22 April 2014

Liberia: 'Family Right to Carry Out Bryant's Wishes, Says Cllr. Bull

Photo: The New Dawn
Former interim president Gyude Bryant

Monrovia — Cllr. Pearl Brown Bull says she supports the decision of the Bryant and Carr families not to include the government of Liberia in funeral and burial arrangements of the former head of the National Transition Government of Liberia (NTGL) Charles Gyude Bryant.

"As a lawyer in my own right and as a politician, I feel it is right for the family to carry out his wishes for two reasons. Either, one he may have been frustrated, disenchanted with the manner in which this government treated him in the manner of a former head of state in their actions, in their dealings, their statements and their mannerism," Cllr. Bull told the Voice of America's Daybreak Africa Monday.

In a statement dubbed - Proclamation of Death for Charles Gyude Bryant, the families declared: "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" Bryant and Carr Families.

Cllr. Bull, a friend of the family and a legal advisor to the former NTGL Chair, said the family is carrying on the wishes of Chairman Bryant because that is what he wanted.

"Chairman Bryant was in his sound mind and body before he died because he had called his lawyer, Cllr. Frank Musa Dean to his office in his home and in his office, he had given him instructions to sue the National Port Authority under the leadership of Ms. Matilda Parker for reneging on a contract he bidded. There were three persons who bidded and he won. Maybe Chairman Bryant felt that they didn't give him the respect.

He served the public and he worked for a purpose, he served with humility and he was a simple man and so that's why he just wants to be remembered only in that manner. History will judge him and although his heart stopped and his children no longer have their father and his family, but those who have living hearts, their conscience will be their guide.

Bryant, who played a major role in the peace process, leading to the democratic elections in 2005, was reportedly troubled over the handling of a tugboat contract he won through a competitive bidding process by the National Port Authority.

"History will judge him and although his heart stopped and his children no longer have their father and his family, but those who have living hearts, their conscience will be their guide."

Bryant served 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 appeals 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.

But 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.

The former NTGL chair is expected to be buried on May 10, 2014 but the family has made it clear that the government will not be allowed to read tributes which will only be done in the wake. 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.

Damen Shipyard, a Netherlands-based company, had filed a complaint before the Complaints, Appeals and Review Panel of the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC) against the NPA for Tugboats that the company had bid for and the NPA illegally cancelled in contravention of the PPCC Act.

The NPA in a letter to the Damen Shipyards indicated that it was aborting the contract negotiation process because the company did not have the capacity to purchase new tug boats and despite another letter from the shipping agency indicating that the agency also had used tug boats to suit the NPA needs, the port still aborted the contract.

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