President Sirleaf Dedicates LACE-implemented Projects

Pres. Sirleaf cutting ribbon to the building 

The Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE), has been featuring prominently in projects dedication and inspection by the Liberian Leader, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as she crisscrosses the Country district-by-district, appreciating citizens for supporting her two terms as President.

 

President Sirleaf has nicknamed her final tour of the Country as the ‘Last Mile’. Accompanying the President on these tours are development arms of the government in close consultation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

 

The Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment, which is implementing some basic infrastructural development projects of the Government, mainly the Legislative Support Project (LSP), has been in the limelight of the President’s tour.

 

In all 73 electoral Districts of the Country, LACE is implementing GOL Legislative Support Projects being facilitated by Senators and Representatives in the 53rd Legislature who play some key roles in project needs identification in consultation with their constituents.

 

On the latest leg of her ‘Last Mile’ appreciation tour of Lofa, Rivercess and Grand Bassa Counties, President Sirleaf dedicated and inspected a number of LACE-implemented projects. In Lofa, President Sirleaf cut ribbon to and dedicated the Sorlumba Market Building, Vezala Police Station and inspected ongoing construction works on the Dormitory to the Lofa County Community College.

 

According to structural design, each of the Dorms has a capacity to accommodate 32 students desirous of attaining higher education at the LCCC from the seven districts of Lofa County.

 

Finishing works are being carried out on the Foya Health Center, and Foya Youth Center projects under LACE’s implementation.

 

In Rivercess, LACE has completed the construction of a modern Women Center in Cestos. Also in the Capital of the County, the Agency has commenced construction work on a modern High School, and in Yarkpah Town a Youth Center project has met full completion.

 

In Grand Bassa, President Sirleaf cut ribbon to Gio Town Market fitted with Latrine and Water facilities as well as storage for goods, and later moved over to Compound #2 Youth Center where she also cut the ribbon to open the facility to public usage.

 

En route to Compound #2 where she held a Town Hall meeting with citizens before dedicating the Youth Center, the President cut ribbon to Buchanan City’s first modern Car Wash, and a Sports Academy, another historic infrastructure in the existence of Grand Bassa County.

 

All of these projects outlined are being implemented by the Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE) through Government’s budgetary allocation. Using updated PPCC regulations, the Agency vets accredited construction companies to sub-implement the Legislative Support Project.

 

The projects range from Markets to other public buildings including Magisterial Courts, Clinics, Schools, Commissioner’s Compounds, Presidential Palace, Nurses Quarters, Conference Halls, Youth Centers, Dormitories and Auditoriums.

 

Also included is the construction of Roads, Bridges, Culverts, WASH compact, Fencing of Football Fields and capacitating existing structures with needed equipment for functional operation.

 

The Legislative Support Project is allowing for smoother coordination and collaboration between the Legislative branch of government and the Executive, mainly the Office of the President in achieving the shared single goal of community empowerment through the provision of basic social services.

 

Linking Towns and Villages by constructing roads thus promoting unity and food security, and the provision of other basic social services are shared goals of both the Legislative and Executive branches of the government.

 

The Executive Director of LACE, Julius K. Sele, has led strategic delegations of the Agency to all project locations of the President’s tour. Through direct interaction with her, she expressed joyous impression in the quality she said can be clearly seen in the projects LACE is implementing on behalf of the government.

Civil Society Organizations Push for Referendum

By Mafanta Kromah

 

The Civil Society Coalition held a “multi-stakeholders dialogue” on June 2, 2017 in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County with Law Reform Commission and a cross section of Liberian Senate. The group is working to promote Nationwide Consultations on the Constitutional Review process with the intends to encourage an accelerated action on a joint resolution leading to the referendum bill by the National Legislature.

The dialogue was climaxed by critical review and procedural discussions on the propositions pending before the House of Senate and propounding possible steps for a Constitutional referendum bill within 2017 by the National Legislature.

The dialogue brought together 15 Senators, two Supreme Court Justices (Cllr. Philip A.Z. Banks and Cllr. Kabineh M. Ja’neh) and the leadership of the Law Reform Commission, the Grand Bassa County Superintendent, and the Leadership of Civil Society Organizations on the Constitutional Reform, and local authorities of Grand Bassa County.

