Disabled Liberian Writes President Sirleaf

Written on:February 21, 2013
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Liberian President Sirleaf

Liberian President Sirleaf

To The President of Liberia
Her Excellence Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia
C/O Dr. Edward B. McClain, Jr.
Minister of State & Chief of Staff
And/or Mr. Beyan Koto, NCD

Dear Madam President,

I, a Deaf Liberian in the United States want to first hand laud your administration for its second victory into office through a free and fair democratic election that was witnessed by the world. I also want to extend my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to you, Madam President for the numerous development projects your administration have undertaken since its birth and ascension into office and the tremendous development packages you laid out at your just ended annual message to the Liberian Public. I laud your effort and believe in strong governance and hard work. You’re putting into place a rule of law that can/will benefit all Liberians and Non-Liberians in and those visiting Liberia.

Madam President, after a couple years in the diaspora, I had the opportunity to visit Liberia last year 2012. It was great to return home and witnessed a lot of developments ongoing by your administration. Though I choose not to question your role of headship as The Commander in Chief of The Republic of Liberia, I favor not to make wrong judgments on claims I have heard which this letter addresses. Rather, I desire to ascertain, credibly, accurately unfolding stories told me by my deaf colleagues in Liberia – since we as deaf people aim at working for the betterment of each other collectively. Thus, the purpose of this letter, Madam President is to ascertain issues and claims my aggravated deaf colleagues revealed to me that is affecting the National Commission on Disability and I choose to join my voice in advocating The Rights for the Deaf and request you through your administration to look into other areas that could be of developmental benefits to the deaf and disabled peoples in Liberia.

My deaf aggravated colleagues with some reliable source(s) who requested not to be mentioned by name cried to me with their voices through the use of Sign Language when I met them in 2012 and whose cries I continue to hear daily even since I returned to the United States. Their crying reveals and addresses the following issues which accuracy I’m still quizzing them on with regards to these three (3) directors you elected to head the National Commission on Disability (NCD) :(1) Mrs. Richarda Dennis, Executive Director of the NCD, (2) Mr. Myers R. Nifor, Deputy Director for Administration, and (3) Mr. Adrian Z, Sandi, Deputy Director for Technical Services at the NCD. The issues revealed and addressed to me by my deaf colleagues for whom this letter was/is written are as follow, Madam President:

As I stated earlier, though I’m still trying to ascertain the credibility of these unfolding information provided me by my deaf colleagues in Liberia stated to me that “Mr. Adrian Z. Sandi have worked for LPRC for thirty-three (33) consecutive years as Laboratory Demonstrator and was pensioned by LPRC in 2006. So they (the deaf) believe that Mr. Sandi is no longer qualified to work in or with another GOL agency while receiving GOL pension monies. Mr. Myers R. Nifor, too, is said to have worked for the Ministry for Health for forty (40) consecutive years and was also pensioned in 2006. He, too, as the deaf claimed is unqualified to work for another GOL agency. Besides, Mr. Nifor is not a disabled individual.” Furthermore, it was disclosed to me by my aggravated deaf colleagues in Liberia that “funds provided by GOL and NGOs to finance trainings programs and scholarships for the deaf and disabled are not fully, barely, or rarely being used adequately to meet the needs and perhaps wants of these struggling eager-to-learn deaf and disabled peoples for which the funds were given.

My deaf colleague’s complaints further that the name listed directors are making themselves rich with these funds given them by collecting huge monthly salaries, huge allowances, and huge gas slips while some of them are said to have no vehicle. On top of this mismanagement and misappropriation of GOL and Non-GOL funds, some or a certain member of the directors constantly labeled the deaf and or disabled peoples as ‘Uneducated peoples.”

But from my prospective, I believe if the funds for educational purpose given the NCD directors to educate the peoples in the community you commission them to serve, these struggling eager-to-learn deaf and disabled were used for the intended purpose adequately, the deaf and disabled will definitely be educated. So, who take the blames here for names calling, if this claim is ascertain? The deaf and disabled or the three (3) directors whom you bestowed constitutional headship on to fully implement their roles?

My aggravated deaf colleagues complaint, again, furthers that “because of three (3) name listed directors bad or poor mismanagement and misappropriation of administration monies and its financial resources, many of the programs that were instructed by GOL and NGOs to served the deaf and disabled community can barely or rarely be funded to fully satisfy and meet the needs and perhaps wants o f the deaf and disabled.”

Madam President, you stated that Liberia “Will Rise” which I strongly believe. But if the complaints leveled against the three (3) name listed director at the NCD in this letter from my aggravated deaf colleagues to me are accurate, my concern is, how can Liberia rise when the rising of Liberia depends wholly and solely on the molding of the minds of our young men and women – deaf and disabled alike- But provisions for molding their minds of these individual through education is in the hands and enjoy by just a few.

