The United Nations Development (UNDP) with support from the Government of Norway has turned over to the Government of Liberia an 11-room Regional Training Center constructed in Harper, Maryland County valued at US$187,033.90.
Of the amount, the Norwegian Government contributed US$153,038.90 for the construction of the center while UNDP contributed US$33,995for solar lights, furniture and kitchen utensils.
The facility is to be used to build the capacity of the Liberia National Police (LNP) and other security Agencies including the Bureau of Corrections, Fire Service, Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization and the Drug enforcement Agency, and is part of efforts to strengthen and decentralize capacity building of Liberia’s Security Sector as UNMIL draws down.
The facility, which includes classrooms, offices, library, kitchen, dining area and bathrooms, comes at a time the LNP is conducting training for more officers in order to reach a target number of 8,000 prior to the drawdown of UNMIL.
The facility will serve as a back-up to the Liberia National Police Training Academy in Monrovia and a regional hub to be constructed in Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County, one of which was recently launched in Gbarnga, Bong County.
Police Director, Chris Massaquoi who graced the dedicatory ceremony described the construction as critical to the overall security of the country and the first in its history with the hope that capacity building will help security agencies provide professional service-delivery to the people of Liberia.
He applauded the support of Norway and UNDP, but reminded central government of its responsibility to maintain and equip the facility which he noted will enhance the effectiveness of the police.
The Police Director also commended police officers for exhibiting professional behavior but urged them to re-examine their conduct regarding their engagement with citizens.
“Bribery is out of the question, unethical behavior is not allowed and extortion will not be tolerated or condoned,” Director Massaquoi intimated.
The Political Development Councilor of the Government of Norway, Fred Rasmussen, committed his government to continued support to the Security and Energy sectors of Liberia, emphasizing excellent cooperation with UNDP and the LNP in building human resource capacities.
UNDP’s Resident Representative Aeneas Chuma who is also the UN Resident Coordinator and Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Consolidated Democratic Governance, of UNMIL, pledged the support of the UN to work with the Liberian government in strengthening security institutions and promoting the rule of law.
Mr. Chuma said capacity building remains critical to service-delivery for communities which truly adds value and builds trust between the LNP and its citizens. He urged the LNP to use the facility to its full potential, but equally bearing in mind to properly maintain it.
The occasion was also graced by the South African and Nigerian Ambassadors accredited to Liberia. Ambassadors Cigozie Obi-Nnadozie and Masilo Mabeta in separate statements stressed the importance of working together as Africans to achieve more development results and promising to partner with Liberia to regain its status among the comity of Nations.
Local Government Officials including the Superintendent of Maryland County, Nathaline Tubman and Senator Dan Morias recognized the deficiency regarding the capacity of police officers but emphasized the need to continue to engage international partners to support Liberia’s security sector to sustain the peace.