Senator PYJ Prefers Development to Dual Citizenship

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Prince Johnson.jpg
Sen. Johnson

But his colleagues disagree

Nimba County Senator Prince Johnson has out-rightly rejected his colleagues’ argument in defense of Dual Citizenship, adding that priority now is not about dual citizenship, “but road construction, health, education and job creation.” Senator Johnson’s remark struck a raw note drawing into perspective, once again, the real issues confronting the Liberian people according to a prominent civil society activist (name with-held) who maintains the debate about dual citizenship amounts to nothing more than a distraction.

But Senator Varney G. Sherman, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petitions yesterday kicked off the debate on the Act called for Amendment in the Alien and Nationality Law, and Dual Citizenship, by describing those laws as “inhumane, cruel and is contrary to the new terms of nationality concepts and practices.”

Senator Sherman’s comments however left many wondering whether his (Senator Sherman’s) stance was meant to ingratiate himself into the good favor of President Weah as a way of staving off the resumption of prosecutorial action against him and others charged for bribery in the Sable Mining case. It can be recalled that President Weah has, since assuming the presidency, pledged to go after those involved in shortchanging the country.

However, Senator Varney Sherman (Grand Cape Mount County), in his almost one hour opening statement, clarified and defended that most Liberians who have taken United States citizenship, did not do so out of hatred for their motherland, Liberia, but due to circumstances that were beyond the reach of some.

Grand Cape Mount County Senator Varney Sherman

For instance, Sen. Sherman explained that due to the country’s civil war, many people, including youth migrated to other countries in search of peace, security, economic opportunities, “and some had to obtain the citizenship of these countries in order to fully enjoy the peace, security and economic opportunities for which they fled Liberia.”

Sherman pointed out that in the United States, one is not allowed to hold a job in the Federal Government unless you are a United States citizen.

“For example, if you are a citizen of the United States and you are a resident of a state, to enter a university, especially a university of that State, the fee is 75 percent to 80 percent less than the person who is not an official resident or citizen. So some of these young people assumed dual citizenship, because that was the only way to go to school since they could not afford the high fees as non-citizen,”Sen. Sherman said.

“Why should we punish them by the law of the Liberian citizenship, which I submit is inhumane, cruel and is contrary to the new terms and nationality concepts and practices, because our Constitution says that no law should be made which is inhumane, which is cruel. I don’t think we are treating these people, our fellow citizens some of whom are our children fairly,” Sen. Sherman argued.

He emphasized that dual citizenship is today, “the generally accepted practice, which is done in almost all of West African countries, except Liberia. Research has shown that dual citizenship enhances social harmony, and stimulates economic development through the participation of the dual citizen in the economy of the lesser developed country whose citizenship he or she holds.”

“There are many other reasons,” Sen. Sherman declared, “why Liberia should nullify these laws against dual citizenship and assume the modern term by giving dual citizenship to Liberians.”

According to him, dual citizenship right for Liberians are necessary due to the fact that hundreds of thousands of Liberians fled the country as the result of the country’s prolonged civil conflict, and because of the huge downturn of the economy, which made job opportunities unavailable for qualified Liberians, and even made it impossible for people who want to enter university.”

He however, in spite of his call in support of dual citizenship, Sherman said there was a caveat and or limitations when the Act is passed, that no dual citizen will be eligible to hold the office of the President, Vice President, Chief Justice, Speaker, Pro Tempore, ministers of Justice, Finance and Development Planning, among others.

Before adjournment of the debate until next Thursday due to power outage, Senator Daniel Naatehn (Gbarpolu County), welcomed his colleague’s comprehensive research and work, and expressed the hope that his colleagues will now make the necessary input during upcoming debates and public hearings.

Senator Oscar Cooper (Margibi County), called for the need to include experts and traditional leaders during the public hearings, while Nimba County Senator Prince Johnson, out-rightly rejected the call, adding that priority now is not about dual citizenship, “but road construction, health, education and job creation.”

In the absence of Pro Tempore Albert Chie, Sen. Sherman initially presided, but recused himself because all of yesterday’s agenda items came from his committee. He was replaced by the chair on Health and Gender, Senator Peter Coleman (Grand Kru).

