No Roll Call, No Session

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A group consisting of more than 20 Members of the House of Representatives has threatened to disrupt bi-weekly sessions in the Chamber at the Capitol Building if there is no sitting roll call as of today (June 9), in accordance with the House’s Rules and Procedures.

The lawmakers are yet to say what method they intend to use to make good on their threat, but their outburst come in the wake of a recent decision by some lawmakers through voting to use a quorum from roll call taken last Thursday for the month of June, which is against their own
Rules and Procedures. Roll call in parliamentary proceedings is taken before the commencement of every sitting to determine the number of lawmakers present in the case there is a need to pass a legislation that needs a two-thirds vote.

The group of four, including Representatives Edwin M. Snowe, Tokpah Mulbah, Gabriel Smith and Rep. Bill Tweahway, said the “decision” was bogus and undemocratic and resolved not to allow the holding of any session.

According to the House’s Rules and Procedures, Chapter Six on “Quorum and Commencement of Business,” the Order of Business always includes a “Roll Call.”

“A quorum shall consist of a simple majority of the members of that august body. Quorum shall be necessary for the transaction of business. However, a minority meet on a daily basis to conduct their official matters. For meetings at which a quorum is not present, only a motion to compel the attendance of absent members or to adjourn may be made,” the House’s Rules and Procedures state.

The lawmakers made the threats during Tuesday’s session and also at local radio talk shows.

With threats from the lawmakers against the decision not to a have roll call, many Legislative commentators fear an unorthodox reaction from the disgruntled Representatives such as those that take place in countries like Taiwan, Turkey and South Korea where lawmakers exchange blows or throw missiles at each other.

On Tuesday, June 7, Bong County lawmaker, Lester Paye and Montserrado County Representative Edward Forh nearly resorted to fist fight after bitter exchanges over the call for Speaker Tyler to recuse himself from presiding and the decision to accept a day’s quorum to be used for the entire month.”

Rep. Forh, a Tyler sympathizer, said it is precedent for the decision of quorum and won’t be expedient for the Speaker to be removed, while Rep. Paye was on the contrary.

Similar incident occurred in January 2015, when Rivercess County District # 1 Representative Roland Opee Cooper mistakenly hit Bong County District # 6 Representative Adam Bill Corneh, while attempting to smack Speaker Tyler over the argument for the Speaker to recuse himself over the controversial “US$25,000” consultation fees given to the late Michael Allison on the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) Law.

It may be recalled, last week Thursday, Bong County’s District # 3 Representative George S. Mulbah proffered a motion requesting his colleagues to allow that day’s quorum to constitute the quorum for the entire month of June, putting aside the regular roll call per sitting.

The Representatives of Grand Gedeh and Grand Kru Counties, Alex Chelsea Grant and George W. Blamoh (respectively), are against the call for the Speaker to recuse himself as well as his removal from the Speakership. They reminded their colleagues that to do so would require at least 54 signatories.

Representative Tyler ascended to Speakership in April 2007, and reclaimed it in January 2012. In the Second Republic (1980), he is longest serving Speaker.

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