The President of the Liberian Senate, Vice President Joseph Boakai, has predicted that the 3rd Session of the 53rd Senate will be the most challenging in the history of the country’s young democracy.
He informed his colleagues in the Senate that the faith of Liberians in them (Senators), as well as the image of its democratic system would be put to the test.
“Let us all take due note of the seriousness of this challenge and pray for the divine guidance of the Almighty God to enlighten our minds and guide our conscience in discharging faithfully our sacred duty,” the Vice President declared.
Vice President Boakai was speaking in the Chamber of the Senate during a program marking the official opening of the 53rd Legislature.
He warned the Senators that the year 2014 presents itself as a promise that requires them to prepare for highly exciting interactions, along with “some ruffling of feathers and greater demand for heavy lifting. On the flip side of that coin, it will hopefully reap a huge tonnage of results between the predictable stints of clamor.”
“By stepping into the year 2014, we enter upon the mid-term elections-heralding those foreseeable fiery contests that will involve half of the inventory of this Upper House’s membership,” VP Boakai proclaimed.
Without fail, Vice President Boakai asserted that the year 2014 might end up with one of three possible outcomes; that the Senate may end up with the same faces, or a possibility of witnessing a mere sprinkle of new faces to join the fold.
“And yet we must acknowledge the specter of a third scenario in which we end up with welcoming a dominance of new faces to take up most of the 15-open seats. Notwithstanding the possibility of any of these outcomes, we must remain on task.”
Amb. Boakai reminded the 21 Senators present that the passage of the “historic Code of Conduct” during the 2nd Session consummated the fulfillment of a long standing requirement of the Constitution, “and I am appreciative that we finally tackled it.”
“Now staring in our faces is the opportunity to put the Code of Conduct to test. Despite the scope of the work before us, I still believe each of you can do more to fulfill your obligations as legislators and succeed in providing a solid foundation for the continued progress of our beloved country.”
In tackling what he termed the people’s work, the Senate President challenged the Senators to embrace the wisdom that more collaboration, cooperation and harmony, rather than rancor and strife, would bring among the three branches of government.
VP Boakai cautioned the Senators to be mindful that their plate is full, and that September is only nine months away. He said that a lot depends on what they would be able to achieve if sustaining the peace, expanding their gains and accelerating “our progress continue to remain our purpose.”
With 65 Bills under consideration in various Senate committee rooms, Amb. Boakai urged the Senators to accelerate the pace in dealing with those bills so as to avoid the erection of a bloated backlog.
He recalled that the 3rd Session of the Senate has before it for concurrence with the House of Representatives, “An Act to Establish a National Infrastructural Plan; An Act to Create the Public Service Trust Act of 2013, and An Act Providing for the Participation of Liberian Citizens in Every Concession/Company with the Initial Investment Capital of US$200,000 and above.”
Further, Vice President Boakai revealed that the Senate still has in committee rooms “An Act to Provide 15 percent of a Fiscal National Budget…for the Development of Counties” as well as “An Act Ratifying the Finance Agreement (First Poverty Reduction Support Development Policy Financing ) between the Republic of Liberia and the International Development Association.”
Earlier at the outdoor program, the Senate and the House of Representatives performed the hoisting of the National Flag and the flags of the political subdivisions, followed by a march into the Rotunda of the Capitol Building, led by Vice President Boakai, Senate Pro Tempore Gbehzohngar Findley and House Speaker Jenekai Alex Tyler.
Following separate ceremonies in the two Chambers, a joint formal official program was held in the Rotunda, attended by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, foreign dignitaries, the Legislators and other national dignitaries.
Meanwhile, the Senate will hold its first sitting today, with Senate Pro Temp Findley expected to preside.