The 54th has just begun its second, ending the first presided over at the Lower House by Speaker Bhofal Chambers, a stalwart of the ruling Congress for Democratic Change (CDC). At the opening of the second session, Representative Chambers who represents Pleebo Solikeen District, Maryland County, spoke of progress and achievements made in the previous year. The Analyst leafs through the House Speaker’s Speech Delivered at the Opening of the 2nd Session of the 54th Legislature, on Monday, January 14, 2019 and report.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bhofal Chambers says under his leadership as Speaker the House of Representatives recorded 57 regular sittings, 43 executive sittings, 6 special sittings and 15 extraordinary sittings, thus totaling 121 sittings during our session in 2018.
He said during the year 2018, the House passed 26 bills and 8 resolutions in the interest of the Liberian people.
Among those bills and resolutions we acted on, the Speaker said, nine originated from the House of Representatives, 5 bills were received from the Liberian Senate and concurred with; 12 bills were passed out of 17 bills originating from the Executive and 8 legislative resolutions were acted on.
During the year, he further reported, the House of Representatives successfully conducted 13 Public Hearings.
He said the First Session of the 54th Legislature brought 43 new Members, and retained 30 old Members, following the 2017 General Elections.
“I believe that such development, in our democratic culture, is on the right course and by this, we can agree that our electorates do take due cognizance of our workings as Lawmakers,” Speaker Chambers noted.
In line with legislative best practice, Speaker Chambers further said, “it is our hope that bills and resolutions pending in committee room, which account for 53 in total, will be properly scrutinized for prompt Plenary’s action.”
Among those bills in committee room, it is worth mentioning that we have 30 bills from the House of Representatives, our House, 4 bills from the Liberian Senate, and 5 bills from the Executive. Other pieces of documents awaiting legislative actions are 10 petitions and 4 resolutions.
She called on his colleagues to brace themselves for the challenges ahead, adding, “Our constituents and various constituencies which have placed this huge public trust on us, expect a lot out of us in their desire to have good laws and for us to exercise our functions to the best of our abilities in their best interest, so that the plans and promises intended for them come to fruition.”
He also reported that during the period 2018, the House of Representatives enjoyed an enhanced level of cordiality with the Liberian Senate, which has eluded the Legislature in the past.
“Liberia, unarguably, is a country of laws,” the Maryland Representative asserted. “And it is no doubt evidenced by the fact that we, as a Legislature, are peacefully co-existing with the other branches of government, conscious of our constitutional margins conducting government business with the optimum acceptable standards of respectability.”
According to him, during the year 2018, the Honorable House of Representatives was presented with some hard facts on a sitting Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Liberia, which detailed abuse of office and several violations of the principles upon which the laws of our land are based.
“Having exhaustively deliberated on the matter surrounding the Associate Justice,” Speaker Chambers said, “the Honorable House of Representatives proceeded to pass an Impeachment Bill by a majority vote and forwarded same to the Liberian Senate for trial.”
He admitted that 2018 had its challenges as it relates to the culture of democracy, citing what he called a few unsubstantiated declarations surrounding printed monies in the amount of 10.5 billion Liberian dollars.
“The House of Representatives convened an extraordinary session weeks after it closed for its annual break in consonance with our organic law, the Constitution, to discuss the issue and find a remedy,” said the House Speaker. “It was concluded based on the facts that the Central Bank of Liberia Executives and Board Members acted in total disregard to the constitution; it printed the 10.5 billion Liberian dollars without any legislative authorization. They flagrantly flouted the law.”