House Speaker Chambers Calls on United States to Increase Support to Liberia
Monrovia – The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr. Bhofal Chambers has called on the United States Government to render more support to Liberia’s development just as it did for Western and Southern Europe after World War II through the Marshall Plan.
The Marshall Plan, also called the European Recovery Program, was a U.S.-sponsored program designed to rehabilitate the economies of 17 western and southern European countries including Britain, France, Germany and Italy in order to create stable conditions in which democratic institutions could survive in the aftermath of World War II.
Speaking at the opening of the 5th Session of the 54th Legislature on Monday at the Capitol, Speaker Chambers said, in observance of Liberia’s Bicentennial – 200 years since the formation of Liberia by Americans- the United States, as Liberia’s closest ally, should increase its support to the country in similar way it did for the Europeans.
“America, in our view must now turn its light on Liberia,” he said. “It is shining on Liberia but it should shine brighter. So, I would say that the Marshall plan delivered Europe. We need a kind of relationship with the United States to also have a semblance of the Marshall Plan. I hope this Bicentennial program will put Liberia in that category.”
With that said, the Speaker joined former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who, in her capacity as the spokesperson of the three countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone) that were heavily affected by Ebola from 2014-2016, called on the West and the United Nations to develop a sort of a Marshall Plan to help the countries recover from the economies woes created by the epidemic.
The Speaker’s message at the event attended by US and EU diplomats, also comes in the wake of staunch effort being exerted by the George Weah’s administration to gain support from Washington and other western allies.
Since its ascendancy, the CDC-government has often been taunted by the opposition and critics for not doing enough to attract more support from the US. As the administration’s six-year mandate moving fast to its twilight stage, and with President Weah yet to be invited for an official state visit to Washington, the pressure continues to heat on the government to gain more favor from its traditional ally.
‘No Bad Blood’
Meanwhile, the Speaker pledged the House’s commitment in working with the Senate to serve and represent the Liberian people well. He joined the President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Albert Chie in downplaying the ongoing stalemate between the Senate and the House over a constitutional interpretation over Article 34(I) of the Constitution of Liberia which states, “All revenue bills, whether subsidies, charges, imports, duties or taxes, and other financial bills, shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.
The stalemate started when the House, in November 2021 declined to act on a mineral development agreement passed by the Senate and forwarded to it on grounds that the Senate was usurping its functions. The Senate, then flew to the Supreme Court to interpret the clause. The High Court’s ruling is still pending.
However, the two leaders, speaking in separate remarks at the event said the move signifies that Liberia’s democracy is being matured and strengthened, and should not portrayed as a feud.
Said Speaker Chambers: “With all sincerity, the Legislature should complement each other. We have the right to initiate budget based on Article 35 of the constitution. We initiate budget and financial instruments, and our colleagues (the Senate) will act on them.”
He continued: “So our colleagues have the exclusive rights to try impeachment. They confirm presidential nomination exclusively. It is good that we have the Supreme Court to be the final arbiter. It is good that we have these engagements. They strengthen democracy and we look for the interpretation by the Supreme Court, and we will live with that interpretation.”