19 Liberian Children were on Saturday, May 23 denied by the Liberian immigration authority to participate in this year UNESCO?s Annual Africa Week Celebration in Paris, France.

Liberian ChildrenThe embarrassing and disappointing situation occurred in the waiting room at the Robert International Airport amidst onlookers.

After presenting clearances from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism and an official invitation from UNESCO, immigration personnel at the RIA acted on order from BIN Commissioner Lemuel Reeves to deny the children and their escorting guardians from boarding their Kenya Airway flight to Abidjan where they were to process their visa to France.

According to eye witnesses at the RIA, the children went through all traveling related security check and were issued their boarding passes only to know with deep disappointment that they cannot board their flight.
The children were leaving Liberia under the umbrella of the MacDella Cooper Foundation, an International non-for-profit Charity Organization working with less fortunate children through the provision of educational opportunities and basic necessities in Liberia.

According to Commissioner Reeves, the Foundation needed to follow a Due Diligence at the Ministry of Justice with an ?Exit Clearance? from his office declaring that the children were leaving Liberia with their parents? consent. But our investigation revealed that each of the 19 children?s parents (mother and father) were interviewed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before they were even issued their passport. The interview involved officially getting the consent of the children?s parents consent to leave Liberia as participants to this year UNESCO?s Annual Africa Week Celebration.

The situation brought in the intervention of key government officials from the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism and Montserrado County District #6 Representative, Edwin M. Snowe Jr. confirming the legality of the trip to Paris under the umbrella of MacDella Cooper, but that didn?t help as the flight left carrying only members of the Liberian National Culture Troop for the Paris event.

After receiving call from Liberia?s Ambassador to France, Dr. William Allen confirming the legality of the trip, Commissioner Reeves said he will allow the children to leave on Monday, May 25; but time is expensive and time in this case is another enemy for these children and their sponsors. Not because they cannot pay for the time, but because the Liberia?s time had become useless to them.

This means that 19 children?s dream of seeing a new and advanced world for the first time in their life had been denied by a government established to give them opportunity for a better future. But this time such opportunity was not initiated by the Liberian government, but surly it was denied by individual within that government.
They and their parents took weeks to spread the good news with friends and family members about their trip to Paris France, but it will take them years or never to know why they didn?t make the trip to one of the world super powers because it took a few seconds for the government to tell them ?you cannot go without the clearance.? A trip that could open doors of opportunities for them as they were in high spirit to perform traditional and cultural dances at the global annual event at UNESCO headquarters in Paris France.

But for many, it is the pluralistic bureaucracy for a single process and uncoordinated agencies of government that denied these children performance on the global stage, yet bringing another embarrassment to the Liberian government; if they are ever.

Source: Mohammed foboi


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