This week we highlight the Chairman of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA), Attorney Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, II; his committed and professional services at this very important entity is indeed worth mentioning aimed at encouraging him to do more.
The 4th and the Liberian and youngest to be appointed as Chairperson of this Commission by the Liberian leader, President, Dr. George Manneh Weah as head of this institution was welcomed by many Liberians and our foreign residents due to his many meaningful contributions to his home country, Liberia.
‘Teklo’ as he is affectionately call by many of his peers and closed relatives since his ascendancy as head of this entity has noticeable brought lots of reforms to LiNCSA by conducting series of awareness workshops nationwide, with them being a two days Stakeholders’ Validation Session to Amend the Firearms and Ammunition Control Act of 2015 and the Act Creating the National Small Arms Commission of Liberia.
Liberia is leading the reform efforts within in West Africa to conform to provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) by ensuring the validation to amend the Firearms and Ammunition Control Act of 2015 and the Act creating the National Small Arms Commission of Liberia.
Accordingly, this new Arms Commission Act when enacted by the National Legislature will expand its mandate to regulate all categories of conventional arms including small arms, light weapons their ammunition and related materials.
The Small Arms Survey report as commissioned by the African Union according to Chairman Grigsby, revealed the alarming rate of small arms proliferation and the danger to the continent.
Chairman Grigsby further that Liberia should be particularly concern considering the nature of its borders with neighboring countries.
At that very important event, Atty. Grigsby provided a broader context of arms control legislation in the Mano River Union basin concentrating on the right to civilian possession in variance with the arms control legislation in Liberia.
Chairman Grigsby in his statement said, though the laws of Liberia prohibit Civilians possession of firearms, the Commission has received countless reports of individuals in illegal possession of Firearms in contravention of laws; an act he considers a threat to peace and stability of Liberia.
Notwithstanding, Chairman Grigsby noted that his office has contacted the relevant authorities in government to take the necessary actions in conformity with laws of Liberia.
He reemphasized that the Firearm Ammunition and Control Act prohibits civilian possession of firearms and grants exception to hunters to bear shoulder single barrel gun for hunting purposes.
In Chairman Grigsby judgment, Liberia should remain very concern about illegal possession and illicit trade of firearms within and across the borders of Liberia and the sub-region and address all such concerns as national security threat.
The Chairman cautioned stakeholders to meticulously deliberate the firearms laws and the Act creating the Small Arms of Liberia during the two days so as to ensure the domestication of the Arms Trade Treaty and further accelerate the effective management of Small Arms, light Weapons, their ammunition and other related materials.
The validation session is part of initiative that is being held under the framework of Liberia’s component of the Organized Crime West Africa Response to Trafficking (OCWAR-T) Project, a three-year project that is coordinated by the GIZ and managed by the United Nations Development Fund.
The project covered seven (7) ECOWAS Member States and is designed to strengthen regional governance frameworks in combating Transitional Organized Crime and trafficking and to enhance the capacity of state agencies specialized in combating these threats.
As a result of the tireless effort of the leadership of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA), diplomatic and other pragmatic negotiations with the Small Arms Division, Directorate on Peace and Security of the ECOWAS Commission, Liberia has once more been highlighted in the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) targeted at supporting Small Arms and Light Weapons Programs in seven (7) West African Countries, namely, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cote D’ Voire, Mali, Burkina faso, Mali and Niger.
The Small Arms Boss, Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, II, attended a lesson learnt workshop to review the outcomes of the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) in Abuja, Nigeria, emphasized that Liberia’s inclusion and funding in the 11th EDF is a milestone in the fight to combat and rid the country of illicit small arms and light weapons.
Chairman Grigsby asserted that the funding under the project will cover three (3) years and the implementation expected to commence March 2020 will focus on Output two (2) of the Organized Crime West African Response on Trafficking (OCWAR-T) project captioned, ‘Strengthening organizational capacities of National Commissions on Small Arms (NatComs)’ through the conduct of Micro Assessment of the Commission. The Micro Assessment will be held to thoroughly review the internal control processes of the Commission and ensure that critical institutional capacity gaps are strengthened. At the climax of the exercise UNDP-Liberia and the Commission will conduct training to improve possible gaps.
He further noted that the exercise is vital in determining the transfer of project fund to the commission under the national implementation of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP-Liberia).
The Small Arms Boss added that the project will also under Output 3 of OCWAR-T, ‘Improve Nat-Coms´ and security sector institutions´ technical capacities in the field of SALW control’ by upgrading atleast five (5) armouries in 3 counties along the borders up to international standards.
