It seems that neither Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue and his rebellious cohorts in the House of Representatives nor the Executive branch of government seem to care that due to the impasse in the House the very government of Liberia has become paralyzed.
This paralysis, which renders the GOL incapable of doing anything, is due to the fact that GOL has no money to operate or pay anyone anything because of the stifled budget hearings.
The Joint Legislative Budget Committee cannot meet to discuss and approve the National Budget 2016/2017 because the Committee is divided.
Part of the Committee is headed by the rebel Deputy Speaker, Hans Barchue, while the majority of the membership is headed by House Speaker Alex Tyler, who is supported by the majority of Committee members.
The question of who is to blame almost seems irrelevant given the fact that the entire GOL is paralyzed because of the budget hearing impasse and there is no money to run the government, to take care of our national security—the Army, the Police or the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization—or even to run our health services and care for the nation’s sick and dying. This is far more serious than anything else.
But what does that matter to the rebel Deputy Speaker, who is so interested in the Speaker’s job that he and his cohorts are prepared to defy the Liberian Constitution to accomplish their aims? The Constitution states that in order to remove the Speaker for any reason there must be a two-thirds majority voting in chambers. The faction headed by the Deputy Speaker and his cohorts has refused to submit to the gavel of the Speaker in order to try this vote; but has rather decided to hold their own session in the Joint Chamber of the Legislature, whose door they first broke down in order to enter. As we said in an earlier Editorial, that was an assault to the Upper Chamber, the Liberian Senate, which jointly shares the Chamber with the House.
We call on all who read this Editorial also to read Counselor Tiawan Gongloe’s Op-ed Piece in today’s edition. All must read it, including the Deputy Speaker and his rebellious cohorts. They need to read it to realize that what they are doing is unconstitutional and therefore TREASONABLE. This warning alone should immediately end this stalemate in the House and return to the status quo ante, which means that until he is removed by a two-thirds majority vote, Speaker Alex Tyler is the only constitutional presiding officer in the House of Representatives. No one else!
It is most unfortunate that the Executive branch of the government has decided to do business with the rebel faction, which is also a clear violation of the Constitution. Stop playing with fire, we once again caution the Executive.
Clearly, the entire government is in crisis. You are talking about the Legislature itself, meaning the Senate and the House, as well as the Executive which, because of its dangerously unconstitutional interference in Legislative matters—more specifically its internal feud, is now embroiled in the self-made budgetary crisis.
Alas, even the Judiciary, too, the third branch of government, is also involved because the matter was brought before it by the Speaker seeking protection but the High Court failed to deal forthrightly with it. Why did the Court not take a decisive action to help the first branch in its internal feud? After all, the High Court is the interpreter of the law of the land and it is clear to most people that Deputy Speaker’s faction was—indeed is—in contravention of the law by splitting the House into two instead of following the Constitution and pursuing a two-thirds vote in the House to remove the Speaker for alleged wrongdoing.
Alas! the Executive, by its own overweening intervention in matters beyond its constitutional scope, has itself contributed to the legislative crisis that has resulted in this viciously stalled budget hearing process, by which the very Executive has become very seriously embarrassed—and so has the country, the people and even their security.
Deputy Speaker Barchue, end your rebellion—you and your cohorts and return to plenary—the one House plenary provided in the Constitution. That is the only way forward.