As the Senate Convenes today to debate justification for the State of Emergency, the Former Chairman of the Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Cllr Jerome Verider, says there is no justification of a State of Emergency when the Health Managers have already declared a Health Emergency which is the proper thing to do. “Declaring a State of Emergency is unwarranted. Enough havoc has been done already, it must be cut off”, Cllr. Verdier said.
“You cannot have two emergencies subsisting concurrently,” he said, and added, “there is or should never be any rivalry or competition for authority.” He said the Government must ask the health Authorities for a national plan (which currently doesn’t exist) to deal with the emerging health emergency and support or buttress it with the full authority of the State indicating that the health authorities are a subset of the Executive Branch and should not be subrogated.
In a dispatch titled “Cllr. Jerome Verdier: The Legislature” the Liberian lawyer and statesman disclosed that the threshold for state of Emergency has not been reached, and that it is not perceived to be attained and is not conceivable under existing, prevailing realities.
At the start of his piece, Verdier indicated, “Our form of Government is Republican – Representative! Hence the duly constituted representatives as constituted in/by the FIRST BRANCH represents the people. Without which our constitutional scheme of governance fails, falters and crumbles. Your task is grave only history or your conscience will judge you, fairly or harshly.”
“He also reminded the Legislature that except they entertain a dictatorship, the faults, failure of the Government is on their shoulders, pointing out that declaring a STATE OF EMERGENCY is a farce, an outright abuse of constitutional power, the consequences of which all concurring Authorities will be held liable for.
“Declaring a State of Emergency Is unwarranted. Enough havoc has been done already, it must be cut off,” he intoned, noting “This is a cautious power which is exercised only under extreme circumstances which does not exist to claim the attention of the State Branches. If we are not mindful, this will end up in the courts,” he warned.
The controlling law on State of Emergency is Chapter Ix: Emergency Powers, Verdier indicated, saying – “Specifically as to Article 86 (b) which state, ‘A state of emergency may be declared only when there is a threat or outbreak of war or where there is civil unrest affecting the existence, security or well-being of the Republic amounting to a clear and present danger.”
He accentuated further, “We cannot afford to ignore the dictates of history that this 1986 Constitution was inaugurated to redress the abuses and wrongs of the past [when] Liberia has entered into the age of international human rights law, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
According to him, the purpose of new laws is to correct an evil in society and redress a grievance, harm or shortcoming in the law to avert future grave grievances, stating therefore, this Constitution [of 1986] was designed to address past abuses of powers (state of emergency, high treason, rampant corruption, violations of the people’s rights, etc.) in remembrance of the APRIL 12, 1980.
“Hence, this State of Emergency is uncalled for, unwarranted, amounting to the blind leading the ignorant and blind. We are neither ignorant not blind so we should not sit supinely and be accomplices by actions or inactions to a blind leadership leading the blind into a state of abyss,” he said.
He pointed out, “We are courting and crying for the virus and playing games and fooling ourselves but we will get what we wish. The virus will come and people will die. Await the coming of the raining season which will see a spark in the virus rise and when a sea of dead bodies will flow.”
Verdier said, “We have no love for this country we pretend to carry, and abuse power because we are evil, greedy and godless. As if the war thought us nothing or was not enough, we are crying for a plague and come it will.”
He said instead of praying for mercy, we are sinking deeper into our old ways when God is waiting on us to calm unpin his name, we care less and 40 years later we still desire business as usual – so say one so say all.
“The blood of the people you claim to represent will be all on your hands, shoulders and neck and heads. God is calling and we need men of valor, women of substance in government to restore righteousness to our country,” he averred.