Farafenni Motel Owners Complain Non-Payment of Bills for Hosting Quarantine Patients
Three motel owners in Farafenni have complained about the non-payment of bills by the ministry of health for quarantining suspected Coronavirus patients in their facilities.
Until last Sunday, close to fifty people were quarantined at various motels and lodges including Ballangharr Motel, Mone Bere Lodge and Eddy’s Hotel in the metropolitan town in the North Bank Region of the country. Farafenni is also a border town due to its proximity with Northern Senegal.
The quarantined patients are said to be Nigerians, Senegalese, and Guineans among others consisting mainly of minors, youths and elderlies whose travel history are mainly linked to Senegal.
The Chronicle visited the provincial town to discuss with the motel owners who spoke about their predicaments amidst ministry of health failure to pay their bills.
Katim Touray, proprietor of Ballangharr motel revealed that it has been more than one month since he started following his payment from the ministry of health but without success. He said the motel continues to admit quarantine patients based on humanitarian grounds.
“They have paid nothing since they started to bring their patients and I am a family man and I have to buy cashpower.
“Currently, it has come to a situation that I have to take credit to be able to take care of my family with the hope that when I am paid my money, I could settle it”, Touray explained.
“Definitely am in a difficult situation because as I’m speaking to you I am going out to credit some money that I may be able to use for the next one week.”
According to him, fourteen rooms have been occupied by quarantined patients brought by the ministry at his motel, adding that since May the ministry of health has been bringing patients without paying a dime.
Manager of Mine Here lodge, Sarjo Sabally has stopped accommodating suspected people at his lodge due to non-payment issues.
He also alleged that 17 Islamic students and their teachers who were accommodated at the lodge broke some valuable properties during their stay.
Sabally says he has done a lot of follow-ups to the regional health office without getting anything clear only to be told that their concerns have been relayed to the ministry who are yet to respond.
“I have been calling and engaging the health authorities both here (Farafenni) as well as in Banjul but they are not responding and definitely I need my money as it doesn’t belong to me but my employers who are staying in the Kombos,” said Dam Barry, Manager Eddy’s Hotel.
He disclosed that Eddy’s Hotel has hosted quarantined patients from the 10th of June to the 23rd of June, adding that these patients occupied eleven rooms during their stay.
It’s also alleged that health workers are finding it difficult to provide food for those being kept in quarantine because of lack of funding from the ministry of health.
“I am really sympathizing with the health officials of this region. They are doing terribly well but it seems the support from the ministry is not forthcoming. They are working in difficult situations to give food to those quarantined and this situation should definitely be addressed immediately,” a source who prefers anonymity told The Chronicle.
The ministry of health is contacted for comment on the issue but could not be accessible. The Chronicle will continue to get the reaction of the ministry and publish accordingly.