Former GOL Officials Want Travel Ban Lifted
Posted November 13, 2003
Former officials in the defunct government of ex-president Charles Taylor, are calling on United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to use his offices to pursue the Security Council to lift the travel ban that has been imposed on them. The United Nations Security Council imposed the ban on Mr. Taylor and his government officials in the wake of reports that his government was involved in gun-running and diamond smuggling in neighboring Sierra Leone.
The measure which the UN said was a punitive one, was intended to prevent Mr. Taylor and his officials from traveling out of Liberia to apparently curtail their alleged smuggling of diamonds and gun-running in that neighboring country.
However, the erstwhile GOL officials in a letter dated November 7, 2003 to the UN Secretary General, a copy of which was obtained by this paper, expressed their dismay over the lingering issue of the travel ban against them when in fact the transitional process in the country has taken hold.
The officials who emphasized that they are seeking clarification as to why this crippling ban is continuing and when it will be lifted, said in the aftermath of the October 14, 2003 change of government, they relinquished their various portfolios to accommodate the peace process.
According to them, their wish now is to be left alone to get their lives back in order.
They said they have children, families, relatives and business associates in other parts of the world that they need to visit.
The former GOL officials said many of them need to pursue advanced medical attention following years of very stressful, sacrificial and challenging service to the country in the midst of national crisis.
They added that the continued imposition of the travel ban on them can only be construed as witch-hunting and a violation of their fundamental human and constitutional rights, stressing that they see no reason why they should suffer double jeopardy.
When the ban was imposed, it affected senior officials in the Taylor-led government especially cabinet ministers. Some of those affected by the ban are Nathaniel Barnes, Minister of Finance at the time, Reginald Goodridge, Information Minister, Eddington Varmah, Justice Minister, Monie Captan, Foreign Minister, Alphonso Gaye, Port Manager, among others.