The leadership of the Liberian Senate says it has taken siege of a communication from the office of Vice President Jewel Howard – Taylor regarding her absence from the opening of the 3rd Session of the 54th Legislature.On Tuesday, 14 January, Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of Monsterrado County raised the concern of the VP’s absence and requested that it be placed on the agenda for discussion as it is a matter of national concern.But Senator Albert T. Chie, President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate says the Senate has received a communication from the office of the vice president and they will investigate the matter.
The conspicuous absence of the Vice President during commencement of the 3rd Session of the Legislature on Monday appears to demonstrate that the strained relationship between she and President George Manneh Weah is far from being resolved.
Both leaders have been far apart at official public functions in the past two years of the administration with President Weah being on record of frowning at Mrs. Taylor for making travels abroad without his knowledge amid unauthenticated rumors that the former First Lady has ambition to become President of Liberia.
Mrs. Taylor has dismissed such speculations as unfounded. However, at the close of 2019, Vice President Taylor publicly complained over decision by the Executive to grossly slice her budget for the fiscal period.
Public attention grew here Monday, when President Weah addressed members of both the House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate in joint session for formal opening of the 3rd session of the 54th Legislature without the presence of the Vice President.
In fulfillment of constitutional requirement that the Legislature shall resume work on second Monday of each year, the leadership of the Capitol, including Speaker Bhofal Chambers, Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert Chie, heads of foreign missions, development partners, members of the judiciary and the cabinet gathered to witness the historic event.
However, the vice president, who was expected to deliver a speech at the ceremony, was conspicuously absent, something, that has been described as an apparent protest to the slicing of her allotment in the National Budget.
Formal hosting of the national flag on the grounds of the Capitol during the ceremony on Monday delayed unusually only to discover that the leadership of the both houses waited aimlessly for VP Taylor’s arrival.
Speculation gathered from the grounds of the Capitol among lawmakers and some influential senior staffers hinted this paper that Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor had reportedly boycotted on grounds that her budgetary allocation for 2019/20 was deeply cut by officials of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
When the Office of Vice President Taylor was contacted on the allegation, the Press Secretary to the Vice President, Richmond Neufville explained that his boss had written Senate President Pro-Tempore Chie about her absence. By Ethel A. Tweh—Edited by Winston W. Parley