Brumskine Pledges to Cut President, VP Office Budgets, Increase Civil Servants Pay
Ganta, Nimba County – The standard bearer of the opposition Liberty Party in Liberia has slammed the current budget of the President and vice President’s office, as he pledged Saturday to cut those budgets while increasing salaries of public servants.
Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected]
Accepting his party’s nomination to contest this year’s Presidential elections, Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine said his decision follows the discovery that in the last three years, the Office of the Vice President has received about US$9 million from government.
“Harrison(Karnwea) and I have agreed that should the people of Liberia elect us, we will reduce the salaries of the President, Vice President, and appointed officials of the Executive Branch of Government.”
“We will challenge members of the Legislature to do the same.”
“The savings from these reductions will be used for, among other things, to increase the salaries of civil servants.”
The LP standard bearer also pledged that if elected his administration will underwrite all West African Examination Council fees for and make all government schools free of charge.
Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine says his administration will also establish a Student Service Corp to draw high school graduates and college students into community service, working for government during their annual vacations.
“The government will in turn pay for their college education,” Cllr. Brumskine averred.
The LP standard bearer also promised to expand the education sector with more formal and informal teaching and training opportunities for school-age children, adult learners, and vocation and technical education.
“We will computerize the schools, and use the Internet as a tool for learning.”
Cllr. Brumskine declared that under his watch, government will do away with the old and embrace new approach to teaching and learning.
“We will not re-create the old Liberian education system—with its bias towards Liberal Arts training leading up to the college level. We will make education more relevant to existing and the future jobs and skills needs of the economy.”
“We will extend the school days to late afternoon, initially on a voluntary basis, to give our children the opportunity to learn more, and to have the benefit of adult supervision while their parents are at work.”
The LP standard bearer also pledge to use the Armed Forces of Liberia as a vehicle to assist with the development of our country.
“We will establish auxiliary units, such as the Agriculture Battalion, the Engineering Battalion, and the Medical, in which Zogos and other troubled youth, as well as the average young Liberia, who may so desire, to be trained as carpenters, painters, masons, electricians, plumbers, farmers, medical technicians, among others.”
Taking a pointed jab at the lack of roads in some parts of Liberia, Cllr. Brumskine said his administration will strike to make the Southeastern counties and Lofa and Gbarpolu accessible year-round by road. “We will also acquire ferries to connect our coastal counties.”
The LP standard bearer said his administration will reintroduce the militia, as a means by which young Liberians may be trained and become reserve soldiers, and in exchange therefor have four-year college education paid for by the government.
Cllr. Brumskine also unveiled a business platform he says will use government procurement of goods and services to give priority to Liberian-owned businesses, build the domestic entrepreneurial class, and attract talented Liberians in the Diaspora.
“This will be supervised by a small business institute (SBI)”, he averred.
In bid to boost the effort of farmers, Cllr. Brumskine pledged to reactivate and recapitalize the Agriculture Cooperative & Development Bank, establishing branches all over the country, so that our farmers will be able to secure loans to grow more food, with the aim of making Liberia self-sufficient in rice production.
Emphasis, he says, will be placed on preventive healthcare as opposed to curative medicine.
“Liberty Party government will focus government health programs on the true causes of ill health such as poverty, poor nutrition, inadequate housing, and unsafe drinking water, among others.”
“We believe that preventive health measures and improved sanitation are less costly and more effective, which will include a network of mobile clinics that will be placed in each of the 73 electoral districts of the country.”
The LP standard bearer added that social welfare system will be enhanced to include benefits to Liberians over the age of 65, who have not worked in the monetary sector of the economy, primarily rural dwellers who lived off subsistence farming.
“These citizens will be given a monthly package, sufficient for each to afford at least a bag of rice every month.”
Cllr. Brumsine pledged to create the enabling environment, and provide incentives, to ensure employment of Liberians with disability.
“We will reform the land law so that every Liberian who, as rural dwellers, possess land their ancestors lived on for time immemorial will be given deeds—fee simple title for their land.”
He said his administration will create the enabling environment for the establishment of free zones in Liberia, and recommence transshipment, which was a major source of revenue prior to the war.
Stressing unity, Cllr. Brumskine averred that he wants his candidacy and eventual presidency to unify Liberia.
“As I listen to the other side talking about “Country and Congo,” I am energized more than ever to provide the kind of leadership that will bring our people together, heal our historical wounds, and build Liberia, as one nation, indivisible under God, with liberty and justice for all. “
“Liberia cannot afford to hand this country over to the agents of division, who have promised to tear Liberia apart. Liberians are asking, if they succeed in excluding Congo people, who next?”
What other minority group do they plan to exclude from our body politic?”
He urged Liberians to join him and his vice standard bearer, in looking forward to a new, reconciled, and prosperous Liberia.
“I am optimistic about the future of our country. Under a Brumskine/Karnwea Administration, the spirit of hope will displace the spirit of despair; Liberians will be inspired to believe that we are one people—that together we will rise, but divided, we will again fall.”
Cllr. Brumskine said it is important for Liberians to come together because the nation deserves better than what is being offered by the other side, in an apparent reference to the ruling Unity Party government.
“Our nation needs a government that will unite all Liberians, not one that seeks to once again divide and destroy us.”