Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue has rejected the advice to nullify the new Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning Committee, which was appointed by the Joint Session’s Plenary during the intense in-House conflict.
During Tuesday’s session, the Presiding Officer argued that ‘Plenary won’t allow a Committee to cut out the work of the Legislature and continue to create more hardships in the country in the wake of the stalled budget hearing.”
The Grand Bassa County District #2 Representative indicated that whatever decisions have been made by the joint session’s Plenary during the internal political turmoil cannot be reversed.
It may be recalled that last week a new 15-man Ways, Means, Finance and Development Committee was appointed by the Deputy Speaker prior to the recusal of Speaker Tyler.
The leaders are Rep. Prince Moye (Bong County), Chairman and Rep. Jeremiah Koung (Nimba County), co-Chairman. Other members included Rep. Julius Berrian (Montserrado County); Rep. Julia Wiah (Lofa County); Rep. Haja Siryon (Bomi County); Rep. Gabriel Smith (Grand Bassa County); Rep. Jefferson Kanmoh (Sinoe County) and Rep. Dr. Isaac Roland (Maryland County).
Other members: Rep. Aaron Vincent (Grand Cape Mount County); Rep. Morais Waylee (Grand Gedeh County); Rep. Opee Roland Cooper (Margibi County); Rep. Numennie Bartekwa (Grand Kru County); Rep. Johnson Chea (River Gee County); Rep. Alfred Koiwood (Gbapolu County) and Rep. Byron Zeahway (Rivercess County).
Noticeably, only three of the previous 15 members were retained, while the remaining 12 members are new, including the chairman and co-chairman.
The Deputy Speaker’s stern explanation against dissolving the new Ways, Means, Finance and Development Committee is based upon an objection from Rep. Larry Younquoi – one of the replaced Committee members. The Nimba County lawmaker argued that according to Rule 54.1 of the House’s Rules and Procedures, each committee is appointed to serve for three years; and chairpersons and co-chairpersons are only subject to removal by two-thirds vote of the House, which is 49 persons.
Meanwhile, reports gathered said the original members of the House’s Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning Committee are expected to pray for a Writ of Prohibition against the new Committee.
Reports said the House’s Rule 54.1 and 54.2 provide that if the chairperson of any committee for any cause ceases to serve, it shall be the duty of the Speaker to appoint a new chairperson in consultation with the leadership of the House.
A source informed the Daily Observer on the issue that “In the case of the temporary absence of a chairperson of a committee, the co-chairperson shall assume the chair until the chairperson proper returns to duty.
“And in order for the Rules to be amended or suspended, they shall not be altered unless the members of the House have received twenty–four hours’ notice of the proposed change and it shall commence with the placement of a printed copy of the proposed amendment on the desk of each member. Changes in these Rules shall be taken up as a special order. Any change in these Rules shall require the approval of a two-thirds majority of the members of the House.”
However, yesterday ended a three-day meeting between the new Ways, Means, Finance and Development Planning Committee and the Legislative Budget Office on the update of the budget.
On Monday, May 16, Finance Minister Boimah Kamara submitted the $555.9 million budget to the Legislature to be expeditiously enacted to take effect on July 1, 2016. The Expenditure Component of the 2016/2017 budget was halted owing to the in-House quarrel. The Draft National
Budget for 2016/2017 of US$555.9 million comprises of US$495.5 million for Core Domestic Revenue; US$30.2 million as Grants; and US$30.1 million as Contingent Domestic Revenue, among others.