Independence Celebration Kicks Off in Southeast

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The much anticipated Independence Day celebrations marked by special events that reflect the growth and progress of the country and that also attract development projects to the host counties, finally kick-off yesterday in Sinoe and Grand Kru counties. This year’s Independence Day falls on Sunday, but will be officially observed on Monday.
The celebration was initially planned to have been held in the two host counties last year, but was aborted as a result of the bad road conditions as well as the delay in the commencement or completion of key projects that would have been dedicated. This unfortunate situation was also exacerbated by the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease in the country.
This year’s Independence Day celebration actually commenced with an investiture ceremony last week Friday in Monrovia, during which the President conferred distinctions of various ranks on 42 personalities, eight of them posthumously, for their outstanding contributions to the nation. The conferral of national honors was dedicated to Liberia’s Ebola Heroes some of whom gave their lives in the line of duty to care for Ebola victims, stop the spread of the disease and bury the highly infectious Ebola dead.
July 26 festivities in the host counties officially started yesterday when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leading a large entourage, performed the dedication of several major projects ear marked for the 168th independence celebration.
The President dedicated the Johnnie N. Lewis Judicial Complex, the Superintendent’s Residence and the Executive Guest House, among others.
President Sirleaf began the dedication exercises precisely at 10:20 a.m. with the Johnnie N. Lewis Judicial Complex, which is known as the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Sinoe County, being the first to be dedicated. Several high profile national and local legal practitioners were in attendance for the occasion. Among them were the Chief Justice of Liberia, Francis Korkpor, Associate Justice Kabinah Ja’neh and the county resident Judge, Cllr. Geeblah Tekloh Konton.
Beginning her statement at the ceremony, President Sirleaf called for the observance of a moment of silence in honor of former Chief Justice Lewis in whose memory the Judicial Complex is named.
She said the dedication was another manifestation of a promise made by her government to continue to bring development to all counties within the Republic.
“The fact that this complex is one of the largest, if not the largest in Sinoe County, attests to this commitment that we have made to bring development to our people.”
She indicated that she and her entourage were glad to join the citizens of the county as they celebrate the country’s 168th independence anniversary. “This gives us the opportunity to assess the progress we have made and to recognize the challenges that still exist,” she said.
She also said that the celebration gives the national leaders the opportunity to have exchanges with their fellow citizens within the counties on how local residents see the way going forward to continue the progress in the county.
She commended the Chief Justice and his Associates for their untiring efforts in constructing vibrant legal facilities in the various counties and for the justice that is now being rendered in the country. She said that the rule of law is being highly recognized by the citizenry.
“To the Judges and the staff, we look to you to ensure that the premises are properly maintained,” she advised.
She lauded the citizens of the county who provided the five acres of land on which the judicial complex is built, for their material, moral and spiritual support to the project.
Chief Justice Francis Korkpor noted that he was happy to dedicate what he described as a “beautiful facility, the third of its kind in the country behind the Temple of Justice in Monrovia and the Judicial Complex in Bopolu, Gbarpolu County.”
The complex houses several courts, including the Third Judicial Court of Sinoe County, the Debt, Traffic and Magisterial courts as well as several offices. He indicated that there is an area for the grand and petty juries consisting of separate rooms for both males and females.
The complex will afford legal practitioners in the county the opportunity to work in an improved environment with better facilities.
“The availability of several courts and offices in this single structure will make it easy for aggrieved partners to come to the court and seek redress and for judicial actors to coordinate activities for the speedy disposal of cases,” he said.
He said the ultimate intent of the structure is to provide quality services in dispensing justice. The complex also promotes the concept of judicial independence. “It is high time that the Judiciary, an independent branch of government, be hosted in its own facilities throughout the country.” He noted that many of the courts are still operating from administrative buildings in some of the counties.
Meanwhile, the President also cut ribbons to the Superintendent’s residence and the Executive Lounge, which has about 15 rooms and cost about US$249K. Superintendent Romeo Quaiah said these accommodations will highly benefit the county because the issue of housing and guest accommodations has always been a major problem in the county. He lauded the president for her continual support to the county.
The President is also scheduled to dedicate the Youth Center and the Children’s Playground in Greenville. She will today head to Barclayville, Grand Kru County where several other development projects are expected to be dedicated.

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