Speaking during the discussion, Justice Philip A. Z. Banks, made presentation on the topic: “Towards a Constitutional Amendment.  Justice Banks’ presentation inspired and motivated the Senators who promised to take timely action toward reviewing, discussing and working to get a Referendum Bill considering that they have better clarity to work toward amending the Liberia Constitution.

For his part, Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh, Chairman of the Law Reform Commission, presented on proposals for Amendment, his presentation layout on the entire 24 recommendations from the Constitution Review Committee report with statistics on what were voted or and against during the national conference to assist the Senators deepen their understanding of what were the issues discussed around the country.

Some Senators who gave reasons for the delay in discussing the constitutional propositions, indicated that the delays were due to procedural error earlier observed from the Executive Branch, but based on the precision from the presentations made by constitution lawyers including Justice Banks and Cllr. Kanneh, provided the technical basis to precede discussions to amend the Liberian Constitution.

Following the presentations, the discussion session prompted series of questions and answers, which provided many Senators the opportunity to engage Justice Banks for clarity noting “we are now fully being prepared and equipped to move ahead in reviewing, discussing and presenting a referendum bill for the Liberian voters to decide,” one Senator said.

In addition, Grand Bassa County first female Senator, Yornblee Karngar-Lawrence, assured that a joint committee meeting with both the Houses of Senate and Representatives could be possible to review and discuss the propositions in which a report will be provided to the plenary for action.

On his part, Nimba County Senator Thomas S. Grupee, who is the Chairman on the Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation said the Liberian Senate will review and discuss all 24 recommendations which derived from the Gbarnga national Conference and make a decision through a report to plenary to resolve on a possible referendum bill and indicated that the senate could probably add new issues that will improve governance in Liberia.

Meanwhile, Grand Bassa County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif, who is the Chairperson on the Committee on Executive, pledged to work with her colleagues to promote the process that will lead to a national constitution referendum that is overdue since 2015. “This will ensure that the Liberian citizens will have their voices heard through voting for or against final propositions,” she indicated.

The Constitution of Liberia is the supreme law of the Republic of Liberia. The current constitution, which came into force on January 6, 1986, replaced the Liberian Constitution of 1847, under a Military Regime, which had been in force since the independence of Liberia.

Liberian people desire a new and better constitution after 170 years of independence and on August 13, 2015, the President of Liberia, Madam Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf submitted the final Constitution Review recommendations to the Legislature through the President Pro-Tempore to be studied for possible legislative action that could constitute propositions for amendment through a national referendum. This process is still pending at the Liberian Senate.

This initiative is being undertaken by the the concerned Civil Society Organizations including (NAYMOTE, PMU, LDMI, IREDD and SAIL) supported by the United Nation Development Program in Liberia.

The five CSOs however recommended  the Law Reform Commission timely expedite to give all legal support to the House of Senate and the necessary documentation that will assist in reviewing, discussing and making decision for a National referendum bill leading to referendum.

That the Committee on Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation as well as the Committee on Judiciary at the Liberian Senate, takes leadership actions in reviewing, discussing, reporting to the plenary for onward introduction on the floor for deliberations based on the presentations and lesson learned from Constitutional Lawyers including Justice Philip Z.A. Banks and Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh, Chairperson, Law Reform Commission during the dialogue.

They also requested that the Law Reform Commission and Civil Society Organizations continue working with the House of Senate and House of Representatives to pass a Bill of Referendum prior to their annual agriculture break in 2017.

Meanwhile, Eddie D. Jarwolo, member of the CSO organizations said, amendment of the Constitution through a referendum will contribute meaningfully in addressing some of the governance challenges facing the country including dual citizenship, reduction of tenure of elected public officials, decentralization, and the elections of local leaders.

The five CSO Coalition on Constitutional Reform commended the Law Enforcement commission, the Liberian Senate and Lawyers for honoring the initiative.

They affirmed that they are optimistic that based on the presentations by Justice Philip Banks and Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh, Chairperson, Law Reform Commission, the Senators will take needed responsible leadership role in formulating propositions for a national constitution referendum based on the current reality and would manage with the procedures error that was done realizing that since 1847 Liberians have never participate in any constitution reform process, this is therefore an opportunity that should not be missed