IN LIBERIA, ACCESS to service remains quite a challenge, if you don’t have the money to bribe.
MANY TIMES ONE goes through hell and high water just to obtain a simple document which can be obtained by just a simple waive of the hand.
FROM THE CIVIL SERVICE Agency, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the corruption at the midlevel is becoming so sickening and it is frustrating many Liberians.
ONE PLACE WHICH HAS stood out in this issue of unbridled corruption is the Ministry of Health’s Department of Vital Statistics which is headed by Solomon Barton.
WHEN PRESIDENT ELLEN Johnson-Sirleaf became weary of the many pains it took Liberians to get a passport, she appointed Madame Mary Broh to clean up the mess and in a true hurricane fashion, Madame Broh swept through, breezing away every semblance of corruption. Today, it takes just three days to obtain a Liberian passport.
BUT THE SAME CANNOT be said of the Ministry of Health’s department of vital statistics.
THE DEPARTMENT IS WHERE birth certificates are processed, especially for Liberians needing a passport to travel.
HOWEVER, THE ISSUE IS becoming quite thorny as obtaining a birth certificate in Liberia, it seems, is becoming quite a challenge for many people.
THOUGH THE MINISTRY of Health has set a timeline of one week plus LD$500 to obtain a birth certificate, the regulation is far from what is written on paper.
OUR REPORTER, Henry Karmo, snooped around the department of vital statistics on Capitol By-Pass last week and there he met many Liberians with a spate of complaints about the department which seems to be wallowing in excessive corruption.
MARY MONFFUER A mother of three said she has filed in for her three children for a birth certificate but for the past seven weeks she is yet to receive the certificates from the Bureau and according to her she is disappointed in the delays.
“WHAT IS MORE DISAPPOINTING is that after your certificate is being delayed it comes to you with errors the guys in the printing room are not doing well," she said.
“MY BROTHER MORE THAN one month I have run after this certificate, but I’m yet to receive it. Every day they will tell me to go come tomorrow, so I am disappointed. I need my birth certificate to obtain my passport,” said one Liberian.
WHAT’S PAINFUL AMID THE dillydallying many are given, is the paying of bribes to staff within the department in order to get one’s certificate. For many who cannot afford to bribe or are principled, it means waiting or weeks and sometimes months to obtain their birth certificate.
WHAT’S EVEN MORE disappointing about all of these complaints coming from Liberians who are paying for this service is the cheeky and rude response coming from Solomon Barton, director of the department of vital statistics when queried by FrontPage Africa about the spate of complaints coming from disappointed Liberians.
BARTON SAID IF OUR reporter isn’t a relative of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, he’s not answerable to anyone.
“BECAUSE THAT IS the only person whose name I will hear and get afraid, so if you are not then you are wasting your time.”
IMAGINE SUCH A POPPYCOCK coming from one who is answerable to the public. Minister Bernice Dahn certainly needs to apply her magic wand at the vital statistics department.
WE DETEST THIS KIND of response coming from the head of the department of vital statistics. His statement has shown his incompetence for the job and he needs to be given his marching orders by Minister Dahn.
LIBERIANS CERTAINLY do not deserve this kind of treatment at the Ministry of Health. Must everything associated with health be an issue in Liberia?
THAT HE CANNOT TAKE responsibility for all that is happening in his department and even though he was shamefully disgraced when Madame Broh was seconded to his department to place things in order and a year a two after those, things are back to square one, means the entire department of vital statistics needs to be shaken up and Minister Bernice Dahn must stop the buck there NOW!!!