Liberian judges say they will not allow their members to retire in poverty after serving the country sacrificially, while employees of other functionaries of government retire in luxury and comfort.
… [We] as an Association will not sit supinely and allow our members ride commercial vehicles or use their own vehicles to take up assignments in places like Lofa, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, among others,” Judge Roosevelt Z. Willie expresses at the Temple of Justice on Tuesday, 13 February on behalf of himself and his colleagues at the opening of the Circuit Courts here.
The judges and magistrates are requesting government to provide them vehicles and other necessary logistics for the smooth operations of their judicial functions.
“Judges and Magistrates must be provided vehicles and other logistics like any other government [official] so as to make their movement easy and efficient on the job,” Judge Roosevelt says.
He adds that as he delivered the charge, some judges were gone to their respective assignments either using their own vehicles or had taken commercial vehicles, posing security risk for them.
He complains that some of his colleagues have faced premature death because while they earn between “US$2,00 to US$4,00 during active service, they receive L$7,500 with no transportation in retirement, which is a sentence to death.”
Judge Willie argues that for a judge or magistrate to be fully independent, their retirement benefits cannot continue to be L$7,500 a month and the vehicle used during active service is taken away from them in retirement.
“Salaries and other benefits for Judges and Magistrates shall not be diminished in Article 72 of the 1986 Liberian Constitution,” Judge Willie adds.
Notwithstanding, the judges say they take very seriously the responsibilities bestowed upon them, promising to do nothing less to compromise the independence of the Judiciary, “no matter who is involved.”
By Winston W. Parley