On her first visit abroad after been removed from United Nations travel band few months ago, Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor and ex-wife war crime convict, Charles Taylor says she is unapologetic for the huge salary increases the Liberian Legislature has given themselves, asserting that she sees no reason why the Liberian public is crying foul. ‘We should in fact be paid more than that taking into account our responsibilities and what we do”.
The Liberian lawmaker made the disclosure during a dual citizenship forum in the United States late Tuesday evening with her fellow countrymen living abroad and are citizens of those countries in which they live.
Senator Taylor’s statement was in response to an attendee’s fury addressed to the lawmaker as to why they gave themselves huge salary increases while her fellow citizens go through the harshest of time and creating a spiral disparity between them and ordinary Liberian citizens.
Senator Taylor told her questioner and audience that the Executive branch of Government has a huge payroll, calling specific attention to the country’s Port Authority’s Managing Director who makes US$25,000.00 a month (Twenty-five thousand United States dollars). The lawmaker says she is taken aback why her fellow citizens are having qualm about their salary increase despite the huge payroll of the Executive, emphasizing it was the first time in seven years the Legislature has had a pay increase. Senator Taylor implored that lawmakers needed the pay raise because they use their own money from their pockets to help address the needs of their constituents who usually stop by at their offices asking for help.
Addressing the purpose of her teleconference-style Dual Citizen Forum, the Senator said she supports the passage of a dual citizen bill to afford her countrymen who have naturalized to still enjoy the citizenship of Liberia as well, the country of their birth or naturalization. She also told her audience that the bill for dual citizenship that body and progress was being until they got caught in budget fight with the Executive Mansion, distracting progress of the bill but expressed optimism that when they return from recess, the bill will be passed into law and forwarded for referendum in keeping with the constitution.
The Senator also faced concerns of the audience that in recent time it has been proved that the son of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf , Robert Sirleaf, head of that West African nation’s oil sector and Adviser to his mother to be a United States citizen and contrary to the President, his mother’s assertion that he was serving in a pro bono capacity in the two positions,evidence show that he is in fact being paid. Senator Taylor was pressed as to what she would do as a lawmaker if the case comes before her desk. The Liberian lawmaker said she could not comment on issues as an official of government on something which details she is not abreast with but said as soon as she gets back in a couple of days, she would get her hands surrounding those concerns and get back to Liberians living abroad.