Liberia: The Issues Surrounding Adolph Lawrence’s Death
Monrovia – The shocking death of Representative Adolph Lawrence of District # 15 Montserrado County has sent shockwaves across the country, renewing concerns about the frequent abandonment of defective trucks on the highway.
Lawrence, a former Chair of the House Committee on Lands, Natural Resources and Environment, died in a tragic motor accident early Monday morning near the Tower Hill Community off the Robertsfield Highway.
He was on his way from the celebration of his 53rd birthday at the home of his wife, Senator Nyonblee Karnga-Lawrence (Liberty Party, Grand Bassa County) in Buchanan.
Eyewitnesses told FrontPageAfrica that a truck carrying timber lost control of its breaks and rolled back into Rep. Lawrence’s jeep, killing him and another passenger, Gwendolyn Wilson.
The late Wilson was a recent graduate of the University of Liberia who was in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. Three others – Prince B. Gbadoe, Carlor T. Edison and Aaron Cassell – are currently in critical condition undergoing treatment at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Monrovia.
Moments after the accident, Police Inspector General Patrick Sudue told FrontPageAfrica that“The body is stuck in the car and it is nearly impossible to take him out of the car. As I speak to you, there is no way to get the body out of the car.”
They were later removed and taken to the JFK Hospital in Monrovia, where the two were pronounced dead.
On Monday the police said it was delving into the matter by speaking to witnesses and trying to get to the bottom of the accident.
FPA also gathered that Bangaly Trawally, 41, the driver of the truck has turned himself over to the police and is now undergoing investigation.
Unending Road Accidents
The death of the Montserrado County lawmaker adds to the number of fatal road accident deaths caused by abandoned vehicles on the road.
In March 2016, the late Cyril Allen Jr., Deputy Commerce Minister for Administration, was killed when his vehicle crashed into an abandoned Truck on the Robertsfield Highway.
And in 2018, Aletha Blamo, a promising young female, crashed her vehicle into an abandoned truck parked in the middle of the Brewervillle Road, killing her instantly.
Many Liberians are now expressing concerns about the inadequate road safety measures by the Police.
“The death early this morning, of Representative Adolph Lawrence and another Liberian, should invoke a rallying call for the institution of practical actions that would address road safety issues involving old and un-roadworthy trucks and cars in the country,” wrote Joey T. Kennedy, a Liberian living in the United States, on Facebook.
“Many other citizens have lost their lives on this RIA road. I think it’s time for the government to see reason in expanding this road and electrifying it to avoid the loss of more lives,” adds Harris Flomo, jr, another Facebook user.
Despite releasing a statement about the ongoing investigation into the accident, the LNP is yet to mention any reinforcement of its road safety regulations.
No Official Statement From House of Representatives
Neither the leadership nor the press bureau has released a line about Mr. Lawrence demise, sparking concerns about the body insensitivity to the bereaved family.
The ongoing impeachment trial of the Associate Justice Kabina Ja’neh was suspended, an action some say was in solidarity with the fallen lawmaker. However, no official statement was released to the media.
However, several of his colleagues expressed shock as colleagues, families and sympathizers headed by House speaker Bhofal Chambers trouped to the JFK Hospital where he was taken and pronounced dead before taken him to the Samuel A. Stryker Funeral Home.
Impeachment Trial On Hold
Meanwhile, at the Legislature, the ongoing impeachment trial of Justice Kabineh Ja’neh was put on hold by the Presiding Officer, Chief Justice Francis S. Korkpor.
“It is of no secret that a member of this Legislature was involved in an accident and there are reports that he passed off. Therefore, we have to postpone this trial,” lamented Chief Justice Korkpor.
The Chief Justice noted that the proceedings could not continue because almost of the Senators had gone to sympathize with the bereaved family; nothing that although the fallen lawmaker was not a member of the Senate, he was a member of the 54th Legislature and his wife is a member of the Senate.
Justice Korkpor, at the same time, called for a minute of silence and ruled that the trial will resume, Tuesday, March 26 at 2pm.
