21 April 2014

Liberia: Bryant's Last Wish - No Government Involvement in Burial

Photo: The New Dawn
Former interim president Gyude Bryant

Frustrated to death, families of former National Transitional Government of Liberia Chairman Charles Gyude Bryant have issued a statement that shuns the state involvement in all activities relating to the burial of the former statesman.

The former NTGL chairman who played a major role in the peace process of Liberia by heading a complex transitional arrangement made of belligerent groupings during the Liberian civil war is said to have experienced difficult time during the last few months prior to his death.

Serving as local representative for a shipping agency, Damen Shipyards which won the bid to supply tugboats to the National Port Authority and was even notified by the port of notice of intent to award before the NPA aborted contract negotiations, Bryant, a former head of state personally intervened on behalf of the shipping agency to get a legitimate contract signed but it seems his involvement could not help the company.

The NPA contended that its action to abort the contract negotiations was predicated upon its inability to purchase new tugboats but despite appeal from the company as earlier indicated in its bid documents that it still had used tugboats to supply based on the NPA's requirement, the NPA still aborted the contract negotiations.

Even a presidential communication gave the NPA the go-ahead to purchase used tugboats but still the NPA could not yield to the presidential mandate raising eyebrows that something might have gone wrong with the NPA contract negotiations with Damen Shipyards order than the reasons provided by the NPA in its communication to the shipping agency.

Bryant's is said to have mentioned about the NPA contract negotiations to his lawyer prior to his death and new developments have emerged indicating that the former NTGL Chairman before his death expressed anger at the state insisting that he does not want any state pageantry during his burial.

Bryant chides GoL

Apparently knowing that he was in his last days, Bryant is said to have made a wish to his family that he does not need any panegyric, official Gazette issued, laying in State, 21-Gun Salute, Military Escort, or any State function over his remains.

In a statement issued Sunday, the Bryant and Carr Families made public the wish of the former NGTL Chairman. The statement issued by the Bryant and Carr families stated "It was Chairman Bryant's wish that there be No Panegyric, No Official Gazette issued, No Laying in State, No 21-Gun Salute, No Military Escort, or any State function over his remains. The families intend to carry out his wishes".

The two families clearly stated that in keeping with church tradition and norms, only the Family and Church will give tributes at the Funeral of the late Chairman Bryant on Saturday, May 10th, 2014.

International institutions including ECOWAS, the United Nations and African Union were not included in Bryant's wish according to the statement.

"The People of Liberia, the International Community, including the United Nations, the African Union, and ECOWAS may pay tributes at the Wake Keeping Ceremony on Friday May 9th, 2014", the statement indicated.

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