Bong County Senior Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor has stated that had she been present, she would have voted against the amendment to the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) Act, which was recently passed with unanimous consent by the Senate.
Senator Taylor, a trained banker and Chair of the Senate Committee on Autonomous Commissions and Agencies, was speaking in Monrovia last week in the wake of mixed public reactions to the passage of the controversial amendment to the CBL Act by both Houses of the Legislature.
“I was not here when that law was passed. I was in Accra, (Ghana) representing the Senate at a meeting there; but if I [had been here], I would have voted against it,” Senator Taylor declared.
The Bong County lawmaker stated that there was a need for the Legislature to craft a holistic law that would apply to all officials serving at a particular level in government, instead of one that targets a particular entity and its officials.
“You now have a group of governors — not just Mills Jones — every governor at CBL is now barred from taking part in the 2014 elections. I am not even talking about 2017. I was hoping that we would do that in the Code of Conduct that would set a certain level across the board… [without discrimination],” Senator Taylor lamented.
“There must be a holistic law that looks at everyone at a particular level, instead of one law that seems to be targeting the Central Bank of Liberia and all of its officials. I made a comment the other day without knowing that they would have this problem,” the outspoken female lawmaker declared.
“If there are issues of mismanagement or misusing money, there are opportunities to deal with that as an issue; but to go and put in place a law?”
The Senate passed the bill unanimously before sending it to the House of Representatives, which concurred with zero tolerance for dissent. The speed with which the bill was passed earned it the nickname ‘4G bill’.
Having voiced her disagreement with the recently passed bill, Senator Taylor opined that the matter must now be taken from where it is.
“There are people who have already taken the issue to court (Supreme Court). Maybe they can use the opportunity to go back,” she suggested.
In a related development, the former First Lady of Liberia has praised her colleagues in the Liberian Senate for the recent passage of the portion of the Electoral Reform Laws which stipulates that: “In submitting to the National Elections Commission a list of its candidates for elective office, a political party or coalition should endeavor to ensure that the governing body and its list of candidates has no less than 30% of its members from each gender.”
She said the development could not have come at a better time than on the eve of the week when the world is celebrating International Women’s Day. She particularly thanked her sister, Madam Sandra Howard, whom she recalled was among the crafters of the law that created the Gender and Development Ministry during the regime of her ex-husband, former President Charles Taylor.
With the coming to power of Liberia’s and Africa’s first democratically-elected female President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Senator Taylor said the glass ceiling has been broken and marks the beginning of how far Liberian women can go.