Liberian Passport Regulations Under Scrutiny To Suit Dual Citizenship, Others
The Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister Dee Maxwell Kemayah has announced the revision of its national passports in keeping with the dual citizenship law passed in the country.
By Obediah Johnson
It can be recalled that President George Manneh Weah signed into law the Alien and Nationality Law relating to Citizenship and Restoring the Citizenship Rights Lost as a consequence of erstwhile legal provisions.
The law allows Liberians in the Diaspora to remain citizens after acquiring another nationality.
It amongst other things states that those having dual citizens status will however be barred from serving as President, Minister of Finance, Central Bank Governor or holding high-level positions in the national security or law enforcement sector.
But Minister Kemayah said the revision of the regulations for passport will help ensure that Liberian passports do not get in the hands of the wrong people.
He disclosed that the draft passports regulation is currently under scrutiny by authorities at the ministry.
He made the disclosure when he officially launch a revised regulation for Honorary Consuls representing Liberia abroad at a brief ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia recently.
During the launch of the regulation, the Liberian government mandated all Honorary Consuls representing it interest abroad to cease functions as part of efforts to ensure timely reporting and the honest remitting of collected revenue into the coffers of the government.
Minister Kemayah said the new passport regulation will ensure that citizens who are benefiting from the dual citizenship law have the opportunity to acquire a Liberian passport.
“We are also going to begin the process of looking at our revised regulations for passports-how one can obtain passport. We have gotten the draft and we are going to look at it. We are going to factor in that draft the dual citizenship law that was passed.”
Currently, the government is working on the opening of passports application and Career Consular centers in Minnesota and Atlanta in the United States and Canada.
Honorary Consuls working in Minnesota and Atlanta have not been recalled under the new regulations.
They have been given a three-month grace period along with their counterparts serving in Greece, Italy, Argentina and Israel to fully operate.
The center in Minnesota is expected to open in April this year. It was shut down early January this year due to mounting concerns from citizens residing in the diaspora.
The move follows threat of protest from aggrieved Liberians residing in the United States over challenges they are faced with in obtaining or renewing their passports.
Minister Kemayah pointed out that the steps taken by government is due to the large population of Liberians residing in those areas.
He denied reports that he has awarded a contract to a Ghanaian company to do the printing of passports for citizens abroad.
He said despite the misinformation that continue to characterize these steps taken by the government, authorities at the ministry are resolved to remain on an “irreversible path” of their reform agenda.
Minister Kemayah added that already, centers passports application centers have been opened in other areas including Australia.
Speaking further, Minister Kemayah disclosed that following the completion of the revision of the regulation for the passports, the government, through the ministry will also review the guide for protocols.
He added that the essence of these revisions is intended to suit current international standards and realities.
“We can’t succeed in the reform without these instruments. When we complete the revised regulation for the passports, we are moving to the protocol guide. We are very grateful to President George Manneh Weah. We’ve come for reform and reform we will do and we are doing in the best interest of the Liberian people.”