By Washington Watson
Several market women trading at the now demolished “Better Day Market” located in the Red-Light Community, Paynesville City, behind Access Bank in the have decried the action by the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) to have early Wednesday jointly carried out a demolition exercise that razed their market structures.
“Better Day Market” women chairlady Madam Beatrice Weah told reporters that the action the officers of the LNP and people the PCC is a total violation of their rights to private property.
According to her Madam Weah, the market, prior to it being demolished, was situated on a private land, indicating that the “Better Day Market” is not part of the Red-Light Market, which she said was in the way of ongoing road construction works, for which government through the Ministry of Public Works recently demolished same.
Madam Weah narrated that in 2006, market women who she said basically trade in palm oil and other assorted goods did so on the road before the Access Bank branch building in Paynesville, were asked by government to leave the road, adding that this prompted them to search for and negotiate with the owner of a private land on which the “Better Day Market” was situated before it’s demolition on Wednesday.
She asserted that the area was previously used as a dumpsite, adding that the marketers took the risk to have cleaned the heap of garbage in the area and made it their market center, naming it “Better Day Market.”
The “Better Day Market” women chairlady further mentioned that they are independent and do not fall under the authority of the leadership of the Red-light Marketing Association.
She noted that that the government’s market center at Omega cannot accommodate all of the marketers, emphasizing that especially when the area is a wetland that she said needs to be developed.
Chairlady Weah did not hold back when it came to their domestic economic conditions, lamenting that their husbands are unemployed, and it’s through their (market women) trading at the “Better Day Market” that enables them to send their children to school and take care of other pressing domestic needs.
She further lamented that by demolishing the “Better Day Market” where they go to find livelihood, government is not seeking their interest, especially during this time of the year, which she said is the rainy season.
Meanwhile, Madam Weah is appealing to the Government of Liberia to reconsider its decision and allow the rebuilding of their market structures at the “Better Day Market.”
“Better Day Market” Superintendent Kebeh Sumbo, also told reporters that the demolition of their market came as a surprise because according to her, the demolished structures posed no obstacle to the GoL’s road construction project.
She averred that the leadership of the “Better Day Market” is renting the area from a private land owner, with a monthly rental fee of US$500.
“This land is a private land; we are paying rent every month, the “Better Day Market” superintendent stressed.
She further disclosed that the “Better Day Market” leadership and owner of said land entered into a lease agreement that requires the marketers to allow them to pay US$16k yearly. For his part, an administrator of the land on which the demolished “Better Day Market” was situated, Prince Tugbeh, said administrators of the area have all legal documents for the property.