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Liberian Envoy in US to face Senate

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In efforts to save Liberia’s image in the diplomatic circle internationally, Senators here have invited the country’s top envoy to the U.S. Mr. George S. W. Patten, Sr., to return from the mission and face proper Senate confirmation hearing, in spite of his nomination and commissioning by President George Manneh Weah.

President Weah nominated and subsequently commissioned Mr. Patten in late December as Liberia’s ambassador to U.S. while lawmakers here were still on their regular break.

President Weah’s failure to allow his appointee to await confirmation before the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Affairs before commissiong him as Liberia’s Ambassador to the U.S. sparked yet another public outcry against the controversial move.

Mr. Patten risked being recalled from the Mission to face the Senate based on a suggestion by one of the Senators during session on Thursday, 31 January.Senators tussled over whether to say Mr. Patten should be “invited” or “recalled,” as some expressed concerns that recalling him would make his appointment invalid.

Based on appeals from other senators, it was agreed finally that Mr. Patten be invited to face proper confirmation hearing.
In a motion made Thursday, Maryland County Sen. J. Gbleh-bo Brown suggested that Mr. Patten be recalled from the diplomatic mission in the U.S. to face the Senate back home.

But Grand Cape Mount County Sen. Varney Sherman expressed a concern that “recalling” the Ambassador means that the appointment is invalid.
“You can invite the Ambassador to come back for confirmation hearing because our rules say that the appointment can be made pending confirmation,” Says Sherman.“We want him to go through the confirmation hearing because recalling him invalidates our own rule,” Sherman adds.

In support of Sen. Sherman’s argument, Montserrado County Sen. Saah Joseph also urged Sen. Brown to change his terminology from “recalling” the Ambassador to “inviting” him for proper confirmation.
Sen. Brown accepted the amendment to his motion and called on the Senate to invite Mr. Patten.

In an interview with Legislative reporters after session, Senator J. Gbleh-bo Brown said the terminology doesn’t matter.
He says what matters is that the Ambassador comes back and goes through the right procedure in line with the Constitution of Liberia.

Sen. Brown argues that they have a task to uphold and maintain the integrity of the Liberian Senate and not to breach the Constitution.
According to him, the Ambassador must be called back and appear to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations so that proper procedures are followed.

The Maryland County Senator explains that after that, all the senators will vote if the Ambassador will be confirmed or not.
Meanwhile, Sen. Brown clarifies that the Senate has not come to any conclusion as to whether the President violated the Constitution or not.
He says violation of the Constitution is not before the Liberian Senate.

By Ethel A. Tweh –Edited by Winston W. Parley

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