Liberian law enforcement has been enabling personal contact between quarantined residents of West Point and the general public, including persons who want to drop off food provisions and other essential items that those quarantined might need.
According to citizens who stood in line at the checkpoint on lower Mechlin Street at Waterside, they have been able to bring items such as food, charcoal, cosmetics, rice and other necessary items that their relatives in West Point might not otherwise have access to as a result of the government-imposed quarantine.
“This is my third time in line and I always make sure to bring exactly what my mother says she needs here. Sometimes I leave small thing with the police to make sure that she gets everything that I send,” stated Princess, who stood in line patiently for her turn.
Another witness, who asked not to be named, said that she has seen some of the West Pointers themselves stand in line to collect their goods from the law enforcement officers, outside the check point area.
“They don’t come right here to where we stand in line, but usually when the law enforcement officers’ hearts cut, they can allow some of us to go inside waterside to give the things to our relatives and take whatever they have for us too,” she added.
Assistant Minister for Public Affairs at the Ministry of Defense, David Dahn acknowledged the arrangement, saying that in spite of the quarantine order, “the opportunity exists” to convey goods in and out of the quarantine area “but with the coordination of the law enforcement officers.”
Lots of people were seen stacking bundles on their heads or resting them at their feet while waiting for the checkpoint commanders to allow them through to drop off their things. During the wait, a burst of noise came from one line as AFL/DEA officers were seen rushing there.
“Almost two days now, you people are refusing to take our things to our people, what happened?” the impatient crowd questioned as officers promised to situate them all.
Meanwhile, three boy scouts were also observed the going in and out at the check point, seemingly unnoticed by the officers who were assisting those on the line.
“As for us, we are free to go in and come out. We came to check for someone, and my brother came to buy something in waterside and also visit someone. As for the line, well, if you call your people to tell them you have something for them, they will come for whatever it is,” one of the scouts stated.
Also, an employee at the YMCA, identified as Nathan, was seen taking pictures of immigration officers who ran after him while yelling, “He’s taking picture! We don’t take pictures here; we don’t allow anyone taking pictures, we don’t want to put you in trouble.”
Nathan, who said he wanted to take a photo of the drop off activity and post it on facebook to show the outside world how law enforcement officers, “take bribes to break the quarantine order” was given his silver and black camera back without the memory chip. The bribery allegation was denied by officers interviewed by the Daily Observer.
“They took my memory card, but it’s okay, I will get another one. The government is doing their job while security people are taking bribe to let people in and let people out,” he complained.
Many of the quarantined residents told the Daily Observer they are hoping the Government of Liberia could complete the process to enable them return to their normal lives.