Liberian Lawmakers Take Chairman Bryant to Task

By: Patrick K. Wrokpoh & C. Winnie Saywah

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted January 16, 2004

Reports gathered by The INQUIRER and confirmed by some lawmakers, suggest that the National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA) has been requested by the Executive Mansion to select and submit two of its members to form part of the NTGL delegation to Washington DC, USA to attend the Donor Conference on Liberia

Apparently, that request did not go down well with the august body, and one lawmaker who did not hide his emotion over the Executive Mansion’s communication to the assembly is Youth Representative Rufus Neufville, who termed it "as a joke".

Assemblyman Neufville was emphatic to divulge that the NTLA has outrightly rejected the request, and termed it as a mockery to the assembly to see the Executive Mansion pack the list of official GOL’s delegation to the confab with names of protocol officers at the Mansion as well as friends and close associates of NTGL Chairman Bryant at the detriment of the assembly.

NTLA Speaker George Dweh presiding over the regular Tuesday session strongly opposed the decision by the Executive Mansion for the NTLA to submit a limited number of assemblymen to form part of the GOL’s delegation.
He iterated that although such trip does not call for a huge delegation, the NTLA should be fully represented which may not have to include him in particular.

Speaker Dweh then mandated at plenary that a 7-man committee of legislative technocrats meet to come up with names of not less than nine assemblymen to form part of the official GOL delegation.

Additionally, yesterday’s plenary voted and resolved that the number of persons to form the GOL delegation be passed over to the legislature where a cross-section of representatives from every sector of the country is seated to make sure that every county, organization and party is represented on the GOL delegation and not just individuals favored by the Executive Mansion.

Although the said communication from the Executive mansion was not read in plenary, the NTLA committee on executive has been mandated to meet with the Executive Mansion on plenary’s decision.

Credible information gathered by our reporters suggest that the list of the GOL official delegation to the conference has increased to over 40 persons.

Some of the selected individuals, most of whom are from the Executive Mansion, will begin leaving this week while others are expected to leave by early next week.

In a related development from the Capitol, the Speaker has stressed great concern about the seating of the honorable members.

Speaker Dweh says the present leadership of the NTLA has on its agenda, the renovation of the Capitol including the construction of an annex so as to have all of the 76 representatives honorably seated by the middle of this year.
The NTLA Speaker said such will provide adequate office space for the respective representatives to perform their responsibilities to their constituencies like it obtains in other countries.

During its first sitting after the season break, the NTLA yesterday inducted two new members making a total of 61 assemblymen to date.

The newly inducted are Samuel T. Wilson of Maryland County and Cllr. David Gbala of Grand Gedeh County .
Although the NTLA has been mandated by ECOWAS to proceed with the induction ceremony of county representatives, little has been seen or done in terms of making sure that those being inducted are accommodated relative to office space.

Our observation presently is that some lawmakers to include Bong County’s Rep. Joseph Cornomia, and Rivercess’ Rep. George Moore among others are either sharing office space or are just ‘hanging’.

The NTLA’s rules and order committee headed by Rep. Edward Kpulun has been given offices to assembly members based on "first come, first served" basis, but the Speaker has so far assured the assembly members found in said situation that it is imperative that an annex be constructed although he did not state the given time such vision would be implemented.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.