The Head of delegation of five British MPs on an interactive visit to the Sierra Leone Parliament, Curlis Thomas has said the MPs in Sierra Leone were the lowest paid and resourced in the world.
The British MP was speaking Tuesday to Awoko in an interview about what makes MPs work effectively when she stated that “Democracy cost, in countries where there is no democracy, there is no cost associated to people having freedom of expression. But the members of Parliament here are the lowest paid in the world”
She also observed “They are the lowest resourced in the world and therefore the challenges they have in bringing the concerns of their constituents to the Parliament and to the government is unparalleled and there is great concern about how they are able to function well, simply because they have so little. It is not just what they are paid, it’s also the facilities they have to do their job. There are no phones, computers”
With such, she asked how a Member of Parliament from Kono keeps in touch with his or her constituents?
The British MP referred to such constraints as very hard but stated how could Parliament be assisted in terms of increase in salary for the politician whilst arguing that should an increase in salary for the politicians was made, what about the doctors, nurses, teachers. “But certainly, the current level of support is very minimal and that is deeply worrying”
Speaking so far about the interaction with the MPs, she acknowledged “I am truly overwhelmed by the capacity of the individuals we have met and their ability to grasp their subject areas is a very ample experience giving the level of resources you have. This country does not want frail individuals; it lacks the resources to deliver the potentials of those individuals”
Speaking further why they were in Sierra Leone, Curlis Thomas said the United Kingdom donates considerable funds to Sierra Leone per year and that she was fortunate to have been around to notice how desperately the funds were needed.
She expressed hope that when her colleagues returned to the UK, they will become ambassadors for Sierra Leone and to argue for further donations and increased donations to help tackle some of the very serious problems.
The MP described Sierra Leone as a challenging country to visit but stated that the more reason they were in the country was to create the understanding of the difficulties.