The Ministry of Information has frowned at media reportage on the recent deportation of 17 Liberians from the United States of America under the caption, from “Heaven to Hell.”
Assistant Information Minister for Public Affairs Wellington Gevoon Smith, says the characterization of Liberia as hell by a local daily in Monrovia portrays a negative image about the country.
Addressing a regular press briefing on Thursday, 27 April at the Ministry of Information on Capitol Hill, he says the deportation of 17 Liberians by the United States Government is very disappointing, because the deportees had gone to the U.S. for various reasons, not knowing that they would face deportation for various crimes committed there.
“What is disappointing to this government is the way and manner in which some media institutions are reporting the story about the Liberians that were deported, saying from Heaven to Hell, this is not fair, we should not describe our beloved country in that manner”, lamented the Minister.
He stresses that regardless of whatsoever that transpired in the U.S. that led to the deportation, the local media shouldn’t take pleasure in describing the Motherland as hell, saying “If you call your own country hell, what kind of message are you sending, or how do you expect foreigners to call your country.”
Minister Gevoon-Smith continues that nothing could have been done to change the fate of the deportees, as they are not the only ones to be deported from the United States, but emphasizes that it is incumbent upon each and every Liberian to give them hope by telling them all is not lost, this is the only way they will feel at home, but once people begin to say all kinds of things about them, they would feel hurt.
The Ministry’s reaction followed a front page headline published by the Women Voices Newspaper caption: “17 Liberians deported from Heaven to Hell”, just a day after the U.S. government had deported the Liberians.The Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the Liberia Immigration Service received the 17 Liberians from the United States on Tuesday, 25 April onboard a chartered flight.
Mostly males, the deportees were charged for various crimes committed in the U.S., convicted and subsequently served their sentences before being sent back home.Crimes committed include robberies, rape, street fight and illegal stay in the United States, among others.
They were received by the Liberia Immigration Service and turned over to their relatives, who signed for them with the understanding of three months of psychosocial consoling in order to put them back on track with normal life.
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne