Deputy Health Min. Thrown Out
Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Health and Social Welfare Minister Dr. Bernice Dahn, was thrown out of the Legislative Joint Committee National Budget hearing Saturday for being “disrespectful and rude.”
She was escorted out of the chamber by the Sergeant-At-Arm of the Liberian Legislature, Martin Johnson, while the entire hearing process for the Health Ministry has been suspended indefinitely.
The decision was announced by the Chairperson of the Joint Committee Representative Emmanuel Nuquay of Margibi County and buttressed by members of the committee. According to some past and present members of the legislature, Deputy Minister Dahn has a usual habit of disrespecting constituted authorities, dating as far back as 2006.
“Members of the executive branch of government continue to show rudeness and disrespect towards legislators both past and present. But from now on, we will not tolerate same from anybody,” Chairman Nuquay warned.
Dahn trouble started when her respond to Lofa County’s Foya District Representative Eugene Fallah-Kpakar’s question was too harsh or insulting to the Joint Committee.
Foya District is the largest district in Lofa without a single public hospital, but only faith-based health posts. With this, Representative Fallah-Kpakar asked whether there was any plan to either up-grade existing health posts to hospital level or constructs a hospital if any allocation is made in the Ministry of Health’s proposed budget for 2012/2013.
Instead of Dahn replying in a positive tone, she responded: “whether available or not, there is no plan”, on grounds that allocations made in the fiscal 2011/2012 budget to various health centers in the district were abused.
Her response prompted some members of the Joint Committee to ask who is to blame and who was booked and where is the report? But Dahn failure to be submissive coupled with aggressive responses or augments towards lawmakers landed her in hot water. She was left in charge of the ministry’s team in the absence of Minister Walter Gwenigale, who had left the hearing for some engagements.
Besides the suspension of the Health Ministry, the Joint Committee went ahead with budgetary hearing for the John F. Kennedy, Jackson F. Doe and Phebe Medical hospitals, respectively all of which fall under the Ministry of Health.