GENERAL PRINCIPLES (Federation of Liberian Associations in Canada)
The general principles of the Federation shall provide the fundamentals and establish the framework for a democratic, collaborative, efficient and effective governance mechanism for Liberian Associations across Canada as well as seek the general welfare of the general Liberian community at all times. Thus, these established principles shall serve as the blueprint for the overall creation of specific policies, procedures and processes for implementation of governance structure including legal, legislative and administrative undertakings.
The Federation shall at all times promote, enhance and/or initiate endeavours for the integration, unification and reconciliation of the Liberian Community in Canada either directly or indirectly.
The Federation shall at all times promote, enhance, preserve and protect authentic Liberian culture norms and practices including history and traditions, which are consistent with the development of the Liberian Community in Canada.
The Federation shall at all times ensure the prevention of the abuse of power, misuse of public and community resources and various forms of corruption as a self – guiding principle as well as within the Liberian Community across Canada and elsewhere as appropriate.
The Federation shall at all times engage, mobilize and facilitate financial, material and human resources much needed at home and abroad for the benefit of all Liberians as appropriate.
The Federation shall at all times ensure the creation of a constructive platform for critical examination, dialogue and peaceful resolution of local, national and international issues that have direct impact on the Liberian Community primarily in Canada and elsewhere.
The Federation shall at all times uphold and defend the principles of freedom, liberty, justice and all other forms of human rights.
The Federation shall develop, advocate and engage in activities and processes demonstrative of good governance and democratic principles under the rule of law.
The Federation shall promote, cultivate and harness the industry of Liberians in Canada, seek investments opportunities for Liberia from Canada, and actively engage in the reconstruction or sustainable development efforts to the full benefit of all Liberians.
The Federation shall ensure that equal opportunities are provided to all Liberians and all forms of discrimination and preferential consideration are denounced and/or eliminated.
The Federation shall at all times be the official spokesperson and representative of Liberians and their various communities and organizations in Canada at both the local and international levels.
We as citizens, descendants and people of Liberian ancestry, now residing in Canada, conscious of the critical need for integration and unity as a community to provide for our common good, and empowerment for political, social and economic development of the Liberian community in Canada and our ancestral homeland, do hereby ordain and establish this Constitution as the guiding principle for the Federation of Liberian Associations in Canada, our umbrella organization.
NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION
The proposed name of this organization shall be The Federation of Liberian Associations in Canada hereinafter also referred to as FLAC or the Federation.
The tagline/motto of the Federation shall be ‘Together We Work for a Better Community’.
The Federation shall have its corporate headquarters in a Canadian city designated based on evidence of the most benefit to the effective governance structure and sustainability of community access where appropriate.
The Administrative headquarters of the Federation shall be maintained in the city or province of residence of the sitting President at all times.
The Regional offices of the Federation shall also be maintained in the cities or provinces of residence of the Regional Vice Presidents at all times.
JURISDICTION OF THE FEDERATION
The jurisdiction of the Federation shall encompass and shall be divided into cities across Canada.
Each jurisdiction shall be comprised of Member Organizations within said city.
POWERS OF THE CONSTITUTION
This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation, and its provisions shall be binding on all of its Member Organizations.
All laws, rules, regulations, procedures, and activities found to be inconsistent with this constitution shall be void and of no legal effect in matters directly under the jurisdiction of the Federation.
The Federation shall be comprised of Liberian Community Associations (Regular Members), and Non-Liberian Organizations (Affiliate Members) registered with legal status in Canada (Non – Profit or Charitable).
The Federation shall have a membership system representing Liberian Community Associations, and Non-Liberian Organizations (Affiliate Members) with vested interest in Liberia and the wellbeing of Liberians. Political parties and affiliated entities shall not be member(s) of the Federation.
Liberian Community Associations shall be comprised of bodies duly elected by the community through a free and fair democratic process open to members without regard to ethnicity, religion, creed, sex, or political affiliation. The Federation shall not permit multiple representations of Liberian Community Associations within a defined geographic scope of a legitimate elected community leadership.
