Hundreds of Liberian families and foreigners whose dead relatives are buried at the overly congested Palm Grove Cemetery in Central Monrovia are demanding re-burial packages from the Director-General of the General Services Agency (GSA) Madam Mary T. Broh, who currently leads a taskforce to clean the capital and its environs.
Madam Broh has reportedly given residents an ultimatum to collect skeletons of dead relatives from the cemetery badly desecrated by hardened criminals for reburial in other locations. Addressing reporters on Monday, 31 October in Monrovia, many family members said it is unthinkable for the GSA boss to compel them to take their respective corpses’ bones away when the government has allegedly failed to relocate them to a new gravesite for reburial.
The Government of Liberia about a year ago announced a new public cemetery in Marshall, Margibi County after several acres of land were reportedly purchased from natives of the area at a price of US$25,000.
But angry families have threatened to resist any construction or project at the Palm Grove Cemetery unless they are compensated by the state and relocated to another burial site before they would remove their copses.
Madam Comfort Thompson, who spoke on behalf of a group of aggrieved families, wondered where the government expects them to take their deceased’s bones in the face of current unbearable economic crisis in the country.
According to the spokeswoman, all those who buried their relatives at the cemetery, paid fees to the city council for burial spots as well as financed construction of graves. She emphasized that the government would do families justice by ensuring that they receive the necessary financial package to avoid confrontation with the citizenry.
“Where are we going to carry our corpses? Is it in our bedrooms or houses, we hope that our President will intervene because we don’t want any trouble”, Madam Thompson warned. About two days ago, Madam Mary Broh requested Liberians and other residents who have corpses at the Palm Grove Cemetery to remove them to give way for a pending developmental project, ordering the huge wall erected around the cemetery to be brought down.
There are hundreds of graves of people who died several decades ago and most of the relatives responsible to regularly maintain those sites are either abroad or lack the means to rebury their dead relatives.
Efforts by this writer and other reporters to get the GSA boss to comment on the matter proved unsuccessful as her guards denied the media access.
By Emmanuel Mondaye-Editing by Jonathan Browne