Chairman, Atty. Teklo Maxwell Grigsby Statement.

As the 4th Liberian and youngest appointed Chairperson of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms (LiNCSA), I feel very bless to be called to national service by H.E. Ambassador, Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia. I hold abiding faith in the Almighty God and rely on his guidance to lead the Commission to noble heights. I extend heartfelt appreciation to His Excellency Amb. Weah for the confidence reposed in me to steer the affairs of the Commission during this very critical time in our country’s history. As I soberly reflect on the activities carried out by the Commission over the years since its establishment, it is quintessentially imperative that I acknowledge the three (3) venerated Liberians that contributed to what the commission has become, as well as all past and current employees, contractors and volunteers who worked assiduously hard to ensure that the Commission’s mandate and functions were carried out over these years and continue to lead the fight to combat proliferation and illicit trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons. The achievements and accolades could not have been possible without our local and International Partners, most especially, ECOWAS, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Liberia Action Network on Small Arms (LANSA), The British Embassy/Government, Arms Trade Treaty Voluntary Trust Fund (ATT-VTF), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Regional Center for Small Arms (RECSA), Action on Arms Violence, Japanese Government, Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Center (KAIPTC), National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) among others.

Crime and insecurity rank high among the threats and obstacles to social and economic development in Liberia and by extension the sub region. In this context, the illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons poses significant security challenges for our region. We do not manufacture, export or re-export weapons nor ammunition, neither do we import them on a large scale but the extent of their impact in the region remains a source of major concern.

Certain realities in our country, such as our porous borders; our limited capacity to detect prosecute, intercept and seize illegal arms at ports of entry; and unfavorable socio-economic conditions in some parts of our counties make it particularly challenging to stem the illicit arms trade, which operates in tandem with the illicit drug trade and other organized criminal activities. The convergence of these factors have a destabilizing effect on our societies and undermines our economies.

It is for these and other reasons that the Liberia Commission on Small Arms remains a strong force in the implementation of the framework for preventing and eradicating illicit trade as well as for preventing their diversion. I applaud the progress made by my predecessors since the establishment of the Commission from 2006 up to present. I am particularly motivated by the enormous accomplishments leading to passage of the Act establishing the Commission into law by the Legislature in 2012. I cannot emphasize the sacrifices and prudent decisions that led to the ratification of the ECOWAS Convention in 2006 and the Arms Trade Treaty in 2012, the drafting of the Liberia Firearms & Ammunition Control Act as well as the training of a team of local experts in the control of small arms and light weapons among others. All of these set the stage for effective small arms and light weapons control in Liberia.

Our Leadership holds strongly that arms control is the best alternative in sustaining the fragile peace and supports the implementation of the ATT which I believe is a “long term endeavor”.

The Commission (LiNCSA) in the future will endeavor to fully implement provisions of the Firearms Control Act (FACA) of 2015 that specifically outline deterrence measures for the illegal possession of firearms, Illicit Importation and Exportation among others.

Notwithstanding the progress, the commission solicits the continuous support of Local and International Partners and underscore the need for continued assistance and support to facilitate full implementation of its mandate to ensure sustain peace and stability.

I approach this colossal task with passion, commitment, and strong will to succeed and will continue the education and outreach while developing pragmatic deterrence measures pursuant to the Firearms Control Act and other existing laws.

Welcome once more to the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms and Light Weapon (LiNCSA), a commission committed to eradicating the proliferation and illicit trade of SALW (Small Arms and Light Weapons).