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Editorial: Welcoming the Honorable Legislators with Caution

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Normal activities once more returned to the Capitol following the arrival of members of the Liberian Legislature. Their return is in keeping with Article 32 (a) of the Constitution of Liberia which provides that ‘the Legislature shall assemble in regular session once a year on the second working Monday in January’. It comes just a week to the State of the Nation Address or annual Message of the President of Liberia on the fourth working Monday in January.

At the Capitol on Monday during the official opening of the second seating of the 53rd Legislature, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alex Tyler of Bomi County assured the people of Liberia that members of the Legislature were back with renewed vigor to be more proactive and robust in the performance of the duties and functions which affect the lives of the people they represent.

Enthusiastically, the Speaker pledged that never again would members of the Legislature permit the government’s development initiatives to be driven by what he referred to as the whims and caprices of only a ‘handful of people’, further promising rapid infrastructural development, including the passage where applicable, the 50 bills which the House failed to pass during their first sitting to enhance economic viability and prosperity.

“This session would be second to none in the history of this country; we cannot achieve anything without working with the Senate,” the Speaker also noted during Monday’s opening ceremony in an apparent reference to the difference which ensued between the House of Representatives and Liberian Senate during the first sitting over the oil debate with members of the House.

Dominating the first sitting of the 53rd Legislature was the oil debate between the Legislature and Executive Branches of the Liberian Government. While we welcome the Honourable men and women of the Liberian legislature back to the Capitol, it is only our fervent hope that the “renewed vigour with which they have come to be more proactive and robust” will be translated into practical reality to impact the socio-economic life of those they represent.

To put words into deeds, one “quick impact move” by the re-energized lawmakers to begin the development process of 2013 and restore the hope of the people is to immediately address the issue of increment in the salaries of Liberian civil servants, following which the issues of the controversial Code of Conduct Bill and the Decent Work Bill, among others can resume.

The Lawmakers would only be doing justice to the consciences were they to ensure the passage of the 50 bills before attempting to introduce new ones. Adhering to this appeal would, to a greater extend, help to restore the confidence of the people of Liberia.

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