Former Board Chairman and member of the Board of Governors of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Kakata, Margibi County Jackson J. Paye, distances himself from the recent suspension of the Principal of BWI, Harry Fomba Tarnue, terming it as preconceived, non-transparent, and strong-arm tactics by some members of the Board.
The Board through a resolution on Friday May 17, suspended and subsequently replaced Mr. Tarnue with one James W. Walker as Officer-In-Charge of the institute. But Mr. Tarnue himself terms his suspension as preconceived and political witch-hunt by the Board.
Mr. Paye describes the Board’s decision as an act of injustice, saying, “In the instant case, it is my opinion, that the Board of Governors, BWI, did not do justice in the manner it approached the suspension of Principal Tarnue”.
He argues that though his stance on the matter may not make a difference, it would be good for the public to know where he stands as a member of the Board, adding that his interest in his Alma Matter is second to none.
According to him, he was constrained to publically speak out because of many telephone and email queries he has received from friends and fellow alumni both in Liberia and from abroad about the Board’s decision.
“I am constrained to make my position public due to the many calls and email quires I received since the decision was announced on Friday, May 17, 2019”, he emphasizes.
The former Nimba County Superintendent reiterates that while his dissenting view may not matter nor reverse the course of action taken, it will dispel the notion that the decision to suspend Principal Tarnue was unanimously taken, as was reported in the local media.
He argues that the Resolution, expressing a ”Vote of No Confidence” in the Principal was shrouded in secrecy, and circulated among select members of the Board, while being kept away from Statutory Members, including him as the immediate past chairman and a prominent alumnus.
According to him, his name was attached to the Resolution without his signature, and that some of the issues raised in the Resolution as ground for the Principal’s removal were not carefully adjudicated by the Board in keeping with due process.
He notes that since the re-constitution of the Board of Governors by President George Manneh Weah, it current Chairman, John S. Youboty has consistently violated the Charter of BWI specifically, Article III, Sections 4 and 5 by allowing a non-proxy in keeping with the Charter, to continue to act as such.
In a press statement released in Monrovia on May 21, 2019, Mr. Paye says on numerous occasions he had raised concern about the constant violation of the institute’s charter in the presence of the Minister of Education, who is Ex-officio of the Board.
He says the Powers and Duties of the Board, and those of the Principal are clearly spelt out in Articles IV and V of the Charter with the Chair Ex-Officio (President of the Republic) and Member Ex-Officio (Minister of Education) playing overarching roles.
Therefore, Mr. Paye explains that while it is the prerogative of the President of Liberia and the Minister of Education to make decisions, including hiring and firing, this privilege can be better utilized with advice from the Board of Governors of BWI. Editing by Jonathan Browne