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GoL admits beach workers’ arrears exceed US$5m

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Youth and Sports Minister Zeogar Wilson admits that government’s arrears for workers of the beaches and waterway totals US$5,525,090 for nine months in 2018, ten months in 2019 and two months in 2020. Mr. Wilson told beach and waterway workers Monday, 15 June in New Kru Town that out of the 21 months arrears owed the workers, government is expected to pay them four months. He says on 18 March this year, he constituted a team to review [works on the] beaches and waterway project, the arrears that government owes, the number of months they have worked and to restructure the program.

For the past time, he says Region One Coordinator George Young was suspended for the over flooding of the payroll, ghost names on payroll and extortion of workers, among others. Minister Wilson explains that their analysis revealed that the program started off with total workers numbering 2,088 which was the beginning number on the arrears list as of 1 January 2018.

By 28 February 2020, he explains that the list had reached a total of 3,403, saying this means 1315 names were added to the list of workers between 2018 and 2020 and most of the names came from Region One through Mr. George Young. Every time someone leaves the program, Minister Wilson accuses Mr. Young of adding people on the list without the Ministry of Youth and Sports’ approval.

According to him, Mr. Young had claimed that he did that based on pressure from lawmakers to add people to the program. Due to lack of money, Minister Wilson says they stopped the program, with plan to do their best to get the project back.

Also speaking, Montserrado County District #16 Representative Dixon Seboe assured the workers that there is no plan to stop the project, saying no one will use the program to get rich.
A supervisor for Region One Andrew B. Sah said they will accept the government’s request, but gave a precondition that it must pay the four months arrears in full.

By Bridgett Milton–Edited by Winston W. Parley

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