The Deputy Justice Minister for Administration and Public Affairs, Madam Wheatonia Dixon Barnes, last Friday admonished that as Liberia prepares to take over national security from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), security institutions should critically look at accountability and transparency if they are seriously assessing their agenda for the transition.
“Self-assessment of every security institution should take into consideration transparency and accountability, promotion of good governance, human rights and respect for rule of law,” Cllr. Barnes declared.
Addressing a two-day retreat in Bensonville, organized by the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN), Cllr. Barnes advised participants to use the retreat to develop a roadmap to help them address the gaps and challenges in the security sector which will be dealing with the issues of naturalization, immigration and cross border crimes.
According to Cllr. Barnes, self assessment is about self-examination and identifying strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and trust of their institution.
“You have to use this opportunity to complete a thorough analysis of yourselves and the BIN, particularly in the face of the UNMIL withdrawal and transition,” she said, adding, “Security sector reform is one of the critical areas of peace and nation building, especially in a post-war country like Liberia.”
Earlier, BIN Commission Col. Lemuel E.A. Reeves told his officers that “a few months from now UNMIL will leave our country and security will be in our hands and those of other national security actors. We must be able to take up the mantle to perform as credibly as the Liberian people deserve.”
“We should be looking at integrity, accountability and capacity building during these two days and we need to put aside our differences to make a very great impact for the future of the institution, ourselves and our country,” Col. Reeves said.
For his part, the head of the United Nations Police in Liberia (UNPOL), Gregory J. Hinds, said, “It is time for government to come out with a complete plan and benchmark that will encourage the international community to fully support our transitional plan, before UNMIL’s withdrawal on June 30, 2016.”
“You need to do it, so that you may assume responsibility, development and implementation of your transitional plan, which should include BIN and other security agencies that are responsible for border migration management, to make them more effective and efficient to contribute meaningfully to the future of the country,” the UNPOL boss suggested.
Admonishing the participants, Hinds in a very soft tone told the BIN officers, “I urge you to remain an effective, efficient and reliable immigration service. It is your responsibility to discuss honestly your strengths, weaknesses and also think on what steps are needed for the BIN’s sustainability.”