Gets appointed as NOCAL Boss
By Jerromie S. Walters
As many didn’t see it coming, former Montserrado County District #4 Representative, Rustolyn Suacoco Dennis, who was defeated during the October 10, 2023, general elections, has made a more significant resurgence in government, following her appointment by President Joseph Nyuma Boakai as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Oil Company (NOCAL).
Madam Dennis has never been a member of the ruling Unity Party (UP). With the outcome of the October 10, 2023, elections for her, the former lawmaker’s recent appointment has been venerated by women’s rights defenders and numerous Liberians.
At the 54th legislature, Madam Rustolyn Suacoco Dennis made a lasting impression during her tenure as a lawmaker. Known for her inclination towards tough conversations and fearless advocacy, she garnered a reputation for being a vocal and influential female representative, on debating the budgets, and several other critical national issues. Before the first passage of the 2024 budget from the House of Representatives, Madam Dannis was among the few who didn’t vote for the passage.
Regardless of her defeat in District #4, Mdam Dennis’ presence in the legislature was characterized by dedication, commitment, and an unwavering passion for the betterment of her constituents and the nation at large. She’s known for her comment, “No opportunity to digest the budget.”
What appears more astonishing to many Liberians and those who believe in women’s empowerment is the fact that despite experiencing defeat during the general elections of October 10, 2023, her record gave the new government reasons to believe that she can still serve and produce well.
It becomes even more interesting, considering that she didn’t support the ruling party. As it has often played in the cases of different individuals who have ascended to the legislature but later get removed, Madam Dennis’ defeat did not dampen her spirit to contribute meaningfully to the development and progress of Liberia, as she has graciously accepted the appointment.
On February 7, 2024, President Joseph Nyuma Boakai recognized Madam Dennis’ capabilities and appointed her as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Oil Company (NOCAL). Women’s rights CSOs, including the Women NGOs Secretariat (WONGOSOL), have lauded the President for Madam Dennis’ appointment, as they believe that it not only showcases the President’s belief in her abilities but also highlights the importance of women’s representation in leadership positions. They (CSOs) view it as a significant step towards gender equality and empowerment.
Out of 72 appointments so far, President Boakai has appointed 53 men and 19 women. Recently, he appointed former Madam Rustonlyn Suacoco Dennis, as President and Chief Executive Officer, of National Oil Company (NOCAL), and Mrs. Louise Tamba, as Business Manager of, the Ministry of State.
Madam Rustolyn Suacoco Dennis, former Montserrado County District #4 Representative was among several female lawmakersincluding- former Bomi County, District #1 representative Finda B. Lansanah, former River Cess County District #1 Representative Rep. Rosana G.D.H. Schaack, former Bomi County District #3 Representative Haja F. Siryon, former Grand Bassa County District #2 Representative Mary Karwor, and former Lofa County District #4 Representative Mariamu B. Fofana who suffered defeat during the October 10, 2923, general elections.
She was defeated by independent candidate Michael M. Thomas who obtained 14,590 votes, constituting 26.28% while she accumulated 9,847 votes, constituting
At the legislature
In 2023, IREDD, a research and policy advocacy organization that’s being operated in Liberia, disclosed its legislative report, with Grand Bassa County Senator Nyonblee Karnga Lawrence, and Madam Rustolyn Dennis of Montserrado County, District #3, being highlighted amongst several men, as the only female lawmakers who scored high marks in Plenary Participation.
This was during the 1st Quarter 6th Session of the 54th Legislature which commenced on January 16, 2023, and adjourned on March 17, 2023.
At the level of the House of Representatives where there were 11 female lawmakers out of 73, the IREDD report provided that 5 Representatives scored high marks in Plenary Participation, with Madam Rustolyn Dennis of Montserrado being the only female lawmaker in said category.
According to the report, she spoke 21 times, and she was included in the category along with former Representative Acarous Gray of Montserrado County District #8 who spoke 27 times, Representative Richard Koon of Montserrado County District #11 who spoke 27 times, Rep Ivar Jones of Margibi District#2 who spoke 23 times, and Rep Dixon Siebo of Mont District #16 who spoke 20 times.
The National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL) was established in April 2000, by Liberia’s National Legislature. The company is responsible for the rights, titles, and interests of the Republic of Liberia in the deposits and reserves of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons within the territorial limits of the Republic of Liberia, whether potential, proven, or actual, to facilitate the development of the oil and gas industry in the Republic of Liberia.
Though considered a frontier country for petroleum exploration, the quest for oil in Liberia has occurred over a seventy (70) year period. To date, 17 wells have been drilled mainly from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s and again from 2011 to 2016.
Exploration in Liberia happened in two distinct eras. The first was the legacy era which consisted of two stages; the speculative stage and the Shelf-focused exploration stage.
The second era considered the “Modern Era” focused largely on deep-water exploration, reform, and consolidation of the industry in Liberia. All of the exploration activities have occurred exclusively in the Liberia Basin offshore sector.
Between the periods in which exploratory activities occurred, there was also a period of non-exploration activity known as the Great Hiatus. However, the Harper Basin and the Onshore Roberts/Bassa Basin have never been explored.