AJURL Gives Annual Report By: Yassah J Wright

59

The President of the Association of Judiciary Reporters of Liberia, Yassah J Wright has given the Association’s Annual Report, calling on all Judiciary reporters to work in unity.  Madam Wright said the Association of Judicial Reporters of Liberia (AJURL) was founded in 2010. It is an auxiliary of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) which was founded on September 30, 1964. The PUL is the umbrella organization serving Liberian media professionals and institutions with oversight responsibility for addressing problems arising from journalists’ reportage and conduct in the face of the ever-growing demand for quality and good taste. She stated that AJURL is an auxiliary of the PUL  set up to further promote and enhance advocacy for press freedom and the protection of journalists who are judicial reporters.  Wright indicated that since its existence, the Association has become a vibrant auxiliary of the PUL that has championed not only media matters, but issues affecting the democratic governance of the state, social justice and human rights through effective and comprehensive reportage on the Judicial Branch of the Republic of Liberia.

 Also, she noted that it was founded to seek the welfare and protection of its members, and to seek for training and capacity building opportunities for its membership. Wright revealed that on February 18, 2022, the Association conducted a free, fair and transparent elections of its new leadership at the headquarters of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) on Clay Street in Monrovia.

She said an induction of its newly elected leadership was held at the Banquet Hall, Temple of Justice on June 10, 2022 with former Chief Justice Francis Saye Korkpor, Sr serving as Chief Launcher and Associate Justice Yussif D. Kaba serving as Guest Speaker with other officials of government in attendance. Madam Wright pointed out that the report basically covers the activities of the Association of Judicial Reporters of Liberia (AJURL) from February 18, 2022 to January 31, 2024, nothing that it highlights amongst other things, the election and induction of the current leadership, milestones or achievements, office administration, challenges and current financial status of the association, respectively. During the period under review, she said the leadership made significant efforts in equipping and decorating the national office at the Temple of Justice.

 Wright indicated that they purchased office curtains, television, water dispenser, air conditioners and photocopy machine (3-in-one photocopy machine). She also stated that Cllr. Bestman D. Juah, Sr. contributed about US$ 500 towards the induction ceremony, while Cllr. Kojoe Ross donated ten (10) pieces of plastic chairs as his way of appreciating the President for her victory in the election. Besides, AJURL President noted that the leadership is recognized by the Supreme Court of Liberia headed by Chief Justice Sie-Nyene G. Yuoh, and there is an existing cordial working relations between AJURL and the Office of the Public Affairs of the Judiciary.  Moreover, she stated that the Judiciary donated two additional computers and promised a Wi-Fi internet connectivity. The Wi-Fi is expected in the first quarter of 2024. Madam Wright revealed that through the advocacy of the leadership, the Judiciary promised to provide the sum of LD 50,000.00 monthly to the association but said amount has not been approved by Chief Justice Yuoh for disbursement to the Association. She noted that training was conducted by Internews and Local Voices for twenty (20) members of AJURL sponsored by USAID and the 20 participants were trained and certificated in July 2023. She further said the Association lost two of its members to the cold hands of death during the period under review in persons of Journalists Augustine Tweh, Vice President of AJURL and George Borteh, respectively. Wright indicated that AJURL was represented at the funeral rites of its Vice President Tweh of Triumphant Newspaper who died in June 2023. The burial of the late Vice President was made possible through taxation of some members (LD$ 500.00 each) and friendly contributions from individuals. Even though some members did not pay their contribution for the burial of the late VP, the Association was commended by the deceased family during the funeral for its financial support towards the burial of the deceased. “Total Collection for VP Augustine Tweh’s Burial: USD 255.00 and LD 24, 575.00 .Expenses incurred: US$ 80.00 paid to the deceased’s family as AJURL’s initial contribution for funeral rites; refreshment for members after burial was LD 10, 000.00, which was agreed by members of the association, and balance of the collection was given to the bereaved family as AJURL’s envelope” AJURL President said  The Death of Journalist George Borteh Journalist George Borteh died in October 2023, and the Assistant Secretary of PUL, Akoi Baysah along with some AJURL members purchased a plot of land for burial of the deceased. AJURL President noted that thereafter, an inter-office memorandum was sent to all members to contribute the amount of LD 500:00 to sympathize with the bereaved family and after this memo, only former President Abendego Davies, former Vice President Victoria Wesseh, former Secretary General, Paypay Mulblah, James Kadi and President Yassah J. Wright personally contributed to Borteh’s funeral. Madam Wright revealed that an envelope of about US$ 100.00 was given to the bereaved family on behalf of the Association. She said all members of AJURL officially assigned at the Judiciary were accredited by the Judiciary through its Public Affairs Office.   Wright pointed out that in 2023, AJURL won first place award in PUL’s auxiliaries sports tournament organized by Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) under the auspices of the PUL.  She said all standing committees and other elected officers of the Association are not functional. Specifically, the Secretariat headed by the Secretary-General, Stephen Roberts is not functional and the functions of the Secretariat are being carried out by the President.  Also, Wright stated that the Assistant Secretary-General, Tiasha Merfee is actively assigned at the Legislature and the Financial Secretary, Aaron Tarlue comes intermittently to the Temple of Justice and the Association is being solely run by the President without any assistance from standing committees and other elected officers. The president is overly burdened and overwhelmed. She said Augusta Lafalay and Watson Richard are the only members who contribute to the cleaning of the office. “I want use this medium to extend my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to these two members for their sacrificial services to the Association,” Wright noted. “Even though it was agreed at a recent called meeting that every member pays the amount of LD 200.00 monthly as due; however, no member has paid any due to the association since the decision was reached by the body” madam Wright stressed. She indicated that Standing Committees and other elected officers are not functional, members are not willing to adhere to decisions growing out of meetings in support of the effective management of the office. The effective management of the office is solely depended on the President of the Association. She further indicated that the Association receives no financial support from partners in the rule of law and/or judicial sector.  “The Association headed by me has great potentials to achieve more milestones, the attainment of those milestones requires collective efforts of all elected officers and standing committees respectively,” Madam Wright stated.  Besides, the President noted that it needs the shared supports of all members, specifically, members must at all times be willing to attend called meetings to make their respective contributions both moral and financial for the growth and development of the association and abide by decisions or resolutions therefrom.  Most importantly, she said there is a great need to mobilize financial and technical assistances from partners and other institutions respectively for training and capacity building of members as well as the growth and development of our noble association.

Comments are closed.