An oil palm investment worth several millions of United States dollars has been ‘Undermined’ by residents of Grand Cape Mount and Bomi Counties for what they said government’s inability to negotiate properly as well management to dismiss three managers at the company.
Mano Oil Palm company took over from Sime Darby Plantation in 2020 after the later pulled out due to similar reasons.
Prior to the company’s leaving, series of protests were carried out by the citizens with several demands ranging from dismissal of managers, employment of only citizens from the two counties among others.
In an interview with a team of journalists on Thursday in Gbah, the head of the Project Affected Communities, Mohammed Jaliba said they will not go to work at the plantation unit their demands are met.
The PAC presented 14 counts to management to act on. One of the counts is for the Human Resource manager, the Security and Logistics head to be removed.
Not only that, but also employment opportunities be exclusively given to citizens from Cape Mount and Bomi Counties.
The citizens prevented many company’s vehicles from entering the yard with palm. A vehicle with palm was prevented by the citizens, threatening to burn it. This led to the driver fleeing the scene.
“Our citizens have gathered here because of police brutality,” he said.
However, Journalists who visited the scene did not see any police attacking any protestor.
“We attended a meeting at the Ministry of Internal Affairs(MIA) on Tuesday, October 11, 2022. In the meeting, it was discussed that those counts would be addressed,” he said.
He also said, that the minister and officials did not address the situation .
He continues, since they left the meeting, no one has called them for extra meeting or follow up. According to him, the absence of the government to address it, led them to prevent the company from operating.
“They have not said anything. We held meeting with our citizens. They said(workers) are not going to work and there must be resolution,” he said.
During the meeting held at the MIA, which was attended by some journalists, it was agreed that the workers would return to work on October 12, 2022. But Mr. Jaliba said it was not a resolution reached and therefore, they would(workers) not abide by what they agreed to.
“There was no resolution to attach signatures to. We never attached our signatures to anything. The meeting was to ask you to speak. If the minister can come out with a resolution that we attached our signatures to, for us to resume work, hold me; and blame me for all that is going on. There was no agreement made,” he said emphatically.
“I told my people about it and they said they will not go to work. There will be no work here until those key things are addressed,” he said.
On Undermining investment, he said, they will continue until the end of October , 2022.
He added, if their demands were not met, they would continue the strike.
He described the minister and officials as jokers.
“The ministers are jokers.”
In the meeting it was agreed that a follow up meeting would take place on the 19th of October 2022, by which time work would have resumed.
In a related development, the management has rejected media reports that its CEO, Mr. Assad Fadel instigated violence at the plantation.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, October 12, 2022, it debunked the report.
“The Management of MANO Palm Oil Plantation wishes to dispel media reports that its CEO, Mr. Assad Fadel is instigating violence at the plantation.
The purported voice recording trending also on social media was doctored (his photo was added to the recording.) by a group of anti-investment people.
It is unthinkable for a CEO of a company to promote violence at his own site.
The CEO was responding to an information from the proprietor of a private security firm contracted by the plantation on his briefing of how the people of Bomi County were totally against the actions of the Project Affected Communities (PAC).
A group of people were demanding among other things, the dismissal of three employees as well instructing the company to employ only citizens from the county.
MANO Palm Oil Plantation Company CEO is a peaceful person who values the dignity of every human being. Moreover, he believes in the promotion and protection of human rights.”