“Do Not Cut Judges’ Salaries,” Judge Gbeisay Warns

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Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay addresses the opening of the November Term of Court in Gbarnga, Bong County.

— Says it will demoralize the Judiciary

The assigned Judge at the 9th Judicial Circuit in Gbarnga, Bong County, Judge Yamie Quiqui Gbeisay, has warned that any attempt by the government to reduce judges’ salaries and other benefits in the name of “harmonization” will have the propensity to demoralize the judiciary.

“Judges in Liberia, particularly trial judges, make US$5,000 as net salary, while ministers, who have traveling and other allowances, apart from their take home pay of US$ 8,000. So, if you want to harmonize, put our salaries on par with the ministers before you talk about harmonization. Any attempt to reduce judges’ salaries and benefits in the name of “harmonization,” will undermine the judiciary,” Judge Gbeisay warned.

In his statement at the formal opening of the 9th Judicial Circuit on Monday, November 11, 2019, Judge Gbeisay, said judges around the world are well paid to demonstrate fair and impartial decisions, and also avoid the “temptation of bribe-taking, while discharging their respective duties.”

“Judges are verboten (forbidden) from participating in any other activities, such as running businesses like in the case of the ministers, who run commercial activities while serving their ministerial positions. And so, to reduce the salaries of judges will adversely affect the judiciary in terms of dispensing fair justice,” Gbeisay said.

He continued: “Our colleagues in the Executive (Ministers), who have traveling and other incentives, take home US$8,000 monthly, while judges who don’t travel frequently, otherwise invited for judicial purpose. So, do not cut judges’ salaries because doing so would be the wrong thing in the current dispensation.”

He then admonished court workers to be dutiful and result-oriented in the discharge of their respective duties, noting, “I will not accept any act of lethargy from judicial actors under my watch as the Chief Justice’s direct representative in the county.”

“In Liberia, many of our compatriots who are unwilling to work would rather appear committed and hard-working in the process of looking for job, but the moment we get the job, we are slow on duty,” the Judge said.

Earlier, Bong County lead prosecutor, Attorney Jonathan Flomo, assured Judge Gbeisay that he will closely work with the defense team to speedily try cases on docket, and to ensure that fair and unbiased dispensation of justice is upheld.

Flomo informed the Court that there are 58 criminal cases currently on docket, but said these cases can only be fast-tracked when the prosecution and the defense teams coexist.

As for Bong County Superintendent, Esther Yamah Walker, she informed the Court on the numerous land disputes in the county and called on the Court to salvage the situation.

“Most of the criminal cases, like murder, are emanating from land disputes, so the Court needs to fast-track some of the land cases,” Supt. Walker said.

16 COMMENTS

  1. What is this question of cutting salaries in Liberia again, my people?
    Increase the meagre salaries people are earning instead of cutting them. Create a business-friendly environment to entice investors.

    Your Excellency,
    To have a better and brighter Liberia, take these as priorities:
    1. Education: Ellen tried to provide basic infrastructure in every county to boost education. Capitalize on that. Bring in qualified organizations and sign bilateral partnerships with countries like Ghana and Nigeria to train the human capacity in the sector. To get this done effectively, you must triple teachers’ salaries.
    2. Justice System: Our judges deserve more than what they are earning now. Since they have not started complaining, don’t touch their meagre salaries, please. For Liberia to become a business-friendly country free of every form of corruption, our justice system must be independent financially to professional execute its duties. In so doing, corruption will be curbed, injustices reduced exponentially, and the rule of law enjoyed by everyone in the country.
    3. The Police Force: They enforce the decisions of the justice system and watch over our safety and security. If they are happy to do their job, the decisions from the justice department would be effectively implemented for the stability of the country and economy.
    4. Finally, basic infrastructure: Connect Lofa to Bong with paved roads, Connect the southeastern region to Ganta with paved roads, Connect Yekepa to Ganta with paved roads and connect the Ivorian border to Ganta with paved roads. When done, provide stable electricity at least to all administrative headquarters, Liberia will reap the dividends.

