Promoting Responsive, Effective Government: US Congressional Delegation in Liberia This Week
Monrovia – A Congressional delegation from the United States will visit Liberia on October 8 and 9, 2019. The U.S. legislators, traveling with the House Democracy Partnership (“HDP”), will be led by the HDP Chairman, Representative David Price of North Carolina. The delegation also includes Representative Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, Representative Barbara Lee of California, Representative Diana DeGette of Colorado, and Representative Alma Adams of North Carolina.
Price, chairman of the HDP, represents North Carolina’s 4th congressional district since 1997, previously holding the position from 1987 to 1995.
Mullin, a businessman, and former professional mixed martial arts fighter, represents Oklahoma’s 2nd congressional district serving since 2013.
The delegation’s visit comes at a time when the Speaker of the House of Representatives Bhofal Chambers is being accused of delaying discussions on the controversial War and Economic Crimes Court bill. The Speaker last week announced that members of the Legislature need more time to consult their respective constituents before considering the endorsement of a war and economic crimes court in Liberia.
Lee, represents California’s 13th Congressional district, serving since 1998. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district, numbered the 9th District from 1998 to 2013. She is the first woman to represent the district.
Lee is also the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and the current Whip and former Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She is the Vice Chair and a founding member of the LGBT Equality Caucus. Lee has been a hero among many in the antiwar movement, notable for her vocal criticism of the war in Iraq war and for being the only member of Congress to vote against the authorization of use of force following the September 11, 2001.
DeGette, represents Colorado’s 1st congressional district, serving since 1997, and a Chief Deputy Whip. She is a member of the Democratic Party. The district is based in Denver.
Adams, represents North Carolina’s 12th congressional district. A college administrator and art professor from Greensboro, Adams is known for the many distinctive hats that she wears (she claims to own 900).
The mission of the U.S. House Democracy Partnership is to promote responsive, effective government and to strengthen democratic institutions by assisting legislatures in emerging democracies. Central to their work is peer-to-peer cooperation to build technical expertise in partner legislatures and enhance accountability, transparency, legislative independence, access to information, and government oversight. The HDP initiated a legislative partnership with the Legislature of Liberia in July 2006 to deepen bilateral relations and foster collaboration between U.S. and Liberian legislators on issues common to both countries.
The Speaker of the Liberian House of Representatives, the Honorable Bhofal Chambers, along with other members of the Liberian legislature, will host the U.S. delegation on Capitol Hill, where they will learn about Liberian legislative priorities and consult on legislative procedures and structures that enhance representative governance. They will also meet with His Excellency President George M. Weah and members of his Cabinet as well as civil society and non-governmental organizations.
On Tuesday, October 8th at 4 p.m., the delegation will participate in a Community Media Forum that will be broadcast live on the U.S. Embassy’s Facebook page. The Embassy invites interested Liberians to join this event online. On the morning of Wednesday, October 9, members of the delegation will be interviewed live on ECOWAS radio.
The House Democracy Partnership (HDP) is a bipartisan, twenty-member commission of the U.S. House of Representatives that works directly with partner countries around the world to support the development of effective, independent, and responsive legislative institutions.
Established by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2005, HDP uses peer-to-peer exchange programs, training seminars for members and staff, and targeted material assistance to build capacity in key areas such as legislative oversight, budget analysis, committee operations, constituent relations, and library and research services. Its singular focus on the legislative branch of government and its unique ability to bring together American legislators and their peers from around the world have made the commission a valuable forum for strengthening democratic institutions and deepening bilateral relations.
The delegation’s visit comes at a time when the Speaker of the House of Representatives Bhofal Chambers is being accused of delaying discussions on the controversial War and Economic Crimes Court bill.
The Speaker last week announced that members of the Legislature need more time to consult their respective constituents before considering the endorsement of a war and economic crimes court in Liberia.
Speaker Chambers made the pronouncement following Friday’s session when he reportedly removed from the agenda the resolution signed by 50 members of the House of Representatives calling for the establishment of an extraordinary criminal court in Liberia to try those who are believed to have committed heinous crimes between 1979 and 2003 – the period of civil unrest in Liberia.
The resolution, championed by Representatives Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis (Monsterrado Co. District #4), Chairperson of the Committee on Claims and Petition and Larry P. Younquoi (Nimba Co. District #8), Chairman on Governance was officially endorsed on Thursday, October 3 at the Duport Road Memorial in Paynesville, hosting the remains of thousands of massacre victims of the civil war.