21 December 2012

Liberia: Dead Cadets' Families Take GOL to Court

Family members of four dead cadets of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) and the Government of Liberia are expected before the Civil Law Court today (Friday) at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia.

The Court served notice on the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) through its Commissioner Binyan Kesselly; Chief Executive Officer, Fred Bass Golokeh, Jr., and Kou Joseph based on a motion filed against the State by the bereaved families for alleged damages for wrongful death.

The complainants are personal representatives and dependants of the late cadets Patrick Ansumana, Jr., Henry D. Bryant, George Kaba Reed, Jr. and J. Eddie Wilson, by and through Patrick Ansumana, Sr., Ms. Theresa Doe Reed, Mr. Curtis Bryant and Isaac Wilson all of the City of Monrovia, Montserrado County.

Both parties will appear for a summary judgment at 9: 30 this morning in the motion.

In an interview Thursday with this paper in Monrovia, the bereaved families said they have taken the government to court for wrongful death of their loved ones.

"We took the government to court because we want Admission and Justice. They must first admit it was wrong for not claiming responsibility for the death of our children and next, justice must prevail in this matter," R. Kofa Kloh noted.

He said the LMA or government must take responsibility for the death of those cadets because the deceased were in their care before they reportedly drowned on 27 September, 2012 at the Musa Beach, while in training.

"The late Wilson, Bryant, Ansumana and Reed are from homes and not from the streets for which we want justice and this is why we are going to the court," Kloh lamented.

The family members, who walked into the offices of this paper, said they were saddened that since the incident on 27 September this year, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has not commented.

"It is very much sorrowful for four young Liberians to have died in such tragedy and up to now, [we] have not heard the President to comment or console the families," Bendu Bryant said.

Meanwhile, the families have denied recent report here that they and the Liberia Maritime Authority reached a compromised of US$0.6 million compensation.

According to them, there have been no negotiations between them and the LMA besides the 2 October meeting with one week after the incident.

"We do not know where such reports come from to have filtered in the media. First of all, the media was biased in their reportage without getting our side of the story," another family member Arabella Reed noted.

She said being that there has not been any negotiation with the State, the funeral costs for the deceased were footed by the family members jointly.

"It was joint funeral services for the [four cadets] and everything went very well without any problem. We have no option but to unite as one body," she added .

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