    These are four key priority areas you should concentrate on, Your Excellency. Liberia has the resources to embark on all of these in six years, only if you do not appoint on partisan line. The financial resources can be secured to realize these projects.
    If you are not able to do the above 4 points during your 6 year’s tenure, please don’t run for the next term or don’t rig the next elections. Let Cummings come and show you how to do them.

  2. Roads:
    Liberians do not have good roads. Maybe it’s fair to say Liberians do not have roads! Bigger farms cannot be made in the backcountry if there aren’t good roads that could be used to transport basic consumables to the markets. Getting to the hospitals, there’s got to be good roads. But yet, the issue of roads doesn’t seem to be a top priority.

    Schools:
    Liberian public schools are faced with all kinds of problems. In most cases, Liberian public schools do not have enough textbooks for students as well as teacher edition textbooks for teachers! Public schools in the nation’s capital are rediculouly overcrowded. I know what I am talking about. I have an advanced degree in Education. I thought White, Black, Hispanic and Asian children in the US for well over 15 years. Some of my former students are grown and married! I don’t do that anymore.

    Electricity:
    With regard to the issue of electricity, it may take at least 100 years before the significance of electricity is understood by the top brass. While spending some time in Liberia this year, (exactly three months), people who live in the Old Road area of Monrovia couldn’t get electricity. At least Paynesvlle is much better. But for the most part, electricity is a scarce commodity in Liberia. That’s terrible. But I love Liberia!

    What could be done in order to improve some of the vital services I have mentioned?

    The salaries of the executive, legislative and judiciary branches of government need to be slashed.
    Let’s get serious. The fact that a person is paid a high salary does not guarantee good job performance. Also, countries like Nigeria, Ghana or the Ivory Coast are more developed and wealthier than Liberia by a significant margin. But, lawmakers in Ghana, for instance, do not earn $15-16,000 per month as it is being done in Liberia! Fact!

    The concept of harmonization is hurting the Liberian economy. As long as civil servant employees are not being paid every month, money is not getting into the sagging economy. The concept of harmonization could have been effective if the salaries of all civil servant employees were slashed on a piecemeal basis.
    Example, if all civil servant employees were told in advance that there would be a 5% cut for a time span of 6 months, the civil servant employees would have found a way to adjust! It hurts because some of the civil servant employees haven’t been paid for well over three months. Harmonization shouldn’t have been dumped on people like that.

    For sure, salaries need to be slashed across the board. But the process of slashing salaries must start from the top. A Greek adage states that “a fish rots from the head”. The top is the epicenter of corruption.

    Let’s take a look at the amount lawmakers are paid:
    There are 66 Representatives in Liberia, a country of approximately 5 million inhabitants.

    Each Liberian Representative earns $15,000 per month. They’re 66 strong or weak! So,
    $15,000 × 66 = $990,000 per month. In a year’s time, the ladies and gentlemen earn
    $990,000 × 12 = $11,880,000.

    The Liberian senators:
    30 strong or weak!
    Monthly per person: $16,000 × 30 ladies and gentlemen = $480,000.
    In a year’s time: $480,000 × 30 men and women = $5,760,000.

    Grand total salaries of both Houses:
    $11,880,000 + 5,760,000 = $17,640,000. Let’s not forget that the cost of the automobiles that they drive was not computed.

    Conclusion:
    Overcrowding at all public schools can be properly handled if the salaries of the highest paid people are slashed.

    The roads of our country can be properly maintained (even if there’s no asphalt) if the salaries of the highest paid people are slashed.

    The salaries of the highest paid in Liberia must be slashed! It doesn’t matter who.

  3. Judge Gbeisay’s statements imply if we cut the judges’ salaries, then corruption will increase. This is absurd. Why? The judges have been considered among the highest paid public servants in the country, but yet, corruption, bribery, and various forms of ethical misconduct have persisted. So, in what way will salary increment change their lots? Salary increment will in no way change the psyche of the miscreants who are unfortunately found among the honorable practitioners of this noble profession.

    In fact, given the get-rich-quick mentality that is prevalent in government, the more increment that some judges could receive, the greater could be the tendency for them to devise illegal means to solicit more.

