|Christopher Fon Achobang|
Nov 26, 2012
Herakles Farms Steps Up Deception of Cameroon Public
Department of Linguistics
Faculty of Arts
University of Buea
In 2009, Herakles Farms (HF) through its Cameroon affiliate Sithe Global Sustainable Oils Cameroon PLC (SGSOC) signed an establishment convention with Cameroon government to produce 440,000 tons of palm oil annually from over 73,000 hectares of pristine rainforest for a period of 99 years.
As some of us who read the Establishment Convention, which had been intended to be top secret, conclude, the Cameroon people, government and humanity were going to be losers as none of the terms gave Cameroon anything in return for losing so much forest and ecosystem. Humanity too loses because one of its lungs will be infected by the deforestation cancer.
While bickering and debates are ongoing about the suitability of the project, HF has attempted to maneuver difficult turns on its road to acceptability by fabricating Environmental Impact Assessment reports, using soft corruption to buy support from local communities who are 98 percent opposed to the project, and deceiving public opinion to make project look like a partnership between Cameroon government and the United States of America.
HF has just hoisted two flags on the building hosting its head offices in Limbe, Cameroon. What is the intention of a private company hoisting two flags of two countries on its private offices? Is it a sign of partnership or a flagrant attempt to mislead?
As I am conversant with the advent of HF to Cameroon, its activities and the Cameroon business set up, HF has hoisted the two flags in bad faith. It is a blatant attempt to mislead the public and sway public opinion to support project through intimidation.
After granting scholarships to over 25 students from concession areas in Nguti, Mundemba and Toko, digging boreholes which do not yield water in Fabe and Meangwe II, organizing an illegal medical campaign that saw the operation of dozens of local people in insalubrious makeshift surgical conditions, and outright bribing of elites and members of the administration, HF steps up deception of Cameroon public opinion by hoisting its flag alongside that of the United States of America.
Let it be known that the governments of the Republic of Cameroon and the United States of America have signed no partnership agreement to float a company called Herakles Farms in Cameroon.
This drive to crooked public relations is out of taste and further portrays HF as an impostor and dishonest person to do business with. Instances of dishonesty by HF are legion.
After obtaining a provisional Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, from local communities to present to government as proof that the communities are ready to work with HF, it disappeared and never went back to negotiate the final conditions for the land concession. HF has been intimidating people that government will sanction them if they failed to surrender land for the project posing as a government project. The company has also gone into the forest to demarcate it unilaterally without government surveyors.
For the records, no Cameroon private company floats the flag of Cameroon on its offices. Some schools do hoist flags from all over the world to indicate their admiration for the educational systems of those countries. Some do it just for purposes of educating their pupils. Some bilateral co-operations exist between Cameroon and other countries where there is agreement to undertake a common project. Such is the case with the JICA (Japanese International Co-operation Agency) and the building of schools for the Cameroon Ministry of basic education. This co-operation is celebrated with the hoisting of the flags of Japan and Cameroon in front of these schools.
HF and its affiliate SGSOC are private companies and should not hoist the flags of the United States of America and Cameroon in front of its offices, even in show of patriotism. The Establishment Convention betrays HF as a leech ready to suck Cameroonians to anemia. Such a greedy anti-people company cannot pretend to love Cameroon by any stretch of imagination.