10 January 2013

Liberia: Sinoeans Complain Green Advocate

Hundreds of Sinoeans from 10 different civil society organizations Wednesday stormed the grounds of the Capitol, home of the Liberian Legislature to complain an environmental rights activist, Attorney Alfred Brownell of Green Advocate on his "misconduct" toward the multimillion company, Golden Veroleum-Liberia (GVL) operating in Sinoe County.

The group through its spokesperson told members of the House of Representatives that every activity of Golden Veroleum-Liberia was on track until the visitation of Atty. Brownell, who is Executive Director of Green Advocate-International to the county.

Mr. Mike S. Naklen explained that Brownell had gone to Sinoe to conduct workshop with some citizens of Butaw District, instilling in their minds that GVL came to take their land; to also destroy their heritage and that GVL operations should be rejected.

About 10 civil society organizations in county have filed complaint to the Liberian Legislature through the county's caucus about the alleged misconduct of Green Advocate Boss, Atty. Alfred Brownell.

"This was beginning of the problems between GVL and the people of Butaw. After Atty. Brownell departed, people of Butaw through the group organized and began to create chaos in the county and havoc for GVL", he said.

According to Mike, less than a week after Atty. Brownell left Sinoe, about 609 palm trees transplanted were cut down by unknown persons. He noted investigation conducted by the civil society and the Sinoe County branch of the National Traditional Council of Liberia indicated that one of Atty. Brownell's chief agents, a health worker at the Butaw Clinic, Teah Doegman and his son were suspected as the doers and arrested.

He claimed that some agents of Green Advocate led by their spokesperson Teah Doegman grouped and armed themselves with cutlasses and machetes during the visit of Vice President Joseph Boakai to the county, in an attempt to prevent his visitation to GVL in Butaw. He called on the Liberian Legislature to question Mr. Brownell on his motives behind such alleged actions.

"We are deeply concerned and we hope the legislature will act promptly to save the county and the company. We are also concerned because US$200,000 and 3,000 bags of rice infused into the Sinoe economy monthly as salary, wages and incentive payment will be cut off. We are concerned because the country will be losing US$100,000 provided annually by GVL for agriculture students' scholarship and possible dropout students from various universities", he concluded.

Responding to the group's concerns, Sinoe County Electoral District #1 Representative Jefferson Karmoh, pledged to take the matter to the full plenary upon the return of the House next week from annual vacation.

When the Green Advocate was contacted, the media section of the institution said that they are preparing an official response in the matter.

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