Many Liberians have the belief that their Representatives and Senators whom they elect during elections must return to their respective Districts and Counties annually to make known their workings at the Capitol Building and their various constituencies, but the question is are they doing just that?
If you ask many Liberians, their answers will definitely be no except for a few of them who do that at the end of the year, and some (Representatives) do it once in six years or some (Senators) do it once in nine years.
Though it is not yet being made known whether he will do it every year, one person who has embarked on doing just what the people believe is Margibi District #2 Representative Ivar K. Jones who made his first legislative annual report to his constituency recently.
Representative Jones in his report delivered recently outlined his works at the Capitol Building and the District respectively including the numbers of sessions he attended during the first sitting of the 54th National Legislature, his participation in the legislative discussion on the Floor, the advocacy role he played for his people and the development initiatives among others.
The Margibi Lawmaker in an interview with our reporter days following the presentation of his annual report to his citizens said this is in fulfillment of a campaign promise his leadership made that he will for the first time provide a participatory form of representation and by that he believes that his people have entrusted him with the position, as such; whatever he does during his tenure as their Lawmaker is to ensure that he is accountable for his action and every step that he takes.
“And in this we just concluded the first sitting of the 54th National Legislature and we thought it was necessary for us to provide to our citizens information or activities that we went through during the first sitting and as you may be aware our job is divided into three different functions, this is representation, lawmaking and oversight” he added.
According to him, those things that were made under lawmaking, representation and oversight were highlighted during the time of the report.
He disclosed that under lawmaking the 2018/2019 budget was passed and he was able to make the citizens be in the know of the amount in the budget for the Country and the amount that was allocated for Margibi, instruments that were passed which include the Local Government Act, the Land Right Act, the Etton Loan agreement and the Eboma agreement among others.
Rep. Jones stated that for representation, he was able to represent his people by attending 70 out of the 72 special and ordinary sittings adding that due to other engagement in his district he could not attend the entire sitting thereby missing out on two.
Under oversight, the Lawmaker said he spoke on a series of issues on the floor ranging from the Farmington Hotel case which was one of his first communications.
He further noted that as part of his oversight responsibility he communicated to the plenary of the House of Representatives about an alleged bad labor practices that was carried out by the management of Farmington Hotel and plenary brought the management to book and made some recommendation such as the establishment of workers union which is currently in place and is at the same time providing transportation to her employees beyond Harbel to Unification Town, Cotton Tree and Dolo Town.
Besides, the Representative indicated that he has been able to engage other institutions within the district ranging from China Harbour, one of the contractors that were given the opportunity by the RIA management to rehabilitate and refurbish the runway and the terminal at the Port.
Hon. Jones explained that he believed that there were bad labor practices that were allegedly carried out by the China Harbour, China Hydro and the Sino Hydro and when it was brought to his attention he worked closely in line with the labor commissioner’s office and the just benefits of those workers who were receiving four dollars and fifty cents instead of five dollars and fifty cents were given.
The Liberian Legislator averred that during the year under review he was able to engage the Firestone management on behalf of one Lorpu Yekeh who was involved in an accident in 2014 or 2015 that led to her disability and her contract was terminated without any benefit as well as other citizens who worked for the Company and should have gotten their NASSCOP benefit but were denied because of probably missed information on their bio-data.
Promises he made to his people during the campaign process such as establishing a district council, There is a District Council with a constitution that guides the citizens and heads of the Council.
As part of his promise to give fifty percent of his salary to the District for direct district development, Hon. Jones revealed that from January 15, 2018 to December 31, 2018 he was able to remit the sum of thirty-seven thousand eight hundred and seventy United States dollars along with one million four hundred and sixty-four thousand one hundred and sixty Liberian dollars, an amount he said has been used and the district is for the first time in the history of the County having a structure call district office.