By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah
MONROVIA: The Liberia United Char-coal Union (LUCCU) has expressed serious disappointment over what it termed as “consistent harassment and extortion” allegedly by Officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) against its members.
Aimed at curtailing the police behavior, the Union, through its President, Alfred Kilimi, called for the swift intervention of Montserrado County Senator, Saah Harley Joseph, and Montserrado County Electoral District #4 Representative, Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis.
Representative Dennis is the Chairperson on the Lower House’s Committee on Claims and Petition while Senator Joseph is the Chairman on the Senate’s Committee on Executive in the 54th National Legislature.
Making the disclosure at program marking the pre-launch of the Liberia United Char-coal Union, where Senator Joseph was expected to have served as a keynote speaker, Kilimi pointed out that the issue of police harassment is one of the several challenges the Union is faced with.
According to Kilimi, despite the Union being legally registered and in full compliance with the laws of Liberia, its members continue to endure what he referred to as “unreasonable police conduct.
He also characterized the Police behavior as “total harassment” at various checkpoints along highways in the country while transporting their char-coals to Monrovia.
All efforts applied by the ‘Investigative’ INDEPENDENT to have Police Spokesman, Moses Carter, comment on the allegations levied against officers of the LNP did not materialize as his Mobil Phone rang many times without response.
The Liberia United Char-coal Union is seeking both lawmakers’ intervention to engage authorities of the Liberia National Police to initiate a dialog process that will divert what is said to have the proclivity to ignite tension between the Union and the police.
Kilimi has also cautioned the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government to not take the path of the former ruling Unity Party (UP) led administration where the former government turned blind eyes to challenges and hurdles the union is faced with.
“The past government was not much concerned of the existence of the union, and this government needs to wake up from its slumber through your honorable offices to aid and support our vision, dream, and agenda for the forward march of the union,” the President of the Liberia United Char-coal Union stated.
Headquartered in District #4, Paynesville City, with a membership base of over forty thousand across the country mainly comprising women, the Liberia Char-coal Union is a conglomeration Liberians engaged in the production and commercialization of char-coals on the local market.
For his part, speaking for Senator Joseph, Arounia Zeah, Montserrado County Coordinator in the office of Senator Joseph, lauded the Union for being steadfast and bracing the storms amidst the challenges and hurdles they encountered in their service to the country.
Mr. Zeah assured the Senator’s commitment to work with the Union in addressing some of the many problems its membership is faced with.
According to Zeah, Senator Joseph is a servant leader who loves for organizations such as the char-coal Union and that his services have no boundary.
He assured the group, which membership is predominately women and girls that Senator Joseph will do all in his power to engage the Liberia National Police to find a smooth resolution to the allegations of harassment.
Also speaking on behalf of Representative Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis, Edward Varnie, and Chief of Office Staff (CoS), applauded the Union for the tremendous efforts in ensuring the availability of char-coals on the local market.
He extended his boss’ commitment in working with the members of the Union to address some of the major challenges to their business operations.
Varnie, on behalf of Representative Dennis pledged an amount of fifty thousand Liberian dollars (L$50,000.00) towards preparation of program marking official launch of the Liberia United Char-coal Union at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) in May, 2023.