Liberia: Senate Tables Public Health Law Debate

The Liberian Senate ended its special session on Tuesday, 5 September, as the body tabled the much anticipated revised public health law debate.

There has been mounting pressure from religious and anti-abortion groups calling on the Senate to scrab the portion of the bill that legalizes abortion.

Senate Pro-tempore Albert Chie told fellow Senators that the revised Public Health Law was discussed informally by the Senate and that the debate will continue upon Senators’ return in the last quarter of this year.

The Liberian Senate has adjourned its special session which was convened on 22 August 2023 to consider time-bound matters of national interest in line with Article 32(b) of the 1986 Constitution.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Albert Tugbe Chie announced the closure of the special session on Tuesday, 5 September 2023.

“We have now come to the end of the Special Session. I thank you, distinguished colleagues for attending the session and participating positively in the agenda items which were introduced,” Mr. Chie said.

The Grand Kru County Senate explained that some of the crucial agenda items approved by the Senate Plenary for the Special Session were achieved.

He said the Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission was cited to provide an update on its readiness to conduct a transparent and impartial elections process in October.

Chie stated that the Senate was informed that the Commission is ready, and that the government has provided adequate funding for the process and deployment of personnel and logistics will be done on time.

He continued that the Senate received briefing from the Minister of Public Works regarding the progress on road rehabilitation of the primary corridors leading to the ‘Southeast and other places around the country, which have become a national emergency.

“The Senate noted that process is very, very slow and the roads are still very deplorable. The Minister committed to double up and deploy more manpower and logistics on the corridors,” he said.

Pro-Tempore Chie detailed that the Public Works Minister also pointed out that most of the contractors on those corridors have failed in the implementation of the contracts despite receiving payments from the Ministry of Finance.

Further, he said complaints were filed over and over with the Ministry of Justice to investigate these complaints and pursue the relevant legal action.

Mr. Chie said the Senate has ratified the Amended and Restated Mineral Development Agreement between the Republic of Liberia and the Bea Mountain Mining Company to continue to develop gold resources in Western Liberia.

The amendment contains improved revenue and benefits to the Government and people of the host communities.

He said the confirmation process for the seven nominated commissioners of the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission was concluded and they were confirmed by the Liberian Senate.

“However, Plenary mandated me not to communicate the results to the Executive until all financial obligations for the unexpired portion of the tenure of the former commissioners who were not maintained on the new Board of Commissioners are settled by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning,” Chie reported.

Further, Pro-Tempore Chie stated that the Senate also discussed the issue of security, mandated investigation of the reported breach of information dissemination protocol at the Roberts International Airport and deliberated on other issues of national interest.

On the sideline of the session, Chie said the remains of Senator Daniel Flomo Naatehn, were interred, with full participation of the Senate, with very heavy hearts.

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