Lawmakers shape blame on CARI
By Joseph Titus Yekeryan
Two lawmakers from Bong County who recently quarreled in the Chambers of the Legislature have said their action was in defense of the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI).
Representatives Marvin Cole of Electoral District #3 and James Kolleh of Electoral District #2 almost got into a fistfight on Tuesday, 5 July 2022.
They engaged in a quarrel at the Capitol when CARI Director General Dr. Victor Sumo appeared before the House plenary to give reasons for his refusal to listen to the specialized committee set up by House Speaker Bhofal Chambers.
The task of the committee was to ensure that Dr. Sumo addresses a prevailing situation at CARI.
There had been a series of protests and demonstrations at CARI by workers who were complaining of salary discrepancies, unfavorable working conditions and alleged corruption.
Representatives Kolleh and Cole are both claiming to be defending the interest of CARI and the welfare of its workers, but Kolleh accused Cole of only pushing for the interest of Dr. Sumo against the will of the workers.
It was earlier speculated that Kolleh went in shield of Representative Edward Karfiah who was being insulted by Cole. But Kolleh attributed his action to Cole’s continued protection and defense of Dr. Sumo instead of the workers.
However, Cole insisted that he is not protecting the interest of Dr. Sumo, but CARI in general.
He stated that Dr. Victor Sumo has been doing a great job with very limited resources he is receiving to run the research institution.
CARI does not fall within the confines of either of the two lawmakers’ districts, but Electoral District #5 is represented by Edward Karfiah.
However, they both have oversight over CARI and all other public institutions and private entities receiving government funding.
Rep. Kolleh said workers of CARI are being badly treated by Dr. Sumo’s leadership, maintaining that qualified employees are being underpaid.
Rep. Cole has alluded to the fact that there are issues affecting workers at CARI but said such issues should be resolved with understanding, holistic approach and financial support. The president of the CARI workers union phoned in during the interview with the two lawmakers and also accused Rep. Cole of influencing Dr. Sumo to do what is not needed. But Cole denied the allegation. https://thenewdawnliberia.com/bong-lawmakers-in-near-fight/–Edited by Winston W. Parley