But Sen Morais Apologizes, Sen Sherman Accepts
The first of several debates on the proposed amendments to the Alien and Nationality Law yesterday adjourned in near chaos after Maryland County Senator H. Dan Morais described Senator H. Varney Sherman’s work as nothing but plagiarism.
Senator Morais who chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs did not state clearly though, what he considered plagiarized material.
Prior to his outburst, Sen Morais and a few of his colleagues, including Senator Oscar Cooper, raised contentious issues such as the origin of the Act and whether it did not originate from the Executive. They also questioned the urgency for the passage of the law which was submitted to the Liberian Senate on January 18 by Senators Sherman, Geraldine Doe-Sherif and Armah Zolu Jallah.
After over two hours of what appeared to be filibustering by some Senators to stall the debate and to save the Senate from being plunged into chaos, Senator Morais extended an apology to Senator Sherman who chairs the committee on Judiciary, thereby leaving Senate President Pro Tempore, Albert Chie, with the only logical option to adjourn the debate.
It may be recalled that days after the three Senators had submitted the Act on the Alien & Nationality Law, President George Weah, in his first annual message (Legislative Agenda to the 54th Legislature), called for the amendment of that provision of the Constitution, saying such does not exist in the 21st Century.
And during his presentation on the Act calling for an Amendment in the Alien & Nationality and Dual Citizenship Law, he described them as “inhumane, cruel and contrary to the new terms of nationality concepts and practices.”
During his long presentation, Senator Sherman emphasized that dual citizenship is today “the generally accepted practice which applies in almost all West African countries except Liberia- Ghana, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal.” According to him, “research has revealed that dual citizenship enhances social harmony, and stimulates economic development through the participation of the dual citizen in the economy of the underdeveloped country whose citizenship he or she holds.”
Senator Sherman said however, in spite of his call in support of dual citizenship, there was a caveat if the Act is passed: that no dual citizen will be eligible to hold the office of President, Vice President, Chief Justice, Speaker, Senate President Pro Tempore, Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance and Development Planning, among others.
Meanwhile, Senator Sherman is likely to appear on Thursday for another presentation on the Constitution Review Commission’s Report on 25 Proposals currently before the Senate for action; or better still a final debate on the Bill known as the Local Government Law of Liberia 2017, with Senator Gbleh-bo Brown taking the lead as chair on Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation.