he Vice President of Liberia and President of the Liberian Senate says the prime duty of members of the 54th Legislature is to ensure Liberians remain safe and happy. Madam Jewel Hoard Taylor notes that though Liberia is beset by a myriad of issues, ranging from high insecurity, lack of banknotes, high cost of living, a sluggish economy, lack of basic services, distrust, mistrust, allegations and counter allegations on many issues but there exists a glimmer of hope.
Speaking at the opening of the 4th session of the 54th Legislature in the chambers of the Liberian Senate on Monday, she said in spite of it all, Democracy is alive and growing stronger in Liberia, saying, the voices of the people were loud and clear in the just ended 2020 Special Senatorial Elections.
“They have sent a clarion message to all and sundry that they no longer accept things as they are; but they expect much more from their representatives at all levels.” VP Taylor says.
She continues that in preparation of their duties, it is imperative that legislators remind themselves of trending national issues that have beset the Nation over the years, and points at critical issues need immediate attention such as ever-rising cost of living, limited basic services for all, minimal opportunities for growth and development, high taxes and high crime rate, amongst others.
“Being the first female Vice President and the Gender Advocate, these prevailing issues are further compounded by the alarming incidence of sexual and gender based violence being perpetrated against our most vulnerable citizens, girls under the age of 18 and at times as young as 2 years old; and the sodomy of our sons.”
She laments that these ever increasing numbers tend to show the Liberian society is slowly degenerating at an alarming rate, with very little permanent solutions at hand VP Taylor warns if permanent solutions to these societal ills are not found and measures put in place to secure a safer society, these lapses will not only cast doubts on their collective ability to govern, but the ability to give the citizenry the kind of Nation they truly deserve.
Meanwhile, she reports that records of the Liberian Senate show that there were 34 legislations introduced during the period under review, noting that of those, 27 were passed, 2 were vetoed and 5 were sent to various committees for scrutiny and advice. She says the senate has an initial workload of only 5 draft legislations to begin this session, which she note, is commendable compared to previous years.
“As you consider important issues for attention and resolution, permit me to draw your attention to the results of the just-ended Referendum and the need to carve a way forward for a much needed holistic review of our constitution, Gender Equity quotas, local vendor payments due, delayed salary payments in some institutions, the need for a more aggressive approach to the provision of basic services, National security, the need to expand the national tax base by creating new taxes in the tourism and agricultural sectors, which will reduce the current burden on our people, and the need to ensure a realistic budget for the National Pro Poor Agenda.” VP Taylor recommends to the 4th session of the 54th Legislature.
By Ethel A. Tweh–Editing by Jonathan Browne