Heritage (Monrovia)

Liberia: Global Witness Hindering Economic & Infrastructural Growth in G/Gedeh - Lawmaker Claims

Grand Gedeh County District #3 Representative, Alex C. Grant, has accused Global Witness of allegedly hindering economic and infrastructural growth and development by delaying the certification of the Liberian Hardwood Corporation (LHC).

Amongst other things, Global Witness is an international campaigner that helps to preserve natural resources of a country.

According to him, attempts being made by the LHC (LHC) to carry out operation in the county have been continuously hindered by Global Witness.

Few years ago, citizens of Gboe/Ploe and Gbao Administrative Districts entered into social agreements with LHC to conduct logging activities in Bloquia and Neezonie Clans.

Speaking to reporters over the weekend in Monrovia, Rep. Grant pointed out that the "anti-logging" campaign of Global Witness and its partners to preserve the resources of the country is becoming more detrimental to residents and citizens within the various communities.

He said these organizations that "perceived to be beacons of hope are gradually gravitating towards obstructionist organizations bent on preventing private sector investment in the timber industry."

He stated that international organizations monitoring the usage of Liberia's resources must be more involved in working with the communities to 'proactively prepare themselves to adopt expeditiously workable solutions to those conditions that have the potential to stall development."

Rep. Grant acknowledged that while it is true that citizens welcome national and international organizations that continue to monitor the extractive industry sector, it is prudent that their monitoring action actions take into consideration the general destitute conditions of the citizens.

According to him, a significant portion of the Gboe/Ploe and Gbao Administrative Districts has been inaccessible to vehicle since the formation of Liberia and therefore, private sector investment must be encouraged to help address some of the plights affecting the citizens.

He said citizens from these districts have to "trek" about 15 hours to approach a nearby health facility.

"For every time there is discussion and we are graduating from one step, Global Witness will come with some technical communication just to ensure that the job does not start. This has been ongoing for the past three years.

What do we want is, if you know that these are regulations that should be put into place; in the most recent situation when they (Global Witness) went into the community and LHC and other community members came together to have the company finally certify and to commence work.

They (Global Witness) began to ask for community lot, action plan for the usage of community forest. You knew all these things for the past three years, why you couldn't come up with these things so that we get to work? We need roads, schools, clinics and they are not allowing development to foster." He stated.

The lawmaker added: "Every attempt by the LHC to commence operation has been continuously hindered by Global Witness and its partners. Our resources must be preserved due to our own willingness.

We cannot preserve what we do not have today. The educational system lie in ruin with perpetual problem of no teachers, unqualified or untrained teachers, lack of educational and instructional materials, and access to information is essentially non-existence.

We are convinced that our local communities' engagement with the LHC shows interest in exploiting our forest resources to transform the socio-economic life of our communities was based on a honest quest of the people of the districts to have access to roads and improved livelihood."

Meanwhile, the Grand Gedeh County lawmaker has appealed to Global Witness and its associate agencies to abandon what he called their "obstructionist tactics" and support the communities and the investor in question to proactively correct those conditions that have prevented the company's operation.

He, however, pledged the citizens' commitment and willingness to work collectively with the Liberian Hardwood Corporation (LHC).

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 Heritage. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.