Lapses in SSR Spur Public Fear over UNMIL Drawdown

first_imgUnited Nations Mission in Liberia’s (UNMIL) gradual drawdown is instilling fear among Liberians and foreign residents alike as a result of numerous lapses contained in the Security Sector Reform (SSR) exercises spearheaded by that body.These lapses are clearly evident in the performances of the national security apparatus, especially the Liberia National Police, a detailed study conducted by an official of the Governance Commission, has revealed.The study was conducted by Dr. Yarsuo Weh-Dorliae, one of the commissioners at the GC with oversight on decentralization. It reveals that the manner in which LNP officers were recruited, coupled with the manner in which they were trained has created a bad public perception about the force thereby lowering public confidence in the police. That situation is detrimental to the maintenance of law and order (peace and stability) in the absence of UNMIL.Making a presentation on the SSR yesterday in Monrovia, Dr. Dorliae said the purpose of the study was to understand how UNMIL’s training affected effectiveness of performance and public confidence in the ability of the LNP to maintain law and order, that the result proved otherwise. The presentation was titled: “UNMIL Training of Liberia National Police: Effectiveness, Results, and Future Implications.”Analysis of UNMIL’s reform exercise revealed mixed results and impacts on the effectiveness of police performance in the country. The findings further indicated that the adverse impacts are not entirely training related but also resulted from the behavior of the Government of Liberia towards its police force. Some of these negative impacts are the results of low salaries, lack of incentives and lack of logistical support.Quantitative data were used to address impacts of UNMIL’s police training on the maintenance of law and order. The data, according to Dr. Dorliae, were collected through a researcher-developed survey which measures recruitment, training, effectiveness of performance and public confidence in the police. Participants were 120 persons drawn from government officials, some of them senior officials, UNMIL officials, LNP and members of the Civil Society Organization (CSO).He also indicated that a qualitative semi-structured interview data were also gathered from 18 additional participants to address the challenges for quality improvement in the performance of the police.The findings indicated that there were some lapses in the recruitment process conducted by UNMIL because people who committed heinous crimes during the civil crisis were recruited. Sufficient background investigation was not done during the recruitment exercises, leading to criminals being recruited.It also indicated that recruitment and vetting were exhausted, candidates were not investigated with due diligence regarding their character and human rights records.The findings indicated that people were afraid to speak during the recruitment process because they were afraid of reprisals. “People did not feel free to express themselves because there was no guarantee of confidentiality.”People even in high ranking positions in the LNP confided that the training exercises were disjointed, the finding reported.The finding alleges that the government does not see the police as its responsibility, but rather as that of the international community because it was the international community that spearheaded the entire process with little or no interest from the government.Quantitative findings also indicate a moderately significant correlation between police perceived knowledge and job performance, thus implying that UNMIL’s training effected some changes relative to the maintenance of law and order.However, the diversity of trainers from contrasting policing jurisdiction produced an outcome that lacked a country-specific context for Liberia, a common law country with a criminal justice system and policing tradition patterned after that of the United States.The findings showed that the government failed to take ownership of the LNP reform exercise and to provide leadership and adequate resource support to complement the training due to its weak commitment.On the level of performance, the findings overwhelmingly showed that it is capable of maintaining law and order, though some of their training cannot be put into practice as a result of lack of some essential logistics.“Some police officers have been trained in forensic investigation. They learned these things in well equipped laboratories where they were trained, but they cannot apply that knowledge here because of lack of logistics,” the report quotes a high ranking LNP official.Lower ranking police officers are not effective in performing their duties because of constant interference from the boss or higher-hands. The finding indicated that the police is state-centric rather than people centered; as a result they tend to protect the powers that be than the public. “International police reform has become an integral component of post conflict peacekeeping and state building operations of the UN, with the overarching objective being to build stable democracies in those post-conflict fragile states. This has not always been the case though an effective police force is a critical component of sustainable state-building and democratic governance.Liberia’s democratic theory justifies the necessity for an effective police force as an embodiment of state authority for upholding the rule of law and protecting the democratic political and socio-economic processes (human rights, investment that provide jobs, elections) that are crucial to maintaining stability in a democracy.He, however, recommended that government and UNMIL must collaborate to professionalize, depoliticize and structure the LNP as a semi autonomous service institution; and situate the force in its common law criminal justice system with organization, structure and rank catalog harmonized with its police tradition.The UN post-conflict international police training mission in the future should be driven by what is required to implement training specific to host country’s policing needs and not by availability of funding and donors.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Logos Hope arrives in Guyana

first_imgLogos Hope, the world’s largest floating bookfair, has touched the shores of Guyana. The ship has docked at the National Shipping Corporation wharf in La Penitence, Georgetown, and is now officially open to the public.The ship will be in Guyana for 11 days.Students at Logos Hope’s bookfairWith a fee of $200 for adults and children under the age of 12 and senior citizens will be admitted for free, Guyanese will be able to experience over 5000 different genres of books in a total of half a million of books in the Logos Hope ship.Media Relations Officer of Logos Hope Nicolas Suarez told Guyana Times that they are elated to show Guyanese again what they have to offer after visiting the country for about three years.Logos Hope Media Relations Officer Nicolas Suarez“The bookfair is like the heart of the ship, we are proud to show this and to share with the community about different types of books and as we would normally say, to bring help, knowledge and hope to this community. So basically, the knowledge through the books we share with you guys”.Suarez further added that the ship has other events besides the bookfair and they are very excited to share these events with the public.“Our main event is about Narnia, so we are very excited to share this event because it’s the first time again we are sharing it in English, so our crewmembers are really enjoying this time and practising about this drama again because it is in English,” he explained.Persons buying books at the Logos Hope bookfairThe ship’s representative said that apart from onboard events, there are also onshore events. He said on onshore events they share in schools, prisons, and different places as a means of showing love to communities.“We really enjoy it here and we are looking forward to giving the best to this community and to this country,” he said.Just recently, in a press conference by the Logos Hope team, representatives announced that they will be visiting various organisations to make charitable contributions.Some of the places that will be visited, according to Logos Hope representative Samuel Scheer, are the Georgetown prisons, where inmates will be given reading glasses to improve their literacy; hospitals, where encouragement and hope will be spread, and to several schools in Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).Meanwhile, the ship has a welcome area where persons are being introduced to the ship and an international café, which has ice cream, popcorn and other snacks on sale.MV Logos Hope is operated by GBA Ships eV, an international non-profit organisation registered in Germany. Since 1970, the organisation has welcomed more than 47 million visitors in over 160 countries and territories worldwide.last_img read more