‘I Was Implementing the President’s Mandate’: Controversial Liberia Envoy to US Tells Senate
Henry Karmo [email protected]
Monrovia – Mr. George Pattern, the man nominated by President George Manneh Weah to represent the Diplomatic interest of the Republic of Liberia in the United States of America has apologized to the Liberian Senate for taking up assignment without going through Senate confirmation.
Appearing before the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Thursday, the controversial diplomat, responding to a question from Senator Oscar Cooper(NPP, Margibi County) about why he advised president Weah to violate the constitution when he was nominated and commissioned to represent Liberia without facing senate confirmation, Mr. Pattern promised to write a formal letter of apology although he said he was implementing the President’s mandate.
Asked if the situation surrounding his nomination as Ambassador has caused him embarrassment, Mr. Pattern said, “no, I haven’t been embarrassed; I was implementing the mandate of the president.”
Ambassador Patten was commissioned by President Weah on December 29, 2018, replacing Cllr. Lois Brutus while the Legislature was on its annual recess.
His commissioning came under heavy criticism because it by-passed the constitutional procedure as enshrined in Article 54 of the Liberian Constitution.
Senate Votes for Recall
The Senate took a decision on Thursday, January 31, to vote in favor of a motion to recall Patten. The body’s plenary took the decision because they believed the Ambassador’s commissioning was unlawfully done by the Executive branch.
The Executive Mansion had explained that the President’s decision was based on Rule 55 of the Liberian Senate which gives the him the authority to appoint officials of the Executive during their recess. However, Rule 55 further calls on the President to refer said appointment(s) to the Senate after their break for confirmation and appointment where necessary.
The issue prompted the Senate Plenary to charge its Committees on Foreign Affairs and Judiciary with the responsibility to investigate, a concern raised by Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence (Liberty Party, Grand Bassa) expressing concerns about Mr. Pattern’s commissioning as ambassador without facing the Senate for confirmation.
Mr. Pattern’s recall came after his letter of accreditation had already been accepted by US president Donald Trump. The ceremony took place in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. on Friday, January 11, 2019 when President Trump accepted the letter of accreditation from President Weah “with great pleasure” and extolled the special relationship that exists between Liberia and the United States of America, which he says is “stronger now than ever”.
Mr. Pattern’s appointment has been buoyed in controversy since he was commissioned and Dispatched to the US without going through a Senate confirmation.
The decision by President Weah to name and subsequently commissioned the diplomate drew criticism across the country and the Diaspora with many urging the United States government to reject his nomination.
Representative Yekeh Kolubah(Independent, Montserrado County District #10) wrote the United States Government requesting them to deny Mr. Pattern’s Letter of Credence, because of constitutional violations committed by President George Weah.
The lawmaker, in a letter to the US. Ambassador to Liberia Christine Elder, referred to Mr. Patten’s appointment as “fake” and should therefore be revoked.
Ambassador Pattern previously served in various diplomatic missions, including Ambassador to Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Uganda, the African Union and Charge D’Affaires, A.I at the United Nations.