Dismissed EPS officers give Gov’t ultimatum

Dismissed EPS officers give Gov’t ultimatum
Dismissed EPS officers give Gov’t ultimatum

Africa-Press – Liberia. Over 300 dismissed officers of the elite Executive Protection Service (EPS) are threatening to protest their dismissal if the Government of Liberia fails to give them attention between now and Monday, June 10.

زA group of dismissed officers of the elite Presidential force, Executive Protection Service (EPS), has given the Liberian government until Monday, June 10, 2024, to address their plight. Otherwise, they will protest against what they term their illegal dismissal.

“We will defend our rights to serve our country, and absolutely, no individual has the right to deny us the opportunity to serve this country,” the dismissed officers challenge here.

According to them, they will take the street as a last resort if all other avenues in getting the government to respond to their concern fail.

There is no other alternative but to take to the street with our families to protest for our rights and injustice”, said Godfrey Weah, spokesman for the group, who addressed a press conference in Monrovia on Wednesday, June 4, 2024.

Over 300 dismissed officers attended the conference. They worked in the administration of former President George Weah, protecting the Presidency, the Speaker, and other VIPs, including international guests.

زBut when the Boakai administration took office, it dismissed hundreds of them, an action they are challenging.

They told reporters that the action taken by the new executive director of the EPS, Sam Gaye, to relieve over 300 officers without any misconduct or disciplinary act is illegal and an injustice to their right to serve the State.

According to them, such dismissal has left them and their families in extreme hardship amid the current economic reality.

During the former administration, several of the EPS officers wore campaign T-shirts of former President Weah, thus exhibiting partisanship in breach of ethical standards.

Accordingly, several of them were dismissed by the new administration.

The affected officers caution the Liberia National Police to refrain from intervening if they get out, stressing that the leadership of the Executive Protection Service can only resolve their pending action.

Spokesperson Weah argues that the new EPS leadership’s downsizing of over 300 personnel was wrong. According to him, it undermines the principles of democracy and would certainly set a stage for chaos if not urgently addressed.

The officers maintain that the government should restore their right to work and warn against any action that might provoke a negative response.

They call on the public, including the Liberia Council of Churches, to investigate the matter before it spirals out of control.

“When our children are not in school, I don’t think their children will be in school,” and if our concerns are not addressed in the shortest possible time, it will be a complete disaster, and we caution the Liberia National Police to refrain from this.” Weah continues.

“We will defend ourselves because it is our right to seek justice. Gaye needs to correct these wrongs, or else the situation will worsen,” he adds.

Meanwhile, this is the second time the dismissed officers have threatened to protest against the government.

In November 2023, some aggrieved officers of the Executive Protection Service threatened to disrupt the transitional period to demand benefits owed to them by the now-former administration.

A NEW DAWN investigation had earlier gathered that the Boakai administration was secretly paying off the over 300 officers dismissed at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, but this was never substantiated.

However, during the confirmation hearing, the current director of the Executive Protection Service, Sam Gaye, announced that the entity would experience rightsizing if confirmed by the Senate.

He noted that the influx of officers and civilian employees at the EPS was overwhelming and financially challenging, adding that the services of many of them were no longer needed at the entity.

He told the Senate Committee on National Security and Veteran Affairs that during his leadership from 2016 to 2018, the EPS had about 400 officers, but the number had swelled to over 900 officers under the Weah administration. Mr. Gaye insisted that the number is too high to protect only executive members, so downsizing is the ultimate option.

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