Liberia: The Consequences of Liberia Losing the IMO Seat

opinion

Liberia will not sit on the 40-member Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the next two years after the country was defeated and relegated to floor membership in London.

The Chairman of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Dr. James F. Kollie, confirms the lost in a recent post conceding, "We fought a great fight today at the IMO but we lost. Liberia will not be on Council this biennial (2020 to 2021). However, we will put the pieces together and return for another fight. Hats off to the London team and all those who supported us."

According to report, the Council election was held on Friday, November 29, 2019, with Liberia coming 24th out of 24 member states that contested for the Council's Category C, receiving 100 votes. The defeat means Liberia will not have a voice on the Council in the next two years, and would have to rely on other nations to speak on its behalf despite being the world's second largest shipping registry.

But all this did not come as a surprise. Liberia's Permanent Mission to the IMO, Attorney Isaac Jackson and the Weah administration have been at loggerheads after President George Manneh Weah nominated a confidant, Moses Owen Brown to the post thought it is a tenured position.

Attorney Jackson ran to the Supreme Court and won, but since then, the government has withheld support, including salaries. We're hearing that Jackson has not been paid for the last 10 months, including rental, and the authorities in Monrovia have reneged in renewing his official passport.

A house divided against itself cannot stand. Liberia went to the IMO election divided. How can the country's Permanent Mission that supposed to lobby other nations for support, be on his own? The Weah administration appears to have abandoned the Mission at the IMO, purely for political reasons. This is sad!

As Liberians, we should not always place our personal interest above the national interest. How can we have the second largest ship registry in the world and yet kicked out of the Council that exercises high influence on global maritime issues?

Our presence and participation on international bodies should not be beclouded by selfish motives that rub us of the general good. No matter who is appointed a Permanent Mission abroad by which administration, government is continuity especially, when it involves a tenured position. Doing so would demonstrate respect for the Constitution and statutes.

It is our hope that with this defeat, Liberians should come together in rallying support for future international engagement and the government should take the lead by lending support to the person sent out there to represent the country irrespective of ethnic, political, and social diversity.

We believe strongly with a collaborative effort, Liberia would come out of this defeat strong and be far more prepared for the next IMO Council election in 2021 to regain our seat on this vital international platform.

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