PUBLIC DEFENDERS LACK VEHICLES, INCENTIVES FOR NINE YEARS BY: YASSAH J. WRIGHT

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During programs marking the fifth official induction ceremony of the National Association of Public Defenders of Liberia, (NAPDOL),  it was disclosed that the past nine years, the Association has been lacked of vehicles and other incentives to work especially in other countries.

NAPDOL President, Tobey J. Raynes, stated that the situation calls for attention to reduce difficulties the Public Defenders face in doing their works and the dignity they deserve as lawyers.

“As a wise saying goes, when you see a man selling handkerchiefs and sweating, it means possession is difference from ownership,” Raynes noted.

He urged all of the Association members to rise to the occasion and take ownership of improving the Public Defenders program as anticipated from its formation.

NAPDOL President Raynes said from 2015 to present, Public Defenders have moved through some difficult, challenging and turbulent times but with a resolve to make the organization a vibrant and sustained legal body; adding, “We have overcome those trying times and come together and are stronger and more determined to forge ahead and reach greater heights.”

 Raynes admonished his colleagues to remain focused and courageous so as to reinforce the energy in their work as they endeavor to ensure that indigent persons have access to justice without any cost whatsoever attached and that the rebranding of the Judiciary as envisaged by the Chief Justice may be realized.

He stated that they all should help to rebrand the Public Defenders program and the Judiciary.

The NAPDOL President told the audience that with their support, “we would not want to see Public Defenders as an organization that will only be focused on crediting monies to pay our Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) due or license fees as well as other welfare issues; but an organization of professional lawyers that would graduate from just where the program is, to another improved and elevated level on the national scene.”

Raynes also pleaded for international support so that they can reinforce their energy more robustly.

He recalled that in 2009 there was  a workshop organized by the Judiciary Institute (JI) and international partners, which was facilitated by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) of the USA.

The NAPDOL President  noted that NACDL suggested the formation of a leadership body to champion the causes and interests of Public Defenders, which is the welfare of lawyers within the program and some lawyers were singled out to lead the said formation.

The President indicated that his leadership will work together to build on their existing legacy so as to improve the wellbeing of their members who have entrusted them to serve as leaders.

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