Liberia Council Of Churches President Calls For Expeditious Release Of Findings into the ‘Suicide’ of EPS Agent Melvin Early
MONROVIA – The President of the Liberia Council of Churches (LCC), Bishop Kortu K. Brown, is calling on the Government of Liberia, through the Executive to expeditiously probe and release to the public findings and outcome on the investigation launched into the death of agent Melvin Alex Earley of the elite Executive Protection Service (EPS).
It can be recalled that the Government of Liberia, through the Executive Mansion announced that Agent Earley, on Friday, February 19, “shot himself three times in the head” in Tappita, Nimba County while on duty with President George Manneh Weah during the commencement of his county tour.
The incident reportedly occurred in front of the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital at about 6:30 am.
Family members of the victim denied that their relative committed suicide.
The government, through the EPS says it has launched a full scale investigation to “establish any potential reason of the suicide”.
Since the promise, nothing has been heard in the public about the status of the investigation.
Speaking in an interview with reporters at his offices in Brewerville, outside Monrovia on Tuesday, April 27, Bishop Brown said government must ensure that citizens’ right to know is not violated by keeping in secrecy the outcome of the investigative report on the death of the EPS agent.
He noted that the death of agent Earley was “shocking” and as such, the probe launched should not be treated like investigations on other unexplained deaths.
Bishop Brown maintained that citizens and others will continue to speculate and remain in suspicion if government continues to drag or delay the release of the outcome of the investigation.
“The public deserves to know what happened to a man who was serving the state through the Executive Protection Service and he reportedly took his own life. The government and the EPS should understand that if such reports are not investigated properly and brought to the public, there will be growing suspicions”.
“I was shocked that a serviceman reportedly took his own life. I don’t want to be shocked by the government not letting the public know what really happened and how they would address that”.
He noted that the family of the victim remains concerned about the manner and form in which their relative died and as such, government should not procrastinate on concluding the investigation by ensuring that the right things are done and the family is made to be satisfied.
According to him, the EPS agent’s death remains a serious concern to not only the family members of the victim, but also the public in general.
Bishop Brown pointed out that the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led government will be embroiled into a “confidence crisis” when it continues to create room for suspicions by failing to speedily investigate and release the outcome of the report on the death of agent Earley.
“When the people do not know, you raise the level of suspicions; when you raised the level of suspicion, you create confidence crisis on the government. You don’t want the government to not be trusted or for people to have different notions”.
Government can lie
Bishop Brown observed that for too long in Liberia, citizens do not have trust and confidence in their past and present governments.
He made reference to the persistent doubting of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Liberia during the administration of ex-President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf by scores of Liberians.
Bishop Brown believed that citizens will continue to think in similar direction if the Weah led-government continues to delay the release of the investigative report of the fallen EPS agent.
“This a confidence issue. People believe that government will always lie (laughing). The government now has to prove that look, we do not lie. How do you do that? You have to accelerate the investigations once it borders on peace, security, crimes, suspicious activities or someone accused of killing somebody”.
Lawlessness on the increase
Speaking further, Bishop Brown observed that lawlessness, particularly mob justice remains on the rampage in Liberia.
He attributed the situation to the growing wave of the culture of impunity which is becoming the order of the day in the country.
He noted that though the religious community is strongly against lawlessness, the perception of citizens that law enforcement officers are not executing their statutory tasks and responsibilities must be addressed.
Bishop Brown maintained that consistent acts of lawlessness across Liberia would lead to “something else” if law enforcement officers do not enforce the law by bringing to book and justice perpetrators of lawlessness in the Liberian society.
“We condemn any and every form of mob justice but we have to ensure that the laws can be enforced; people who commit crimes are brought to justice for people to have confidence in the rule of law. It doesn’t serve our country, peace, security and political processes well for people to take the law into their hands. The perception out there is that state security actors need to do more”.
He emphasized that public officials also have a major role to pay in combating against the increase in lawlessness in the Liberian society.
According to him, comments from some public officials, who he did not name, are most often anti-friendly and have the propensity to cause confusion or chaos.
Bishop Brown maintained that though the Liberian constitution guarantees freedom of expression, it is incumbent on every Liberian, including religious or social leaders to fine-tone their languages in a bid to create a friendly environment that all citizens and foreign residents can live in peace and harmony.
“Public officials should know that the language they used can help make Liberia a better place or send Liberia backward”.
Nimba land crisis
Bishop Brown called on government to take full responsibility of the incident that recently occurred in Ganta, Nimba County.
He observed that “triggers of violence” are not being avoided by both the government and some citizens despite the escalating wave of violence in the Liberian society.
“It’s unfortunate that we are stirring up violence. Whatever we do in Liberia, we supposed to maintain peace and stability. Liberians need to avoid the things that will escalate violence in the country because; we already know the triggers of violence. We should try not to inflict tribal, religious or political issues.
“We hope that the government is able to arrange herself in a way that a very serious conversation can be held on how to resolve the land crisis in Ganta so that the peace is preserved”.
Bishop Brown observed that the CDC led-government has not taken into consideration previous recommendations contained in a report submitted to former Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf by a committee setup to investigate the land conflict in Ganta, Nimba County.
He further observed that land conflict continues to increase on a regular basis across Liberia, with citizens engaged into the multiple sale of land in a dubious manner and farm.
He attributed the situation to serious family conflict, greed, and selfishness, among others.
Keep the peace
“We are used to suggesting that others are supposed to keep our peace. But we are our own peacekeepers. Whether you are in the village or in the town, we want peace in Liberia; we will have to maintain or sustain peace. We have to work for peace and address the issues that will undermine the peace”.
Bishop Brown further called on government to see reason to hold a National Stakeholders Dialogue to guarantee the peace and stability of the nation.