UN officials, including the Secretary-General’s Special Representative Alan Doss, joined local officials at a ceremony yesterday marking the re-possession of the Guthrie Rubber Plantation, the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) said in a press release issued in the capital, Monrovia.In his speech to the ceremony, Mr. Doss thanked the efforts of the joint Liberian-UN Rubber Plantation Task Force, which was set up in February this year to tackle ongoing tensions and government revenue losses from the inefficient management of the country’s public rubber plantations.“Today, the Government of Liberia is taking back what belongs to Liberia,” he said.Mr. Doss also pledged the support of UNMIL troops so that Liberian National Police officers can maintain law and order on the plantation, situated about 50 kilometres from Monrovia. With the aid of UN Police (UNPOL), Liberian police officers have started conducting regular patrols of the plantation, while a contingent of UNMIL military engineers from Pakistan has erected housing and office space at Guthrie.“We have to make sure that the plantations remain safe so we can begin the task of rebuilding the plantations, including allowing for investments and aid to come in.”The Liberian Government has installed an interim management team to take over the running of the plantation, with the aim of regularizing employment and promoting labour standards ahead of the introduction of a permanent management structure. UNMIL said it would assist efforts to help reintegrate those ex-combatants who had occupied Guthrie.Mr. Doss urged those former fighters to “help us to rebuild the community and together we will make sure that this plantation will generate jobs for you and your children.”

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