By Patrick Stephen Tokpah
Gbarnga, Bong County-The Assistant Minister of Corrections and Rehabilitation at the Ministry of Justice, Eddie S. Tarawali has warned Correction Officers not to wear political T-shirts or part take in politics, on grounds that they are non-political elements in Liberia.
The Assistant Justice Minister for Corrections and Rehabilitation reminded the officers and all military, paramilitary, and other related security institutions of their oath to defend and protect all citizens and residents of the country in a manner that demonstrates neutrality, professionalism, and decency.
According to Minister Tarawali, if the corrections officers are involved in politics, it violates the prison standing order as Law Enforcement personnel in Liberia.
“You are here to safeguard the state and its citizens. You are not a politician or partisan, but security officers,” he added.
He made the statement on February 24, 2023, when the Government of Liberia and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative in collaboration with the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation (BCR) Ministry of Justice graduated 25 students from its ALPHA Platoon and 29 students from its BRAVO Platoon of class 14th.
Minister Tarawali revealed that in the past budget years, the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation budget has been reduced from 2.2 Million to four hundred ninety thousand and now seven hundred thousand United in Dollars, something he is hindering the progress of the institution.
He further revealed the crewless of prison facilities continues to hinder the smooth opening of the Justice system in the country.
Guest speaking at the graduation ceremony, Liberia Vice President Jewel Howard Taylor expressed thanks and appreciation for the level of support received from the US government and other international partners in strengthening the corrections sector of the Country.
Stressing the significance of the rule of law sector, the first female Vice President said, “an effective rule of law sector is fundamental to the stability and prosperity of Liberia and so every effort should be made to through budgetary allotment to improving it.
She added that “the inadequate numbers of corrections officers in Liberia have been hindering the ability of the corrections sector to effectively play its role in justice delivery in Liberia”.
The Liberian Vice President at the same time called on the new corrections officers to execute their duty without discrimination.
“This is not an easy task; it is a sacrificial job and needs your love for humanity”, she said.
She further emphasized that corrections officers are to respect the rights of inmates, and their responsibilities require that when inmates return to their communities, there should be changes in their behavior.
Attending the ceremony were heads of Law Enforcement Agencies, directors of Prisons, representatives of UN Agencies, the US Embassy, the Assistant Minister for Rehabilitation, and Local Authorities, among others.