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Aggrieved Beach and Water Ways workers to meet Weah

By Lewis S Teh

Several volunteer workers of the dissolved beach and waterways project have vowed to visit the residence of President George Weah to expose Youth and Sports Minister, D. Zeogar Wilson, of his involvement in the project.

The aggrieved volunteers told reporters over the weekend in the Borough of New Kru town that Minister Wilson illegally changed the official name of the project to Temporary Employment for Community Youth or TECM, under the budget line of 2023 for what they term selfish gains.

According to them, the alleged action of the Minister runs contrary to the agreement they had with the Government of Liberia, particularly the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

They indicated that this Wednesday, April 19, they will pay official visit to President Weah to explain the attitudes and dealings of Minister Wilson.

The aggrieved workers also accused their lawmaker, Montserrado County District #16 Representative, Dixon Seboe, of misleading them throughout the entire time.

They narrated that Representative Seboe presented himself as a problem-solver after he had collected documents bearing their names, as former workers of the dissolved beaches and waterways project.

They said the lawmaker promised them he would have engaged the Minister of Youth and Sports to include all previous workers on the new project named and styled, TECY, but unfortunately, they weren’t captured on the new project.

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They continued that following the return of Rep. Seboe, he told them that Minister Wilson said he would absorb some of them in line with what is in the budget and secondly, due to his  (Seboe’s) intervention.

The head of the aggrieved workers, George Android Young, said Minister Wilson has been giving the Liberian leader false impression about the new project.

Mr. Young accused the Minister of ordering all district coordinators of the Coalition for Democratic Change to send 100 names each from the party to be included on the project.

Young, a former Region Coordinator of the dissolved project, added that the former workers waived eleven months’ salary arrears to the government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports after the close of the project.

He said a memorandum of understanding was signed between the workers and government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports in which it was agreed that they were waiving their eleven months’ arrears on grounds that at the opening of the new project, they would have been considered to work.

Young narrated that Minister Wilson chose to go contrary to the agreement at the detriment of the struggling citizens, renaming the Coastal Sanitation Project to TECY to divert the funds.

He also expressed shock why Minister Wilson would do such at the disadvantage of fellow Liberians who also support President George Weah.

Young believes the aggrieved workers meeting the President at his Rehab residence on Wednesday, will give him a better picture of how the project is being handled by the Minister. 

Meanwhile, Minister Wilson has described Young and his likes as a bunch of liars, who have nothing to offer.

He clarified that the Liberian government has done nothing illegal, as claimed, stressing that government has the right to name its program anyway for implementation.

The Youth and Sports Minister recounted that when the CDC-led government came to power, it met 2,088 workers on the dissolved project.

But he said to his surprise and following an investigation due to the many controversies surrounding the project, it was established that Mr. George Android Young and Region Two Coordinator, Edwin Kanneh, included additional names on the payroll, taking the number to over 5,000 workers without his consent.

He said base on this alleged act, the two coordinators begged not to drop those unauthorized names but they could settle with the government on a win-win situation.

Minister Wilson added that he listened to the appeal and told them the government had US$2 Million to pay everyone and that those heading the groups should decide how many months each worker would receive since they knew when and how each of those new workers was added and the government would not owe anyone again after the payment. 

Wilson continued it was finalized and the government paid everyone based on that agreement, adding it baffled him when he heard the former workers claiming they waived eleven months to the Government of Liberia.

At the same time speaking to the aggrieved workers’ allegations, Representative Dixon Seboe clarified that he and other lawmakers collaborated and appealed to Minister Wilson to include names of the previous volunteers on the first project since the first project was operating on US$1 Million budget, but has now increased to US$2.5 Million.

Representative Seboe, who came in defense of Minister Zeogar Wilson, said the Minister has done nothing illegal by changing the name of the project for its smooth implementation. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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