–Senator Dillon Reveals
By Reuben Sei Waylaun
Montserrado County Senator, Abraham Darius Dillon has lamented that they continue to see ‘more rattans, more whippings’ since President George Weah declared the state of emergency in the country.
Addressing legislative Reporters Monday April 13, 2020 at his Capitol Building office, Senator Dillon lamented that there is no measure since the pronouncement by President Weah on April 8, 2020.
“We can’t do anything if we don’t know what measures the President taking. The only thing we see happening sadly is more rattans and more whippings,” he said.
Senator Dillon further said “No measures, no economic stimulus in term of intervention on the health side. We only see more rattans, more state police brutalities, indiscipline and fear.”
“We don’t know whether the President put us in lockdown or in a curfew. It is at the discretion of a state security whether you can sit on your porch or you should be in your room. A lockdown is different from curfew,” he added.
The Montserrado County lawmaker said the Liberian leader hasn’t submitted anything to them regarding his declaration of the state of emergency.
“It’s disappointing that the President of Liberia will declare a state of emergency on the 8th of April 2020 to take effect on the 10th of April 2020 and up to the 13th of April 2020, he hasn’t submitted to the Legislature for review. There was no plan,” Senator Dillon said.
The opposition Liberty Party (LP) stalwart however said some Senators have been very proactive and they planning to engage the Liberia Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Finance to know what are available in order to start paying civil servants and others officials of government.
“Let’s suspend the thirty-cent on petroleum products, LEC is not stable and it’s not regular. We need to reduce the price of petroleum products at the pumps, so people can be able to buy and have some comforts while they are home.
“The World Bank has given us US$6million in cash out of the US$15million. Since the issue is about rice and buckets, we want to allocate at least US$1.5million to buy sufficient rice and buckets and other disinfectants to donations to recognized organizations. These are suggestions we are making as some senators,” he said.
He said while they are advocating for the Liberian people, they won’t be unreasonable because they know the constraints the country is going through.
“We can’t say pay the people six months when we know it’s not possible. As national leaders, we have to review our budgets, and know our financial strength,” he said.
For his part, Senator Sando Dazoe Johnson of Bomi County said they are not working as opposition leaders, but collectively as national leaders and they will be successful.
Senator Johnson wants the Liberian Government to wisely use the funds that have been given to the Liberian people to focus more on those at the frontline (health workers).
He wants real accountability and warned that it shouldn’t be misappropriated as it was done during the Ebola crisis in the country or else it will discourage partners from helping the country.
“Buy enough materials to be distributed in the field. Pay the civil servants, the health workers. Even if you don’t pay us (Senators), pay the civil servants. LEC and Water and Sewer shouldn’t collect fees right now,” he said.
He wants the Minister of Justice to ensure that the current ‘harassments’ against the Liberian people during the SOE cannot continue.
“There are lots of people in the streets, private securities are not state security actors, motorbike security guards, and this is bringing confusion. Justice Minister must explain who the national security actors are clearly. They have allowed them to have checkpoints and their own gates. We don’t have problem with the president’s SOE, but after seven days, it’s not active and we will modify it. We have checkpoints all over the place,” he said.
There have been numerous allegations of brutalities against peaceful citizens since the declaration of the State of Emergency by President George Manneh Weah.