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Senate Concludes Retreat… Promises A Robust And Rebranded Upper-House

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By: Patrick Cooper

BUCHANAN: The Liberian Senate under the leadership of President pro-tempore, Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, has concluded its first retreat in Buchanan, Grand Bassa.

Opening the retreat with a special statement on Friday, June 7, 2024, at the Buchanan City Hall, Pro-tempore Karnga Lawrence noted that that it has always been her ardent goal to see reform of the Liberian Senate, which will only reflect the interest of the country and its citizens.

She said as President-Pro- Tempore of the Liberian Senate of the 55th Legislature, she sincerely seeks to work with all her colleagues in creating a framework that will ensure transparency and accountability, and to make the Senate accountable to the people.

She mentioned that at the beginning of her administration, she proposed to initiate some critical measures and with the support of members of the Senate, leading to requesting the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to audit the Senate.

“The GAC in response indicated that it needed to firstly conduct a comprehensive system and controls review, an exercise it has successfully concluded,” she noted.

According to her, the system review targets instituting an operating system to include financial and administrative measures: accounting system, chart of accounts, general and subsidiary ledgers, financial operation manual, bank reconciliation, procurement processes, travel ordinances, etc.

“Upon being institutionalized, the framework will place the Senate in a position to be audited annually or biennially,” she maintained.

The Grand Bassa County Senator thanked her colleagues for their support and cooperation in working towards the roadmap to realizing the senate`s vision.

According to her, she cannot implement the anticipated reform agenda without the support of all of her colleagues and the workings of all committees.

She encouraged every senator to leave the Bassa retreat with a more robust spirit of ensuring that the right decisions are made and the right actions are taken with transparency and accountability.

Madam Lawrence reminded her colleagues that their presence in the retreat is a call for a forward match regardless of political affiliation.
“So many lives depend on what we say and do, and we must impact the lives of our people, in every part of Liberia,” she disclosed.

Also making a brief remark, Dr. Mcdena Mensah, who represented vice President Jeremiah Kpan Koung, described the senate`s retreat as a renewed hope to Liberians who especially look toward the senate to better their lives.
He encouraged senators on behalf of VP Koung to unite on the issues that bother the ordinary people despite the political differences.

Dr. Mensah thanked Pro-tempore Karnga Lawrence for what he described as good leadership displayed and encouraged her to continue to work with all senators in keeping the touch of leadership.

The retreat which began from Thursday, June 6, to Sunday, June 9, 2024, was held under the theme: “Ensuring a robust senate oversight.” It was focused on six (6) key bullet points for consideration.

Review and amendment of the rules, financial management reforms, modernization and digitalization, security and access control, and national compliance policy and resource extraction models were all areas capture for the senate four (4) day’s retreat.

In a closing remark on behalf of the senate, Margibi County Senator J. Emmanuel Nuquay thanked the President pro-tempore for her leadership in taking the senate for its first retreat in other to brainstorm on issues important matters which will eventually produce a new senate for the people of Liberia.

He told Journalists that with all of the deliberations made and other recommendations, the senate is now returning to Monrovia with a renewed hope and vigor to do what is right in the interest of the citizens.

Also, Senators J. Bleh-bo Brown of Maryland Counties and Momo Cyrus of Lofa expressed optimism in the outcome of the retreat.

Both senators told newsmen that the essence of gathering as senators was to look around those issues confronting the Country and how they as elders of the land, can find best ways forward for the common good of the country.

The two senators described the retreat as successful, and noted that all outcomes of the retreat were not final but set the way for a more easier path.

The retreat however, ended with a thanksgiving service at the Worldwide Church in Buchanan in appreciation to senators for electing a daughter of Grand Bassa County as President pro- tempore of the Liberia senate.

The thanksgiving service saw several senators in attendance including Abraham Darius Dillon, Edwin Melvin Snowe, Debbah M. Varpilah, Botoe Kanneh, Nathaniel F. McGill, Bill Twehway, Augustine Chea, and the Pro-tempore emeritus Albert T. Chie.

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