Dry Christmas at Capitol?

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With a day to the closure of the 3rd Session of the National Legislature, and seven days to the celebration of the world ‘s best known international holiday, Christmas, the Capitol Building, seat of the National Legislature, is yet to ‘deck the halls’ or even send out Season’s greeting cards.

Buildings in the other two branches of government, the Judiciary and the Executive, and other autonomous and private institutions, have been beautifully decorated and many of these offices have  produced calendars and cards since two weeks ago but the Capitol Building is still without a leaf or rose.

Christmas decorations and greetings are commonplace in homes, offices and the streets, displaying several types of ornamentations appropriate to the year’s most festive Season. The traditional colors of Christmas are pine green (evergreen), white, and heart red. Christmas Lights and wreaths are displayed; and  some typical images on Christmas decorations include Baby Jesus, Father Christmas or Santa Claus and the Star of Bethlehem.

Two senior officials of the Protocol Departments of the Liberian Senate and the House of Representatives, who begged anonymity, said there are no decorations on Capitol Building owing to the “lack of money.”

The duo said the Chairmen for the Rules, Order and Administration of the Liberian Senate, Senator Lahai Lasanna,  and of the House of Representatives, Representative Edwin M. Snowe, Jr.,  are said to be “still looking or galvanizing money” to  beautify the Capitol Building.

But some staffers in the chambers of the two Houses who begged not to be named, argued that the reason for the ‘lack of decorations’ is the alleged misunderstanding between Representative Edwin M. Snowe, Jr., Chairman on the House’s Rules, Order and Administration Committee and Deputy Speaker Hans M. Barchue, which led to his pending resignation.

The staffers also said for the Senate, Bomi County Senator Lahai Lasanna is desperately focusing on reelection rather than decorations.

The staffers said, in past time, the Capitol Building was usually decorated in early December of each year.

They argued that the Lawmakers, about 93% of whom are Christians, take their religion seriously.  And they know that Christmas decorations do a lot to help spread the Christmas cheer, realizing that the birth of Jesus Christ symbolizes the redemption of the world.

“Christmas morale is high when you are given the opportunity to share in the extensive Christmas decorations,” Saah Gbono of the Senate said. “Christmas spirit is infective – external Christmas decorations are an excellent idea to remind people that Jesus still lives.”

For her part, Marie Sirleaf of the House of Representatives said. “If an institution like the Capitol Building is not covered with all manner of Christmas decorations on the outside and the inside, it makes the Season a bit dry.

“Christmas decorations are typically put up in early December, but others put theirs in late November.  With this Legislature, however, up to this time, it’s disgusting and pathetic to see up to this time  no decorations,” Julie Dolo of the House of Representatives said.

She added: “Should an individual or institution donate decorations to the Legislature as what Mr. Kenneth Y. Best of the Liberian Observer Corporation did with the flags? That is shameful!”

 When contacted, a senior official of the Procurement Department said, there is no means to raise a voucher to procure decorations, because of ‘no money.’

The Director of the Press and Public Affairs of the House of Representatives, Isaac G. Redd, said the Legislature does not have money, because every resource is in the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).   

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