Since Liberian Senate on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, received a letter from former President Charles Taylor, demanding his retirement and other benefits from the Liberian Government, debates have been emerging as to who is eligible to receive the benefits if they are given.
The debates are being sparked over a portion of the letter in which Taylor said he has asked his wife Victoria to meet the Government on any discussions regarding his claims.
Others say his former wife; Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor is the rightful person to receive any benefits for Taylor because she was his wife during the period in which benefits he is demanding.
On the other hand, some Liberians say Jewel does deserve any benefits because she had divorced him. “It is Jewel who divorced Taylor, not Taylor who divorced her,” they argued.
Besides, they noted that Taylor is raising the issues when they are no longer pair. Be it as it may, Jewel is said to have three children for Taylor and some Liberians insist she has share in his benefits.
The Taylor and Jewel tale
The two met in the early ’80s, when Jewel was a first-year student at the University of Liberia, and soon had a child together. She later traveled to America in search of Taylor, who had fled there after being accused of embezzling $1 million under the government of Samuel Doe. But by the time she arrived, Taylor—who was being held in a correctional facility in Plymouth, USA, had mysteriously escaped from jail.
Jewel stayed on in the U.S. to attend the American Institute of Banking in New Jersey and later worked in banking in the U.S. until 1996, when she returned to Liberia. The year after, Taylor proposed, and they were married in a “fairy-tale wedding” shortly before he was elected in a landslide.
Before long, the fairy tale started to sour. Jewel said she had a difficult relationship with her husband’s other wife, his ex-wife, and his mistresses.
The Taylor, Jewel and Victoria tale
By August 2003, after Taylor had signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Accra, Ghana, and had agreed to step down, the couple was exiled to Calabar, Nigeria. They were soon joined by Taylor’s wife Victoria, a young Liberian whom he’d married in an Islamic ceremony in 2002. Jewel found herself living in a separate house from Taylor and Victoria in Calabar. When Jewel traveled back to Liberia in 2004, she discovered that she had been placed under a U.N. travel ban and was separated from the family. She also found out that Victoria was pregnant. It proved to be the final straw. Jewel filed for divorce in 2005, months before Taylor was arrested to be extradited back to Liberia.
However, Jewel denied rumors that the split was made to protect Taylor’s assets from sanctions and said she was left without a dime from the divorce.
Despite the couple’s divorce, the U.N.still had Jewel on Liberia’s travel-ban list and continued to uphold sanctions against her due to “ongoing ties” with Taylor until later in 2012 when the ban was lifted.