“I am telling you now that it is a disgrace that the Liberian Senate does not have a photo copier to do the agenda for today’s sitting,” the Chair of the Senate Committee on Executive, Margibi County Senator Clarice Alpha Jah informed her colleagues last Thursday when she presided over the 31st day sitting of the third session of the 53rd Senate.
Senator Jah’s comment was prompted when outgoing Grand Kru Senior Senator Cletus Segbe Wotorson called the Secretary of Senate to order while he was reading from one of the only two available proposed agenda, arguing that it was impossible for him to discuss an agenda that was not available to him personally, or to his office before sitting as per the rule and order of that august body.
“Can the Liberian Senate go without a photo copier and we are just looking? That is ridiculous and unacceptable,” Senator Wotorson noted.
He even suggested that the day’s session be suspended.
In reaction, presiding Jah disclosed that there were only two copies available, and that even those two copies were made from her offices. “We are asking you, if you can help please do so for us,” Sen. Jah begged, and continued: “I am making an appeal as a presiding officer that we suspend our May salary until we can have a photo copier.”
Embarrassed by the situation, Senator Jah blamed the lack of a photocopier squarely on the membership of the Senate’s committees on Rules and Order, Ways & Means and the Administration.
The embarrassment in the Senate Chambers and the Senators interactions took both journalists and visitors by surprise that the body that allots millions of dollars of funding to other institutions cannot afford a simple instrument as a photo copier.
Some frustrated spectators in the Chamber even joked that a fund-raising campaign be held on the grounds of the Capitol Building for money to purchase photocopier, while others offered readiness to help members of the Upper House with a second hand copier.