Liberia Vice President Joseph Boakai says his three-day visit to Brooklyn Park is part of an ongoing process to build a relationship with a region that is home to the largest Liberian population outside of Liberia. Boakai says the main purpose of this trip is to further strengthen ties with Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center and to discuss other ways to get them involved in Liberia’s restoration.
“We’re trying to rebuild the roads. We’re trying to reinstall the electricity, the water system,” says Boakai. “But basically the manpower capacity building is our acute need.”
Last March, volunteers from Brooklyn Park helped to deliver equipment and train firefighters there. This summer, the Brooklyn Park Fire Department gave Liberian firefighter Col. Alex Morris a crash course with the hopes that he can continue to train others back at home. Boakai says he hopes to explore similar training programs that would improve Liberia’s public safety and education system.
“It makes it easier for us when we have such a connection here in the United States to work with us to retrain our police, fire department, chief, fire chiefs, officers of the security,” says Boakai.
Tuesday afternoon, he met with leaders from local colleges, including North Hennepin Community College and Hennepin Technical College, to ask for help improving the technical education system in Liberia and possibly restoring Booker Washington Institute, a vocational school that was destroyed by civil war.
“We suffered war for more than 15 years and most of the young people don’t have skills,” says Boakai.
The vice president is also visiting to touch base with Liberian natives, several of whom have asked about the possibility of dual citizenship and have made requests for the Liberian government to establish a consulate office in Brooklyn Park.
“We definitely open our ears to them because I think they are valid requests,” says Boakai.
Amid his busy schedule, Boakai will take time to be with family members who live in Brooklyn Park. He will head back home to Liberia Thursday.
Tweets by ccxnews
12 News is on Comcast cable channel 12 in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis and includes the cities Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, Maple Grove, New Hope, Osseo, Plymouth and Robbinsdale.