Senate May Request Recall of ‘Ambassador’ Patten, Weah’s Handpicked Envoy

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Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence

There are growing signals that the “unconstitutionally” commissioned Liberian Ambassador to the United States, George Patten, may be recalled to help avert bad blood between the Legislature and the Executive branches of the government.

According to diplomatic sources, the pending Patten recall will also save the George Weah Administration from another embarrassment, after a recent incident involving the President’s first choice for Ambassador to the United States, now Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Madam Teta Gurley Gibson, who was rejected by the U.S. government because she holds U.S. citizenship.

Political commentators believe the appearance of the ambassador-designate and Foreign Minister Gbehzongar Findley will be used mainly to request the two to offer an apology, allowing the committee on foreign affairs to conduct a confirmation hearing.

This speculation comes on the heels of a recent communication from Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence, chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules, Order and Administration, who is seeking the indulgence of plenary to request the appearance of Minister Findley and George S. W. Patten, the country’s Ambassador-designate to the United States, for “the blatant violation of Article 54b of the Constitution of Liberia.”

“The Constitution, which is the organic law of the state, is very clear and for the sake of understanding and observance, depicts in Article 54b: ‘The President shall have nominated and, with the consent of the Senate, appoint and commission ambassadors, ministers, consuls….,'” Senator Lawrence’s letter, dated on Monday, January 14, 2019, and read before plenary on Tuesday,  January 15, noted.

Senator Karnga-Lawrence wondered, “How then [could] the President nominate but, without the consent of the Senate, appoint and commission Patten? This action by the Executive is a sheer violation of the Liberian Constitution.”

The Senate, convening its first sitting Tuesday in the central-cool but not-spacious conference room of the new Chinese constructed Senate Annex on Capitol Hill, was further requested for its constitutional indulgence to “invite Findley and Patten so as to explain their actions and reasons, which necessitated the constitutional violation.”

Grand Kru County Senator Peter Sonpon Coleman, a medical doctor by profession, and chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, proffered a motion for the transfer of the communication to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and to report to plenary in one week’s time.

The motion, which was somehow reluctantly approved, did not seem to have gone well with Senator Karnga-Lawrence who, as noted in arguments with her colleagues, anticipated some discussions on her communication, which is usually done with very important documents.

It can be recalled that sometime last year, President Weah nominated and the Senate confirmed Madam Gurley Gibson, Liberian Ambassador to the United States; but she was reportedly rejected by the Donald Trump Administration, after it was discovered that she was an American citizen.

Madam Gibson was then nominated and commissioned as Ambassador to the Court of St. James in the United Kingdom.

The hurried nomination and subsequent commissioning of Patten outside the involvement of the Senate has plunged the country into political and constitutional debates, with many citizens, especially the opposition, describing it as a blatant violation and disregard for the Constitution.

Some government officials have frantically argued that no constitutional provision was violated; with some even citing that United States President Donald Trump had used such power to commission nominees while the Senate was on recess.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Now these brown envelope senators want to show Weah they have spines. Are they upset because they did not get the envelopes?

  2. speaking of embassies. why is Liberia so wasteful as to have an embassy in Washington dc., consulates in New York, allanta, and Tampa in the United States. They are paying rent in 4 different cities and hiring consulate generals in each city. WHAT A FREAKING WASTE OF MONEY CONSOLIDATE THE EMBASSY AND CONSULATES

  3. Liberians are sitting there and voting for these misfits. the country is one of the poorest in the world and its leadership is all but a rubber stamp. Liberians worship their leaders so much that they let them do their own thing without impunity. when the spotlight is shed on them, they then recoup the message to the populace…….who are basicallly illiterate.

