By Omari Jackson
Dey Governor Joseph Jakey Brown says Executive Order #84 will hurt Liberian fishermen and therefore President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf must urgently rescind the decision and withdraw the Order.
He told the Daily Observer in an interview yesterday that Executive Order #84, which reduces Liberia’s Inshore Exclusive Zone (IEZ) from six nautical miles to three, is not in the best interest of Liberian fishermen.
He said the promised job creation that comes with the Order would be similar to that of the closure of beaches due to sand mining, when youths were promised jobs that didn’t materialize.
Governor Brown said he recently visited the Banjor Fish Ocean Beach to get feedbacks on Executive Order #84 from fishermen, and held discussions with their chairman Amos Dime, who said his group opposes Executive Order #84.
“They just want us to suffer more,” said Dime. Currently, he said the Banjor Fish Ocean Beach group provides nearly 65 percent of the daily fish consumed in the Deygbo-Gbaweah Chiefdom of Montserrado County.
Governor Brown meanwhile said that Liberian fishermen are already not benefitting from their operations because of lack of empowerment and inadequate organization as a body, adding: “It will hurt our people because foreign vessels already have the advantage and would force our people to remain poor. It is therefore necessary that the government should avoid making decisions on sensitive issues without the involvement of those to be affected.”
Though Executive Order #84 talks about measures to revitalize commercial and semi-industrial fishing, Gov. Brown said the government should instead ensure that Liberian fishermen are properly educated and empowered to benefit more from fishing.
“The government should encourage, or better still empower Liberian fishermen, who are some of the poorest in our communities,” Brown said. “Our fishermen deserve government’s intervention to improve the quality of their work.”
He therefore appealed to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate to ensure effective oversight responsibility so that embarrassing decisions from the Executive don’t reach the public domain. “We are appealing to both Houses to be more active so that whatever decision is suggested from the Executive has their backing,” he said. “Otherwise when they allow such embarrassing decisions to pass through it suggests that they are simply not being diligent enough, and it raises a lot of questions.”
Gov. Brown said Executive Order #84 is one of the reasons he is contesting for the Representative seat of District #17, Montserrado County.
He meanwhile appealed to Liberian fishermen to approach the issue with a level of responsibility, because “whatever happens should be in the national interest.”
Gov. Brown worked at the Ministry of National Security as Director for Cyber Crime for five years without accepting a salary. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration – Public Policy; a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems – Computer Networking; a Bachelor in Political Science; and an Associate of Arts in Computer Information Systems.