Gemayel Challenges Government to Prove Sincerity on Illegal Hires

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Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel on Saturday stressed that the party’s mission are difficult given the manifold obstacles standing in the way of building a better country, affirming, however, that the Kataeb's role is the one that would eventually lead to a real a state.

“You have chosen to take the hard road. You could have chosen to join other parties which would have provided you with services and public sector jobs so you be part of 15,000 people who have been illegally hired,” Gemayel addressed new Kataeb members who took the party's oath during an event held in Bickfaya to celebrate the 60th foundation anniversary of the Kataeb's Students and Youth Department.

“You have chosen to join a party that has never compromised its constants and never skidded off its nationalism. You have chosen to join a party that sacrifices itself for Lebanon instead of sacrificing Lebanon for its own interest,” he stated.

“You have chosen to take the hard road but this one will help build the future of Lebanon, provided that you hold your heads up high and don't allow any lie to go unnoticed."

“Some are cheating and lying. It is our role to explain, clarify and provide clear and honest arguments to motivate others to join our struggle aimed at building an orderly state," Gemayel said. "This requires major efforts that will surely lead us to our destination."

The Kataeb leader stressed that the difficulty of the party's mission consists in changing the people’s mentality, deeming this as a daily mission.

"We must not allow anyone to lie to the people and to make people enforce accountability."

“We have a difficult mission to fulfill, but we won't let go of our dream to build a better country. Our dream is to build a sovereign, free and developed country," he stressed, adding that this dream can be achieved by joining the largest number of Lebanese to the Kataeb's cause.

Gemayel affirmed that Martyr Amine Aswad, who the oath ceremony was named after, and other martyrs did not die so that their dream would be abandoned.

“Lebanon is a small country. Same as it can be easily destroyed, it can also be developed and saved fast provided that we stand firm to faith, perseverance and resistance,” Gemayel said.

“The Lebanese are subject today to systematic lying. Lebanon must have free voices and youth who distinguish what's good from what's bad," he added. “Our mission is to make sure that there are still people who distinguish between what's right and wrong."

“You have joined the Kataeb party because you decided to make this distinction and to defend what’s right."

“The criterion based on which something is judged right or wrong is not consensus, but rather Lebanon’s best interest," he elaborated.

“We hear everyday people saying that the Lebanese people have no decision-making power and that everything is determined by foreign forces, but today I want to refute all those statements as it is us who are responsible for the destruction or salvation of our country,” he said.

"Deputies and ministers were not elected by Iran or the United States or Saudi Arabia, but rather by the Lebanese people that is in charge of saving its country," he added. "The decision is in our hands. It is up to us to either get loose from tutelage or stay under its influence."

In his speech, Gemayel tackled the issue of the 30,000 illegal hires that were uncovered in the public sector, including 4,500 people who were employed following a hire freeze that was approved in 2017.

“If you were serious about preserving people’s money, I challenge you to terminate every employment contract made illegally since one year. Otherwise, stay quiet and stop lying to people,” he said in an address to the government members.

The Kataeb chief also warned that the budget approved by the government will lead to economic recession and stagnation, as well as inflation and increase in the unemployment rate.

Gemayel criticized the absurdity lying in the government's constant resort to taxes targeting citizens, noting that it ought to fight corruption and end squandering.

“We have heard the Supreme Defense Council’s statement about the presence of 136 illegal border passages, which means that they are aware of the number and location of these passages where Syrian products are being smuggled without incurring customs fees, VAT or income tax while also competing with Lebanese products,” he said, pointing out that tax evasion accounts for $4.9 billion and makes up 80% of the state deficit.

“It is your responsibility to close those 136 passages. That way you won’t need to impose levies and to adopt an absurd budget."

“The passages are run by the decision makers inside the government, i.e. Hezbollah. Therefore, shutting these passages down would firstly affect Hezbollah, and that is why the government is incapable of closing it down,” he noted.