House Speaker J. Alex Tyler says the leadership of the 53rd Legislature has resolved to keep a solid grip on otherwise lackadaisical attitude exhibited by officials responsible to make schedules or programs and report timely to the people.
Addressing the fifth sitting of the 53rd Legislature Monday, January 11, at the Capitol Building following return of Lawmakers from annual break, Speaker Tyler noted some officials of government are lackadaisical when it comes to responding to the plight of the Liberian people.
“There are individuals – some-in, and others out of Government – who would prefer to engage in politics and politricks, rather than devote their enormous energies to development. In this, I leave the matter to the people to judge: they have the final word, not they (the accusers) nor I,” the Bomi County Representative frowned.
He said the Constitution of Liberia confers all powers upon the people as enshrined in Article (1), adding these powers are transferred by the people to each legislator elected by them. He stressed the expectation is lawmakers will justify the confidence reposed in their abilities and integrity as Representatives of the people.
“We must be their ears, eyes, mouths and planners of their destiny. We must intercede for them and be the custodians of their trust. The failure of the Liberian Legislature to inspire and process economic growth and development as well as the social and economic rights of the people, shall indeed be a failure to exercise the powers they have conferred on us and the faith they have in us,” he indicated.
The Speaker further emphasized lawmakers must offer the public believability, pointing out that if the Legislature had failed over the years of the existence of the nation to recognize this, it is most timely that lawmakers especially, members of the 53rd Legislature muster enough courage and energies to do so and to ensure representation by measuring the expectations of their respective constituents.
Tyler said the leadership of the House has worked out a “plan of action” to review budgetary performance of county and district development funds.
“We intend to scrutinize Executive programs [without prejudice] to ensure effectiveness of cost and efficiency of resources,” especially at a time when things are really tough on our people. We must be doubly accountable. We are today shifting the gears in legislative oversight – Committee Chairpersons are going to be demanding Quarterly Reports from Agencies and/or Ministries responsible to submit same.”
The Speaker urged his colleagues in the House to continue vigorous and robust inspection of legislative projects scattered across most of the 73 electoral districts in the country. “We fought for, and obtained (though not all we sought, we got), the funding for these projects in budgetary allotments. I do submit, we must ensure their implementation by the executing branch, mandated by custom, practice and the Constitution,” he added.
For his part, Vice President Joseph Nyumah Boakai, who heads the Senate, said reports from the Senate’s secretariat indicate there are 101 bills sitting in committee rooms. Vice President Boakai explained that by the nature of the operations, “We sure will see additions to this during regular and extra-ordinary sessions in the course of the year. Let us confront the task with diligence and focus in fulfillment of the mandate of our people,” he also urged.
Meanwhile, the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Armah Jallah, stressed the need for the Legislature to recess on time to enable lawmakers visit their various constituencies, which would enable them to assess progress achieved.
The Gbarpolu County lawmaker said it is clear that policies enacted have undermined performance of the forestry sector, adding “In the past the forestry sector helped us construct and improve roads in rural communities and provided employment opportunities for rural dwellers.”
He said policy regimes set in motion have undermined logging in rural areas, and called for a review of those policies to enable companies in the sector perform in accordance with international conservation obligations.
E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Edited by Jonathan Browne