A Daily Observer survey has established that lawlessness is on the increase at the nation’s largest business hub in Red Light, Paynesville Community, involving commercial motorcyclists, petty traders and officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP). Overcrowding is also posing a serious challenge to shoppers and marketers alike.
Compounding the situation, commercial motorcyclists and petty traders have for the past several weeks been at each other’s throats due to the enforcement of a regulation that motorcyclists should not ply the main roads and densely populated business areas in Monrovia and Paynesville cities.
Alarmingly, motorcyclists on several occasions recently have been seen in physical confrontation with police officers assigned at the Gobachop Market, an offshoot of the greater Red Light Market in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
On the other hand, petty traders and officers of the LNP continue to clash every day at different locations over their continuous defiance of LNP orders to stop selling on the main streets at the various markets in Paynesville and Monrovia.
Outnumbered police officers assigned at the Red Light, Duala, Waterside and Rally Time Markets in Paynesville, Bushrod Island and Monrovia continue to encounter serious difficulties at the hands of the hundreds of petty traders and wheelbarrow peddlers.
But judging from comments by wheelbarrow peddlers, they are also paying dues or fees to the Liberia Marketing Association and therefore also deserve protection from the police officers assigned at the various market places in Monrovia and Paynesville cities.
Moreover, congestion is a growing problem and the lack of adequate space to accommodate the thousands of petty traders and wheelbarrow peddlers is of critical concern.
According to some business owners, one of the best options to address the space challenges at the various markets requires the construction of more market buildings and other facilities to accommodate the excess traders.
As reports continue to reach the Daily Observer of intermittent clashes between police officers and petty traders, the traders, police officers and wheelbarrow peddlers have recommended that programs aimed at creating better working relations among the three groups must be on the priority list of the incoming government.
Petty trader Esther B. Nyumah, 34, of Red-Light Market, who sells imported ladies outfits, noted that she does not have the required financial resources to establish a sizeable business enterprise.
“In my view I have to start a small business for now and later try to expand it in the years to come as I generate some good profits,” Madam Nyumah asserted.
Madam Martha H. Suakollie, 42, a trader of vegetables such as cucumbers, oranges and grape fruits at the Duala Market, pointed out that the Liberia Marketing Association needs to embark on projects such as building bigger market halls to accommodate the thousands of petty traders and their wares.
“We are compelled to sell in the sun and rain due to lack of sufficient space to build structures that will accommodate our wares at this small but very important market,” Madam Suakollie complained.
At Rally Time, United Nations Drive Market in central Monrovia, charcoal wholesale trader Beatrice B. Mason, 57, noted that the current buildings cannot accommodate the growing numbers of businessmen and women in central Monrovia.
“I have been doing this charcoal business for more than 18 years and the warehouse where I store my bags of charcoal has become worse to the extent that criminals have on many occasions stolen most of my charcoal,” Madam Mason lamented.
Mr. James B. Madison, 54, a Rally Time Market flour and onion wholesale and retail trader, told the Daily Observer Wednesday that constant lawless behavior characterized by physical attacks on businessmen and women by criminal elements during the peak hours of business is on the rise.
He also recommended that the incoming Liberian Government should consider putting its foot down on lawlessness and hooliganism at the various markets and other parts of the country.
Businessman Sam George Bing, 58, who manages a merchandise store at the Waterside Market, down town Monrovia, underscored the need for law enforcement officers to design new strategies that will help combat a new wave of lawlessness and crime in Monrovia and Paynesville business districts.
He also explained that of late random attacks on businessmen, women and ordinary people have intensified especially at the Waterside market in Monrovia.