The NEWS (Monrovia)

18 December 2012

Liberia: U.S.$50,000 Not for Police Director, Deputies

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has presented a Christmas bonus of US$50,000.00 to the Liberia National Police but cautioned Director Chris Massaquoi and his deputies that the money is not intended for senior officers.

She said the gift is intended for those officers who are under the rain and sun daily to provide service and protection for the people.

President Sirleaf made the presentation last Saturday when she attended a general assembly of the Liberia National Police. She called on the police authorities to do everything within their reach to ensure that maximum security is put in place during the festive season.

As she presented the US$50,000 check, this is what she said: "The money should be used for the men and women that are seen in the sun day and night and not for the top brass of the force; this little token is for you who are in the sun and rain providing security to your people to buy your cold water and soft drink."

It is not known why President Johnson-Sirleaf was cautious during the presentation of the money but it can be recalled early this year, she gave US$25,000 as appreciation for police officers, amount that was divided among zones and depots to have what the police called "country cook".

Already, some members of the public have begun expressing mixed feelings about how the money will be divided among the officers.

Some suggested that the US$50,000 be added to the salaries of the officers while others believed that having a Christmas party will mean well for the men. The police is yet to disclose how the money will be divided among the officers.

However, the Liberia Leader acknowledged the work of the LNP, describing it as endless sacrifices render the country under difficult circumstances.

The President said she was impressed by the work of the police especially those gallant men and women that are seen standing in harm's way executing their functions.

She said the Liberia National Police should not relent in the execution of their duties as the country depends on them for security in the wake of the draw down by the United Nations Mission in Liberia.

For her part, Justice Minster Christina Tah lauded the LNP for a job well done since the beginning of 2012.

"You made me proud as Justice Minister in the way you handled the CDC memorial day without any form of incident", Minister Tah said.

The Liberian Justice Minister said her ministry was aware of the constraints faced by the force, but called on them to look forward as the government was doing all it could to meet the needs of the force as they provide security for the state.

She said the Justice Ministry is in contact with other foreign institutions aimed at addressing some of the challenges LNP faces.

Police Director Chris Massaquoi told the gathering that the Liberia National Police have been able to reduce crimes in the country since the launch of "Operation Safe Haven" and assured the President that the police will remain vigilant in the provision of law and order in the country.

He told President Sirleaf that his administration has reduced the rate of police brutality due to the disciplinary measures put in place.

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