‘She Is Not a Liberian Citizen’

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Education Minister-designate, Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell has become the second nominee from President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s recent rounds of new appointments to be rejected by the Liberian Senate.

The Senate Committee on Education and Public Administration in a confirmation hearing report to the plenary yesterday noted that it was recommending to the plenary to reject Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell because “she is not a Liberian citizen.” The report, however, did not elaborate further on it.

Dr. Davis-Russell, who is currently serving as president of the Tubman University in Maryland County, was recently nominated for the post of Minister, with Mr. Anthony A. Nimely as Deputy Minister for Planning, Research and Development. Deputy Minister-designate Nimely was however, recommended for confirmation.

The Tubman University President recently faced the Senate Committee, chaired by Rivercess County Senator Dallas A. V. Gueh. During the hearing, she warned that in order to build a conscious and educated society, the educational sector needs to get rid of those she described as “bench warmers”.

Dr. Davis-Russell, who has over 40 years of experience in education, was expected to replace former Education Minister Etmonia D. Tarpeh, who served in that position from 2012 to 2014, and under whose term President Sirleaf described the education sector as being in a mess. Madam Tarpeh, too, was nominated as head of the National Investment Commission (NIC).

It may be recalled that the Senate recently rejected Civil Service Agency (CSA) Director General George T. Werner, who President Sirleaf nominated for the post of Minister of Health.

The committee on   Gender, Health, Social Welfare, Women and Children Affairs, chaired by Senator Peter Coleman, recommended the rejection of Werner because, according to them, he lacks clinical qualifications for the post which had been previously occupied by embattled outgoing Minister Dr. Walter Gwenigale.

In a related development, executive session decisions were expected to be taken yesterday, following several confirmation hearing reports recommendations; among them, Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) Director General-designate, Ledgerhood J. Rennie, Sr., and deputy Minister-designate for Administration, Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, Zack G. W. Sharpe, III.

Meanwhile, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Gbehzohngar Findley yesterday accepted and approved recommendations by outgoing Senator Isaac Nyenabo that due to the backlog of several important unresolved matters, the Senate continues sittings non-stop from next week Monday to Friday. The secretary of the Senate was instructed to write all Senators in that regard.

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