-Write Senate, House to Intervene
Twenty-nine (29) officers/agents of the Executive Protective Service (EPS) – the Presidential Secret Guard – on Wednesday affixed their signatures to a protest letter against their “wrongful retirement.” The EPS provides security protection to the President and Vice President of Liberia, as well as members of their immediate families. Along with providing security protection to key government officials and their families, the agency also provides security protection to candidates of the upcoming presidential elections and other security assignments as they are needed, including security protection to visiting heads of state.
In their letter to House Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay, a copy of which is in the possession of the Daily Observer, the officers said they immediately applied efforts for reinstatement after their “wrongful retirement” was announced on June 1 through Senator Steve Zargo, chairman of the Senate Committee on National Security. Yet, they said, their efforts have been unsuccessful, even up to present.
They said although the law requires for an individual to be retired after 25 years, their 25 years of service included the 14 wasted years of the civil war, which should not have been counted against their years of service to the nation. They said the fourteen years of the civil war should not be included in the 25 years “because the National Security Act of 2011 ruled out the 25-year tenure and recommended age 65 and ill health for retirement.” They quoted the NSA Act of 2011 as as saying that any employee that attained twenty-five (25) consecutive years of tenure has an option of a waiver. “The one-time handshake package of US$500 for an employee that served the state as security for twenty-five years is unreasonable and needs to be revisited. And because the legislative and presidential election is at hand (October 10, 2017),” it is not timely for their retirement, they said.
They further indicated that the EPS is not in the employ of the Civil Service Agency (CSA) but “our monthly compensation is calculated on CSA Tenure of Service and suspect that authorities at the EPS contravened the National Security Reform and Intelligence Act of 2011, Section 12.B (pension in an amount of 50% compensation (of what) he or she was receiving at the time of his or her retirement for the remainder of his or her natural life).” The former presidential guards have appealed to the Legislature to cite the EPS director to answer to their wrongful retirement, or whether his action is in line with the National Security Reform and Intelligence Act of 2011 (Sec. 3.6) – retirement and death benefits.
It has been gathered that the former EPS officers’ complaint is expected to be placed in today’s (Tuesday) agenda, which will mark the 57th day sitting of the House of Representatives. According to some of the officers, up to yesterday, they are yet to receive their US$500. “We spend our time behind the Mansion every day awaiting our ‘handshake’; and besides, it is seriously bad to pay someone US$500 who has served for 25 years,” a retired officer said.
Meanwhile, in a telephone interview with EPS Director Sam Gaye, he rubbished the officers’ allegation of wrongful retirement, stressing that they were “legally retired, because the law is the law.”
“The US$500 is also part of the law, according to the CSA,” he added “and the time to pay will be determined by the CSA,” he said.