BUCHANAN, Grand Bassa – A group of lawmakers from both houses of the legislature has concluded a two-day review session on the land rights bill in Buchanan.
According to the acting chairman of the joint committee, Rep. Clarence Massaquoi, the review session is intended to look at some critical clauses within the draft bill to allow for its speedy passage.
The meeting was held at Dekontee Village near Buchanan with support from the United Nations Development Programme.
Massaquoi noted that the joint committee converged in Buchanan over the weekend to critically examine the draft land rights bill, taking into consideration that most conflicts in Liberia now have to do with management and ownership of land.
“As it stands, the government owns the land throughout the length and breadth of this country,” Massaquoi told The Bush Chicken. “This law seeks to apportion ownership of the land to the community members so that they have a role to play in the management. So that is the draft law we are looking at to give it a closer look and subsequently continue with the deliberations in Monrovia in our respective chambers.”
The acting chairman explained that it is necessary for the law to not only address existing conditions but that lawmakers should also consider its future implications.
“We do not want to solve one problem – that is to create a law – and then the creation of the law creates more problems,” Massaquoi added. “So we are taking our own time but I can assure the Liberian people that this law is given every due consideration.”
He said the Legislature had hired the Pierre, Tweh and Associates law firm to assist in preparing the bill.
“I am not sure that we can pass this law next week, but it will be passed very soon,” said the lawmaker from Lofa’s third district. “I am sure that we can pass this law reasonably before the closure of the current sitting of the National Legislature.”
The Land Rights Act has been lingering at the legislature since its submission in December 2014. Citizens and special interest groups have been calling on the National Legislature for its speedy passage.
Featured photo courtesy of David Stanley