Citizens of Garraway District, Grand Kru County have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Golden Veroleum Liberia for oil palm development at Garraway Beach on Tuesday, 15 April 2014.
As part of the MOU, GVL will construct schools, clinics, hand pumps, build houses, rehabilitate roads, run adult literacy programs and give preference to citizens of Garraway Beach for employment opportunities in the area. The ceremony, which was attended by approximately 500 citizens, was highlighted by speeches, a power point presentation covering the MOU details, and official signing of the MOU by hundreds of citizens of that district.
Tuesday’s signing ceremony comes on the heels of over two years of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) consultations and community engagements and will allow GVL to operate on approximately 1870 hectares (or approximately 4,621 acres).
In a brief remark prior to signing the MOU, Elder Moses G. Hne of Weteken assured GVL that their commitment was to work together, nothing: “We the people of this area have worked together with GVL over the past months and agreed word-for-word to everything included in this MOU and we are about to sign today. The company did not force us; we decided on our own.”
During the signing ceremony, Garraway Beach Youth Leader, Alex Badio said, “All that are in this paper do not exclude our women, elders, children and we the youths. So, we agreed to this MOU 100 percent, because we ourselves put most of the things in it.”
GVL Community Affairs and Social Sustainability Manager for Grand Kru County, Ofori Lartey said, “The MOU meets the consent of both parties. All the items herein were fully discussed by GVL and Garraway citizens. Therefore, GVL is committed to implementing them accordingly. Today’s ceremony affirms all prior discussions we have had with the people of Garraway District in the past.”
Grand Kru County Acting Superintendent and Senior Inspector, Augustine Nugba expressed joy over the citizens’ decision to invite GVL for oil palm development, which will result to the provision of basic social services and employment opportunities. “Several months ago, we as county officials saw this as a good chance to develop this area, and so, we decided to work with GVL,” Nugba stated.
Several high profile local government officials, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), paramount and clan chiefs, elders, including Grand Kru County Land Commissioner, Chairman David Togba, Assistant Superintendent for Development, T. Michael Wesseh, Weteken Commissioner Steve Natt joined the hundreds of attendees at the signing ceremony and affirmed their support to upholding the MOU.