MONROVIA, Aug. 11 (LINA) – Youth and Sports Minister, D. Zeogar Wilson, has clarified that the government of Liberia does not owe any contractor for the beach and waterway project.
On Wednesday, a group of people said to be former contractors of the ended Beach and Waterway Project staged a protest in New Kru Town, claiming that the government of Liberia owes them about six months salaries and arears during the past project.
But, speaking Thursday, during the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) regular press briefing, Min. Wilson stated such claim is inaccurate, adding that the Ministry is not aware of owing anyone a cent for the ended project.
Min. Wilson further said that on March 16, 2021, the Government of Liberia signed an MOU with the representatives of the beach and waterway project, noting that the MOU calls for government to pay a total arears of two million United States dollars for all contractors.
« And this amount was fully paid by the Government of Liberia, » Min. Wilson disclosed.
He asserted that under the MOU, it was identified through their investigation that there were unauthorized workers put on the project without the approval of the Youth and Sports Ministry.
Min. Wilson vowed that after identifying the unauthorized persons that were placed on the payroll without approval from the Ministry, the coordinators pleaded with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Finance to accept those individuals.
Indicating that they have put these people on the program unauthorized but to some extent they have worked since the opening and closing of the program. ,
« Every negotiations there is give and take so we look at the situation at the time from our own estimates that their arrears could be around three millions dollars for unauthorAized workers, so we say since you want us to include the unauthorized workers we pass two million to them, and told them that since you control your payroll then you will decide how to pay them and that was agreed upon, » Wilson explained
He revealed that based upon their agreement, the coordinators said that the authorized contractors will get six months while the unauthorized contractors will get three months.
« We have fully paid the two million, and we were committed to our agreement in good faith and we had not defaulted on any aspects of the agreement,” the Minister narrated.
He urged the group that if they have any problem, they should consult with the Ministry in order a probe to find a suitable remedy, adding that they listen to everyone no matter who you are or what are their grievances.
Min. Wilson also said that every citizen has their constitutional right to protest and to freedom of expression but they must know that where your rights stops the wright ofg another person begins,
« You do not have right to stop peaceful government workers that are going to perform their duties like you did yesterday, » Min. Wilson stressed.
« Our workers will go back on the field to work and if the workers of beach and waterway prevent them from working or intimidate them, the law will take its course.
“We don’t have to stop anybody from working and if that happens again their representatives will be held accountable, » Min. Wilson said.
He indicated that in the MOU government may come up with the new project and might also try to reconsider former workers provided they meet the conditions and criteria set by the government.
The MOU also states that upon final payment that government made to the workers, nobody should hold the government accountable or say that the government owes them any arears.
Meanwhile, Min. Wilson disclosed that the documents are there and open to the public for clarifications.
Dudu M. Kamara