Citizens and authorities in Gbarpolu county have denounced the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) for stating in its report that the Sime Darby, an agriculture company that operates in the Western Region is 'exploiting the resources' of the county.
"The leadership of Gbarpolu County to include the elders, the chiefs, the women groups and the youths would like to clarify that it has no knowledge of support to any declaration or statement that was made on behalf of the people of Gbarpolu emanating from the SDI on the operation of Sime Darby Plantation Company in the county.
"The statement from SDI about the operation of oil palm companies in Liberia especially Sime Darby, is a complete misrepresentation of the truth and has no bearing of what is unfolding in our country," a statement signed by Allen Gbowee, Superintendent, Gbarpolu County, stated.
He noted that the "so called declaration" made by the SDI in the name of the Gbarpolu people did not represent the holistic views and expressions of the "peace loving and development oriented people of our county."
"The idea to mislead the world and other developmental partners through such a malicious, selfish and felonious statement was conceived by SDI as a means of justifying their huge donor funding," he said.
Contrary to the SDI report, he stressed that the people of Gbarpolu believe that as Liberia progresses in its developmental strides, concession companies especially those in the agriculture sector are the driving force to achieving the overall success in the country's economic revitalization process.
"Therefore, we wish to also state that Sime Darby or any other multi-national company operating in Liberia is welcome to come to our country on investment once it is within the confines of the laws that govern the Republic of Liberia.
"As a matter of fact, our county being one of the newest counties in Liberia is in dire need of economic activities, though it is endowed with huge natural resources including water, land, diamond, timber and gold," he said.
The statement also revealed that the entrance of SDI into the county was done "without the support" of them and they "are handpicking people who have no knowledge about the work of Sime Darby around Liberia and the world at large, inciting them to spread hate messages against concession companies."
"SDI is creating division and confusion among our people which could further set our country in a backward trend. Therefore, we would like to state categorically that SDI is no longer welcome as their activities are creating more harm than good for our people," he maintained.