Senate Wants Retirement Within LNP, LIS, NSA Halted

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Sen. Steve Zargo

-Warns of Looming Security Threat

The Senate Committee on Defense, Security, Intelligence and Veteran Affairs, in a report to the plenary yesterday, recommended that the Senate writes the President of Liberia, Civil Service Agency and the Ministry of Finance to halt all retirement processes within the security sector until recent mobilization for settlement of severance benefits, training and logistics are addressed by the government. The committee’s report followed a communication from Lofa County Senator, Stephen Zargo, informing his colleagues of unusual retirement and pensioning process being carried out within the Liberia National Police, Liberia Immigration Services and the National Security Agency. 

Senator Zargo’s communication raised an alarm that some of the individuals replacing the retirees have neither gone through vetting nor properly trained to deserve recruitment. The chairman of the Senate Committee on Defense, Security, Intelligence and Veteran Affairs, Senator Prince Y. Johnson, said the recent retirement of officers from the National Police and Liberia Immigration Services without replacements has put the security completely under-strength, which he warned is a security threat to the nation.

“We don’t have enough immigration to patrol the borders, not enough police to cover the country; in case of emergency, we hardly find the police. So if we intend to retire people as a government, then it is necessary that we recruit to replace those people,” said Senator Johnson.

The Nimba County Senator disclosed that both the Inspector General of Police and Immigration Commissioner have declared no knowledge of the ongoing retirement process; “so, who is giving the order to them to retire the people?”

Like the chairman, co-chair Senator Stephen Zargo emphasized that the retirement of security personnel without replacement creates national security concerns and a looming threat. Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon, making an input during the debate, described as scary when heads of security agencies say that they don’t know how people are retired and that retirements are done by the Ministry of Finance and the Civil Service Agency with no reference, no consultation and no idea from the heads of the two security agencies, is troubling, especially under the current regime.

“It is my view that the Liberian Senate has allowed herself to this point where, even the security committee of the Liberian Senate don’t get briefing; if we were getting regular security briefings in keeping with protocol, so we know what’s happening in the country security wise, so it can inform what kind of action and intervention we can make here from the Liberian Senate, probably we wouldn’t reach here,” warning that, “If we are not careful, this is time bomb and land mine we are playing with in the security of this country.”

Senator Dillon continued: “If we do not put our feet down as a Senate and a committee responsible to ensure the security of the state, and let the Finance Minister and Civil Service Agency do what they want, we are inviting another harmonization with no explanation, we approve it while we have the staff issue on our hands; so it is my considered opinion that this matter is grave, so much so that even if we take the entire day, one week to ensure that we put this matter to rest on a way that proper steps are taken to invite the Finance Minister and Civil Service Agency Director,” said Senator Dillon.

Senator J. Gbleh-bo Brown, for his part, asserted that the issue before them as national leaders, “if we do not take the appropriate action and review call for a thorough reiew of the whole pension and retirement scheme, we may cause a paralysis in the running of this state.”

Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naathan, among other things agreed with the Senate Committee’s recommendation and emphasized the call for the reinstatement of those already retired and pension, while training programs go on for their replacements. Sinoe County Senator J. Milton Teahjay, argued that preferences are given to political cronies of the government who have had no security training for the replacement of individuals retired and pensioned.

“We in this Senate are also responsible for the mess that is taking place in this country, no way that we can expunge ourselves; now after all the grandstanding here today, you will not hear anything in term of security, we will go to sleep.”

Senator Teahjay warned and reminded his colleagues that everyone in the country is getting tired, describing the situation as a national predicament and saying that even the Legislature is paralyzed.

“In my mind, almost everything in this country is paralyzing; is the educational sector working? Obviously not; is the health sector working? certainly not…roads are completely unplayable; so what is working in this country, because nobody can give an account of what’s working in this country.” 

Speaking off the cuff, Senator Teahjay opined that: “When (they) saw that Brownie Samukai was going to win the Senatorial Election seat for Lofa County at the National Elections Commission and be seated, they brought him down guilty by a verdict of the Supreme Court; these are things that are not happening in isolation; they are all politically driven.”

Senator Teahjay intimated that the institutions that should be supporting this administration are all incompetent; “They are not delivering services; each head of agency is depending on relationship with the President.”

Bong County Senator, Dr. Henrique Tokpa, suggested that the Senate asks the President to issue an Executive Order, putting halt to the retirement process until a study can be done and a report made to plenary to suggest to the President the recommendation as to how to proceed. A motion is meanwhile, requesting the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to provide the Senate a statistic as to how the retirement process is going on, with specific reference to which agency, how many people and what is the financial implications to the government and when they want to implement the plan, so that the Senate can be in the position to provide any kind of budgetary allocation or influence their decision.

13 COMMENTS

  1. I said it before that the compulsory retirement scheme going on in Liberia was misguided and ill-advised. Unless the whole scheme is halted and “recalibrated,” the entire bureaucracy will come crumbling under lack of trained personnel as replacement sets.

    Retiring medical doctors, njurses, teachers, engineers, lawyers and a host of other professionals is a recipe for disaster.

    Two weeks ago there was a story in this Observer outfit about a recruitment drive in Nimba County for teachers. That several schools in the county were short of teachers because previous teachers in the affected schools had been retired. Imagine the lack of planning.

    Wouldn’t any administration have a corps of trained teachers in the wings as replacemet before retiring the “older” folks? But even preposterous about this schedme is that young professional in the prime of their fields are being retired.

