— VP Taylor warns, as she declares 4th Session of the 54th Legislature opened
The President of the Liberian Senate, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor has outlined several societal and economic issues, with a warning that it should claim the immediate attention of national leaders.
“Some of the critical issues that should claim our immediate attention include the ever-rising cost of living, limited basic services for all; minimal opportunities for growth and development, high taxes and the high crime rate across our nation, amongst others,” Vice President Taylor warned members of the Senate.
Being the first female Vice President and gender advocate, Senate President Taylor decried the alarming incidents of sexual and gender-based violence being perpetrated against the most vulnerable citizens, girls under the age of 18 and at times as young as two years old; and the sodomy of boys.
“These ever increasing numbers tend to show that our society is slowly degenerating at an alarming rate, with a very little permanent solution at hand. I am thus reminded of the quotation that ‘a nation unable to secure optimum care and protection for its most vulnerable, is also unable to provide protection and care for its majority’,” Madam Taylor stressed.
Vice President Taylor further warned Legislators that if permanent solutions to those societal ills are not found and measures put in place to secure a safer society; “You can be assured that in the minds of our people, these lapses will not only cast doubts on our collective ability to govern, but they will also cast doubts about our ability to give our citizenry the nation they truly deserve.”
VP Taylor asserted that though this is the collective responsibility for all, the National Legislature as the first branch of government and the direct representative of the people, will be held primarily responsible for attending results.
She reminded the lawmakers that the voices of the people were loud and clear in the just ended 2020 Special Senatorial Elections.
“They have sent a clarion message to all and sundry that they no longer accept things as they are; but they expect much more from their representatives at all levels.”
The once long serving Bong County Senator proposed to the Legislature for consideration to enact the Local Content Laws which will empower the citizens, the possible amendment of the law governing the National Elections Commission for the removal of duties for Civic and Voters Education, and the creation of a commission which will deal with “This important aspect of building a stronger democracy in the judicious way it should be handled.”
Senate President Taylor commending the lawmakers for enacting notable legislations, also drew their attention to other equally important draft Acts such as the draft Act proposing the establishment of a Corruption Court, The draft Corrupt Offenses Act; and the draft Act creating Regional Appellate Courts which will reduce cases before the Supreme Court, amongst others.
In his opening statement, President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, Grand Kru County Senator Albert Tugbe Chie, introduced a few of many issues on the Legislative agenda for the 4th session.
Senator Chie named the liquidity issues involving both Liberian and United States dollar currencies at the banks and in the market; restoration of confidence in the banking sector; measures to strengthen the Liberian economy; review of certain concession agreements by the Executive Branch; review of the status of the various incentive agreements approved by successive governments; review of legislation for pensions of various categories of public servants to ensure they live decent lives after so many years of sacrificial public service, among others.
Meanwhile, the five Senators who were recently certificated by the National Elections Commission are expected to be officially inducted in the Senate Chambers this morning to join the 15 other Senators whose tenure ends in 2023. Ten other Senators from the recent special senatorial elections are still awaiting NEC certifications to join their colleagues to complete the number of 30 senators.