Senator against ‘Mary Broh Saturday’

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A communication intended to put a halt to the practice of putting aside three hours on the first Saturday every month for individuals to clean their communities, Tuesday landed on the Senate floor; but the communication was somewhat flawed in that Senator Nyonblee  Kangar’s communiqué credited her colleagues with creating—by legislative or legal action—what was referred to as “Mary Broh Saturday.”  

She proposed that the Legislature revisited the Executive Order that august body had acted on, that gave Monrovia its Mary Broh Saturday that keeps business shut down for about three early business hours, keeps businesses shut down every first Saturday of the month. 

But her proposal was voted down—however informally—and sent to the Senate Committee on Internal Affairs for action and advice.

In her short communication dated January 22, and addressed to the Pro Tempore and members of the 53rd Senate, Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Kangar Lawrence had reminded her colleagues, wrongly, of an Executive Order that she said was issued about four years ago declaring every first Saturday of the month a cleaning day commonly known as Mary Broh Saturday. That practice, she pointed out, obliges businesses to remain closed until 10 a.m. every first Saturday as had been legislated “Mary Broh Saturday,” the Senator reminded her colleagues.

Said she: “The Liberian economy is not stable and don’t seem to be progressing at a very encouraging rate due to several factors, such as the lack of electricity, a poor road network, etc. We therefore need to encourage a free flow of business transactions during every business hour. I therefore request the plenary to request the chief executive to reconsider this order to encourage the cleaning of areas during non-business operational hours.”

But the young Senator’s communication immediately came under sharp rebuke from outgoing Grand Kru County Senior Senator Cletus Wotorson, who declared that he was puzzled and confused by the action as requested by his colleagues.

According to Senator Wotorson no such action, legislatively and legally, has ever been taken to create such a day. “So how can we undo a day that we never created? I do not recall the President giving such an Executive Order that we acted on.”

Concurring with Senator Wortorson,  a Lofa County Senator added that the action to declare the first Saturday in the month as Mary Broh Saturday was done by the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) during the tenure of Madam Mary Broh as Mayor of Monrovia, which he suggested, was non sequitur (a conclusion that does not follow from its premise, a statement that appears unrelated to the statement that it follows) and therefore, has no effect on the law. “There is no need discussing this any further; rather, let it go as it is.”

Sinoe County Senator Mobutu Vlah Nyenpan asked that the communication be discussed by putting it in proper perspective. “We know that city corporations have their charters and that they operate by city ordinances. The Legislature, in passing on the charter of these corporations surrenders some of its law-making authority to the city councils; and this is how the city corporations operate. So one will have to investigate and find out whether this decision is a city ordinance; and if that is the case, I don’t think we can do anything about it right now, so let us first investigate through the Committee on Internal Affairs to find out what has given rise and legitimacy to this action of the city corporation.”

Maryland Senator Dan Morias warned against the negation and relegation (consignment, demotion) of the intervention and concern of the Grand Bassa Senator, to the dustbin of history.

When people are arrested on a particular day for violation of something that is not an ordinance and/or a law sanctioned by this honorable body, the …Senate through one of its representatives elected to raise the issue.

So what I am appealing to my colleagues to do is give Senator Nyonblee an opportunity to present final documentation; but to say that it cannot be discussed here is unfortunate.

Senator Lawrence’s sitting neighbor in the Senate Montserrado County’s Geraldine Doe-Sherif agreed that the Committee on Internal Affairs conducts an investigation to authenticate whether the city council was clothed with the authority to pass such an ordinance.

River Gee Senator Frederick Cherue wondered whether there was any fact available that people were arrested. “One of the things I would like to suggest here is that we conscientize our citizens during our town hall meetings ——that they have legal rights and must try the court system sometimes. We (the Senate) can’t be a mini-court here,” he asserted.



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