‘La Force Tranquille,’ an imported gin from neighboring Guinea, known locally as Drip, which was banned in 2008 by the Liberian government, is now back in the country.
An investigation conducted by the Daily Observer discovered the banned alcoholic beverage being sold by a young man at the Red Light Market. The young man claimed he bought the product in Guinea.
Another man, who claimed to work for a social advocacy group, told the Daily Observer, “This particular product was banned in 2008 and I am surprised that it has come back, though I am not aware that the ban has been lifted by the government.”
The young trader said, “I always travel to Guinea to buy this particular product and I travelled through the border with them. I sell them in Liberia and no one has told me it is a banned product.”
He said he bought several kinds of gin, packaged in small plastic sachets that he is retailing in Monrovia.
However, the social advocate contended that this particular type of liquor is still banned in Liberia.
“Before it was banned it was packaged in very small sachets, but now they are bigger,” he observed.
The Daily Observer learned that the Liberian government banned the product because for the price of L$5 at which it was then being sold, it was too easily accessible to students.
“I am aware that some students would take the liquor in sachets to school. Even children were buying it,” the advocate said.
Information on the sachets indicates it is a product distilled in N’zerekore, Guinea. It has a picture of the head of an elephant on its front and the word ‘Energie’ printed in red letters between the product information and the image of the elephant.
The young retailer, who was being helped by a young woman, appeared already tipsy, as he found it difficult to join in the discussion, raising issues that did not help.
Meanwhile, the Daily Observer could not get officials of the Ministries of Education, Justice or Commerce to give clarity on the status of the product.
A Ministry of Commerce official, who managed to speak to the Daily Observer said he remembered the ban on this particular product but he could not confirm if the ban was lifted or not.
“I share the concern because the easy access to such a strong drink must concern not only the government but parents as well,” he acknowledged.