Meanwhile passage of the Decent Work Bill, the Land Rights Act among others, continue to remain in abeyance at the Senate and, although those bills, long since debated,  do not require a referendum for passage into law, they are being down played in favor of proposed bill  which require a national referendum as a prerequisite for passage into law.

41 COMMENTS

  1. PY Johnson should be ashamed of himself. PYJ, You are one of the reasons why Liberians were forced from the country to seek refuse in other countries. The only pathway that you and other warlords left with many natural born Liberians was naturalization in host countries that were kind to them. Why are you still that divisive PYJ? You should be an advocate for the Dual-Citizenship, if only you were thinking outside of the box. However, your days to WCC are number.

  2. Mr. Murderous rebel, many people prefer a snake to you, the relatives of the people you killed prefer a dog to you and one day you will be in jail where you are supposed to be. travel to the West and they will deal with you. Liberians don’t seem to want to punish these warlords but Prince Johnson crime is on youtube for everyone to see. So we do not need any more evidence to show that you are a wicked, evil blood thirsty criminal. Sitting there getting all big and fat on our money and the deaths of our people. 99 days for rogue. One day you will be meeting Satan.

  3. What is the big deal about this dual citizenship? Who troubles those with other citizenship in Liberia? It was recently reported by the Daily Observer Newspaper that former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was sued by activists in the American Court in the USA as American Citizen. The Frontpageafrica Newspaper during the 2017 campaign period, published on its front page the American Passport of President George Manneh Weah. During the debate at the Senate on Thursday, April 26, 2018, Senator Prince Y. Johnson of Nimba Count pointed out that Senator Milton Teahjay of Sinoe County is an American Citizen. Look, let’s face the real issue here. What we need now is not dual citizen, but how to put bread on the table of the poor people. I have not seen or heard that any American-Liberian return home to do business or undertake development project and he or she is stopped because that individual is not a Liberian Citizen. So why all this noise about dual citizenship? There is the Decent Wage Bill that is still in the Committee Room of the Senate and needs passage. When this Bill is passed, the money added on the poor Liberian worker wage will improve his or her living standard. By so doing you are implementing the Pro-poor Agenda. Thanks for the Space.

    • Liberia is surrounded by filth while most of you don’t care and prefer to not be held accountable. Dual citizenship will bring accountability and vision to the political landscape. You want money from diaspora Liberians, but don’t want dual citizenship. Shame on those of you with this point of view.

  4. Although a green card holder myself, someone ought to enlighten PYJ that development at home and dual citizenship aren’t contradictory. For instance, dual citizenship contributes to development through skilled labor and funding. Liberians in the Diaspora send remittance to the country which benifit kin, friends, and a government getting taxes from these hard currencies. Usually unmentioned is that there direct investments in housing, transportation, heath care, etc., go towards humming the economy and developing our country.

    PYJ should be educated on these matters, not assailed.

    In the US, legislators have qualified staff who help in preparation for discussions on policy proposals. The Nimba County Senior Senator needs help, like some of his colleagues. As for the insinuation that Senator Sherman is kowtowing to President Weah on the issue because of Sable Mining, that’s the type of silliness some Liberians stayed abroad for decades and don’t bother returning even during their vacations.

    In 2004, Counselor Sherman was encouraging his countrymen in the Diaspora to come and help develop the country. I heard him pitching that during a meeting in Charlotte, NC at the residence of Mr. Mansu Fahnbulleh. The for-nothing talk, unnecessary inferiority complex, and insecurity of many at home are some of the drivers of backwardness and underdevelopment: Dual citizenship helps the pro-poor agenda, think positive.

  5. From the day PYJ became a senator and long before that, the urgent need for development was at the forefront of the country’s agenda. 12 years have passed without much ado. Dual citizenship had nothing to do with the slow pace.

    So, PYJ should listen to Senator Sherman and those whose views are different from his. Dual citizenship is a form of reconciliation, something that is highly needed in Liberia.

