By Alex Yomah
The President of the Liberian Senate, Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor, has decried the appalling living conditions of Liberians under her administration.In her official statement delivered during programs marking the resumption of the 54th Legislature, Vice President Taylor reminded the senators that while in the preparations of their constitutional duties, “It is imperative that we are reminded of trending national issues that have beset our nation over the past years; for which we should all be cognizant.”
The President of the Senate pointed to issues of the ever-rising cost of living, limited basic services for all; minimal opportunities for growth and development, high taxes and the high crime rates across Liberia, amongst other societal issues which are becoming burdensome to living.
“Being the first female Vice President and a gender advocate, these prevailing issues are further compounded by the alarming incidences of Sexual and Gender Based Violence being perpetrated against our most vulnerable citizens; girls under the age of 18 and at times as young as 2 years old and the sodomizing of our sons,” Veep Taylor alarmed.
She further that such an increasing numbers of violations tend to show that “Our society is slowly degenerating at an alarming rate, with very little permanent solutions at hand. I am thus reminded of the quotation that says, ‘A nation unable to secure optimism care and protection for its most vulnerable, it is also unable to provide protection and care for its majority.”
“If permanent solution to these societal ills are not found and measures put in place to secure a safer society, you can be assured that in the minds of our people, these lapses will not only cast doubts on our collective ability to govern, but they will also cast doubts about our ability to give our citizenry the nation they truly deserve,” she cautioned her colleagues.
“Though this is a collective responsibility for us all; the national Legislature as the first branch of government and the direct representative of the people will be held primarily responsible for the attending results,” VP. Taylor reminded.
The Pro-Tempore, Albert Chie, who earlier welcomed the 15 sitting senators back from their annual recess also formally congratulated the five certificated senators-elect as they are expected to join their colleagues today in plenary.
Commenting on the midterm senatorial elections, Sen. Chie acknowledged that the election was peaceful and the results indicated that the Senate will bid farewell to some senators realizing that majority of the elected senators are new.
Chie thanked his colleagues who got defeated for their public services to the people of Liberia through the Liberian Senate, adding, “We know they worked very hard in their various counties over the last nine years but the constituents have spoken.”
According to the Pro-temp, as legal minds would say, “Facts speak for themselves and that is why it is important to reduce the tenure of elected public officials in any constitutional amendment nevertheless the misfortune at the polls of our former colleagues, they still have major roles to play in both the public and private sectors with the many years of experience they have gained in governance at the Legislature.”
Chie admitted that the defeat of some of the senators have left a void on the leadership committee of the Liberian Senate and those positions have to be filled through consensus or elections and the winners will be selected by a majority of the entire membership of the Senate.
The Senate’s positions out for grasp include; Chairpersons on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense, Security and intelligence and Veteran Affairs; Education, Gender and Health while there will be no other vacancy on the leadership Committee until January 2024 in line with the Constitution and the standing rules of the Senate following the election or consensus.
Meanwhile, Chie applaud the Board of Commissioners, staff and all employees of the National Elections Commission (NEC) for delivering a free, fair and transparent election noting, “The NEC has shown self-respect, self-dignity and patriotism and the Board of Commissioners have justified the confidence the Liberian senate reposed. We also thank the international partners who helped with the electoral process and the Government of Liberia for providing funds.”