No Mercy For Sick Tyler – Removal Likely Before Agriculture Break

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Monrovia – House of Representatives Speaker Alex J. Tyler once an emerging politician-serving as Speaker for over nine years; forming his new political party, the Liberia People Democratic Party (LPD) where he made some nationalistic statements, threatening to ensure that people do not use Liberia as a farm, has seen so dip in his political career within the last few months beginning with his indictment by the State on multiple criminal offences, pressured to recused himself as Speaker and now at the verge of complete removal from his position.

Speaker has already been granted a week long sick leave by the Judge of Criminal Court C, Emery Paye after the Speaker made a formal request to the court indicating that his medical condition is not favorable to enable him appear in court. 

“The recused Speaker informed your honor and this honorable court of his medical condition and request that he be granted two weeks to seek medical treatment abroad,” stated the letter written on behalf of the Speaker by his legal counsel Cllr. Johnny Momo.

The Judge of the Court responded to the Speaker’s request through the Clerk granting the Speaker a leave away from court.

The court in its response to the Speaker’s communication, under the signature of the Clerk of the Court, Knowles Shain, stated: “His honor Emery Paye, assigned Circuit Judge of the Criminal Court “C”has ordered me to inform you that your request to the court seeking permission for co-defendant Alex Tyler to travel abroad for medical treatment is hereby granted and he is given up to September 20, 2016 to return to Liberia.”

No mercy from colleagues

While the court has granted the Speaker Tyler leave, his colleagues some with whom has worked for over nine years seem to have no mercy for their longtime friend, refusing to grant him and excuse.

“I present my compliments and inform you that I will be traveling out of the country for my medical checkup which is overdue.

I will be leaving on Tuesday, September 6 and shall be away for six weeks. These letters serve as my excuse from plenary”, Speaker Tyler requested in his communication to his colleagues.

But upon reading the Speaker’s request, his colleagues failed to discuss and decide on the matter with the Presiding Officer, Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue taking charge of the matter to avoid full discussion by plenary.

With reports that the Speaker is possibly out of the country in line with his one week leave granted by the court, legislative sources have hinted that Tyler’s colleagues are resolved on removing him as speaker through a 2/3 majority decision.

Removal not contingent on presence

One lawmaker confided in FrontPageAfrica that Speaker Tyler’s removal is not contingent on his presence.

“The recused speaker is set to be removed from office before the close of session by the end of the month”, the influential lawmaker who spoke on basis of anonymity told FPA.

When quizzed about the speaker removal in his absence one lawmaker close to the removal process indicated that the only thing necessary was the conduct of the speaker due process hearing.

According to the lawmaker, the Supreme Court of Liberia has provided that in order to remove a speaker he is entitled to constitutional due process like the case of Edwin Snowe vs some members of the House of Representatives.

During the removal of former Speaker Edwin Snowe, the Supreme Court defined due process as notice and opportunity to be heard.

One lawmaker said Speaker Tyler was cited for hearing on two occasions by a committee set up by the House of Representatives relating to charges brought by Representative Henry Fahbulleh.

The investigative committee headed by a former ally of Speaker Tyler, Representative J. Byron Brown accordingly invited the Speaker for hearing but he failed to show up on two separate occasions, which the lawmakers said meant the Speaker waived his rights to due process.

One lawmaker said witnesses were sworn in and testimony taken as evidence and the Committee has now submitted its report to plenary.

Several lawmakers said it is now only left for plenary to act by introducing the resolution and adopting the Investigative Committee report which accordingly included a recommendation to remove the Speaker.

 Article 49 of the Liberian Constitution provides: “The House of Representative shall elect once every six years a Speaker who shall be the presiding officer of that body, a Deputy Speaker, and such other officers as shall ensure the proper functioning of the House.

The speaker, the Deputy Speaker and other officers so elected may be removed from office for cause by resolution of a two-thirds majority of the members of the House”.

Currently there are 73 members of the 53rd National Legislature and a two-third of that number will be 49 lawmakers.

During the impasse for the recusal of Speaker Tyler, the anti-Tyler bloc claimed that it already had 46 lawmakers willing to sign the resolution for removal.

Since the Speaker recused himself, it is reported that more lawmakers have deflected to the anti-Tyler bloc as their leader has already lost the fight.

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