House ‘Majority’ Bows to Minority Pressure

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Capitol Building, seat of the Legislature.

-Holds Executive Session to Make ‘Amends’

The majority bloc of the House of Representatives on Thursday, January 24, during the 5th day sitting, bowed to pressure from the Independent Legislative Caucus (ILC), also known as the “minority bloc,” concerning an executive session to discuss the alleged misapplication of a “huge quantity” of duty-free gasoline intended for the entire body as well as the procurement status of their official vehicles.

Members of the majority bloc are chaired by Montserrado County District #5 Representative Thomas Fallah, who also chairs the Coalition for Democratic Change Lawmakers and Montserrado County Caucus, while the ILC (minority bloc) is headed by Nimba County District #8 Representative Larry P. Younquoi.

It may be recalled that on Tuesday, January 15, during the 2nd day sitting, some aggrieved members were denied the opportunity to express their grievances about the “huge quantity” of duty-free gasoline intended for the entire body, and the procurement status of their official vehicles to get redress in an executive session. The session was disrupted for about one hour.

The failure to get redress for members of the House of Representatives to bring back credibility and sanity to the Lower House gave rise to the Independent Legislative Caucus.

During Thursday’s (yesterday’s) session, members of the House of Representative held an exclusive (secret) executive session which lasted for about five hours.

The secret session was provoked following an amendment from Rep. Younquoi that the letter from Representatives Rustonly Dennis, Adolph Lawrence, Thomas Goshua and others, which related to the alleged misapplication of a “huge quantity” of duty-free gasoline, should be discussed in the executive session.

Rep. Younquoi’s amendment came after another amendment from Representative Vincent Willie that the letter from his colleagues should form part of Thursday’s agenda, which was excluded.

He said Montserrado County District #8 Representative Acarous Gray’s amendment that Justice Minister Cllr. F. Musa Dean and Inspector General of the Liberia National Police, Patrick Sudue, be invited to appear before Plenary be denied, because the letter was sent to the House Speaker on the day of the session.

The letter from Montserrado County District #15 Representative Adolph Lawrence said the two men should appear before that august body to explain the current state of the three investigations, including the alleged raping of two females in Barnesville and New Georgia communities, and the armed robbery that affected First Afriland Bank in Gbarpolu County.

Bomi County Representative Edwin M. Snowe rejected the amendment on grounds that there was not enough evidence to prove that the letter was sent to the House Speaker on the day of the session.

The denial of Rep. Gray’s amendments and the acceptance of Reps. Willie and Younquoi’s amendments were characterized by cheers from members of the minority, and the agenda was subsequently adopted and moved to the executive.

It may also be recalled that following the failure of the aggrieved lawmakers to get redress in the “executive session,” they took to the media to point accusing fingers at the leadership on allegations of corruption and marginalization.

During the 3rd day sitting on January 17, a letter from Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood, chairperson on the House’s Committee on the Executive, mandated Speaker Chambers to place three lawmakers under probe, a decision that agitated many of his colleagues.

Some of the lawmakers, among them Reps. Jay Nagbe Sloh (CDC, Sinoe County Dist. #2), Adolph Lawrence (CDC, Montserrado Dist. #15) and Yekeh Kolubah (Montserrado District #10, Independent), are being investigated by the Committee on Rules, Order and Administration, whose chairperson was implicated, too.

The CDC Montserrado Dist. #9 Representative (Mrs. Pelham-Youngblood) craved the Speaker and colleagues’ indulgence to refer the concerned lawmakers to the Committee on Rules, Order, and Administration to provide proof or be punished.

Author

  • I am a Liberian journalist, born November 7 and hailed from the Southeast and of the kru tribe. I began contributing to the Daily Observer 2008 and was fully employed in 2012. I am the 3rd of eight children and named after my great grandfather. Am happily married with three children (girls). I am a full member of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and also the Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) and the Legislative Press Pool (LEGISPOL). I can be contacted through email: [email protected] or cell number/WhatsApp: (+231) 0886585875 or Facebook.

