“Inhumane, Cruel, Egocentric, Greed-Driven”–Dr. Cassell Describes 54th Legislature
The Political Leader of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP), Dr. Daniel Cassell, has described as inhumane, cruel, ego-centric and greed-driven members of the 54th National Legislature for their failure to prioritize the health and wellbeing of their people during this Coronavirus pandemic in Liberia.
Members of the Liberian Legislature recently received US$15,000 each for “legislative engagement” from the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
But the move has been heavily criticized by civil society actors and others on ground that, despite the huge salaries and allowances being paid Representatives and Senators in Liberia, the money dubbed “legislative engagement” should have been diverted to the struggling health sector in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
In a press statement issued in Monrovia over the weekend, Dr. Cassell noted that it is unbelievable for members of the first branch of the Liberian government, who are supposed to be championing and advocating for the wellbeing of their own people, are awarding themselves US$30,000, with half of the amount already being disbursed to them in the midst of a health crisis.
“What this means is, 30 senators and 73 representatives will receive a combined total of US$3,090,000, which could have been allocated to properly manage the COVID-19 surge and to acquire oxygen and beds for hospitals which have been depleted and so desperately needed.
“This behavior of gross insensitiveness and lack of empathy for the sick and dying citizens of our country at the hands of these selfish politicians is inexcusable and shall be judged by history,” Dr. Cassell stated.
He maintained that the health of the public and the quality of lives of Liberians should be the primary responsibility of the government and, as such, it should be treated and prioritized.
Dr. Cassell added that it is an “unfortunate predicament, as the vulnerable population and poor citizens of our nation are being re-victimized by another failure of our government to enforce the necessary public health regulations that could have prevented the spread of this new strain of COVID-19”.
He emphasized that the most vulnerable Liberian citizens are at greatest risk of dying from this deadly disease due to “un-affordability and inaccessibility” to the needed medical services.
Meanwhile, Dr. Cassell has attributed the growing wave of Covid-19 cases in Liberia to the alleged failure of President George Manneh Weah to hold accountable those in charge of Covid-19 testing at the Roberts International Airport (RIA) for their “criminal negligence”, which is immensely contributing to the surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
He noted that it is not enough for the Liberian Chief Executive to hold an emergency cabinet meeting and instruct the health ministry to come up with regulations and protocols to combat against the pandemic and leaving those responsible for the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country to go with impunity.
Dr. Cassell maintained that the “crucial and decisive action” that appears to be missing on the part of President Weah is his alleged failure to hold the COVID-19 testing company stationed at the Robert’s International Airport accountable for engaging in practices that are characteristic of “criminal negligence”.
He emphasized that these alleged acts have resulted not only into increased incidents and death rates, but it has overwhelmed the country’s poor and very limited healthcare system and infrastructure.
“To protect the public from further reoccurrence, this act of gross criminal negligence on the part of the management of the COVID-19 testing company should be fully punishable by the law and replaced with a reputable and trustworthy company,” Dr. Cassell lament.
Dr. Cassell claimed that some travelers, especially those coming into the country from “hot zones” of the pandemic, are allegedly offering bribe to enter into Liberia via the Roberts International Airport. According to him, it is unfortunate and disappointing for such an ugly scenario to be happening in a country with poor healthcare infrastructures and citizens who cannot afford the cost of food, let alone medical services. He said a public health crisis of this magnitude can quickly result into devastating medical complications and significant loss of lives.
“It is very unfortunate but yet so real that while we’ve made so much progress in containing the incident rate of COVID-19 over the past several months, which in large has been due to lessons on interventions (testing and contact tracing) learned from the past Ebola epidemic in Liberia; those healthcare interventions and public health measures are now being compromised by greed on the part of COVID-19 testing company, to an extent where individuals traveling back from countries such as India, which is considered ‘hot zone’, are bribing their way out of undergoing testing for fear of a positive test result. This has consequently resulted into a catastrophic effect on the lives of the public as we’re witnessing today,” Dr. Cassell noted.
Pointing out the gross disregard of the current government and politicians to enact policies that would address the public health and medical challenges of the country at this time, and as a way of quickly intervening to curtail the pandemic, Dr. Cassell disclosed that the People’s Liberation Party (PLP) will launch a mobile clinic in the country very soon, as well as donate several medical supplies to hospitals and clinics to help address the current public health crisis.
According to the PLP Political Leader, this is his party’s own minimum way of making additional interventions in the health sector during this critical period in the nation’s history.
“The PLP Mobile Clinic will be headed by professional nurses, physician assistants (PAs) and other volunteers. Their focus will be to help our disadvantaged people, who cannot afford high medical costs as they are the vulnerable population. Additionally, in the coming days, the PLP will be donating several medical supplies to hospitals and clinics to help address the current public health crisis in our nation”.
Dr. Cassell intoned that the lives of Liberians, foreign visitors and dignitaries are not to be bargained for political, financial gains or with any special interest groups.
“I strongly condemned the behaviors on the part of both the current administration and legislatures as they are inhumane, cruel, ego-centric, greed driven, and at worst, what has gotten our country in the current deplorable state,” he noted.
At the same time, the PLP Vision Bearer has called on Liberians and other foreign residents to continue to observe the health protocols put in place by the relevant authorities, including the compulsory and adequate wearing of nose mask and social distancing, in a bid to defeat the deadly virus from Liberia.
He prayed for God’s saving grace and healing hands upon Liberia and its people during this historic public health crisis.