The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) has turned over responsibility for the handling of Ebola dead to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).Scores of family and community members calling the hotline numbers say they are not getting through; and those who are getting through say they have to wait for hours.Upon receiving reports that four bodies suspected to be Ebola victims had been found in Bo Waterside and needed to be removed, the Observer contacted Minister of Health, Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale.The Minister of Health told the Observer that his primary obligation is to the living, not the dead. Overwhelmed with too many other pressing issues, he could not shoulder the burden of the dead, he said. He told this publication that he has therefore asked the President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, to turn that aspect over to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).This information was confirmed by a senior official at the MIA, who said the ministry is doing the best it can to handle the bodies but is struggling to cope, especially with those infected byEbola.”We are overwhelmed,” the official said. “Burial is a technical matter, and we only have one technical team leader trained by MSF.”Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF) also trains Red Cross technicians.The official said the MIA took 25 bodies up to Tubmanburg in Bomi County for burial Saturday, August 2, but were rejected by the county’s leadership and people. The bodies had to be brought back to Monrovia. The MIA is now attempting to bury the bodies in Johnsonville. The body of a man from Sime Darby’s oil palm plantation in Bomi, who had gone on a visit to Cape Mount and died, also needs to be retrieved. The MIA says it has no technical capacity for pick up, bagging, spraying and burial of dead bodies, especially those from Ebola. The Ministry says it also needs goggles, gloves, overgarments and masks.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Students, lecturers, and members of the public were Wednesday evening treated to an informative and thought-provoking discussion on the “Constitutional Guarantee of Fundamental Rights and the Citizen”.The session was hosted by the University of Guyana as part of “Project Renaissance”, launched in 2016 by Vice Chancellor Professor Ivelaw Griffith. These sessions are entitled “Conversations on Law and Society”.Presenting Wednesday evening was the distinguished Jurist-in-Residence, JusticeSixth Form students of the Bishops’ High School interacting with Justice Carl SinghCarl A Singh, who gave historical accounts of the identification of these rights.Referring to personal accounts, Justice Singh highlighted the significant lack of understanding by individuals about the Constitution and what the Constitution recognises as their fundamental rights.“It is in the context of providing a general education that I have framed my presentation tonight. My aim is to present a general idea of what these fundamental rights are. So that, in keeping with my observations made, I hope to be able to convey, or rather make contribution to what has been perceived as the woeful lack of education by our people about these fundamental rights.” Singh said.The former Chancellor chose to focus on the right to life, freedom of expression, and protection from discrimination. He further noted that while the Constitution, which contains these rights, is the supreme law of the land, these fundamental rights are not absolute, but are conditional, meaning that there are limitations to these essential rights.It was then that he cautioned those present to be wary when utilising their fundamental rights, so as not to infringe the rights of others.Justice Singh quoted the words of the late Justice S Yacoob Mohamed from his book, Constitutional Law of Guyana.“Absolute or unrestricted rights do not exist in a civilised society; a man’s fundamental rights and freedoms must not, therefore, violate the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.”Justice Singh closed his address by stating that it was the responsibility of lawyers to promote the fundamental rights and freedoms in society, and it was the role of the court, as the guardians of the Constitution, to protect those rights.The event was the third session of “Conversations on Law and Society”. The first and second focused on “The life and work of Joseph Oscar Fitzclarence Haynes” and “Guyana’s Borders, Boundaries, Barriers, and Bridges” respectively.
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