Liberia: Will the National Identification Registry Rise Up to the Moment and Carpe Diem?

No Liberian wants the world to forget about Liberia and no true Liberian wants Mr. Weah and his government to fail. The truth of the matter is, God only help those who help themselves. We must remove ourselves from the dependency syndrome by doing those things that will assure the world whose help we are seeking, that we mean business. Once we as a people, government and country do what we are supposed to do, there will be no need to put out an SOS call appealing for them, not to forget us – or come to our aid.

PRESIDENT WEAH has issued a Proclamation directing all law enforcement agencies in the country to ensure that children under 18 are not exposed to cigarettes, narcotics, drugs, and alcohol.

ACCORDING TO AN Executive Mansion press release, the proclamation orders that “No parent or guardian contributes to the delinquency of minors by giving or sending a child to purchase or exposing a child to substance use such as narcotics, cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol.”

IT IS FURTHER DIRECTED by the Presidential Proclamation that a “Person who wishes to enter a shop or shore, drug store, bar, night club, and entertainment center, for the purpose of selling, purchasing, giving or exchanging alcohol beverages, drugs, and narcotic substance must exhibit a valid identification card confirming he/she is 18 years or above.”

ACCORDING TO THE Proclamation, “No child under the age eighteen should consume or purchase narcotics, cigarettes, drugs or alcohol whether for himself/herself or someone else.”

IT ADDED: “No person endangers the health of another, intentionally and unscrupulously, by giving or serving, or by causing or permitting to be given or served, to a child under the age of eighteen or to persons already manifestly suffering from excessive consumption, alcoholic beverages or spirituous liquors of such kind or in such quantity as to make their injurious effect a certainty.”

THE PRESIDENT issued the Proclamation amid prevalent underage drinking and smoking that has engulfed the society, thus affecting adolescent children and resulting to violent behaviors and other misdemeanors, the release stated.

FRONTPAGE AFRICA commends President Weah for such a bold move to salvage the future of what former President William R. Tolbert called his “precious jewels.”

FRONTPAGE AFRICA has been in the vanguard for years calling for the ban on the sale of alcoholic products and other narcotic substances to kids.

THIS NEWSPAPER recalls the expulsion of five students from the First Assembly of God Mission High School on Buchanan Street based on a publication in its then Spots News column which showed them indulging in acts which are frowned upon. That publication brought into a sharper focus the sale of alcoholic beverages and narcotic substances to children.

A PRONOUNCEMENT was issued by the Ministry of Commerce but it remained just a mere pronounce because, in an era of the consumption of fatty foods, it was difficult to prove who was underage and who wasn’t.

However, it was settled with the formation of the National Identification Registry by an act of Legislature.

PRESIDENT WEAH’S call to stop the sale of alcohol and narcotic substances to kids can only be followed through if the National Identification Registry in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia National Police began a robust implementation.

THE COLLABORATION of the trio must begin with a major awareness on various media channels and social media, informing the public about the importance of the national ID card and why every parent must ensure their kids are registered and possess valid national identification.

THE TRIO MUST ALSO issue a directive to all businesses operating within this bailiwick that the buying of alcoholic beverages must be accompanied by an identification issued by the NIR. Said directive should also go to operators of nightclubs, video clubs, bars, including sport betting companies.

IT IS ONLY THEN will President Weah’s proclamation not be taken with a pinch of salt and remains nothing more than just a pinch of salt. The onus now lies on the NIR to Carpe Diem (Seize the Day).