Quorumless Senate Stalling Mid-term Elections Plans

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Sen. Abraham Darius Dillon

— Pres Weah’s FY2019/2020 recast budget, funding for NEC operations held up

The apparent unexcused failure of some twenty-six Senators to attend session Thursday, March 5, 2020, caused the Senate plenary, comprising fourteen (14) Senators in attendance, to unceremoniously adjourn their 15th day sitting, for lack of a quorum.

The decision of the Senate, which was firstly presided over by Pro Tempore Albert T. Chie and later by Senate chair on Executive, Saah Joseph, came about when a roll-call requested by Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon failed to produce the necessary two-thirds needed as a quorum for normal Legislative sitting.

Instead of the two-thirds (being 20 Senators) needed to start the season, only 14 Senators were present, as per the roll call conducted by a stenographer from the Senate Secretariat, coupled with an unofficial one done by our Legislative reporter.

According to sources close to the Senate’s leadership, yesterday’s sitting was scheduled to start at 12:00 p.m., but those few Senators who had made early appearance had to wait up to 12:30 pm, before the roll call was requested and subsequently conducted.

The list of Senators present for yesterday’s failed sitting as shown by the unofficial daily roll call done by our reporter, showed that Senator Dillon was first to be seated, beating Bong County Senator Dr. Henrique Tokpa’s record of first seated in recent months, by a few minutes.

Other Senators in sequence of appearance include: Senators Saah Joseph, Montserrado County; Francis Saturday Paye, River Cess County; J. Gbleh-bo Brown, Maryland County; G. Alphonso Gaye, Grand Gedeh County; and J. Milton Teahjay, Sinoe County.

Also present were Senators: Victor Varney Watson, Grand Cape Mount County; Morris Saytumah, Bomi County; and Cllr H. Varney Sherman, Grand Cape Mount County, who was the 10th Senator present during the roll call.

Three other Senators who later appeared that constituted fourteen Senators, (including Pro Temp), were; Thomas Grupee, Nimba County; Daniel Flomo Naatehn, Gbarpolu County; and Oscar A. Cooper, Margibi County.

Senators Stephen Zargo of Lofa County, and Conmany B. Wesseh of River Gee, who had reportedly gone to attend the Coalition of Political Parties (CPP) Women Movement Celebration of International Women’s Day program in Congo Town, were later seen entering the Senate’s Annex Chambers. But by then, the Presiding Officer Senator Joseph had already called for adjournment for lack of a quorum.

Yesterday’s lack of a quorum could not have been more ill-timed, since Senators were expected to grill Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., for his reported failure to provide funding for the fast-approaching midterm Senatorial Elections scheduled for October this year.

Minister Tweah was cited to appear before the Senate plenary last week Thursday, February 27, but appealed to be excused as he was attending to “ongoing critical engagements” beyond his control that hindered him honoring that important appointment.

Minister Tweah then appealed to plenary to reschedule his appearance for the following Thursday, March 5, 2020, (yesterday) which was unanimously accepted.

Political commentators who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity, wondered whether the Senators’ decision not to attend session and resolve such a very important Constitutional issue as elections, was not deliberate.

Another important issue that was expected to be on yesterday’s agenda was an unread communication from President George Manneh Weah, submitting the recast budget for FY2019/2020.

Yesterday’s failed session is the first since the the 3rd Session of the 54th Senate was seated.

1 COMMENT

  1. So what could be the penalty for senators or representatives who do not show up for session unexcused? There has to be some serious consequence for such don’t-care attitude. And those burgers are required to work just two days a week! Two freaking work-days and compensated with over $15,000 a month?!!! Perhaps a “pay-for-service” requirement ought to be introduced as the new norm to get those vampires to justify the huge salaries currently being wasted on them. When you even consider the spectacles they are usually noted for when they assemble at the capitol, it could be argued that perhaps it is even better for those drags to stay away as the case maybe, which will obviously save scarce resources that will be wasted on things like electricity, water, toiletries, etc., etc. whenever they show up. On top of that unaccountable carefree attitude, those self-absorbed rascals are given 500 gas coupons (slips) every month! For traveling to, or from where for that much gasoline, one wonders? Even in a 10-gallon a day scenario from say Bassa, or Bong, or Bomi, or Cape Mount or Margibi the counties closest to Monrovia where any vampire could live and commute to Monrovia two days a week for work (make that hustle), it would take at most 300 and not 500 gallons of gas per month for that commute. Any group of sensitive people, people concerned about the plight of their people for a functioning healthcare, for a functioning educational system, for food and other basic livelihoods, such thinking and humane people would reason that that much perk for a fingerful of people in the midst of millions others barely living, is unjustified, unconscionable and inhumane. But, of course, where life is all about “I, me and mine,” to hell with the rest as the MO, such self-interested people could care less. But the people just happen to be taking note once again, as before. They know exactly where to go and who to haunt down when the shit hits the fan again. Those who’re not hearing the cries of the people will surely have the capacity to feel then. TWT!

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