Hundreds of angry marketers in the busy commercial district of Red-Light’s Gobachop Market yesterday, January 21, dumped garbage at the office of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA) for its failure to remove a stockpile of garbage that has made it unbearable for them to sell their goods.
Protesters blocked the road that led from Gobachop junction, making it difficult for vehicles with plantains, bitter balls, peppers, okras, pineapples and other vegetables to offload.
The angry marketers, including men, women and youth, also demanded the LMA, the Government of Liberia and Paynesville City Corporation (PCC) to remove the garbage that has been piled-up for over eight months.
The protest, according to eye-witnesses started at 2 a.m. and prevented stores owners along the Gobachop market from carrying on regular business activities for the whole day.
Ma Felecia Jallah, who sells pineapples, expressed disappointment in LMA’s refusal to remove the garbage after collecting huge among of money for ground and ticket fees every day.
Ma Felecia said during the Christmas season, the markers met with their local authorities to get the garbage that had already blocked the road from Gobachop to the St. Kizito Catholic School and they claimed “causing serious health hazard for both marketers and the community,” and she said their leaders promised to remove the garbage January 2019 but, unfortunately for them, “they failed to live up to their promise.”
She said most of the garbage was brought in the market by street boys, whom she referred to as ‘Zogos,’ community dwellers, and the PCC using the market ground as transit point and 30% garbage from the market they sell.
Ma Felecia said the huge garbage has stopped consumers from purchasing food items from them because they feel that those items are not good for consumption.
Cecelia Doe, who sells vegetables, said “every day we pay L$20 for tickets and L$100 for ground fees in this Gobachop Market, but LMA and PCC will not come and remove the garbage from the market.”
She said the “LMA many times promised to take the dirt from here. When we refused to pay their tickets and ground fees they will tell us that the yellow machine and truck are on their way to get the dirt off the road, when the day break we meet the garbage there.”
Lawrence Garr, another marketer said LMA must use the money collected from the marketers on a daily basis to clean the market.
Garr said they will not rest until the garbage is removed from the market because LMA collects millions of dollars to clean the city.
Numie Yengar, coordinator for ground fees services at Gobachop market admitted that the LMA is responsible for the stockpile of the garbage on the road but said that the community and the marketers are not contributing in removal of the waste that they have created.
Yengar denied receiving money from marketers to clean the market but said, the LMA has had series of meetings with the community to help remove the garbage but to no avail.
He said LMA does not have the capacity to remove the waste from the market on a daily basis and the PCC is using the market ground as transit point for waste. However, the Daily Observer could readily not get any confirmation from authorities at the PCC on its role in the removal garbage in the market at Gobachop.