23 July 2014

Liberia: 'There Will Be No 26 Celebration If' - Protesting Maritime Workers

Monrovia — Shouting this slogan: "We want our money, we want our money," angry workers of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA), stormed the Ministry of Finance, early Tuesday Morning, demanding six months arrears owed them by the Ministry.

The placards bearing protesters instead of the LMA besieged the entrance of the Finance Ministry early Tuesday morning demanding arrears owed them and threatening to disrupt the Independence Day celebrations slated for July 26, 2014.

"If we cannot get paid, we will be on it until 26, because if we do not get paid, there will be no 26 celebration," said Edwin G.B. Gbejay, a supervisor at Maritime.

Gbejay went to speak to Minister Konneh on behalf of the crowd and after the meeting told his colleagues to come in their numbers on Wednesday for their salaries or take to the streets on July 26 to continue their protest if they do not receive their pay.

"The Minister said Friday, but I told him we do not agree, we want to be paid tomorrow and he said the Maritime people were on their way to the Central Bank to start paying tomorrow," he said.

While briefing the workers, Gbejay said that the former Deputy Minister of Budget, Mr. Sebastian Muan said ages ago that they would get their money, but up to present, they are still waiting to be paid.

"The newly appointed minister said the money they had to pay us, had been used to fight Ebola, so there is no money to pay us, which is not fair to us," he said. "We know that in order to fight Ebola, we need to keep our environment clean because when you feel sick from running stomach, they will kill you at the hospital and say it was Ebola."

While Gbejay was still speaking, a lady shouted from the crowd and said: "Augustine Ngafuan used to pay us on time, when he was Minister of Finance, but Minister Konneh time, we are standing under the rain and begging for our own money"

Terrance Diggs, another supervisor at Maritime, said that it was the government responsibility to pay them for the six months arrears, because the Government had taken over the LMA.

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