The Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Tuesday 9th February 2021 approved with unanimity the Tenth Report of its Committee on Appointments and Public Service, chaired by the Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Sahr Nyuma.The Following presidential nominee was approved by Parliament: Dr Austin Demby- Minister of Health and Sanitation Seconding the motion, the Opposition Whip, Hon. Hassan Sesay said somebody with such a resume’ must be appreciated and be approved by Parliament. He noted further that as an opposition when good people are brought for approval, they would always support. He told the Minister to take cognizance of the attitude of some of the officers working for his Ministry. “I hereby endorse the approval of Dr Austin Demby as the new Minister of Health and Sanitation”, he concluded. On his part, the Leader of NGC, Hon. Dr Kandeh Yumkella recalled his strong relationship with the nominee in light of his professional prowess and excellent performance in the medical field globally; and his contributions during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. He called on the nominee to expose issues relating to corruption. “When it comes to health and education, it is about the country and the people devoid of partisanship”.The Deputy Leader of Government Business, Hon. Bashiru Silikie said as a Government they have promised the people of a positive change in respect of social contract contained in the new New Direction manifesto. He reminded the Minister of the huge tasks ahead in the health sector and to employ new strategies with a view to overcoming these challenges.” The President, Parliament and the general public are expecting you to deliver”, he said and called on him to perform in order to meet these expectations. Chairman of Health and Sanitation Committee, Hon. Moses B. Jorkie commended President Bio for appointing Dr Austin Demby and asked him to work diligently with the health workers and his Committee. Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said they would always support the Government on what is good for the nation. “When we on this side praise you, it is from the bottom of our hearts”, he informed. He said, it is time to start utilizing people like Dr Demby; adding that he opted to fight Ebola in Sierra Leone as a volunteer. “The President has made a solid decision by appointing Dr Austin Demby to serve as Minister of Health and Sanitation”, he revealed. In rounding up the debate, Leader of Opposition, Hon. Chernor R. M. Bah said in responding to questions posed to the nominee, he recalled how he lectured them during the interview process. He recognized Dr Austin Demby for making a huge sacrifice by denouncing his dual citizenship to work in Sierra Leone and serve his compatriots. He asked the House and everyone to use Dr Demby as a springboard to bring other Sierra Leoneans home to showcase their expertise and contribute to national development. The Opposition Leader said that the nominee needs a good team to work with in order to deliver on his appointment. In concluding the debate, Leader of Government Business, Hon. Mathew Sahr Nyuma commended the nominee for helping the House to capture an impersonator and money swindler using names of Members of Parliament to extort monies from the gullible public. He said the nominee has a wide range of knowledge globally relating to medical; adding he needs a good team to deliver on his recent appointment by President Bio at a time when the world is battling to control, prevent and contain COVID-19. He advised him to change the narratives by bringing in positive results. “Be careful with the civil servants you have around you and be a professional”, he advised. The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Dr Abass Chernor Bundu congratulated the nominee and said President Bio did not make any mistake with his appointment and wished him well in his new assignment. In another development, the Parliament of Sierra Leone has debated and committed the Bill entitled: “The Medical Examiners Act, 2020” to the Legislative Committee for further scrutiny and subsequent approval by Parliament.
By: John T Allieu
Public Relations Unit, MoHS.