MONROVIA, Montserrado – Sen. Darius Dillon has been criticized by some of his fellow senators, who believe that his May 22 press conference where he called the Senate ‘rotten’ and ‘useless’ brought the body to disgrace. One especially vocal critic is Sen. George T. Tengbeh of Lofa, who described Dillon’s ‘outburst’ as a ‘disrespect.’
Dillon has been vocal after a recast 2019/2020 budget was passed, eliciting concern from some senators who say the passing of the budget violated Senate rules. The budget was speedily passed and signed by 19 senators. It was not scrutinized by the Senate Committee on Ways, Finance, and Means as is usually done. The budget was being adjusted to accommodate for changing national priorities due to COVID-19.
During his press conference, Dillon said senators received paid inducement to sign the resolution passing the recast budget. That payment, he said, impacted senator’s willingness to stand up for the Liberian people.
“This has to stop,” he said. “It is shocking and has never happened in the history of Liberia. This Senate is rotten, useless, and meaningless in the majority here.”
He warned that there could be loopholes in the lightly scrutinized recast budget that could allow pilfering of public funds.
Senator Dillon’s reaction came as a result to the passing of the budget; which he claimed was not done properly: “Someone will be going home with US$2-3 million in their pocket because of the lack of transparency and our courage to tighten the screws.”
Sen. Tengbeh said Dillon’s press conference was disgraceful to the Senate: “It’s not acceptable and our colleagues should not continue to use such adjectives on us.”
On May 28, Tengbeh wrote the general Senate body to complain about the Montserrado senator. The Lofa senator said while he does not want Dillon penalized for his actions, he wants him to be “reminded to stop what he is doing by insulting us, the Liberian senate.”
“I want to bring him back on board, that this is not the way you run the Senate or go about talking to your colleagues,” Tengbeh added. “If something dissatisfies you, don’t get aggravated and say the wrong thing.”
Tengbeh says he has a cordial relationship with Dillon, but that the two senators can disagree or agree politically.
He advised Dillon to follow the Senate’s internal rules to voice his disagreements: “If an issue comes on the floor and you are dissatisfied, there are rules and procedures, like raising a motion for reconsideration. If an instrument is passed, if you want it passed, you have to lobby. If you say you will be aggravated and fight the floor, then, of course, it will not pass.”
Meanwhile, Montserrado’s Sen. Saah H. Joseph told reporters on May 23 that media outlets should stop focusing on the politics being played by Dillon and focus on the fact that relief would now come to the Liberian people. Joseph described the passing of the budget as being necessary and important.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah