Police Pay Worries Lawmakers

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Capitol Hill is deeply worried about the current state of affairs and conditions of the personnel in the Liberia National Police (LNP), in awake of their confronting the spread of the Ebola virus.

Lawmakers expressed concern  in plenary yesterday, during discussions which followed the presentation of a complaint from River Gee County Representative Johnson Chea relative to the plight of police officers in the country.

According to the River Gee lawmaker, information revealed that the payment of basic salaries and other amenities of police officers and personnel of the nation’s security apparatus were often delayed.

This concern received majority support from members of the Lower House.

“Since the graduation of the Academy Class 42 of the Liberia National Police, May 17, 2014, it will interest you to know that they have been paid for two (2) months (June and July).  This [situation] is creating [serious] economic problems on these security personnel,” Rep. Chea indicated.

He pointed out that there have been many complaints from security officers relative to their low pay or the [breach] in the disbursement of funds allotted for their operations.

The River Gee County lawmaker opted for the appearance of authorities involved with the matter before House committees, a suggestion that was received and endorsed by plenary.

This means that plenary instruction to the Committees on National Security, Ways, Means, and Finance to report findings in two weeks remains a straight mandate that should be implemented.

Meanwhile, the House overwhelmingly voted to endorse the recommendations of the Committee on Broadcasting, Culture, and Tourism on relative to previous hearings involving top officials of the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on comments made against lawmakers.

Representative Richmond Anderson’s report declared:  “The hearing established and concluded that that Deputy Minister Isaac Jackson must be made to apologize to the House and its members for the expression of “Counterfeit lawmakers,” which he made  an official communication to plenary, which was  subsequently published in at least five local dailies.  The apology should be read at the MICAT’s regular press briefing.”

It was also agreed upon that the Code of Conduct be issued to every public official elected and appointed; in order to enhance coordination and professionalism in government.

The Committee also recommended that the leadership of the Legislative Branch of Government advise its members against attitude that stand to divide or dislocate government’s operations.

This followed the Committee’s assertions that lawmakers were also involved with hurling insults at presidential appointees, thereby inflaming an “unfortunate situation among government officials.”

In a related development, President Johnson Sirleaf has informed the Legislature of the Executive’s commitment to allow Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Managing Director to brief lawmakers on  details of the contract entered into involving the Norwegian government on the forestry sector.

She noted that her office had  instructed FDA boss to make full appearance before the Legislature in order to explain full details about the US$150 million five-year contract entered into by the Executive.

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