Maritime contractors petition lawmakers

More than 300 contractors of the Reclaiming Liberia Beaches and Waterways Project have petitioned the 53rd Liberian Legislature for direct and immediate intervention over prolonged pay delay by the Liberia Maritime Authority, which implemented the program.

The chairperson for the group of contractors, George Young, said it is saddened to note that the contractors have been working on the various beaches ensuring that they are clean and maintained daily, but yet have not received stipend for the past eight months, covering the period (July 2014 to February 2015). 

Mr. Young, who is also supervisory head for New Kru Town, said they risked their lives during the heat of the Ebola crisis to clean and maintain the various beaches, but authorities at the LiMA have failed to provide their stipends.

He called on the Legislature to liaise with the Executive and other stakeholders to ensure their just benefits are provided for services rendered.

Young recommended for the Government to appropriate budgetary allotment that would ensure regular and timely payment of contractors of the Reclaiming Liberia Beaches and Waterways Project in order to restore their pride, respect and dignity as workers and citizens of Liberia.

He reminded the lawmakers that President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has always emphasized Government’s commitment to creating job opportunities for Liberians, and their plight should be no exception.

“Hon. Legislators, we wish for your speedy intervention into the ongoing saga, because schools are now opened, and parents cannot afford to register their children due to the prolonged pay delay, and contractors, who are of school-going age are not in school because of same”, reads the petition signed by representatives of seven communities in and around Monrovia, including New Kru Town, West Point, PHP, and ELWA, among others.

The aggrieved contractors on 15 January 2015 wrote President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, seeking her intervention in having their stipends paid.

Copy of the latter which is in the possession of this paper, reads: “We write to register our complaint at the same time of the year again, because we were advised by you not to take our matter to the street whenever there was a problem on our pay issue. After your advice, we have been peaceful and patient like-wise our people, the workforce because we believe in the words of our leader…”

But another letter dated on the same day from the Liberia Maritime Authority signed by Madam Ellen Ferguson, Director, and addressed to Mr. George A. Young, Jr. said the project was terminated.

“By the Directive of Commissioner banyan C. Keselly, of the Liberia Maritime Authority, I regret to inform you that the Reclaiming Liberia’s Beaches and Waterways Program is hereby terminated with immediate effect. This has become necessary because the Authority has not received the appropriate level of funding required to continue the program”, the letter from the Maritime read.

It then assured that the Authority will do all in its power to work with the Central Government to ensure the arrears covering the period July 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014 are paid.

Sally Gaye   

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