Vice President Boakai Assures Citizens of Foya District

Tuesday, 13th April 2010

Monrovia, Liberia - Liberia’s Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, Sr., has assured citizens of Foya District that the driving force behind the ADA/LAP rice project is to bring development to the district.

“There is no way we will get involved in something that doesn’t work in the interest of the people,” Vice President Boakai assured, adding, “Our goal is to make this place a rice production center”. “We have never and will never send anybody here who we know will not help you,”
he emphasized.

The Liberian Vice President was addressing chiefs, elders and youth leaders of Foya District on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April a in Foya on the ADA/LAP project in Foya District which has in recent times sparked off controversy.

Some citizens of the area have alleged that the treatment being meted out to workers of the Libya sponsored ADA/LAP rice project was tantamount to modern day slavery. Also in recent times, the Member of the House of Representatives for Foya District, Honorable Eugene Kparkar, petitioned the House of Representatives to cite the ADA/LAP management to explain why they have reneged on the contract they signed with the Liberian Government , which, among other things, mandates the company to give the district US$300,000 every quarter.

Vice President Boakai admitted that mistakes were made in crafting the contract, as it was based on the contract signed with the Firestone Rubber Concession, noting, “You cannot sign the same contract you signed with a rubber concession with a rice production company, because it takes time for  the rice production company to begin making profit”.

He said  it was inconceivable for ADA/LAP which is investing millions of dollars in the Foya project, including purchasing the most expensive tractors and other equipment, to give the district US$300,000 per quarter, when it has not even started making profit.

Vice President Boakai indicated to the Foya citizens that in its relations with the Libyans, the Liberian Government was looking beyond ADA/LAP,  noting that the Libyans have expressed interest in undertaking several projects in the country, including a rubber processing plant in Gbarnga, Bong County and the reconstruction of the Ducor Palace Hotel, among others.

He said the Libyans also operated a glass manufacturing company before the war and are still operating the Pan African Plaza Building. “We are looking at this project more than just the project. We want, based on negotiations we are having, to bring in a lot of other things that will benefit this area”.

Reacting to claims by some citizens of the district that the management of ADA/LAP was practicing modern day slavery in its operations, Vice President Boakai advised against mindless politicization of issues. He said while he would admit that there are problems, the ADA project was a blessing to Foya District.

He said if the ADA were to pack up leave now, there would be nothing left in the district where citizens would earn a livelihood, adding, “The USD55,000 pumped into the Foya community every month through the payment of salaries, helps to provide housing  for people”.

Vice President Boakai assured that the Government was looking at the project keenly and would make the necessary adjustments.  He explained that he would contact the Agriculture Minister, Dr. Florence Chenoweth, to revisit the Contract ADA signed with the Liberian Government, look at all the little mistakes that have been identified, including land allocation and social services so that they can be corrected.

Earlier in remarks, Foya District Commissioner Thomas Kamba, Paramount Chief Momo Taylor, elders and youth leaders expressed reservation about the project, noting that there were several discrepancies that needed to be corrected.
Commissioner Kamba said they have realized that the ADA is a blessing to the district, but said there was need to revisit the contract the company signed, because its failure to abide by the terms of the contract was making it unpopular among the citizenry.

Paramount Chief Taylor as well as other citizens stressed the need to provide transportation for workers who walk about 20 kilometers every day to get to work and return home.