    A critic once told me concerning his experiences with some legal practitioners in Liberia. He said, “Being a lawyer in Liberia is something like a win-win situation.” And when I asked him what he meant about that, he said there are many corrupt lawyers who despite are well paid, double the practice of corruption. On the other hand, if they are not well paid, they quadruple the practice of corruption.

    In other words, with salary increment, the lawyers win; or, without salary increment, they still win. Nothing changes their equation for the worse. So, why should they not take at least some minimal pay cuts at this time just to allow some poor families to provide “white rice and palm oil on the table for their survival”.

    I think those who command more influence over the resources of the nation, more should be demanded of them. Taking more from the poor to better the condition of those who already have is absurd.

    • Dear Hney,

      When you earned all your degrees and diplomas in the USA, why didn’t you come down to accept your salary being slashed or accept the meagre sums our civil servants are earning?
      Oooh, I know you will tell me the country was at war. Fine!
      Please send your children down to work for the salaries you are proposing, for the current living standards in the country.

  4. whether u cut judges salary or not they will stay take money from people for cases. if a lawyer can take bribe, what about the judge, he will take bribes? Please tell this judge to stop making fun of Liberians. The big thing about cutting salaries is, whether salaries are cut or not people will stay not take pay on time, things will stay not improve more than what is it. cutting salaries is just a way of the executives enriching themselves or for the rich to get richer and the poor get poorer

  5. my people, please stop talking about salary cut. this thing will bring big problem that weah will not be able to handle. there is no where I see people cut salaries, even if they do, they use the money for the people. the Liberian Govt will not us it for Liberians but for party, dressing riding big cars, and planes. For Liberia case, it better in crease salary than to reduce.

  6. Comrade Dolo,
    Don’t go there! My children are not debating with you. I will appreciate it if you would stay away from my children. My kids are grown. All of them were born in the US. But, stay away from them. I mean it!

    Secondly, I am not calling for a pay cut across the board. I am very mindful of the working class people who do not earn much. There’s no place in my written comments where I have suggested a pay cut in the ranks of the working class.

    When I earned my degrees, I wasn’t in Liberia. It would have been scurrilous on my part to have returned to Liberia while I was employed.

    There are many ways in which all of us can contribute to the development process of our country. Getting a job in Liberia does not reflect on the radar of economic or political development. It’s what we do my friend! For instance, when I make a big farm of onions, I should be able to sell on a wholesale basis and hire my fellow Liberians. Hiring shouldn’t be done exclusively by the government and foreign companies.

    Like you, I don’t trash my fellow Liberians. Never. I do not compare Nigerian farms with Liberian farms. I sometimes wonder how your economic development agenda can be helpful to Alexander Cummings? Your ideas seem to be at odds with the guy you cherish profusely.

    Salaries of the highest paid people in Liberia must and should be cut on a reasonable basis. Period.

    • Dear All on this forum reading Hney and me,

      Please read what Hney just wrote:
      “It would have been scurrilous on my part to have returned to Liberia while I was employed.”

      That big word he just used “scurrilous” simply means it would have been humorously insulting or derogatory or denigratory or simply foolish on his part to have returned, as Liberian, to serve Liberia, knowing that he has a better job in the USA. Wow!

      Wow! He has warned me again, for the second time, not to even venture around his children because they will and cannot be part of our mess or nonsense.
      Are you hearing our so-called patriotic Liberians who are making proposals which are not suitable for them? What a paradox and hypocrisy!

      I did all my higher education in the Ivory Coast. In this country, that I know better, besides Liberia, when given an opportunity to travel abroad to earn a degree or certificate, that person usually comes back home to earn fat salary and better standards of living. Unlike Liberians, they will never, if not forced, come back. Why? Simply because the living standards in the Ivory Coast is high, sometimes comparable to Europe. You enjoy good salaries and incentives that may even make you to never dream about going to Europe. Ivorians enjoy vacation in European, American and Asian countries, they don’t flock there sometimes under miserable conditions as we do. How many Ivorians have you heard being deported from the USA?

      Hney, Cummings wants Liberians to make their home a paradise too, a tourist attraction, a place where life is meaningful and joyous, a land where you can dream and the dream comes true, not as hopeless as we have now.

