Liberia’s Foreign Ministry Certificates Protocol Officers
Monrovia – Gbehzohngar Milton Findley, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thursday, March 29, fulfilled one major promise he made to senators during his confirmation two months ago.
When Foreign Minister Findley appeared before the Liberian Senate’s Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, January 24, two days following the inauguration of His Excellency Mr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, he vowed before those Honorable Senators that he was going to make sure that all protocol officers of the Government of Liberia are adequately trained.
Mr. Findley, who is also the Dean of the President’s Cabinet, had stressed this because of some lapses that were visible in the protocol handling of the Monday, January 22, inauguration.
Making a special remark at the official closing of the three weeks of training for 58 protocol officers, the Foreign Minister stated, “We have observed at some of our national functions embarrassment to the Government of Liberia as it relates to the protocol procedures, including how people are treated. So, we decided to embark upon training of all protocol officers.”
The Foreign Minister stated that it was not only about the training, it was also about being able to coordinate the affairs and activities of protocol officers of other agencies of government.
He thanked the 58 participants, who were drawn from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State for Presidential Affairs, Justice, Finance and Development Planning, National Defense, Health and Commerce and Industry.
They were also selected from the Legislature, the Judiciary, and the Offices of the Vice President and the First Lady of the Republic of Liberia.
Speaking further, Mr. Findley stated how pleased he was few days ago with the protocol arrangements at the ceremony where the President and others had gone to do the ground breaking for the construction of the 14 Military Hospital.
“I believe it was the work of this workshop. I want to congratulate you protocol officers, who had worked at that ceremony. Thank you,” he praised them.
Before he took his seat, he received the 58 participants and handed certificates out to those from the Foreign Ministry. Others, including Ambassador George Wallace, Jnr, Advisor to the President on Foreign Affairs, Deputy Minister for State and Presidential Affairs, Hon. George Wesseh Blamo, Mr. Lawrence Amajie and former Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Director-General, Professor Dr. Augustine Konneh and former Ambassador-at-Large, Mr. Emmet Kennedy, were also invited to hand out certificates to other participants.
Excluding Hon. Blamo, the other dignitaries named were part of the training staff for the three-week refresher courses.
Speaking earlier, the Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs, Cllr. Deweh Gray, who also formed part of the training staff, informed the gathering that the 58 men and women had received instructions in various aspects of protocol, including Historical Facts of Protocol, Etiquette, Information, Security, Public Diplomacy, etc.
“Mr. Minister, after these three hectic weeks, we are pleased to present these personnel of the Government of the Republic of Liberia, who received basic and advanced training in Protocol, Etiquette and Functions of Government,” Cllr. Gray also stated.
Also speaking earlier on the brief background of the FSI, Ambassador at-Large Robert Y. Lormia stated that Liberia’s Foreign Service idea was born in the 1940s, during the reign of former President William V. S. Tubman.
“The idea started in 1940s when President Tubman decided to Liberianize the Liberian Foreign Service,” he said.
According to him, before this time, the country’s Foreign Service was being manned by aliens and foreigners.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. John S. M. Yormie, Jnr., Coordinator of FSI, thanked the Foreign Minister for asking the FSI to conduct the training. Yormie also thanked his instructional staff for putting in time over the last three weeks of intensive training. He praised the participants for their courage and urged them to utilize the knowledge and skills acquired.
On behalf of the trainees, Mr. Siaffa Bahn Kemokai thanked the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the instructional staff of FSI for the knowledge they had passed onto them over the last three weeks.