Monrovia, Liberia – The Leadership of the Liberian Senate has constituted a specialized committee for the purpose of facilitating the approval of the State of Emergency declared by President George Manneh Weah.
According to a release from the Liberian Senate issued Tuesday April 14, 2020, the specialized Committee will work jointly with similar committee expected to be set-up by the House of Representatives to facilitate the approval process of the “State of Emergency (SoE)”.
President George M. Weah in line with the authority granted him in Articles 85, 86, 87 and 88 of the Constitution of Liberia on Wednesday April 8, 2020 proclaimed and declared a State of Emergency, which took effect on Friday April 10, 2020 at 11:59 pm, pending approval by the Legislature.
On Tuesday the Liberian Leader formally wrote the Legislature justifying his reasons for declaring a State of Emergency which is part of measures intended to contain the deadly coronavirus.
Speaking Tuesday April 14, 2020 during the first day sitting of the extraordinary session of the Senate, the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Professor Albert T. Chie disclosed that leadership of the Senate had already met on Monday April 13, 2020 to discuss the preliminary measures proposed by the President in his declaration of the SoE.
He said the Senate looked into the effectiveness of those measures proposed by the President, the impact on the population, national economic matters and key strategies to sustain the State of Emergency.
Pro-Tempore Chie added that the discussions also took into account, transparent management of donor assistance for COVID-19 response, possible second recast of the national budget to respond effectively to the pandemic, local mobilization of funds and active preparation of the Legislature in controlling the pandemic and minimizing its impact on citizens and residents.
“Distinguished Colleagues, it is the view of the Senate Leadership that we need tough measures and sacrifices at all levels of our population in order to effectively control the human to human transmission of the coronavirus which has now permeated our various communities. Bad sore needs bad medicine” the Pro-tempt added.
According to Senator Chie, the Leadership also took note that the Legislature must respond to the President’s SoE within 72 hours after it is received officially, through the signing of a joint resolution, adding “all of us are aware that the tedious process of legislative enactments, involving debates and voting in both chambers of the Legislature, and the possible setting up of Conference Committees, if there is no concurrence”.
“It is the opinion of the Senate Leadership, subject to the approval of Plenary, that a joint Committee between the House of Representatives and the Senate be constituted to facilitate the approval process. I had a discussion with the Speaker of the House of Representatives on this issue” he said.
Pro-Temp Chie named, Senators Peter S. Coleman, Chairman of the Committee, Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence as Secretary of the committee with, Saah Joseph, J. Gbleh-bo Brown, Oscar Coope and Steve Zargo serving as members.
The committee will also gather and synchronize the views of all Senators on matters related to the issue of the coronavirus pandemic control and management and its impact on the population.
They will liaise with all stakeholders in the process, for regular briefing of Leadership, and by extension, Plenary.
“I will encourage all of us to work together, beyond party lines, beyond the lines of branch of government and beyond the lines of nationalities, to defeat this pandemic in our Country” he concluded.