      My people Hney also wrote this, “Getting a job in Liberia does not reflect on the radar of economic or political development. It’s what we do my friend! «
      What are you doing for Liberia Hney? You enjoy your time in the USA teaching other people, according to you. Come down and offer some voluntary services to the educational system of Liberia. With the time you spend on this media, I guess you are retired. I, DOLO, would highly appreciate you were you to take that bold step. If not, don’t mislead our young and gullible leadership.
      Where are you going to make the big onion farm? Selling at wholesale requires the necessary logistics, which roads are they going to ply which port? How much are you going to pay your fellow Liberians to be employed?
      Once again, our diaspora is one of the major plagues to Liberia. You sometimes come and start and small business and overuse the people you work with for little or nothing. With the current situation, how much can you pay a Liberian to provide for his family?

      Hney, I talk on this medium out of real love for my country. Everything I say here is in the deepest interest of my country. Words are easy to use. I DO NOT TRASH my country, I love it. That’s why I want to see things improved. I am yearning and crying here all the time to see a brighter Liberia where my four little children may decide to partake in its development process. By the way, my wife is Ivorian and I do not want my children to despise my country. I want them to go home and love the country their father loves and cherishes. My comparisons are positive, and not negative. I hate to see people look down on my country that once donated to South Korea. I would love to see Liberia feed other war-ravished countries and provide homes for them as we did for the Sudanese.

      Come down Hney. I don’t know where you come from in Liberia but if from Lofa, for example, get down to Voijama and help the educational counsel there. You can bring in textbooks, benches and laboratory equipment from schools in the USA. Some schools have many of those items with no use for them. You could help bring them down to help your country. You could train teachers, don’t mock them! Aren’t you ashamed of yourself to describe a UL graduate who is a Liberian principal as someone who speaks like he ate too much okra? Isn’t it cynical that you love this Liberia and describe its intellectual in that way?

      Liberia will rise again to be a better place for humanity, so help us God!

  7. Uncle Hney
    Thank you for revealing that you taught for many years in the U.S. of A. Now I will give you double hard time whenever you have any error. Each error is a United States dollar.

    EDUCATION:
    The educational system will forever remain like this. I say this with a sense of sadness. There is a serious brain drain and nothing is being done to correct the situation. We have BSc graduates teaching senior level courses at various colleges and I dare say that some of them earned Cs in the very courses being taught by them. i remembered a story told to me by by day when he was at the University of Liberia in the early to mid 80s. Dr. George Kieh had just returned from the USA with a Masters degree and he was assigned at the University to teach. My dad went on to say that Dr. Sawyer made Kieh a Teaching Assistant, because, he, Sawyer, felt that Kieh was not that experienced to handle a class all by himself, and Kieh accepted his role.. That was bold.

    90% of Liberians who go to law school do so with the sole purpose of enriching themselves in a relatively short amount of time. – yes, i said it- I come to this conclusion because it can be seen in how they conduct themselves, in very unscrupulous manner, they are some of the most corrupt professionals in Liberia. How, then, can the commoner trust the system when he feels that the law favors the rich?

    As for the road, like my old friend, Pa varney, can say, “ler we jeh le our own to God”. The roads are a total disgrace and a downright shame/ I just returned from lofa on last Tuesday, and the road is a sad condition.
    I dont see it being fixed not in the near future.

    The whole idea of a salary cut is so funny that it not even funny. How can I agree to a cut when I see the money being stolen in broad daylight and there is no attempt to even hide it small seh. This is where the President is taken the liberian people for a ride, and it will not continue for a long time, because we will rise up to resist and when we do, it will be hard to quell to fire.

    let Judge Gbeisay go find somewhere and sit down. He is a corrupt as they come, and let them leave Judge Nancy alone. She has the balls to speak up. How many of them can say what she said.?

    Uncle Hney, i am serious, no more grammatical error or you pay, not to me, but you deposit said amount in the government treasury and display the receipt.

    Peace.

