30 May 2017

Liberia: 'Illegal!'

Bomi County Senator, Cllr. Morris Saytumah has criticized an Executive order# 84 issued by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf pertaining to the management of the Liberia Fishery Resources.

The Liberian leader recently issued an Executive order# 84 which called for the transfer of the Liberia Fishery Resources from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Liberia Maritime Authority and the reduction of Liberia nautical miles from six to three.

But the former legal advisor in the office of President Sirleaf has shapely kicked against this executive order by his former boss, thus, an Act to establish the National Fisheries is already in the making and has such, this executive order in his mind is only trying to shortcut what is to be done legally.

"This executive order is illegal and improper because this is only trying to shortcut the Act to establish the National Fisheries and I have not seen where one will issued an executive order to triumph over a statute," Sen. Saytumah stressed.

The Bomi County lawmaker made the assertion Monday, May 29, 2017 on Capitol Hill during a public hearing organized by the Senate joint Committees on Maritime and Agriculture.

Sen. Saytumah indicated that he wonders why the President have to issue such executive order, adding if the President needed to have done such thing, she should have introduced the law submitting same to the legislature for enactment.

"The Liberia Fishery Resources was established by law under the Ministry of Agriculture and there is already a law in the making to make the National Fisheries it autonomous, so all I want to know is what the thinking was after this establishment was in process all the way and is almost done. If you wanted to do something, just establish the law and bring it here we will establish the institution," the Bomi County lawmaker maintained.

However, Unity Party lawmaker voiced that this executive order is in no way going to succeed because according to him the action on the part of President Sirleaf is illegal and improper and as such, the committee is going to ensure that the plenary of the Liberian Senate to summon the Minister of State to reasons behind the executive order.

At the same time, authorities of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) and the Ministry of Agriculture have denied ever having idea of the transfer of the sector during the hearing, noting that it was the decision of the President.

Meanwhile, the Director of Marine fishery at the Liberia Fishery Resources, Glassco Togba has disclosed that the issuing of the executive order is as a result of what he called internal wrangling between the Liberia Maritime Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture of taking over the fishery sector.

"Since the 1973 law was amended in 2010, we have been working but there has been this internal fight between the Liberia Maritime Authority and Ministry of Agriculture on who to take over the fishery industry," Director Togba disclosed.

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