Non-Liberian Organizations shall be comprised of non-political institutions and organization that shall be interested in developing working partnerships with the Federation on various projects and programs in the interest of Liberia and Liberians.
Member Organizations shall have the RIGHT to:
Determine their membership consistent with the provisions of this constitution;
Freedom of association, speech, thought, movement and beliefs among others not in contravention of this constitution;
Access to information about the Federation, its leaders, and activities; and
Petition the Federation seeking redress to their grievances and concerns. A petition signed by a two third (2/3) majority of Member Organizations shall constitute grounds for calling an emergency session of the General Assembly. The petition shall clearly define the issues(s) for deliberation and reasons for the emergency
The decision-making powers of the Federation shall be vested in Member Organizations in GOOD STANDING by and through their representatives designated to the Federation.
Member Organizations shall reserve the right to revise and restructure the Federation and its laws in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
No person(s) shall hold memberships in two or more Member Organizations registered in the same city or defined jurisdiction of leadership at the same time.
Only regular members shall have voting rights, all other forms of memberships shall be observers at voting proceedings even though they can participate in deliberations.
STRUCTURE OF THE FEDERATION
The governing bodies of the Federation shall be comprised of: the National General Assembly hereinafter referred to as the Assembly; the National Board of Directors hereinafter referred to as the Board and the National Leadership Council hereinafter referred to as the Executive Leadership.
NATIONAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY
The Assembly shall be the HIGHEST decision making body and shall approve new policy decisions of the Federation and shall be presided over by the National President.
The Assembly shall be the forum for the mass participation of Member Organizations. Liberians and friends of Liberia shall participate in the deliberations of the Assembly, but the RIGHT TO VOTE shall be RESERVED for official delegates from Regular Member Organizations accredited to the Assembly.
Decisions of the Assembly shall be BINDING on Member Organizations, the Board, the Executive Leadership and all other bodies of the Federation.
Decisions of the Assembly shall be FINAL and shall not be REVIEWED, ALTERED or CHANGED by any other body of the Federation EXCEPT by the Assembly during session.
The Assembly shall receive and discuss the report on the State of the Federation presented by the National President.
The Assembly shall meet each year in the month of July in a city of a Regular Member Organization in GOOD STANDING for the combined Liberian Independence Celebration and National Assembly.
The Assembly shall rotate the host Member Organization every year to ensure equal opportunities for all member organizations.
The Member Organization with the highest votes from a poll of nominees shall host the FIRST Assembly;
The Member Organization with the second highest votes shall host the SECOND Assembly; And
The Member Organization with the third highest votes shall host the THIRD Assembly.
If the Member Organization with the highest votes is determined to be unable to host the Assembly, the responsibility shall fall to the Member Organization with the second highest votes.
Each Liberian Community Association shall be represented at the Assembly by accredited delegates determined by their leadership.
Each Affiliate Member shall be represented at the Assembly by accredited delegates and shall:
Pay half the membership due paid by Liberian Community Associations; and
Determine their delegates’ makeup.
Elected National officers and members of the Board shall be automatic delegates to the Assembly. They shall not be included as a part of the accredited delegates from Member Organizations.
Former National President(s) and Board Chairperson(s) shall be automatic delegates to the Assembly. They shall not be included as part of the accredited delegates from Member Organizations. However, they shall be delegates to the Assembly only if they:
Are in GOOD STANDING with their Member Organization; AND
Were not forced to resign or impeached/removed from office as a result of malpractice.
An emergency session of the Assembly shall convene consistent with the provisions of this constitution.
The declaration of a State of Emergency, by the Federal and/or Provincial Governments, in the designated city/province of the host Member Organization within 30 days of the scheduled Assembly, may lead to postponement of the Assembly if the backup host Member Organization indicates its unpreparedness to host the Assembly.
When the Assembly is postponed, the National President shall within 15 days, convene an emergency Joint Session of the Board and the Executive Leadership to decide the new date and venue for the Assembly, which shall not exceed 90 days as of the date of postponement. All issues during the Joint Special Session shall be decided by a simple majority vote.
NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board shall be the legislative authority of the Federation, and shall comprise of maximum two elected representatives from each Member Organization.
The Board shall Charter new member organizations based on the recommendation(s) from the National President.
The Board shall confirm presidential appointments and review and act on matters of the Federation brought forward by the Administration.
The Board shall approve contracts, agreements, memoranda of understandings, and other legal instruments negotiated by the Executive Leadership before they are legally binding on the Federation.
The Board shall approve all budgets of the Federation submitted by the Executive Leadership.
The Board shall approve the National Elections Law based on the recommendations of the National Elections Commission.
The Board shall conduct impeachment hearings of National Administrative Officers and members of Semi-Autonomous Commissions and Committees.
The Board shall suspend or revoke the charter of Member Organizations. In the exercise of this power, the Board shall rely on the recommendation(s) of the Executive Leadership indicating efforts undertaken to get the Member Organization(s) into compliance with the Federation.
The Board shall SUSPEND the charter of Member Organization(s) for violation of ONE of these conditions and shall REVOKE the charter of Member Organization(s) for violation of ALL these conditions:
Lack of representation on the Board and the Leadership Council for One year;
Inactive participation on the Board, the Leadership Council, and activities of the Federation for One year;
Non-payment of membership dues to the Federation for One year; or
Gross violation of the provisions of this Constitution.
When the charter of a Member Organization(s) is suspended or revoked, individual(s) from that Member Organization elected to National Executive position(s) shall remain in office until the next scheduled elections. However, individual(s) occupying leadership position on the Board shall immediately be removed from office and vacancy (ies) shall be filled in accordance with the Board Rules.
Member Organization(s) whose charter is suspended or revoked shall be restored to full membership by the Board and accorded all rights and privileges when the:
Request for re-entry in the Federation is submitted to and approved by the Board; And
The issues that led to the suspension or revocation of their charter are resolved.
The Board shall meet in regular sessions at least two times a year. A simple majority of the Board members in attendance shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of business.
Decisions of the Board shall be in the form of resolutions published and circulated to Member Organizations and the general public.
The Board shall establish its rules and regulations and elect its officers for the conduct of business. No rule or regulation of the Board shall be in violation of this constitution.
The National Executive of the Federation shall be comprised of the National President, National Vice President, National General Secretary, National Treasurer, Regional Vice Presidents, National Standing Committees, and Semi-Autonomous Commissions. The National President shall be the head of the National Executive Administration.
The National Executive Officers which shall be comprised of the National President, National Vice President, National General Secretary, National Treasurer. All members of the National Executive shall be elected for a two year term and shall be eligible to seek re-elections.
The National President shall be the Chief Executive Officer, Official Spokesperson and Head of the Administration. He/she shall be a Liberian or of Liberian descendant and shall have attained the Age of twenty one years, obtained a high school diploma and a member of a Member Organization in GOOD STANDING with the Federation.
The National President Shall:
Manage the daily administration, operation, and coordination of all institutions and commissions;
Nominate members of Semi –Autonomous Commissions and National Standing Committees with the advice and consent of the Board;
Nominate the National Assistant General Secretary for Records and Minutes and the National Assistant General Secretary for Media Relations with the advice and consent of the Board;
Present the annual budget of the Federation and other ad hoc budgets to the Board for approval;
Receive and review all applications from organization(s) seeking membership into the Federation, and shall submit same with recommendation(s) to the Board;
Plan and preside over the annual meetings of the Assembly, and shall convene emergency session(s) of the Assembly; and
Call special sessions and emergency meetings of the Board, the Executive Leadership and all other Organs of the Federation.
In case of resignation of any member(s) of the National Executive Leadership, the National President shall nominate with the advice and consent of the Board a replacement until the next election.
NATIONAL EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT
The National Executive Vice President shall be the principal assistant to the National President and shall act in the absence of the National President. He/she shall be a Liberian or of Liberian descendant and shall have attained the Age of twenty one years, obtained a high school diploma and a member of a Member Organization in GOOD STANDING with the Federation.
