At least 40 officers of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) have completed an 18-day intensive training in operating and maintaining dinghies (boats) along the coastal lines.
Six females and thirty-four males were trained by the Liberia Coast Guard (LCG) of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and were trained and certificated as part of a marine unit for the LIS border patrol first class.
The training of the LIS Officers also operationalizes the utilization of the six (6) dinghies procured to enhance border patrol along the country’s coastline.
The six females were enthusiastic about the training as they were seen professionally demonstrating and displaying their skills alongside their male counterparts in front of an impressive audience, including the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), representatives from the Ministries of National Defense and Justice, as well as the Commander and trainers of the Liberia Coast Guard (LCG).
“I want to say thank you to UNDP and Japan for the support and to LIS family for selecting me to be part of this training. It was not easy but, we made. I am so overwhelmed to also be certificated as the ‘Best Female’ for my courage and academic performances during the training- I am so grateful,” said Mariam Tamba. She won the ‘Best Female’ award for her courage and academic performances demonstrated over all other females during the training.
Others included the Commissioner-General and senior officials of the LIS, Liberia National Police, the United Nations, other Government agencies and family members of the trainees.
Speaking at the commissioning and graduation ceremonies held at the Liberia Coast Guard Base near Monrovia, James Monibah, the acting Team Leader of UNDP Governance and Public Institutions Pillar (GPI) said even though the dinghies were initially procured to enhance border patrol during the Ebola crisis, its efficient utilization remains vital to the protection of the country’s borders and the revenue generation base of the Government of Liberia.
He lauded the Government and people of Japan for such a partnership with UNDP which continues to meaningfully impact the lives of Liberians through various projects.
“In today’s context, the boats are even more important to securing our borders and preventing illegal entry of individuals into the country, as well as contribute to the generation of revenue which is so badly needed at this time,” Mr. Monibah said.
He puts the total value of the boats at US$ 219, 900. The six boats are part of earlier donations of vehicles, motors bikes and other assorted materials procured under the project.
Monibah urged the security sector to demonstrate sound performance to attract additional donor funding and resources.
In her keynote address, AFL Deputy Chief of Staff, Col. Geraldine George encouraged the LIS Officers to always exhibit professionalism in the discharge of their duties.
She stressed the importance of the coastline to the country’s economy and the responsibilities of the LIS Border Patrol Marine Unit.
“The role play by the Immigration Service of the Country is very important. You are the face of the Country, as people travel in and out. You leave a lasting impression on everyone who comes and leaves our country,” Col. George said.
She thanked UNDP and the Government of Japan for the immense support to the country’s security sector.
For his part, LIS Commissioner General Lemuel Reeves lauded UNDP and the Government of Japan for the continued support and commitment to the LIS in ensuring the effective and efficient utilization of assets procured under the project.
Colonel Reeves acknowledged the resource constraints being experienced by the LIS, but added that despite these challenges, a Fleet Management Department has been established and charged with the responsibility of ensuring proper maintenance of all assets.
He stressed the important roles officers play in reducing smuggling of goods, thereby increasing revenue.
The ‘Emergency Support to National Response to Ebola Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Epidemic’ (Enhanced Border Surveillance Project) is a US$3.6 million Japanese funded project which seeks to strengthen the institutional capacity of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) and the Liberia National Police (LNP) in eight borders counties.
It is aimed at supporting the effective management of Liberia’s borders, by helping to prevent cross-border EVD transmission, other illicit activities, and to strengthen community engagement.
Over the period of its implementation phase, the project, in addition to the procurement of the dinghies, has also provided 18 vehicles, 160 Haojin motorbikes, 2,000 rain gears, 16 tents and accessories.
Other assets include 32 Desk top computers, Laser jet Printers, 200 pieces of solar lights, thermometers and other assorted items donated to the LIS and LNP to further enhance their capacities.