  4. Election has consequences. It’s very sad when the president did not give his constituents any development plan. Infrastructure and sanitation are down. It is sad to see the majority of the people living in poverty, dirt, low living standard and human feces. I’m discouraged and dishearten after i visited Liberia.
    Long way to go; most especially when most of these government officials are up to enriching themselves. watch-up, you can’t fool every body. The present administration poor management style, corruption and lack of vision are detrimental to the development of Liberia. Liberia needs true patriot and tactician for better and progressive Liberia for us all

  5. Before the election, this is what one observer predicted. He said, “Electing Weah as the president of Liberia at this juncture of our national history would be like putting a “wannabe pilot” in the cockpit of a plane during an emergency, and thus disregarding the availability and offer of experienced and veteran pilots.” He concluded by asking, “Wouldn’t the result be catastrophic?”

    The President has stated repeatedly in many public meetings and fora that he is ritualistic when it comes to reading and understanding the constitution. One would imagine then that this function is one of the most important functions mentioned in the constitution and for this reason, He cannot easily ignore it. I wonder then what led to this derelict most especially when he has surrounded himself with advisers whom he trusts to guide him in his daily decision making.

    Well, it may be too early to say that we are near a catastrophe; however, the rate at which things are going is enough to raise many eyebrows.

  6. Is double standard becoming the new norm in Liberia’s Senate Confirmation Hearings?

    If my memory serves me right, I recall how a veteran educator, educational psychologist, former U.S. college administrator, with so many years of experience retired from her high profile job (Provost & V.P. for Academic Affairs at SUNY @ Cortland, New York) in the United States.

    Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell came back to her native land, Liberia on the bequest of former President Sirleaf, to reestablish Tubman University to a university of prominence. After Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell outstanding performance in heading Tubman University, she was nominated by President Sirleaf to serve as the new Minister of Education due to her stellar qualification for the job.

    All of a sudden, it was the same Liberian Senate that became politically sanctimonious in upholding the tenets of the Liberian constitution in reference to her foreign citizenship: to reject Dr. Elizabeth Davis-Russell’s nomination on grounds that she was a naturalized U.S. citizen which she honorably confessed during her confirmation hearings.

    Her denial was a total violation of Article 28 of the 1986 Constitution which states: “Any Person, at least one of whose parents was a citizen of Liberia at the time of the person’s birth, shall be a citizen of Liberia; provided that any such person shall upon reaching maturity (no specified age) renounce any other citizenship acquired by virtue of one parent being a citizen of another country.” It may be noted here that there is no statute under Article 28 (Citizenship clause) for the renunciation of Liberian citizenship when both parents of a child whose parents are/were both Liberians during the child’s birth.

    If that is the case, by virtue of Article 28 of the 1986 Constitution, Dr. Russell is still a Liberian Citizen by birth because both of her parents were Liberians at her birth regardless of her becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

    Remember, Dr. Russell was not nominated for an ambassadorial position overseas. She was nominated to serve as Minister of Education: to help bring back Liberia’s failing education from the abyss (bottom). However, she was disqualified in becoming Minister of Education by virtue of her being a U.S. citizen, which subsequently went to the former Minister of Education, George K. Warner.

    Paradoxically, if the Senate saw reason to disqualify Dr. Russell’s nomination (under a questionable interpretation of Article 28 Citizenship status requirement) to become Minister of Education on grounds that she was a naturalized U.S. citizen, why did the same Senate confirmed Madam Teta Gurley Gibson as Ambassador to United States who is also a U.S. citizen?

    Nonetheless, Ms. Gibson was rejected by the U.S. for such high profile diplomatic post because she is also a U.S. citizen: only to be reconfirmed as Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

    If Ms. Gibson confirmation isn’t a double standard and a political favoritism being ushered in this CDC government, then I don’t know what it is?

    Yes indeed, the President can appoint an Acting Ambassador during congressional recess, however, that individual, Mr. Patten, has to pass the constitutional requirements by being duly confirmed by the senate. It is the law.

  7. There is only one Liberian Consulate and it is in New York and one Embassy in Washington DC.
    All others are run by Honorary Consuls who are not on the Liberian government payroll

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