Atty. Grigsby also indicate that the pending ECOWAS-EU Small Arms and Light Weapons project will fund under Output 1, ‘Improve public education and civic awareness on SALW proliferation and armed violence’ the Domestic Firearms Law reviewed to incorporate provisions on the Arms Trade and Transfer Treaty, financial sustainability of the Commission’s core program and address issues of dispensation of fire arms to non-service personnel.
Atty. Grigsby asserted that under the same output one (1), the project will fund the Administrative Regulations to Firearms Law reviewed and circulate the updated version with major stakeholders to include, members of the Joint security, academic institutions, the Legislature, the media, Civil society among others.
He added that the implementation has indirect impact on sustainable programs at the commission to include the recently launched Civilian Arms Registration Exercise (CARE).
According to Chairman Grigsby, after his presentation at the just ended lesson learnt workshop in Abuja, Nigeria, He held conversation with the program team of GIZ and remain positive that there are more reasons to believe they will be incline to support the Civilian Arms Registration of Single Barrel Guns upon submission in few weeks. He stressed that concrete commitment has not been made towards this end but remain optimistic and committed to making the case for Liberia as He has always done in addition to the support for the three (3) years committed under the 11th European Development Fund of the ECOWAS-EU Project.
Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, II expressed gratitude to the Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS), specifically the Directorate on Peace and Regional Security, Small Arms Division for the support to Liberia and other countries within the West African region for the continuous support to the Nat-Coms. He stressed the effort made to solicit project funding, providing technical and logistical support among others.
Chairman Grigsby recounted the support for expert training on Physical Security and Stockpile management (PSSM) and tracing for atleast seven (7) service men as Expert in ECOWAS region from the Armed Forces of Liberia, Liberia National Police and the National security Agency among others.
The Small Arms Boss also alluded to the pending in-country training that will provide expert training to over twenty (20) service men (Expert) from the Joint Security with the majority coming from the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL).
He enumerated the Arm Marking training, training on Exemption to the ECOWAS Convention, procurement of vehicles, Motorbikes, generators, Arm destruction machine and other items that are to be presented to the National Commission on Small Arms in March, 2020.
The Liberian Government through the Liberian National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA) for the first time hosted the ECOWAS National Commission on Small Arms (NATCOM) annual meeting in Liberia.
The Conference which ran from 26-27 November, 2019 at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, is geared towards reviewing recommendations of the Niamey Technical Review meeting of the 10th Anniversary of ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) held this year in Niger, and to discuss implementation priorities for 2020 to 2030, as well as ensure networking for partnership and resource mobilization in the fight against SALW.
West African Small Arms Experts along with their development partners attending the meeting will also look in the direction of substantive revision of progress, lessons learned and challenges of implementing the ECOWAS Convention in the last ten years.
This year NATCOM Meeting was sponsored by ECOWAS with support from the Government of Germany through the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), and will bring together Heads and Permanent Secretaries of National Small Arms Commissions in the 15 ECOWAS Member States. Also expected at the meeting are a number of development partners including the European Union, UNDP, Small Arms Survey, UNIDIR, GIZ, MAG among others.
Under the watchful eyes of LiNCSA boss, series of engagements during 2021 toke place including the one with the National Legislature, Civil Society Stakeholders and the Media On the Speedy Passage of Proposed Draft Amendments to Domestic Firearms Control Legislations
The Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA) continues to make significant gains to ensure the domestication of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in Liberia.
Of recent, and having attracted funding and technical assistance from Expertise France, the leadership of the Small Arms Commission has been meeting, in constructive sessions with influential government institutions, mainly relevant Committees of the national legislature, civil society stakeholders and the Liberian Media to solicit their buy-in and support for a number of amendment proposals to the current Firearms and Ammunition Control Act and the Act creating the Small Arms Commission.
The draft amendment proposals seek to harmonize the two domestic firearms legislations with the global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) by integrating key provisions of the ATT on trade and transfer of conventional arms in the existing Firearms and Ammunition Control Act and further expanding the mandate of the Small Arms Commission beyond small arms and light weapons to cover all conventional arms.
More besides, these efforts of having engagement sessions were anticipated to speedily ensure the passage of the proposed law as indicated earlier. If this is done, Liberia will be the first country in West Africa to domesticate the ATT into its national law as far as the control and regulation of firearms are concerned.