    • Mr. Kweme and Moses, I do agree with your views and add that Liberians in the diaspora are contributing more to development in all sectors of the Liberian economic. And quite frankly, comparing development to dual citizenship is like comparing apples and oranges. PYJ and others with similar views should employ their legislative staffs to do more research on the merits and demerits of dual citizenship. I’m a little disturbed and disappointed by PYJ’s out right rejection of dual citizenship argument when he enjoyed a support base in the US, in which many members are naturalized citizens from Liberia due to circumstances of the Liberian civil war. My hope is that his staffs will properly educated him on the benefits of dual citizenship for Liberians in the diaspora.

  6. What does Prince Johnson know about development? Liberia needs its trained manpower to develop. Liberia needs its engineers, geologists, economists, doctors, teachers, nurses, chemists, accountants, etc. etc, most of whom fled the war and are in the Diaspora. We have in the Diaspora trained professionals that could use their expertise to help Liberia develop, except that Mr. Johnson is aware and afraid that if these individuals were to return home, people like him will not be representing Nimba County as Senator. Mr. Johnson’s human rights record makes him unqualified for the job. His credentials as well as his character fall far short of the expected requirements of a respectable Senator. His fear for the return of qualified Liberians in the Diaspora to help with the development efforts comes to me as no surprise. The people of Nimba need to rid themselves of idiots and morons such as Prince Johnson and his likes. Nimba has got educated, well respected people of good character. These are the people, some of whom are in the Diaspora, who should represent them and not Prince Johnson who is known to have a dismal human record.

  7. Well, well, well…let us not villify PYJ, he is a Liberian and should have a place to make a comment. PYJ was part of a group that the SYSTEM produced. People are accusing him of being a brutal war lord, killer, etc. Did PYJ finance the creation of the NPFL? I m sure anyone of you had faced what came to him, would have done the same, or even worse.

    Dual citizenship is not the issue, but by expressing our individual dissatifaction toward a piece of legislature, shouldn’t cause people to throw invectives toward us. I m in no way, shape or form, backing those that commited gruesome human right abuses agsinst our people. Other were signatory to the formation of arm groups; and were/are sitting at high places of authority.

    • @Mamadu Bah, to be respectful, you probably need to do some research on the Liberian civil war…. PYJ was one of the principal deputies of Mr. Taylor in the NPFL. Undeniably, he was the founder of the INPFL (the break away faction). What shoes was he in that made him a rebel group leader…., if not a choice?

  8. PYJ, leave the country’s infrastructure development to the Executive Branch of government and why you memebres of the Legislative Branch focus on the Amendment of the Alien and Nationality Law.

  9. Dual citizenship is highly relevant to ensuring human capital for sustainable development in Liberia. Why should certain government positions in government be denied to those who qualify for dual citizenship? Please present a fully rational case for dual citizenship. ‘Concerned Professional’

  10. Most Liberia are unpatriotic! Dual citizenship with not benefit the country. . It will only open doors to rub the country off its resources

  11. Is Senator Prince Johnson still living in the Stone Age? Or, is he afraid of the competitive advantage his Liberian compatriots living in the diaspora pose to his political career if granted dual citizenship?

    Senator Varney Sherman is making all logical arguments about the reasons, causes and benefits of what led to many Liberians to obtain foreign citizenship; about the inhumane treating of denying Liberians dual citizenship; and the benefits of giving Liberians back their Liberian citizenship: be it by birth or by blood.

    On the contrary, Senator Prince Johnson, in this modern era has the audacity to come up with all sorts of cacophonic excuses to protect his political career; to alienate his fellow Liberians living in diaspora by stating that “priority now is not about dual citizenship, “but road construction, health, education and job creation.”

    Yes indeed! Liberians need roads, health Services, education and jobs. How will Liberia ever advance economically when 50% of Liberia’s meager fiscal budget (<U.S$600M) goes into the pockets of top government employees with lawmakers taking the lion share?

    If Senator Johnson really purports to care about road construction, health, education and job creation, he should not use the dual-citizenship proposal as his scapegoat. He should focus on the exorbitant salaries he and his fellow lawmakers are milking from the poor Liberian budget to live a fabulous lifestyle in a country where 99% of Liberians live on less than U.S.$1.00 a day.

