The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has honorably retired 17 of its employees who have attained the retirement age of 65 or the minimum tenure of 25 years in service. The youngest of the retirees is 53 years old, while the oldest is 73.
Jeremiah Voker, who has been at the ministry for the last 39 years, was the longest serving retiree; while Arthur Jimmy, 71, served for nine years. Others served between 15 and 36 years. Of the 17 retirees, five persons were retired having attained the required age and tenure.
According to a recent Foreign Affairs Ministry release, the retirement program was held in the Ministry’s C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium.
The personnel director, Jacob W. W. Williams, informed the honorees that the Civil Service Agency’s (CSA) standing orders require that every citizen employed, unless otherwise requested, must be retired at age 65 or after a minimum of 25 years of service as specified under Section 1 of the Government’s Employee Pension Act.
Mr. Williams stated that the 17 employees had honestly served the government and reached the retirement benchmark.
The Deputy Director-General of the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP), Nyan D. Twayen, Jr., used the occasion to educate the workers about their benefits with NASSCORP.
“Firstly, as you are aware, NASSCORP has an old-age pension scheme meant to take care of you when you are old and can no longer work. Those who are retired based on tenure are not automatically qualified under the scheme because many times, they have not yet obtained the required age of 60 or above,” Mr. Twayen Jr. said.
He disclosed that the Corporation and other relevant agencises of government were drafting a bill to submit to the Legislature which when passed into law, will terminate the tenure pension scheme, “because pension is costing government a lot of money.”
Mr. Twayen assured the retirees that NASSCROP is responsible for the wellbeing of workers; adding: “When you are coming to work and get involved in an accident, the entity is responsible to take you for treatment even if it means to heaven. Between 8 a.m. and 5p.m., going to and coming from work, you are covered under the NASSCROP scheme and any injury that is job-related, NASSCROP is responsible.”
On behalf of fellow retirees, Robert P. Dean, Jr., said, “There is time for everything. Once your services are engaged, there has got to come a time when your services are disengaged.”
Mr. Dean, who served until retirement as the Director of Diplomatic Security, also took the opportunity to thank former workmates and also apologize to his colleagues – asking those that he said they might have offended in the discharge of their duties to forgive them.
“As we leave especially for us in the security, I think we are leaving people who are capable of carrying on the duties,” he added.
Acting Foreign Minister B. Elias Shoniyin said that the day was interesting, because it brought mixed emotions. “I have interacted with every one of you. The emotion that I will not see you again as often as I saw you over the last 11 years is something.”
He noted that life is such that often one has to shut one door in one’s life and open another. He extended best wishes and thanked them for their dedicated services to the Ministry and the people of Liberia.
Shoniyin also urged the Ministry’s employees to serve not looking at personal gains but the greater good of the Ministry and their nation.