Source: FrontPage Africa
|Dr. Byron Tarr|
The Bassa Caucus of the National Legislature along with the Superintendent of the County have reportedly railroaded the appointment of Dr. Byron Tarr as Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy throwing a monkey ranch in President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s quest to fill a key void in her government in the aftermath of her recent decision to send all but one of her Cabinet ministers on Administrative leave.
FrontPageAfrica has reliably learnt that Dr. Tarr was already offered the coveted post to fill the shoes of Eugene Shannon at the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy but according to sources, some members of the Bassa Caucus led by Senator Gbezonga Finley along with Superintendent Julia Duncan Cassell are said to be against the move.
Tarr, according to sources has been encouraged to begin lobbying members of the caucus who reportedly had issues with his appointment. However, Tarr has rejected suggestions that he seek the good graces of the caucus. Tah was a vocal critic of the Liberian Agricultural Company's presence in the county and both Findley and Cassell were advocates.
This is not the first time that Dr. Tarr has been subjected to controversy regarding a ministerial appointment. It can be recalled, that Dr. Tarr, regarded as one of Liberia’s foremost economic experts, was nominated as Minister of Finance during the Interim Government of National Unity(IGNU) reign but did not make it through confirmation.
The Tarr dilemma leaves at least for now a vaccum in President Sirleaf’s quest to complete the reconfiguration of her Cabinet.
|Superintendent Julia Duncan Cassell|
To date, at least ten ministers have been recalled back to the government with at least four not likely to return: Former Minster of Lands, Mines and Energy Eugene Shannon, Saytumah, NIC boss Richard Tolbert and Former Foreign Minister Banke King Akerele. Akerele, addressing her departure for the first time in a statement issued in Monrovia last Thursday night defended her legacy saying: “If anything, hers is a legacy of hard work; demanding high standards of responsibility, accountability and performance. She has little patience for non-performance. She has often times, without hesitation, put in her own personal funds when GOL resources have not been available pending reimbursement.” Speculations have surfaced in recent weeks that the former head of the Interim Government of National Unity(IGNU) Professor Amos Sawyer has been offered the high-profile Foreign Minister post and a decision could come as early as this week.
Still left hanging is on-leave Ministers of Gender Varbah Gayflor; Labor Minister Tiawan Gongloe; Minister of Transport Alphonse Gaye; Information Minister Cletus Sieh, Minister of Health Dr. Walter Gwenigale and the Minister of National Security, Victor Helb. Also the Minster of Post and Telecommunications Jeremiah Sulunteh; General Services Agency Director Willard Russel and Commerce Minister Miatta Beysolow.
Multiple reports in recent days suggest that Gongloe may be headed to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications and replaced by Jeremiah Sulunteh at Labor but those plans have taken a back seat in the wake of Gongloe's recent criticism of the President's decision to send her entire Cabinet on administrative leave. FrontPageAfrica has learned that Gayflor is still on the bubble with multiple sources suggesting that she could replace Davis as Minister of State Without Portfolio. Miatta Fahnbulleh is said to be under consideration for the post of Gender Minister.
The President had told reporters following her recent return from the United States that her Cabinet reconfiguration would have been completed by the end of last week. Said Sirleaf: “I will make a statement on that once I have the chance to review the situation and talk with all of those concerned, I will explain to the Liberian public what we are doing and what we are trying to achieve.”
The latest glitch in Sirleaf’s completion of her Cabinet reconfiguration validate concerns about the influence hanger-ons and party loyalists continue to have on Presidential actions. When the President sent her entire Cabinet on administrative leave shortly before her departure, it caught many off guard and gave those looking to make the case for why some should be excused from the presidential mandate very little room to do so.
Just before the President’s return home, reports surfaced that many loyalists traveled to Accra, Ghana where the President was in transit to convince her to keep certain ministers in her Cabinet. Although the President denied the reports, many are now citing the Tarr example as a case in point.