Senate Passes Acts to Restructure LNP, BIN

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first_imgThe plenary of the Liberian Senate on its last day sitting before the Easter break, unanimously voted and passed into law the restructured Liberia National Police (LNP) Act and the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) Act of 2015, respectively.The two Acts were among several bills submitted last October and November to the Upper House by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for enactment into law, on the first day of the six weeks extended sitting expected from the suspension of their annual agriculture break which she requested of members of that body through a proclamation.In a letter accompanying the new Acts and read before plenary Thursday, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defense, Intelligence, Security and Veteran Affairs Stephen Zargo, informed his colleagues that members of his committee reached their decision urging for passage after initiating several public hearings with the full participation of current and past national security actors, civil society groups and representatives of the country’s foreign partners.“After various consultations and public hearings, I hereby present the final draft of the bill, the Liberia National Police Act and the Liberia Immigration Act, and therefore recommend to the honorable Senate the passage into law of these two most important national security bills,” Chairman Zargo noted in the brief letter.Proffering the motion for passage from his Gbarpolu County seat (as Vice President Joseph Boakai, President of the Senate presided), Pro Tempore Armah Jallah urged his colleagues to give the two Acts the third reading category which is the last gate before passage. His plea was granted unanimously.Members of the committee included Senators Morris Saytumah, Bomi; Jonathan Kaipay, Grand Bassa; Prince Y. Johnson, Nimba; Albert Chie, Grand Kru; Danile Naatehn, Gbarpolu; George Weah, Montserrado; H. Dan Morais, Maryland; Conmany Wesseh, River Gee; Francis Paye, Rivercess; Jewel Howard Taylor, Bong; J. Milton Teahjay, Sinoe, and Stephen A. Zargo, chairman.It may be recalled that in a letter dated October 30, 2015 addressed to Senators sitting in extended session, President Sirleaf informed the Legislature that the Liberia National Police (LNP) Act of 2015 puts into place the necessary legal framework of the establishment of the LNP as a semi-autonomous agency under the Ministry of Justice to be headed by an Inspector General of police. In keeping with the purpose of this new bill, President Sirleaf noted in her letter, “the LNP acting as an instrument of the state must provide an atmosphere of safety and security, protect lives and property and foster respect for human rights.” She asserted that it represents a significant milestone in the process leading to the UNMIL transition.President Sirleaf reminded the lawmakers that when signed into law, the Act will fulfill the commitment of the government to the United Nations Security Council towards a new police act approved prior to the September 2015 review of the UN Mission mandate in Liberia.With respect to the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) Act of 2015, President Sirleaf in her letter said passage of the Act into law replaces the Bureau of Immigration & Naturalization (BIN), which was established within the Ministry of Justice under Section 22.11, Sub-chapter (a), Chapter 22 of the Executive Laws; Chapter 12 of the Liberia Code of Law Revised; and Section 2.2 of the Alien Nationality Law of Liberia as amended is now repealed.The LIS Act of 2015 by passage shall now enforce all laws and regulations relating to immigration, citizenship, naturalization and related matters.In the Act submitted to the Senate, President Sirleaf emphasized that the LIS Act addresses policy issues that need to be in conformity with international standards. The issue of providing a clear heretical structure, decentralization of Liberia Immigration Service, respect for law, disciplined immigration officers, immigration officers or civilian personnel being subjected to civilian authority of a civilian complaint review commission, among others, were all cardinal points considered in this act, President Sirleaf noted.“Mr. Pro Tempore, in fulfillment of Liberia’s commitment to maintain a secure and stable country in the absence of UNMIL, and considering the improved governance and heretical structure outlined in the act, the LIS will iterate and transition into international surety standard in performance of its required immigration duties.”The passage of the two acts comes at a time when there are calls for the capitalization of the national security apparatus to avert any terrorist attack within the territorial confines of Liberia after the recent terrorist attack on a resort in neighboring La Cote d’Ivoire which left over a dozen killed.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


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first_img…but Granger downplays possible breakaway from coalitionChairman of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), President David Granger has downplayed the Alliance For Change’s (AFC) announcement that it is contemplating breaking away from the governing coalition to compete in the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE).However, General Secretary of the People’s National Congress (PNC), the leading party in the APNU coalition, Amna Ally, has made a contrary statement explainingAPNU and PNC leader, President David Grangerthat the APNU is prepared to contest the LGE without the AFC teaming up to contest with one ticket.Granger, who heads both the PNC and the APNU coalition of parties, brushed aside news that the AFC appeared prepared to run its own campaign at the local elections while running against his coalition. “I have seen reports that the AFC is contemplating the prospects of going it alone. When I get that letter if it ever comes, I will meet with AFC leader,” the President remarked.He continued, “We went into the coalition as a matter of principle and we believe that it good for Guyana. We believe that we have been able to introduce a new form of political cooperation based on inclusionary democracy and we can’t walk away from that at this point in time.”The President also ditched questions as to whether he would be concerned wereGeneral Secretary of PNC, Amna Allythe AFC to abandon the coalition to run alone as he reiterated the PNCR-led APNU’s commitment to coalition politics.“As far as the five-party partnership (APNU) is concerned, we shall go into the Local Government Elections, and the General and Regional Elections as a partnership. And we believe in coalition politics, it’s not just for political expedience. It is something we believe in that Guyanese need to come together in order to resolve the problems or political division and economic development,” the President said.ContradictingOn the other hand, however, Ally said she was disappointed with the statement made by the AFC which indicates that they may go it alone. She told the media on Wednesday, “Whichever way it goes, we are prepared to go with it. We are sorry that the AFC has taken such a position because like I said, we believe that we are better and stronger together. However, if that is how they feel, so be it.”Only recently, the APNU issued a press release in response to AFC’s announcement stating that its parties have agreed to vie for local elections as a united body. The party said this commitment was reaffirmed at meetings in September 2017 and January 2018. The other APNU members are the Guyana Action Party, the Justice For All Party; the National Front Alliance and the Working People’s Alliance.The APNU chair also reaffirmed this position on Wednesday when he told the media, “As I said we had two meetings at each level and we took a principled position and I don’t anticipate that will change.”The Head of State also noted that based on media reports, some voices of the AFC have called for a review of the Cummingsburg Accord. He said whenever he gets a correspondence in that regard from the Leader of the AFC Raphael Trotman, he will respond to it. “I have not received any such letter yet.”On Monday, the AFC announced that there is a possibility that the party may break away from the APNU for this year’s Local Government Elections. AFC Leader Raphael Trotman said there was “a strong opinion of body within the party that we should go alone.” However, in the same breath, he said there was another view that the AFC should seek to enter a new accord with the APNU.The party leader explained that the Cummingsburg Accord that was signed between the AFC and APNU in 2015 was just to facilitate the General Election and did not include local elections.The AFC has, of recent, come under fire for the perceived submissive role it played when it joined forces with APNU. In mid-November 2017, the top leadership of the AFC had decided to revise its governing agreement with its coalition partner. This decision was taken after the AFC – the smaller of the two groups forming the Government – was accused of being coerced by its large partner.last_img read more