The National Executive Committee of the former ruling True Whig Party (TWP) has filed a petition to the National Legislature to enact legislation for the removal of the mass grave at the Palm Grove Cemetery on Center Street.
According to a press statement from the party and signed by Z. Kwaque Coleman, Vice Chairman for Operations said the mass grave bears the remains of the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr., other stalwarts of the TWP and dozens of Liberians who were victims of the April 12, 1980 military coup d’état, and the subsequent April 22, 1980 executions.
The release said in separate communications to the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives, Mr. Reginald Goodridge, National Chairman of the TWP said the party is seeking the support of the Liberian government and the international community to exhume the mass grave on Center Street, conduct the appropriate DNA and Forensic procedures to identify the remains of those buried in the mass grave, in order to give them a respectable burial which they deserve.
“Mr. Goodridge recalls that the late President William R. Tolbert, Jr., and all those who were executed in April 1980 were stalwart statesmen of national and international standing. The late President Tolbert was the first person of African descent to serve as President of the World Baptist Alliance. He was Vice President of Liberia when the Organization of African Unity, OAU, was founded in Sanniquellie, Nimba County in 1959, and was the reigning Chairman of the OAU, which is now the African Union, AU, when he was assassinated in 1980”, the party said.
The TWP is also proposing that a National Memorial Park be established at an appropriate location to be identified where the remains of past, present and future presidents of Liberia can be interred. The National Memorial Park should include a Presidential Library and Museum which could serve as a center for study and research in Liberian history, culture, politics, science and technology.
Mr. Goodridge added that exhuming the mass grave on Center Street is only the first step toward total national reconciliation. The second phase of the proposal would be to locate and exhume all mass graves throughout Liberia bearing the remains of ordinary Liberians whose families deserve to have their lost relatives receive a decent burial. “Too many Liberians are still grieving for their lost relatives and they deserve to know where their remains are so that they can pay their last respect and put their minds to rest”, Mr. Goodridge asserted.
Meanwhile, the TWP is undertaking these efforts on the 200th anniversary of the founding of Liberia during which time dignitaries from all over the world will be visiting the country in observance of the occasion. It is important that the Liberian nation begins to heal itself after a long period of distress.
Mr. Goodridge concluded that bringing closure to a dark chapter in our history will enhance peace, reconciliation, unity, and integration, which are indispensable to the development and prosperity of our nation.
The TWP further announced that it will launch the campaign for the exhuming of mass graves around the country on Monday, November 1, 2021 beginning with a solemn prayer service on South Beach and the Palm Grove Cemetery. All partisans and Liberians who have relatives and family buried in the mass grave are invited to attend this historic occasion.