Deputy House speaker Hans Barchue
New Split In House Over Adjournment
By Wilfred Gortor
MONROVIA, October 4 (LINA) – The House of Representatives is once more embroiled in controversy as a result of a decision taken Tuesday by Deputy House speaker Hans Barchue to adjourn the 5th Session of the 53rd Legislature.
Barchue's decision was countered by several of his colleagues, with Montserrado County Representative Josephine Francis now holding the gavel as the new presiding officer of the House.
The decision leading to the adjournment by Barchue was necessitated by what he termed “an affront to his leadership,” owing to a decision by Francis to earlier call the session to order with an agenda which Barchue said he did not endorse.
According Barchue, he had no knowledge as to whether the House had convened session in his absence as he was only notified by a staff minutes after Francis had asked the Sergeant-at-Arms to call the session to order.
He said he could not preside over a session particularly with an agenda that he did not approve, leading him to entertain a motion by Maryland County Representative James Biney for the body to adjoin.
But this did not deter Francis and other representatives as they continued the session in the absence of Barchue.
As enshrined in the rules of the House, in the absence of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, the Chair on Executive presides over the body, prompting Francis, who chairs the Executive, to continue the session.
Presiding over a total of 45 representatives as shown by the roll call, Francis entertained a motion from Montserrado County Representative Acarous Gray calling for the suspension of Barchue, who was accused of bringing the body to disrepute.
The body also agreed to honor a Writ of Prohibition from the Supreme Court placing a stay order on the election of a Speaker which should have taken place today.
Addressing journalists later, Barchue said the decision by the body is unconstitutional and a violation of the House's rules.