Bonthe Municipal Council Mayor
Presents Report to the Bonthe Family Foundation
Report of the Mayor of the Bonthe Municipal Council presented to the Bonthe Family Foundation on the role of the Council in preventing and containing the spread of the Ebola virus disease to the Municipality of Bonthe on Sunday, December 21, 2014.
Consequent on the passionate call of His Excellency the President, Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Mayors and Chairmen of Local Councils to support Ebola control measures in their different localities, the Bonthe Municipal Council has been directly involved in the national fight against the Ebola Virus Disease. The Council contributed to raising awareness of the disease, provides funds for the training of Health workers, institutes regulations, provides Veronica Buckets, Chlorine/Dettol, erect testing point at the main jetty to prevent easy access to infected persons to the Municipality, and above all, held a series of consultations with stakeholders and most particularly health officials directly involved in the fight against the disease for more advice on the way forward to maintaining a safer Bonthe.
The Bonthe Municipal Regulations and Bylaws
As a result of the visit of His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma to Mattru Jong Chiefdom, Bonthe District, and in lieu of his observation that the Ebola Virus disease cannot be won without unity of purpose, unreserved and unconditional implementation of the Bye-laws, especially when taken into consideration the ravaging effect of the Ebola Virus disease across the country; and also taken into consideration when he said, Bonthe District deserves a special prize for their resilience in the fight against the Ebola virus disease, as we have adopted best practices that must be sustained to contain the pandemic; the Council was left with no option but to influence the people of Bonthe City into formulating regulations and Bye-laws gearing towards the control and prevention of Ebola in the Bonthe Municipality.
Powers of the Council to formulate bylaws:
With reference to stated procedures, section 90 of the Local Government Act of 2004 gives
Council the power to formulate Bye-laws that are not inconsistent with the Constitution or the Act itself or any other enactment for the purpose of any function conferred on it by or under the Local Government Act of 2004, or any other enactment.
It is therefore in fulfillment of the above, that the Council with reference to section (92) subsection (2) of the Local Government Act of 2004; after the formulation of the Bye-laws, forwarded them to the Minister of Local Government and Community Development for her perusal and action taken accordingly, before authorizing the signature and Common Seal of the the Mayor to enable the Bye-laws to be laid before Parliament in accordance with subsection (7) of section 107 of the Constitution, and to further publish the Bye-laws in the Sierra Leone Gazette before circulation and full implementation in the locality of Bonthe.
The Minister after receiving the Bye-laws, minutes and attendance list of the meeting for the adoption of the Bye-laws informed the Mayor that, as a result of the fact that the country was under the Public State of Emergency, the Anthony General had mandated her to peruse generated Bye-laws and sign them before implementation. The Council is still waiting for the final approval of the Minister Diana Konomanyi Kabbah.
Christmas Celebrations in Bonthe:
Christmas for Bonthonians is traditionally an occasion that causes friends, sons and daughters from Bonthe that are all over the country and the Diaspora to travel to the Island to celebrate with their families and loved ones in a bid to foster family and communal ties. At present, a series of calls have been made to the Island in readiness for Christmas celebration. It is our candid view that allowing so much of people coming to the Island this time round will put the Island at a greater risk of contracting the Ebola Virus disease. This is because we do not know those coming from localities that are most infected. Therefore, the Council in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Ebola Response Center (NERC), Rtd Major Palo Conteh, resolved to ground all Motorized Wooden Boats plying the Sherbro Rivers from the 20th December, 2014, to the 2nd December, 2014.
Municipal Surveillance Teams:
The Bonthe Municipal Council in consultation with stakeholders has formed Municipal surveillance teams in all the eighteen (18) sections to include York Island and Gbongboma that will be engaged in daily house to house visitation and counseling services in Bonthe. They are also charged to lookout for sick people and at the same time advise them to report at the Government Hospital. We are aware that even though we were grounding our Boats, yet many people had already arrived. The surveillance teams in their house-to-house visitation will provide the Council with any useful information of a possible threat, if any for a robust reaction to preventing the worst to happen. Each section has at least a team of seven members and for some eight members and each shall be given a remuneration of five hundred thousand Leones (Le 500,000). Review meetings shall be held at Ward level at the end of every week and minutes taken accordingly. The Sectional Surveillance Team shall include: the Sectional Head, Sectional Youth Leader, Sectional Women’s Leader, two Religious Leaders and two Societal Heads.
There is a checkpoint that has been established at the main Jetty that is manned by six able men. The Council will provide one million two hundred thousand Leones for them as remuneration. In addition, we shall provide them with three bags of rice that was provided by the Bonthe Family Foundation through the District Ebola Response Center (DERC).
All Councilors and one representative from the Police, ONS, Navy and the CSO shall monitor all activities during this festive season and respond promptly to any concern or threat; and above all to ensure that surveillance at sectional level was done accordingly. Two million three hundred thousand Leones will be paid for this service.
Support to Radio Bontico FM 96.9:
There is no Christmas or New Year Eve worship services to be done at night. The Council has, therefore, resolved to support Radio Bontico with five hundred thousand Leones in a bid to allow religious leaders to lead their congregations in both Christmas and New Year Eve Services through the Radio. The Mayor received the sum of seven hundred thousand Leones from Mrs. Rebecca Aruna on behalf of Bonthe Family in respect of payment for airtime on Radio Bontico for Ebola sensitization programmes. There was no scanner to scan and send the payment receipt to the Manager of Radio Bontico FM 96.9, Mr. Samba Kemoh Koroma.
Burial In Bonthe:
There are two Burial Teams in Bonthe Sherbro Island. One trained by Government and the other by the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society. What obtains in Bonthe City is that, when a person dies, the Burial team is informed accordingly. In response, the team after following the required procedures, places the corpse on a stretcher and then walks a fairly long distance to the Cemetery for burial. This method in this 21st Century amidst the scourging Ebola Virus disease is viewed as not only risky for the burial team members in the case of an Ebola infected person but crude in all forms. Currently, the Bonthe Government Hospital is the only Government Hospital in the entire country that did not in any way benefit from the Ambulances distributed by neither the former Emergency Operation Center (EOC) nor the present National Ebola Response Center (NERC) regardless of a series of earnest requests that have been made. The only Land Ambulance service, that we have in the district, is based in Mattru Jong Chiefdom 28 miles away from Yagoi, the closest point to Bonthe Sherbro Island where the Government Referral Hospital is situated.
The fight against the Ebola Virus Disease is a collective fight. All Bonthonians must come on board no matter how little the contributions may be. It will make a big difference. Many thanks and appreciation to the Bonthe Family for moral, financial and logistical support, Honorable Osmond Hanciles for his advice and relentless support to the Council, Honorable Sam Maligie and his Permanent Secretary, Charles Kamanda, Diana Solomon and Family through the tireless effort of Mr. Faith Tucker in the provision of soap, Veronica Buckets and chlorine; Mrs. Fanny Tarawally and Family for the provision of a Biometric Thermometer and Maryam and Swahid and Mr. Sallu Sonjor for their immeasurable contribution in the fight against the Ebola Virus disease in the Bonthe Municipality.