Harwene Tyee, Former Telecom Executive, Dies

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-Former Deputy, Actg. Managing Director, Telecom; Member, BWI Class of ‘59

The death is announced of Mr. Harwene Tyee, former Deputy Managing Director of the Liberia Telecommunication (LIBTELCO), and a member of the Class of 1959 of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI).

This sad event occurred on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, at his Fanti Town, Matadi, Monrovia residence. He was 77. Born in Bortiken, Potupo District, then in Maryland, now River Gee County, on February 14, 1941, to the union of Mr. Tyee Tarty and his wife, Madam Jarju Tyee.

Harwene commenced his education in Pleebo, where he completed the eighth grade before entering the Booker Washington Agricultural and Industrial Institute. He was one of the 18 Marylanders that arrived on the BWI campus in February 1956 to do their technical and vocational training. He then joined four other BWI classmates to enter Cuttington College and Divinity School (now Cuttington University) in February 1960, where he studied Science. Leaving Cuttington before graduation, Harwene, like his BWI classmate Winston Gibson of Harper, Cape Palmas, traveled to the United States and studied Electronics and Communications. Both Harwene and Winston went on to become telecommunication engineers, trained in the USA. Harwene obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Technology from the New York Institute of Technology in 1980. After receiving numerous Certificates in telecommunication from the United States Telecommunication Training Institute (USTI), Harwene traveled to the United Kingdom and entered Bail Brock College, where he received another Diploma in Telecommunication.

In 1980, he was appointed by the TRT Corporation of New York City as technical supervisor, responsible for the installation and repair and modernization of all telecom equipment.

Returning to Liberia in 1982, Harwene was employed at the Liberia Telecommunication Corporation and later served as manager of the Transmission Department.

In 1991, he was appointed deputy managing director for Rural Telecommunication Services. In 1992, he completed a booklet outlining the requirements for the various cities, towns and villages. The Booklet was submitted to the LTC Board.

In 1994-1995, he served as LTC Acting Managing Director, during which time he resolved the corporation’s personnel and technical problems, and revised the salary scale. In 1995, he was appointed deputy managing director for Administration and Rural Telecommunication.

In 2006 to 2007, he helped create the Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA), which became the sole authority to regulate Liberia, issuing telecom operations licenses, frequency assignments and spectrum management.

Mr. Tyee was later appointed by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the LTA Board, but later removed for unexplained reasons.

Harwene Tyee was among 15 members of the BWI Class of ’59 who, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of their graduation from BWI in 1959, built a monument on the BWI campus in memory of the celebrated Liberian artist and sculptor, R. Vanjah Richards, who first taught the Class arts and crafts in 1956. And though no one in the class majored in art or sculpture, they went on to many other professions, including Engineering, entrepreneurial undertakings, Journalism and Law, yet the Class decided, with the cooperation and support of then BWI Principal Mulbah Jackolie, to erect a magnificent monument on campus in Vanjah Richards’ memory. The aim of erecting the monument was three-fold — first, to restore the dignity of Mr. Richards and his family.

Mr. Richards was beheaded, along with many others at his home in Clay Ashland, Montserrado County in June, 1990, by forces loyal to President Samuel K. Doe. The second objective of the monument was to engage the BWI administration to reintroduce arts and crafts in the BWI curriculum, and later, to develop at BWI the R. Vanjah Richards School of Art, Sculpture and the Performing Arts.

The R. Vanjah Richards Monument is said to be the most historically rich among the many monuments on the BWI campus. Every Liberian needs to go and see that monument.

Mr. Harwene Tyee leaves to mourn his loss his widow, Mrs. Gbarlee Tyee, 15 children, nine grandchildren, two great grand, three brothers, Reverend Pijili Tarty Tyee, Nyu Tyee and Nimley Tyee; two sisters, Ceaty Tyee and Lucy Tyee; many other relatives.

According to a family spokesman, on Friday, December 14, 2018, the body will be removed from the Samuel Stryker Funeral Home and taken to the Trinity Lutheran Church in New Martadi Fanti Town, for a night of wake keeping. On very early Saturday, December 15, the body will be taken to his home town in Bortiken, Potupo District, River Gee County, where the funeral service will take place at the Bortiken Lutheran Church, beginning at two o’clock p.m. followed by interment.

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