The President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate Albert Tugbe Chie has described as “catalysts for economic empowerment” the recent passage of The Land Rights and Local Government Acts.
“These bills are intended, ultimately, to return power to the people, serve as a catalyst for economic empowerment, economic and administrative decentralization, and lift our rural population from years of massive poverty,” Pro-Temp Chie said in a statement marking the closing ceremony of the 1st Session of the 54th Legislature (Senate).
Chie made the statement last Friday, September 14, in the Chamber of the Senate on Capitol Hill, Monrovia.
He then recognized hitches with respect to some major unfinished businesses, which he said the Senate would have to complete before the commencement of the Second Session of the 54th Legislature.
Sen. Chie named some of the major instruments that are currently being reviewed by the Executive and to be ratified by the Legislature as the amended and re-stated Firestone Agreement, the Hummingbird Mineral Development Agreement, the Traffic Management Agreement, and various incentive contracts as well as other instruments intended to boost the private sector by creating job opportunities.
He climaxed his statement during a special sitting, with the recognition of Senator Varney Sherman, a lawyer by profession who chairs the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, Claims and Petitions as “Senator of the Year,” a decision that was saluted by both his colleagues and visitors to the Chamber as well as the legislative reporters.
Despite undergoing a major brain surgery on the eve of the 2017 presidential and legislative elections and against all other odds, Pro-Temp Chie recalled that Senator Sherman did not rest on his oars in ensuring that bills submitted to his committee were acted upon.
Sherman’s last major task in the first session of the 54th Legislature was a request by Senate plenary last Thursday, September 13, to review any rule of the Senate on impeachment and related matter; complement the Senate Rules with other rules and procedures, to ensure adherence to the principles of due process as enshrined in the Constitution and Laws of Liberia; prepared a matrix of activities with timelines for the trial of the impeachment; and report to plenary through the leadership. The instrument is in preparation for the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Associate Justice Kabinneh Ja’neh.
During most of the Senate sittings, the absent of some of their colleagues were noticed, and in his statement Pro-Temp Chie prayed that God help the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Executive, Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif, and Co-chair of the Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget, Grand Cape Mount County Senator Edward Boakai Dagoseh, through their period of difficulty. Both are reportedly in India seeking medical treatment.
Chie acknowledged and paid special gratitude for the cooperation and coordination from the Executive Branch headed by former Senator now President George Weah and from the Judiciary Branch of Government headed by Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor.
Meanwhile, the Senate Leadership through Pro-Temp Chie, has re-emphasized its commitment to the improvement of the welfare of its staff and has disclosed that the Committee on Rules, Order and Administration is working on an entire package, which includes assessment of the manpower strength, over staffing, under-staffing training needs, working condition, corporation levels, and other personnel issues he said will form the basis for reform and appropriate decisions by plenary.
“We hope that this, too, could be considered before the commencement of the Second Session of the 54th Legislature,” Pro-Tempore Chie said.