The complete drawdown of UNMIL by June this year seems to get many Liberians apprehensive about security and they begin to wonder whether Liberian security forces are adequately prepared and equipped to assume full security of the State after UN peacekeepers leave.
The concern has generated much public debate among Liberians with some private security institutions calling on government to grant 10 percent tax deduction to enable them adequately buttress current effort in the security sector.
The head of Geeteah Security Services, a private security firm, Alex Keyee, said taxes being levied on private security institutions are very high and need reduction. Keyee said private security institutions need to be equipped to work alongside national security forces in protecting the country against internal and external threats.
He stressed the need for the Government of Liberia to provide subsidy to private security firms adding, “It will give more support to government in the rebuilding of the security sector” and enable private security institutions to decentralize services across all 15 political sub-divisions.
According to him, Liberia presents one of the most challenging contexts for post- conflict reconstruction, adding that the protracted civil war hugely affected all sectors of the country, including the economy.
Keyee said post-conflict reconstruction in Liberia with particular focus on the security sector requires serious attention, saying opportunities for security sector reform (SSR) are conditioned by mutually reinforcing relationship between the state of security on the one hand, and the security of the state on the other.
He said the prospects for stability and peace building are enhanced by the extent to which SSR is predicated on the state of security broadly defined, as opposed to the narrower focus on the security of the state.
The private security boss noted that private security industry comprises those actors who provide security for people and property under contract and for profit. “Worldwide, the industry is experiencing a period of rapid growth, and, when effectively regulated and fully accountable, can make a valuable contribution to the provision of security.”
However, he cautioned that activities of an uncontrolled or poorly regulated private security industry could pose governance problems, and in transitional or post-conflict states, act as an obstacle to peacebuilding, good governance and sustainable development, stressing “This is of particular importance giving that, over the last decade, private actors have increasingly assumed roles that have traditionally been the responsibility of the State.”
By Lewis S. Teh