NATIONAL GENERAL SECRETARY
The National General Secretary shall be the chief correspondence officer and custodian of the Federation’s records. He/she shall be a Liberian or of Liberian descendant and shall have attained the Age of twenty one years, obtained a high school diploma and a member of a Member Organization in GOOD STANDING with the Federation. He/she shall be assisted by the National Assistant General Secretary for Records and Minutes and the National Assistant General Secretary for Media Relations.
The National General Secretary Shall:
Coordinate the activities of the two National Assistant General Secretaries;
Compile and maintain the records of treatise, communiqué, proclamation, responses to inquiries and press releases;
Record the proceedings of the Assembly and the Administration;
Manage media relations including the running and upkeep of the Federation’s website;
Maintain updated official roster of Member Organizations, the Administration, and the Leadership Council, the Board, and other bodies of the Federation; and
Receive and review reports from Member Organizations, National Standing and Ad hoc Committees, and Semi-Autonomous Commissions prior to submission to the Assembly and the Board.
The National Treasurer shall be the chief custodian of the Federation’s finances. He/she shall be a Liberian or of Liberian descendant and shall have attained the Age of twenty one years and a member of a Member Organization in GOOD STANDING with the Federation.
The National Treasurer Shall:
Exercise responsibility for safeguarding the financial and other assets of the Federation;
Compile and keep records of all financial transactions and advise the Administration on the anticipated financial needs of the Federation; And
Prepare timely, meaningful, and accurate financial statements.
The Semi-Autonomous Commissions of the Federation shall be the National Elections Commission, the National Audit Commission, and the Social Services Council.
NATIONAL ELECTIONS COMMISSION
The National Elections Commission shall be headed by a National Chairman nominated by the National President and approve by the National board. All other members shall be nominated by a Regional vice President of each member city association. The commissioners shall be appointed to a three-year term of service and shall be eligible for reappointment.
The National Elections Commission of the Federation shall be responsible to organize and conduct the elections of the Executive Leadership. It shall establish laws, requirements and eligibility criteria for the free, fair and smooth conduct of elections consistent with this constitution.
The National Elections Commission shall be Semi-Autonomous and shall be FREE from the UNDUE INFLUENCES of the Administration, the Board and other bodies of the Federation EXCEPT in ADJUDICATORY matters relative to the conduct of election.
NATIONAL AUDITING COMMISSIONS
The National Auditing Commission shall be comprised of 5 members with professional training and expertise in accounting, auditing or related fields. The tenure of service for commissioners shall be 3 years with provision for reappointment.
The National Auditing Commission shall be Semi-Autonomous and shall be FREE from the UNDUE INFLUENCES of the Administration, the Board and other bodies of the Federation.
The National Auditing Commission shall be responsible for reviewing, analyzing and recommending changes in the fiscal and management practices of the Federation and its Member Organizations.
The National Auditing Commission shall provide regular professional auditing services and conduct periodic audits of the bodies of the Federation including the officers, offices, and institutions of the Federation and Member Organizations in accordance with the Generally Accepted Accounting, Auditing, and Financial Management principles.
No body of the Federation shall STOP, IMPEDE, SUSPEND, POSTPONE or CANCEL the National Elections of the Federation.
All election complaints shall be decided by the Elections Commission, EXCEPT complaints made against the entire Elections Commission.
The Board shall hear the complaints against the Elections Commission. Elections complaints brought before the Board shall be decided by a simple majority vote, EXCEPT in the case of the NULLIFICATION of an election which shall require a resolution signed by TWO-THIRD MAJORITY vote of the Board.
Elections shall only be NULLIFIED for gross violations of the Constitution that is, a candidate NOT attaining the age of 21 years, NOT an active member of a Member Organization that is in GOOD STANDING with the Federation, or a NOT Liberian or of Liberian descendant among others.
Whenever the nullification of an election affects the presidential ticket (President and Vice President), and the sitting President of the Federation is NOT a candidate, he/she shall REMAIN in office for 90 days, and shall call an emergency session of the National General Assembly within 90 days for the sole purpose of conducting new elections for the presidential tickets.
