The national chairman of the True Whig Party (TWP) former information minister Reginald B. Goodridge, is calling for the relocation of mass graves across the country, including those of its late standard bearer and 19th President of Liberia, William R. Tolbert, Jr., who was toppled in the 1980 bloody military coup.
The remains of President Tolbert along with several of his officials were interred in a mass grave at the Palm Groove Cemetery on Center Street in Monrovia days after the coup led by 17 enlisted men of the Armed Forces of Liberia under the command of late Master Sergeant Samuel Kanyon Doe, later became President.
The True Whig Party dominated politics in Liberia for over 100 years, led by descendants of free slaves from America known here as Americo-Liberians.
Chairman Goodridge notes that graves bearing remains of those noble Liberians might be up to 100 or 200.
“We will never know the real count until we develop the courage with international support to exhume the remains of those buried here, and through the use of modern technology, determine their identity”, he adds.
Goodridge made the call Monday, November 1, 2021, when the TWP launched a campaign for the removal of mass graves at the Palm Groove Cemetery on Center Street.
According to him, the first step in the campaign is to locate all other mass graves throughout Liberia for similar operations.
“Let us be clear, the blood of the stalwart men in the Center Street Mass Grave is not better than the blood of ordinary decent Liberians buried in the mass grave all around our nation.”
Chairman Goodridge, who served as Press Secretary and subsequently Minister of Information during the regime of jailed former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor, stresses that in removing the mass grave, it is important that the restoration of the Palm Groove Cemetery be accelerated as Liberians shortly celebrate the bicentennial of their country, saying “Our nation is burdened with the shame of our neglect to give our departed loved ones a decent and fitting memorial.”
He says the ultimate goal of the current campaign is to win the participation of all families across the nation that are still grieving lost relatives whose remains were not properly buried in line with traditions and practices.
“This is why we are calling for a National Memorial whereby families across the nation will be encouraged to bring forth the names of missing relatives to be registered and recorded for posterity”, he continues.
Goodridge adds that the party is proposing the selection of an ideal location where a National Memorial Park would be erected to inter the remains of past, present, and future presidents, as well as memorialize names of all those who died during the 1980 military coup and the subsequent protracted civil war. Editing by Jonathan Browne