By: Zazay Kolubah
The people of Liberia have reason to feel better protected now that national security agencies possess better capability of instant communication from point-to-point.
Events occurring at various locations in Liberia can be relayed momentarily to a security command center.
This gives the security sector an advantage in protecting citizens against a potential insurrection anywhere in the country after the arrival of a huge consignment of communication equipment to improve service delivery, coordination within and amongst national security institutions.
The consignment was purchased with direct funding from the Liberian Government through a competitive bidding process. The equipment include V/HF radios, communication cables, solar panels, batteries, repeaters, communication towers along with accessories, earphones, mic amongst others.
As a result of this provision, the national security sector will now have a central command system, managed and operated by trained security personnel. Benefiting institutions are the Liberia National Police (LNP), the Executive Protraction Service (EPS), and the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN).
Procured by the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) of the Ministry of Justice, the equipment will be distributed amongst officers and at strategic locations, mainly on installations and in hard-to-reach parts of the country.
The overall intend is to expand communication coverage and adequately respond to the security needs of the people.
PIU Coordinator, James Davies said the competitive bidding process was initiated to widen the option for selection of the best qualified vendor who would have supplied the equipment and at a more reasonable price at the onset.
After the procurement exercise, the Government of Liberia was able to accrue some savings for which adjustments are being made to incorporate other institutions like the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Liberia National Fire Service (LNFS) that were not among initial beneficiaries.
“This implies that we are working even harder within our meager capacity to augment quality communication within our joint security taskforce. I want to also register that even if all the logistics are available, we can’t do better in absence of the people’s involvement. Therefore, we will use these equipment to also hear from and work with the citizens more directly even when physically covering long distances to reach the communities will mean a challenge. I mean we can just stay at point “A” and address a situation at point “Z” without being present", Davies asserts.
The Joint Implementation Group (JIG) on UNMIL transition realized that communication with in the security sector will accelerate the operation of national security, proposed funding for a telecommunication security network.
Funding was secured out of a 10 million dollar allotment by the Liberian Government for UNMIL Transition.
Global Communications, a communication firm based in South Africa was deemed qualified and was selected to carry on the supply.
September 9, 2016 marked the arrival of the equipment through the Roberts International Airport on board Brussels Airline received by the PIU.
The LNP has been providing security for the consignment since its arrival. They are currently being coded to track their location, usage and maintenance.
Over 1,500 pieces of assorted equipment arrived. Some will go to complement the few currently in use, or replace damaged or fragile equipment. When all is in place, security personnel will have better leverage to communicate over far distances with clarity.
As soon as the coding of the equipment is complete, beneficiary security institutions will take delivery of their supplies. On a more important note, Liberia will be moving a step further shifting from analog to digital since indeed all equipment earlier mentioned are digital.
The Liberia Tele-communications Corporation will support the management and operation of the gargets.
In May 2016, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the U.S Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield launched the new joint partnership to develop a national security radio communication network.
The intent was to strengthen efficiency and effectiveness within the Liberian security sector, something that is now coming to fruition.