By Augustine James
The Chairman and Commissioner of the Monument and Relics Commission, Mr. Charlie Haffner, has confirmed to Newswatch that since he took over office, there has been no improvement in the commission’s work. He revealed to us that after over a year in office, he still does not have a Board of Directors and no Executive Secretary to steer the activities of the Commission.
In an exclusive interview, Mr. Charlie Haffner said that he does not even have enough office equipment and staff to run the commission effectively, adding that in his one year in office he has only been ‘managing’ to come to his office every day, without any support from government, which, according to him is not the way it is supposed to be.
“I have made several complaints to the authorities concerned but it seems that the system is slow and it is greatly affecting the commission’s work. There should be active board members whose duty will be to meet at least weekly for the growth of the commission but since my appointment, there is nothing of such,” he said.
He added that he has been receiving his salary and other benefits every month but that is not just what he wants. Mr. Haffner said he is even more concerned about the development of his Commission because he wants to leave a lasting legacy that would contribute to national development.
“Every body knows that I am an actor, Playwright, director, etc and that is exactly my field. Me being in a government institution should have been accompanied by an additional work force so as to ensure I am not constrained in the performance of my official duties” Mr. Haffner said.
He emphasised that he has the experience to run the institution but he cannot do it alone with only less than ten working staff in the office.
He said he is worried that many Sierra Leoneans might be thinking it is his fault that the commission is not functioning properly or even think the commission’s establishment is wasting government resources, even though that is not the case.
“The appropriate authorities that are to support this commission have not been responding to my requests and I will not give any assurance as to when things will be settled” he lamented.
He however confirmed that the restoration of Bunce Island and rebranding the National Museum was successful under his reign as Chairman of the commission.
“We need financial resources, human resources and logistics to execute many other projects at hand”, he added.
He concluded that the commission has been working with the national museum to ensure that culture is appreciated and to attract more tourists.
“In as much as the museum is under my Commission, we will always make sure they are on the right path to ensure national development in the area of history and culture” he said.