Buchanan City - Members of the Grand Bassa County Legislative Caucus are disagreeing over the leadership status of the caucus following comments by a newly elected lawmaker.
Newly elected Buchanan District Representative Matthew Joe told a gathering on Saturday, February 3, that the legislative caucus lacks a leadership, while mentioning that the county lawmakers are now planning to hold election for the caucus’ leadership.
"Since we took office as representatives, the Bassa legislative caucus is yet to have election, so the caucus doesn't have leadership for now," Hon. Joe asserted.
"Three of the caucus members lost this gone election and two of those former lawmakers where Secretary and co-chairman, those positions are now vacant, besides, the term of leadership of the caucus leadership is over".
Senator Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence, who chaired the county caucus during the tenure of the 53rd legislature, told FrontPageAfrica that the Representative Joe’s assertion is false and misleading.
"As far as I am concern, the Bassa Legislative caucus has leadership for which I am the chairlady of the caucus, there is no rule or law that says when a new batch of lawmakers take office and meet with old lawmakers then the caucus has no chairperson," she said.
"Until election can be held I still remain the chair lady of the Bassa legislative caucus, though two positions are vacant it does not mean that there is no leader for the caucus. I just held a meeting with the new caucus members and we are planning to have election very soon."
“Hon. Joe should stop fueling confusion amongst members of the caucus; we should be thinking about developing our county and not fighting amongst ourselves."
For his part, Hans Barchue, representative of district one, agrees that the Bassa Legislative Caucus has a leader, but said they are in the process of hosting election very soon.
"If anybody say that the Bassa legislative caucus don't have a leadership then they are not saying the truth."
"Senator Lawrence is the Chairlady for the caucus," Barchue said.
“This is my second term serving as a representative and this is my first time to hear that the Caucus doesn't have a leadership. Election is pending, until then the Caucus has a leader.”
Representative Vincent Willie, a newly lawmaker of electoral district four, told FPA on Monday that Senator Karnga-Lawrence declared at the caucus recent meeting that she would be stepping down as chair.
“She said she was stepping down and wanted to give Hon. Barchue the chance to serve as chairman, but we were concern about the process because whoever becomes chair of the caucus should be based on election and not by appointment,” Hon. Willie said.
He said it was on that basis that Senator Lawrence had said she was stepping down that prompted Hon. Joe’s assertions.
He, however, said despite the disagreement lawmakers of the party are still united and would work in the interest of the county.
Representative Matthew Joe’s comment about the caucus leadership has also sparked mix views in the county.
Mr. Karyou Johnson, a health worker, told FrontPageAfrica it is too soon for lawmakers of the county to begin disagreeing with each other.
"Why so soon? Our lawmakers need to understand each other’s before making public statements; we the people of Bassa should be reconciling ourselves instead of fueling confusion," Johnson said.
Du Ben Cleon, Lead Advocate of a local advocacy group, expressed dissatisfaction and said it was wrong for Hon. Joe to make statement without consulting his colleagues.
"Hon. Joe shouldn't start dis-unifying the Caucus. He should be thinking about uniting the Caucus as a new lawmaker and not to be making false public statements," Cleon said.
Kaffi Williams, a local businessman, disagrees with criticisms of Hon. Joe and said the lawmaker was right to inform his constituents about the prevailing situation of the county caucus.
"Matthew Joe is right, the caucuses don’t have a leadership because three new leaders were elected and there are two vacant positions, those positions need to be occupied," Williams said.
Report by Elton Wrionbee Tiah, FPA Contributor