Ellen Wants 13 Bills Enacted Before January 13

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Former Liberia President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

– But, Sen. Sherman says “it’s impractical.”

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has written members of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the 53rd Legislature to approve at least 13 bills by Saturday, January 13, 2018, but the Chairman on the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Cllr. Varney Sherman, says the President’s idea is “very impractical.”

The Dangote Cement Liberia deal in the tune of US$41 million and the extension of the Firestone Agreement top the list of the President’s 13 bills.

President Sirleaf has submitted a ‘Matrix of 22 bills with a priority of 13 bills’ to the Legislature to be considered during the 9-day extension, which is already in effect as of Thursday, January 4, to Saturday, January 13, 2018.

But in an exclusive interview with Senator Varney Sherman yesterday, he said the 13 prioritized bills submitted by the President is not only impractical, but is “very unlikely and doubtful,” because no amount of ‘rubber stamping and 4G speed’ will allow both Houses to pass the 13 Bills.

“It is very doubtful, extremely difficult; there is no time, it is impractical, because the President’s Bills will not only be the issues, there are issues on elections of the President Pro Tempore, Speaker and Deputy Speaker,” Sen. Sherman said.

Sen. Varney Sherman, Chairman on Judiciary, says there is no amount of ‘rubber stamping and 4G speed’ that will allow both Houses to pass the 13 Bills.

It can be recalled that the President issued a proclamation extending the sixth and final Session of the 53rd Legislature by nine days beginning January 4, 2018.

Accordingly, the proclamation followed the signing of a certificate of extension by members of the Senate and House of Representatives respectively.

“Whereas, the Sixth and Final Regular Session of the 53rd Legislature was extended through a Certificate of Extension signed by members of the Senate and House of Representatives respectively to extend the Regular Session from September 1, thru December 31, 2017,” the proclamation said.

The proclamation notes that Article 32 (b) of the Constitution of Liberia provides that the President shall, on the President’s own initiative or upon receipt of a certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House, and by proclamation, extend a Regular Session of the Legislature beyond the date of adjournment or call a Special or Extraordinary Session of that body to discuss or act upon matters of national emergency and concern.

The President’s proclamation also acknowledged that there are several unresolved key matters of national interest that require the urgent attention of the 53rd Legislature and is aware of the emergency nature of these matters, which are all geared toward the enhancement of the socioeconomic interests of the state and its people.

Also, the proclamation realizes that cognizant of the limitation of time to discuss these key matters to facilitate the smooth transition from one democratically elected government to another, which requires the participation and involvement of the 53rd Legislature in Session, it is “convinced that the President of the Republic of Liberia shall appropriately take advantage of the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia to invoke Article 32 (b) as a sole means to involve the participation of the 53rd Legislature in Extraordinary Session to address these unresolved state matters.”

The proclamation concludes, “Now therefore, I, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, by virtue of the authority in me vested, do hereby issue this Proclamation for the 53rd Legislature to reconvene into an Extraordinary Session for a period of nine days, commencing January 4, thru January 12, 2018.”

13 Prioritized Bills

The 13 prioritized bills  which the President wants  passed include, Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and Dangote Cement-Liberia Limited; An Act Ratifying the Agreement for the Establishment of the African Export Import Bank (AFREMIXBANK); An Act to Amend Title 25, Patriotic and Cultural Observances Law, Chapter 3, Recognition of Distinguished Service, by adding thereto to a New Subsection 64 to be named the Order of the Republic and An Act to name Certain Roads and Bridges in the country.

Others are, a bill to Amend Chapter 22 Subsection 22.76(a) of the Liberian National Police Act, 2015; Land Rights Bill; a Bill to Amend Section 6.1(5) of the Aliens and Nationality Law of Liberia, Title 4, Liberian Codes of Laws Revised, regarding Permits of Residence; a Bill to Ratify the Investment Incentive Agreement between Liberia and the TIDFORE investment Company and Liberia Steel and Cement Mining (LICEMCO).

The remaining Bills include An Act Repealing the Public Employment Law and Amending the Executive Law to Create a Civil Service Commission; Amendment to the Amended and Restated Concession Agreement between Liberia incorporated; a Bill to Ratify the Concession Agreement between Liberia and the Nimba Rubber Incorporated (NRI) and the Amendments to the country’s Constitution/CRC Propositions and An Act to Amend Title 21 of the Liberian Code of Laws of 1956 to update the Provisions of the Maritime Law and Maritime Regulations to implement the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 and Incorporating other necessary and appropriate Provisions relating to the name change of the Bureau of Maritime Affairs to the Liberia Maritime Authority including edits that were inadvertently overlooked in previous years of the codification of the Maritime Laws and Regulations.

Among the 13 prioritized bills, Sen. Sherman said the Land Rights Act would not be possible for his Judiciary Committee to report, adding, “there should be no urgency in passing of bills.”

The Grand Cape Mount County Senator has informed the Daily Observer of withdrawing his interest in the candidacy to contest the post of the President Pro Tempore. He withdrew from the race, “because Vice President Joseph N. Boakai was defeated in his presidential bid.”

