Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) vice standard bearer, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, is on bending knees, pleading for pardon for recent statement made in the United States in a town hall meeting that Liberian lawmakers are earning less, given huge demands from their constituents for help on a daily basis.
Sen. Taylor said allowances and salaries earned by lawmakers are not enough to cater to the personal needs of the already impoverished citizenry, many of whom who storm their various offices and private homes in demand of assistance.
The apology followed serious backlash from Liberians back home against the statement, which they describe as totally absurd. The Bong County Senator while meeting with Liberians in the United States recently claimed senators here earn US$10,000 plus 20,000LRD and 500 gallons of petroleum products monthly, but noted that they would need more money given the demands from their constituents.
According to her, 500 gallons of gasoline cannot take her to Bong County three times a month and that coupled with the continuous begging of Liberians, the monthly earning of each lawmaker is a drop in the bucket.
She then suggested that it would be good deal if benefits and allowances were increased in order to put them (lawmakers) in a better financial position to help more underprivileged Liberians.
But the statement of the Coalition vice standard bearer did not go unpunished as Liberians both in the Diasporas and at home hugely criticized the former first lady for making such insinuation in the face of severe economic hard ship.
In an apparent fear of losing popularity with voters, Jewel has been on her knees thru her Facebook page, apologizing to Librians. According to her, the comments were taken out of context and misrepresented by people, who do not want the Coalition headed by ex-soccer legend, Georeg Weah as Presidential candidate, to move forward.
While some senators here are seeking 25 percent cut in salaries and allowances of senators and senior government officials, the Bong County senator is anticipating that there be an increment.
On February 18, Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence wrote plenary of the senate, seeking for 25 percent cut in their benefits and salaries.
The recent communication sent to the plenary of the Senate by three Senators was welcomed by the public, who thought the call was economically prudent given the bad shape of the economy with the exchange rate of the Liberian dollar to the U.S. Dollar hitting three digits between 106 to 110 Liberian Dollars to one United States Dollars.
Those to be targeted for the reduction in benefits, according to the communication, are the President, Vice President, Speaker, President Pro-tempore, Chief Justice, Associate Justices, Legislators, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Assistant Ministers, heads of Public Corporations, Directors and Commissioners, respectively.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne