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Legislature to ‘Investigate Self’

first_imgThe National Legislature, comprising the Senate and the House of Representatives has expressed disappointment and detestation against President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and said it has observed that the Executive has failed to observe the principle of coordination consistent with the Constitution and the rules of the Legislature.In a joint statement by both Houses yesterday evening, President Pro Tempore Armah Z. Jallah said the Legislature has urged the President to instruct the Special Task Force, headed by Cllr. Fonati Koffa, to cease attacking the person and property of any present or former member of the Legislature.The statement was issued in the office of the President Pro Tempore with attendance of scores of Senators and Representatives.Pro Tempore Jallah said the Legislature has resolved to establish a joint committee of both the Honorable House and the Honorable Senate to thoroughly investigate this matter, commencing with a Public Hearing, and a subsequent public debate before an ultimate decision by theLegislature is made. The press statement, which was signed by Pro Tempore Jallah and House Speaker J. Alex Tyler, Sr., said they “are aware that search and seizure writs were issued against the home of Senator Varney Sherman and it was widely reported that the Senator’s home was put under siege by security forces on May 23, 2016; and that there are further attempts to go after other Legislators in like manner.”“The Legislature has seized itself of this matter for several reasons and has appointed a joint committee of both the Honorable House and the Honorable Senate.“What prompted the Legislature to seize itself of this matter is that the Executive has failed to observe the principle of coordination consistent with the Constitution and the rules of both Houses of the Legislature,” the statement said. The statement added: “It has also come to the attention of the Legislature as alleged in the Global Witness report that laws were changed in 2010 to give Sable Mining favorable treatment to enable it secure Wologizi outside of competitive bidding. The joint committee of the legislature will investigate this allegation as the legislature is the branch of government constitutionally charged to make laws.” “There are several other issues which warrant the attention of the Legislature which will be exhaustively covered during the public hearing and the Legislative debate. The Legislature therefore calls on the President to instruct the Special Task Force to cease attacking the person and property of any present or former member of the Legislature while the Joint Committee carries out the investigation.”The President Pro Tempore has also said the names of the members of the Joint Committee of the Legislature to investigate the Global Witness report will be announced to the public not later than May 26, tomorrow. “The Joint Committee will also be charged with the responsibility to establish whether or not the Executive exceeded its constitutional mandate through its recent actions,” Sen. Jallah said.Senate’s DecisionMeanwhile, the Senate has summoned Cllr. Fonati Koffa, the head of the Special President Task Force, the Acting Justice Minister, Cllr. Frederick Cherue, as well as the Chairman of the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC), Cllr. James Verdier. The trio are expected to appear before the Senate’s Plenary today (Wednesday, May 25,) in a Special Session in their Chamber, at 11:00am.The invitees are expected to explain why was the residence of Grand Cape Mount County Sen. Varney Sherman besieged by officers of the Liberia National Police and staff of the LACC.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Disco Hill Ebola Burial Site Running Out of Space?

first_imgThe Ebola burial site at Disco Hill Once a burial ground for Ebola victims, the cemetery is now receiving unclaimed bodies those dead from non-infectious causes The memorial burial site of victims of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), which is now also accommodating other dead bodies from Montserrado and Margibi counties, may soon degrade to the ranks of the Palm Grove Cemetery if caretakers and basic logistics are not given the needed attention.Unlike any other grave site in the country the Disco Hill burial site, situated along the Robert field highway, and which is now a national cemetery, was for a few years back graded by all of its visitors during the commemoration of national decoration day as the one of the best cemeteries in the country.Nowadays, the membership of the caretakers of the site has drastically declined due to lack of compensation from government in order to keep them at the site which is, unarguably a tourism site.In his narration of the challenges on the grounds of the cemetery, the head of the caretakers, Kortoson M. Pellewuwan said the site is growing short of space for burial.The tomb bearing some of the ashes of those who died as a result of contracting the EVD in 2014/2015“Out of the five acres received from the people of Margibi since 2014, only two acres are now available. And this is worrisome because lots of dead bodies are transported here frequently for burial,” Pellewuwan said.He said street bodies and those whose families or relatives do not have the means to give them befitting burials at other cemeteries due to lack of money are transported to the site for burial.“We do not refuse them. All we do is to verify that they are truly less fortunate people or are from charity organizations like Black Gate (HIV-AIDS compound), TB Annex as well as criminals who are murdered by mob justice,” he added.About the manpower catering to the site, he said they were twenty six between 2014 and 2015, but now they are only four actively involved with the care of the area.“We were twenty six but due to the lack of incentives from government, majority of the workers here have left. Our number reduced to eight but even at that, government has not been able to look after us,” he said, adding, “Even the four of us who are still keeping up this place are not well taken care of. I am the only one, in fact, on a regular stipend.”He said for seven months now the other three members of his team have not received any stipend and they may soon leave as others have done.“The thing that should be appreciated here is that, on Decoration Day, no one comes here to clean a grave but lays his or her flowers and wreaths on the grave of his or her loved one(s). We do everything. Is this not a good thing?” he rhetorically asked.Gaezohn Clarke, a resident of the ELWA community whose mother was buried at the site right after the EVD in 2015, said even though his mother did not die of Ebola, he saw it befitting to bury her at the Disco Hill EVD burial site.“Even though it is sad to lose loved ones, giving one’s loved one a befitting burial, particularly in a secure environment, is a very great achievement,” Clarke said.He said unlike other cemeteries which were encroached on over time by hard-core criminals, the Disco Hill burial site is secure and always clean.“Things are no longer as they used to be here. We are seeing lots of challenges such as lack of proper care of the site,” he said.Rep. Tilberosa Tarponweh pays his tribute to the deceased at the Disco Hill Ebola Virus Disease’s Victims’ burial siteMargibi Electoral District #1, Tilberosa Tarponweh said he is moved annually to visit only the Disco Hill burial site, not because of political reason, but for love of the people who became victims by the deadly EVD.“Whenever I come here I am overwhelmed by emotions from many people who visit this place on Decoration Day. I personal share tears imagining the way our people lost their lives in 2014 and 2015,” Tarponweh said.He said prior to the ashes and bones’ being taken to the Disco Hill burial site, the cremation of Ebola victims was done in his neighborhood of Boys Town.“I have a picture of the impact of the EVD in my mind, because I was here. I saw the many tears people shared for their loved ones, who lost their lives to the EVD. We all have to remember the effects of the EVD and learn never to fall prey to it anymore,” he admonished.Rep. Tarponweh said his office will work alongside all the relevant partners, including the National Public Health Heath Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), the ministries of Health and Internal Affairs to give the Disco Hill burial site a national memorial tourism status.“For the sanity of this place, it is my kind appeal that those taking care of this place be compensated. We should not afford to lose this place to bush and other harmful practices,” he concluded.NPHIL Executive, Tolbert Nyenswah said the caretaker of the site; Kortoson Pellewuwan is right for saying that there are challenges confronting the upkeep of the site.Nyenswah however pointed out that there is no need for the site to have too many staff, considering that there is no more national emergency.“That place is not intended for the burial of just any kind of dead bodies. After the EVD, the only bodies that should buried there are those from TB Annex, and other areas where contagious diseases have hit a population. Other than those, no one is allowed to take a dead body there for burial on the basis of poverty,” he said, adding that the NPHIL will investigate all burials done at the site in recent times.Dr. Nyenswah said the NPHIL is working out a project proposal in order to make the Disco Hill burial site a tourism site.“We need money to get that place up to a tourism standard,” he said.Nyenswah said the NPHIL is pleased that high profile individuals from Liberia and other parts of the world are now taking interest in visiting the Disco Hill burial site for research purposes, basically on the impact the EVD has created on the country and recommendations to the government for a prosperous future.On Wednesday, March 13 this year, Madam Ronke Olawale, a PhD candidate in social work and anthropology at the Michigan University (USA), paid a research visit to the burial site to study the impact of EVD on the country.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more