Monrovia - Youth and Sports Minister Eugene Nagbe might not go unpunished for what appears to some Lawmakers as his denigrating response to the Senate Ad-hoc committee on Youth and Sport, after he was requested to appear before plenary to answer to concerns about the pending county sports meet.
The Senate Ad-hoc committee on Youth and Sports chaired by Senator George Weah (CDC-Montserrado County) was mandated by the Plenary of the Senate to investigate concerns raised by Senators Francis Paye of River Cess County about the ill preparedness of his county for the upcoming National Sport Meet.
The committee in its report to plenary stated that all attempts to communicate with the Youth and Sports Minister and his team to answer to some of the concerns raised by the counties about the pending event failed as the Minister, in return requested the committee to redirect its energy toward appropriating in the 2015/2016 National budget money that would help the youth and sports ministry organize and implement the National County Sports Meet.
Senator Weah's committee in its report to plenary stated that to its uttermost surprise, on the day of the hearing, communication from the Ad-hoc committee and the minister were published in the FrontPage Africa newspaper with headline “Renewed Rivalry” with both letters also displayed on Facebook.
The committee stated: “Distinguished colleagues, we wish to inform you that neither the office of the committee chair, nor any member of the Ad-hoc committee made any of those communications available to the newspaper or granted the interview.” “We consider the refusal of the Minister to attend the hearing, as an obstruction to the work of the Senate, and the publication of letters as a serious affront to the Senate and wish to request the Senate’s intervention in this matter.”
The committee also stated in its report that as part of its mandate it held meetings with Grand Bassa County sports Association and the county informed the committee that the ministry did not write any official letter about the National County Meet, but the minister had a Press conference about the opening of the county meet in March.
In Minister Nagbe’s communication, he claimed that he had received information from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning through the transmittal of the FY 2014/2015 National Budget, that the National legislature made absolutely no appropriation for the hosting of the 2014-2015, National County sports meet, something that made him respond the way he did to the committee’s communication.
Making remarks Thursday in plenary, Senator Weah who is chair of the Ad-hoc committee, said, his work on the committee as chair is nothing personal, but the reply from Minister Nagbe was an affront and that the minister was discourteous by allowing Senators to sit in committee room for hours without even placing a call to ask for excuses.
“Distinguished colleagues the only thing I can report to plenary is that Grand Bassa County is not ready, Liberia is not ready and as a committee we were told by counties representatives that the event be rescheduled for November and December of this year,” Senators Weah said. After presenting its report to Plenary of the Senate, the committee filed a motion for the Youth and Sports Minister to appear before plenary to answer to questions about why he should not be held in contempt for his action.
The motion was filed by Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson, but rejected by of some of the Senators who felt that bringing the Minister before Plenary is inappropriate and rather recommended that the committee do another communication to invite the Youth and sports minister but that amendment to the motion was rejected.
Fourteen Lawmakers present in Thursday’s session voted for the minister to appear before Plenary while 5 abstained from the process. Senators Conmany Wesseh of River Gee County, Varney Sherman, Grand Cape Mount County, Jewel Howard Taylor, Bong County and Steven Zargo Lofa County, members of the ad-hoc committee all abstained from the process on procedural reasons. Senators Jewel Taylor of Bong County, meanwhile, has filed a motion for reconsideration.