Sen. Dillon Hails Amb. McCarthy -For Rebuking “Entire Legislature”

MONROVIA – In the wake of stinging remarks issued by United States Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Michael McCarthy, where he unreservedly criticized the Liberian lawmakers for being insensitive to the suffering of general popular, most especially the downtrodden rural dwellers, Montserrado County’s maverick senator Abraham Darius Dillion, popularly called “The Light” because of his tendency to bring to light shady dealings within the legislature, has effusively thanked McCarthy for fighting in the cause of the people.

Expressing his happiness over Mr. McCarthy’s April 24, 2023 press statement in which the US Ambassador decried how lawmakers continue to apportion astronomical salaries for themselves while hospitals, service centers and roads remain neglected, Senator Dillon took to social media immediately to thank the US Ambassador McCarthy, stating: “Thank You, U. S. Amb. Michael McCarthy; Thank You, My Friend!! I can understand and do appreciate the general aspersions cast on the entire Legislature in your statement over the poor governance in our country. Your very blunt statement issued today could not have come at a better time, and I stand with you!!!”

“I must state that nearly everything you highlighted has been our call, our advocacy, our fight and desire for change at the Senate in particular and at the Legislature in general.

“It is an open secret and no one can argue that we have pushed and consistently called for reduced salaries of Lawmakers and other high-ranking public officials so as to reallocate said funding that would address other priority needs of our people. We have even proffered a Bill in the Senate in said direction, setting the monthly salary package of Lawmakers and other high-ranking public officials at $5000USD or below. My Bill remains in “Committee Room” untouched because majority Lawmakers see and treat it otherwise, sadly!

“We have consistently demanded a Budget Performance Report in the spirit of transparency and accountability. The majority downplays this!! We have demanded accountability over payments of Domestic Debts. The majority has refused to act!

“We have demanded and insisted on Program-based Budgeting, proper scrutiny of Draft Budgets for appropriate allocations and easy tracking of public funds. The majority cares less!

“We have urged the need for a robust Senate/Legislature in performing proper OVERSIGHT to ensure check and balance. Majority does not seem to care! We have openly VOTED (on the Record) AGAINST the last two National Budgets, VOTED AGAINST the unauthorized use of Road Fund revenue, VOTED AGAINST the unreasonable Retirement Law, etc!!!

“We wish to assure that amid all the frustration and challenges, the few of us (a very slim minority in the Senate) that have been courageously standing up for real, systemic change to give a glimmer of hope to our country and people, shall continue to do so with our best,” Dillon promised.

It can be recalled that Ambassador McCarthy on Monday registered his displeasure over the manner and form in which the Weah-led government, especially the National Legislature, is ignoring the plight of ordinary Liberians.

“U.S. taxpayers spend around US$60 million a year on health care in Liberia, and another US$23 million on education. The same legislature that spent US$65 million on itself in 2022 appropriated around US$7.1 million for grants and subsidies to county health facilities and US$2.76 million for operations at basic and secondary education (although, as we saw, that doesn’t mean the funds reached their intended destinations). But if the legislature could just appropriate an additional US$10 million a year to primary education (for a country that is tied in last place for average days of school attendance), and an additional US$10 million a year for county hospitals, even the greatest cynics concede that it would make a big difference. Just US$500,000 each per year of actual maintenance (not make-believe budgeted funds) on four unpaved roads (Zorzor – Voinjama; Zwedru – Fishtown; Greenville – Barclayville City; and Greenville – Buchanan) would dramatically improve the lives of more than a million of Liberia’s poorest citizens, lowering food costs, revolutionizing farm to market access, and eliminating seasonal shortages of life-saving medicines and equipment. The legislature would still have US$43 million a year to somehow get by. Anyone interested in a pro-poor agenda?” Ambassador McCarthy had wondered.

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