At least eight police officers from the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) of the Liberia National Police are guarding the RLJ Kendeja Resort and Villas, where the former Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company, Harry A. Greaves, was last seen on Friday, January 29, before his death.
Greaves’ body was later found on the beach behind the Ministry of Foreign Affairs early Sunday, January 31 after his driver had reportedly dropped him off at RLJ two days earlier.
The RLJ Resort management told investigators the day Greaves’ body was discovered that the hotel’s surveillance cameras overlooking the beach had been out of service since July 2015.
The ERU officers are currently positioned in the Resort’s private security booth, observing people from a distance.
During a visit to the resort yesterday, our reporter observed that business went on as usual, with private vehicles going in and out of the facility. Due to the presence of the ERU officers, pedestrians wishing to go to the beach were told to be at a distance from the resort’s fence.
It was also observed that the number of people who attend or go to the Kendeja beach and surrounding beaches have reduced around the evening hours, which many considered is due in part to fear of what may have happened to Greaves, and due to the presence of the officers.
The Daily Observer gathered that the presence of police officers, especially the elite members of the ERU, who are trained to deal with emergency violent situations, is creating fear.
“It was feared that with RLJ being the last place Mr. Greaves visited some angry mob could cause trouble and could claim that somebody there could have knowledge of what happened to Mr. Greaves,” an ERU source told the Daily Observer yesterday.
The source said further that the ERU officers’ presence is a proactive measure meant to circumvent any potential mob violence that could paralyze operations at the resort.
Neighbors told the Daily Observer that about eight to ten ERU officers are seen outside RLJ’s fence during the day and the number is increased at night. Some of the ERU officers are positioned within the compound as well.
An insider told Daily Observer that the presence of the police officers must be appreciated in order to avoid further destruction of the RLJ’s property or lives, “which have become the order of the day in Liberia.”
In another development, a resident told the Daily Observer that Harry Greaves’ family must be the first to engage the government, along with the media and civil society organizations, to ensure that there is another private, independent forensic investigation.
“We have a saying that ‘you wouldn’t cry more than the bereaved.’ Though Mr. Greaves happened to be a public figure, those concerned need to hear from the family in order to continue their advocacy,” she said.
Others said the public must avoid taking the law into its own hands to handle problems, looking at Liberia’s poor history in crisis management.
Several area residents interviewed by the Daily Observer said after it was learned that Mr. Greaves had visited RLJ before he disappeared, it would have been considered as a ‘place of interest’ and possibly closed to the public while police investigators studied the possible scenarios that could have led to Mr. Greaves’ death.
“Since RLJ was the last place Mr. Greaves visited,” said another resident, “I thought the government was going to consider it part of its crime scene investigations. And when it did not happen, many of us thought something was responsible.”
Another man said, “With the body released to the family and funeral to follow very soon, Harry will soon belong to history and we’ll be looking at other pressing issues.”