Whenever the nullification of an election affects the presidential ticket (President and Vice President), and the sitting President of the Federation is a candidate, the Board shall appoint an acting president for 90 days and shall call an emergency session of the National General Assembly within 90 days for the sole purpose of conducting new elections for the presidential tickets.
Whenever the nullification of an election affects the presidential ticket (President and Vice President), and the sitting President of the Federation and member(s) of the Board are candidates, the Board shall appoint an acting president for 90 days and shall call an emergency session of the National General Assembly within 90 days for the sole purpose of conducting new elections for the presidential tickets. Member(s) of the Board who is candidate(s) shall be rescued from the decision of the Board.
In the case of the nullification of elections for any other National Executive Office(s), the newly elected National President shall fill the vacancy consistent with the provisions of this constitution until the next election year.
Register members of all Liberian Community Associations who have obtain the age of eighteen shall have the RIGHT to vote in national election within their respective cities.
Non Liberian Organizations shall send observers to the polls and participate in the validation of all National Executive elections. However, Such delegate(s) shall NOT VOTE.
Members of the National Administration and Semi-Autonomous Commission shall be Impeached and Removed from office for Gross violation and Wanton disregard for this Constitution.
Misappropriation of the Federation’s Funds and Resources, Abuse of Power, Misfeasance and Malfeasance, Felony Conviction, and Conduct Detrimental to the vital interest of the Federation shall constitute grounds for Impeachment.
Member Organizations shall petition the Board to commence Impeachment Proceedings against Federation officers. The petition shall be signed by a simple majority of the Member Organizations and submitted to the Board.
Cases of impeachment petition originating from the Board shall require the signing of a Bill of Impeachment by a simple majority of the National Board of Directors.
Special session of the Board shall convene to hear the Petition within thirty (30) days of the Petition date.
Officer(s) brought up for Impeachment shall be allowed Due Process of Law.
A Two third (2/3) majority vote of the Board shall be required to Impeach and Remove Federation officers from office.
In the event of the resignation, impeachment, incapacity, relocation out of the Federation's jurisdiction or death of the National President, the National Vice President shall become National President until the next election and shall nominate with the advice and consent of the Board a new National Vice President.
The line of succession to the National President shall be in the order of the National Vice President, the Chairperson of the Board, National General Secretary and National Treasurer.
In the event of the resignation, impeachment, incapacity, relocation or death of the National Vice President, National General Secretary, National Treasurer, or the National President shall nominate a successor with the advice and consent of the Board.
AMENDMENT AND RATIFICATION
This Constitution shall be amended by two-thirds majority of Member Organizations in GOOD STANDING with the Federation voting affirmatively on the proposed amendment (s) at the Annual Assembly or at a special session of the Assembly called for that purpose.
Proposed amendments to the Federation's Constitution shall be accompanied by statements of reasons on why the amendments are necessary. The amendment(s) shall be published and distributed by the National General Secretary to all member organizations at least 30 days before a referendum is held on said amendment(s).
OATH OF OFFICE
National officers of the Federation shall take an oath of public trust:
"I, ____________ ______, do solemnly swear that I will support, uphold, protect and defend the constitution and by-laws of the Federation of Liberian Associations in the Canada and that I will faithfully discharge the duties and responsibilities of the office of ________ to the best of my ability, so help me God."
This revised constitution shall come into effect upon ratification by two-thirds majority of Member Organizations in GOOD STANDING with the Federation at an Assembly.
The Federation may be wound up at any time if agreed by two-thirds of those members present and voting at any National Assembly. In the event of winding up, any assets remaining after all debts have been paid shall be turn over to another group with similar aims.
Adopted and Approved in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada July 22nd, 2017
Francis J. Hinnah - CHAIRMAN
Leo N. Johnson - MEMBER
James Wright - MEMBER
Phyllis M. Gbadyu - MEMBER
Fewehlyn Caine - MEMBER
“However good a Constitution may be, if those who are implementing it are not good, it will prove to be bad. However bad a Constitution may be, if those implementing it are good, it will prove to be good.” B. R. Ambedkar