Liberia: Senator Parades Chamber with Alcoholic Beverage; Claims to Be Innocent of Its Content
MONROVIA – Knowing or unknowingly, the sacredness of the Senate Chamber was desecrated on Tuesday, November 27, when a member of the Liberian Senate openly paraded their chamber with a bottle of alcoholic beverage and publicly placed it on his desk.
Senator Thomas Grupee of Nimba County, probably, because of the flavor of the “Breezer apple” wine, which contains 5% alcohol, took it for a soda (soft drink) until it was brought to his attention by some of his colleagues who informed him that the bottle on his desk was drawing media attention.
In his defense, he claimed not to be aware of the alcoholic component of the drink stating: “It was an offer from a colleague.” The Nimba County Senator had drunken almost half of the bottle’s content. He stated, however, “I returned it when I got to know it had alcohol content.”
“I was not drinking alcohol, I was offered a bottle of Breezer in the Senate’s cafeteria by a friend and I brought it with me to the Chamber at which time session has not started. I left it on my desk and went to the President Pro Temp’s desk to chat with him. Upon my return, a colleague of mine told me that the Breezer contains a little alcohol, I immediately took it back to the cafeteria and disposed of it,” he said.
Many believe Senator Grupee’s excuse is “flimsy” or “weak”.
Eating in chambers specifically the Liberian Senate has become a common thing to do by senators. At one point Senator Milton Teahjay of Sinoe County was seen eating fried chicken in the Chamber when the Senate was in session.
According to our Legislative reporter, he has not seen in the Senate’s rule and order where eating in the Chamber is prohibited. However, he stated that as common sense and ethics dictate that eating in such places is usually not tolerated let alone consuming fluid that contains alcohol.