Madam President, as I learned that you have dispatched and appointed certain members of your staff to investigate the issues hanging over the NCD. If these complaints are credible and found to be accurate, with our voices through this letter, we are humbly asking you to please used the constitutional power vested into you and replaced the above name directors at the NCD with those who intend will be “For the Peoples” – The Deaf and Disabled community.

Madam President, if the need calls for it, I believe like me, I, and perhaps some or many of the Deaf Liberian in the United States will be happy to fill in positions and work in/at the NCD to bring in a new productive development incentives and new ways and means that will be in the best interest of the deaf and disabled community in Liberia. Because I strongly believe that agency like NCD should be spearheaded by peoples who have vast and farsighted knowledge in disabilities than those who have little and/or lacks the knowledge. Should the need call for it, Madam President, and you give me and or us in the United States the green light, mandates, and opportunities to work at the NCD, I (we)’ll be more than happy to do so.

With my belief in strong governance, hard work, diligence I (we) yearn to see a new NCD wherein deaf and disabled people alike will be treated justly, fairly, and equally. I (we) yearn also to see a new Liberia not just of infrastructures and roads, but for the most part of the molding of the minds through whatever sort of legal education for the young men and women – deaf and disabled peoples alike – no matter age, race, carrier status, disability, wealth etc.

There are a lot of areas as I witnessed during my just gone visit to Liberia within the deaf and disabled community the NCD should concentrate on but I believe they are not tickling these areas adequately.

As an example, Madam President, interpreters are very useful and needed to/by deaf peoples. Why? Because interpreters provide smooth communication between a deaf person and a non-deaf person. But from what I witnessed in Liberia during my just gone visit and continue to hear from my deaf colleagues and the head of the interpreters in Liberia, , the interpreter program(s) and interpreters in Liberia have little or no funds to empower the programs and provide skilled and qualified interpreters for the deaf – And the other agency, The Liberia National Association for the Deaf, who also works with the deaf community, I don’t understand how they and the NCD are working to tickled these problems. For this and many other reasons, again, the deaf are left on their own, for themselves. In other words, should a deaf person, say, have an appointment or job interview, interpreters are barely or rarely willing to accommodate or accompany the said deaf individuals. Why? I want to believe is due to the fact that there is no one to finance the interpreter for his or her time worked. The NCD through the other agency mentioned above that spearhead the deaf community, I believe cannot or hardly provide funding for interpreter training and programs. Neither can the NCD through the other agency mentioned above that spearhead the deaf community cannot provide financial compensation for these hardworking interpreters work done for the deaf.

To support this clam, I visited few non-deaf learning institutions where deaf individuals attend. These said institutions are denying interpreters in classes to translate for deaf students’ to fully understand the lesson taught. And the NCD along with the other agency that serve the deaf community mentioned above are not doing much or nothing to resolve this kind of disheartening situation, making learning difficult for these eager-to-learn and brilliant peoples.

As a result, at the end of the day only the deaf individual suffers the setbacks. This area like many other areas within the deaf and disabled community fully needs an attention. I also want to believe, Madam President that the NCD as an umbrella or superior for the other agency that spearhead the deaf community may not be working collectively with honesty. The end result is that neither agencies, the NCD and The Liberia National Association for the Deaf can scarcely or seldom do little or nothing to resolved this kind of disheartening situations, making, again, learning very difficult for these energetic, brilliant, and eager-to-learn deaf young men and women.

Deaf and /or disabled peoples, Madam President, have great potentials like their non-deaf brothers and sisters and even far better and far beyond. But these potentials and skills will never be seen or achieved by them if supports given them are not provided them honestly, freely, and fairly.

With the above stated, I also learned from my aggravated deaf colleagues during my recent visit that “University of Liberia president is denying deaf admittance to higher education.’ How ascertain and accurate this claim is, is what I’m still asking my colleagues. But if this claim is accurate, Madam President, then it is DISCRIMINATIVE!!

The day you ascended into the oval office, you spoke and continue to speak on GOVERNANCE -STRIONG GOVERNANCE. This is the kind of attitude we yearn and expect all officials of your administration to exhibit daily.

But my deaf colleagues disclosed to me that the three (3) name listed directors “are mismanagement and misappropriating GOL funds given them by purchasing expensive vehicles worth at $437, 000USD while these directors failed to provide adequate scholarships opportunities for the deaf and disabled in Liberia.”

