MONROVIA, Montserrado – Senate President Pro Tempore Albert Chie has constituted a five-person special Senate committee to investigate complaints by Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor that the Executive Branch has neglected to accord the adequate budgetary allocation, allowances, and benefits for her office.
In a communication which leaked to the press, Howard-Taylor lamented to the Senate that bills from her office have gone unpaid for the period 2018 to 2019, despite previously calling the Senate’s attention to her plight.
“Honorable President and members of the Liberian Senate,” she wrote. “I am constrained to write this communication to inform you of the continuing and seemingly intentional circumstances surrounding financial obligations due in support of my duties as vice president of the Liberian Senate.”
She added that since her previous letter on the matter, “unfortunately, I have patiently waited without any word and situation has not improved.”
The Special Senate Committee constituted to probe the vice president’s concerns includes Grand Bassa’s Sen. Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence as chair, Montserrado’s Sen. Darius Dillon, Grand Cape Mount’s Sen. Varney Sherman, River Gee’s Sen. Conmany Wesseh, and Bomi’s Sen. Sando Johnson.
The Senate was officially informed of Howard-Taylor’s communication during its Jan. 21 sessions when the pro temp formally constituted the committee to investigate the matter and to seek ways to resolve the issue with the Executive Branch.
Chie added: “The committee will coordinate between the institutions in the Executive to resolve the issue under consideration.”
Unlike Chie, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Bhofal Chambers, appeared less sympathetic with the vice president’s complaints.
In a statement released to the public, the speaker called on officials of the government to stop complaining about the challenges they were facing.
Members of Liberia’s civil society, including the Liberian Women Leaders Network, headed by former Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara, have also expressed concern over Howard-Taylor’s complaint of budgetary neglect. The group has since appealed to Pres. George Weah to intervene to ensure that the legislature functions effectively in the remaining years of his presidency.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah