June 21, 2012 -
The Liberia ECOWAS Biometric Passport has been officially launched in the United States capital of Washington D.C. The launch was a symbolic way of identifying and uniting Liberian citizens living outside of their motherland, as reported by allAfrica.
In attendance of the colorful ceremony were several high government officials of both the United States and Liberia, including veteran Liberian diplomats, citizens from across the Diaspora and the Deputy Minister for Administration Eudora Blay-Pritchard.
At the launch, Blay-Pritchard expressed her government’s continuing efforts to provide their citizens with passports regardless of where they are in the world.
The decision to issue passports abroad came after Liberians repeatedly called for a means to make known their nationality. Their citizens, living in foreign lands, were often faced with issues such as loss of jobs, restrictions in travels and the desire to belong, all because of the absence of a valid proof of citizenship.
Liberian passports will initially be issued at the embassy in Washington and will cost about $200.00. It will serve as a training ground for embassy personnel as the Liberian Government plans to branch out to other locations such as New York, Asia and parts of Europe. The ultimate goal is to come up with a system in the issuance of passports which will result to uniformity of the passport staff regardless of the number of applications.
There was a time when Liberians were not too eager to disclose their nationality because of the turmoil in their country. However, the government is working hard to resolve their country’s internal issues and hopes to restore national pride for their citizens living at home and abroad.