    Liberians in diaspora have made and continue to make many sacrifices to keep Liberia’s fragile economy afloat during and after the war. This shows how ungrateful many Liberians are. “Do not bite the hands that feed you” my fellow Liberians at home. There are many economic benefits to granting your fellow Liberians living in the diaspora dual-citizenship.

    However, I agree with Senator Sherman. There must be caveat or limitations on what type of highly sensitive jobs one with dual citizenship can hold namely: those Senator Sherman mentioned in the report including Head of The Central Bank of Liberia.

    Senator Johnson, do you know that many Naturalized Liberians for example: Ghanians, Nigerians, Sierra Leoneans and other “people of negro-descent” are already enjoying the privilege of dual-citizenship status of their birth countries while they are still citizens of Liberia? Why not give dual-citizenship to your fellow Liberians?

  12. What brings about development? Not people? Liberians living abroad pump so much money into the local economy yearly. Don’t you think they will do even more when considered dual citizens? Why have people forgotten so soon? How can you reject Liberians and welcome foreigners? No country on earth has ever been developed by foreigners. You just joined another Senator who once said he would rather allow Anglo Saxons to become citizens of Liberia than Liberians living abroad. I still can’t get over what South Eastern Senator said last year. Deny Liberians and welcome your new comers so they can develop the country. Do you even know why the country is underdeveloped? Hope you all live long enough to see the fruits of your vision that is enshrined in hatred for your own citizens. Good luck!

  13. Sen. Sherman advocacy and stance in this Dual Nationality debate is very hypocritical. Advocating for dual nationality and limitations simultaneously is a double standards . We need an equal level playing field for all Liberians. Liberia is a nation state not a kingdom that is reserved for the special privileged. SAD !!!

  14. Senator Prince Johnson must accept that he was among the group of rebel leaders whose war caused thousands of Liberians to flee this country and acquired foreign citizenship.

  15. Simple and short Charles Taylor is already in jail this Johnson man should have been in jail long time ago he’s a killer and a rebel but you the same liberians protecting him. You kill my father and my mother I will vote for you (crazy)

  16. Mr. Editor
    The Liberian Daily Observer; I am warning you today that I am going to Court for your refusal
    to publish my comments. My Lawyers had prepared their precepts for litigation against you.
    The only way forward is you must change attitude towards me and accept to publish my
    comment(s). You can not have it two ways; keeping yourself on my website and yet refuse to
    publish my comments. What that is, you will find it out in Court for damages!

    P. Allison Tarlue, Sr.

  17. Liberia starts again; giving no value to human life when the Government is involved or implicated
    in murder. The killing of Michael Allison and Harry A. Greaves, Jr. that has had no consequence up
    to today. I see this case- the killing of Journalist Tyron Browne as having a heavy hands behind it.
    If the Government is cleared and have no part in that killing, why it did not handcuff and block his
    movement but allow him walk to Court just like ordinary man? There where the issue of involvement
    is brother Sylvester Moses! Or are you saying that the Government of Liberia under George M. Weah
    no more care about human life?
    P. Allison Tarlue, Sr. April 28, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Mr. Editor
    The Liberian Daily Observer; I am warning you today that I am going to Court for your refusal
    to publish my comments. My Lawyers had prepared their precepts for litigation against you.
    The only way forward is you must change attitude towards me and accept to publish my
    comment(s). You can not have it two ways; keeping yourself on my website and yet refuse to
    publish my comments. What that is, you will find it out in Court for damages! You think you
    are too big and can any way you want. But, I can tell you, you will soon note the difference
    between United States Judicial systems and those of Liberia!

