It has always been customary for senior officials of the Liberian government to obtain the much sought after American visa just for the asking.
Indeed, time was when a Liberian wishing to travel to the USA could obtain that country’s visa within minutes particularly at the old American embassy in Mamba Point.
Those were the heady days of the early seventies when anybody wishing to travel to the US could drive right up to the embassy building at Mamba Point for a visa that could be obtained literally in a few minutes without any headache.
During the days of the now forgotten Pan American airlines, Liberians enjoyed free weekend visas to travel to the USA for a weekend.
But times have changed and so has the rest of the world including the great USA.
Today, the United States myriad security establishments will scrutinize every application for a US visa regardless for whom the visa is needed. This is due in large part, to the prevailing deteriorating security situation worldwide.
Adding to this high-octane security concern by the American government is the increasing number of ‘over-stays’ - travelers who obtain a visitor’s visa with a time limit on how long their stay is allowed, but who end up staying for much longer period in flagrant violation of the laws governing their permission to enter the USA.
It comes as no surprise therefore when Honorable Solomon George, a bona fide member of the Liberian House of Representatives was refused entry into the United States of America.
“Hon. Lawrence George ought to have known better given that he was fully aware that his wife who recently gave birth in the US had over stayed the statutory time given to her,” remarked a Liberian Lawyer currently living in the US.
Indeed, there were some unfortunate undertone regarding Hon George’s quest to travel to the US at this point in time especially as he was being accompanied by his son and daughter.
Given the prevailing circumstances regarding his role in the unfolding Global Witness saga which saw the recusal of embattled Speaker Alex Tyler; and his alleged role in support of Tyler, it was indeed foolhardy for Hon. George to have been allegedly found with an incriminating text from Senator George Weah, indicating bribery.
America’s position as regards the Global Witness report which has given birth to a widespread bribery saga has remained characteristically mute - though this silence on the part of American government should not be mistaken for a non-interest in this appalling drama.
American interest in how this country is run and in everything Liberian remains paramount, though the country continues to be a pale imitation of everything American.
In this light, the unfortunate circumstance in which Hon Solomon George has found himself should send a strong signal to all Liberia government officials who may be harboring the erroneous belief that an American visa could be theirs for the asking.
Having a US visa does not necessarily avail one to enter that country; it is only the first step. The immigration officers that are posted at all points of entry into the USA have the final say.
If you fail to give convincing answers to their questions on why you should be allowed to enter their country, you will be lucky if you were placed on the next plane back to your last port of call.
This fact, coupled with the prevailing situation with Hon. George’s wife who was by all accounts living in that country outside the legal limits placed on her stay was lost on Hon. George. This brought about the embarrassing situation in which he found himself.
All of our Honorable men and women including those with deep seated pretense of being so-called statesmen and women must always bear in mind that in the great United States of America, no one, not even the President, Speaker or Chief justice is above the law.