Sherman also said he would only pledge his support secretly to any of the two Senators, Albert Chie and Steve Zargo, because Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff has also withdrawn from the Pro Temp race.

16 COMMENTS

  1. The inauguration of the President of Liberia with the First lady on his side is the pressing end of the smooth transition.
    The silent majority awaits the election of President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House Representative. The 54th Legislature gets its Legislative power of sound and activities as soon as the Speaker and Pro temp are in-housed for 2018.
    Pay them no mind. The Liberian people will decide all other events in terms of monetary values when the constitutional wallet is opened after inauguration.
    Best of luck. The Liberian people will know. Do not reply this box.
    Gone in silence.

  2. What she did not do in 12 years she wants to do in one week! What makes her think the next legislature will not take off from where she is going to leave? Hmmm…this old ma sef yah! Let her just go and leave us alone. History will judge her very harshly.

  3. Senator Sherman is quite correct. Instead of systematically pursuing these bills with the Legislature during her long tenure as President, Ellen Sirleaf was busy accumulating credits for the thousands of record-breaking frequent-flyer miles she posted while aimlessly circling the globe like some astronaut lost in space.

  4. Leave these Bills for the in coming Government so that they can be properly scrutinized. You just have few days left. Why the hurry? What you couldn’t do in 12 years, you cannot effectively do in 4 or 5 days. Senator Sherman is right when he says it is just impractical.

  5. 66 signed with 64 ending in private pockets, while the 2 hardly benefited the average Liberian. Now you have a Matrix of 22 bills with a priority of 13 bills, Liberia need to ask their Legislators, these are the very persons signing these bills, with over half of them being booted out, trust me they will sign them. A PITY FOR MAMA LIBERIA, but we are watching.

  6. Chapter V article 29 of the constitution says, “The legislative power of the Republic shall be vested in the Legislature of Liberia which shall consist of two separate houses: A Senate and a House of Representatives, both of which must pass on all legislation”.

    So, reportedly on January 4, EJS sent 22 bills, and prioritized 13 which she asked to be passed in nine days: by January 13. Such urgent legislative proposals may be “impractical”, but not ‘unusual’ – though not always at the tailend of a presidential term. Notwithstanding, if these bills are as significant as they seem, both houses should put them into a vote. Or EJS may use executive order for those which she legally can, to force the hand of the new administration and Legislature to deal with them as soon as possible.

    This commenter isn’t familiar with the details of the bills, hence not giving a vote of thanks, either way. His contention: it is presumptuous to simply assign selfish or sinister motives to eleventh hour bills without knowing the nitty gritty of the circumstances under which they were conceived.

    Put another way, don’t blame, without evidence, EJS because of submitting them, or Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Sherman for being doubtful about the successful outcome of the attempt. Let’s understand the issues ‘well – well’, folks, before making judgment. That approach has a better chance of advancing the cause for reconciliation and stability, one would suppose.

    Many of us want to see the outlines of a post-ethnic Liberianess this 2018, for heaven’s sake!

  7. Liberia is a big joke and on its way to become a fake country. After 12 years in power, and traveling the globe, our President now sees it fit to rush through bills in the legislature without adequate debates. I can’t believe that an educated person could attempt such nonsense.

  8. Ellen is a very smart, meticulous and convincing lady. What she is doing here is setting the stage to continue her term while it has already expires. I understand she wants to remains relevant to Liberian politics, but it is time for this Land to see fresh faces, new innovative ideas, peaces and inclusive tones of peace and reconciliation.
    Weah is a businessman, a patriot, a statesman and as such, he needs to be given the chance to steer the state of ship to where he wants it until it starts to crashes or land safely. The years of the Old is over, it is time for the New. Fresh ideas is needed and these areas (food, education, internet connectivity, salary, healthcare, infrastructure, sports and etc, need attention especially if Liberia has to sit amongst the comity of nations and boast of it natural resources now or forevermore.
    Ellen, personally, I feel you should retired gracefully and as you said in your own words “let the young people be given a chance”. The young people will ask you for help/advice when they need it. But for now let the young blood runs and let the people choice rule.

  9. As usual, by design under the clock of urgency….She is up to a lot…Stall the 13 bills to be revisited later under the new president and for the public good of Liberia and Liberians,,,This lady is making appointments without the consultation of the Senate and now she is going to ask you to approved bills? She diss the Senate and now she is looking for their blessings …PUT HER On HOLD!..

  10. THE PRESIDENT CAN PASS AS MANY EXECUTIVE ORDERS SHE WANTS, BUT THE INCOMING GOVERNMENT CAN EQUALLY NULLIFY SAME WHEN IT TAKES OVER. SO, THERE’S NO NEED TO EVEN SQUABBLE OVER THIS MOVABLE ISSUE!!!!

  11. The point: EJS can. And right now she is the only person in Liberia who has the experience of a president. Some of us have been front row to governance elsewhere; in practice, it isn’t as cut and dried as many brilliant people assume.

  12. Liberia is for all Liberians,before than our President said the educational system in Liberia is a mist so in her mind there is no one in house that is educated like her or even more than her but is time to prove her wrong let it be on hold until her term expired.

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