Friday, August 13, 2010
The Executive and the Legislative branches of government in Liberia, are said to be locked up in continuing discussions over the passage of the new Maritime Act that, among others, seeks to transform the Bureau of Maritime Affairs into an Authority and gives it the power to collect its own revenue, creates its own security unit and immunes its officials from prosecution while serving a seven-year term, among others.
The United States Government, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have all slammed the Act, with the US warning that it potentially violates Liberia Public Financial Management Law. Even other government agencies such as defense and finance ministries have respectively opposed the financial autonomy and the establishment of a security unity under the Act.
Last week renowned Liberian rights activist Kimmie Weeks joined the chorus of opposition by denouncing the act as an affront to the Liberian People, Mr. Weeks claimed that the Act, which is being debated by the Senate and stands to give the Bureau of Maritime Affairs and its commissioners a broad power, gives way to the creation of an entity that will be unanswerable to the Liberian people and removes safeguards that prevent widespread corruption.
”We cannot allow ourselves to go back to the years long ago when multinationals and large companies could convince the Liberian Government to pass loss in their favors, but which were extremely detrimental to the Liberian people in the long run. We‘ve been accused of passing some of the worse contracts in the world. Let‘s not let history repeat itself. Just say no to Maritime act,” Mr Weeks said.
As a huge supporter of the Sirleaf Administration, i have praised the President when ever she did good, and when ever she was wrongly criticize for political reasons for the many good work she was doing for the Liberian people, but this Maritime act submitted by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is just not a step in the right direction. We just cannot let an agency of the government collect its own taxes, have their own security force and at the same time give them a wide range of powers including policing themselves, with out the input of the Liberian people. The international community thinks the act is seriously flawed, the Liberian people wants it withdrawn, and we think the President should seriously consider withdrawing it from the Senate.