By: Timothy T. Seaklon
Opposition Politician, Simeon Freeman, has called on the Liberia Labour Congress to collaborate with well-meaning parties committed to the process of change to work out a peaceful exit for the Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s led government
“The Labour Congress must collaborate with well-meaning parties committed to the process of change to work out a peaceful exit for this government. We have talked and talked. Our complaints enable further exploitation and consistent exposure to depravation. We must assemble quickly and rewrite Liberia’s history through the Congress,” Mr. Freeman said while delivering the keynote address at yesterday’s observance of World Labour Day.
Mr. Freeman further said, “We have heard very silly questions from sycophants of the administration seeking to create doubts about the prosperity of a post Sirleaf administration that there might be no proper replacement for this ruler. It is truly embarrassing to say the least that people will think in this fashion.”
He said at the country’s current rate of progress, Liberia’s past leaders with very tainted characters can be considered an angel and no ruler or leader of Liberia has given up the country’s resources within nine years like Madam Sirleaf has.
Mr. Freeman who was the Standard Bearer of the Movement for Progressive Change (MPC) during the 2011 Presidential Election said no ruler or leader of Liberia has exposed Liberia’s young women to prostitution, early childbirth, poor educational institutions, poor health institutions and poor infrastructures like this administration.
“We live in very difficult times when people are existing and not living. This country has huge human resources with the degree of transformative capacity that this ruler can never know. The time for change is now and not later. The Liberia Labour Congress, the challenge is yours,” Mr. Freeman said.
On celebration of Labour Day in Liberia, Mr. Freeman said, “In Liberia, we have been beneficiaries of declarations originating from other countries. Through engagement and negotiations, the Liberian government embraced internationally accepted standards of labour practices, but there is a very interesting twist to these adaptations.”
He said Liberia has long been a country of low employment and high underemployment. He further noted that Liberia is a place of high economic growth but very poor development; a place of increasingly prosperous public officials with fat salaries, whose aspirations and dreams are realized while its people are increasingly hopeless; a place where public schools are miserably equipped while public officials’ children attend foreign or private schools.”
“This is truly a country of huge inequalities; with 83.9% living on less than $1.25 a day – according to UNICEF. This means, hundreds of thousands of Liberians are unemployed and those with some form of employment are underemployed at a time when Liberia enjoys so much international goodwill,” he said.
The MPC political leader it has been nine years of consistent complaining and talking and the more Liberians talk; the more the severity of the people’s hopelessness and deprivation; while the governors show less likelihood to change course. “Their prosperity enabled our hopelessness. While we dine with deprivation, they party with prosperity at our expense,” Freeman intimated.
He said, “The occurrences in Liberia are a global phenomenon and international workers day arouse out of the reluctance of well-meaning men and women, who give their freedom and lives for their ideals. People who chose death over a life of slavery; people who refused to be intimidated by guns and powerful men; people who recognized that a decent wage and proper working conditions would enable them raised up their children in dignity; people who knew all too well human indignity caused by man’s domination of man must be resisted whenever it rears its head”.
Touching on Liberia’s Maritime program, Mr. Freeman said, “The Maritime’s challenge with about 4000 ships under the Liberian registry, Liberian seafarers remain largely unemployed while the people of Liberia do not benefit from maritime resources, most of which ends up paying for Madam Sirleaf’s public relations campaign and huge, un-audited operating costs of the programme.”
Mr. Freeman disclosed that LISCR collects more than US$74 million annually though less than $20 million makes it to the national budget and what finally lands in the budget goes back to fund the Maritime Bureau. It is a revenue decapitation exercise. If it is not consumed overseas, what finally survives is consumed by them.
Turning to what he called outlook and Future, Mr. Freeman said Liberia has become a Wild-Wild West, a gangster’s paradise and a looter’s haven.
“Only those with access to state resources benefit. Those that are without are damned. When it is your time, get, grab, hire your family or children; attract international attention, mortgage national resources, pay lip service to press freedom, economically suppress and deprive your people, expose them to limited education, provide poor health facilities, spend more on security and dare people to revolt against your style of governance,” Freeman noted.
“Those who have studied history or been an avid observer of the events of history know all too well that man will always dare to dominate man. It is not the domination of one man by another that is the issue; but the refusal of one man to be dominated by another; the unwillingness of one man or a group of persons to be subjected to slavery and economic deprivation and the reluctance of a people to live in hopelessness want and poor sanitary conditions,” he said.