Brown Debunks Global Witness ‘Snake Oil’ Report

MONROVIA, July 30 (LINA) – Information Minister Lewis G. Brown has refuted reports by the advocacy group Global Witness that the Government of Liberia is involved in unwholesome acts such as confiscating private lands for use by concessionaires. According to Minister Brown, the report which was dubbed “Snake Oil,” referenced specifically Golden Veroleum Liberia, owner of the biggest palm oil plantation in the Southeastern region, as being aided by government to terrorize citizens in signing away their lands. The Information Minister termed the report as “inaccurate and contrary” to government’s vision of ensuring and guaranteeing land ownership and the rights of land tenures for the people of Liberia. Addressing the Ministry of Information regular press conference Thursday, Brown noted that the Government “strongly rejects any notion that there exists anyone, anywhere who cares for its people more than the government itself.” “We are not just caring for the people, but we act upon our care and that is why notwithstanding the passage of any concession agreement, the government has maintained at the highest level that concessionaires must go back to the people and negotiate with them,” Brown stressed. He also debunked another portion of the Global Witness ‘Snake Oil’ report which asserted that the people of Liberia lack the mechanism, the will or the capacity to express their grievances either through their representatives or local leaderships to the government. “We reject such claims and such inference; ours is not just a safer and freer environment but we have deliberately worked on the structure of our governance model so that it is made increasingly responsive and tolerant,” Brown emphasized. According to the Information Minister, “it is unjustified and unfair to suggest such premise,” noting that “such saying does not synchronize with the existing realities in the country.”