Dominican Republic president removes governor over COVID comment

Dominican Republic president removes governor over COVID comment

November 3, 2021

Dominican Republic president removes governor after she declared she would ‘have a party’ for any non-vaccinated person who died from COVID

  • Elsa de León lost her post as governor of the Dominican northeast province of Samaná when she was removed by President Luis Abinader on Monday 
  • De León got sacked after the veteran politician said over the weekend that she would host parties for people who died of COVID-19 and were not vaccinated
  • De León, who became governor in August 2020, said she had grown tired of people using religious reasoning to avoid getting the vaccine 
  • The Dominican Republic has reported 4,144 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 384,208 cases 

A governor in the Dominican Republic has been removed from office after she claimed she would ‘have a party’ for each person who died from COVID-19 and was not vaccinated.

Elsa de León was relieved from her duties as governor of the northeastern province of Samaná on Monday by President Luis Abinader.

De León, who was named to the seat more than a year ago, had expressed her growing frustrations over the number of residents in Samaná who were refusing to sign up to get the coronavirus vaccine.

‘I am among the ones who say that from now on, for every person who dies from COVID who has not been vaccinated, I am going to have a party,’ she said over the weekend, Diario Libre reported.

Elsa de León is no longer the governor of Samaná, a province in the northeastern side of the Dominican Republic, after she went on camera over the weekend and vowed to throw a party for people who died of the coronavirus and who were not vaccinated

Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader fired de León on Monday after the former governor of Samaná said: ‘I am among the ones who say that from now on for every person who dies from COVID who has not been vaccinated, I am going to have a party’

De León credited the Abinader administration’s efforts to get the population vaccinated, but slammed those who were shying away from getting the jab due to religious reasons and also urged others not to do so. 

‘I do not understand what the refusal of certain people is, which is not only that they do not want to be vaccinated, but that they carry a negative campaign so that people do not get vaccinated,’ she said. 

‘It would be good for them to stop that attitude, to attend the centers of vaccination. When they were young they got vaccinated and did not ask; they got baptized and did not ask, and why now. 

‘If we have a pandemic and there is a vaccine, they do not want a vaccine.’

Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader (seated) poses with former Samaná governor Elsa de León

A 20-year veteran politician who previously served as a congresswoman, de León took to Facebook after she was fired and vowed to continue to serve the public while thanking Abinader for having named her to the gubernatorial post in August 2020.

‘For your knowledge and purpose of place … with more value than before, I thank my president for allowing me to be part of his administration even for a short time,’ she wrote. 

‘I will always be willing to continue serving those who need me with or without (a public office) position. That doesn’t change anything. The shark will always be the shark.’

The Dominican Republic has reported 4,144 confirmed deaths due to COVID and 384,208 cases as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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