Frank Musa Dean, Ministry of Justice, has said that the pronouncement made by President George M. Weah recently about ending the state of emergency on June 9 in an Executive Mission release was an “error.”
Minister Dean, contrary to boss, said even though President Weah made the initial declaration, it was endorsed by the Legislature on April 21, 2020, the 60-day state of emergency should, therefore, be officially expire on June 21, not the 9th of the month as mentioned in the Executive Mansion press release.
“The government of Liberia through the Ministry of Justice regrets the error contained in the press release issued on June 5, 2020, regarding the expiration of the State of Emergency declared in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic to the effect that the SOE expires on the day on which the President initially made the declaration,” Justice Minister said.
Dean clarified that “notwithstanding, the Legislature acknowledgment of the initial declaration of the SOE by President Weah, the effective date of commencement of said SOE is the day on which the joint resolution of the Legislature approved by the President was published; which is the 21st day of April 2020, as laws do not ordinarily have a retroactive effect.”
He said unless otherwise extended by a joint resolution by the Legislature and approved by the president, the SOE shall expire on the 21st of June 2020, which is the 60th day as of the date of publication of the Legislature’s joint resolution.
It may be recalled that President Weah, on June 5, 2020, in a press release informed the Liberian people that “Given the country’s level of experience with the Coronavirus and its mode of transmission, the strides being made in its containment and in view of developments in other countries, the need for further extension of the constitutional measure is not required.”
The Liberian leader called on health authorities in the country and other related government agencies to continue to enforce the public health laws in order to ensure that there is strict adherence to the protocols against COVID-19.
The President extended by two more weeks guidelines intended to prevent the spread of the virus, with the following modifications that “all are now required to be indoors by 9 pm, instead of the previous time of 6 pm; the restriction requiring people to stay indoors at a certain time of the day will be lifted in counties that have not reported any case of the disease so far; movement to and from counties not yet affected by COVID-19 will be restricted. With the exception of basic supplies, all other such movements between/amongst counties are prohibited and opening of the Roberts International Airport to commercial flights on the 21st of June.
Others include, hotels, guest houses, gaming centers are to reopen beginning the 21st of June, with the observance of the required health measures and instructed the Ministers of Transport and Health; the heads of the Liberian Civil Aviation Authority, the Liberian Airport Authority and the National Public Health Institute to publish the health protocols that will be instituted once the airport resumes operations.