The Chairman of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby II, speaking during these separate on-site and virtual technical sessions, first thanked Expertise France for the partnership and collaboration and the European Union for the support towards the Commission’s determination to domesticate the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in Liberia.
Chairman Grigsby mentioned his gratitude to have been supported by Expertise France, an initiative that has provided him the privilege to engage Members of the Honorable House of Representatives and the Liberian Senate, as well as civil society Organizations and the Liberian Media.
The Small Arms Boss, providing basic historical insight said, the Small Arms Commission started the ATT process with support from ECOWAS since 2018, with the Commission engaging national actors as well as international partners to ensure that Liberia live up to those different international instruments and treaties.
Speaking further, Chairman Grigsby said that the Commission had to engage the Law Makers especially newly elected, to bring them up to speed with the ATT process and the amended portion of the Firearm and Ammunition Control Act (FACA) for speedy enactment.
Expressing his gratitude, Chairman Grigsby said that the Commission was grateful to have prominent members of the national Legislature, Civil Society organizations and the Media to attend the engagement and advocacy sessions.
The Chairman lauded what he noted the irreplaceable contributions of all key national partners particularly; the Office of the President, the Board of the Small Arms Commission, State Security Institutions and Agencies in the quest to see Liberia become an armed freed society, and to regulate conventional arms as well.
Speaking to Civil Society and the Media, Chairman Grigsby said, he was highly impressed with the advocacy and engagement session because the Fourth Estate and Civil Society Organizations are a very powerful group of people who are instrumental in shifting the opinions and decisions of the social, economic and political conditions of the society.
Atty. Grigsby, describing both entities as watch dogs of the Liberian Society, noted that he would like to listen more to the opinions of Civil Society and Media Actors, stressing that the Commission sees it as an obligation to share the full content of what is being sent to the National Legislature regarding the amendment of the Firearm law of Liberia.
The Small Arms Boss Cautioned members of Civil Society and the Fourth Estate to review the work of government, and correcting where necessary, for the betterment of the society.
In response during the legislative session, the Co- Chair on Ways, Means and Finance at the Senate, newly elected Senator of Bong County Prince Moye, expressed gratitude to LiNCSA for the great initiative as well as the presenters for their brilliant presentations, and appreciated them for the level of work done so far.
Looking at the two instruments that have come to be harmonized, Senator Moye said, that it was a good concept and saw no reason why the Senate will not act on the harmonization of the two different Acts.
Senator Moye asserted, that on the part of the Ways, Means and Finance Committee in the Liberian Senate and in his capacity as Co-Chair, LiNCSA can be assured that the Committee will do everything within its might to provide the necessary financial assistance through budgetary appropriation so that the Commission can perform its work effectively.
The Commission, according to the Senator, needs empowerment to put in place all of the relevant mechanisms to do its work across the country, because according to him a lot of people are in possession of illegal firearms.
Also addressing the advocacy and sensitization session with Members of the Honorable Liberian Senate, Senator Comany B. Wesseh of River Gee and Former Chairman of the Small Arms Commission thanked the Grigsby administration for the progress of domesticating the ATT in Liberia; stressing that this is a remarkable achievement in the history of the Commission.
As part of the political process of legislation, Senator Wesseh, who is member of the Senate Committee on Defense, Security and Veteran Affairs assured the Commission of his support for the enactment of the proposed law.
The Senator also acknowledged the contributions of Mr. Mohamed Kolibaly of Expertise France, Dr. Adama Sanii of ECOWAS and others whom he had worked with for at least twenty (20) years to ensure the prevention of illicit trading of small arms and light weapons across the region.
Authorities of ECOWAS, especially its Small Arms Division expressed appreciation to Expertise France for the support toward the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms to ensure the speedy passage of the law.
The technical session with Law Makers, ECOWAS emphasized is an important milestone in moving forward with the amended portions of the Firearm laws, especially the one that commensurate with Arms Trade Treaty.
In similar gesture, authorities of Expertise France lauded the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms for the historic effort to meet members of the Honorable National Legislature, Civil Society Organizations and the Liberian Media to acquaint them with the draft proposed laws.
The session with key national stakeholders, Expertise France observed, was a significant step in a joint effort to ensure that all relevant provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) are fully incorporated into the national legal frameworks for firearms control in Liberia.
With all of these professional services by our Profile of the week, we are indeed overjoyed for him to be chosen.
Check us out next week for another profile of the week.