– Bicentennial kicks off  

By: Leila B. Gbati

The Minister of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism and Chairman of the Bicentennial celebration, Ledgerhood Julius Rennie has disclosed that on Friday, January 7, 2022, the Bicentennial will officially kick off at Providence Island in Monrovia.

Minister Rennie indicated that the launch and kick off of the event would later be concluded this year in December.

 He made the disclosure on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 at a Special Bicentennial press briefing at the Ministerial Complex.

The special press briefing is a kick off to the commemoration of the Bicentennial. Liberia Bicentennial (the land of return 1822-2022) is all about commemorating 200 years of freedom and Pan-African leadership under the national theme “Lonestar forever, stronger forever”.

Providing the overview of the Bicentennial kick off, Minister Rennie said that there are a series of activities that will take place during the course of the year and the public will be updated on the calendar of events.

According to him, the program on Friday January 7, 2022 is a unique one because it represents a period in the history of Liberia where the journey began from New York in the United States of America by people of colors to Africa the land where they actually belong and to venture into the unknown and in 1822 they arrived in West Africa on January 7 1822 on the Providence Island.

“And so on January 7, 2022, 200 years will be kicking off that rich history and commemorating that journey that led down to a union strong after 200 years,” he said.

However, the Minister of Information also used the time to call on every Liberian to begin to take ownership of the bicentennial celebration, adding that, “President Weah himself wants all Liberians to get involved that is why we are taking a whole to celebrate throughout the country”.

He added that when the BC is officially launched on February 14, 2022, they expect that there will be a series of activities indicating that they have become to receive positive results from invitation that was send out to various government and important people across the globe who will be coming to Liberia to be a part of the historic celebration.

“We expect a full house and we want to do this even 50 years down the line the celebration of this BC that those of you who will still be here will continue to remember the celebration,” he said.

Speaking further, he noted that the effort of the BC celebration is nationally undertaken which is beyond political division, social diversity and persuasion that Liberians share, emphasizing that it is about Liberians and their unique history and to celebrate 200 years of existence and commemorate what they have now as a country.

He maintained that as they continue in their efforts they call on all Liberians to join hands and whatever they can do in their respective communities, villages in commemoration of the rich history and cultural heritage of Liberia, adding that, “We should do it with pride, and dignity because regardless of all the things we went through and still going through as a country and people this union remains together and stronger and when we talk about the historical relevance and why we are celebrating 200 years of our country existence”. He said “We come here as a group of Liberians spearheading this national effort but we seek to involve and embrace all,” Minister Rennie said.

He also called on Liberians to come forth with their ideas to make the celebration remarkable. He meanwhile thanked the Steering Committee and all others for gracing the special press briefing emphasizing that their presence added more value and weight to the upcoming BC celebration.

Also speaking on the mobilization efforts of the BC commemoration, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Williametta Saydee-Tarr said that she is very happy that they have a committee that is very inclusive and has equal representation of everybody.

Minister Tarr said that they have the Liberia Crusader for Peace (LCP) and the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) as the Co-chairs and other committees that are composed of the Interreligious Council, Traditional Council, which, she said, includes the Governance Council, National Civil Society Organizations, Marking Association, students affairs and all Liberians from all walks of life.

According to her, most of the work they are doing is really about engaging the communities in the 15 sub-divisions and not only Montserrado.

She said President Weah put together a team that shows that the BC is non political but about the country and all Liberians celebrating 200 years of freedom and Pan-African Leadership as such they are going into all of the counties engaging with superintendents and other leadership in the counties including the representatives and senators.

“When it comes to the urban areas and cities, we want to be sure that we are engaging here in Montserrado with our community leaders and all of that. We are going to be moving into the communities starting from the ground level and up where, as we want every Liberian to feel a part of this process. We will also engage with the diaspora and the Ambassador to the US who is there engaging with the diaspora team,” Minister Tarr said.

For her part, announcing the participation of  civil society, which is the National Civil Society Council on the steering Committee, the President of the Civil Society Council, thanked President Weah for her preference.

She announced that they are part of the celebration which kick off on Friday and throughout this year emphasizing that civil society gave birth to Liberia, stating that the American Colonization Society (ACS) as a civil society group in the United States made this history possible by facilitating the repatriation of freed blacks to the newly found shores on West Coast of Africa.

Meanwhile, also gracing the special press briefing were, Chief Zanzan Karwor, Head of the National Tradition Council who spoke on the involvement of the Traditional Council, Mr. Charles Coffey, President of the Press Union of Liberia spoke on the involvement of the media, Ambassador Julie Endee, Executive Director of the LCP and Co-chair on the Steering Committee of the BC, spoke on the involvement of traditional activities at the event on Friday including performances and the beautification of the Providence Island on Friday while Dr. William Allen from the University of Liberia provided some historical perspectives of Liberia’s 200 years of existence and Dr. Willimena Jallah, Minister of Health provided updates on the COVID-19 and the restrictions to be put in place at Providence Island on Friday.

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