MONROVIA, Montserrado – Members of the Liberian Senate unanimously voted last week to recall ambassador-designate to the United States, George Patten, to face a confirmation hearing.
Patten was nominated by President George Weah on December 29, 2018, and commissioned one day after without a confirmation hearing by the Senate. At the time of his appointment and commissioning, the legislature had officially closed its first session and was on its annual constituent break.
While the constitution allows the president to nominate ministers, ambassadors, and other officials of government, their approval and commissioning must take place with the consent of the Senate.
Following the president’s decision, many legal scholars, including the president of the Liberia National Bar Association, Tiawon Gongloe, condemned the president’s action.
Following a communication from Grand Bassa’s Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence drawing plenary’s attention to the apparent breach of the law, the Senate ordered its Committee on Foreign Affairs to probe Foreign Affairs Minister Gbehzohngar Findley on the president’s decision.
The motion for the lawmakers to recall the ambassador-designate was placed on the Senate’s floor on Thursday, January 31 by Maryland’s Senator Gbleh-bo Brown, after the Senate committee charged with the responsibility to investigate the matter presented its report. Brown said it was legally appropriate for Patten to return to the country and face the Senate for a confirmation hearing as provided for by law.
“He must come back to go through the proper proceeding in line with our rules and the law of the land,” he said.
“After the process of confirmation, the Senate will give its consent as to whether the ambassador is qualified to represent Liberia or not.”
The lawmaker further noted that they, as senators, will not be combative to the president or the other two branches of government, but they would stand their grounds to ensure that the integrity of the Senate is not compromised.
Featured photo by Ida Reeves