The people of West Point recently staged a demonstration calling for the replacement of their fellow West Pointer and Commissioner, Madam Miata Flowers, and the appointment of a new Commissioner. They blamed her in part for the quarantining of the community last August that led to the shooting of 15 year-old Shaki Kamara, who subsequently died, and others.
The Independent National Human Rights Commission, upon a mandate by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, investigated the whole West Point incident and made a number of recommendations. Among them was that the President apologize to Shaki Kamara’s family; that a health center should be built in West Point named in his memory; that Shaki’s family should be compensated for his untimely death; that Titus Nuah be flown to Ghana for treatment of stomach wounds he sustained as a result of security forces’ presence in West Point last August; and that the Township Commissioner, Madam Miata Flowers, apologize for whatever wrong or misjudgment she may have committed.
In our editorial this Tuesday, we called on all concerned to abide by the IHRC’s recommendations. This includes the President’s public apology; the building of a government health center in this township of nearly 100,000 people where there is none; compensation of Shaki’s family; sending young Nuah to Ghana for treatment; and an apology by Commissioner Flowers.
Commissioner Flowers has since reacted, saying she had done no wrong. But in our Tuesday Editorial, we argued differently, contending that as the leader of the community, she should take personal responsibility for any and everything that happened during that emergency period in West Point. We said that the INHRC was right to call for the President’s public apology. After all, she is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Liberia and the appointing power of the Liberia National Police and its Emergency Response Unit which were blamed for the violence that led to at least one casualty.
By the same token, we called on Commissioner Flowers to apologize, too, especially since she did not oppose the quarantining of the community when the GOL made that decision.
We also make today what we considered an urgent acknowledgment: that the people of West Point, too, should be in an apologetic mood. Remember how they violently stormed the Ebola Treatment Center in the township and made away with mattresses, drugs and other valuables and dangerously caused suspected and probable Ebola-affected patients to escape to unknown destinations? This could have led to the further spread of the virus.
We pray that West Pointers will ALWAYS think twice before resorting to violence and consider FIRST the consequences of such action. They should always remember the scientific principle that “To every action there is an equal and opposition reaction.”
Did the West Point people take note of what happened in the recent case of the operatives of the National Security Agency (NSA) who illegally arrested some South Korean nationals and confiscated US$247,500 from them, claiming that some of it was “counterfeit”? The President of Liberia appointed a Special Independent Committee, headed by Counselor David Jallah, to investigate the matter. The Jallah Committee issued a forthright and decisive report, calling on these NSA operatives to the prosecuted for their illegal action and on Liberian government to repay the Korean’s US$247,500. Yes, the NSA people did not realize, before they embarked on their criminal adventure, that to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
We are saying all this to establish that in the case of the unfortunate and tragic events that occurred in West Point last August, mistakes were made ALL AROUND, including the people of West Point themselves.
This is why we are calling on their Commissioner to apologize; on the people of West Point to forgive their Commissioner, so that we all can move forward together. West Pointers should know that Commissioner Flowers is a good woman, a wife, a mother and a leader. All leaders, as indeed all people, including West Pointers, make mistakes.
And the majority of West Pointers being Christians, they should know why Jesus came to earth: to “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”