Over 900 contract workers of the Beaches & Waterways Project have expressed appreciation to the Liberian government for the “timely payment of their four-month arrears.”
In interviews outside the FiBank on Bushrod Island, Monrovia, where their salaries were being disbursed, several of the contract workers said, “their arrears could not have come at a better time.”
“I’m happy now that I can have money to provide food and clothes for my five children,” said Madam Comfort Jlateh, who has been working with the project for two years.
She said the four-month delay of their monthly pay made daily life difficult, adding that the payment will however make their Christmas celebration peaceful.
The contract workers began receiving their arrears last Saturday.
Mr. Prince Boykai, a project supervisor, said while the payment of the four-month arrears has come at a favorable time, “we want the government to know how this job is making an impact on our lives.”
Boykai said many of the workers are widows who have no livelihood other than what they earn from the Beaches & Waterways Project.
“Look at those women,” he pointed to a group of women waiting for their pay. “These people don’t have breadwinners.”
He appealed to the Ministry of Youth & Sports, which is currently in charge of the project, to make sure that their pay is consistent.
“There are many students on this project as well as single mothers who don’t have skills to pursue other careers,” said Boykai, who disclosed that he is also a student at the University of Liberia.
The project is an initiative of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to empower slum residents to support themselves, officials said. It was also meant to ensure that beaches around Monrovia are not used as ‘toilet’ venues, a move which has resulted in a healthy environment for people in the affected areas.
The project has divided the affected areas into four zones: Mamba Point, West Point, ELWA and New Kru Town. Those areas are also divided into sections, for instance New Kru Town has six, including Trowin, Lagoon, Florida, Funday, Popo Beach and Colonel West.