Bong County adopted daughter, Senator Jewel Howard Taylor is said to be leading an array of senators seeking the early retirement of ailing Health Minister Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale, a prominent native of the county.
Sen. Taylor, originally from Lofa County is listed number one, among 14 senators as signatories to the letter written and signed in her office, addressed to Senate Pro-Tempore Gbehzohngar Findley urging him to recommend the retirement of Dr. Gwenigale to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
Simply put, he is too old and sick to be Minister, Taylor and her colleagues seeking Gwenigale’s removal have written saying.
He must be put out of government, they continue as they indicate in their letter that Gwenigale whom they confirmed a few years ago is in fact over retirement age-octogenarian (someone in his 80s), they say.
But that was not before he was accused of being stubborn, defiant and blaming senators for inciting health workers to go on strike.
The letter which is dated October 29, 2014 is a fallout from his (Gwenigale) recent appearance before the Plenary of the Liberian Senate in connection to repeated calls that he re-instates two officials of the Health Workers Association who were dismissed by health authorities months ago over an aborted strike action.
Dr. Walter Gwenigale has repeatedly insisted that he will not re-instate the two embattled officials-the President and Secretary General of the Health Workers Association. But some Senators, including Sen. Taylor view Gwenigale’s refusal to re-instate the two health workers after their intervention as a slap in the face and hence the need to drag him before the Senate to teach him a lesson.
This led to his first summon before the Plenary of the Senate few weeks ago, during which time they said he remained stubborn and defiant. Thus, the call for his early retirement follows his failure to reappear before the Senate Plenary days after his first appearance citing poor health condition. But they might now show him where power lies and hence the letter to Pro-Tempore Findley.
Below is excerpt of the letter:
“Despite a unanimous decision reached by the Plenary of the Liberian Senate mandating the Minister to have these two health workers re-instated, he has refused to do same stating that his decision is being endorsed by the President of Liberia, Mrs. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf.
The Minister again was cited by the Senate Committee on Health to provide reason for his refusal to abide by the mandate of the Liberian Senate; and at that hearing he remained stubborn and defiant and further accused the Liberian Senate of being responsible for inciting health workers to go on strike. The Committee on Health was left with no option but to refer the matter to the Plenary of the Liberian Senate recommending that the Minister appears before the full Plenary of the Liberian Senate to show cause why he should not be held in legislative contempt.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale appeared before the Plenary of the Liberian Senate and requested to postpone the hearing to allow him be accompanied by his lawyer consistent with due process. Since that time the Minister has refused to reappear on two occasions citing ill-health for the reason of his nonappearance. In his letter, he stated that the stress associated with his appearance before the Senate has caused his blood pressure to become uncontrollable and as such he has requested a postponement of his reappearance until his medical condition improves. This was also certified by medical report sent from Med Link Clinic, that in deed his blood pressure is unstable and he has some associated cardiac problems.
Mr. Pro-Tempore, Distinguished Colleagues, given the prevailing precarious medical condition that Minister Gwenigale has and the fact that he is an elderly person (octogenarian), and that any subsequent appearance before the Liberian Senate will be associated with severe stress that has the propensity to worsen the already unstable medical condition, we would like to recommend that Dr. Walter T. Gwenigale resigns as Minister of Health or that the Plenary of the Liberian Senate recommends to the President that he be honorably retired.”