The Leadership of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) has met with the Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy near Monrovia, Mr. Joel Maybury and three other officials of the Embassy, namely, Jeffrey Szuchman, Democracy, Rights and Governance Director of USAID, Barry Dagold, CLO Coordinator, and Sean Boda, Public Affairs Officer.
According to a release from the Secretariat of LNBA, during the meeting, the Deputy Chief of Mission indicated that the Embassy has been co-opted as one of the institutions to plan the Bicentennial anniversary of the founding of Liberia slated for 2022. According to Mr. Maybury, a key area that the Embassy is looking towards is to embed all relevant sites, events and actors associated with the founding of the Liberian State and to ensure that no vital component of its history is eliminated or ignored during the observance of the bi-centennial celebrations. Deputy Chief of Mission Maybury pleaded with the LNBA to join the planning process for the bicentennial celebrations.
Mr. Joel Maybury assured the LNBA that the US Embassy is interested in supporting organizations that promote the strengthening of rule of law and accountability. US Deputy Chief of Mission Maybury, says the US Embassy has observed that the Bar has been strong for rule of law and against impunity.
According to an LNBA release, also speaking during the meeting, Mr. Jeffrey Szuchman, Democracy, Rights and Governance of USAID, spoke of his organization’s interest to collaborate with the LNBA to strengthen access to justice, particularly through the Legal Aid Clinics operated by the Bar. Sean Boda, the Public Affairs Officer, also spoke of the possibility of engaging with institutions in the United States to consider shipping books for the Law Library.
For his part, LNBA President Cllr. Taiwan Gongloe, recounted that the Bar has never been formally invited by the Government to participate in the planning of the bi-centennial celebrations. With respect to access to justice, Cllr. Gongloe reflected on the level of work being done by the Bar particularly with access to justice through its five legal Aid Clinics, and the development of a transparent financial system which has enabled the Bar to attain a strong financial position and made it possible for the commencement of construction of its headquarters in Margibi County.
The LNBA Treasurer, Cllr. Rachel Duobah, who spoke during the meeting, stressed the need for direct USAID support to the LNBA and assured the USAID official and the Deputy Chief of Mission that the LNBA has a strong institutional framework for accountability which was built with the help of LPAC. She said with direct USAID support, the LNBA will expand its Legal Clinic to the remaining 10 counties of Liberia and will assign lawyers in those counties to enhance access to justice in those locals. Also present during the meeting was LNBA Vice President Cllr. Sylvester Rennie, and the Secretary General, Cllr. Bobby W Livingstone.
Meanwhile, the LNBA will shortly arrange a visit of Donors and Partners at the construction site of its headquarters in Margibi County in early November to showcase and to solicit support for the project.