By Bridgett Milton
The Plenary of the House of Representatives Tuesday came to a stand-still when Bong County Representatives J. Marvin Cole (D-3) and James Kolleh (D-2) engaged in words of war and ranted insults at each other in session over the current Head of the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) in Bong, Dr. Victor Sumo.
It all started when Maryland County District#2 Representative Isaac Roland asked the CARI boss about his status at the institution.
According to Dr. Sumo, he was appointed by President George M. Weah as Director-General of CARI and confirmed by the Board, arguing that under the Act the created institution does not require that he should be confirmed by the Liberian Senate.
Representative Kolleh contends that Dr. Sumo has been serving as Acting Director-General of CARI, but Representative Cole counters that the CARI boss is not acting; instead, he is the Director-General proper.
At this juncture, the two lawmakers unleased invectives at each other, threatening to beat each other up.
Representative Kolleh, while insulting his colleague, left his seat hit Cole, but was restrained by the Sergeant Sargent-At-Arm of the House, and subsequently asked out of Plenary by Presiding Officer, Deputy Speaker Fonati Koffa.
Dr. Sumo had gone to the House of Representatives to address allegations of salary disparities and harmonization, and bad labor practices at CARI.
The Plenary of the House of Representatives summoned the Director-General of the Central Agriculture Research Institute on Thursday 16 June to answer inquiries about constant allegations of bad labor practices and dissatisfaction amongst employees, including the alleged refusal of Dr. Sumo to adhere to suggestions put forward to him by the House committee.
The House’s decision was based on a communication from a specialized Committee comprising Labor and Agriculture that was set up by Speaker Chambers.
The Specialized Committee was instructed to visit CARI in Bong County to ascertain the situation and mitigate issues surrounding picketing, go-slow, and riot actions of employees.
According to the committee, the CARI Boss has since remained stiff-necked, not willing to listen to the joint committee; something, the joint committee implores the indulgence of Plenary to invite Dr. Sumo to address the concerns mentioned.
Meanwhile, a motion was taken for the CARI Boss to return to the Committee to address these issues and for the Committee to report to Plenary within two weeks. Editing by Jonathan Browne