By Stephen G. Fellajuah
MONROVIA – As part of his routine humanitarian gesture towards the inmates at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP), renowned Indian businessman and philanthropist, Mr. Upjit Singh Sachdeva on Christmas Day, December 25, 2022 invited the Vice President Mrs. Jewel Howard Taylor to join him distribute cooked meals to 1, 361 inmates at the prison facility in Monrovia as a way of uplifting their spirit and showing concerns during the festive season.
According to our reporter who covered the impressive ceremony, meals served included rice and soup with soft drinks, water, etc as well as other items and that the program was part of the initiatives the renowned businessman launched in 2017 to alleviate hunger among the vulnerable people in the society.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen briefly after the distribution, Madam VP Taylor called for the decongestion of prison facilities across the country to ease the consistent shortage of food and other basic necessities at these facilities. She also underscored the need for foreign entrepreneurs and others to buttress the efforts being applied by the government to provide basic necessities for inmates at various prison compounds across Liberia.
The Vice President said that as a result of the overcrowding of various prisons, especially the Monrovia Central Prison, interventions being made by the government and others are most often not sufficient, stressing that these facilities will continue to experience shortage of food, drugs and other essential materials as a result of congestion.
“We are asking those who are out there to help because there are many prisons across the country. Government cannot do all and so we are calling on them to come and help because this is social work.
“This facility (Monrovia Central Prison) was built for 374 persons, but we have more than 1,200 persons here. So, you can imagine the stress on the system including the food issue and healthcare”, she said.
VP Taylor noted that providing helping hands or aid to the needy, particularly inmates, should be a responsibility of entrepreneurs and others who are in the position to do so while also promising to explore avenues to provide vocational training skills to inmates at the MCP.
For his part, Mr. Sachdeva pinpointed that his decision to consistently provide feeding and basic needs to inmates, under privileged, less fortunate and neglected Liberian youths, children and elders is in keeping with his religious responsibility. He along with his team also served cooked meals to 3, 000 less fortunate people across slum communities in Monrovia.
Meanwhile, “Jeety” also took the feeding program to Weala,, Margibi County where he served meals to 1, 000 children and presented them with gifts in observance of Christmas Day. He mentioned that he has been inspired by his religious calling to intensify his efforts towards serving humanity.
“The Liberian people are my family and they are God’s children. I feel inspired and so happy to distribute food, soft drink and cake to each of them on our Lord Jesus’ birthday.
“I just want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Every Christmas and July 26 we will be here to have a party for the children of Weala. I am a Liberian by heart and Indian by passport. Weala is my home; I want to live and die here. I want all of you to enjoy and make merry. Whatever we are doing here is God’s works and blessings”, he further expressed.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner of the township of Cinta, Weala, District #5 of Margibi County, Roland S. Johnson expressed excitement for the initiative, describing it as a timely gesture for the people of Weala and nearby towns.
Johnson who spoke to newsmen shortly after the children’s party, said Mr.Jeety is a blessing to the people of Liberia, especially to the citizens of District #5 Weala Cinta township, adding that the Indian businessman has employed over 250 people from the district and a modern health center being constructed by him is nearing completion.
Mr. Jeety a few months ago, embarked on the construction of a modern clinic to provide adequate health care delivery to thousands of residents of Weala in Cinta Township, Margibi County as part of his company’s corporate social responsibility to the locals in Weala.
The 25-bedroom health facility will accommodate more than 55 in-take patients in Weala. It is nearly 90% completed and will commence full operations at the end of this year.
The former Indian Honorary Consul General to Liberia Mr. Upjit Singh Sachdeva “Jeety” is the Chief Executive Officer of the premier Jeety Trading Corporation and Jeety Rubber Liberia Limited which is under construction in Weala, Margibi County.