Senate Grills Labour Nominees Porte, Gargu

Assistant Ministers-designate Alexander Gargu and Togba Porte.

The Assistant Minister-designate for Trade Union Affairs of the Ministry of Labor has said that trade unions are places where the government’s pro-poor policy can intervene to uplift that pro-poor system.

“I believe in President George Weah’s policy and I also believe that the trade union is the only entity in my opinion and from my experience that can organize any group of people (workers) for the upliftment and betterment of the worker… their laws and their organizing system allows the worker to have the right to exist within his or her own country, whether in business or government,” Togba R. Croyee Porte told members of the Senate Committee on Labor, when he appeared before them yesterday for confirmation.

The Assistant Minister-designate who, according to his resume, has 30 years of advocacy experience on behalf of various African migrants residing in New York, emphasized that the place for the pro-poor government to work or begin is through the labor unions and businesses, and stated: “Everybody in Liberia must be given the opportunity to work and must have the dignity and the right to do so.”

Asked about his nationality, whether he possesses a foreign passport or holds foreign allegiances by committee chair Senator Matthew N. Jaye of River Gee, Porte, who has reportedly lived in the United States for over 27 years, said: “I am a Liberian; and as such, I carry a Liberian passport. I am a green card holder and married, with my family currently living in the United States.”

After acknowledging the experiences of some former members of the past government who worked here and used their salaries to pay mortgages back in the US, Porte admitted that he has mortgage obligation, “but my wife is working and her salary is enough to take care of our mortgage.”

On his accomplishments, Porte, who served as campaign manager for the Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction of Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson in the 2017 presidential and legislative elections, noted in his resume that while in the United States, he once served as first vice president of the New York City Coalition of Black Trade Unionists for six years; and participated in peace conferences, including the 1996 Abuja Peace Conference on Liberia during the civil war.

Also appearing yesterday was the Assistant Minister of Labor for Administration-designate, Alexander Gargu, who presented a resume showing his work experience in several administrative areas, which claimed and necessitated his preferment by President Weah.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Jaye – after over an hour of grilling – informed the two nominees that the deliberations were the first stage of the confirmation process, which was necessary as it prepares committee members for the second stage, before the final report to Senate plenary.

Present at yesterday’s hearing in the conference room of the Senate Pro Temp were, Senators Varney Sherman, Morris Saytumah, Francis Paye, J. Milton Teahjay, and Gbleh-Bo Brown.


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