By Alva M. Wolokolie
Yesterday was a dramatic scene in the chambers of the House of Representatives when the Chairman on Executive, Rep. Blamoh Wesseh of Grand Kru County who was presiding ordered the Sergeant–At-Arms Brigadier General Martin Johnson to escort Montserrado County District # 8 Rep. Acarous Gray out of session.
It all started when the joint Committee on Health and Social Welfare and Judiciary presented the proposed Act to create the freedom of movement and protection for the blind and visually impaired in Liberia to plenary for passage into law.
The committee brought out its report with recommendations. There were cross sections of views with several lawmakers debating for the Act to be passed by plenary. The debate ended and there was time for votes to be taken after a motion was made and seconded.
When the votes were being taken, Montserrado County Representative Henry Fahnbulleh decided to file in a motion of reconsideration because he wanted to make an amendment to the motion before the votes be counted. He was recognized by the presiding officer Rep. Blamoh Wesseh but Rep. Gray was seen obstructing the comments of Rep. Fahnbulleh while he was on the floor pushing his point across to the presiding officer.
Rep. Gray was called to order by the presiding officer Rep. Blamoh Wesseh but he kept arguing from one point to another expressing his disagreement to the motion of reconsideration filed in by Rep. Fahnbulleh. Rep. Gray refused to take instruction from the presiding officer on grounds that the votes have already been taken and there should be no room for reconsideration. His argument got the entire chambers noisy and so the presiding officer had no option but to use the House Standing Rules by ordering him (Gray) outside in order to continue their normal session.
The Act which was passed addresses that blind and visually impaired people are entitled to freedom of movement as provided for in Articles 15 and 20 of the Liberian constitution. The bill explained that blind people should be afforded equal opportunity to participate fully in the political, social and economic life of the state, and to engage in remunerative employment.
It also says that blind people should be encouraged to take issue to the media, to make their services accessible; they should take part in decision making at national level, have equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges on carriers such as airplanes, motor vehicles, rail trains, boats, hotels places of public report among others. The bill is now expected to be forwarded to the President for approval and printing into handbook.