House Speaker J. Alex Tyler, Sr., says he would neither recuse himself nor resign under an ‘induced and influenced scheme or resolution from President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.’
Speaker Tyler said he would uphold, maintain and protect the sacred doctrine of separation of powers as enshrined in the Liberian Constitution, including maintaining the independence of the Legislature.
In a press conference in his office yesterday on the House’s second floor, the Speaker said: “My refusal to recuse or resign is meant to set a precedent in the Legislature over the Executive’s continuous political diabolical ploy by inducing or influencing lawmakers against their leaders.”
In an unyielding tone, the Speaker said he would continuously and constitutionally remain the Speaker until he is duly removed.
The Speaker told scores of journalists that even if Justice-in-Chambers, Jamesetta Wolokollie, as per his petition, delays to prohibit, enjoin and restrain the so-called and renegade lawmakers from pursuing illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and irregular procedural method and process to remove him, there will be parallel sessions.
He however expressed his explicit confidence in the Judicial System, hoping that his petition for Prohibition would be addressed speedily as in the case with Montserrado County District # 6 Representatives Edwin M. Snowe, when he petitioned the (same) Justice-in-Chambers Jamesetta Wolokollie against a day’s quorum constituting a monthly quorum.
It may be recalled that in June, the Speaker accused President Sirleaf of blackmail, financial inducement and other dictatorial and undemocratic schemes to unseat him.
The Speaker indicated that despite all the intrigues, persecution, intimidation and witch hunt and character assassinations, there were possible threats to his life.
In an unrelenting tone, the Speaker also accused the President of being the chief architect of the Global Witness Report to fight against corruption and to unconstitutionally exercise control over the House of Representatives and the Legislature.
The Speaker further said the President is using surrogates, firstly by calling for his recusal on what they termed moral grounds, which he rejected as an illegal and unfounded call. He said that it is not moral or legal to punish an innocent person, for the constitution is clear that an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of competent jurisdiction. Speaker Tyler’s claims were rejected and condemned by President Sirleaf’s office.
At yesterday’s session in the House’s official chamber, Plenary unanimously rejected President Sirleaf’s proposal to the Legislature to increase excise tax on phone calls but endorsed a considerable increment on tobacco, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
There were 32 present, five excused and one sick; totaling 38 that constituted a quorum.
Speaker Tyler mandated the office of the Chief Clerk to convey the endorsed act to the Senate, but with the split sessions in the Lower House and establishment of a six-man Senate committee, headed by President Pro Tempore Armah Jallah to help resolve the conflict in the Lower House, some political pundits are wondering whether the Senate would accept the act.
The House plenary has meanwhile summoned Education Minister George Werner to appear on next Tuesday, at 11am, due to the dismal performances of 12th graders in this year’s WAEC exams.
However, Minister Werner has informed the Honorable House through a letter of the celebration of Liberia’s 169th Anniversary of the National Flag, on Wednesday, August 24, while Foreign Minister Marjon V. Kamara, also officially informed the House of the death and funeral arrangement of Dr. Edward B.
McClain, Jr., Minister of State for Presidential Affairs & Chief of Staff to the President.
The Anti-Tyler lawmakers have also summoned Education Minister Werner on why students in pre-kindergarten of Public Schools in Grand Kru County should pay tuition amid the government’s policy of free tuition.
Minister Werner is expected to appear in the Joint Chambers on Thursday, August 18, at 11am.
The Anti-Tyler lawmakers numbered 36, with three official excuses, making them 39.
They also set up a committee to investigate the misconduct of “recused Speaker Tyler” for accusing them of being induced to recuse him and bringing thugs in the Capitol Building to boo or laugh at them.
The anti-Tyler lawmakers have also agreed to communicate to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Central Bank of Liberia to freeze payment of goods and services of the House of Representatives and other payments excluding salaries, allowances and gasoline/fuels.
Justice Minister’s Position
In a brief conference yesterday with journalists, Justice Minister Frederick Cherue has disclosed that his frequent visit in the Legislature is to protect the peace in the wake of the division in the Lower House. Cllr. Cherue said he has been having meetings with both parties about “Peace and Legality.”
Sources close to the anti-Tyler lawmakers, have accused the Justice Minister of leaning on the Speaker’s side.
Chief Zarzar Karwor’s Mediation
Also speaking, Chief Zarzar Karwor disclosed that his brief meeting yesterday with Speaker Tyler and the anti-Tyler lawmakers “was to put cold water in the fire.” He told journalists that both parties have been asked to come to his office on 24th Street Sinkor for a meeting on Thursday, August 18. He did not state the time.