By Jackson C. Clay, Jr.
A Bill seeking to establish a single day called ‘Presidents’ Day’ has suffered serious setback in the plenary of the Liberian Senate.
The Bill which has long lingered in the corridors of the Liberian Senate was submitted by former Bong County Senator now Vice President of Liberia, Jewel Howard Taylor.
Following the exit of Vice President Taylor from the Liberian Senate, the Bill was resubmitted by River Cess County Senator Francis Paye and was subsequently turned over to the Senate committee on Judiciary, Claims, Human Rights and Petition for perusal and advice the plenary on further action.
The committee, during Thursday’s sitting of the ongoing extraordinary session submitted its report to plenary for action, but was highly criticized by many Senators.
The committee’s report which was read in open plenary was opened for discussion at which time many senators expressed dissatisfaction in the Bill.
Those who were totally against the Bill were Senators Alphonso Gaye, Daniel Naatehn, Armah Jallah, Dan Morais, Mathew Jaye, and Dallas Gueh among others of Grand Gedeh, Gbarpolu, Maryland, River Gee and River Cess Counties respectively.
Senator Naatehn said the Bill is only trying to erase the country’s cultural heritage and its history and as such the Bill does not mean well for the country.
For his part, Senator Oscar Cooper said though he’s not against the Bill, but he thinks that it is wrong to cancel the two Presidents’ birthdays that are already in the history of the country as a national holiday.
According to him, those two presidents made significant contributions to the country. Senator Nyonblee Karngar Lawrence stated that the decision of every first Saturday in the month needs to be looked at because it also hurts the country’s economy as well if those two days are also hurting already broken Liberian economy. She says there is no reasons why those days should be cancelled and being celebrated as working holidays.
The Bill, when passed into law would automatically see the cancellation of Joseph Jenkins Roberts and Williams V S Tubman birthdays and would only be celebrated as working holidays.
Presidents’ Day would be widely celebrated as a national holiday so as to appreciate all past leaders of the country.
Meanwhile, the plenary of the Liberian Senate has returned the Bill to its committees on Human Right, Claims and Petitions and Judiciary for proper scrutiny and be submitted in January of next year during the second session of the 54th legislature.