President George Manneh Weah has suspended for time indefinite, the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Nathaniel Blama, for repeatedly violating prescribed health protocols and endangering public health. According to a release from the Executive Mansion, the suspension takes immediate effect.
The disciplinary action by the President might appear a bit hasty, given the life-threatening nature of Mr. Blama's medical condition, while under quarantine for having tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease, since he arrived from a climate change conference in Switzerland. However, according to the Executive Mansion, the EPA boss "refused to adhere to the established health protocols set up at the Roberts International Airport to prevent the transmission of the Coronavirus disease. Also, following the arrival of medical staff at his residence to take him for treatment, he again declined to board an ambulance, opting instead to follow the team with his private vehicle, which is in further violation of public health measures."
Social media is reeling over Blama's alleged decision not to submit to quarantine upon his arrival at the Roberts International Airport, as disclosed by the President in his earlier message announcing the nation's first COVID-19 patient. It appears that the President might be trying to send a strong message to all officials of government in particular, as well as members of the general public, to strictly abide by the directives of health officials as the country strives to contain the coronavirus.
The President reiterated his call to all citizens and residents to comply with the directives of the health authorities in order for Liberia to contain the scourge.
He said "together we fought Ebola, and together we will fight the coronavirus".
Meanwhile, Authorities of the EPA have suspended Madam Danise Love Dennis, media and communications specialist of the agency for time indefinite. According to a post on the EPA's Facebook page, Madam Dennis was suspended for posting a statement on the EPA Facebook Page without authorization.
Following President Weah's broadcast statement to the nation naming her boss this morning, Mr. Blama, as the nation's first coronavirus patient, Madam Dennis posted the following:
"Facts you need to know about the EPA Executive Director confirmed case on CONVID-19: 1) He just returned from Switzerland on a Gov't mission; 2) He asked to be tested fully after the regular screening at RIA; 3) The Test confirmed positive; 4) He has been quarantined since and cooperating with Health authorities; 5) He never got in contact with any of EPA STAFF."
Facebook post by EPA communications consultant, Danise Love Dennis, which led to her indefinite suspension.
The EPA statement announcing the suspension of Madam Dennis appears on the same Facebook page where her earlier statement was published. According to the EPA statement, signed by the entity's head of Human Resource, "Madam Dennis' statement seeks to contradict statement made by Excellency Dr. George M. Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia and the official position of the Government of Liberia."
Madam Dennis has been mandated to turn over all EPA's properties in her possession to the Human Resource Office.
Meanwhile, Deputy Executive Director, Hon. Randall M. Dobayou, on behalf of the institution, said he regrets the statement by Dennis and said "it does not represent the EPA and that the EPA supports government's position."