Senators Back on Capitol Hill

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Normal official activities returned to the Capitol Building Tuesday, August 5, following a two-week break that afforded Senators to return to their counties for observance of the annual July 26 Independence Day festivities, which had officially been expected to take place in Sinoe and Grand Kru counties.

The celebration of the Independence Day in those counties was postponed to 2015, due to deplorable road conditions.

The Senators were also expected to use the break to carry on awareness and sensitization campaigns on the Ebola epidemic.

In preparation for the Senators’ return, the Capitol Building like all Government structures, Monday went through a thorough day-long spraying of offices and the grounds.

Early last week, the leaderships of the two Houses asked hundreds of their non-essential staff to go home and stay away from the Capitol Building.

According to the decision, those asked to go home will be paid their regular salaries during their leave of absence.

The secretariat of the Liberian Senate described the leadership’s decision as a precautionary measure instituted in line with the Government of Liberia’s fight against the spread of the Ebola epidemic.

The Senate secretariat said only lawmakers and key essential staffers, including Directors, Chiefs of Staff and executive secretaries would be allowed to enter the premises of the Capitol Building during the period of closure, while serious preventive hygienic measure were being executed.

Due to the seriousness attached to the Legislature’s decision, it was decided that during the closure of the building, only the front gate to the Capitol would be opened.

It may be recalled that on the eve of their departure for the Independence break on July 22, 2014, the Senators concurred with a House of Representatives’ Resolution that funds earmarked for the official celebrations of the Independence Day in Sinoe and Grand Kru Counties, be used in the fight to stop the spread of Ebola.

However, the uncontrollable debate that ensued prior to the concurrence vote forced Senate Pro Tempore Gbehzohngar Findley to use his gavel several times for order, and only returned when he decided to fine seven lawmakers US$10 each, accompanied with stern warning that he would throw out any Senator that acted rude.”

“If you act rude, I will throw you out. Don’t take it for joke; I am not joking.  People are dying all over the country and you people are taking it for joke,” an enraged Pro Tempore Findley thundered. 

Meanwhile, Gbarpolu Senior Senator J.S.B. Theodore Momo has described as successful the awareness and sensitization campaign in his county.

Senator Momo told this newspaper that up to the time he left Gbarpolu Monday, there was no report of new Ebola cases in that part of the country.

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