  8. Got you JM. I will pay the imposed tribute to whomever. But why not pay directly to you? You don’t want Mobile Money?

    You’re right. Some people who are hired as classroom teachers are not supposed to teach. On the other hand, they cannot be blamed. The educational system needs to be revamped. During the academic days of Sawyer, Tipoteh, George Kieh and other Liberian educators, the educational system was fantastic! Today, things have fallen apart. I am not suggesting that there aren’t Liberian educators left in the country. There are Liberian educators in the country. But the educational system needs an overhaul. The problem is that some people who
    are charged with the responsibility to head the institutions of government, (I hate to say Ministers) are clueless. In the 50s, the 60s, the 70s and the early 80s, UL graduates were good. The situation is different today. While in Liberia this year, I had the opportunity to converse with a university graduate who happens to be a principal. He didn’t sound right. But that doesn’t mean every university graduate is like that. Maybe the fellow I conversed with ate a lot of okra, (some stuff I don’t eat). Maybe because of okra business, he couldn’t talk the way he should have.

    On the issue of lawyers, you’ve once again made a touchdown! Some of the so called lawyers are not qualified. Or to put the same thing another way, some Liberian lawyers are in the wrong profession. There’s a known person who has the dubious distinction of referring to himself/herself as a professional lawyer. That individual is more or less a blood relative. But I will never hire that person to represent my cats. Thanks be to Jesus, I have no pets!

    JM, there’s sadness everywhere in the country. But we shouldn’t give up. It’s our country. We need to fight the evil that’s being perpetrated by the judges, the leaders, etc. We should teach our people how things ought to be done. I am not discouraged about Liberia. Lots of problems. But who will solve those problems? All of us! The serious ones.

    If you have the time, go to the Police Academy Public School. My nephew teaches there. His name is Teddy Hney. I told him to look out for you. When you meet him, he will introduce you to his dad. We’ll go from there.

  9. uncle Hney,

    Neither am I discouraged at all about the prevailing situation that is sweeping across our nation.
    Like Dr. Sawyer, I am an incurable optimist. And no, not all university student is dull. we have some excellent student that hail from the walls of the university. But those bright students are in the minority, Sad but true.

    I am very fortunate to have the kind of father that i have. He instilled in my sister and myself a strong sense of self. He taught us the wonder of books. he is my mentor and he has encouraged me to go out and mentor to young boys to promote manhood and that is what I am doing. 75% of them that i engage with was raised or being raised by a single parent, no male model in their lives and little wonder than the act they way they do.Almost all of them have never heard of Tom Sawyer. In short, I am trying to say that they hardly read. When asked, they say they on hard hustle to find food to eat. Sad. teenagers/young adults worrying how to find food to heat for the day, instead of being young and just finding joy in the simple that they are alive it is those people that we have to start with. let them know their self worth and we can go from there.

    The rule of law here is a big joke. everyone knows that there is no law and order here but we pretend that all is well. big pretense. But that is an issue for another time

    If, in my opinion, we can work on the educational system and vamp up the rule of law a little bit, then, and only then, will we be on our way.

    But that time is still elusive.

    Thank you so much Uncle Hney, i will find time to go see Mr. Teddy. i hope that he will show me a pic of yours.

    Peace

  10. Okay JM.
    Teddy is younger than you.
    In the states, we don’t use such prefixes as Mr. Mrs. or Dr. (except in cases where a person is a medical doctor) a whole lot. So when I saw that you referred to my boy as Mr. Teddy, I chuckled. In fact, Teddy is his nick name. Hardly does anyone refer to Trump as Mr. Trump or Hon. Trump or Dr. Trump! Maybe, Pres.Trump! That’s it.

    But if you wish to supply your number, I will call you directly. I have the feeling that your dad is a down-to earth- gentleman! You seem to consult with him for wisdom all the time. The bottom line is this: you and your sister have been reared by a very good family. That’s good! If you have no hesitation, I’d like to speak to your dad.

    Hang in there young fella!

  11. Hello comrade Dolo,
    Your observation about what you think I would like to do in this media space is wrong. I talk politics. But I am not political. For sure, I will never vote for Cummings. Never. Let’s not discuss him!

    I am interested in some of the things you do in the Ivory Coast….farming! That’s what I am all about. I made a sad mistake by going home in July of this year. I didn’t take into account the issue of our country’s weather… rainy season. If God prolongs my life, I will return in order to make a farm.

    Hope you are doing well in Abidjan!

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