The training, organized by the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA) in collaboration with ECOWAS Commission and Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), is also aimed deepening n the understanding of state security agencies on the importance of promoting peace and stability during tension, as well as to adapt to procedures and methodologies related to modern practices and techniques of arms and ammunition management in the country.
Speaking at the opening section of the ongoing five-day capacity building training, which is being held at Corina Hotel in Monrovia, the Head of LiNCSA, Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby II, stressed the need for the security sector to be equipped with competencies of best international standards to enable them be on the alert ahead of the 2023 elections in Liberia and its ECOWAS region.
According to him, the gains that Liberia has made with the sustenance of peace is not enough to relax when there’s more challenging years still ahead, highlighting the proliferation and misuse of arms by some security actors.
“Basically, there’s a need for more capacity building, we see that there are more lapses within the security sector with regards to the small arms and ammunition. This is not the kind of message we want to resonate, looking at the terrible memory of our history, the security has to be on the alert with the tension going to elections, the unregulated, and uncontrollable use of fire arm by even state actors, we need to take precaution. Sometimes, even the people that supposed to be educated are using their privileged offices to display fire arms in a hostile manner in public. And if action is not taken we will turn out to be a very weak government,” asserted the LiNCSA boss.
He disclosed plan of amending all the provisions of laws on small arms come next year in a bid to take a serious penalty action against would be violators.
“Some of the things we will be doing next year is to see how we can solicit money from ECOWAS to amend all of the provisions on the laws on fire arms. We cannot afford to get to 2023 with different laws, different citation. If there’s ambiguity of the law, it needs to be amended. We have a responsibility that provides penalty for arms. If you have a law in 2011 and 2015, we are insisting that the new laws of firearms are the new laws for punitive action,” he added.
Also speaking, ECOWAS Permanent Representative to Liberia, Nathaniel B. Walker, assured Liberia of ECOWAS’ determination and commitment in addressing threats to peace, security and stability within its regions.
He said ECOWAS is providing each member state with responses in dealing with current as well as emerging security challenges.
“Practical measures are in place in order to mitigate the easy access of weapons by establishing standards and best practices. As stipulated in the convention on SALW, effort must be in place toward ensuring that appropriate sites are provided for storage facilities. Inventory and recordkeeping are being done well as training of storage managers and depot commanders are conducted regularly,” said the ECOWAS Representative.
In recognition, Mr. Walker lauded the Government of Liberia(GoL) for hosting the PSSM capacity building training and also extended thanks and appreciation to the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) for its financial support to ECOWAS Commission in order to deliver on its mandate and also hailed BICC for its technical support to the implementation of the bilateral cooperation.
For his part, Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue alarmed over the usage of small arms by unauthorized users. He used the occasion to call for a holistic approach from ECOWAS and national government to mitigate the proliferation of small arms in the country and to avoid escalating its danger to other region of the West African Countries.
“The proliferation of small arms is very huge. It is creeping not only in Liberia, but other nations within the ECOWAS region. There’s a need for ECOWAS to look in this direction to control the flow of single barrel guns. We need to contain the proliferation of small arms in Liberia and its member states,” the Liberian Police stated.
While declaring the five- day training opened, Jefferson S. Karmoh, National Security Advisor to President George Manneh Weah called on all state securities to be more responsible in the discharge of their respective duties to ensure the promotion of peace and stability in the country.
“So those of you that are managing our national ambries, your understanding of your responsibility is critical to our promotion of peace and stability not only in our country but the south region. Our recent past of brutal war, which affected all fabric of our society, is reason for us to take seriously our responsibility as agent of arms. On behalf of the CIC and Chairperson of the National Security Agency, we like to assure you of the highest support from the Government of Liberia (GoL) that peace and stability and development remain our focus,” added the National Security Advisor.
Meanwhile, the five- day in country Competency Training on PSSM is being attended by over 25 persons from various security agencies, as well as dignitaries from the diplomatic Corps.
Vice President Jewel Howard -Taylor is expected to grace the occasion at the closing session on Friday.