We, the University Students of Pleebo Sodoken District, have observed with outmost disappointment the unfavorable State of Affairs at the Cavalla Rubber Plantation in Pleebo Sodoken District, Maryland County where the company is taking gross disadvantage of our people.
Enroute to Cavalla Plantation to Meet With SRI Leaders, President Sirleaf Meets Elders and Chiefs at the Harper Airport
We are particularly troubled by the allegations of bribery that some members of the Maryland Legislative Caucus received US$50,000.00 each from the Salala Rubber Investment (SRI) Company to influence their decision to grant the company the contract to operate the Cavalla Rubber Plantation in the Pleebo/Sodoken District as was reported in the New Broom News Paper published on Monday, September 14, 2009.
We have followed with keen interest the Law suit filed by the President against the New Broom News Paper. It will be prejudicial on our part to give any opinion now in this regard. We will therefore allow the legal process to be carried out to its logical conclusion.
Our paramount concern in the awarding of the contract to the SRI is justice for the people that we want. We want our people to be given fair treatment when it comes to making decision on their behalf.
Reflecting upon the contract agreement reportedly signed between the Government of Liberia (GOL) and the Salala Rubber Investment (SRI/CRC), we were surprised to hear that the contract was signed in favor of the lower bidder, the SRI, instead of the higher bidder, the BSP, that offered more benefits to the Government, the people of Maryland County and Pleebo/Sodoken District in particular.
We reviewed the packages presented in the expression of interest (EOI) to Government by the two main competing parties (Bakrie Sumatra Plantation, BSP and SRI). We were convinced that the proposal presented by BSP would have attracted much interest from the Government initiators whereby BSP could have been declared the winner of the bid. To the contrary, our Government chose the SRI. According to the documents we reviewed, SRI offered to pay to the Government US $2.3m for the 50% share of the Government while BSP offered US $ 6.3m for the same equity. Besides, we read with deep interest the action plan of the BSP which contains more development initiatives than any other we have read so far. It thus beats our imagination that Government could leave 6.3Million dollars option from BSP and opt to offer the contract to SRI which offered 2.3m for the same 50% share of the Government.
Therefore, we are here to call upon our Government that for the desire for justice, the same approach used in the cases of Firestone, Metal Steel and Western Cluster companies be used in bringing peace, justice and harmony to the people of Maryland County and the Pleebo/Sodoken District in particular. We hail the uncompromising stance of the Government on those issues that brought justice, Peace and harmony among the citizens of the counties involved. In short, we are appealing to the Government to nullify the agreement awarding the 50% of Government’s share of the CRC to the SRI and start the bidding process afresh.
We believe that with Government’s emphases on Poverty Reduction, Free Primary Education, Primary Health Care Delivery System, Road Construction, and so forth, our people in the district and the entire county, deserve the best for them from the Government. Government’s prudential handling of this situation is necessary to ensure that the benefits intended for our people in terms of employment, infrastructural development and the provision of basic social services can clearly be spelt out in Black and White as it was done in the case of Metal Steel in Nimba, Bong and Grand Bassa Counties, and should not be left out to the discretion of the concessionaire.
It will also ensure that such benefits will be free of undue interference and political manipulation from any power that be.
It is our hope and trust that our concerns expressed in here will be given timely consideration by the Government for the good of the Liberian citizens living in the Southeast of the country.
Ezekiel H. S. Nubo
General Secretary, PSUSU
Mr. Peter Klar
Witnesses: (See attached list of witnesses)