Lawmakers Return to Capitol Hill for Special Session

Rep. Bhofal Chambers, Speaker of the 54th Legislature

-President Issues Proclamation

Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives finally returned to Capitol Hill yesterday for a Special Session, following the issuance of a Proclamation of Extension by President George M. Weah, perhaps with a cost attached, because the earlier Joint Resolution of the Extension, October 9 to November 9, was rejected following a failed negotiation to raise the “needed resources.”

The Extraordinary or Special Session is extended by 33 days, from Monday, October 29, 2018, to Friday, November 30, 2018, with an occurrence through a proclamation because of the signing of a Certificate of Extension by members of the Senate and House of Representatives respectively. This sitting will mark the second Special Session of the 54th Legislature in three months.

“President George Manneh Weah issued a Proclamation for the 54th Legislature to convene in an Extraordinary Session for a period of one month; beginning October 29, 2018, through November 30, 2018,” the release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.

“The Proclamation is in concurrence with Article 32 (b) of the Liberian Constitution which 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.”

It added: “Article 32 (b) of the Liberian Constitution further requires that when the extension or call is at the request of the Legislature, the proclamation shall be issued not later than forty-eight hours after the receipt of the certificate by the President.”

The Ministry’s release further said: “In accordance with Article 32 (b) of the Constitution of the Republic, a certificate signed by at least one-fourth of the total membership of each House has been laid before the President on October 25th, 2018 for the convening of an Extraordinary Session of the 54th Legislature for a period of one month beginning Monday, October 29, 2018, through November 30, 2018, to allow the august body the opportunity to discuss and act upon matters of national concern.”

Meanwhile, it is believed that the top agenda for the reconvening of the Second Extraordinary Session should be the ratification of the US$2.5 billion swap deal between the Government of Liberia and the China Roads and Bridge Corporation; the alleged LD$16 billion ‘missing money’ and the More Than Me rape scandal.

The resolution also acknowledged that there are several unresolved key matters of national interest that require the urgent attention of the 54th Legislature and is aware of the emergency nature of these matters which are all geared toward the enhancement of the socio-economic interests of the state and its people.

The 1st Session of the 54th Legislature started on the second working Monday, January 15, and ended on Friday, August 31, 2018, but the 1st extraordinary or special session ran from September 1 to 15, 2018.

Under the review of the session from January 15 to September 15, the House of Representatives acted upon or approved (ratified) 15 laws (bills) during its 1st Session of the 54th Legislature containing 57 regular day sittings and six (6) Special Sittings respectively.

Prior to yesterday’s reconvening, members of the House of Representatives of the 54th Legislature held a day-long legislative retreat at a resort in Congo Town.

“Reaffirming legislative commitment to the national development agenda, the House retreat seeks to evaluate the performance of the August Body that is consistent with their Constitutional mandate to identify challenges and develop a road map for efficiency and progressive legislative engagement in the ensuing years,” the House Press bureau said.

Forty-nine members were in attendance with some key lawmakers, known as “Reformed Representatives” absent, including Rep. Thomas Goshua, Rep. Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa, Rep. Adolph Lawrence, Rep. Yekeh Kolubah and 18 others.


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