‘we are ready to work with the new company, Mano Palm Oil Industries (MPOI).
“We will protect the new company. We are proud to be receiving new company,” he said.
For his part, a prominent citizen of the clan, Mr. Abdullai Navoe expressed sadness that the company was leaving.
“We will miss SDPL. This is one company that we have been working with for the past years. We hope that the new company that is coming here will be like Sime Darby or more than then, said Mr. Abdullai Navoe, he said.
“The same way we treated Sime Darby is the way we will treat you. Once you hold us good, we will hold you good. But we want to say here that we will miss SDPL. We will miss Ali Kamal our son. We, in this clan have no issue with him and the company. They have built us several latrine, hand pump among other facilities we are enjoying today.”
Sime Darby has been operating in Liberia since 2009 following a 63-year concession agreement they signed with the Liberian Government for the planting of 220 hectares of land with palm oil. But since then, the company has only planted 10,000 hectares of palm, but continue to provide other services and at the same time incurring other expenses.
“We are grateful because some of our citizens have been working with the company. Our children are going to the company’s school, although some of us not working with them. Besides, the company has been providing medical service for us,” Navoe said.
Navoe added that 71 of the citizens are serving as security officers for the company and they have been doing well helping to guard the company’s Plantation from thieves.
On the line of crop theft, which has been taking place at the plantation by criminals, he said, “you will not see that kind of thing here. Those communities that are into palm theft are not from here. For us, we will not allow for such to occur here,” he said.
In response, the outgoing General Manager of Sime Darby Plantation Liberia, Ali Kamal Hassan said the company is handling responsibilities to MPOI and nothing will change and as such, the citizens shouldn’t panic.
He assured the citizens of their presence in the country. According to him, SDPL will be here to provide some technical support to MPOI.
“I feel at home here. The clan has been very supportive and very unique to our investments. This is uniqueness of the clan. I pray that the relationship will continue with MPOI. We have to remember that concession leaders come and go and it’s normal. Everything is temporary and we need to embrace new people,” Kamal said.
“The new partner will continue this legacy of SDPL and will accelerate and so, let’s hold together to continue the legacy and support the new company,” Kamal added.