Sunday, September 5, 2010

With No New Permits in Indonesia, Sinar Mas to Enter Liberia


Jakarta. Singapore palm oil producer Golden Agri-Resources, part of Indonesia’s Sinar Mas Group, said on Friday that its subsidiary Golden VerOleum would form a $1.6 billion partnership with the government of Liberia in a palm oil project. The move comes just months after Indonesia announced plans to impose a two-year moratorium on new permits to clear forest for oil palm cultivation from 2011.
Golden Agri-Resources said last month that the partnership would control 220,000 hectares of land in Liberia, but the initial development would involve just 15,000 hectares.
The partners are seeking other investors to contribute to the planned spending, according to a statement filed today by Golden Agri-Resources with Singapore’s stock exchange.
Golden VerOleum is a unit of Verdant Fund, in which Golden Agri-Resources is an investor, according to the statement.
The investment is expected to help small farmers in sustainable planting and will create more than 35,000 jobs, the statement said.
Liberia’s Parliament on Thursday ratified the concession to develop palm oil plantations. The agreement was signed last month, but according to the African country’s Constitution, each concession has to pass through Parliament before taking effect.
The 25-year concession is believed to be one of the biggest investments ever in Liberian agriculture. The company will cultivate oil palms in Sinoe, Grand Kru, Maryland, Rivercess and River Gee counties in the southeastern part of Liberia.
Golden VerOleum’s investment follows that of Malaysia’s Sime Darby last year.
Oil palms are abundant in Liberia, and before a devastating civil war, plantations were mostly operated by the government, producing red cooking oil for local consumption.
Palm oil is the world’s cheapest oil and a highly demanded product used in many household goods. It can also be used to create biofuels.
Environmental groups have slammed its production in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia for its negative impact on rain forests and the environment.
The move by Sinar Mas comes after the Indonesian government in May agreed to a two-year moratorium on development concessions in peatlands and natural forests in exchange for a $1 billion preservation grant from the government of Norway.
Sinar Mas faces relentless pressure from environmental groups such as Greenpeace, which accused the company of widespread deforestation and clearing of carbon-rich peatlands, thereby contributing to global warming and the destruction of endangered species’ habitats.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

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Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah


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