Just recently, the Government of Liberia announced the establishment of a new national cemetery, setting up a task force to ensure the achievement of such goal.
Disclosing this to the nation, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said the task force is also charged with the mandate to oversee the successful relocation and closure of cemeteries not special for interments and are being desecrated across the country.
The President’s mandate, disclosed in a release issued in Monrovia by the Ministry of Internal Affairs last week, comes in the wake of public outcry and assessments showing the congestion and desecration of a number of major cemeteries, including the Palm Grove in Central Monrovia, resulting to their deplorable conditions.
Interestingly, the cross-sector composition of the task force even makes it more unique for more modern cemeteries across the country. Such uniqueness is manifested in the presence on the task force of the Inter-Religious Council, National Traditional Council of Chiefs and Elders, Civil Society organizations, governors, Liberia National Red Cross and the city corporations of cities of the 15-political sub-division of Liberia, and not only key government ministries and agencies, including the Internal Affairs Ministry as head of the task force and the Environment Protection Agency.
Though the decision by President Sirleaf for the closure and relocation of congested and desecrated cemeteries across the country may be belated considering the protracted public outcry for such action, the timeliness of the move must equally attract commendations from the public.
One of the expectations many, including the New Dawn Liberia may presently harbor is the establishment of cemeteries free of an unorganized and reckless burial system as we currently have. In other words, Liberians would expect an organized system of interment that would require proper management and monitoring, replica of such system as the United States’.
Of course, we are of the strongest conviction, considering the composition of the task force, that all of the characteristics of modernity and policies/regulations governing the management of cemeteries’ will be ensured as a way of graduating from such messy system of burial, as well as deterring undesirable citizens and criminals from using these grave sites as hide-outs.
We can only hope that in executing its mandate, the task force’s determinations will reflect the future, i.e, cemeteries that would take us up to the next hundred to two hundred years in terms of space.