Confirm Celia Browne’s NPA Appointment
-Angry NPA Workers Urge Pres. Weah
Several dock workers last Thursday converged in front of the main entrance of the National Port Authority (NPA) to display banners demanding President George Manneh Weah to confirm the appointment of the Acting NPA Managing Director Madam Celia C. Browne.Speaking in an exclusive interview last Thursday, the head of the peaceful protesting NPA workers Mr. Thomas Kpongbolo told newsmen that his group, which constitutes workers from all the departments at the port, is calling on the President to appoint the acting NPA head due to several reasons.
The call for Browne’s appointment came few days after there was a large number of people converged across the street in front of President Weah’s Foreign Ministry office to demand that the Commissioner of the Liberia Revenue Authority Elfreda Tamba whose contract has ended should be retained on the job.
According to Mr. Kpongbolo, Madam Browne is well placed to replace the last NPA boss Mr. David Williams because she is an experienced port worker who had worked at the port since the 1980s before travelling for further studies in the United States, where she obtained two Masters degrees.
He said since she returned home, she had been assigned at the port heading various departments including the Technical services department where she performed extremely very well especially during the era of ex-NPA Managing Director Madam Matilda Parker when the port went through massive dredging and rehabilitation.
When asked whether Madam Browne’s administration will not end in a similar way like that of her former boss Madam Matilda Parker, Mr. Kpongbolo, said the two women are different personalities, and what he knows is that Madam Celia Cuffy Browne is a Liberian hailing from Sinoe County, a humanitarian who cares for the well-being of people especially the workers and has over the years maintained a clean record for transparency and accountability.
He added that many workers admire her approach to solving problems good human relations and many workers consider her as a vanguard in promoting government’s pro-poor agenda vision. “She is married with children. Madam Parker who did extremely well in uplifting the port had in the past always counted on her vast experience in port management and administration, Kpongbolo said.
He further explained that Madam began work as acting NPA-MD in February following the CDC administration’s victory through a consensus reached by the workers most of whom wanted a qualified port worker to lead the nation’s gateway to the economy.
“The main objective of the port is to garner revenue for government’s treasury. The port should be kept at international standards at all times so that it continues to gain the confidence of customers and vessels docking there. The Free port of Monrovia also plays a supervisory role on subsidiary ports in the country such as the ports of Buchanan, Greenville and Harper, Madam Browne’s experience fits into all this,” Kpongbolo noted.
He also told journalists that during the Matilda Parker administration, she also headed the port clean-up campaign and renovation team that went to the ports of Buchanan and Greenville and was part of the team that supervised the dredging and extension of the port.
When asked about her role in bringing in APM Terminals, BIVAC and others, Mr. Kpongbolo said that is purely a political decision, adding that even during Ebola they worked hard to keep the port open while taking measures against the Ebola virus.
“What we know is that there is an international inspection team that visits ports in the region to see whether they conform to best practice, and because Madam Browne was heading the technical department responsible for cleaning up the port and ensuring conformity to best practice, each time they came the NPA was lauded for conforming to international best practice,” he concluded.