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Senators Face Indirect Travel Ban? …As Foreign Affairs Minister Cited With Threat

By Alex Yomah  

It appears that members of the 54th Legislature precisely, the Liberian Senate are said to be facing indirect sanction to obtain passports either due  to devastating  reports across the world  for Liberia.

Claims coming from allegations of sex scandal from foreign embassies and allegations also emanating from Liberian students across the world and with committee report suggesting that Liberia’s Foreign Minister’s consistent refusal to address the Senate misgivings, yesterday appeared frustrated and anxious to get response from the Foreign Affairs Minister.

 Grand Kru Senator,  Numene T.H Bartekwa  urged  his  colleagues  of the Liberian Senate to address  foreign relations issues as crucial, noting that the Liberian Senate appears to be dragged into  mess  allegedly caused by  the Executive Branch of Government.

 He made the assertions yesterday in plenary  during a heated debate over the reported refusal of the Foreign Affairs Minister, Maxwell Kemaya to face the Senate through its Committee on Foreign Relations to address himself to looming emergency issues faced Liberia in the world.

According to him, a  key member of the Senate Secretariat  who also carries diplomatic  passport had  gone  to the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs to apply for a passport, but strangely, he/she was halted and was told as of this week going forward,  anyone at the Legislature desirous of obtaining  passport  must now use  their names as individuals instead of coming  to the  Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The report appeared worrisome to the Senate yesterday, as  Grand Bassa County Senator, Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence wondered whether or not the Legislature has been placed on indirect sanction-using the experience  from a key member of the Senate.

 For his part, Bomi County Senator, Edwin Melvin Snowe asserted that the Issues raised by the committee are very serious-noting that the Senate must ensure that the Minister appears to address himself urgently.

 “I want to agree with the Senators that we find a way to get the Minister himself here. Pro-temp, since the Ambassador of Ethiopia left to become Ambassador in the US, almost three years ago, we still do not have an Ambassador of Ethiopia, while the host of the African Union is empty,” Sen. Snowe observed.

 “Since the current Foreign Minister left New York to come home to become foreign Minister, we don’t have his representative at the United Nations Mission in New York”.

 “We are talking about India. India is a hub for ancient countries; we have no representation there; Pro-temp, this is a serious matter and I want to agree with other Senators; let the Minister treat this matter with urgency because it’s embarrassing so that we should inform him that the next trip he makes, he should come here and address these matters, because it is very serious and ugly to our international community,” Senator Snowe said.”   

 The Committee on Foreign Relations chaired by an Executive of the coalition for Democratic Change, Senator James Biney said;  “ On that basis, we have repeatedly  written the Foreign Affairs Minister  to address  the senate through the committee on Foreign relations and  on three different occasions we wrote, subsequent to that, he  responded favorably to one of our communications here,  but  he said that he didn’t come prepared to address himself  to the multiplicities of  issues  and  asked that we  defer the hearing  which we did.”

 However, since then, “We have written the Minister three times and to this point, he has not been able to favorably response to our   request for him to appear before the committee.”

 Biney said the Foreign Affairs Minister has always given excuses after excuses. “Just last week Thursday, following the communication, we received from Liberian students around the world, we thought to invite the Minister at this time and stress to him how important  it was for him  to  appear.”

“This morning, Tuesday, I received a communication from the Secretary of the Senate which in my opinion was written on yesterday, Monday in response to the last communication that we sent to the Minister suggesting that he is out of the country and that he will not return until June 23, 2022 and it was written by acting Minister of Foreign Affairs.

He added that the communication seemed that the Minister wants to appear in person which has been extremely difficult for him for which the Acting Minister wrote the communication.  “I would have thought  that the acting  Minister  herself  would  avail her presence  to the Committee so that they would deliberate on the series of things with  looming emergencies that Liberia has been faced with  around the world as inconsolable  that the  Minister itself will not come on time or find an official to face the committee,” he said.

Meanwhile, the head of the Senate Judiciary, Cllr. Varney Sherman craved his colleagues to place the foreign Minister’s Contempt-adding, “Let’s cite the Minister under Contempt.”

 But in motion filed by Sinoe County Senator, Augustine Chea, the Senate urged the Minister that upon his return, he should defer other trips  to avail himself  to address the Senate’s inquiries.

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