After extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) until December 31 of this year, the Security Council will today, Wednesday, December 21, discuss whether or not to maintain its force in the country, UN Police Commissioner Simon Blatchly said yesterday.
Blatchly made the disclosure during the launch of a five–year strategic plan by the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS), formerly the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN).
Mr. Blatchly, the Commissioner of the United Nations Police (UNPOL) in Liberia, told the audience, many of them LIS officers, that the UN Security Council will review UNMIL’s mandate today with the hope of extending it by a year.
“We would like to leave your country if only you can take full responsibility of your own security, but we will see and wait for tomorrow’s deliberations; maybe the council would agree for us to leave your country in the next 12 months,” Commissioner Blatchly said.
The five-year plan launched by LIS focuses mainly on the strategic directions of the force regarding its role in maintaining the security situation as well as protecting the country’s territorial integrity and sustainability during and after UNMIL’s transition.
It is also intended to design and establish a framework for ensuring the protection of the country’s porous borders, curtailing cross- border crimes and the prevalence of illegal migrants.
Blatchly meanwhile challenged the LIS authorities to transform the institution to become capable, efficient and effective to deliver immigration services.
He said implementation of the plan depends on government’s support in the areas of manpower development and training.
“I also encourage development partners to support LIS’ plan to deliver on its immigration management and to maintain the border entry points,” Blatchly said.
He then pledged the UNPOL’s support to fully help implement the strategic plan.
“One of our mandates is to support the LIS development and reform process and its strategic plan. So we would continue to engage them at the leadership level by supporting the framework,” Blatchly added.
For his part, Hilary Sakor Sirleaf, Assistant Justice Minister for Corrections and Rehabilitation, said if government cannot allot adequate budget for the entity, it would mean LIS cannot achieve its goal as stipulated in the strategic plan.
“The government needs to see the plan so as to ensure that it meets the required professional service delivery,” Sirleaf, who proxied for Justice Minister and Attorney General Cllr. Fredrick Cherue, said.
Sirleaf, who launched the plan, warned the LIS to be more professional in their day to day operations.
According to LIS Commissioner Cllr. Lemuel A. Reeves, the five-year plan is “more proactive,” with the intent to also strengthen the officers’ capacity by improving border management and delivery of quality services to the public.
“These include mechanisms to control the increase in illegal residency, illegal cross-border trades and organized crimes, the prevalence of fraudulent travel and citizenship documents and the implementation of a more robust border management system,” Cllr. Reeves said.