The Senate plenary yesterday voted 17 for, 3 against and one abstention to concur with the House of Representatives on the ratification of the Amendment of the Extended and Restated Agency agreement between the Republic of Liberia and the Liberia International Ship and Cooperate Registry (LISCR) LLR.
The Senate’s expected concurrence of the agreement days after the House of Representatives made a “4G” passage, followed hours of delay leading to the commencement of yesterday’s sitting which finally got underway at 13:45 GMT (1:45PM).
Almost two weeks ago, the joint committees on Maritime, Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petition of both Houses conducted a public hearing in the Joint Chambers of the Legislature, where presentations were made by Maritime Commissioner Binyan Kesselley, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning officials and legal experts, followed by questions posed by members of the joint committee.
Giving reasons for the need to recommend the adoption and passage of the agreement, the joint committee noted: “That the agreement lends credibility and certainty to the management of the Maritime program, without which Liberia will not be able to retain the level of ship owners who are registered under Liberia’s maritime program.
The joint committee headed by the experienced corporate lawyer, Senator Varney Sherman for Judiciary Committee, and Dallas A.V. Gueh for Maritime, noted that it is in the joint committee’s opinion that the ten years extension agreement will enable the Agent to perform the various tasks and responsibilities assigned to it by the amendment.
Significant among these tasks, according to the joint committee, are the contribution of US$2m toward the acquisition of an asset in the United States for the Liberian government, to be used as headquarters of the Maritime Program; the Agent agreeing to assist the Liberia Maritime Authority in the effort to construct and develop an LIMA headquarters complex at the place designated by that authority.
Also under the amended, extended and restated agreement, funds will be provided from Liberia’s share of revenue from the maritime program to construct the Maritime Institute in Marshall and provide instructional programs and instructors for the Maritime Institute in Marshall after it is constructed.
Maintaining and expanding the maritime program to increase Liberia’s share of revenue would be additional 3%, according to the joint committee’s recommendation.
Liberia also stands to benefit from the establishment of a ship recycling registry, which according to the agreement, is a new form of service that the maritime program does not provide but which is necessary for vessels selected to be scrapped or otherwise taken out of operation.
The new agreement will keep LISCR, which still has years remaining on its current agreement, as Agent for Liberia Maritime program up to 2029.
Among signatories to the recommendation on the Maritime Committee are Senators Albert Tugbeh Chie, Henry W. Yallah, Varney Sherman all members, while Senators Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, co-chair and Geraldine Doe-Sherif were distant.
Chaired by Senator Sherman, the Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petition Committee members include Senators Morris Saytumah, co-chair, Joseph N. Nagbe, Steven Zargo, Albert T. Chie, and Thomas Grupee, distant.