Liberians at the Caldwell, New Georgia Cemetery expressed their unhappiness over being told to pay LD$10 each simply to clean up their deceased love ones’ graves.
The second Wednesday in March was legislated in 1916 to be observed as the national holiday known as Decoration Day in Liberia. This holiday is usually observed by people going to various cemeteries to decorate the graves of their relatives.
Speaking to our reporters on Thursday, March 12, relatives and sympathizers of the dead stated the action of those collecting the fees was improper.
They said these individuals claimed they were “caretakers of the graves,” and as such, anyone entering should pay a fee. As the collected the money, they dropped it a white polythene barrel, standing beside a long stick they had crossed the path of those who were coming to decorate the graves of their loved ones.
Amos Kromah, 30, from Caldwell said that he went to the cemetery to clean his parent’s grave and was forced to pay money to enter.
“I arrived at the cemetery this morning and was asked to pay the amount of L$ 10,” he stated.
He said that hundreds of people were compelled to pay that amount when they arrived at the cemetery just to clean their relatives and loved ones’ graves.
Mr. Kromah went into further detail, saying that some people refused to enter and clean their families’ grave because of the strange behavior exhibited by these so-called ‘caretakers.’
“Just imagine, we buy the land from them and come time to clean our own people’s grave again, they take money from us, where is this money going?” he asked angrily.
Also speaking was Madam Musu Fahnbulleh, who said the caretakers who are demanding that people pay money do not even bother to clean the cemetery.
“Look at how my father’s grave has been damaged due to lack of security in this place,” she lamented.
She said that paying the amount was not the issue; rather it was whether money collected over the years was being used for its intended purpose of keeping the grave properly maintained and secure.
Our reporter, who was subjected to the same treatment, asked these “caretakers” about what they were doing with the money, they declined to comment.