    According to this scheme, spend 25 years at any work station and you are out! The folly in that is that middle age and vibrant professionals who have just reached the prime in their careers, will now be let go.

    Imagine a young college man or woman who graduated college at 22 or 23. Obtained their masters in 2 years, and now at age 24 or 25. At age 49 or 50 they would now be well seasoned in their craft. But by this concave retirement scheme, it’s time to pack for retirement.

    This is what is happening in Liberia now. Many of our colleagues that graduated from college in the same time frames with us, or right after us are now retired and idling in the country. Idling not because they don’t want to work, but because of the lack of alternative work places.

    This whole retirement scheme is short-sighted and counterproductive, period! My guesstimation is that within 25 to 30 years, retirees’ payroll mainly for civil servants will surpass regular employees payroll in Liberia, at the rate this thing is going. So the entire retirement scheme needs to be reversed and not only the security sector.

    More importanly, retirement age or condition can be earmarked as a national benchmark, but the decision itself ought to be voluntary. And instead of the established 25-year benchmark, 65 will be reasonable. That should be a reasonable age at which any entity would have sucked the living life out of any being. Or the age at which anyone would have given their best to any entity. Just a thought.

  2. We sounded this alarm bell here long ago, “Weah is the most dangerous president of Liberia in all times”.
    He is preparing to grab the 2023 elections. He tried polluting the army 3 different times to no avail. He has started infested the other security apparatuses with thugs and henchmen, like Samuel Doe. He is preparing to massacre Liberians in the near future.

    But beware Weah and thugs, any gun fired in the Republic of Liberia will be the last shot ever fired in the Republic of Liberia!

  3. The Defender Declares …….

    (1) Stern Warning about gun shots being authorized or fired by Weah. Very scary.

    (2). Weah plans to massacre Liberians in the future,

    (3). Weah has infested the security apparatus of Liberia…(with what?)

    (4). Weah is the most dangerous president Liberia has had. (This cannot be true. This critic of Weah railed against Charles D.B. King in the past as being an evil man. But all of a sudden, King is mysteriously surpassed by Weah. Good grieve. Please give us a break!

    (5). Weah is preparing to grab the 2023 elections.

    This critic likes to dehumanize his political opponents. Of course in politics such a thing is done. It’s not too good, unfortunately, it’s a way of life in politics. But the strangest part of this phenomenon is that this gentleman (my buddy) abhors people who criticizes his demigod, Alexander Benedict Cummings.

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the court of public opinion, you be the judge and jury.

    A thought, not a sermon.

    Peace

  4. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
    That’s Samuel Tweah thing, Oooooooooooo.
    That is the overzealous Finance Minister Samuel Tweah trying to balance the budget on the backs of inexperienced and inferior security personnels by getting rid of the experienced ones to employ low wage personnels of the country’s security agencies.
    Then of course, the national budget is balanced, and the country is able to save a ton of extra dollars.
    The lawmakers are thinking wrongly, when it comes to Samuel Tweah and in finding money to balance his budget. So as to boast of another budget surplus budget year . Security ? What security ? Samuel does not care. Its about the BUDGET ! ANYWAY NECESSARY !
    And of course, the scary Civil Servants Agency is will go along with whatever Samuel says. These are the kind of people in charged now .
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
    Employing people with low skills with the mindset of paying them nothing, even training them will affect the national budget. Samuel don’t care ! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

  5. Security Sector principals of affected institutions should’ve brought up the alleged retirements with GMW. Because not only that replacements must be found, but also availability of skill sets and experience should be paramount in such a process. However, that said, the government has authority to retire any civil servant who reaches retiring age, and can transfer elsewhere within the government non-performing officers. Moreover, reportedly, between 2005 and 2007, hundreds of security officers were willy-nilly, or willfully “retired”. Not to talk of changing name of the State Security Service (SSS) to Executive Protective Service (EPS), as if the action would make any difference in efficiency and effectiveness.

    • But George is not interested ! And those who have come to know regarding his leadership, know that he is a pushover figurehead President. Any strong man like Samuel Tweah in the regime capable of making decisions for George as a political figurehead leader, will Do So !
      Even Samuel Doe was fooled by the international community and got himself killed, he’s much better thinker than this God Forsaken One.
      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
      Missing Samuel Doe ? Please. Just comparison statement. They just wasting their time on this hard to learn one. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

    • And just so you’d know, some of us have been denouncing this stupid retirement scheme since it started in Liberia. As you might not imagine, personal friends and family members of ours have been victimized by this nonsense since it started. And you mentioned accepted “retirement age” in other settings, which, to me would be far far preferrable than this impractical “25 years” benchmark. When you factor in the fact there are just a handful of other options or alternatives available to such persons compelled to retire as early as in their late 40s or early 50s, then it leaves you wondering, what will such professionals be doing the rest of their lives? Need I remind you of the adage, “An idle mind is the workshop of the devil?” TWT!

  6. Unless our Senators refocus their oversight authority on quality of delivery in both economic and security sectors, the resulting hardships and community safety fears would increase public dissatisfaction, disaffection, and discontent. (And this is true of all four MRU countries. The question then becomes, why, knowing what far from quantum physics, our political leaders continue putting amateurs to lead these institutions? The loyalty test supposedly ensured by kin, friends, tribe, or party didn’t work in the past, and won’t today, or tomorrow. Let us therefore elevate the competency test to truly transform Liberia.

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