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Stability, which Liberians continue to yearn for “will remain illusive” if justice for the poor in this country is not assured, national orator of the 165th anniversary of Liberia’s declaration of independence, Dr. D. Elwood Dunn warned here Thursday.
“We should consider law students to offer pro-bono services to indigents, and strongly encourage lawyers to do the same. Without justice for the poor, stability will remain illusive,” he insisted.
He said the legal plight of the poor could be ameliorated if government authorities called on lawyers to carry out pro-bono legal services to defend indigents who have cases in courts in the country.
Dunn’s comments about the justice system came when reports abound at Temple of Justice about corruption in the justice system where it has become commonplace for jurors to admit receiving bribes for the sale of justice.
The political science professor criticized how the 1986 constitution came into being, citing: “We face a problem of constitutional inadequacy. Many here and listening will recall how we ended up with the current constitution of Liberia—a constitution drafted by professionals was in 1983 subjected to substantial editing by a panel of politicians. It was a politically edited draft under circumstances of military rule that became the constitution.”
Touching on hard work, Dr. Dunn lamented that “innovation and self-reliance have bedeviled us ever since,” adding: “We must borrow the page of our past to restore creative and innovative entrepreneur spirit.”
In its declaration of rights, our founding constitution proclaimed a national promise—to establish a state, ensure domestic peace and promote the general welfare, as well as solemnly associate and transmit ourselves into a free sovereign state called the Republic of Liberia, he noted.
Saying that was the promise in the beginning, Dr. Dunn explained how that promise forms an ideal left to be perfected and nurtured by succeeding generations.
He said the promise remained with succeeding generations to make it “increasingly more meaningful, more relevant to the changing needs of the continuous increasing Liberian population.”
He said the nation, which started small in concept, has moved from Commonwealth and expanded into 15 counties. “Expansion, including that of the mind, was inevitable.”
“Just as we face today the impetrative of defining the idea of Liberia, future generations will find the need to redefine their nation, their Liberia, taking into account the exigencies, their demands of that future,” he informed Liberians.