28 November 2012

Liberia: LNP- New 'Penpen' Regulation Was Not Done Unilaterally

The Liberia National Police (LNP) through its Director for Public Safety, Col. Meekie Gray, has clarified that the new regulation regarding the parking hour of "penpen" (motorbike) was not done unilaterally by the LNP. According Col. Gray, the new regulation was drawn out of series of discussions with the Liberia Motorcycle Transport Union (LMTU) and the LNP.

LMTU is the umbrella organization of all motorcyclists and motorcyclist organizations in the country. It can be recalled that LNP on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 issued a statement stating that no "penpen" operations are allowed in the streets after 10:00PM and 6:00AM. There are mixed reactions from the public regarding the new regulation, with some saying that the LNP needs to rethink its decision, while others are of the view that the regulation is in place.

"Government should be for the people, and must not do things that harm its citizens. Most of us in this country don't have cars, and we must get to our homes. And at certain time of the night, or in certain communities, it is only motorbike that can take you there. So, restricting the movements of the people at this early hour is like creating a curfew for us," Mr. Prince Yankon, a resident of the Garza Community in Soul Clinic, Paynesville pointed out.

"This decision is very unfair, and the LNP needs to rethink, because is not to the benefit of us, ordinary Liberians. Before doing this, the public needed the public inputs rather than unilaterally going on the drawing board institute law that will embarrass us and harm us," said Madam Yammah Tokpah of the GSA Road Community in Paynesville noted.

"I think this regulation is in place and is intended to curb the armed robbery which is getting on the increase again," Mr. Jatuma Armah, an instructor said. But amidst these public mixed reaction, Col. Gray stated that the motorcyclists through their executives were part and parcel of the entire decision taken.

Speaking further, the LNP Public Safety Chief said the regulation is also geared towards the personal safety of even the motorbikes riders as well, who according to him, are also at risk running late hours.

"This regulation is a not intended to harm anyone, but it is a safety mechanism that the LNP through consultation with the LMTU has embarked upon. Even the motorbike riders, who are also important people in our society, must be protected as well. Sometimes criminal attack them and take their bikes from them. Sometimes they are harmed in the process," he added.

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