BWI’s Workers Union Postpones Anniversary in Solidarity with “Sacked” Principal

Foday Rogers, BWI Workers Union president

MONROVIA – FrontPageAfrica has learned that the Booker T. Washington (BWI) Institute Workers Union (BOWIWU) has postponed its anniversary celebration for another date following the abrupt removal of the institute’s principal. 

Att’y. Harris Fomba Tarnue was dismissed by the Ministry of Education on May 16, 2019. The Ministry’s dismissal letter noted that the decision to fire Principal Tarnue off his position was triggered by the institution’s Board of Governors’ resolution declaring a unanimous vote of no confidence in his leadership as principal.

Earlier, the board had submitted a formal complaint against Tarnue to the Education Ministry alleging several counts including nepotism, administrative improprieties and gross disrespect to the Board.

The board stated: “The Board conducted several evaluation exercises of the institution’s programs, and the quality of its management, to determine the suitability for the advancement of the institution and the maintenance of tranquility in its operations.”

Despite this, the institute’s workers union headed by Mr. Foday Rogers told this newspaper that they were postponing their anniversary in solidarity with Mr. Tarnue.

On May 15, a day before the Education Ministry’s letter had reached Tarnue, Rogers and his colleague workers had written President George Weah, seeking his intervention so that Tarnue could maintain his job as he was on the brink of losing it.  

“We the workers of this institution have observed efforts being exerted by some members of the Board of Governors and some highly placed Margibians, seeking to influence the removal of Atty Harris Fomba Tarnue as Principal of Booker Washington Institute. They have and continue to employ different kinds of propaganda mechanisms through the social, electronic and print media in pursuit of their objectives,” BOWIWU said in their letter to the President.

The technical vocational education (TEVT) and training institution workers union believes that those it accused of being behind the plot to remove Tarnue of the not being in the “best interest of the institution.”

They told the President that BWI being a TVET, should be free from politics or “political maneuvering.”

“Inciting students, media blackmail, etc. greatly undermines progress and promotes confusion,” they further told the President. 

In their letter, the 311 workers outlined some of what they claimed to be Tarnue’s achievements to the President, including initiating and leading the crafting, validating and implementing the institute’s ‘First Five year Strategic & Sustainability Plan 2017 to 2022, a copy of which he allegedly presented to President Weah’s at hand, Mr. Nathaniel f. McGill. 

Among the numerous achievements, they also told the President that Tarnue, in 2017 had done pay raise from L$6,000 to L$12,000 as minimum salary for the least employees and gave 10 percent raise to those already at higher levels. 

The workers union’s president, Foday K. Rogers, further told FrontPageAfrica that since they wrote President Weah, they are yet to hear from and are still waiting to hear from concerning their support to Mr. Tarnue.