    P. Allison Tarlue, Sr.

  18. Liberia starts again; giving no value to human life when the Government is involved or implicated
    in murder. The killing of Michael Allison and Harry A. Greaves, Jr. that has had no consequence up
    to today. I see this case- the killing of Journalist Tyron Browne as having a heavy hands behind it.
    If the Government is cleared and have no part in that killing, why it did not handcuff and block his
    movement but allow him walk to Court just like ordinary man? There where the issue of involvement
    is brother Sylvester Moses! Or are you saying that the Government of Liberia under George M. Weah
    no more care about human life?
    P. Allison Tarlue, Sr. April 28, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Mr. Editor
    The Liberian Daily Observer; I am warning you today that I am going to Court for your refusal
    to publish my comments. My Lawyers had prepared their precepts for litigation against you.
    The only way forward is you must change attitude towards me and accept to publish my
    comment(s). You can not have it two ways; keeping yourself on my website and yet refuse to
    publish my comments. What that is, you will find it out in Court for damages! You think you
    are too big and can any way you want. But, I can tell you, you will soon note the difference
    between United States Judicial systems and those of Liberia! You think you too big and can
    have your way you want. But, pretty soon you will note the difference the United States
    judicial sytems and those of Liberia!

    P. Allison Tarlue, Sr.

  19. An individual like Prince Johnson is the reason our country is setback more than a decade. Prince Johnson should be sitting next to Charles Taylor who by the way has more sense than this bloody killer. No point intended. You are lucky that Liberians eyes apparently are still closed after all the pain and suffering you injected on our country. A senator? How and the hell did you get elected to a position of this caliber with innocent blood all over you? You are ignorant and do not care about our country. You are waiting for another chance to deceive our people and project youself into power, but Liberian always say you can only fool me once. You are fighting hard to keep the darkest of clouds over Liberians eyes so you can stay in you self-made confortable zone. Shame on our people to allow someone like you to be a voice in the laws of a country you fought hard to destroy and tortured its citizens. Dual-citizenship is needy to get our country out of poverty, hardships, bad living conditions, poor schools, dangerous infrastructures, inefficient hospitals, messed up roads, to name a few……I could go on an on. Every developed and developing countries have used dual-citizenship to improve their economy and better the lives of their citizens. Do some research and stoping being afraid of your own shadow that you left in the bloody homes of our people. You are the caused that loving, abiding and decent Liberians fled their country. You should be trying to make your irreversible wrong right. Instead of using your power to once again suppress Liberians especially the poorest of the poor!!

  20. Using dual redundancy to find a way out of the funds they have stolen from the Liberian concession to further betray their trust of national identity is unpatriotic. Shameful. A superfluous sway from need to develop this nation. Greed destroyed our own nation and we must focus make it modern again to be on line with other countries of the world. Look at the nation and see how it looks; compare it with other nations near and far. Look at our economy. What do we have to foster pallet given without machinery to up lift? This nation has enough resources to make it rich. Those who have lied to the Liberian people to put them in power and connive with other nations to purge poverty on their own people will fall in the pit of reconciliation. Liberia will no longer vote them in. The nation will look like its purpose if you used the natural resources wisely to develop all areas rather than waiting for pseudo concessions with foreign companies to exchange benefits of corrupt officials with ECOWAS passports and dual-citizen, or white rights to be citizens. This Land of Liberty is already founded, and has its own identity and its own owners: The settlers, chiefs, tribes, elders, their sons and daughter, and followers. We will never any more allow tyrants and slaves sellers to cause a war again. We would rather vote them out, take these few out by force, or creep the one or two below the nation’s emblems given us by God, than cause the bulk of the Liberian people suffer under pretense of seek wealth through their poor plan. We can pay for our own machinery and finished products we have not yet invented with the natural resources we have. We can also develop our own natural resources we have if our learned intent is to professionally research with the knowledge they say they possess. If you think you will continue to use public funds to educate your self run away and leave the rest in a mess, you lie this time. You must use your own labor to get your own.
    Monkey work and Baboondraw will remain with you not with us again. Let Liberians know again. Do not reply my Box.
    Gone to silence.

  21. Liberia is blessed with abundance natural resource reserve, yet it’s among the poorest countries in the world. It’s because Liberians are lack of love for country and each other. Many of the contributors to this article are not making their points for or against the argument, rather they are attacking senator Sherman or Senator Johnson. Let’s separate the argument from the people involved.
    My own point is, God made every person in the sun and placed each person to a country he wishes. God didn’t give any man or woman dual citizenship in the world. Oh, why should we tell God he’s stupid by changing our country in the name of personal interest. God knows the reason or reasons he sent you to Liberia. Dual citizenship is not needed in Liberia, all Liberians need is love for country and each other.

