Monrovia – Since GSA Director General Mary Tanyonoh Broh took over the Bureau of Vital Statistics at the Ministry of Health nearly seven months ago, the number of people going to obtain their birth certificate has increased dramatically.
According to Madam Broh, who goes by the alias ‘General Broh,’ this is good as Liberians are coming in to obtain a piece of very important document that they need to have.
She, however, sounded an alarm suspecting a single motive behind getting the piece of document which is a very essential piece of paper one needs to travel out of Liberia.
“It is your right to travel, but the situation is alarming because I am doing 200 to 300 birth certificates a day."
"From June 15 to now, we have done over 21,000 birth certificates and we might hit 23- 24 thousand if we continue this trend,” General Broh.
“My concern is the exodus of people, because it is causing a brain drain for Liberia."
"I say it is a brain drain because they are young, educated and are leaving Liberia,” she said worriedly.
In an exclusive interview with this newspaper recently, at her Birth Certificate offices on the Capitol Bye-pass, ‘General’ Broh further stated that many young people have told her they are leaving Liberia because there is no job or better opportunities and nothing is going on for them in the country, so they were going out to seek for better conditions.
As a way of finding witnesses to corroborate what she had said, Madam Broh, who is also the Director General of the General Services Agency (GSA), turned to those waiting to pick up their birth certificates, too, and asked; “Is that not what you all told me?” They all answered with a chorus: ‘Yes!’
“We are tired of suffering in our own country, so we are going out to improve ourselves, come back and help to develop our country.”
Further elaborating on what she refers to as brain drain, Madam Broh stressed that since taking over in June, she has noticed many young people going in to get their birth certificates, which is one step toward obtaining their passport from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to her, after interacting with most of these young people in the process of completing their application process, she usually finds out that they are either on their way to the US, Australia, Italy, Europe and other places, and not because they need it for record.
“Do not get me wrong that it is not good to travel and seek greener pasture, but I see it has gone over the line, because a lot of young people are leaving and not the elderly.”
“We need to now capture this information and do something about it. So I am calling on politicians to come and see whatever way they can do to help and provide jobs for these young people, instead of having them leave the country in large numbers,” she warned.
Caesar Freeman of the Liberian National Police, who had gone to get a reprint of his child’s birth certificate, agreed that everybody wants to go outside to developed countries and improve their lives, therefore, most of the people leaving the country are trying to seek greener pasture and get equip to come home and contribute their quotas to their country.
“If you look around you here, you will see 90 percent of the young people are between ages 18 – 35; because they have opportunities ahead of them, they want to go and improve their lives outside of Liberia. Unlike people like me, who have hit 50 and above, and are done with traveling.”
“As for having a brain drained society as a result of young people traveling, I cannot say it is true or not, because every young man or woman has the right to travel to improve his or her life, if they feel that is the best way forward.”
Jusu M. Kiadii, who came from Grand Cape Mount Country to get his birth certificate, countered that not everyone who goes to the Bureau of Vital Statistics wanted to travel but because it is important for one to obtain his or her birth certificate.
“It is not a good thing to just come, get your birth certificate and leave the country."
"Politicians and oppositions will look at it as if the government is not playing her role to provide opportunities for its citizens."
"We should not expect the government to find jobs for all four million people?”
He disagreed with the Madam Broh’s assertion on brain drain.
“I do not think Madam Broh is 100 percent correct; people come for birth certificate for different reasons not just to travel.”