By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)
As I had stated in many of my articles on West Point, it is special to me because it was one of the areas I was assigned as a young reporter in the early 80’s. Because of that, I considered the area, commonly known as “THE KEY” because of its one-way road network, as my second home, apart from New Kru Town where I hail from. As such, whenever there are issues concerning the area, I am always concerned and try to share my experience.
Few days ago, when it was reported that some residents of the ransacked and looted health center where some suspected Ebola patients were being treated, I took issue with those looters. The article was written under the caption, “Looting In West Point: Have The Residents Realized The Implications?
In that piece, I emphatically stated that “many times people associate the name, West Point with all kinds of bad, unbecoming or unwholesome behavior and attitude, something I always oppose, and so to see what was done last week, “full my mouth,” to say it the Liberian way. I noted that the looting has now given those who always speak disparagingly about the township and its people, more reason for their belief or perception about the area and its people.”
I went on to say that, “for looting, ransacking and vandalizing a health facility that made major headlines, the people of the township should now beware that they have added insult to injury that would always be projected negatively”.
In that piece I acknowledged that, as an apologist of the people, the act may not have been carried out by all of the residents, and I stated that the few that carried out that lawless act have now caused aspersion to fall on the entire residents, as it is said, “The righteous shall suffer for the unrighteous.”
I then pointed out that for some of us who always defend them, when people try to cite the area whenever bad things happen in society; they have now made our case a very difficult one.
Days after the looting, the government of Liberia announced that the area and Dolo’s Town in Margibi county would be quarantined for 21 days, as there was fear of possible spread of this Ebola virus, as there was belief that some of the looters may have been infected with the virus which may cause an epidemic in that area. The decision of the government was received with protest action.
Now, after about 10 days of quarantine, the government has lifted the restriction, a decision that was received with euphoria by residents. There was high jubilation, including dancing and signing by residents, some of whom came to the center to celebrate the lifting of the restriction on them. As they jubilated, they chorused, “There is no Ebola in our community; thank to Representative Saah Joseph and others for helping us.”
Also, the residents showered praises on all of those, including organizations local and international, who they said identified with them during the time of the quarantine exercise. The residents in their mood of ecstasy said they were so much exultant to have access to free movement in Montserrado County and do their normal businesses in Monrovia and its environs.
Indeed, the ending of the quarantine exercise in the areas is a welcoming new because this indicates that the government is convinced that after few days of quarantine, it was time for the restriction to be lifted, as there was no Ebola threat anticipated because of the looting. One source in government told me upon hearing the lifting of the restriction that the government’s action was based on the advice of the Health Ministry.
Interestingly, to date, the time of the lifting of the restrictions, there were people who believe that the quarantine was not necessary. To this, I say a BIG NO. The exercise was necessary because of the looting of the health center that had some Ebola patients.
Frankly, given the nature of the virus, there was reason for concern because a person can be infected with the virus by coming in contact with a victim. And so the quarantine was necessary for the good of the people, as the area were strategically located and at the same time, densely populated and that any outbreak could have serious consequences on a large population.
Now that the government has lifted that restriction, let the word go forth to the people of my second home that the war against this deadly disease is not over. In their jubilation, they should never forget about the preventive measures that were announced by the government to prevent the spread of this disease.
It can be recalled that when this disease first came in March, reportedly from Guinea, this country was successful in containing, for which we became complacent, and thought “all was well “ until it hit again after a lady infected with the virus came from Sierra Leone.
Therefore, the people of West Point must take note from this and guard themselves, as it is said, PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE,” and worst of all, this is a disease that has no cure thus far. Hence, the best way out is PREVENTION! I Rest My Case.