The mahogany doors to the Chamber of the Senate were finally shut on Friday, September 14, a day after members of that august body convened their 59th and final day sitting, and President Pro-Tempore of the Senate Albert T. Chie, on behalf of the leadership, recognized Senator Henry Varney Gboto-Nambi Sherman as Senator of the Year, 2018.
Pro-Temp Chie, during last Friday’s special closing sitting in the Chamber, made a moving statement by firstly recalling the ‘unfortunate’ absence of Senators Geraldine Doe-Sherif, and Edward Boakai Dagoseh, who are currently seeking medical care abroad. Then, to the amazement and approval of his colleagues, the media present and visitors, the Senate Pro Tempore paid a special recognition to the chairman of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petitions, Varney Sherman as “Senator of the Year.”
Sherman is a lawyer by profession.
Despite undergoing a major brain operation on the eve of the 2017 presidential and legislative elections, and all other odds, and challenges, Pro-Temp Chie recalled that Sherman did not rest on his oars but ensured that bills submitted to his committee were acted upon.
True to the Pro-Tempore’s statement, performance of the Grand Cape Mount County Senator, who is one of the country’s erudite lawyers, some of his colleagues recall that is often educative and sometimes entertaining; leading them to refer to him as the Senate’s “Legal Professor”.
Despite the unavailability in most sittings of the Senate electronic public service intercoms, Sen. Sherman never disappointed his colleagues or the media as his booming voice was audibly sufficient to relay his message or debate across the floor.
Sen. Sherman’s Judiciary committee is currently handling several legal and Constitutional Bills and instruments, among them the proposal for Amendment of Articles 45, 46, and 48 of the Constitution; while his committee has done an extensive work and submitted same to Senate plenary, on proposed Amendments to the 1986 Constitution as recommended by the Constitution Review Commission (CRC).
Sen. Sherman’s Judiciary Committee in conjunction with the Committee on Lands, Minds, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment did a comprehensive work on the long delayed Land Rights Act, which has led to its final passage.
Sherman’s last major task in the First Session of the 54th Legislature was a request by the plenary last Thursday, September 13, to review any rule on impeachment and related matters; complement the Senate Rules with other rules and procedures to ensure adherence to the principles of due process as enshrined in the Constitution and Laws of Liberia; prepare a matrix of activities with timelines for the trial of the impeachment, and report to plenary through the leadership. The instrument is in preparation for for the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Associate Justice Kabinneh Mohamed Ja’neh.
The report from Sen. Sherman’s committee on the rules for the impeachment trial, opened a heated debate among the Senators, with respect to the amendment of some of the Senate’s Rules. Through a motion, Senators are expected to review and act on the report after one week.
If a second recognition were to be given for productive Senators and/or Committees, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Internal Affairs, Reconciliation and Governance, Maryland County Senator Gbleh-Bo Brown would be a worthy candidate.
The Internal Affairs Committee under Sen. Brown, performed splendidly during the Fist Session, especially in the area of confirmation hearings for hundreds of local government officials, and his work that convinced his colleagues to pass one of the most important legislation in recent times, the Local Government Act.
Interestingly, both the Local Government Act and the Land Rights Act were signed into Law by President Weah on Wednesday, September 19, in the presence of Senior government officials, Traditional leaders, county superintendents, Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, representatives of the civil society as well as a cross-section of Liberians, at the Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.