Embattled House Speaker J. Alex Tyler has met with the Muslim community in Kakata, Margibi County. Speaker Tyler, indicted by the government on multiple charges, including economic sabotage, is the founder of the Liberian People Democratic Party or LPDP, which he established about a year ago after quitting President Sirleaf’s governing Unity Party. .
He is facing trial along with several other officials for alleged US$950,000 bribe received from Sable Mining Company of Britain, as reported by the international environmental watchdog, Global Witness.
Since his indictment by the State, Tyler has come under immense pressure from some of his colleagues at the House to recuse himself from the post, pending outcome of his trial, but he has strongly resisted.
He and his party chairman Representative Moses Y. Kollie recently convened a closed door meeting with Muslim leaders in Kakata and at the LPDP headquarters in the county.
Reporters and other citizens, who had gone at the party headquarters in Vai Towm Community of Kakata to await Speaker Tyler’s arrival, were told by the Margibi chairman of the party Jerry Varney to wait outside, as the LPDP leader was going to meet with them after the closed doors meeting with members of the Muslim community.
However, some Muslims, who entered the building, confided in The NewDawn the Speaker pleaded with them to stand by him in the 2017 Presidential and Representative Elections, and to solicit their views on the way forward to the many problems they are faced with.
They noted that said since his ascendency as Speaker of the House of Representative, This was Tyler’s first time to have requested to meet with them in the county through his party chairman Varney.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters after the closed door meeting with the Muslims, Speaker Tyler said it was intended to talk to the Muslims, who are also part of the country because Liberia belongs to everyone.
He said they discussed general concerns about the country, because according to him, Liberia is at a crossroads. When asked why he chose to meet only with the Muslim Community, Tyler said he did so because this is the time, and promised to meet with the Christian Community in the county subsequently.
According to him, the meeting forms part of a nationwide consultation. Many Margibians who were at the party headquarter wondered why didn’t the Speaker hold the meeting openly with everyone if he is sure that he is only having consultations on the way forward in Liberia.
Some indicated that it is only because of support from the Muslim Community that has made him to start to have closed door political discussion with them. At the same time Speaker Tyler has spoken on his trial, saying he supports the prosecution process on the Global Witness report linking him and some former and current officials here to receiving bribe to amend Liberian concession laws in favor of Sable Mining Company.
Speaking to reporters at the LPDP headquarters in Kakata following the closed door meeting with Muslims, he said the court should take its course and those who should prosecute under the law of Liberia must continue to do so.
Pressed to elaborate on the global witness report, the Speaker said: “Is in court and I will think the court should take its course. Those who are supposed to prosecute under our law should continue to prosecute.”
By Ramsey N. Singbeh, Jr. in Margibi