Seats allocated for the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emmanual Nuquay, and members remained empty until the ceremony was over.
The Speaker and members of the National Legislature were conspicuously absent from the opening of the October Term of the Supreme Court on Monday.
The absence of the lawmakers was to the disbelief of Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai, members of the diplomatic corps and lawyers who gathered for the occasion.
Seats allocated for the Speaker of the House of Representatives remained empty until the ceremony was over.
Also, no member of the House attended the occasion, an action several legal experts described as the “first of its kind in the country’s history for lawmakers (not to be present) for the opening of the Supreme Court.”
Although the lawmakers are on their annual agriculture break, Chief Justice Korkpor was not notified that members of the House of Representatives would not be attending the court function.
Senator Commany Wesseh of River Gee County represented Senator Amah Jallah, the Pro-Tempore of the Senate.
It was not clear why Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay did not show up. The Speaker was recently elected following the lifting of a stay order placed on legislative activities by the Supreme Court including the holding of the controversial election. The Supreme Court’s stay order came immediately after recused Speaker Alex Tyler and Representative Adolph Lawrence asked the court to issue a “Writ of Prohibition,” preventing the holding of the controversial election, which was denied thereby giving the lawmakers legitimacy to conduct the election.
Being determined to cooperate with the other two branches of government (Legislature and Executive), Chief Justice Korkpor meanwhile instructed his clerk to write the office of the President and the National Legislature that the Supreme Court had now opened for its October Term of Court. He did not give any reason for the absence of members of the House of Representatives when he mandated his clerk.
Besides, members of the National Legislature are currently on a break and will return to work in January 2017.
“This does not give any member of the National Legislature the right to shun the opening of the Supreme Court,” one respected legal practitioner retorted.