The Presiding Officer of the 54th Legislature, Dr. Bhofal Chambers, has announced the unveiling of President George Weah’s first Legislative Agenda (also known as the Annual Message) to the legislature in the William R. Tolbert Joint Chambers on Monday, January 29, at 4 p.m.
On Tuesday, House Speaker Chambers mandated the House’s Committees on Executive; Ways, Means, Finance and Developmental Planning; and the Rules, Order and Administration to begin robust preparations. The lead committee of the Joint Committee is the Committee on Executive, with Montserrado County Districts #9 and 8 Representatives Munah Pelham-Youngblood and Acarous M. Gray as the chair and co-chair respectively.
Speaker Chambers also instructed the Joint Committee to speed-up its collaboration with the Senate to set-up the organization and beautification of the event.
With four days to the Annual Message, there are reports that Joint Committee is in a frenzied rush to prepare the setting for the historic occasion. The General Services Agency (GSA), the Executive Protection Service (EPS) and the Ministry of Public Works are also in the mix.
President Weah’s appearance before the full legislature is in fulfillment of Article 58 of the 1986 Constitution, which compels the President once a year to present his legislative programs and report on the economy and state of affairs.
It states that the President shall, on the fourth working Monday in January of each year, present the administration’s Legislative Program for the ensuing session, and shall once a year report to the legislature on the state of the country. In presenting the economic condition of the country, the report is expected to cover expenditure as well as income.
The Joint Session of the 54th Legislature will be co-presided by Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, who is President of the Senate.
Every president since Joseph J. Roberts has delivered a speech before both Houses of the Legislature a week after being sworn in, or the fourth working Monday in January.
According to the office of the Chief Clerk, Mildred Sayon, the ceremony begins at 2 p.m. with the arrival of invited guests in the Joint Chamber of the Legislature.
Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate will converge in the William R. Tolbert, Jr. Joint Assembly Hall at 3:55 p.m., and a motion to receive President Weah to deliver his first Annual Message will be made and seconded, at which time the chairpersons on Executive Committees will assemble at the main entrance to receive and escort the President to the Joint Chambers.
The Sergeant-at-Arms of the House of Representatives, Brigadier General Martin Johnson, will announce the presence of the President, who will then proceed to deliver the ‘State of the Nation Address’ at 4 p.m.
The Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, members of the cabinet, the doyen and members of the diplomatic corps, chiefs and elders, heads of political parties, religious organizations and the business community are expected to be in attendance.
The House’s press director, Isaac G. Redd, told the Daily Observer yesterday that only official invitees will be allowed to enter the William R. Tolbert Joint Assembly Hall for the occasion.
“Because of the ongoing construction work, the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms will direct the order of vehicular movement for said occasion,” director Redd said.
“And accredited media institutions are asked to designate one reporter only. Television and radio stations accredited to conduct live broadcast are advised to install their equipment before 4 p.m. for the ceremony,” Redd added.