11 COMMENTS

  1. House Majority bows to minority pressure: thought they would do just that . The three lawmakers presented their letter for executive session like any respectable lawmaker would do in order to be heard . Instead they were met with the usual political intimidation of investigation for bringing the House of Representatives to public disrepute. The Speaker and his supporters never wanted to discuss the alleged allegations made by the three lawmakers that some lawmakers got free gasoline and others like themselves were denied. The minority bloc may be in the minority in the House, but they have proven and shown that there is strength in unity. And that’s what Democracy is all about. The right of the Majority to decide , and the right of the Minority to be heard . And not to be investigated for their beliefs or be punished for their beliefs . But To Be Heard ! Now Hear ye , Hear ye , Democracy wins in the House of Representatives . Give the minority lawmakers a standing ovation . Bravo bravo bravo everyone , Bravo.

  2. Perhaps, if all legislators spend time studying legislative rules and procedures, few wouldn’t be referring to acts that are unfair though not unlawful, for example, pork barrel legislations, as “corruption”.

    It would seem that every act of government which any group disagree with or dislike goes to a “corruption” bin and then recycled by our waiting adversarial press into a sound bite to be amplified on social media networks, especially Facebook. That reckless fanning of a corruption mania smears the image of Liberia and hurts economic recovery doesn’t concern few partisan journalists who are abusing their positions as opinions influencers.

  3. “Pork Barrel” spending in the US is done legitimately/lawful through legislative actions and voted on by Congress and sign into law by the US president. One of the issues in the US about this type of spending is that the benefits often do not justify the spending in the presence of more important public needs.

    What some Liberian Representatives are complaining about is that some of their colleagues are adding more spending to legislations, after the House and Senate have already voted and approved a specific set of spending, without the knowledge/vote of the full House and Senate.

    The complaints also appear to suggest that some of the added spending are allocated to the private businesses of private Liberians including some of Liberian Legislators.

    Difference between “Pork Barrel” spending in the US and the complaint from some Liberian Representatives:
    1. No US Congress member can change a legislation after his/her colleagues have voted and pass a
    legislation.
    2. No US Congress member can allocate US tax dollars to himself/herself.

    Hope this helps to explain the difference between “Pork Barrel” spending in the US and the complaint from some Liberian legislators.

    • Thank you, Mr. Pei Boayue, for bringing some clarity to this issue, as opposed to Mr. Sylvester Moses’ detracting muckraking bombast to smear the three courageous representatives, et al, who dared expose “speaker” Chambers and fellow racketeers about this benefit embezzlement. Left with scoundrels like Mr. Moses good governance, honesty, probity and the like should now be secondary to whatever the self-seeking little filching indulgences. Lest we forget, this is the same Sylvester Moses who once served as one of the chief architects and implementers of the Doe tyranny. Any wonder?

  4. The trio of complaining legislators had accused Speaker Chambers of “corruption”, but I got the desired clarification when Nimba County Representative Gonquoi yesterday changed “corruption” to “tyranny of majority”. Which suggests that the acts complained of originally weren’t illegal, hence, fell under unfairness of “pork barrel”.

  5. By the way, “pork barrel legislation” and “pork barrel” politics” refer to the same behavior and the latter would fit the acts described, because they’ve not yet become law.

  6. General Tony,
    You have the proclivity to label people with whom you disagree as “paid agents” of Weah’s government. I was labeled by you as a paid agent because of my analysis of Kaipay, the Grand Bassa county senator. If you re-read what I wrote, you will realize that I was fair without any negative strings attached. With all due respect, your petty rant is a complete gobbledygook! I as well as the other paid agents you have in mind have a right to pursue, our political, social and economic interests.

    You act and write as a non-supporter of Weah’s government. Example, you accuse Weah constantly as being a neophyte. Okay, that’s understandable. You have a right to disagree with Weah, me or any of God’s-created children. But, by the same token, are you a paid agent of the opposition? Tell the truth!

    The majority is not always right, whether in Liberia or anywhere in the world. In the story above, if the majority opposition goofed, they goofed. So what? But despite the fact that the majority opposition may have goofed, cooler heads came around the table to work things out. Now, that’s positive! Let’s agree to disagree, because that’s an act of being professional.

    General Tony, be cognizant of this fact. If your best friend becomes president, he or she will not be liked by everyone in or out of Liberia. Weah is making progress. It’s something you abhor, but it’s the truth.

  7. I totally agreed with Logan. Those called themselves representatives, and senators make no laws that actually benefit the Liberian people. They are selfish and greedy, just concern about what they can get for themselves. The nation is in abject poverty, while they are talking about gasoline for their vehicles that are duty free. Those vehicles are the Liberian people money. They must put the suffering Liberians first, by making sure the people get out of poverty, be able to live happily.

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