Monrovia — Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor has been confined indoors for a little over three weeks due to the alleged failure of the government through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning to disburse operational funds allotted to her office.
It can be recalled that on Monday, January 13, VP Taylor boycotted the official opening of the 3rd Session of the 54th Legislature as a protest over the refusal of the government to release operational funds for the running of her office.
Many foreign dignitaries and guests were concerned about her conspicuous absence during the ceremony.
In a letter addressed to Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie and members of the Senate, VP Taylor pointed out that since the budget year 2018/2019 bills due her office for operational cost, have not been released.
"I am saddened to inform you, as elders of our nation, that the situation remains that bills due my office from 2018-2019 are still not paid and the operational expenses which I needed for the effective running or functioning of my office (Office of the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia), during 2018 - 2019 and 2019 - 2020 budget years have not been paid," she stated.
She noted that the situation has triggered improper security arrangements, which post a serious risk to her safe movements.
VP Taylor added that the situation has also compelled her to remain at her home for more than three weeks.
"Honorable President Pro-Tempore and Members of the Liberian Senate, this continued situation has left me without the proper security arrangements for my safe movements and without the ability to provide necessities for my Office. Currently, the security vehicles, including 2 bullet proof vehicles, needed for my movements have still not been provided to my detail," she noted.
The Vice President furthered: "As a result, I have been unable to leave my home over the past 3 weeks. I am therefore constrained to inform this Honorable body that due to the constraints described, I am unable to attend to my duties during this opening of the 3rd Session of the 54th National Legislature 2020; until these constraints are attended to."
The Senate's lukewarm attitude
She recalled that last year, she met with members of the Senate to inform them of the difficulties she was undergoing with some members of the Executive Branch relative to budgetary support for her office and the need for their timely intervention.
VP Taylor added that it was agreed that the Senate would intervene and to ensure that the issues raised are addressed.
"Unfortunately, I have patiently waited without any word, and the situation has since not improved," she said.
VP Taylor termed the situation as a "continuing and seemingly intentional circumstances surrounding financial obligations due in support of my duties as Vice President of the Republic and President of the Liberian Senate".
She prayed that the situation will claim members of the Liberian Senate "immediate attention and intervention."
"I was duly voted into this office and should be empowered to perform my duties as other officials and offices which are being regularly supported; and if such a situation continues to exists, it is my responsibility to inform the Liberian Senate," she added.
VP Taylor, however, expressed the hope that 2020 will bring a fresh breath of courage and strength to the life blood of the 54th Legislature which will enable a better environment for service to the nation and its people.
She said lawmakers should keep in mind that peace is a child of FAIRNESS and EQUITY at all levels.
Planning to boycott SONA?
An unimpeachable source closed to her has revealed that Madam Taylor would also boycott the State of the Nation Address of President George Manneh Weah on the fourth working Monday in January.
There are reports that the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL), headed by Rev. Kortu Brown, is expected to hold discussions with the relevant government officials involved to find an amicable solution to the issues flagged by the Vice President.