By Jefferson D. Tweh
Last week Saturday morning, August 30, 2014 was a scene of jubilation in the densely populated community of West Point after the opening of the road leading to their community by the Government of Liberia.
The area was one of two communities that were quarantined by the Liberian government as part of measures to avoid the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. The government took the action after some residents looted a health center in which some suspected victims of the disease were being treated.
Shortly after news of the lifting of the quarantine was received, residents of the township went wide with jubilation. Some of them took to the streets in their areas, while others went to central Monrovia, dancing and singing for the lifting of the restriction on them for the past days.
As they jubilated, they chanted slogan, such as” there is no Ebola in our community.” They congratulated Representative Saah Joseph, presidential aspirant, Mr. Benoni Urey, humanitarians, charitable organizations, civil society organizations, human rights groups and international partners for the great support given them in the Township at the time they were quarantined by the Government of Liberia.
According to residents of West Point, they are now happy to have access to free movement in Montserrado County and do their normal businesses in Monrovia and its environs.
“We are actually pleased to see our road being opened today because things have been very difficult with us over the past weeks, despite the donations made by humanitarians in our community, but there was no free movement at all and we were in fear because of the lack of free movement, as the area was policed by state security,” West Pointers stated.
Some of the West Pointers have accused Representative Solomon George of not seeking or paying attention to them at the time their community was quarantined and described him as ‘good for nothing’ and promised to vote him out come 2017 Presidential and General Elections.
In an executive interview with this paper, the Commissioner of West Point, Madam Miatta Flowers, has lauded President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her government officials for the opening of West Point Road and allowing the residents of West Point to move anywhere in Monrovia and its environs.
Madam Flowers has also applauded the International Partners, humanitarians, Civil Society Organizations, Charitable Organizations, Some members of the National Legislature, Government of Liberia, Non-Governmental Organizations and Human Rights Groups for the significant contributions made to the residents of West Point Community.
Madam Flowers has called on the West Pointers to be peaceful and continue to be law abiding citizens in the country. She appealed to the residents of West Point to take preventive measures as prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare because Ebola is real and nobody should take it for a joke.
“I will continue to demonstrate my commitment as Commissioner in this Township of West Point and work along with my people to make sure that good things come in this community,” Madam Flowers concluded.
A resident of West Point who spoke to our reporter, Mr. Daniel Sekey, said he was really disappointed in the Government of Liberia to have prevented the West Pointers from going about freely because as far as he was concerned there is no Ebola.
“Since the Government of Liberia quarantined our community over the past days, nobody experienced any sign of the Ebola virus or got sick,” Mr. Sekey stated further.
Mr. Sekey alleged that the Government of Liberia did that just to punish the West Pointers and impose more sufferings on them.
“My brother, just tell me; you are a journalist and you have been doing research on the Ebola issue; is that fair for government to quarantine West Point Community without Ebola?,” Mr. Sekey asked.
One of the marketers who also spoke to our reporter, Ma-Kebbeh said the first thing that the Government of Liberia would have done was to screen the people in the West Point Community, instead of the quarantine exercise.
She admitted that Ebola is real but the action taken by government was not in the right direction because people were actually stranded and there was no way to survive.
According to Ma-Kebbeh, commodity prices were high in West Point and people were finding it difficult to survive due to the closure of the road, but with the help of humanitarians, they made residents to survive.
Ma-Kebeh is calling on the young people of West Point not to engage in any unlawful acts that will tarnish the image of the Township.
In a relative development the program director of the Street Child Liberia (SCOL) Mr. Michael John Bull, on Saturday also lauded the government of Liberia for what it called a “wonderful decision” to open the blockade set-up to quarantine the residents of the Township of the densely populated area of West Point.
The President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf about a fortnight ago declared a State of Emergency and ordered security officers to quarantine the Township of West Point as a measure to curtail the spread of the deadly Ebola virus disease.
Mr. John Bull speaking to journalists at the organization’s headquarters said he was overwhelmed with joy to see members of SCOL including their relatives and others free to move about once more after being quarantined for days.
Mr. Bull said humanitarian services are critical and cardinal to the survival of Liberia’s development agenda. The Program Director of SCOL said this is why his organization, a non-governmental, non-political saw the need of the West Pointers and decided to aid them with some Ebola preventive materials including bags of rice, Argo oil, and others while they were quarantined.
Mr. John Bull disclosed that he saw that West Pointers were suffering and wondered what would have happened two weeks from now if the quarantine was not lifted.
Meanwhile, the program director said he had already made arrangement for about 200 bags of charcoal to be given also to the West Pointers to help them cook their food as they were no longer quarantined.
However, Mr. Bull warned members of his organization and other citizens of West Point not to take their freedom as a yardstick to do anything out of the preventive measures provided by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
“Ebola is real, Ebola exists, be careful more than before and take the necessary precautions to avoid the spread of the deadly Ebola virus,” he said.
He pointed that SCOL still has more buckets for washing of hands, powdered soap and other preventive materials to be distributed.
It can be recalled that SCOL, an advocacy group with support with Street Child United Kingdom provided nearly US$10,650.00 in food, Ebola preventive materials among others for their members in West Point.