The public have been warned not to do business with indicted House Speaker Alex Tyler in the name of that august body, as anyone doing so will be at their own risk.
The warning was contained in a statement read out by the anti-Tyler group seeking his removal Tuesday August 9, as chaos erupted amidst an intense political stand-off on the ground of the Capitol Building.
“Speaker Tyler has been criminally indicted of a crime. We the members of the House should not bear the burden of these allegations. Let the speaker exonerate himself of these criminal charges using our court system and not to hide under the authority of the speaker’s gavel,” excerpts of the group’s statement.
There were boos and jeers from Capitol Building staffs and their bosses on both sides of the stand-off amidst verbal insults and chanting of hate messages, as the anti-Tyler lawmakers read out their 8 counts against the indicted Speaker.
The situation nearly turned nasty, as opposing lawmakers rained insults. It took the effort of the riot unit of the Liberian National police- the Police Support Unit or PSU to restore clam at the Capitol Tuesday.
It all started when about 39, members of the House of Representative headed by Deputy House Speaker Hans Barchue had come to read a signed statement containing 8 counts which they believed warrant the recusal of Speaker Tyler as he faces bribery allegations in court.
Speaker Tyler, along with several senior government officials both past and present, have been indicted in connection with a Global Witness report, which alleges that these officials received bribes to alter mining laws here to grant concession rights to a British mining company, Sable Mining.
Tyler and other accused officials have since denied the alleged bribery and are demanding that the government provide evidence. Following the PSU’s move to restore calm, the anti-Tyler group read of their statement, a copy of which is in the possession of this paper seeking the Speaker’s recusal.
Reading the statement in the rotunda of the building, Montserrado County Representative Munah Pelham Youngblood of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change or CDC said Speaker Tyler has lost the legitimacy and popular consent to preside over the House’s proceedings. She said with the indictment and charges of alleged bribery hanging over him, coupled with his manipulation of his gravel for his personal and pecuniary aggrandizement and further engaging in acts to divide that august body are all intended to allegedly shield him from the ongoing legal process.
Rep. Youngblood lamented that the criminal indictment hovering over the speaker, has brought the entire House to public disrepute and undermines the office of the speaker as the presiding officer and the 3rd person in succession to the presidency of the country.
The group further opined in their statement, that in an alleged attempt to thwart justice, the speaker embarked on series of actions with the intent to divide members of the House of Representatives by forcing them into submission in forms and fashions that no institution should yield to. She said such motive undermines the unity and legislative cohesiveness necessary to carry on the people’s business paramount among which is the socio-economic wellbeing of the Liberian people.
The group also claimed that Speaker Tyler, consistent with his politics of divide and rule engaged in machinations which has brought the business of the House to a standstill. They said in one of his desperate moves, Tyler attempted to hold session without a quorum, something which was rebuked by the Supreme Court.
Rep. Youngblood pointed out the reported blatant refusal to listen to the concerns of his colleagues who are interested in maintaining the cohesiveness of the House as part of Tyller’s intolerant and undemocratic tendencies.
She accused Speaker Tyler of denigrating his colleagues who have expressed disagreement with his dictatorial leadership and referred to them as ‘surrogates’ forgetting that he is just ‘primus’ inter pares by the election of peers. The aggrieved lawmakers, who called themselves, ‘majority bloc’ indicated that the Speaker and the House Chairman on Ways, Means and Finance Committee, Rep. Moses Kollie, have reportedly engaged in the action of budget manipulation and have made financial promises in an attempt to coerce and pressurize key actors to remain loyal to him.
Despite the storming of the building Speaker Tyler conducted normal working duties of the House, though with 27 members present, while lawmakers that have asked for excuse were considered present to constitute quorum for the day.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by Othello B. Garblah