GOL Launches Bicentennial Celebration -Min. McGill: ‘Let’s All Embrace 200 Years Of Existence’

As Liberia goes into high gear for the celebration of their country’s Bicentennial starting this December, the National Coordinator of the Event, State for Presidential Affairs Minister Nathaniel Farlo McGill is making a clarion call to citizens at home and abroad to come out and embrace the event.

“This celebration is about all of us, Liberians, no matter our political affiliation, tribe and religion,” Mr. McGill said when he launched the Bicentennial celebration during a special MICAT Press Briefing in Monrovia Thursday, December 2, 2021.

“Let’s remember that we are all brothers and sisters with Mother Liberia as our common denominator. The history of any nation is its pride. That Liberia’s formal establishment began 200 years before turning into this oasis of freedom and liberty, is and should be our utmost pride and dignity as people.”

Minister McGill said President Weah has intended the celebration of the country’s 200 years of existence to harness national unity, peace and development and give all Liberians, including African Americans a sense of belonging and nationhood in this first “black republic” call Liberia.

He said Liberia is rising and the philosophy is “no one should be left behind” in the transformation of this country which pioneered not only liberation of the African Continent but also is on record to facilitating the repatriation of Africans from overseas.

The Government of Liberia, under the leadership of George Manneh Weah, has conceived the idea of celebrating the country’s Bicentennial to showcase the pivotal Pan-Africanist leadership role that Liberia played over the years, crusading for Africa’s decolonization and independence, including its uncompromising stance against the racial segregation in South Africa known then as Apartheid.

It can be recalled that Liberia also championed the establishment of multinational unions on the African Continent and the global stage.

Foremost, was its Pan-Africanist leadership role in organizing the historic 1959 “Sanniquellie Conference” involving Liberia, Guinea, and Ghana which ultimately resulted into the formation of Organization of African Union (OAU) in 1963. Liberia assumed similar Pan-Africanist leadership in the formation of the African Union (AU), successor to the OAU. It likewise joined the call on the Continent for creation of regional economic organizations, such as, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Mano River Union.

The Bicentennial Steering Committee set up by President George Manneh Weah to plan Liberia’s 200-year anniversary commemoration used the Thursday Special MICAT Press Briefing to announce the theme and slogan of the Bicentennial event, and the finalization of the logo.

The event will be celebrated throughout 2022 from January 7 to December 10, 2022, with the official opening ceremony taking place on February 14, 2022. Liberia was founded in 1822 by free people of African descent from the United States of America.

According to the Steering Committee, the theme is “Liberia: The Land of Return – Commemorating 200 Years of Freedom and Pan-African Leadership” while the slogan is “The Lone Star Forever, Stronger Together.”

The Steering Committee says, this theme signifies three important historical milestones achieved by the country since it was founded in 1822 by free people of African descent and their patrons from the United States.

Firstly, the theme celebrates Liberia, in West Africa, as the land chosen as refuge by free people of African descent who endured many years of servitude in the United States, to settle as their home country. Consequently, under the auspices of the American Colonization Society (ACS), many of the free people of color emigrated from the United States and disembarked on Providence Island in Liberia on January 7, 1822 as their home country.

Secondly, the theme seeks to memorialize black freedom and nationhood and the determination for self-governance that began 200 years ago when Liberia was established in 1822. In an era when people of African descent were seeking freedom and self-determination, the founding of Liberia, “the Black Republic,” which gained independence in 1847 stood as the clear indication that Africans were capable of self-rule.

And it was in similar spirit of Pan-Africanism that inspired Liberia to join other nations in supporting the formation of international bodies, including the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As a Pan-Africanist leader, Liberia became the vision bearer and founder of the African Development Bank when the bank was established in the 1960s to foster economic cooperation on the African Continent.

It can be recalled that even while slavery remained legal in the United States until 1865, the resettlement efforts of the ACS culminated into the establishment of present-day Liberia in West Africa to relocate free black men, women and children from the United States and other people of color from other parts of the world. This led to the departure of the first group of about 86 free Blacks from the shores of New York in 1820. By the end of the 1800s, approximately 17,000 free Blacks from the United States and the Caribbean were repatriated to Liberia. Other people of color would continue to seek refuge in Liberia, the “land of liberty.”

Hundreds if not thousands of Liberians are expected to converge on the Capital, Monrovia, for the celebration.

Various sub-committees, including Culture and History, are established to ensure the participation of all citizens across the country and the Diaspora. Foreign dignitaries, including top-notched African Americans are expected to form part of the occasion.

For his part, the Co-Chair of the Bicentennial National Steering Committee Mayor Jefferson T. Koijee, who spoke on the practical aspect of the event, said as part of preparation, with a more sustainable approach the City Government of Monrovia organized a Citizens Engagement Board to give the City of Monrovia a facelift, which he said, the Board is an inclusion of professional Liberian citizens.

Mayor Koijee informed newsmen at the press briefing that the City government has several volunteers who have decided to help the Citizens Engagement Board headed by Madam Mary T Broh and are currently working on waste management in order to have a clean City.

Speaking on expected guests, he said, the City Government is in touch with seven mayors from across the globe to form part of the celebration. “We are anticipating about seven mayors and prominent individuals from the US and around the world.

Also he said, the Monrovia City Corporation is working with resorts and hotels across the country to have their area in order. “We are also working with the Motorcyclists to have all bikes coded in order to have some good Security measures put in place, adding that the City Government is partnering with the Joint security to ensure the safety of guests and all residents in the jurisdiction of Liberia’s borders.

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