By Leroy M. Sonpon III
The absence of members of the House of Representatives in regular sessions as of Tuesday, January 31– the eve to the startup of the 2017 Voter Registration, is becoming embarrassing.
The physical attendance of lawmakers in session has significantly reduced with a quorum of 37 persons, including 17 that sent in their excuses.
The House’s plenary yesterday evoked Rule 21 of the House’s Rules and Procedures and mandated the Chief Clerk to write ‘Delinquent Lawmakers’ to return to work or face appropriate punishment.
The lawmakers took the decision on Thursday, March 9, during its 15th day sitting of the 6th session.
House’s Rule 21.1 says: “No House member shall stay away from sessions without the expressed approval of the House for a period of more than two weeks; for a period less than two weeks, permission may be sought from the Speaker. Violators shall be penalized in a manner deemed appropriate by the leadership of the House in consultation with plenary.”
At the most, 19 lawmakers attended sessions on an average, while the remaining 54 lawmakers were absent.
Political pundits believe that most of lawmakers are in their districts actively involved in the Voter Registration Campaign to encourage their constituents to register to vote.
Meanwhile, in Thursday’s session, the House said it is considering launching an investigation into a report that a number of Liberians who have won the US Government’s 2016/2017 Diversity Visas are being denied visas to resettle in that country.
Bong County Joquelleh District Representative George Sylvester Mulbah, who flagged the issue, wants the House to probe the complaint, which he said came from his district.
Representative Mulbah urged the House to inquire from the US Government through their Embassy near Monrovia about the complaint since, according to him, the Embassy has not provided any reason for the visa denials.