Thousands of marketeers removed from Red Light on July 11 this year are planning to return to their stomping ground if the government allows others to remain at Red Light.
The marketeers, mostly women, are disenchanted over the fact that since they left, other sellers are at Red Light selling their goods against the mandate of the government while they are at Omega where they claim buyers hardly go to purchase their commodities.
“Since we came to Omega, others remained at Red Light and are selling while we are here and people are not buying from us. This place is too far and buyers cannot come there but stop at Red Light. Let the government deploy AFL (Armed Forces of Liberia) at Red Light to get everyone to come here. If the government fails to bring the other people, we too will go back there until they are ready to bring everybody here,” said Tupee Flomo.
Since the removal of sellers from Red Light, some retailers who buy goods from stores and frozen food from cold storage remain there selling. Police have been running after them to leave the area totally, but the sellers have remained intransigent without any thought of leaving to join those at Omega.
At the early stage of their removal, many complained that there were no spots for them to sell, but the disenchanted marketeers said on September 2, 2021 that they have more free tables at Omega to accommodate everybody and those that are at Red Light are not there because of space but to sell since business goes faster there.
“Government is next to God and we must all respect the mandate of the government. Since they brought us here on July 12, we have been here and not many buyers can come to buy from us. But other sellers remained at Red Light where they drove us from and they continue to be there. Know that we have children whom we pay their school fees and they need to eat. We want the government to use force to bring those sellers here too. If they don’t come here, we will also go to Red Light so we can all sell there,” said Annie, who sells lappers.
The marketeers claim that their friends who remained at Red Light go and buy from the stores and when police officers attempt to chase them out, they enter the stores and are shielded. “Let the government also pass a mandate that store owners at Red Light sell wholesale goods rather than retail because it is retail that those street sellers are depending on to go against the mandate that is affecting us who obeyed the government to come here at Omega,” another marketer said.
The Government of Liberia took a decision in July to relocate marketeers from Red Light to create the enabling environment for the road construction project from Parker Paint to ELWA Junction to move on. As the marketeers were there, the project did not speed up because it was difficult to operate the equipment among the thousands of sellers who spread goods on the roadside to sell.
Moreover, the sellers were always dumping garbage in drainages that have been constructed, thereby creating another work for the road builders. Since the decision was taken and most of the marketeers departed, others have persistently remained at Red Light challenging Police daily; a situation that signals to the disenchanted marketeers that “Government will give mandate but implementing it is the problem.”
“If the other people do not leave Red Light, it means the government has failed to implement its own mandate. We too will go back to Red Light until it is ready to bring everyone to Omega. We all will not be given the mandate to leave the areas while other people are there. They are not better than us,” an aggrieved female marketer said.