By: Achie P. Williams
Most Liberians, especially the older folks who lived during the eras of the 1970s and early 1980s in Monrovia would remember a particular individual by the name “JIMMY RINGO,” who it was alleged operated a criminal empire that terrorized the entire Bushrod Island; and was a law unto himself in the TERMINAL ISLAND community located around the Freeport of Monrovia, where he resided.
Many stories abounded to the effect that security forces were extremely afraid to arrest him based on allegations that he possessed supernatural powers that enabled him to always overpower, and on many occasions brutalize them whenever attempts were made to have him arrested for crimes he allegedly committed.
So, amid all that, he passed to eternity in a rather bizarre situation which was captured below in a snapshot story culled from the Vol. 3 No. 85 Thursday, July 7, 1983 edition of the Daily OBSERVER newspaper, which detailed who he actually was, and what were some of the attributes he embedded prior to his death on June 18, 1983.
The body of JIMMY RINGO, who died at the J. F. Kennedy Hospital June, 18, after he FAINTED AT A NIGHT CLUB, was buried at the PAYNESVILLE CEMETERY on Sunday, following a service on the NOTORIOUS TERMINAL ISLAND where he lived. Ringo whose REAL NAME WAS J. MOMBO WOTORSON and was known throughout Liberia for his frequent appearances in courts as an accused was 49.
His funeral was preceded by a jam – packed party – like WAKE AT POINT FOUR. However, some of his friends and relatives were not happy about earlier press descriptions of him being “THE BIG MAN FOR ALL ROGUES IN MONROVIA,” and so they did not permit press coverage of either the wake or the funeral.
In a tribute, members of the TERMINAL ISLAND GHETTO described Ringo as a hardworking man who WORKED IN THE INTEREST OF THE COUNTRY, PARTICULARLY YOUTHS. They did not elaborate, but one mourner told the Daily Observer that Ringo, a FORMER SEAMAN was instrumental in the FOUNDING OF THE SEAMAN’S UNION. He helped several youths desirous of going to sea to get jobs, the tribute said.
The WIDELY TRAVELED RINGO was born in 1934 in GRAND CESS, KRU COAST TERRITORY and had his EARLY EDUCATION IN GHANA, before coming back to Liberia to plunge in a free – wheeling life which took him to several JAILS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, including the dreadful BELLE YELLAH in Lofa County.
The photo which was taken by our cameraman with a ZOOM LENS because RINGO MOURNERS threatened to “FLOG” him, shows the PICK – UP which carted RINGO’S BODY TO HIS FINAL RESTING PLACE.