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05.01.2006 General News

Liberian National Assembly holds first session in Accra

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Accra, Jan 05, GNA - Members of the Liberian National Assembly on Thursday held their first session in Accra hosted by Ghana's Parliament. Ninety-four members of the Assembly made up of 30 Senators and 64 Representatives from the various parties and Independent Members were in the House to observe parliamentary proceedings in Ghana's legislature. Mr Freddie Blay, First Deputy Speaker presided over the joint session attended by leaders from both sides of House and some MPs. Before commencement of Public Business, Mr Alban Bagbin, Minority Leader sought clarification from the Speaker as to whether it was proper to proceed with business in the absence of the Mace.

He also wanted to know if work could proceed with the presence of "strangers" in apparent reference to the Liberian legislators and therefore moved a motion for the suspension of the Standing Orders to allow the Liberians to participate and for business to go on without the Mace.

Mr Osei Mensah-Bonsu, who stood up on a point-of-order, said the Minority Leader had requested for clarification on matters of parliamentary procedure and could therefore not move a motion but the Speaker ruled him out-of-order.

The Speaker's ruling gave way for commencement of the session with statements on the responsibilities/duties of MPs, the Standing Orders of the House and the workings of parliamentary committees. Most of the Liberian legislators in their contributions thanked Ghana for the role it played in helping to promote democracy as well as assistance to Liberia.

It was obvious that most of the Liberian Legislators were not conversant with the rules of parliamentary practice as some of them made interventions without being called to do so by the Speaker whilst others who wanted to contribute raise their hands instead of being on their feet.