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, who just returned from 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.

Chairman Grigsby 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.

Chairman Teklo Maxwell Grigsby, II (Atty.) in a very positive mood stated that the project intervention is a major boost to the commission.

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).

ECOWAS has made unquantified contribution to the peace process of Liberia and the program on Arms Control and Non-proliferation Chairman Grigsby noted.

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 Small Arms Boss also expressed gratitude to the President of the Republic of Liberia, H. E. Dr. George Manneh Weah for the financial and advisory support to the Commission through the office of the National Security Advisor, Hon. Jefferson Karmoh.

He thanked the Minister of National Defense, Minister Justice, Inspector General of the Liberia National Police and other paramilitary institutions for the collaboration and cooperation in the fight to combat and rid Liberia from illicit small arms and light weapons. The Innovative and hardworking Chairman of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms is optimistic that 2020 will be a great year for the Commission and the fight to rid Liberia of illicit small arms and light weapons.

Meanwhile, Chairman Grigsby has lauded the immensurable contributions of all National Security Institutions towards the Commission’s vision of ridding Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in Liberia. The Chairman called on all actors supporting the Peace and Security of Liberia to form part of the launching of the Civilian Arms Registration Exercise for hunters (CARE) in Gbarpolu County, February 29, 2020. Since the launched of CARE, Major Stakeholders in the Country has welcomed the idea and described it as a positive step toward maintaining lasting peace and prosperity for the people of Liberia.