Liberia: 'Declaring Economic, Financial Crisis Emergency Is Crazy'

-- Lawmaker Blasts

Even though the economy is shrinking and in crisis and the current financial stability or credit of the country is threatened, a Montserrado County lawmaker has termed the suggestion of declaring a Financial or Economic Emergency as 'crazy' and argued that such endeavors would not ease the pains of country's bad economy, but might further exacerbate it.

The Montserrado County District #1 Representative, Lawrence Morris, said the CDC-led government incredibly contributed to the burdensome economy when the ruling party endorsed and supported a sitting Representative whose term was still in its embryonic stage and as well as appointed a sitting Senator to the Supreme Court Bench, thereby creating two by-elections.

Rep. Morris told the Daily Observer in an exclusive interview on Tuesday that such a suggestion, communication or whatsoever logic should be thrown out the window against the communication from Rep. Dixon W. Seboe (Montserrado District #16), seeking the indulgence of the House of Representatives to request President George M. Weah to declare an Economic/Financial Emergency throughout the country.

An Economic/Financial Emergency is a situation in which the economy of a country experiences a sudden downturn brought on by a financial crisis. An economy facing an economic crisis will most likely experience a falling GDP, a drying up of liquidity and rising/falling prices due to inflation/deflation.

In his June 6 communication, Rep. Seboe said declaring a Economic or Financial Emergency will be in the best interest of the country and the Liberian people in general amid the deepening economic crisis.

"Article 37 of the 1987 Constitution clearly makes provision for how and when vacancy created in the Legislature, should be filled. Because of that provision, we have gone through a barrage of by-elections in our country's history, with particular notice on the frequent occurrences in recent years," the communication said.

"Honorable Speaker, Honorable Deputy Speaker, fellow colleagues, it is also important to state that the Constitution also speaks of the provocation of emergency of power by the President based on relevant prevailing situations as was done most recently during the 2014 Ebola crisis, resulting in the postponement of the midterm elections to a later date, among many other things."

The communication added: "Honorable Speaker, Honorable Deputy Speaker, fellow colleagues, based on the provision quoted above and considering the pronounced economic squeeze the country is enduring as even stated in the President's latest speech, I write to request that we as deputies of the people ask the President of the Republic to declare an Economic Emergency, which will thereafter lead to a resolution from the Legislature, for the sole purpose of postponing all other by elections that have been or may be due after the already scheduled July 2, 2019 by elections until the 2020 midterm elections."

His communication, following lengthy deliberations, was sent to the Committees on Judiciary, Elections and Inauguration, and Ways Means, Finance and Development Planning, to review and report within two weeks.

"Is he crazy? The holding of elections is by law whether general or by elections," Rep. Morris said. "Anything contrary to that must be legislated. More besides, any sound and any conscious government must not encourage its partisans to contest for other elected positions knowing fully well and being cognizant of the economic situations as well as knowing their own gaps in bringing the economy to equilibrium.

"It was encouraged and supported by the very ruling party to support someone from an elected position whose term was still in its embryonic stage, thus creating a vacancy. The CDC-led government has even created a vacancy by appointing someone from the Senate to the Supreme Court bench."

He added: "Were they not farsighted? This is ridiculous and whatever a man soweth, so shall he reap. Let the government always find the money to hold elections, we will not support Economic Emergency to postpone any by-elections."

He added: "Any and all immature and premature decisions have consequences, either serious or detrimental. We shouldn't encourage a bad precedence thus ignoring our own governance reforms and structures."

Meanwhile, a member of leadership, who asked to remain anonymous, said though the country is experiencing economic challenges, there is progress as the President has announced and have not reached a crisis point to warrant a state of emergency.

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