Liberia’s President George Manneh Weah has appeared before the Passport Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia to process a new diplomatic passport that suits his status as the nation’s 24th elected president after being sworn in this week.
Mr. Weah whom some officials say might make a trip to Ethiopia this week, toured the Ministry’s Passport Division shortly Thursday afternoon, 25 January before his particulars were taken and photographed for his new diplomatic passport.
Before entering the booth where his biometrics were done and then photographed, Mr. Weah paid US$100.00 to the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) booth and given a receipt for the payment for the passport express service.
During a brief interaction with passport applicants under the palaver hut at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Weah heard complaints from some applicants who claim to have stayed for some days and could not get their passports ready.
But following clarity provided by Passport Division Director Madam Moriah F. Sandi, the President recognized the constraints but encouraged the applicants to exercise patience because “when people work under pressure, there’s problem.”
“We will ask you to conduct yourself and be patient,” Mr. Weah said, adding that he will speak with the new Foreign Minister designate Gbezhongar Findley to see how they can optimize the system.
While he promises to speak with the Foreign Minister designate, Mr. Weah asks applicants not to push personnel at the Passport Division so that they do not make mistake while the system is being updated.
Earlier, an applicant called Michael Gbiangbe told President Weah that he had stayed some time waiting for his passport, but he had not received it. But Madam Moriah F. Sandi clarified that they were upgrading the system and there were instances where they faced power outage which sometimes disrupts ongoing processing of applicants’ information.
Besides, she explains that there are minor cases where some applicants would give conflicting information which would have to be addressed to be corrected before passports are printed. She however said sorry to Michael for what he experienced earlier an assured everyone that they would get their passports.
By Winston W. Parley