Senators Vote for Border Closure

first_imgSeated in an unlit Chamber, Senators of the 53rd Legislature Tuesday, April 1st, voted to work in collaboration with the House of Representatives to bid President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declare a State of Emergency and order Liberia’s borders with Guinea—and if necessary, those with Sierra Leone and La Côte d’Ivoire—closed.That move, the Senators believe, will help health workers cut down the number of people moving in and out of the country and, axiomatically (obviously, goes without saying) reduce the incidence (frequency, rate) of carriers of the Ebola virus, entering through the country’s porous land borders.According to the motion proffered by Maryland County Senator John Ballout, the leaderships of the two Houses will work with the Executive to encourage the President to declare state of emergency.The Senators’ action was taken immediately after the Chairman on the Senate Committee on Gender, Health, Social Welfare, Women & Children Affairs, Dr.(MD) Peter Sonpon Coleman, had briefed the lawmakers on the status of the Ebola virus.Senator Coleman, who supports the eventual closure of the borders as the last measure to contain the virus, disclosed that the latest report from the Du Side Hospital in Harbel, Firestone, where the only living carrier is hospitalized, said there was encouraging news that her condition was improving, and that she is no longer rejecting her food intake.Quoting a report from Lofa County, Sen. Coleman said the Superintendent of that county has ordered a stop to residents going into Guinea, a decision many in that border town have accepted.The briefing was greeted with mixed reactions, though all supported measures that would contain the virus.For instance, Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor warned that news about the Ebola virus is causing lots of panic in the communities; she suggested that the Senate act more decisively.The Bong County senior Senator said some parents have begun taking their children out of school, fearing they might contract the virus.Bomi County Senator Sando Dazoe Johnson, however, reiterated the call for the President to address the nation and thereafter declare a state of emergency; he said that the situation has gone beyond the Minister of Health and Social Welfare making mere daily briefings, and that it was time for decisive, national action.Meanwhile, there are reports that Ministers of Health of ECOWAS are scheduled to attend a conference in Monrovia next week. It is believed that containing the Ebola virus will be high on their agenda.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Recapping Her Return

first_imgStaring at a scene she had never seen before, the realization of what was happening and about to happen in her life hit her like a blow.”Oh God, I can’t handle this. I want to go home,” Tina Swen mourned.On November 2014, Tina landed on the soil of Liberia after spending19 years of her life in America. Now 20 years-old and in total ignorance to Africa and its culture; Tina knew that her life was now over.According to the tall and athletic basketball player, when she was 14 years of age, she had a friend she had known for a very short period that would change her life forever. Because of that friend she says she has left her comfort zone and now finds herself back in Africa.”I told her that I’d always have her back, so she used me into getting even with old enemies, which led me into doing time and eventually getting sent back,” Tina said, shrugging her shoulders.It seems as if Tina’s memory of her childhood friend still haunts her. You can see the tears catching in the corner of her eyes when she has to recall her story.”She ruined my life eternally. Now I am here in the middle of nowhere, around people I don’t know nor understand,” she says in confusion.Tina spent 10 years in jail for assault, she says; and though she learned her lesson behind bars, she thinks there’s still another lesson to learn.” I spent too much time behind bars to know if I’ve truly changed. The real lesson at hand is being back here in the middle of nowhere. What will I do, who will look out for me; how will I survive,” she asked.A challenge that many deportees face when returning back home is not having stability. Some become so fruastrated with their siuation that they relapse and fall victim to crime, violence and drugs.”I don’t know what’s going to happen to me tomorrow, let alone after this interview is done. When you’re gone and I’m faced with loneliness, I guess I have to do what I gotta do to survive out here,” she suggested.As of now, there aren’t any safe homes for deportees or returnees who return back to Liberia. According to Tina, she was not given any money by Homeland security upon her release at the airport.”I don’t have anything, only a few bar’s of soap, lotion and the clothes I wore to go to court following 10 years of jail term. I’m depending on you to help me find a home cause without you, I’m done; lost,” she said, tears streaming down her face.Meanwhile, Tina says after going through what she has been through in the past 10 years of her life, she has a lot of psychological difficulties.”I was 14 years-old when I went to prison and it was in there that I got raped, turned out and inititated into lesbianism. I left my girl back home who took care of me and even brought me the things that I came back here with,” Tina added, ” People saw me at the airport and called me all kinds of names because of how I look and act. It’s disturbing being out here, I’ll need help to cope with this,” she said.Tina’s future is unclear and knowing how to trace her relatives has become a problem. In 1990 she says, her mother was reported missing after she stopped communicating with her relatives abroad.”When we came to America in the 80s, my mom used to call us all the time, along with my older brother. But around 1990, the calls stopped coming and we never heard from them again,” she said, adding that “…when I got locked up, well, my father turned his back on me because he was scared immagration would deport him because of my behavior.”Tina stands alone, dressed in a pair of baggy jeans, a prison t-shirt and a head full of braided hair, Tina needs help.” I’m looking all around this place hoping that someone will look into my eyes and see the good in me and take me in. For the past week, I’ve been sleeping around the airport in a shed with this old lady. I pay her but this is’nt life. I paid for the crime I committed and did 10 years of my life behind bars. Why am I doing time all over again? Why am I back here?” she wailed.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more