–Authoritative Source Cites Lack of Budgetary Support
The President of the Liberian Senate, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor, reportedly wrote and informed the Senate during the opening of the 3rd sitting of the 54th Legislature that she was boycotting the opening ceremony of the National Legislature, in protest of the lack of support to her office.
An authoritative source within the corridor of the Senate, who begged anonymity, told our reporter yesterday: “the Vice President wrote the Senate that she will be absent today because of lack of support to her office, so the Senate is fully aware and has the letter in its possession; you can call the Senate Pro Tempore or the Secretary.”
However, in a statement welcoming his colleagues to the 3rd Session of the 54th Legislature, Senate Pro Tempore Albert Tugbe Chie said: “The Vice President and President of the Senate had an emergency situation this morning and is unable to be with us; in line with the Constitution, she has asked me to carry on the normal business of the Senate.”
The absence of Vice President Taylor from the yearly ceremony was first noticed when those attending the event observed that the Vice President, who should be flanked by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Senate Pro Tempore for the march into the Rotunda of the Capitol, was nowhere seen.
This is the second time that the Vice President has snubbed an official or assigned function. It can be recalled that during the June 7, 2019 protest organized by the Council of Patriots, the Vice President was reportedly designated to proxy for President George Weah to receive the petition from the protesters on behalf of the Government. Vice President Taylor, however, declined at the 11th hour, citing illness.
Meanwhile, it is not clear whether the Vice President will preside at the first sitting of the 3rd Session of the 54th Legislature (Senate) this morning (Tuesday).
When the Daily Observer contacted the Secretary of the Senate, Nanbolor Singbeh, via mobile phone yesterday to confirm or deny our source’s assertion, his phone rang without answer.
‘Judgement in October’
In his statement to the Senators present during yesterday’s opening ceremony, Senate Pro Tempore Albert Chie reminded the fifteen (15) Senators seeking re-election in the Special Senatorial Elections, slated for October, that “judgment will come in October, as you prepare for your final exams.”
For Senators of the second category will retain their seats until they are up for re-election in 2023, the Pro Tempore reminded them that their workload will increase as their incumbent colleagues are away from the Capitol Building. “I will seek your indulgence and understanding to fill the gap, in addition to your own assignments.”
With respect to those expected movements, the Grand Kru County Senator promised to seek the blessing of the Senate Leadership to make the relevant adjustments to the composition of the Statutory Committees.
“In the next few weeks, the President of Liberia will present his Legislative agenda to us. As we deal with Legislative instruments from the President, I will challenge all of us, since we are lawmakers, to draft legislation of national dimensions, for consideration of the Legislature and eventually the Executive Branch,” Pro Tempore Chie challenged.