Liberia: Government Discusses Constitutional Amendment at Retreat
Robertsfield, Margibi – Members of the Legislature and Executive are having a two-day retreat at the Farmington Hotel to discuss constitutional amendments and the need to pass some bills that are already in committee rooms at the level of the Legislature. The meeting is being initiated by President George Weah.
Lawmakers and the President will dialogue on the need to undertake a review of the Constitution, a process initiated by his predecessor, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
During her administration, former President Sirleaf established a Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) consisting six members with specific mandate to review the Constitution and identify provisions to determine whether they require amendment.
The Committee completed its work and submitted to the former President 25 propositions. She forwarded them to the Legislature. These propositions are yet to generate the necessary legislative mandate to prepare the process for referendum and in order to further advance the constitutional review process.
As his way to get the process back on course, President Weah believes the best way is to call for a roundtable discussion between the Executive and the Legislature.“I have decided that it is now timely to undertake a review of the Constitution. You may recall that the previous constitutional review process was initiated by my predecessor. It is for this purpose I have invited you here to deliberate on seven of those propositions.”
The propositions include, the amendment of Articles 28, which provides for Dual Citizenship of a persons, who are of Negroes decent; 45 which provides for the vacancies created by death, resignation, expulsion or otherwise of Senators, and 46 which also provides for the reduction in the tenure of Senators.
Other amendments include Article 48 which calls for the reduction in the tenure of Representatives, 49, the election of a Speaker, Deputy Speaker and other Officers of the House of Representatives and 50, which calls for the provision for the reduction in the tenure of the President, as well as 66, which calls for the establishment of Regional Intermediary Appellate Courts.
The President also used the occasion to welcome into government Sen. Darius Dillon, who was inducted a day before the retreat.
Senate Pro-Tempore Albert Chie expressed hope that while the Farmington Meeting is focused on constitutional amendment, members of the legislature look forward for an opportunity for another gathering of same nature to discuss issues of governance, peace and unity, the state of the economy and other pressing issues of national concerns. “This meeting is in the spirit of constitutional inherent. Our people will not forgive us no matter which branch of the government we find ourselves for failing them. They will conclude rightfully that young people are incapable of leading this nation.”