Apparently assumed by some segments of the Liberian society that believe that evolving from experiences earned over the past decades in which governance of the Republic has been suited purely to chronoism in which self-seeking rather that of others remain the practice, members of the 53rd Legislature, having ended the two weeks Independence Day Break, yesterday resumed normal session that was Wednesday greeted by their implicit involvement into what would successfully lead to the passage of the National Budget.
With few considering the national and patriotic exercise as one that would have become quite public, as though facing a national examinations without conducting serious and careful studies, the Wednesday forum took on a more coordinated approach with key governmental institutions invited to provide substantive reasons behind allocations made to serve the national interest.
Allowing the Minister of Economic Planning and Finance, Hon. Amara Konneh and several key government officials to have made their visible presence felt through a close-door, sending clear signals on the importance of the passage of the 2012/13 budget, mini it might be referred to and with appreciable results begun to be experienced, before proceeding into the more strategic one.
No longer dwelling upon the conventional method in which legislators, having gone on mini-breaks, would keep the media quite inquisitive in gathering information on how well did they utilize the break in their respective constituencies, the serious involvement by the 53rd as exemplified by their continuing contacts with constituents and using extension means through which their respective problems are solved, using person-to-person as well as media contacts, presents a clear picture that a new day has dawned in full pursuit of democratic practices in the land.
Whilst there had been unfinished businesses on the floor, prudentially allowing various standing committees to have temporarily tabled them until resumption of normal sessions under the gavel of House Speaker Hon. Alex Tyler and his deputy, Grand Bassa County Representative Hon. Hans Barchue, yesterday’s session proved attestation of the resolve by the honorable men and women to gradually satisfying the desires of the Liberian people.
With 11 items placed on the agenda, aside adjournments, various committee reports were read, accepted or referred to specific committees for synchronization and eventual submissions to plenary.
As usual with the Speaker’s Desk always pre-occupied or occupied with communications of national relevance that are often read by the able-Chief Clerk, Ms. Mildred Sayon or her deputies, several issues deliberated upon had to obviously be referred to various standing committees for resolution, as should be upheld democratically.
Of significant interest at yesterday’s plenary, however, arose a communication from the Honorable Thomas P. Fallah to probe the July 19 students' riot at the University of Liberia, cancellation of its placement examination and the increment in tuition and fees at the African Methodist-Episcopal University on Camp Johnson Road in Monrovia.
Salient it appeared in view of the strides that the Unity Party (UP) government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Vice President Ambassador Joseph Nyuma Boakai continue to selflessly and strainuously help gradually resolve, as demonstrated over the years by the gradual improvement in the salaries and conditions of workers on cash-based budget, gaining the thrust from the unprecedented waiver of Liberia’s debts by the international community that came not by overnight but through very serious lobbying that had trust as key, views supportive of Honorable Fallah were expressed across the floor.
The Representative of Rivercess District #2, Honorable Francis S. Paye who has since become quite controversial in raising issues affecting not only his constituency but the entire nation, did not mince words at vouching that situations at the AMEU should be placed squarely upon the shoulders of the administrators, in view of rules and regulations adopted thereat to be effectuated at all times by determining affordable fees in the setting of standard, be it the payment of administrative and instructional staff or infrastructurally improving conditions thereat.
He also placed the July 19 student riot at the University of Liberia to its administration on similar note, revealing that it was the responsibility of the House of Representatives to intervene by inviting relevant authorities to abort such practices within the democratic setting.
Refusing to blame students for outrightly carrying out the riot, pointing to the reported admission of the University’s entrance exams in which nearly 24,000 students underwent, with reports that only 10 made successful passes, he called for the results to be announced and published in the local dailies, as there was something wrong in administration, given the dedication of students “at this time.”
Immediately following the riot, it reminded many observers of yester-years when students thereat seriously engaged government that led to an order from then President Samuel Kanyon Doe in having them “move or removed” from the campus, amidst display of a faked-casket on Capitol By-pass that led to few reported deaths with thousands injured.
Later in an interview with the LNTV of the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS), Honorable Paye who is member of the Committee on Information and Broadcasting, chaired by Montserrado County Representative Hon. Richmond Anderson, called for budgetary support to the institution, including other public institutions, improving as conditions thereat is becoming, in promotion of good governance at the expense of freedom of speech which he lauded President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for championing.
Much said and with the input of Honorable Edwin Melvin Snowe, the undercurrent needs not be far from the truth that all that the 53rd House of Representatives seek is delivering the “goods” the people that is far from innuendos that may not be permeating the ranks of the honorable body.