23 November 2012

Liberia: Gov't Takes Steps to Regulate 'Super Friday'

The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) has taken several measures aimed at restricting the celebration of "Super Friday" by students on beaches in Monrovia and other parts of the country. According to Deputy Information Minister for Culture and Tourism, Madam Elizabeth Hoff, the Liberian government is now prepared to enforce its annual registration of tourism entities operating in the country.

She stated that government is 'gravely concerned about the frequency of students on beaches in the absence of security and safeguarding measures.'She made these comments on Thursday, November 22, 2012 at MICAT regular press briefing held at the Charles Gbenyon Press Hall in Monrovia.

The latest statement by government comes in the wake of displeasure expressed by some Liberians, particularly prominent people in the society against the celebration of what the students called "Super Friday." On "Super Friday" students go on beaches in and around Monrovia to amuse themselves. Some of them are usually seen drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking dangerous substances, including marijuana.

But Deputy Minister Hoff noted that the Bureau of Tourism at MICAT have put in place measures that will help address the celebration of "Super Friday."

She pointed out that beach operators or proprietors will now be compelled to meet certain requirements in order to smoothly carry on their businesses. Until proper registration and safety measures are carried out, she stated that beach operators are advised to adhere to the guidelines of the Bureau of Tourism at the Information Ministry.

She named some of the guide lines and requirements for beach operations in the country as adequate sanitary facilities, regular security patrol, the availability of life guards, proper garbage disposal and gate keepers. Deputy Minister Hoff noted that the Bureau will work closely with the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) in order to ensure that beaches are safe, especially during these festive and dry seasons.

"The Bureau of Tourism at MICAT notes with grave concern and total dismay the frequency of students and the general public to the various beaches in and around Monrovia especially for what is referred to among themselves as Super Friday in the absence of proper security and safe guard measures. We have come up with rules and guide lines as it relates to the registration of beaches. We are still in the process of carrying out our annual registration of tourism entities. But one of the things we realized is that, proprietors and managers of beaches have not been coming to register," she stated.

The government official continued: "What we are going to do now is to enforce the registration of beaches. There are lots of things going on the beaches and we want to be able to control those things. The ministry wishes to remind all beach proprietors and managers that in order to manage or operate a beach establishment, certain requirements have to be met. These include: Life guards should be put in place; facilities should be clean, adequate sanitary facilities including toilets or shower rooms, disciplined staff, gate keepers and regular security patrol."

The Deputy Minister for Culture and Tourism observed that signs at various beaches including "swim at your own risk, no life guard on duty," amongst others are of grave concern to government. She said: "These notices have been posted by beach owners that have rented out their facilities for the purpose of entertainment which totally contravenes the requirements for operating a beach."

Madam Hoff further cautioned beach operators and managers to adhere "strictly to the guide lines set by the Bureau of Tourism to avoid embarrassment. She urged parents, guardians as well as school authorities to "kindly pay keen attention to the activities of their children and those within their charge."

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