The Senate of the 54th Legislature has expressed shock at the death of Cllr. Charles Walker Brumskine, former President Pro-Tempore of the 51st Legislature.
The former Grand Bassa County Senator died on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, in the United States of America following a period of illness. He was 68.
In a press release under the signature of the Senate’s secretary, dated November 21, 2019, 15 senators acknowledged that Cllr. Brumskine served as a President Pro-Tempore of the Senate from August 1997 until he resigned in August 1999. He was the first Senate President Pro-Tempore during the regime of former President Charles Ghankay Taylor.
According to the Senate’s press release, it was during the tenure of the late Brumskine that the parliamentary practice for the majority and the minority leadership of the Senate was re-established.
“The Senate extends its deepest condolences to the bereaved family as they go through this period of loss to the Senate and people of Liberia,” the release said.
One senator, who begged not to be named, said it was also during the tenure of the late Cllr. Brumskine that the first debate or argument of who ‘heads’ the Legislature sparked, creating a slip between him and former House Speaker Nyudueh Morkonmana of River Gee County. His name in the Grebo language means “you get luck”.
Brumskine then argued that the administrative head of the Senate — the President Pro-Tempore, who presides over the Senate when the Vice President is absent in the Upper House — Upper Chamber, which comprised of ‘elders,’ is the ceremonial head of the Legislature.
But Morkonmana argued that the President Pro-Tempore’s powers are limited, and not comparable to the Speaker of the House, as the chamber’s presiding officer and constitutionally presides when there is a joint session.
The argument of who ‘heads’ the Legislature was rekindled by former President Pro-Tempore, Isaac W. Nyenabo, but was short-lived, because many legal-minded and political scientists came in defense of then Speaker, Montserrado County District #6 (now Bomi County District 1) Representative Edwin M. Snowe.
Meanwhile, the remains of Brumskine is expected to ‘lie in state’ in the rotunda of the Capitol Building, a ceremony which will follow the signing of the Book of Condolence at the same venue.
President George Weah and former President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf are expected to attend the State Funeral of the founder and former standard-bearer of the opposition Liberty Party (LP), as well as a throng of powerful Liberian political, religious and business leaders, who will also come to bid farewell to Brumskine.