9 August 2018

Liberia: "Each Senator Earns U.S. $10k Per Month" - Says VP Taylor

Photo: Liberian Observer
Vice-President Jewel Howard-Taylor, left, Minister Daniel Dee Ziankahn and other government officials in Liberia have declared their assets to anti-graft institutions.

In a bid to win over Bong County voters in favor of her chosen candidate in the 2018 senatorial by-elections, Josiah Melvin Cole, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor disclosed that each Senator's monthly earning amounts to US $10,000.

VP Taylor made the statement when she addressed a cross section of citizens on July 28 in the gold rich area of David Dean Town or Gold Camp during her last day of campaign in the just-ended senatorial by-election recently.

She told the citizens that each member of the Senate earns US$10,000 monthly, but did not say whether the amount in question was for salary alone or whether it is inclusive of allowances and other benefits. However, the VP's statement, made in passing, suggested that the amount was more than enough for the monthly salary of a senator.

"US$10,000 is so huge a money for one person to earn at the level of the lawmakers. So if one person makes that kind of money in six years' time, that person automatically becomes a millionaire," VP Taylor said while the citizens looked on in disbelief.

Many residents of Bong County, following the VP's disclosure, labeled her statement as "incongruous (conflicting)." Some of them wondered as to why "only this time the Vice President is telling us that Senators make more money when she served in the position for 12 uninterrupted years and did not reveal the information to us."

And as grossly superfluous as VP Jewel Howard Taylor was painting the senatorial salary to be, many of her listeners recalled her claiming, at a time when she herself was a Bong County Senator, that the salaries of senators were "not much".

It can be recalled that in an interview with the Voice of America (VOA) while in the United States sometime last year, Mrs. Taylor then Senator for Bong County, said lawmakers were not earning much money, "because too many citizens go and always beg them for personal assistance."

According to data compiled by the Institute for Research and Democratic Development, from the 2015-2016 national budget, each Senator's salary and other emoluments (travel, vehicle, housing allowances, "other specialized materials", etc.) amount to $US193,416 per year, or US$16,118 per month.

Mrs. Taylor was elected twice by the people of Bong County as Senator before ascending to the position of Vice President following the 2017 presidential runoff election.

Earlier this year, at the induction of Bong County Superintendent, VP Taylor warned local chiefs to join the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) or risk loosing their jobs; a statement that raised eyebrows as to her style of leadership.

During the first round of polling in the October, 2017 presidential elections, CDC, which has not won Bong County during the last two presidential elections of 2005 and 2011, staged an upset when it massively won the county, a victory that proved Madam Taylor's popularity with the people after winning twice as Senator in a heavily contested senatorial election.

But political analysts in the county have highlighted the "diminishing influence" of Vice President Taylor. Her preferred candidate in the just-ended Senatorial By-election, Representative Josiah Marvin Cole, was defeated, in spite of the huge support she provided in the contest against Dr. Henrique Tokpa, an independent candidate, who eventually won the election.


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