Although, the House of Representatives is yet to issue an official statement in the wake of the death of Rep. Lawrence, dozens of lawmakers including members of the Senate and House of representatives were seen expressing grief as they were seen going back and for to the residents of their fallen colleagues to sympathize with the family at his Banjul’ residence.
Some took to social medial to express their sorrow.
Rep. Jay Nagbe Sloh (Sinoe county District #2) who together with Rep. Yekeh Kolubah (Montserrado County District #10) and the fallen lawmaker were always seen together, wrote on his Facebook page:
“Friend? Yes! Brother? No doubt! I called him partner. He called me partner. I spent his birthday with him all day yesterday in Buchanan. We laughed. We ate. We did all that brothers do on their birthdays… Partner, so you mean to leave me alone? Hon Yekeh Yarkpawolo Kolubah and I are here at your house with your darling wife. We are looking at your pictures just as we looked at you smiling at us for the last time yesterday. Died on your birthday, my brother. Why, Adolph, why? RIP.”
Constituents In Shocked
Meanwhile, residents of District 15, Montserrado County say they are still shocked by the tragic death of their lawmaker, with some eulogizing the fallen legislator when they spoke to FPA Monday.
Ansu Kamara, a taxi driver, says the entire district is saddened by the death of the representative. “Everybody in District 15 is bereaved! Right now whether you were for him or not, all of us are bereaved,” he said adding that he personally will miss the representative because he was one of the beneficiaries among the many young people the lawmaker helped in the district.
Snotee Moseh, a marketer of Logan Town market, described the late lawmaker as a “good man”. “Quite recently the market was out of electricity; when we called upon him he came and he renovated the entire market building,” she said.
Asatu Jonfula said the death of the Representative is a painful one. “My son has been of his scholarship for seven years now. He has empowered a lot of business people in Logan Town area.”
Prince Keh, of a intellectual young men in the district, he is still struggling to accept the shocking death news. “He was a father and brother to me. After my late wife died, he contributed a lot to giving her a befitting burial. He also contributed immensely to the growth of the district. He had been doing a whole lot of other things like his scholarship drive and helping the old and needy with food and clothing,” he said.
Augustine Kollie, who is a resident of King Peter’s Town, Bushrod Island, stated that he felt bad when he got the news of Mr. Lawrence’s passing because he knew that the representative had traveled to Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County to celebrate his birthday. “It is because of him that King Peter’s Town has safe drinking water,” he added.
Who Was Rep Lawrence?
Mr. Lawrence, a geologist has been a member of the lower House since 2012. Besides the Land, Natural Resources, Energy and Environment committee, Rep. Lawrence also served on the Investment and Concessions and Youth and Sports and the Contracts and Monopolies committees.
In recent weeks, the law, Mr. Lawrence and a number of lawmakers have been in a major row with House Speaker Bhofal Chambers whom they accused of ‘unruly’ behavior.
In one of the major drama on the floor of the lower House, Rep. Lawrence was heard calling plenary’s adopted agenda a “trash”, prompting Speaker Chambers to order the Sergeant-at-arms, Brigadier General Martin Johnson to escort the Montserrado County’s lawmaker out of session for what he (Speaker Chambers) termed as his disturbance and unruly behavior.
The drama began following the reading of the agenda by the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives, Mildred Sayon, and a motion for adoption was filed by Rep. Samuel Kogar (Nimba District #5).
Several lawmakers including Reps. Lawrence and Yekeh Kolubah (Montserrado District #10) raised their hands to amend the motion (either to add, modify or subtract) for subsequent adoption by plenary.
Rep. Lawrence wrote several communications to House Speaker including a plead for the City Major of Monrovia, Jefferson Koijee to be invited and explained why Monrovia was overwhelmed by dirt and fifths. His communication, however, did not appear on the floor.
Several lawmakers including him and Yekeh Kolubah (Montserrado District #10) raised their hands to amend the motion (either to add, modify or subtract) for subsequent adoption by plenary was not recognized.
Reporters Alline Dunbar and Gerald Koinyeneh Contributed to This story.