Amid fond memories recalled through tributes paid to the late Harry Augustus Greaves, family members and sympathizers who attended his wake and funeral maintain that he was killed, and would not be convinced otherwise.
“They killed him, they killed him! Father God you are there and know what happened. They must not go free,” a family member was heard crying.
Many in the public believe that the marks on Greaves’ body when he was discovered on the beach behind the old Planning Ministry were inflicted on him by people and not as a result of being jostled around by ocean currents for long hours, as suggested by the pathologists from the Nebraska Institute of Forensic Sciences.
Not wreaths, but justice
In his bold, soul-stirring tribute at the wake keeping on Wednesday, March 9 at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Monrovia, Rev. Fr. Victor King, Rector of the St. Augustine Parish which is the Greaves Family’s home parish, said, “The Greaves family does not need wreaths at this time. They need justice. Harry died under a mysterious circumstance that they (family) will need justice instead of flowers. We do not know who did it and why but, family members and friends, leave it to God. God will fight your battle and butter your bread.”
Quoting the late Bishop George D. Browne, Rev. Fr. King warned that, “Episcopalians placed in positions of power and trust should be mindful before they embarrass their families and the church.” Fr. King’s chiding stopped just short of name-calling when he added, “the Episcopal Church controls the security of the state.”
Though he did not call names or explain what he meant, some in the audience believed he was making direct references to Justice Minister Benedict Sannoh and Police Inspector General Chris Massaquoi, both of whom are Episcopalians. The two were also at the helm of the investigation of Harry Greaves’ death, which the bereaved family and many in the public believe was handled clumsily.
Liberian Business Association (LIBA) president, Dee Maxwell Kemayah, in his tribute, resonated with many the disappointment he expressed concerning the handling of the death of Mr. Greaves. “How will the Greaves family respond to reconciliation in this country when there are more questions than answers about the death of their son?” he asked.
He added that those clothed with responsibilities to seek the interest of citizens do not do what they need to, but have made statements on the death of citizens causing people to lose confidence in them. “They are the same who come to church on Sunday and pretend that they are perfect,” Kemayah said.
Richard V. Tolbert, friend of the late Harry Greaves for almost 40 years, called him “one of the best and brightest”. “After April 12, 1980, Harry remained in Liberia and could have easily become part of the new order.” But, he said, “Harry was a man who was by and large on the side of good for the Liberian people.”
Greaves’ widow, Mrs. Precious Andrews Greaves, for her part, thanked sympathizers and the media for blowing the alarm about circumstances surrounding the death of her husband and reiterated that their concern consoled the family.
Harry Greaves went missing on January 29 after entering the RLJ Hotel in Kendeja. His body was later found behind the old Planning Ministry on the Atlantic Beach two days later.
His body bore marks on the head, face and stomach, and suspicions have been rife about how he died and who was responsible.
The wake and funeral were attended by family, friends and a few government officials.
The Government of Liberia did not make an official representation at the wake or funeral. However, several government officials did attend in their own capacities, such as Senators Commany Wesseh, Jewel Howard Taylor, Nyonblee Kangar Lawrence and Rep. Munah Pelham Youngblood.
Others included head of the Governance Commission, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, Police Inspector General Chris Massaquoi, as well as Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell and one of her principal deputies.
Some politicians and former government officials, including Liberty Party flag bearer Charles W. Brumskine, Cllr. Winston Tubman and Gbehzohngar Findley, were also in attendance.
In his remarks, River Gee County Senator Conmany Wesseh said Harry Greaves was a patriot who participated in all the peace talks on Liberia that resulted into the peace every Liberian enjoys today.
‘God is not mocked’
Delivering the funeral discourse on Thursday, March 10, Rev. Canon James B. Sellee, Rector of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church, said too many killings are going on in the country, and this must stop. Recalling other mysterious deaths in recent times, Fr. Sellee named Michael Allison, Victoria Zayzay and Dan Orogun and warned: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man sows so shall he reap.”
Fr. Sellee told families and friends of the late Greaves that justice will be done through God’s vengeance and they should leave all with Him to decide.
“Liberians, be mindful how you live, knowing that no condition is permanent. Some of you abuse office, kill others, exploit people’s labor and steal public funds, and do the worst things to your wives and husbands. You have to remember that the day will come and you will not be in the position you are now. Be mindful of what you do to others!” he admonished.
Dr. Charles Clarke, former chairman of the ruling Unity Party, recalled Harry Greaves’ role in Liberia and in the Unity Party during the 2005 elections and said “he was a true patriot.”
He re-echoed earlier statements by others that there was mystery surrounding the death of Mr. Greaves, saying his loss will be mourned for a long time.