By Julius T. Jaesen, II
Comrade Gregory Coleman, happy birthday. My soul will be troubled for eternity if my erudite pen can’t seize this occasion to take a reflective look at your service to our country and to say how much I appreciate your work from the post of a low ranking law enforcement officer to becoming head of the Liberia National Police. In a country like Liberia ravaged by nearly 15 years of arm conflict that left many young people vulnerable without skills and basic education to be better citizens and to make up a productive workforce, it becomes challenging situations each and every day on the part of law enforcement officers in the course of their duty to restore order and kind in society and to combat crimes. You were faced with the situation of protecting peaceful citizens from the attacks of the other segment of our population who the war left vulnerable and into substance abuse at epic proportions to the point that they are engaged in robberies and other crimes as a means of survival. So, when a law enforcement officer like you puts his life at risk – standing on the frontline of danger to combat crimes of all forms and protect peaceful citizens from attacks, there is no better honour we can offer you than to say thank you and to celebrate your profound service to humanity. And truly, there is to be found no greater service than to give your feet, your voice, your mind and your competence to the advance of your country – not because it is necessarily easy to do, but because it is the right thing to do. Surely, for eighteen consecutive years, you gave your feet, your time, your commitment and your expertise to the advance of our country working as a law enforcement officer.
To our law enforcement agency, the Liberia National Police, you carried for eighteen solid years, unmatched integrity, nobility, decency, probity, competence, honesty and selflessness. Even outside of the police, I can still recall when several law enforcement officers went to your home to pay a courtesy visit and to thank you for helping to make them better officers, as they were leaving, you still urged them in the course of their duty, they should always implement nothing order than lawful order. That was and still who you are, a very decent, consummate and revered statesman and law enforcement officer. In the course of your duty and service to our country, we found you to be professional, too loyal to duty and too committed to service. My memory can still reflect when you had all the offers to leave Liberia as a young person to work in the international circle in the area of law enforcement. But when such offer came, you turned down that golden offer with lucrative salary simply because you believed then and now, your country needs your service the most, and in Liberia, a fragile state, it is where your work can be felt and you can make the most profound impact. If that was nothing to you, for me, it was a quintessential display of unmatched love for your country over self-glorification – something which epitomizes the saying that goes: “If we do not build our country – if we do not give of ourselves to its progress – it will neither be built nor will our country progress.”
So, Comrade Gregory Oliver Wendell Coleman, on the natal day of yours, I write to honour your legacy for your priceless service to our Country, Liberia. While servicing the public from your days with the police from an ordinary officer to the rank of 104, and then to becoming Police Inspector General, working from the security sector in leading a smooth transition of power from one democratically elected government to another elected administration in 2018, something that our country didn’t witness for about seven decades, and lastly surfacing at the National Bureau of Concessions, you distinguished yourself to be an exemplary leader of high merit, ethics and morality.
During your service to the police as head, you transformed and de-militarised the entity from a police force to a service-oriented institution. You are a true leader and a decent public servant. On your birthday, I’d like to concede that you are a thoughtful and wise leader that I admire. You’re a role model, a prototype and an exemplar of selfless giving to humanity. And truly, I and my generation are profoundly proud to hold you as someone worthy of emulation. You have been etched in the book of our ancestors as one of the people who have served so remarkably, humanity with probity, decency, nobility, diligence, selflessness and honour.
When your public service record is assessed, even at the National Bureau of Concessions of late that you served as Director-General virtually close to two years under the Weah’s administration before parting the job, your achievements were profound and extraordinarily progressive. At NBC, where you transitioned from dealing with hard security to soft security issues, you worked in the area of peace and security – working with the concession affected communities in curbing or inhibiting those violent demonstrations, by setting up the multi-stakeholders platform and training community members on preventive diplomacy, early warnings, conflict mitigation, and basically giving citizens a voice as well as adding female participation and getting them to sit with concession companies to resolve issues, something that was proven quite effective. You worked tirelessly with the people and concession companies to avert civil disobedience that had occurred before.
So today, as you celebrate your four decades of existence plus one year, I wish you long life and pray that the gods of our ancestors, the Infinite and Necessary Being, the Unmoved Mover as Plato would call Him, and the Boundless Reality as Anaximander would call Him, grant you longevity and all the desires of your heart. May you live long to serve humanity! Cheers!