Greedy Demands by Sierra Leone Parliamentarians as Jobless and Hungry Voters Live on Crumbs!
By Cyril Barnes, Guest Editor (14/11/18)
Representatives that care more about themselves than those they are representing are money-mongers who do not deserve to represent the people.
Not long ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Baw Baw Quarry where many youths, children and old people hit their youthful (the young) and exhaustive (the old) energies into a hill of granite rocks just to save their souls from the demands of life.
I have never seen a group of people so willing to work in desperation in an unwilling environment, save the moment I stood on the edge of what looked like an artificial canyon to watch as their chisels wedged their ways into the pile of tectonic granites. The quarry has been a leftover from the CSC Construction Company who was contracted to construct the Lumley-Peninsula Road.
I approached one of the youths to ask him some few questions bordering on their activities. He told me most of them do not have any other option but to labour for a living by quarrying granite rocks to take care of their needs.
"It's not that we are happy working under harsh conditions, but who will provide for us if we do not. If I don't work here, I won't be able to pay my college fees and other members here won't be able to pay their house rents, pay school fees for their children and take care of other basic amenities. It's really sad to say, but this is where we are making ends meet at the moment; therefore we must accept our fate," said the youth.
To tie the knot to my introduction, I will like to bring up the proposed over bloated salary increment of parliamentarians tabled for approval. Few days ago, Parliamentarians, in chime, proposed for a pay rise enveloped with other improved working conditions. I have never seen a mixed multitude of parliamentarians so united unless for their increment.
I begin to wonder why one set of parliamentarians was against another when the Commission of Inquiry was being tabled. I wonder again if this will be the same energy they will exert to pass a development bill that caters for the suffering masses - into law.
Obviously those suffering people at the Baw Baw Quarry have a representative in Parliament who is totally oblivious of what is going on in his community; who thinks more about his increment and other personal aggrandizement than the employment schemes and well-being of his people, who thinks his electorates do not deserve to get access to proper healthcare facilities, who thinks the community must not have a share in the Free and Quality Education.
The boiling pot of Parliament, filled with political assortments, has agreed that they should have a 300% increment while they selfishly refuse to agitate for better conditions for teachers, health workers and other civil servants. Not even the "Put Salone Fos" Parliamentarian has sounded the gong on that and don't even tell he has made his position clear they unanimously agreed for the said increase.
The 300% increase is quite a sum that will even drain the economy before it is fully recovered, and I believe the parliamentarians will deserve only such an increment when their constituencies will have had pipe borne water facility, electricity, good schools with conducive classroom environments, good health centres and on the other hand an increment in the salaries of health workers, teachers and other civil servants; apart from that they don't deserve even a 1% increment.
I have the feeling that this is not the appropriate time for increment in anything whatsoever, especially when we have an economy that is slowly recovering from the shocks and sharps of the past APC government. This move, if approve, will worsen the whole situation and further throw our nation into the muddy state and we will be left with no option than to resort to international begging and domestics borrowing which President Julius Maada Bio is sternly against.
President Bio has invested hugely into the Free Education Scheme and we (including the very 300% parliamentarians) must ensure that he succeeds in that drive because if the scheme fails, then the nation will have failed. There are other things which need urgent financial attention for their completion of which the president has focused his attention to and not even the parliamentarians will divert his attention.
I humbly call on President Bio not to approve it because 70% of the parliamentarians want him to fail. They have done absolutely nothing to develop their communities. All they have done is to make cheap contributions for marriages, funerals and naming ceremonies in the guise of development; thus the self-representative parliamentarians do not deserve anything. President Bio must succeed!