Senators Divided Over Bill

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…To Cancel Ex-Presidents Birthdays

By: Necus M. Andrews

Members of the Liberian Senate have expressed diverse views over a Bill calling for the cancellation of ex-Liberian Presidents Joseph Jenkins Roberts and William V.S. Tubman Birthdays.

The bill wants the two former presidents’ birthdays observed as national holidays cancelled; and instead, be observed as working holidays.

Introduced by the Senate’s Judicial Committee, the bill is opting for the repeal of legislations that gave rise to the observance of these two birthdays, and a single day to be prescribed to be known as Presidents’ Day to holistically recognize former and current presidents of Liberia.

Our reporter said the reading of the bill provoked heated argument between supporting and opposing senators who had different views to justify their positions.

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Senator Stephen J.H. Zargo of Lofa County said the bill was timely because it would enhance trade and commerce in the country.

Senator Zargo told his colleagues opposing the bill that there were too many holidays in the country, and that there is a need for some to be reduced to save the country from economy loses.

“We are becoming too lazy in this country with these too many holidays; we need to reduce some of them and save the state. What do we do on these holidays?” Senator Zargo questioned.

Senator Jim Tornonlah of Margibi County said he sees no significant benefits to the country from these birthdays that only recognized two presidents out of many who should equally be recognized.

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Another supporting Senator, Francis S. Paye of River Cess County said no one president who served the country is more important than others, as such; Presidents Roberts and Tubman birthdays should be repealed and one bill that recognizes all presidents’ efforts be passed.

For Senator Daniel Naathan of Gbarpolu County, he sees the bill as undermining the foundation for the existence of Liberia as a nation.

Senator Naathan said for people to be thinking on repealing a law that shows appreciation to the founding fathers of the country is a sufficient ground of erasing the country’s historical foundation.

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Senators Dallas AV. Gueh, Oscar Cooper, Armah Jallah, Alphnso Gaye, J. Gleb-bo Brown, H. Dan Morrias, Milton Teahjay and others disagreed with the bill because according to them, it would do disservice to those presidents who laid the foundation for the country.

Our reporter said following an endless debate on the issue, a motion to return the bill back to committee room for the incorporation of other senators’ views was enough to end the debate.

The Committee has been mandated by plenary to relook at the bill within two weeks and for resubmission to plenary.

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