Liberia: House of Representatives Workers Besiege Speaker’s Vehicle in Demand for 17 Months’ Arrears

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MONROVIA – Several workers of the House of Representatives on Thursday besieged the vehicle of Speaker Bhofal Chambers in demand for their 17 months’ salary arrears.

Thursday’s protest is just the latest of several other protect staged by these workers at the Capitol Building in demand for their money.

They have been demanding the House of Representative remit the Liberian dollar component of their salary which was taken away by the Ministry of Finance through the government’s salary harmonization scheme.

They believe the Speaker has not done much and continues to show no concern to their plights by engaging the Ministry of Finance to remit their money. According to them, they will continue to protest until the Speaker addresses their concern.

“We too have responsibilities, we have families to take care of, we cannot be working and cannot afford to pay our children’s school fees. We want our money Bhofal, we want our money,” they exclaimed.

Sinoe County District # 3 Representative Matthew Zarzar and Bong County District#3 Representative J. Marvin Cole pleaded with the aggrieved workers to leave the Speaker’s vehicle, promising that they (Lawmakers) were going to discuss their plight in session.

In a related development, the leadership of the Liberian Senate headed by Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert Chie and aggrieved Senate staffers have reached a compromise at the Capitol to pay 16 months’ Liberian dollar salary arrears owed them in three installments.

They reached the agreement Wednesday, January 20, following a protracted meeting in the William Richard Tolbert Joint Chambers of the Liberian Legislature, where both aggrieved workers and Senate leadership debated, argued and later arrived at the terms of payment.

The leadership was represented by Pro-Tempore Chie, Senators Milton Teahjay of Sinoe County; Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, Grand Bassa County; Prince Moye of Bong County; Emmanuel James Nuquay of Margibi and Saah Joseph of Montserrado County, respectively. The aggrieved staffers were represented by spokesman Charles Brown.

They have been demanding 16 months’ arrears, which according to them, have accumulated to over 1 million Liberian dollars, threatening to protest if the senate failed to pay the amount.

At the Judiciary late last year, aggrieved staffers protested for the same purpose, which led protest leader Archie Ponpon setting himself ablaze before the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.

Ponpon suffered deep burnt on his face and hands, and has been receiving medication at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Sinkor, Monrovia.

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