Liberia: President Weah’s Maritime Nominee ‘Unfit’

Ms. Edwina Collins, the nominee rejected by the Senate and described as 'unfit.'

… Says Senators while rejecting Edwina Collins’ nomination for Deputy Commissioner for International Vessel Registration 

President George Weah's nominee for the post of Deputy Commissioner at the Liberia Maritime Authority (LiMA) has been “rejected and deemed unfit.”

Edwina Collins had looked set for a fall for the post of Deputy Commissioner for International Vessel Registration at the LiMA, for which she was appointed in October of last year as a result of stumbling performance in a confirmation hearing this week at the Senate.

She had struggled to defend her profile, having claimed to be a trained economist and development specialist with many years of hands-on experience within the private and NGO sectors both locally and internationally, though she could not name a single place where she had worked to gain such an experience.  

Ms. Collin’s resumé submitted to Senate Committee on Maritime did not list any work experience in the field and, after hard questions from the committee members, she admitted to having no knowledge and experience about Liberia’s Maritime program — a confession that rendered her unfit and unqualified for the position in the eyes of the Committee. 

This prompted the Committee to ask the plenary to reject her nomination on grounds that she lacks the requisite qualification and experience for the job.

“Though Ms. Collins appears to have the exuberance to render services to the country, she does not have the requisite qualification and experience to bring the Maritime Program to meet national and international demands,” the Committee said. “Nominee Collins told the Committee that she was an intern with no prior knowledge and experience about Maritime, making her unqualified or not a suitable candidate for the position.”

The Senate Plenary then voted unanimously to reject the nomination. The vote was 19 in favor, and one against — that person being Senator Milton Teajay of Sinoe County.

LiMA is a public corporation with the responsibility of managing all commercial activities within the maritime domain of Liberia.  Its maritime program is currently recognized as the second-largest ship registry in the world. 

Its goal is to diversify its activities from the long-standing focus of being a nation with a leading maritime shipping and corporate registry program, to a nation that strategically focuses on building and, or supporting enterprises across the domestic maritime domain for greater economic and social benefits for the county.

Meanwhile, Ms. Collins, whose mother Dr. Edna Johnny, is the President of the University of Liberia Faculty Association, told the Senate that despite her lack of experience, her certificate in computer database management and advanced word processing would have been “very useful in creating, coordinating, and managing the Shipping register at the LiMA.”

She also claimed to be a student of the Nairobi Aviation College Maritime Management and a graduating senior of the Kenyatta University in Nairobi, Kenya, awaiting a Master's in Gender and Development.

However, Senators questioned her claim of studying maritime at the Nairobi Aviation College when the school does not offer such a course and has been listed as one of the dozen schools that is not authorized to offer college education in the field by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

President Weah’s nominee is a graduate of the 2017 class of the University of Liberia, where she earned a B.Sc. Economics, and a 2011 graduate of the Don Bosco Technical High School located in Sinkor. 

However, since the Senate rejection, there has been no word from Ms. Collins who is just one of the few presidential nominees, whose proficiencies in their respective target sectors have become a matter of debate.

The first was Rebecca McGill, the Deputy Minister for Administration, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning who, during her confirmation hearing in 2018, responded “Jesus” when asked by the late Grand Cape Mount County Senator Edward Dagoseh “what is a fiscal policy?

Min. Mcgill is the biological sister of Nathanial McGill the Minister of State for President Affairs.

The latest is Darlington Karnley, a low-level aircraft technician and part-time comedian, who lied about his credentials and has no airport management experience but was nominated to run the nation’s only international airport — the Roberts International Airport.

However, his letter of nomination has not reached the Senate, though it has been a month since he was nominated for the post.