Police authorities in Monrovia have begun questioning the Management of the Royal Grand Hotel over a power shortage that had the President and her Security Chief trapped in an elevator for few seconds during the High Level Panel meeting on fragile states on Monday.
The Executive Protection Service or EPS Director Othello Warrick had to forcibly open the elevator door to get the president out before the power was switched on minutes later, this paper learned Tuesday.
Much of Monrovia is yet to get city power and as such many businesses, including hotels rely on their own generators, which mean changing from one generator to another between time.
The incident, which went unnoticed by journalists covering the conference, occurred as President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf arrived at the hotel to be escorted in the conference hall.
"The management failed to inform security personnel assigned on the ground that they were about to switch generator," EPS boss Warrick told this paper Tuesday.
"Before switching the power, they should have informed the EPS," Warrick said. "I had to force the door open for the president to go down," the EPS boss added.
Asked why EPS personnel were not assigned at the hotel power house, Director Warrick repeated that his men were assigned around there, but that the management just failed to inform them that they were switching power. This was a serious security breach on the part of the hotel and they have to answer what was the rationale behind this," a security source told this paper.
Officials of the hotels were said to have given a written statement to the police on Monday, following some questioning. This paper also gathered that personnel of the National Security Agency are also involved in the ongoing investigation on the incident, which has now left several questions unanswered.
Many are now wondering while would the hotel management choose to switch power at the time it was aware on an ongoing international conference with several VIPs in attendants and worst of all, at the time the president was taking the lift.
A member of the Grand Royal Hotel Management team only identified as Joe, declined to comment on the incident, referring a reporter from this paper to the police, saying the police already have details on the incident.
More details later.