Liberia: Jeety Resumes Distribution of Cooked Meals at Prison Facilities

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MONROVIA – The United States government has recognized the immeasurable contributions of top Indian business tycoon Dr. Upjit Singh Sachdeva towards combating hunger among inmates and helping to improve the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP).

Dr. Sachdeva is commonly known as “Jeety” in Liberia. He is the former Indian Honorary Consul General to Liberia and the owner of various businesses operating in the country; including his trademark business-Jeety Trading Corporation.

In its latest State Department 2021 Report released on Liberia last week, the US government reported that prison conditions were “harsh and life-threatening due to food shortages,  gross overcrowding, inadequate sanitary conditions and poor medical care” during the period under review.

Quoting an August 11, 2021 report from FrontPageAfrica, the US government alleged that inmates at the Gbarnga Central Prison were suffering from hunger and prisoners were also decrying the quality of access to food and sanitation supplies even though prison officials from the Bureau of Corrections refuted some of the claims but acknowledged that they were investigating.

In a bid to ensure decency at the prison facility, the US government report emphasized that some of these challenges were addressed by “Jeety”.

“The Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation, with the assistance of businessman Upjit Singh Sachdeva, undertook the renovation of the Monrovia Central Prison, which included the installation of 2,500-liter poly tanks for water storage along with a generator for the supply of water during a power outage,” the U.S. State Department report stated.

It can be recalled that in December last year, Dr. Sachdeva dignified the lives of inmates and convicts at the Monrovia Central Prison by providing an avenue for the provision of water for drinking, watching, and other purposes at the facility

Prior to the donation, inmates were standing in long queues and catching hell to have access to water at the lone hand pump in the compound.

Following the gesture, the prison authorities heaped praises on the top Indian business tycoon in a communication dated December 8, and addressed to Dr. Sachdeva, under the signature of the Superintendent of the Monrovia Central Prison, Varney G. Lake.

The MCP authorities pointed out that the initiatives have placed smiles on the faces of the inmates.

The communication disclosed that the gesture comes following numerous challenges and constraints which were catalogued to Dr. Sachdeva during one of his humanitarian visits at the prison compound.

It added that following the appeal, “Jeety” promised to ensure that all of the housing units at the prison facility have access to running water.

The prison authorities recalled that in fulfillment of his promise, “Jeety” led a team of engineers at the prison compound along with some of his staffs to do an assessment at the facility.

Following the assessment, technical works later commenced for the actualization of the initiative.

“We were blessed also when you included in the project the installation of two (2) 500 liters poly tanks for water storage along with a 5.5KVA generator for the supply of water whenever there is a power outage from the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC).  It is in this regard that the leadership of the Monrovia Central Prison in consonant with the Bureau of Corrections and Rehabilitation do fervently write to recognize, appreciate and say a big thank you for putting smiles on the faces of the inmate population and the entire workforce at the prison”, the communication notes.

It adds: “As we speak, water now runs in all of the housing units, the clinic, bakery, and other sites that needed water”.

I’m inspired

Speaking in an interview with Reporters on Sunday, April 24, Dr. Sachdeva pointed out that the recognition from the US government has inspired him to continue to give to humanity in post-conflict Liberia.

He noted that though he has been extending helping hands to needy Liberians in the country for several decades, the recognition of his works by the US government remains commendable.

He pointed out that his decision taken to continuously make contributions towards the improvement prison facilities and feeding of inmates is intended to help ensure that prisoners who are rehabilitated can return to their respective communities as productive citizens.

“Jeety” pointed out that the move is also in keeping with his religious faith to always share with others who are in need.

“The US State Department report gives me more enthusiasm to do more. When you are appreciated and recognized, you feel honored. This gives me more inspiration to do more than what I am doing every day”.

He continued: “It is better to give than to receive and don’t give to get. Give to inspire others and this is what I am trying to do. I urge my fellow business partners here to do more for the society”.

He distributed hot cooked meal, along with water, cake and soft drink to all of the prisoners at the MCP, along with some of his employees and friends, including the Managing Director of the Guaranty Trust (GT) Bank in Liberia, Mr. Ikenna Anekwe.

“We all are prisoners of our actions. We who are living outside should serve as sources to provide or help to feed them (inmates). I have brought meal for almost 1500 people to make them feel part of the society”.

He pointed out that his decision taken to intensify efforts to extend his hot cooked meal initiative to prison facilities is intended to show love and care for those who are being reprimanded for the crimes they committed.

“We will not get tire telling you thank you Jeety, in as much you are not tire sharing with us. It is highly appreciated. We are again here to remind you and we know what it takes to leave your busy schedule to be here. May God richly bless you and may you live longer”, Anthony Lake, Superintendent of MCP stated.

“Jeety” used the occasion to disclose plans to help give a facelift to various prison facilities across the country, with the next in line being the Kakata Central Prison in Margibi County.

He also commenced the distribution of food items to Muslims in the area during this holy month of Ramadan.

Dr. Sachdeva, launched his Home-Cooked Hot Meal Program in February 2017 to help alleviate the high rate of hunger and poverty in Liberia.

Since its inauguration, the program has provided meals to over 3M Liberians. It gained prominence during the first outbreak of the Coronavirus in Liberia in March 2020.

Dr. Sachdeva pointed out that he has been quietly carrying on these initiatives in a bid to combat against hunger and ensure that disadvantaged youths and others can at least have a plate of meal a day as compare to other citizens who can afford.

“I’ve been during these things quietly not knowing that my efforts are being appreciated and recorded by our traditional friend, the US government. I remain pleased and humbled to continue to do more for Liberia and its citizens”, Dr. Sachdeva stated.   

He continued: “My heart and soul are in Liberia and I am very proud for what this country has given me. I will not get tire or rest to give back to the Liberian people, especially those who are in need”.

Like any other citizens, “Jeety” believed that convicts and inmates are also human beings and as such, their wellbeing must be prioritized.

He noted that despite being penalized for the crimes committed, some of these inmates and convicts do not have relatives, friends and loved ones to take food to them on a daily basis in the wake of harsh economic constraints.

Dr. Sachdeva indicated that as part of efforts to make these inmates feel a part of society, they should not be totally forgotten or made to starve due to the lack of food at their respective prison facilities.

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