The Gbarnga Joint Security and Justice Regional Hub Manager, J. Hezekiah Sackor, has complained of some major constraints being faced, including logistics and infrastructure, among others.
In a recent conversation with President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf at the Gbarnga Hub, Mr. Sackor said the concept for which the hub was built was holding in the region; but it is incapacitated to respond to two incidents at different locations at the same time due to vehicles problem.
The hub manager complained that water and infrastructure were major problems they also face, as part of the buildings with fancy materials could be seen falling ceilings.
He complained additionally over untimely delivery of officers’ DSA (Daily Sustenance Allowance), utensil and food, among other operational challenges.
The Joint Security and Justice Hub has court and security systems in place to serve regional counties, including Bong, Lofa and Nimba Counties. Court officers, police and immigration officers are deployed there to carry on patrol in the region, aimed at decentralizing access to justice.
When the Justice Ministry was contacted in Monrovia, 31 March 2015, the Deputy Program Manager for Justice and Security Program, Robert Nyahn, confirmed there are challenges facing the hub, except that he insisted that response to incidents had not been a problem.
According to him, since 2013, officers of the Liberia National Police have been assigned two vehicles, while officers of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization have also been assigned two vehicles for operations equally.
He said where a situation demands more than the two vehicles assigned to either of the securities, their colleagues would share their vehicles with them for the moment to enable them respond rapidly.
Admitting that the two vehicles for each unit were not enough, Mr. Nyahn said two additional vehicles were being procured to be distributed between the LNP and the BIN or either of two that may have greater need.
Estimating the Gbarnga Hub’s annual budget as between US$725,000 and US$750,000, Mr. Nyahn said food took bulk of this budget. He said a decision was reached to shift from paying a catering company to do “self-catering” that he said started in February this year.
In this new arrangement, he said a permanent cook has been hired and put on salary. During the conversation with the NewDawn on 31, March, Mr. Nyahn said they had already procured large cooking pots and other materials to be sent to the Gbarnga Hub.
Regarding DSA for officers, he said most of the time officers respond to incident before their DSA are provided. Mr. Nyahn has meanwhile acknowledged the infrastructure defects cited by Mr. Siakor, saying, “The contractor brought in these fancy Chinese materials” and the “ceilings began to fall due to the temperature there.
He said on the same operational budget being funded by the Liberian Government for the Gbarnga Hub, they are going to replace or renovate places that are down, as the partner [UNOPs] has done its work and turned it over to the government.
In a follow-up with the Hub Manager Mr. Siakor on Thursday, he said rice and utensil were onboard, describing as an intervention, if vehicles were being procured, as stated by Mr. Nyahn.
By Winston W. Parley