The All Liberian Party (ALP) has described government’s decision to bring an end to the existence of the centuries old National Palm Groves Cemetery on Center Street in Central Monrovia sway away its attention, and that of the public (masses) from more pressing national concerns.
“This action by the government is a tactic to divert the public attention from this administration’s core responsibilities or things that are confronting us as a nation,” ALP political leader, Benoni Urey said in Monrovia, adding “This is totally unnecessary because the burial ground of our honored past should remain untouched and undefiled and should be forever sacred to our hearts.”
With mandate from the government to the head of the Presidential Taskforce, Mary Broh, began the demolition of the cemetery on October 27. Broh said the exercise was a response to concerns about the perennial desecration of the cemetery—Liberia’s most prominent burial ground. The Taskforce, which has been mandated to beautify Monrovia, announced a 3-phase plan to convert the Cemetery to a ‘memorial park.’
With the conduct of this exercise, which Broh said is meant to demand honor for the dead, scores of homeless and drug addicted individuals—who had made the National Cemetery their ‘home’—received an ungracious eviction.
“We have desecrated the burial places of our people and I am charged to claim honor for them,” ‘Broh said.
But speaking at a press conference over the weekend, Urey, a businessman, farmer and now presidential aspirant, said government is actually desecrating the country’s past heroes and heroines than the “so called honor it says it is trying to bestow upon them.”
“I feel it impelling to address the issue of the ongoing demolition exercise of our historic and revered hallowed grounds, the National Palm Grove Cemetery by the government, though we—all rational Liberians included—have expressed our sentiments of disapproval, apparently to no avail. Already,
Liberians from every corner of the globe are registering their revulsion over this seemingly determined undertaking by the President and her confederates.
The exercise is done in collaboration with the Monrovia City Corporation, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Liberia National Police.
With the level of disapproval that have met the demolition, Urey said, “it is well noted that the demolition exercise comes as an outlandish surprise, in light of the fact that, throughout history – from ancient civilizations to the present – burial grounds of their honored past have remained untouched and
undefiled by human hands, even in instances of war.”
ALP leader added, “But such are the problems we face in our troubled nation, a time when even the ills of society remain unattended, and the problem of finding solutions for the vital needs of Liberians has been shifted to the final resting place of our sacred forebears.”
“For nearly two centuries, the Palm Grove Cemetery, where the Founders of this blessed Land of Liberty of distinct heavenly bearing – their earthly remains have rested in peace, saved for the period of the past decade when the drug-demented victims of our self-inflicted civil war – the Zogos – have sought sanctuary in the abodes of the Cemetery.
Government’s previous decision to erect a high-wall fence, which Mr. Urey and others well-meaning Liberians opposed, at the time bitterly, became very unpopular among the citizenry.
30 Acres for New Cemetery
With the destruction of the National Cemetery, the ALP has donated 30 acres of land for the establishment of a new national burial site. The land is located in Careysburg, the home of the ALP political leader.
“In this moment of sadness when the graves are being desecrated, the ALP has deemed it a national enterprise and worthy undertaking, to bring solace to the many afflicted hearts and our political machinery have appealed to me to address this lamentable matter,” he said.
“Because of this, Mrs. Urey and I and the ALP, have decided to donate 30 acres of land towards this rehabilitative effort, and we call upon the Government, should it insist on the demolition of our sacred ground, to join our effort in exhuming the remains of our dearly departed and transporting same to the new burial site in Careysburg,” Urey said at the press conference.
The purpose of the donation, he said, is to lessen the anxieties of the families and assuage the hearts of “all of us who have been troubled by this recent development.”
He noted that the ALP desires not to bring embarrassment upon the heads of the “executors of this exercise but rather through our collaboration, assist in the preservation of the remains of our heroes and heroines and the maintenance of respect for all.
“Fellow Liberians, there must be oneness of purpose on this salient matter of grave concern to us all. If Americans can honor her great leaders in Arlington National Cemetery, make no mistake that we can do no less. In the face of development, it becomes imperative to not come across as being inhumane even against the already condemned. God will judge us because on this, and so many others, including our senseless and regrettable war, His word says, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me,” he said.