VP Taylor: ‘Let Constitutional Reform Reflect People’s Rights’

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VP Jewel Howard Taylor: "Let people's rights be the focus of law reform"

Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor has called on the Law Reform Commission (LRC) to consider the rights of people, including the rights of children and parents, as well as the equality of men and women, among others, as the Commission dialogues on reengaging the process of reviewing and identifying the need to return to the process of reviewing the Constitution of Liberia.

In her keynote address yesterday at programs marking dialogue on constitutional review, national healing and development, the Liberian VP said people are the ones affected by laws and, if laws put place sometime back can no longer address the realities of present day, there is a need to revisit them and make the needed changes.

“This is why establishment of the Law Reform Commission was done by mandate from government, as a result of flawed, outdated, inconsistent and underdeveloped laws which seem to impede the good governance process of this country,” she said. The onus is now on the shoulder of the LRC, she added, to listen to the population at all levels when they go out there at any time deemed fit by the Executive, in consultation with the other two branches of government, to do anything about following up on what the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) did around the country.

“The law gives the LRC the authority to undertake the reform and development of the laws of Liberia in order to generate harmony and consistency in the laws and to propose a direction and the framework geared towards the good governance of the country through good laws,” VP Taylor said.

She added that the mandate to the Commission also includes providing advice, information and opinion on any legislation proposed by any branch of the government or any group of people with regards to reform or amendment of the law.

In her own remarks, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, former Chief Justice of Liberia and Chairperson of the CRC, said when the Committee went out to seek the opinions of citizens on the review of the constitution, there were several suspicions raised by the people.

“Let us be clear in informing the LRC that when we went out there to solicit the opinions of our fellow citizens on the need to review our constitution, they raised several concerns. A number of the people told us that the review of the constitution was a waste of time since, in their belief, it [was] intended to protect those in power at the time,” said Cllr. Scott (meaning during President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s second and last tenure).

According to her most of the people in the rural parts of Liberia feel that people in Monrovia have all the best of the country’s benefits while they are ignored.

“Trust and confidence in the governance system of the country were noticed to have been gone, more so with a belief that the proposition on reducing the tenures of all the elected officials, including President, Legislators was intended to allow former President Sirleaf run for a third and if possible, fourth time,” she said.

Another set of issues Cllr. Scott pointed out are the conflict of interest between the Executive and the Legislative branches of government, whose responsibility it is to carry out law reformation to address the extreme poverty that continues to threaten majority of the population of the country.

She said the alleged lack of equitable distribution of the benefits coming from the country’s natural resources’ among the political sub-divisions also struck debate among several groups across the country when the CRC went out to seek the opinions of the people.

“Many even think, up to this day that the very constitution has no impact on their lives, since it is not taught in schools and discussed as a great national instrument.

Providing the overview of the occasion, LRC Chairperson, Cllr. Boakai N. Kanneh said the history of Liberia spans as far back as over a century and seven decades but with lots of impediments.

“Liberia became independent when most of Africa was not even colonized. By that status, Liberia attained the privileged role of midwife in the independence of almost all of Africa. The long history of Liberia did not come without the challenges and the need to reform the country through changes in governance, our constitution and other laws,” Cllr. Kanneh said.

He said laws, like society, are transitory. He added that laws are transitory because society changes with the behaviors of its people.

“There is always a compelling need to review and change the laws as necessitated by the requirements of that society and we believe that the constitution of Liberia has not evaded this reality,” he said. The two-day dialogue (October 22-23) centers on peace-building, national healing, reconciliation and development.

Author

  • David S. Menjor is a Liberian journalist whose work, mainly in the print media has given so much meaning to the world of balanced and credible mass communication. David is married and interestingly he is also knowledgeable in the area of education since he has received some primary teacher training from the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI). David, after leaving Radio Five, a broadcast media outlet, in 2016, he took on the challenge to venture into the print media affairs with the Dailly Observer Newspaper. Since then he has created his own enviable space. He is a student at the University of Liberia.

6 COMMENTS

  1. The Liberian constitution was not instituted to be changed. We were told by our forefathers and founders to amend our constitutional provisions only. There are consequences for every change. Some are brutal and foster disunity. Never do changed fixtures unify because you have to destroy to rebuild them. For example, when change was made in the last 1848 one to put in the replacing Vice president when the President of Liberia died in office, a code war existed for years. Another instant is when the constitution was changed to the present to allow the President 20 days to sign a bill instead the 48 hours entrenched. These instances were some of the underlying causes of our physical Civil fight. This ex-rebel divorced wife, along side her comrades, should be careful how she struggles with her educated words like amend and change. I have no rewards to extend my definition which as experts they should have known prior to the war. Neither do I have any interest in their back ground invaded scams. What I do know is that the pioneers explicitly warned us about tampering with changes in the nation’s supreme law, which should only be interpreted by the Judiciary branch of Government. The Legislative defies the power of the people when they change instead make and amend to adjust. The Executive which has the Vice as a ticket, looks at the execution of the law. Do not steal functions. Do not chat with me. Reply the Liberian people.
    The silent majority is in silence.

  2. Constiutional review back on the table again ? Now what country or institutions paying for this . USAID ? EU ? World Bank? UN ? China ? Japan ? It seems that old business has again become new business for the purpose of soliciting for money . Old tricks never die in that country . The referendum, where is it ? Oh, that was old business . We are talking about new business for international funding .

  3. It’s very interesting how the bureaucracy works in Liberia. Since I was a child, I always wondered why nothing got finished in the country. As I got older, I realized it’s the Liberian way. It’s like all the unfinished houses you see across the country – they never get completed and eventually end up in decay. These are some of the reasons why the country cannot develop because nothing gets done. It’s all about “licking their hands” slang for lining their pockets, so they drag their feet to the detriment of the country. I don’t know when Liberians will ever learn how to do the right thing.

  4. Some have learned a little bid accounting on settlers finance adopted their names, yet know nothing automated in this dark cyber world, Looking to send American dollars from the mother’s purse they only are enslaved in but will not, never be a part of. What are their maternal origins? Are they settlers or servants of settlers. What middle names? Lack knowledge. For sake their native origin to become low wage servants of intelligent officers in foreign land, will in no way have any biological connected. Be careful as you follow the tracks of the owners of this glorious land of liberty because no matter how much you learn about us or how long you track knowledge, you will never know how much knowledge we have even if you try to beg or steal their know how, you will continue to be illiterate. Knowledge cannot be stolen. One must learn his own end to examine the end of another.

  5. let the constitution be right to all Liberian even if your people are from other country if your father is a citizen of another country you should still be a Liberia and also if you was born in another country you should still be a Liberia this is how Liberia can be great I know a lot of you do not like me because of what I am saying but maybe one day they will understand how I am living in America I know maybe you hear so many things but do not believe it.you should believe in jesus Christ he is all that we need to treat one another right

  6. Is that what the gospel says? “He who preaches the gospel shalt live by it”? Are we living by it? Are we finishing the house of God near the people who need the gospel? Liberians need to hear the message of the most high. If one is messenger but afraid to enter his own building, how will he finish our holy home? Praise the Lord.
    Gone.

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