By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
Organizers of the much-publicized planned June 7 protest, under the banner ‘Council of Patriots’ (COP), have boycotted a planned meeting with the plenary of the Liberian Senate.
According to our Correspondent, the group took the decision on grounds that the Liberian Senate refused to open the meeting to the general public and the media.
The meeting which was arranged to be held within the plenary of the Liberian Senate at the Capitol building on Capitol Hill was as a result of the Liberian Senate request to meet with the organizers of the much talked about June 70 protest.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the disagreement, the group’s spokesperson, Abraham Darius Dillion said the meeting could not go on as planned because according to him the Liberian Senate refused to allow the press and the ordinary people into the meeting.
“Well, the Senate wanted to hold a closed session, but we said this issue has to do with the interest of the Liberian people and so, we wanted an open discussion with the media and the Liberian people,” Dillion said.
Dillon asserted that following their disagreement, the Liberian Senate has asked to revert to its chambers to reconsider its decision.
Dillon indicated that his group has promised to be open throughout this entire process of the planned June 7 protest; something which according to him prompted their refusal to go into closed door with the Liberian Senate.
“We have insisted throughout this period that we will do open dialogue because it is for the people. We want to erase any suspicious of anything about compromise, so, every discussion we will hold will be open to the public,” Dillon said.
The chief mouthpiece of the COP indicated that if the Liberian Senate really wish to have a meeting with the Council of Patriots, they are ready and prepared for an open discussion like in the case with the international community and President George Manneh Weah.
For his part, the Presiding officer of the Liberian Senate and the chair on the Senate committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Dan Morais confirmed that the meeting could not go on grounds that the meeting cannot go public.
Senator Morais said it was clear in the Senate’s communication to the Council of Patriots (COP) that there would have been a closed door meeting and that the fact that they appeared on the grounds of the Capitol building for the meeting, shows that they agreed to what was indicated in the communication.
“The communication to the Council of Patriots informed them that this interactive dialogue would have been held in executive session or closed door and my understanding is that the COP clearly understood our communication before honoring it,” Senator Morais said
The Presiding officer of the Liberian Senate stated that it was surprising to the Liberian Senate for the COP to come for the meeting and trying to request for an open meeting when they (COP) did not raised any issue with the communication.
Senator Morais said the decision of the Liberian Senate to hold the meeting behind closed doors was a plenary decision and as such; to reserve it should also come from the plenary.
“Our understanding was that our letter was fully understood by the Council of Patriots and so today they appeared but after the introduction, the Council of Patriots requested to have the press in the meeting and the position of the Liberian Senate was that this was intended to be in executive session. Now, to undo the position of plenary of the Liberian Senate, we have to revert to plenary,” Senator Morais told journalists.