In addition, the aggravated deaf disclosed to me that “that funds totaling $200,000USD given to the NCD directors last year from USAID for training programs for the deaf and disabled – the said programs were hardly implemented and funds was mismanaged and misappropriated by the NCD directors mentioned in this letter by paying themselves huge salaries, huge gas slips for which some of them don’t even have a vehicle, and huge general allowances while they failed to provide salary increment for other NCD staffs.”

Besides, my aggravated deaf colleagues with my voice added is asking the GOL that if these claims outlined in this letter is credible and ascertain through you, Madam President, to remove these three (3) name listed directors off GOL budget for the NCD and they should be relieved of their post from the NCD indefinitely.

Indeed, Liberia can raise, Madam President, as you decreed but if only honesty reign; if only trust is obtain; if only people of all races, nationality/tribe, disabled and non-disabled alike are treated justly, fairly, and equally can Liberia rise, rise, rise to a better “Sweet Liberia” for all Liberians not only for those with lucrative jobs in Liberia.

With our voices through these written words, we are humbly asking you and your administration, Madam President, that should the need calls for it, we can/could fill in positions and the needs to move the NCD forward, using our good interpersonal skills in developing the minds of the deaf and disabled peoples in Liberia. Should the need call for it, Madam President, may your administration provide for our coming to Liberia to start at the NCD.

For I who composed these humble words of our feelings on behalf of us all – The Deaf and Disabled alike – The Feelings of the deaf and disabled -, me, myself, I’m a hearing impaired (deaf) individual categorized as DISABLED. So, I’ve farsighted knowledge of what it feels and taste like when someone tends to hurt our brothers and sisters in the way they are aggravated by the claims agonist theses three (3) executives mentioned in this letter at the NCD. If the claims leveled against these directors are credible, ascertain and accurate, they have hurt the deaf and disabled community in Liberia. Why? Honestly, is because the deaf and disabled in Liberia pains are felt. Their hurts are felt… Their anguish is felt. Is unbearable to sit back and witness the deaf and disabled in Liberia enduring this betterment. While we witness deaf and disabled in developed countries enjoying a wide range of government and non-governmental opportunities that the deaf and disabled in Liberian may somewhat wants to enjoy, we are move to act in their behalf for somewhat this same opportunities with our written VOICES!!!

Madam President, we stand here today in the presence of this letter representing a people who are brilliant, who have great skills, great potentials, and great ambitions, who are productive and can bring productive developments to your government, that we’ll not keep silent, No, No, we’ll not rest or keep silent unless fairness and equality is serve the deaf and disabled in Liberia. We’ll not rest or keep silent until the deaf and disabled are given back their full right to fit into every working and societal environments of Liberia. We’ll not rest or keep silent unless we see a new day is brought to light for the deaf and disabled in Liberia. We’ll not rest or keep silent unless we see the deaf and disabled peoples in Liberia are serve equally like our non-deaf/disabled brothers and sisters, we’ll not rest or keep silent, Madam President till a new day, like The Old Negro spiritual, we all, deaf and disabled will utter these words “Free at last, Free at last, Thank God Almighty we are free at last.” Free from oppression, injustice, unfair treatments from those who you bestowed constitutional headship on to serve our community, greed, mismanagement and misappropriation, from all those unfitting behaviors that may have engulfed and infested the NCD like virus, we’ll not rest or keep silent till your administration bring about a new day at the NCD – A day of ‘rejoicing for all of God’s children.” Yes! The deaf and disabled in Liberia need their freedom; they need their right, equality, fair treatment from those you bestowed constitutional headship on. They need an equally educated place in every working and societal environments of Liberia. Our VOICES will continue to be heard through writing, Madam President.

Madam President, this right will not fully be obtained unless your administration puts into an ACT of law for deaf people – A constitutional ACT that gives them equal right into every working and societal environmental aspect of Liberia/Liberians days-to-day’s activities.

Madam President, if the claims by my aggravated colleagues stated in this letter is credible, ascertain and accurate that which is hanging over the NCD is being resolved, we’re also humbly asking you to look into the following issues and areas and please request your administration to include in the budget for the NCD compensations for hardworking interpreters in Liberia and to also provide trainings incentives for them. In addition, we humbly ask that you make provisions for deaf and disabled who aim at obtaining higher education at the University of Liberia or any other institution of higher learning in Liberia to gain an easy admittance; adequate job training programs, hand-on-start programs for the deaf and disabled to equip them for future employment.

Mr. Dominic B. Wah Sr
A Deaf Liberia in America
Studying and Majoring in: Administration of Justice/Criminal Justice at Delaware County Community College, PA
Mr. Dominic B. Wah Sr
A Liberia Deaf in America

Written By: Mr.. Dominic Wah Sr On behalf of all Those Categorized as Deaf AND/OR DISABLED in Liberia.