News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Oct. 27, 2014: A Caribbean American Institute is calling on Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight Committee, to apologize after erroneously stating that the medical doctor who is now hospitalized with Ebola in a New York hospital returned from “Guyana” with the disease.
Issa, the U.S. Representative for California’s 49th congressional district at a House Oversight hearing on the US’ Ebola response on Friday, October 24th in Washington, D.C., three times misstated the country where the outbreak of Ebola originated was Guyana. The first time he stated: “… in the West African nation of Guyana, the world first learned about yet another new outbreak of the Ebola virus” several months ago.
But then it happened two more times.
“The news of that medical doctor returning from Guyana,” he said during the live C-Span streaming of the hearing, and then restarted the sentence.
“The news that a medical doctor returning from Guyana has tested positive for Ebola has raised even more questions,” Issa said.
Rickford Burke, LL.M., President of the Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID), in a letter sent to Congressman Issa and shown first to News Americas Now last night, said the lawmaker’s “erroneous statements about Guyana have stigmatized our country, engendered misplaced fear of persons on flights from Guyana to the US as well as Guyanese arriving in the US.”
There are over one million Guyanese living in North America and large Guyanese-American communities in the US and there are several commercial flights from Guyana to the US daily.
“Congressman Issa!, Guyana is in South America, in the Western Hemisphere where you also live, and not West Africa. Associating Guyana with West Africa demonstrates a stunning lack of knowledge of world geography!,” the letter added.
“Moreover, no one in Guyana has either contracted Ebola, been exposed to any person/s with Ebola, treated any persons who have been infected with or exposed to Ebola and no Guyanese who has travelled to the US or any person who has travelled to the US from Guyana has ever had any exposure to Ebola,” it continues.
The group wants Issa “to immediately, and in person, retract your comments and render an unqualified apology to the people of Guyana and the Guyanese-American community.”
“I am confident that given your well publicized criticisms of several US government officials for ‘alleged” mistakes,’ you as a man of principle and Chairman of a powerful committee of the United States House of Representatives would not allow such a colossal mistake to contend without correction,” the letter copied to several other lawmakers including Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner and Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, added.
It was not Issa’s first misstep on the issue of Ebola. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Friday mocked Issa for his pronunciation of the word “Ebola” and dismissed the hearing.
“I didn’t see much of it,” Earnest said to reporters during the White House Press briefing. “It does seem that most of the criticism was registered by somebody who struggled to pronounce the name of the virus at the hearing.”
Earlier in the hearing, Issa was pronouncing the word “Ebola” like “Eboli.”
Congressman Issa also humiliated himself on CNN Sunday while criticizing President Obama’s Ebola response. According to Politicsususa.com, he held up his smartphone to show the world how easy it would be to monitor body temperatures but unfortunately for him, the phone gave him the weather forecast instead.