MONROVIA – As lawmakers returned from their legislative break and bracing up for the final phase of their duty under this dispensation, Senator Abraham Darius Dillon has set for himself a tall order to engage national issues that will positively impact on the welfare and interest of the people, declaring “this year is going to be robust. I may maintain some friends and lose some as well but it will be in the line of doing my duty.”
Senator Dillon, affectionately called “The Light” for the uncommon way he brings out issue for discussion as well as highlighting some of the ills with the governance environment of the country made the statement when he used the five minutes allotted to each senator to speak during the reconvening of the upper house of the National Legislature recently.
“Mr. Pro Temp and my distinguished colleagues, we give God the glory for our return. The Liberian people are watching. During our break, practically nothing has changed. Things got worse.
“This year I am not campaigning; I am not on the ballot. I laid the premise that I am not on the ballot for 2023.
Everything that is in this chamber that I will be doing like what I have been doing is not that I want to impress because I want to win re-election. Rather that is my duty to do it”, he said.
Dillon told his colleagues that if the senate is serious of addressing governance issues in the country, the senators should first begin asking the hard questions about themselves and to begin with one of the targets he set for himself, demanded the budget of the Senate from the Ways and Means committee to be discussed so as to erase the misconception and mischaracterization of the upper house as “working in secrecy and corruption”
He said before proceeding on their break, he called for the senate budget to be made public and discussed item by item but nothing was done and that he was renewing the request so the record can be set straight.
The tough talking Montserrado County Senator ruled out being part and parcel of the discussion process for the national budget if the senate budget is not first discussed by his colleagues in its entirety. He also ruled out being a part taker of discussing the national budget “if we will rush with a 30 minute process just to impress that we are having a budget hearing”.
He asserted that the national budget will be fully discussed item by item so that the ministries and agencies that got allocations last year will justify what they got, stressing that the Ministry of Education was given $97m last year just as $100m was allotted to the security sector but much is yet to be seen.
Dillon also said he will be looking at the domestic debts owed by the government as well as the Western Cluster saga and wants the senate to take custody of what is unfolding in Bomi County with the view of finding a lasting solution to it “even if we must ratify or not to ratify the MOU”
“The Western Cluster should claim our attention so we will know how Western Cluster is operating in the region and how it began to truck iron ore from Bomi to Monrovia. I made a statement that no truck should leave from Bomi to Monrovia and I told the people of Bomi not to allow any truck to leave Bomi to Monrovia.
He challenged his colleagues to follow up every resolution taken with the view to ensure that the mandate given by any resolution is implemented to the hilt, asserting that the Committee on Banking and Currency should be asked what has become about the currency that was printed last year by the Central Bank of Liberia after the national legislature passed a resolution to effect the transaction.
Senator Dillon further said his legislative activity will also dwell on the ELWA-RIA road construction and the issue of rehabilitation and mental health in the national budget.
He listed the revisitation of the retirement bill of the lawmakers which the people “have politicized so much to blackmail us and when I talk about the retirement, I am talking about the other lawmakers who are serving or who have served not the officers like the Speakers, Deputy Speakers, Pro Temp, etc”.