In their resolve to prevent indicted House Speaker Alex Tyler from presiding over session while facing criminal trial, anti-Tyler lawmakers numbering about 40 Thursday, 11 August held separate session presided over by Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue.
Speaker Tyler in a worrisome mood appeared on the grounds of the Capitol Building with the anticipation of presiding over the full session of the lower House but, to his dismay, aggrieved lawmakers under the guidance of Deputy House Speaker Hans Barchue convened in the William Richard Tolbert joint chambers to conduct what they termed “normal business of the House of Representatives.”
However, Tyler, who remains unyielding to pressure from those of his colleagues calling on him to rescue himself, presided over separate session Thursday and conducted planned budget hearing for Public Works Minister Gyude Moore.
The aggrieved lawmakers who are seeking the recusal of embattled Speaker Tyler started their session with Christian prayer after which the body appointed Rudolph Hill as acting Chief Clark since the elected Chief Clark, Madam Mildred Siryon was in the official chambers of the lower House with the Tyler’s bloc, in what is a clear replay of the scenario that saw the ousting of ex-speaker Edwin Melvin Snowe, Jr. in 2008.
Following the prayer, presiding officer and deputy speaker Barchue commenced the session with roll call and subsequently introduced the resolution for the recusal of Tyler. The session with 34 members present despite 40 lawmakers who had signed to have Tyler recused. The resolution was finally to committee room for proper scrutiny.
Earlier in the morning, the grounds of the Capitol Building were besieged by armed officers of the elite Emergency Response Unit of the Liberia National Police. Reasons for the deployment are yet unknown, but insiders said police received tipoff that chaos was imminent at the Capitol.
Over 100 fully armed ERU officers posted at various locations of the grounds of the Capitol were attentiveness focused on inspecting Identification Cards of staffers and media practitioners. Meanwhile, in the chambers of the Pro-Tyler’s bloc, lawmakers were enraged over alleged unbalance reportage by the state-owned Liberia Broadcasting System on the events at the first branch of government.
Both sides of the divide failed to obtain 37 members to constitute a quorum as required by their rule and the Constitution of Liberia, but they went ahead and conducted business for the day.
The Tyler’s bloc has summoned the management of LBS to appear before plenary to give reasons why they should not be held in contempt.
Members of the anti-bloc are expected to introduce many strategies to making sure embattled Speaker Tyler steps aside as head of the House of Representatives and the first branch of government.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne