By: Zazay Kolubah
With all hands on deck, the Government of Liberia is continuing to boost manpower capacity in its national security structure.
This development is backed with the latest graduation of the Liberia National Police and Drug Enforcement Agency recruits from the Liberia National Police Training Academy (LNPTA), recently.
The colorful event was graced by representatives of UNMIL, UNDP, the US Embassy and Senior Officials of Government.
The event was also marked with active participation of loved ones, friends and relatives of the graduates who trooped in huge numbers, pining flowers, complimentary cards and gifts to wish the officers well.
“Just before the civil war, my ambition was to join the Liberia National Police (LNP) to protect lives and properties.
Regrettably, my dream was dashed after the academy was overrun by warring faction just about the time I was supposed to enter."
“Today, one of my daughters is sitting in the stand for graduates. She was publicly recognized by the Inspector General of Police, as a good radio operator and instructed to take assignment in the radio room of the LNP Headquarters with immediate effect.
This makes me really, really proud. It is indeed a dream come thus. Maybe, my denial from joining the police was a divine act, to set me aside and allow my daughter to serve with distinction. Who knows?” said 56 year-old Johnson Kafia.
LNP and DEA have completed specialized training that will improve the security of the state in a more different, but positive and citizen friendly manner.
The combined graduation took place in Paynesville, Montserrado County making them the 44th Class of LNP and 2nd Class of LDEA, respectively.
At the entrance of the academy, the LNP constructed a sign post while the LDEA left behind a palava hut to memorialize their enrolment at the academy.
From a technical stand point, the manpower capacity of the LNP has increased by 104 (76 male and 33 female) out of an initial recruitment of 109, while 97 (83 males and 15 females) out of 100 LDEA recruits matriculated to professional service early that Saturday morning.
Parade, the uniformity in movement, and execution of commands were just a tip of the iceberg to demonstrate professionalism, integrity and vigilance in the two forces.
The LNP, completed six months of basic recruit training courses covering theory, physical, field and post field training.In the event, five LNP recruits could not make it to the end due to misconduct and policy issues.
LNP Inspector General, Gregory Coleman joined UNMIL Deputy Police Commissioner, Simon Blatchly, US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Samule Watson III and DEA Deputy Director General for Administration, Gwee Parkah to challenged the graduates to be all-time respecters of human rights and servants of the Government and People of Liberia.
The three months training for the LDEA was well executed. This qualified the recruits as Agents to have grip and control on harmful narcotics. Regrettably, one LDEA recruit met his demise a days before graduation. A total of 201 LNP and DEA cadets 155 were males and 46, females.
The keynote speaker, Deputy Minister of Justice for Administration and Public Safety, Cllr. Wheatonia Dixon Barnes, stressed the Government of Liberia’s commitment to gender mainstreaming in the national security structure adding, the plan for having specialized roles and responsivities for men and women in the security force remains in place.
Cllr. Wheatonia Dixon Barnes, Deputy Minister of Justice for Administration and Public Safety
According to Cllr. Barnes, having more females within the force promotes and increases services for women and children across the country, especially with response to Sexual and Gender Based Violence, mainly domestic abuses.
On the overall, the initial plan for a better security structure was to have a minimum 30 per cent female participation in the LNP and other national security institutions.
Barnes who hasa wealth of experience in Security Sector Reform, matched by a strong law background, maintained that the country’s security condition is generally stable with no significant threat to the peace.
The Deputy Minister reported that a huge consignment of communication equipment wasrecently procured, and a number of vehicles and motorcycles distributed to the LNP, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization, DEA, and EPS along with completion construction and rehabilitation of major facilities to increase service delivery.
Additionally, more funding is being secured to promote access to justice and security now, the new focus of the Government of Liberia under the National Security Strategy.
The first plan focused on the security transition with UNMIL, which took place on June 30, 2016.
“Now that the security of the state rests with us (Liberians), we all have an important part to play.
Government will work to provide the necessary logistics and security protection, while you the citizens must be sincere and committed to reconcile your differences, denounce violence, report strange happenings that may jeopardize the peace, resolve your issues more peacefully to prove that we are in one accord in caring on with the peace and security of Mama-Liberia, Minister Barnes concluded.
A few recruits were recognized and awarded for outstanding initiatives - Jeroue Butter, Best Inspirational Cadet; Jennet Browne, Distinguished Leader; and Darous Paigay who took the highest academic award with 95% average. All are from the LDEA.