12 June 2012

Liberia: Children's Parliament Speaker Resigns for 'Lack of Gov't Support'

The Speaker of the Children's Parliament of Liberia, Emmanuel Bropleh Jr., has resigned for what he terms lack of support from the Government of Liberia to the Parliament. The Children's Parliament of Liberia is the highest advocacy and representative body for children in the country. The body draws its strength from its membership gathered from the 15 political sub-divisions of Liberia.

Recently, this paper reported that the Children's Parliament Speaker had cautioned government to speedily implement recommendations forwarded to it by the Parliament.

He stated that the Children's Parliament of Liberia has made several recommendations to government ranging from direct government support to the Parliament, government support to children in the disable community and the Parliament's representation at national and international events that have not been implemented by government.

Unlike other West African countries where governments directly support their respective Children's Parliaments, he indicated, Liberia still heavily relies on partners, adding that: "This has to change, and government must now begin to shoulder the responsibility of directly supporting the Children's Parliament of Liberia."

Said Speaker Bropleh: "After all of what we do as a Children's Parliament to advocate, lobby and consult with others for the good of our government and country, It is sadden to note that at the end of the day, there is little or nothing on the implementation of recommendations from the Children's Parliament on the part of the Government of Liberia."

"I am disappointed, and I think there should be more political will on the part of government, parents, religious and opinion leaders to implement more programs that will benefit children in the country," he among other things stated.

However, in a telephone interview with this paper Monday, Bropleh confirmed that he resigned as Speaker of the Children's Parliament of Liberia late Friday, May 8, 2012, for what he calls the lack of encouraging support from the Gender and Development Ministry for more than one year now.

He stated that the Children's Parliament has been constrained to work under difficult circumstances in fulfilling the dreams and aspirations of the children of Liberia, who he said, constitute 55% of the country's population, adding that the action of the Ministry of Gender and Development as "disappointing and very barbaric."

He noted that the Children's Law legislated in September 2011, obligates government to support the Children's Parliament of Liberia, indicating that the lack of financial support and logistics are major challenges currently impeding the work of the Parliament.

But Gender and Development Ministry Communications Consultant, Mr. Smith Toby informed this paper yesterday that his ministry was studying Bropleh's claims contained in his resignation letter, and would shortly come up with an official response to the assertions of the former Speaker of the Children's Parliament.

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