Over twelve teachers from the Mount Barclay Community School on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 stormed the premises of the Capitol Building, demanding payment of salary arrears they claim the owner of the school owes them.
The Capitol Building is the seat of the Liberian Legislature. It is located on Capitol Hill in Monrovia. The Mount Barclay Community School is privately owned by Montserrado County District #13 Representative Saah Joseph.
During the protest, the aggrieved teachers held placards, calling on other lawmakers to intervene on their behalf.
The aggrieved teachers want Rep. Joseph, the proprietor of the school, to pay their salary arrears they claim he owes them.
The aggrieved teachers alleged that the lawmaker owes them four months' salary arrears. According to the spokesperson of the aggrieved teachers, Mr. Ebenezer Bartee, their decision to protest at the Capitol Building was due to the alleged refusal of Rep. Joseph to grant them an audience. He said their protest was also intended to draw the attention of members of the Legislature, including House Speaker J. Alex Tyler.
He asserted that several efforts were made to encourage Rep. Joseph to pay their salary arrears, but all yielded fruitless. Mr. Bartee averred that the alleged failure of the lawmaker to settle their arrears has created serious hardship for them and their families.
The spokesman of the aggrieved teachers lamented that they (aggrieved teachers) had exercised high level of restraint for too long. He said they (aggrieved teachers) can no longer bear the delay in the payment of their salary arrears. Said Mr. Bartee: "We are instructors from a school Hon. Saah Joseph established five years ago. We are here today in demand of our salary arrears that he (Rep. Saah Joseph) owes us for the months of June, September, and December of 2012 and January of this year. We had exhausted every means of getting and begging him because we need our salary to sustain ourselves. We used the student council government on campus and we even channeled our grievances to the Principal of the school but to no avail."
Mr. Bartee continued: "We believe that coming at the Capitol Building will claim the attention of the Legislature. We want this issue to also be discussed by them-lawmakers because Representative Joseph, who claimed to be a humanitarian, is downplaying humanity. This school is not run from Hon. Joseph's pocket. This school has donors in the US to be precise in New Georgia and California."
The aggrieved teachers then called on the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Montserrado County Legislative Caucus headed by Representative Edward Forh to intervene into the matter.
Meanwhile, when contacted at his Capitol Building office for comments regarding the aggrieved teachers' claim, our reporter was informed that Rep. Joseph was in a Caucus meeting and he had already spoken to some journalists on the issue. Several attempts to get Rep. Joseph's response by this writer was unsuccessful as his mobile phone rang incessantly without any response.