MONROVIA, Liberia (Aug. 31, 2006) — The United Nations (UN) has promised to help the Liberian government repossess the Sinoe natural rubber (NR) plantation from former rebel soldiers who are squatting there, according to Liberian news sources.
Paulson Gartey, former leader of the rebel force Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, appointed himself the ad hoc manager of the plantation, directing his followers to illegally tap the trees at Sinoe to sell to merchants in the capital city of Monrovia, said The Analyst, a Monrovia newspaper. The Liberian government recently repossessed the Guthrie Rubber Plantation from former fighters, and has owned and operated the Cavalla Rubber Plantation, formerly part of the Bridgestone/Firestone plantation, since 1981.
A UN report in May 2006 claimed that child labor and substandard conditions existed on all five Liberian NR plantations. BFS, however, refuted that, saying it has a zero-tolerance policy for child labor in Liberia and is spending millions of dollars on new houses, schools and hospitals for its workers there.