  22. You have no restrictions in the United States of America to be compelled to become a citizen or not become. The United States Government is concerned about immigrants who stay without a cause or reason, just as any nation to protect its own people. When the Liberian Government gives you a scholarship or when you use the Liberian Government funds to foster your educational status in the States, you should benefit the Liberian people to serve the Liberian people and not to become an American would like to destroy Liberia. If you cannot afford permanent residence in the United States, where you can be of more service to the Liberian people, than remain home and be of service to the Liberian Nation. You may if you can be qualified to be or not be. If you do not want to be, you do not have to be an American. But I can tell you. A true Liberian descend will never want to be an American citizen. 2 of many reasons. Slave trade and Freedom of choice. The United States does not need your service if it impedes the development of your own nation and brings political upheavals in return. True White Americans will not need to be Liberians. Working in the United States without a purpose is neither an excuse if it does no returns to Liberia either. Dual redundancy will only complicate the issue of identity especially where greedy tyrants and the uncivilized have still the urge for slave trade to pay back ratios like civil conflicts, EBOLA excuse, pseudo concessions, and problems and sicknesses that can be cured by our own researches as all nations on earth as others that have destroyed this glorious Land of Liberty. WE should use our national funds on only things that will bring development to our people to make this nation again the core of democracy and freedom in Africa. Liberia will always be the light of freedom on this side of the world as long as the owners possess it under God.
    Do not reply my box. Let the Liberian people know.
    Gone back to silence.

  23. My good Brother Mr. Norris Jay, I got your point. Ok, this is my argument : PYJ was one of those aggrieved Liberian citizen from the Mahn and Dahn ethnic groups that was not ‘satisfied’ with what was going on during the Doe administration. I also stand corrected on this issue. I m only trying to explain what makes PYJ the ‘war man’. PYJ did not financed his (PYJ’s) trip, lodging and training in Libya. Exile Liberians in the diasporas had hands in this whole NPFL creation. If we will assail PYJ for his involvement in our civil conflict, why do we allow those that financed and facilitate his training to also go unchecked.
    Civil law, in modern, society and in our Liberian law says: “aiding and abiding with an individual who commits a crime, automatically makes you the same criminal also”. I may be wrong sir. If other Liberians were involved in our civil war still sitting in high places of authority, why not PYJ.

    My brother Mr. Norris Jay, I need a little bid of education..
    I m not a supporter of PYJ, but only looking at the whole case from a different angle.
    peace to all Liberians
    From Sydney, Australia, with love, and forgiveness.

  24. TALK TO THE LIBERIAN PEOPLE YOU CREEP. THIS IS NOT A CHAT ROOM. IF YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND LIBERIAN, ASK OTHER LIBERIANS TO HELP YOU WHO LIKE FREE KNOWLEDGE.
    When a professional says do not reply, if you are literate you should know what that means. The Liberian people will no longer accept your attempt to sell slaves, steal their land, or bargain with duals for greed.
    Do not reply this box. Let the people know. Not me.
    Gone to silence.

  25. You; a Liberian, and you cannot understand TD? Did you pay something to learn our language? OR ARE YOU ONE OF THOSE WHO CAME TO THIS NATION FOR PIECE AND NOT PEACE? Answer the Liberian people.
    Do not answer this box.
    Gone to silent majority.

  26. “However, in spite of his call in support of dual citizenship, Sherman said there was a caveat and or limitations when the Act is passed, that no dual citizen will be eligible to hold the office of the President, Vice President, Chief Justice, Speaker, Pro Tempore, Ministers of Justice, Finance and Development Planning, among others.”

    Such a “caveat” is absolutely unnecessary and counterproductive. If warlords and their cohorts who killed thousands of our people in cold blood and who destroyed the country can hold such high positions without limitation, why in the world should good Liberian-born men, women, and children in Diaspora continue to be discriminated against as second class citizens or even as non-citizens?

    Instead, what is sorely needed is a War Crimes Court in Liberia or in the Hague to try criminals like Ellen Sirleaf, Amos Sawyer, Prince Johnson, Charles Bright, and all others who have been robbing our country blind and who are still benefiting grossly from their criminal enterprise.

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