By Thompson Kruah
Liberia’s Small Arms Commission Chief Atty. Maxwell Grigsby says the entity will destroy 255,000 weapons and ammunition on 27 October 2022.
He told a press conference Thursday, 15 September 2022 in Monrovia that the weapons and ammunition designated for destruction have been collected from crime scenes across the country.
The Chairman of the Liberia National Commission on Small Arms said the weapons and ammunition have been in the possession of the courts in Liberia for many years.
He said some have been held by the courts for up to ‘even thirty years.’
At the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) regular press conference, Atty. Grigsby said the weapons and ammunition destruction exercise will be carried out at the Edward Binyah Kesselly Military Barracks along the Robertsfield Highway.
“Our team has visited all of the Deports, Magisterial Courts and Circuit Courts from across the country,” said Atty. Grigsby.
“We have collected firearms that were used to commit robbery and other crimes that have been in possession of the courts for many years. Some even 30 years,” he said.
He detailed that these arms have been kept at temporary facilities and they will be moved to the Edward Binyah Kesselly Military Barracks for official distraction on 27 October.
Additionally, Atty. Grigsby noted that President George Manneh Weah has signed into law the Act creating the National Small Arms Commission.
He said this Act makes Liberia the first of 111 state parties to the Arms Trade Treaty that domesticates the UN Convention.
Recently President Weah signed into law all integrated bills and among them was the Act creating the National Small Arms Commission.
The decision to sign the Act came ahead of President Weah’s expected address to the United Nations in December this year.
Further, Atty. Grigsby indicated that the domestication of the Act means that all international instruments when signed off on by the President of a nation, the Legislature will have to ratify them.
He also stated that when this happens, the country becomes a State Party to the convention.
“For implementation, you need to go beyond just signing, but ratifying the international treaties, you have to do your national laws,” Atty. Grigsby explained.
Grigsby described the step taken by Liberia as a remarkable achievement.
He said it is not strange because the president will now have the chance to meet with the U.S President and proudly present the government’s effort as the first country of the ATT to domestic the instrument.
He said the Act amending the Firearm Act is before the president and he expects that he will sign it so that they can start to implement the program.
Atty. Grigsby noted that the government of President Weah is doing everything possible to minimize the potential of firearms being in the wrong hands.
”We have made public declarations condemning reckless possession by even those who are privileged to have power,” he said.
“And we will use every available means including this platform to inform you that this government believes that arms control is paramount to national development.” –Edited by Winston W. Parley