As 15 Senators Head For Re-Election Liberian Senate Opens 3rd Session
In fulfillment of Article 32 of the Liberian Constitution, the Liberian Senate has opened its 3rd session in order to complete the work of the Liberian People.
Article 32 (a) states “The Legislature shall assemble in regular session once a year on the second working Monday in January.”
During its 2nd Session, the Senate was engulfed with series of challenges ranging from controversial printing of 15billion, investigation of the 25million mop-up exercise, removal of Justice Kabineh J’aneh, confirmations and others key national issues like the emergence of protestations from citizens over the high cost of living among others.
It seems that this year would be more challenging for the Senate as fifteen (15) senators are headed for re-election and their focus would be heavily on the constituencies; the restructuring of committees to meet the oversight responsibilities and couple with the workload of decisions to be made will rest solely on the rest of the 15 senators.
The Senators include Sen. Darius Dillion, Montserrado, Mathew Jaye, Rivergee, Sen. Alphonso Gaye, Grand Gedeh, Sen. Dallas Gueh, Rivercess, Sen. Armah Jallah, Gbarpolu, Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, Grand Bassa, Sen. Oscar Cooper, Margibi, Sen. Henry Yallah, Bong County, Sen. Victor Watson, Grand CapeMount, Sen. H Dan Morias, Marland, Sen. Peter Coleman, Grand Kru.
Others are Sen. George Tengbeh, Lofa, Sen. Thomas Grupee, Nimba, Sen. Albert T. Chie, Sinoe and Sando Johnson, Bomi County respectively.
The Senate will now be charged to make a more simplified and clarified version of laws pertaining to issues within the Constitution requiring statues or regulations/rules.
Those issues include Freedom of peaceful assembly as it relates to demonstrations, protest, petitions to Government; election and tenure of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President, Pro Tempore of the Senate and other officers.
Others are the Printing of Currency which has become very political with all citizens becoming economic and financial experts overnight, the Code of Conduct, Tenure in the Executive Branch of Government and the Right of the Legislature to adjust key dates in the Constitution among others.
Speaking during the opening of the Senate’s 3rd session, Senate Protemp Albert T. Chie challenged his colleagues to remain robust in their oversight responsibilities over the two branches of government to ensure constitutional mandates are observed.
“It is not enough to complain on the Senate floor or over the radio or metamorphose the Plenary into a working committee. Frustration sometimes drives to turn Plenary into Committee of the Whole. I ask you to monitor the agencies and institutions, have public hearings in committee rooms and write reports with recommendations to Plenary”.
Protemp Chie indicated that the 3rd Session will focus on completing actions surrounding the letter from Pres. George Weah on the implementation of the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He disclosed that the Senate’s leadership has been working on it and it is poised to submit a full report to plenary soon.
Protemp Chie commended his colleagues for sacrifices made in the implementation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program.” Distinguished Colleagues, the economy is still challenged, I once more express my thanks to you for sacrifices you made in the national budget to heavily slash your compensation and other benefits under the goods and services line in order for Liberia to enter the IMF program. Now that Liberia has entered the program, we must help the executive to live up to the terms of the program.”
In late 2019, in adherence to the IMF program, the Ministry of Finance instituted a Harmonization and standardization program which took into consideration 36% cuts in the members of the Senate’s Compensations and Benefits while a 33% cut applied to Members of the House of Representatives.