CDC lawmaker vindicates McCarthy’s report
By Ethel A. Tweh
A Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) lawmaker Augustine Chea has complained of the lack of support for County Service Centers and allotments to hospitals and clinics across the counties.
Senator Chea’s communication to the Senate plenary on Thursday, 25 May 2023 vindicates U.S. Ambassador Michael McCarthy’s report citing the brutal challenges health centers and county services face while Liberia’s 103 lawmakers spent US$65m feathering their nests.
Mr. Chea’s communication also contradicts assertions by Mr. Albert T. Chie, the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate and a CDC lawmaker who saw Amb. McCarthy’s report as a support to the opposition in an election year.
In a communication to the plenary, Senator Chea, a Sinoe County lawmaker, said the county has not received any social development fund since 2018, the year the CDC regime took office.
He said the County Superintendent reported to the county legislative caucus about zero payment for the Social Development Fund, even though concessionaires operating in the county made social development contribution payments to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
Chea lamented that the Ministry has acknowledged receipt of the Social Development Funds (SDF) contributions from concessionaires in the county for many years.
However, he said it has not paid the county a dime since 2019, urging that the Ministry must also be made to pay Sinoe and other counties similarly situated, their social development contributions.
Additionally, Senator Chea stated that the county’s referral hospital F. J. Grante does not receive its quarterly allotment regularly – though so negligible – and that impedes healthcare service delivery in the county.
“The MFDP made the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters payments for 2022 in December 2022. I was informed by the Ministry of Health that the same situation (irregular payment of county referral hospitals’ and county health teams’ allotments) obtains across the health sector in the country,” he said.
Senator Chea detailed that public institutions are struggling at all times to get money appropriated for them in the budget from the Ministry of Finance. He suggested that the situation is serious and it requires a thorough investigation by the Liberian Senate.
Senator Chea said the county service center is inoperational due to the lack of funding and has been so for the last two years.
Talking about roads, Chea said the two road corridors in the southeast are still in a deplorable condition and will bring enormous hardship upon his people during the peak of the rainy season.
He noted that his people feel let down again and are venting their anger at their leaders.
“Mr. President Pro Tempore and distinguished colleagues, all this suggests that we should and must exert our oversight authority over the budget execution process by requiring constant reporting from the MFDP and line ministries and agencies on budget execution and performance,” he said.
Similar concerns regarding health, roads, and other needs for the rural population were flagged in a report by the U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Mr. McCarthy.
The U.S. Envoy stated that the elite in Monrovia are treating destitute citizens in the leeward counties ‘with a neglect that borders on contempt.’
He noted that while hospitals went without, and service centers withered on the vine, Liberia’s 30 senators and 73 representatives spent sixty-five million U.S. dollars feathering their nests.
But in his attempt to react to Amb. McCarthy’s report, Senate President Pro-Tempore Chie accused the U.S. Envoy of allegedly spreading falsehoods about the CDC government. He claimed that it has been alleged that the Ambassador was an opposition supporter.
Chie provided no backing for his assertion but insisted that Liberians do not tell Americans whom to vote for.
You must separate the Church from the State, if you need to serve the nation. The ballot is one or none. Read 1st Timothy 3.
A lame duck ( legislators, Judicial, Executive) Liberian Government ignites the peaceful adapter; not only a serving lamed President. Factually, the curbing of corruption is just as important as an actual election result. While the incumbent is running to be re-elected, it is the candidate who captures the 50+ majority that wins the presidency.
Both the opposition and diplomates are such ducks until October to select the best amongst the worst and if not a best, the most best. Liberia’s 85 percent, the majority, is illiterate and less concerns the educated 15 who cannot win on merits, but the ability to convince the majority. Can that be found in any of these candidates? Do not ask me. Ask the ballot box.