The distinguished Liberian entrepreneur and politician, Benoni Urey, Chairman of the Lonestar Communications Corporation, made a pretty important speech on Masonry, unquestionably Liberia’s most powerful secret society.
Addressing the St. John the Baptist Feast Day ceremony held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church last Thursday, he said the next President of Liberia “must” be a Mason.
That remark sparked many critical comments not only in the Daily Observer’s online edition, but also on the talk shows on several Monrovia radio and TV stations. The comments were overwhelmingly negative. But on hearing these reactions to his address, Mr. Urey called the Daily Observer to deny that he had ever said such a thing. He said he had never called for Liberia to be led by a Mason come 2017.
Many people, however, said they saw him utter those very words on television. Mr. Urey was kind enough to send us last Friday a copy of his 11-page address. Here is what he said beginning on page 10:
“The New Liberia we envisage will and must be one with a Masonic Head.” He went on to outline the qualities of such a leader, qualities which, he insisted, “[meet] the Tenet of Free Masonry.” In closing, Urey said he looked forward to another “festive day of Craft Masonry when Monrovia will “see the President of Liberia perambulating (traveling on foot, walking-marching) with us on the streets of Monrovia. “Our dreams must come true, our goal we must achieve… The choice is ours.”
Who, then, can deny that Benoni Urey wants the next President of Liberia to be a Free Mason? And having himself declared his candidacy for the presidency in 2017, which Mason would better suit that bill than the ambitious, influential and wealthy Benoni Urey who, within a few years hence, will most likely himself be elected Grand Master?
We have often wondered what has Masonry done for Liberia? The most that people who have noticed know about them is what they did last Thursday: dressed up in expensive clothes, marched behind brass bands, assembled in the Temple to wine and dine and, because they are the elite of the elite, the cream of power in the society—the top lawyers, judges, politicians, business and professional people—they can easily influence a lot that is happening in Liberia. Benoni Urey said it: “The Masonic Craft over the years has played a significant role in the building and governance of
Liberia. Five of the nation’s Presidents have been grand masters of Masons.” Urey further recalled: “Many problems in government were settled at the Masonic Temple. Good governance decisions were made there. Bad decisions were challenged at the Temple.”
There is, then, no question that the Masonic Craft has had an overweening influence on Liberian statecraft. Now come some critical questions:
• What have the Masons ever done for the poor, weak, deprived and destitute in our society?
• How come this first independent African Republic is, at 168, still at the bottom of the world’s economic development ladder?
• How come the Judiciary, as it is even today, has been accused of corruption? This, more than anything else, frightened Albert Porte, the legendary constitutional analyst and pamphleteer who over the years warned that the judiciary is “the cement that holds together the national fabric. Weaken that cement and you weaken the national fabric”—and that and more was happening, leading to the 1980 coup and to the civil war. Have the Masons ever asked themselves what part they played—have they ever accepted any responsibility for what happened to Liberia? After all, they were in the lead. They came second after the True Whig Party; the church came third. That was the triumvirate that ruled Liberian for over a century—the TWP, the Masonic Craft, the church.
• So how did Liberia, under their leadership, become a failed state? How did we, having been on the same economic level with Singapore and South Korea in 1960, remain consistently the odd man out in economic and political development?
We submit that because the Masons admit that they were in Liberian society the Primus inter pares (first among equals), they should be the first to answer the question, what happened to Liberia?