The situation with Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, involving delayed budgetary support that constrained her to have gone public recently has claimed the attention of Chief Cyril Allen, chairman emeritus of Mrs. Taylor’s National Patriotic Party (NPP) which is a member of President George Weah’s governing three-party Coalition for Democratic Change here.
Chief Allen, who currently heads the governing council of the ruling CDC, blames those he calls” backward elements” in the higher echelon of the Weah administration for denying the Vice President basic budgetary allocation that has incapacitated her movement and paralyzed effective function of her office.
In an official complaint to the Liberian Senate recently after she boycotted formal opening ceremony for members of the 54th Liberian Legislature, Mrs Taylor did write, “I am saddened to inform you, as elders of our Nation, that the situation remains that bills due my office from 2018-2019 are still not paid and the operational expenses which I needed for the effective running or functioning of my office (Office of the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia), during 2018 – 2019 and 2019 – 2020 budget years have not been paid.”
She lamented that the situation has left her without proper security arrangements for her safe movements and without the ability to provide necessities for her office, disclosing that currently, the security vehicles, including two bullet-proof vehicles, needed for her movements have still not been provided to her detail.
“As a result, I have been unable to leave my home over the past 3 weeks. I am therefore, constrained to inform this Honorable body that due to the constraints described, I am unable to attend to my duties during this opening of the 3rd Session of the 54Th National Legislature 2020; until these constraints are attended to.”
The Liberian Senate is probing the matter but speaking to the media via mobile phone in Monrovia, Cyril Allen notes that the denying of Vice President Taylor of due budgetary allocation is not sanctioned by President Weah. Instead, he blames ‘zealous government actors’ for creating tension between Mrs Taylor and President Weah.
According to him, budgetary allocation for any official or agency of government is by law, and such law cannot be tempered with by anyone, arguing that doing so is a clear violation of the law.
“I keep reminding officials of government that the Vice President was nominated on the basis and facts that she’s electable and she has been elected and proven that she understands the workings of the Liberian Senate, and she must be given all due financial assistances to discharge her functions rightly,” he underscores.
Chief Allen further argues Vice President Taylor was not handpicked by President Weah during the selection of candidates, instead, the collaboration that brought the three political parties that make up the ruling Coalition, including the Congress for Democratic Change of Ambassador George Manneh Weah, the National Patriotic Party of jailed former President Charles Taylor, and the Liberian People Democratic Party of former Speaker Alex Tyler, placed Madam Taylor to the Vice Presidency, while the standard bearer post was reserved for Ambassador Weah.
Chief Allen currently chairs the board of directors of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation. He maintains that Madam Taylor is well placed by the numerical strength of the NPP and Bong County, the county that she represented in the senate prior to the 2017 elections.
“We all know that Bong County is votes-rich county, and the NPP is a stronger political party here, so, she was not handpicked to be treated like an old car parked in the garage. She deserves all her entitlement and don’t get it wrong, these bad forms of governance is not the mandate of the President but few zealous elements are the ones causing the problem.
However, he discloses that President Weah has set up a three-member ministerial committee to investigate happenings surrounding the Vice President.
Vice President Taylor has been confined indoors for a little over three weeks due to the alleged failure of the government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to disburse operational funds allotted to her office.