— Submits Asset Declaration Paper to Senate Secretary
— Pro Tempore Chie warns Dillon that he could be removed by peers, not by the people who elected him
The newly inducted Senator of Montserrado County, Abraham Darius Dillon, in line with some of his by-election campaign pledges, on Thursday, August 15, 2019, announced before Senate plenary and family members, including his wife and mother, that he will only accept a salary in full sum of US$5,000 as Senator.
“As a first sign of our commitment to our pledges, I want to publicly announce that considering the current economic situation the country is faced with, I Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of Montserrado County, will only accept a salary in full sum of US$5,000, and any amount over this, will be deposited in an escrow account to go toward social development programs. I urge my colleagues in the legislative, executive and judiciary branches to kindly consider doing likewise so as to save money for other development projects,” Senator Dillon declared to the delight of onlookers and some the lawmakers, who only nodded with apparent approval.
“In keeping with the Liberian Constitution,” Senator Dillon said that at the time of economic challenges, “The Constitution says national leaders should craft policies for national good, therefore, it is time for us to look in that direction.”
“While a full declaration of my assets will be made following the due process outlined by law, I publicly declare today, as I present to the secretary of the Senate my asset declaration papers in keeping with law; everything I owe is not more than US$75,000, and the process to commence publishing same starts Monday, August 19, 2019.
Even though it is not required by law to publish ones assets, Senator Dillon said that ethics, good leadership, morality should guide us to go beyond what the law says to set good example.”
Senator Dillon reminded his colleagues in the jam-packed chambers that he campaigned on the message of transparency and accountability, adequate representation and keeping the interest of the people of Montserrado County, and Liberia at the forefront of all decisions and actions, “and so, I must try to live by those promises.”
“Our win shows that these are the widespread desires of citizens, particularly Montserrado County. The time has come to show our commitment by working for and on behalf of the Liberian people, and to deliver results; the time has come to introduce our people to a new Montserrado and a new Liberia; we want to inspire a new generation, and God we pray, we can be that humble vessel for somebody out there to believe again,” he declared.
Dillion ran in the just-ended Montserrado County senatorial by-election on the ticket of the opposition Liberty Party, which is one of four collaborating opposition political parties. In a landslide victory, he bested his closest rival, Coalition for Democratic Change candidate, Paulita C.C. Wie, by a margin of over 38,000 votes.
He declared in his post-induction statement: “You gave us the votes unprecedented in any by-election history of this country, especially Montserrado County; in any by-election history in Liberia. Today, we want to reaffirm our commitment to promises and pledges to working closely with our colleagues in the legislative, executive and Judiciary branches, the civil society, media and the private sector community to ensure that the needs of our people of Montserrado and Liberia will be represented by our actions and decisions.”
Dillon further pledged his commitment to fighting for and defending the constitutional rights of residents and citizens of Montserrado, and Liberia by upholding the laws of the nation, and the duties of the office of senator; “working diligently to reform and revitalize the Senate in line with our duties as enshrined in the Constitution by building an institution that is effective, accountable, participatory and representative of the people we serve.”
His wife of 30 years, Sedia Dillon, was unprecedentedly allowed to participate in the swearing-in ceremony of her husband by holding the Holy Bible, while he was sworn-in.
In his welcoming statement to the ‘new’ senator, Pro Tempore Albert T. Chie, told Dillon that in the Senate, the Bible is the Rules of the Senate, adding, “This is a political house, and here, we do politics; you were elected by the people of Montserrado County, but from today’s date, you belong to the Senate. That is why the framers of the Liberian Constitution stipulates that the power to remove you from here is not with the people, it is with those of us that are here. Only we alone have that power. Here, Mr. Senator, we act beyond party line; act and think independently of party ideologies, whims, caprices and orientations. We are independent here, no party dictates to us. Since I have been here, nobody dictates to us.”
Chie reminded Dillon that in the Senate, they do serious business; “Legislative politics is practical, and is different from text book politics; here we are masters of our own rules,” the Pro Tempore said, giving as an example how quickly Dillon’s induction was conducted minutes after he presented his credentials to the secretary and chair on Rules, Order and Administration.