Jewel Seeks Additional 30-Day State of Emergency

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Bong County Senator Chief Jewel Howard Taylor has made a proposition to the Liberian Senate to extend the State of Emergency for an additional 30 days. The 90-day State of Emergency is expected to end on 12th November.

The Bong lawmaker said her proposal is in furtherance of the ongoing national fight against the spread and for the eradication of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), which has claimed the lives of over 2,000 Liberians.

It may be recalled that on the 6th of August, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a state of emergency and announced the quarantining of several counties and communities in a bid to contain the deadly Ebola virus raging in the country.

Six days following the President’s declaration, the National Legislature approved the President’s request to make it legitimate.

Senator Taylor, a former First Lady of Liberia, argued that though no one can doubt that much progress has been made toward realizing the objective to eradicate Ebola from the country, there are also awesome challenges yet weighing against achieving the country’s purpose, as compared to Nigeria, which is now declared free of the virus.

[“This demands] our further bold action,” Senator Taylor wrote.

Making reference to the Ebola case and death summary on the counties, dated October 25, 2014 and released by the Health Ministry, Senator Taylor said out of a cumulative case load total of 6,267, 2,240 were confirmed of the virus and of the confirmed, 2016 deaths were recorded.

“What is still worrisome now is the Contact Investigation Summary statistical report of October 25, 2014 which shows that there are 7,267 persons currently under follow-up of the virus,” Senator Taylor noted. “In the wake of the facts available to us and mindful of the 63 days lead time from the last person for the WHO-certified clearance for the ground zero of the EVD it is therefore a necessity to consider the extension of the State of Emergency to add our number one national priority to eradicate Ebola sooner or later.”

The Bong lawmaker, in her six-paragraph letter, pleaded with her colleagues of the Liberian Senate for the extension of another 30 days of the state of emergency and stressed that portion of Article 88 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution which, she said, provides sufficient platform for their action,  quoting that

“Where the Legislature shall deem it necessary to revoke the state of emergency or to modify the measures taken thereunder, the President shall act accordingly and immediately carry out the decision of the Legislature.”

Some political observers said the likes of Senator Jewel Howard Taylor and others, who suspect that they would be defeated in the coming Special Senatorial Election, are the ones pushing for an extension of the State of Emergency so that they won’t go to the polls.

For his part, Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson, who also made reference to the extension of the State of Emergency as a pretext for fear of losing the elections, caused a heated argument amongst Senators.  They included Senators Abel Massaley of Grand Cape Mount, Sumo Kupee of Lofa, Cllr. Frederick Cherue of River Gee and the writer of the communication, Senator Chief Taylor.

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