The Barracks has been under the shadows for the past two weeks. The situation is further compounded by lack of safe drinking water.
Assistant Minister Public Affairs, David Dahn confirmed the situation but blamed it on the huge cut in the Ministry of Defense budget last fiscal year. The poor state of the barracks is causing soldiers to flee to nearby communities to seek conducive shelter for their families.
One of the soldiers who spoke to this paper on condition of anonymity said many of his comrades are not leaving the barracks only because of lack of electricity and safe drinking water but poor salaries and benefits for the men.
He averred that Defense Ministry authorities are not living up to their promise made during recruitment and training exercise which motivated them to express interest in being enlisted into the army, something he described as “fiasco impression created to bring them into the military service.”
Our military source noted that poor salaries and lack of incentives are factors which are causing ‘desertion of post’ and said if nothing is done to correct the mistakes in the next few weeks, many soldiers will leave the barracks to seek greener pasture.
He said the lack of safe drinking water and electricity also pose danger to their lives as soldiers and if the Defense authority does work assiduously to improve the condition, the gallant men and women of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) will ensure that they get social services at the barracks through any means.
Assistant Minister Dahn said the Finance Ministry has allegedly reduced the EBK Barracks’ annual budget from USD$110,000 to USD$35,000 which he noted has greatly affected the day-to-day running of the barracks.
He admitted that indeed the barracks has been out of power supply more than a week now and called on Finance Ministry authorities to increase the barracks budget to USD$ 110.000 to enable the Defense Ministry to keep the soldiers on camp.
Assistant Minister Dahn observed that the soldiers must have access to better social services to enable them live happily in the barracks along with their dependents.
He said in the absence of these basic social services, the soldiers cannot live cheerfully, while other para-military personnel are living and enjoying basic social services in the country.